Proverb – Chinese

Literal Translation: big water poured into dragon king’s temple

My informant told me that she learned this proverb when she was put in a bad situation. She was the project leader for one of her school classes. The rest of her classmates in her group did very little to no work, so she did the work for them in order to get a good grade in the project. However, when she turned in the project, the teacher accused her of cheating. No one else in the group stood up for her, though she had actually been doing them a favor. After she told her family about the situation, her grandmother taught her this phrase.

In Chinese culture, the dragon is one of the most important and powerful creatures. Although in Western cultures, dragons are usually associated with evilness or maliciousness, in Chinese culture, a dragon is known as a benevolent and intelligent creature. In ancient China, the people believed that there was a dragon god or king that lived in the oceans. They believed that this dragon was in control of the weather and of the sea. Therefore, people often went to the temple of the dragon god in order to give sacrifices so that their families would be safe at sea and so that there would be good weather. This proverb is actually a twist of irony. The people would go to the dragon god’s temple so that the dragon would stop floods from happening. So, going to his actual temple and flooding it with water would actually damage the temple, therefore hurting the dragon.

The moral of this proverb is that sometimes even good people who are in control of things can get hurt. Even those who are kind and helpful to others may get burned by those they trusted. What my informant’s grandmother was trying to teach her is that sometimes you have to be able to have a thick skin and accept the way others treat you. It will only make her stronger and know how to deal with other things in her life.