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Idioms Lesson 27
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Hide a dagger in a smile

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), there was a minister named Li Yifu. He was very good at flattering people, so his official position was raised higher and higher and he eventually became the prime minister. However, Li was a vicious man. When he talked with people he always wore a sweet smile, but he was conjuring up evil ideas in his mind.

One day, Li learned that a beautiful woman was put in prison. He sent for the prison officer and ordered him to set the woman free. The man followed the order and Li took the woman home.

Later, someone reported the case to the emperor. The prison officer was very afraid because he knew he had committed a crime by setting the criminal free. He went to Li for help, but Li ignored him and asked the man not to disturb him anymore. The man was so disappointed that he hanged himself.

Hearing the tragic suicide of the prison officer, another officer wanted to reveal the truth to the emperor. Li, however, knew of this plan and began to make false accusations against the officer. The foolish emperor believed Li's words and exiled the officer to a distant land.

The idiom "hide a dagger in a smile" has come to describe a person with a murderous intent behind his/her smile.

xiào lĭ cáng dāo






ān rán wú yàng
Escape unscathed; be safe and sound

ān jū lè yè
Live and work in peace and contentment

duì dá rú liú
Respond fluently; reply readily without any difficulty

duì zhèng xià yào
Administer the medicine that cures the malady; give the right prescription for an illness; take the proper steps

zuò è duō duān
Do all sorts of evil; perpetrate numerous crimes; be steeped in iniquity

zuò jiăn zì fù
Spin a cocoon around oneself; get enmeshed in a web of one's own spinning; fall into a pit of one's own digging; put a noose around one's own neck

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