Chinese Idiom Stories

Practice Makes Perfect

Chen Yau-tz, of the Sung dynasty, was a very talented archer. He hit the bull's eye every time, and so everyone called him "The Magic Archer." Chen Yau-tz felt that he was the best archer in the world, and so he was very proud.

One day, as Chen was shooting arrows, a man selling oil passed by, and stood watching him for a long time. "You know something about archery?", Chen Yau-tz asked the man. "Look at how well I shoot!" The man replied, "That's nothing, all it takes is practice." This made Chen Yau-tz very angry, and he asked, "Dare you underestimate my skill as an archer?" Saying nothing, the man took a bottlenecked gourd, placed it on the ground, and put a coin with a square hole in the center over the top. He poured toil from a wooden ladle drop-by-drop into the gourd, without spilling a sinle drop on the coin. The man then turned to Chen Yau-tz and said, "That was also nothing. It's just a matter of practice makes perfect."

Thus, the meaning of this idiom is that skill comes from repeated practice.





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