Lord Ye’s Love of Dragons: Professed Love of What One Really Fears
“I Love Sports.”
Storyteller: I have a college friend who is a big sports fan. “I Love Sports”, as he always introduces himself.
He never misses any daily sports news. He follows all sorts of sports, table tennis, tennis, badminton, soccer, basketball, go, volleyball, baseball, etc. He is especially knowledgeable on European soccer leagues and US NBA. He knows all the current scores/rankings and players in each team. He tracks all the trading rumors and gossips.
However, he only loves “watching” sports. When we try to ask him to join us playing basketball or soccer, he never does. He’d prefer to stay in the dorm to check the most recent news.
I am sure you might know some people like him, too. We call this kind of professed love “Lord Ye’s Love of Dragons” based on a story told 2000+ years ago.
Lord Ye’s Love of Dragons: Professed love of what one really fears
In Spring and Autumn Period, a scholar named Zizhang heard that Lord Ai of State of Lu was eagerly recruiting scholars and intellectuals. So he went to visit Lord Ai. But after seven days, Lord Ai was still not willing to meet him.
Then he sent his servant to tell Lord Ai:
“People say you like intelligent scholars. So I came across a thousand miles through sandy wind and stormy snow without a break on the road in order to visit you.
“Now for seven days you have been ignoring me. I think your so-called love of intellectuals is like Lord Ye’s love of dragons.
“Long ago, there was a person named Chen Zhuliang who addressed himself as ‘Lord Ye’. It was said that this Lord Ye was very fond of dragons. The walls of his house had dragons painted on them, while the beams, pillars, doors, and windows were all carved with the creatures. As a result, word of his love for dragons spread.
“When the real dragon in heaven heard of this Lord Ye, he was deeply moved. He decided to visit Lord Ye to thank him.
“You might think Lord Ye was very happy to see a real dragon. But, actually, at very the sight of the creature, he was scared out of his wits and ran away as fast as he could.
“From then on, people knew that Lord Ye only loved pictures or carvings that looked like dragons, but not the real thing.
“Now I hear you like excellent people, so I came a long way to visit you. But you won’t see me after seven days. In fact, you don’t like excellent people, but those ones who look excellent.
“As Book of Songs says, ‘Things you love in your heart, how could you ever forget?’ I am sorry, I have to leave.”
Storyteller: This story, with a vivid metaphor, bitterly satirizes those Lord Ye like high-sounding hypocritical people.