Idiom – China


“Frog at the bottom of the well”

Shanling told me that she learn this idiom from her mother. She first heard it in Denver, Colorado, but she thinks that her mom first heard it in China. She told me that there is a small story behind the idiom and that most Chinese people know the story. She said that there once was a frog that lived in the bottom of a well. He was all by himself and he thought that he ruled the Earth. One day, someone threw a bucket down and the frog was able to go up to the surface. Once he reach the top, he was able to see that he was not the ruler of the world and that there is a bigger world that yourself. She told me that this is usually told to people that are know-it-alls and don’t see the big picture. Shanling told me that her mom tells her this whenever she is full of herself and seems not to care about anything else.

I agree with Shanling’s definition to the idiom, if you do not stick your head out of the “well” you will be left out to believe that you are the most important thing in this world. This teaches us a good lesson that we should always try to be aware of our surrounding and situations that happen outside our reach. I think that the best situation to use the idiom is when people see themselves as kings in order to bring them down to reality. One good example of this can be seen in the performing shows like American Idol. Some people that are bad signers are from small cities and towns and they think they are the best singer. They are probably the best singers in their area but when they are brought to the big stage and put in front of real judges they hear reality for the first time. They do not accept the comments made by them and get mad at the show and at the judges. They need to come out of their small world and accept that they are not as good as they thought they were.