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Narrative

The Fox Borrows the Tiger’s Power

The 54-year-old informant is a elementary school Chinese teacher and is originally from Taiyuan, China. She’s been hearing and telling Chinese folklore her entire life, and often shares it with her students. Her stories represent Chinese culture and the qualities that Chinese people value.

“Once upon a time, there was a tiger in the mountain. Because basically, tiger is the king in this mountain. One day, the fox met the tiger, and the tiger wanted to eat the fox, and the fox said, ‘Oh, I am more powerful than you. Why do you want to eat me?’

And the tiger said, ‘Haha! You’re joking! You’re more powerful than me?’

The fox said, ‘Yes, of course. Do you want me to show you?’

And the tiger said, ‘Yes, show me.’

Then the fox said, ‘Okay, you just come along with me. I’m go back to my home–my forest. My section of this mountain.’

So the fox casually and very enjoyably walked to the other side of the mountain, and the tiger followed him. Once the fox reached his territory, all the animals on the tree and the ground all ran away. The fox said, ‘Did you see that? Once I arrived here, they all ran away. Because they’re afraid of me!'”

 

In Chinese, idioms are commonly 4-word phrases that represent stories. This story is based on the Chinese idiom: 狐假虎威 (hu jia hu wei), which means “a fox exploits a tiger’s power.” In much of folklore, foxes are commonly known to be clever and sometimes deceitful animals, which is again represented in this story.

 

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