Ye gonghaolong: an unjust case made by Confucius disciples?

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For decades, the story of “ye gonghaolong” has been included in primary school Chinese textbooks, so even primary school students can understand and use it. Therefore, it is one of the Chinese classics with the highest popularity and wide popularity.

This story comes from the new preface miscellaneous affairs written by Liu Xiang in the Western Han Dynasty, which later became an idiom.

The main idea of the story is: Lord Ye likes dragons very much. There are many dragons carved and painted in the house. When the dragon in the sky knew it, he flew to his house. When ye Gong saw the dragon, he was scared out of his wits. So people use this story to satirize those who superficially like something and agree with a certain point of view, but in fact they are not, and think that such people are hypocritical. Therefore, the idiom “ye gonghao long” has an obvious derogatory meaning.

However, this story and its implication are wrong.

The dragon is a frightening deity in the legend. According to the historical graphic description, this object is extremely majestic, with patches of scales shining, a pair of sharp long horns towering on the forehead, a number of thick and hard whiskers protruding from the side of the cheeks, big blood, sharp teeth like saws in the mouth, strong claws dancing constantly, and even the tail can stir up the wind and rain and stimulate lightning… In the face of such a terrible giant, even the world’s top martial arts masters will rush to escape, not to mention the gentle Ye Gong? Therefore, Ye Gong’s fear of Zhenlong is completely reasonable and should not be blamed.

By analogy with the meaning of this fable, if you dare not be accompanied by tigers, lions, leopards and other beasts, don’t draw these beasts, otherwise, you will become a hypocrite. In fact, it’s not just these beasts? Even donkeys that are considered “tame” can sometimes be frightening. It is conceivable that when Huang Zhou, who likes to draw donkeys, was concentrating on waving a paintbrush, suddenly a donkey rushed over, and it was strange that he didn’t quickly dodge As a result, many animals were expelled from painting! Many painters have become “Ye Gong”!

Confucius once paid an admiring visit

The people of the Chinese nation have always admired dragons. However, in feudal society, it was exclusive to the royal family. Only the emperor could wear a Dragon Robe, and only the emperor’s son and grandson could be called the Dragon son and grandson. No one else could think of it, otherwise it would be treacherous and even the head could not be saved. This situation did not change until the end of the Qing Dynasty. In the 1980s, a Taiwanese singer named Hou Dejian came to the mainland to sing the song “descendants of the dragon”, which further stimulated the Dragon fever, leading many Chinese people to think they are dragon species and full of pride. However, if the Dragon really came to China, many people must be scared to death on the spot. Therefore, we are actually “Ye Gong”!

The words belong to Ye Gong himself. According to relevant materials, Ye Gong used to be Shen, Zhu Liang and Zi Gao. He was an aristocrat of the state of Chu in the spring and Autumn period. In the fifth year of King Ping of Chu, he served as Yin (the highest administrator of the county) in Ye County (now in Henan Province). He had great political achievements and was honored as “Ye Gong”. Confucius visited him admiringly and talked about the way of governance, but the two sides had different opinions. Confucius’ disciples were dissatisfied with Ye Gong, so they made up this story to satirize.

This may not be completely reliable, but the Analects does include the dialogue between Ye Gong and Confucius. One of them clearly reflects the differences between the two people’s Views: “Ye Gongyu Confucius said: ‘our party has a straight bow, its father crows the sheep, and its son proves it.’ Confucius said: ‘our party’s straight is different. The father is hidden from the son, and the son is hidden from the father, and it is straight in it’.” The dialogue shows that Ye Gong believes that exposing his father’s stealing sheep is a manifestation of integrity and advocates the rule of law; Confucius believed that it was integrity for relatives to shield each other, and put “filial piety” first. It is clear that Confucius was wrong on this issue.

Therefore, the story of “ye gonghao long” is likely to be an unjust case. In this way, the truth and falsehood of its implication need no longer be debated. What we should explore is: who is the creator of the story, and whether Confucius participated in it?

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