A Treasury of Literary Classics -
Chinese Fables and Tales Series (2)


    Read the Chinese story and answer the following questions.

Gaining New Insights from Reviewing Old Knowledge

Click here to read the text.

1. In paragraph 1, what did Confucius and Shi Xiang talk about?
They talked about ________________.

A. Shi Xiang’s accomplishment in music
B. Confucius’s diligence and humility
C. the skills in playing the guqin
D. the skills in repairing the guqin

Your answer:

Read paragraph 1.

"One day, Confucius visited Shi Xiang. They discussed how they could improve the skills of playing the guqin, a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument."

2. What was the relationship between Confucius and Shi Xiang?

A. Confucius and Shi Xiang did not know each other.
B. Confucius and Shi Xiang were good friends.
C. Confucius and Shi Xiang were enemies.
D. Confucius and Shi Xiang were brothers in the same family.

Your answer:

Read paragraph 1.

"He was keen on music and got along well with a famous music player called Shi Xiang."

3. How did Shi Xiang feel when he started to play the guqin?
Shi Xiang felt ________ when he started to play the guqin.

A. delighted
B. impressed
C. remarkable
D. surprised

Your answer:

Read paragraph 1.

"Shi Xiang could not hide his excitement and started to play the guqin."

4. Choose the best adjective to describe Confucius when he was acquiring new knowledge.

A. Tired
B. Dreamy
C. Humble
D. Arrogant

Your answer:

Read paragraph 2.

"Shi Xiang had never seen anyone like Confucius, who learnt with diligence and humility."

5. Read paragraph 2. Which of the following sentences is correct?

A. Confucius spent a few days practising the same piece of music only.
B. Shi Xiang thought it was time for Confucius to learn a new piece.
C. Confucius was very proud of his skills in playing the guqin.
D. Confucius did not want to learn a new piece any more.

Your answer:

Read paragraph 2 and consider the questions below.

How long had Confucius practised the piece?
What did Shi Xiang say to Confucius?
How did Confucius play the guqin?
Did Confucius want to learn a new piece? When?

6. Why did Confucius want to practise the piece of music for a few more days?

A. Confucius thought that he was not excellent in playing the piece.
B. Confucius was not bored and wanted to play the same piece forever.
C. Confucius did not like Shi Xiang and refused to learn a new piece at once.
D. Confucius was interested in the music and wanted to gain new insights.

Your answer:

Read paragraph 2.

"He replied, 'I can master the techniques now, but I still need more time to gain new insights. I would like to explore the richness of the music and the messages from the composer. ' "

7. A phrasal verb consists of a verb with a preposition or adverb or both, creating a new phrase with a different meaning from the original words. For example, the verb "make" means "to produce something". After the preposition "up" is added,"make up" means"to forgive someone and become friends again after an argument".

Read the following descriptions. Fill in each blank with a phrasal verb from the list given. Each option can be used once only.

A. looked up to B. kept on C. got along with D. paid off
Description Phrasal verb
7a. Confucius _____________ Shi Xiang and both of them liked playing music together.
7b. After Confucius had practised for a few more days, his efforts _____________ and he could realise the character of the composer finally.
7c. After learning a piece of music from Shi Xiang, Confucius _____________ playing the same piece because he wanted to explore the richness of the music and the messages from the composer.
7d. Shi Xiang _____________ Confucius as it was so impressive that he kept studying the same piece of music deeply in order to gain new insights.

Read the sentences carefully to understand their meanings.

8. Confucius thought ___________________ was the composer of the piece of music.

A. Shi Xiang
B. Shi Xiang's teacher
C. one of his students
D. King Wen of Zhou

Your answer:

Read paragraph 3.

"He said thoughtfully, 'I have realised the character of the composer... Who else could compose such a great piece except for King Wen of Zhou?' "

9. How did Shi Xiang respond once Confucius told him about the composer's appearance and character?
Shi Xiang _________________.

A. felt amazed
B. had no feeling
C. did not believe
D. was amused

Your answer:

Read paragraph 3.

Shi Xiang was very surprised and said, 'Indeed! When my teacher taught me this piece, he said that the piece was called “Wen Wang Cao”, composed by King Wen of Zhou. I am so impressed that you have learnt the piece so deeply. You are truly remarkable!' "

Gaining New Insights from Reviewing Old Knowledge

Score Sheet

Questions Results
Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4
Question 5
Question 6
Question 7a
Question 7b
Question 7c
Question 7d
Question 8
Question 9

10. What is the moral lesson of the story? Based on the story, which Chinese saying can you think of?

Extension Activity

Watch the video clip "Connection Between Nature and Music", which is about how the yangqin player Reylon Yount and the violinist Tasmin Little explore the relationship between the natural world and the music they perform.

Acknowledgements: The China Current


Reylon Yount has played the yangqin since he was young. Who inspired Reylon? When you learn something new, what would you do to help you learn better and gain new insights? Think and share your ideas or experiences with your parents or classmates.