A Treasury of Literary Classics -
Chinese Fables and Tales Series (1)


    Read the Chinese story and answer the following questions.

Practice Makes Perfect

Click here to read the text.

1. Read paragraph 1. Chen Yaozi was __________.

A. an archer
B. a pitchman
C. a viewer
D. a teacher

Your answer:

Read paragraph 1.

"In the Northern Song Dynasty, a young man called Chen Yaozi was one of the best archers in his village."

2. As stated in paragraph 2, how many times did Chen Yaozi hit the target?

A. Chen Yaozi hit the target with four or five out of ten arrows.
B. Chen Yaozi hit the target with eight or nine out of twenty arrows.
C. Chen Yaozi hit the target with eight or nine out of ten arrows.
D. Chen Yaozi hit the target with six or seven out of twenty arrows.

Your answer:

Read the numbers in paragraph 2.

"Seeing that Chen Yaozi hit the target eight or nine times out of ten arrows, the old pitchman just nodded slightly without giving him praises."

3. How did people think about Chen's archery?

A. People thought that Chen's archery was poor.
B. People thought that Chen's archery was average.
C. People thought that Chen's archery was slightly above average.
D. People thought that Chen's archery was excellent.

Your answer:

What did people say?

Read paragraph 1.

"All the villagers cheered and praised him for his remarkable archery skills."

4. How did Chen Yaozi feel about people's reaction?

A. Chen Yaozi was sorry about people's reaction.
B. Chen Yaozi was worried about people's reaction.
C. Chen Yaozi was contented with people's reaction.
D. Chen Yaozi was embarrassed with people's reaction.

Your answer:

Read paragraph 1.

"All the villagers cheered and praised him for his remarkable archery skills. He was very proud of himself."

5. Which of the following sentences are TRUE about the old pitchman?

  1. The old pitchman knew little about archery.
  2. The old pitchman sold mainly oil, arrows and copper coins.
  3. The old pitchman thought Chen Yaozi had remarkable archery skills.
  4. The old pitchman believed that practice could improve skills.

A. (i) & (iv)
B. (i), (ii) & (iii)
C. (ii) & (iii)
D. (ii), (iii) & (iv)

Your answer:

What did the old pitchman say and do to Chen Yaozi?

6. There was not a drop of oil beyond the coin hole. How could the old pitchman do that?

A. The old pitchman had secrets behind.
B. The old pitchman played tricks on Chen Yaozi.
C. The old pitchman had practised very hard.
D. The old pitchman did not pour the oil at all.

Your answer:

What did the old pitchman say?

Read paragraph 5.

"The old pitchman said, 'This is nothing. I have just been pouring oil for a long time. Practice makes perfect.' "

7. Some verbs ending with the suffix "-ed" or "-d" become adjectives which are used to describe a person's feelings, such as "annoyed" and "amazed".

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

A. embarrassed B. frustrated C. inspired D. disappointed
Description Adjective
7a. The old pitchman did not think that Chen had remarkable archery skills. Chen was _____________ about his comment because he thought the old pitchman would praise him.
7b. Chen was very _______________ when he learnt that the old pitchman could pour the oil so well. He knew that he could never perform the same as the old pitchman.
7c. Chen replied the old pitchman by saying, "How dare you comment on my archery?" When he noticed how professional the old pitchman was, he felt really ______________ . He was sorry about his rudeness.
7d. Chen was _______________ by the old pitchman's act and realised the importance of frequent practice.

Read the sentences carefully to understand their meanings.

8. What did Chen Yaozi learn from the old pitchman?

A. Chen Yaozi learnt to practise archery hard.
B. Chen Yaozi learnt nothing from the old pitchman.
C. Chen Yaozi learnt the skills from the old pitchman.
D. Chen Yaozi learnt to practise archery occasionally.

Your answer:

How did he feel after seeing the old pitchman's demonstration?

Read paragraph 5.

"Chen Yaozi was embarrassed and apologised to the old pitchman. 'From then on, I must practise very hard to further improve my archery skills with modesty,' said Chen Yaozi."

9. Which is NOT TRUE about the story?

A. The story took place in the Northern Song Dynasty in China.
B. Chen Yaozi had an archery competition with the old pitchman the next day.
C. The old pitchman showed Chen Yaozi how to pour the oil skilfully.
D. Chen Yaozi was no longer complacent and committed himself to practising hard from then on.

Your answer:

Did Chen Yaozi have a competition with the old pitchman?

Did he feel ashamed when he saw the old pitchman pour the oil?

Did he practise archery with modesty from then on?

What was he committed to?

Practice Makes Perfect

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?

11. Have you ever had experiences in which practice makes perfect? Think of one incident and share it with your parents or classmates.

Extension Activity

Watch the video clip "Meet This Olympic Champion", which is about how an Olympic champion, Yang Qian, overcame her difficulties through perseverance and resilience.

Acknowledgements: The China Current


Why did Yang Qian's tutor choose her to receive training as a sport shooter? What did she do when her mother was seriously ill during her study in the university? Did she practise hard to make her dream come true? Think and share your ideas or experiences with your parents or classmates.