Ye Gong Hao Long -- Ye Gong Adores Dragon

The Story Behind the Idiom

A rich man named Ye Gong ostentatiously expressed his adoration for dragons. He decorated every room of his house with exquisite dragon paintings and elaborate dragon sculptures and carvings. Over time, he gained a reputation for this display and for his great love and knowledge of the awe-inspiring beast. Many people would come to visit his home and listen to him sing the praises of his favorite subject.

The real dragon living in the sky eventually heard about Ye Gong's devotion and was deeply moved. He decided to pay Ye Gong a visit as a reward. But when the dragon stuck his head into Ye Gong's window, his body and tail completely surrounding the house, Ye Gong screamed in horror and ran away.

The Idiom

The Chinese idiom ye gong hao long literally means 'Ye Gong adores the dragon;' but people in China understand it to refer to someone who only pretends to adore something outwardly. If put to the test, the devotee will quickly show his true colors.

Example: 'I thought you've been saying all your life that your biggest dream is to travel to space. But when NASA invited you to go on a test mission, you shied away. That's so ye gong hao long!

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