放鸽子 to release a pigeon?!

In Chinese, we call ‘stand someone up’, or ‘didn’t show up’ as 放鸽子 (fàng gē zi ),
which lliterally means ‘to release a pigeon’…Do you want to know the story behind this?

Gǔ shí hòu
古时候。。.     In the old days…

rén men yòng xìn gē tōng xìn
人 们 用 信 鸽 通 信.    People use homing pigeon to exchange letters. 

Yǒu liǎng gè rén shì hǎo péng yǒu
有两个人是好朋友。。。Two people who were good friends…

qí zhōng yí gè rén gěi lìng yí gè rén xiě xìn
其中一个人给另一个人写信。。。Inbetween them, one wrote to the other…

yòng xìn gē chuán xìn
用 信 鸽 传 信 。  and use the homing pigeon to deliver the letter. 

lìng yí gè rén shōu dào xìn hòu
另 一 个 人收 到 信 后。。。  The other person received the letter…

bǎ xìn gē fàng le huíqù
把信鸽放了回去。。send back the homing pigeon…

què wàng le jì xìn
却 忘 了 寄 信。  but forgot to send the letter. 

lìng yí gè rén hěn shēng qì de shuō
另 一 个 人 很 生 气 地 说The other person got very angry and said, 

nǐ zhè bùshì fàng wǒ gē zi ma
你这不是放我鸽子吗?!  YOU STOOD ME UP (you release my pigeon ‘without the letter’)

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  1. Mandarin Weekly #92 – Mandarin Weekly (每周中文)

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