Charlie was at school- middle school, to be exact. He had begun to chat with others his age, and was starting to make some friends. In particular, he had found a female friend, which made him very happy. She was Chinese and was learning English as her second language, but that didn't stop him from hanging out with her. They had finally gotten to the level of eating lunch together, and Charlie had made sure to get a good lunch that day. They sat down and started to eat.
At some point, the girl had taken a look at what Charlie brought for lunch, and asked him if she could have part of the main course. This was Charlie's favorite part of his meal, and he refused- besides, he'd already bitten all sides of it! There was nothing sanitary enough to give her. He was also still in middle school, the age group where sharing is not caring.
She pouted and said something to him that he couldn't understand, which bothered him. He asked her to repeat it, but she refused to say it again, instead scribbling some pictures on a napkin and handing it to him. She didn't ask to try anything else, and Charlie decided he'd make amends with her some other time.

Here are the scribbles that the girl made. Can you help Charlie figure out what she had told him?
the scribble

Author's Notes: No, what the animal is saying doesn't have much to do with the puzzle- it's just there to help you identify what the creature is. Similarly, Charlie and his thought bubble are for flavor.
Hopefully the story isn't too cringe... we all went through that phase in life, and I decided some story is better than no story. On that note: there is only one piece of information that is helpful from the text, and if you are not a part of it, the Knowledge tag is for you!

  • $\begingroup$ Does she have to be Chinese? Or is that an extra random fact? $\endgroup$ Aug 1, 2018 at 1:30
  • $\begingroup$ @PotatoLatte The phrase originates from China :) $\endgroup$
    – iiiidk
    Aug 1, 2018 at 2:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is the hammer on the steel beams relevant? $\endgroup$
    – Zimonze
    Aug 1, 2018 at 6:13
  • $\begingroup$ The hammer is not; it was to reinforce the face that it is steal beams! $\endgroup$
    – iiiidk
    Aug 1, 2018 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


I think it is something around

The iron rooster won't gift you even a feather

It comes from a Chinese expression

In China the term iron rooster is used to refer to a very stingy person. Also found the origin story here.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Correct! :) Luckily I didn't learn of this saying the hard way. $\endgroup$
    – iiiidk
    Aug 1, 2018 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ Can you explain where you got the word "iron"? I may be missing something obvious, but I just don't see it. $\endgroup$
    – Pugmonkey
    Aug 1, 2018 at 14:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Pugmonkey The first drawing meant for me metallic. So with a little research in Chinese idioms you find the expression quite easily. $\endgroup$
    – guillau4
    Aug 1, 2018 at 14:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Pugmonkey Since the rebus is answered: What I drew was steel I-Beams, a common construction material. However, steel is iron and carbon, so -C and you get "iron"! $\endgroup$
    – iiiidk
    Aug 1, 2018 at 17:49

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