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The Legend behind the Year of the Dragon

Jan. 18, 2012

Key Learning Points (Preview):

龙 (lóng) n. dragon


代替 (dàitì) v. to take the place of/to replace


In ancient China, the "龙 (lóng) dragon" lived capable upon the earth’s land, though notably, his majestic appearance lacked its famous horns. With a strong body and the power to fly effortlessly through the heavens, he deserved for the title "兽王  (shòuwáng) king of the animals" and decided to campaign to "代替 (dàitì) take the place of" tiger. Furthermore, he thought it was ridiculous he hadn't been elected into the "属相 (shǔxiàng) Chinese zodiac." Thereon created a great conflict between "龙 (lóng) dragon" and "虎 () tiger," which forced the jade emperor to summon them and demand a final decision.

The dragon was afraid he'd lose to the tiger's shiny coat, so with his friend the centipede's advice, he borrowed the beautiful horns of the "公鸡 (gōngjī) rooster." Seeing the grace and power evident in both the dragon and tiger, the jade emperor was perplexed for a settlement. Finally, he resolved to assign "虎 () tiger" as "百兽之王 (bǎishòu zhī wáng) the king of animals," and "龙 (lóng) dragon" as "水族之王 (shuǐzú zhī wáng) the king of sea." Finally, he granted both tiger and dragon positions in the zodiac.

After the incident, the dragon wondered if he could return the rooster's charming horns. But he was afraid of losing glory after removing the rooster's horns. So the dragon ultimately "决定 (juédìng) decided" to keep his horns and has never walked back onshore, perhaps to avoid his debt to the rooster. Since then, whenever the rooster encounters a centipede, he devours it to ease his grudge of his loss.

Though the dragon was a fabricated creature, it has the highest position amongst the animals. Chinese believe the dragon can call for the wind and the rain and travel through space. In ancient China, emperors regarded themselves as "真龙天子 (zhēn lóng tiānzǐ) the emperor of the true dragon" and until recently the Chinese thought of themselves as "龙的传人 (lóng de chuánrén) the descendents of the dragon."

Key Learning Points:

(lóng) n. dragon



Lóng zài shí'èr shēngxiào zhōng pái dìwǔ.
龙      在  十二    生肖           中     排 第五。    


The dragon takes the fifth place in the Chinese zodia

代替 (dàitì) v. to take the place of/to replace



Wǒ xiǎng dàitì tā qù cānjiā yǎnjiǎng bǐsài.
我   想     代替 他去  参加     演讲     比赛。


I want to attend the speech contest in his place.

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