Delivering a Goose Feather from a Thousand Miles away

Friday, September 8, 2023

The Chinese idiom "千里送鹅毛" (qiān lǐ sòng é máo) is a phrase rich in historical significance and profound meaning. This idiom has its roots in a beautiful story that illustrates the lengths one can go to fulfill a promise. In this article, we will explore the story behind "千里送鹅毛" (qiān lǐ sòng é máo), its symbolic meaning, and how it can be applied in daily life.

The Story

Long ago, during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD), there lived a young scholar named Zhuge Liang (诸葛亮 ZhūgéLiàng). He was known for his wisdom and integrity. Once, a distant friend sent him a letter requesting a goose feather fan to cool himself during the hot summer. Zhuge Liang has a very deep friendship 情义 (qíngyì) with this friend. Zhuge Liang agreed to the request and sent a messenger on a journey of a thousand miles to deliver the goose feather. Despite the challenging journey, the messenger successfully obtained the feather and returned to present it to Zhuge Liang's friend. This story demonstrates the unwavering dedication and commitment to keeping one's word, even at great personal cost.

情义(qíngyì):refers to the deep emotions and obligations within interpersonal relationships. It emphasizes loyalty, trust, and concern for others on an emotional level, typically manifesting as providing support and assistance during difficult times.


The friendship between them is very deep.
Tāmen zhījiān de qíngyìfēicháng shēnhòu.

During his difficult times,his friends showed true friendship.
Zài tāde kùnnán shíqí,péngyǒumen biǎoxiàn chūle zhēnzhèng de qíngyì.

Symbolic Meaning

The idiom "千里送鹅毛" (qiān lǐ sòng é máo) carries the meaning of fulfilling a promise or obligation regardless of the distance, difficulty, or sacrifice involved .It symbolizes the importance of keeping one's word and being trustworthy. It also emphasizes the value of selflessness and dedication to helping others.

Daily Application

In our daily lives, we can apply the concept of "千里送鹅毛" (qiān lǐ sòng é máo) by:

Keeping Promises (遵守承诺-zūn shǒu chéng nuò): Whether it's a simple commitment to meet a friend or a more significant promise, always strive to keep your word, even if it requires extra effort.

Helping Others Selflessly (无私帮助-wú sī bāng zhù): Actively offer assistance to those in need, without expecting anything in return. This demonstrates your dedication to supporting others.

Demonstrating Reliability (可靠性-kě kào xìng): Build a reputation for being trustworthy and dependable in both personal and professional relationships. This will strengthen your bonds with others.

Key Sentences:

I traveled a long way to pick up your favorite coffee,just as a small token of our friendship qiān lǐsòngémáo
Wǒzǒu le hěn yuǎn de lùlái gěi nǐmǎi nǐzuìxǐhuān de kāfēi,jiùshìwèile biǎodáwǒmen de yǒuqíng,qiān lǐsòngémáo

He helped me,and that's a perfect example of qiān lǐsòngémáo
Tābāngzhùle wǒ,zhèjiùshìqiān lǐsòngémáo.

She selflessly assisted me,disregarding her own needs,truly embodying
Tābùgùyīqièbāngzhùle wǒ,jiùxiàng qiān lǐsòngémáo yīyàng.

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