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Chengyu Story: To be very valuable
The Chengyu 价值连城 (jià zhí lián chéng) describes something that is very valuable. Literally it means to be worth (价值) several cities (连城).
In the ancient kingdom of Chu, a young woodsman named Bian He spotted a peculiar piece of rock in the mountains. Upon closer inspection, Bian He gasped: “This is no ordinary stone, but a rare jade!” Carefully, Bian He chipped at and freed the jade. “I will present this to King Li!” And so off He went to the royal palace.
Bian He smiled as he presented his jade in front of King Li. King Li, however, was not a skilled jade appraiser. He glared at the jade and yelled: “This man is mocking my kingship with this silly rock - off with him!”
Before long, a new King Wu succeeded the throne. Unlike King Li, King Wu had a prestigious education - surely he’ll recognize the jade! Bian He went again towards the palace humbly presented his rock. But unfortunately, King Wu failed to recognize the jade as well. “This man is mocking the royal court yet again - off with him!”
A few years passed, and a new King Wen came along. King Wen caught wind of this peculiar story and sent someone to question Bian He, who explained: “I cried because our king mistakes jade for stone, and a loyal servant for a liar!”
Shaken by Bian He’s strong conviction, King Wen decided to appraise the stone once more. This time, he did the sensible thing and asked for a professional jeweler who finally confirmed the priceless jade. In Bian He’s honor, the jade was named the He Shi Bi - Mr. He’s Jade.
Eventually, the He Shi Bi fell into the hands of the Zhao kingdom. The Qin kingdom wanted the jade and offered 15 cities in exchange for it, creating the origin of this Chengyu.
How to use 价值连城:
美术馆中许多价值连城的艺术品被盗。(měishù guǎn zhōng xǔduō jiàzhí liánchéng de yìshù pǐn bèi dào) = A number of priceless works of art were stolen from the gallery.
那个杯子价值连城,无法定价。(nàgè bēi zǐ jiàzhí liánchéng, wúfǎ dìngjià) = That cup is priceless, you can’t put a value on it.
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