This book explains how, for thousands of years, Chinese people have formed myths about dragons and have given these imaginary creatures god-like powers and desirable features of glamour and strength. Once created, belief in dragons was used in various ways in traditional Chinese society. Emperors sought to associate themselves exclusively with the power of dragons as a means of controlling their people. Meanwhile, as a way perhaps of making their hard lives happier and more hopeful, the people told magical dragon stories which have become core parts of Chinese culture. These stories were in the nature of parables, used to make points about human nature and situations, and summed up succinctly by associated sayings in the traditional Chinese four character format which are still widely used today, sometimes with modified meaning. Through retelling these ancient legends and by explaining and interpreting these sayings this book presents a way into understanding Chinese life past and present.
Xue Lin was the first batch of graduates in Chinese Language and Literature from Kao Xiong Normal College (currently Kao Xiong Normal University). She is now retired after having been a Chinese tutor at Tan Sui High School for many years. From 1979 to 1990, Xue published a series of articles on the twelve years of animals in local educational magazines. From 1989 to 1996, she actively wrote columns for many national newspapers on children's education and learning and on relevant topics for parents and families. She has been working on promoting children's awareness of Chinese culture, language and classics ever since.