Skip to main content

The King and Beacon Fire

A bored shepherd boy  entertained himself by tricking nearby villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking his flock of sheep. When they came to his rescue, they found that the alarms were false and that they had wasted their time. When the boy was actually confronted by a wolf, the villagers did not believe his cries for help and the wolf ate the flock, and in some versions the boy. (The Chinese Equivalent for "Never Cry Wolf")

Similarly, in Ancient China, a king tried to entertain his melancholy queen by lighting  beacon fire to trick his soldiers. Below is another version of this story by Du Halde:

This prince [Yeou vang] had none of the good qualities which were admired in his father, but had very great faults, which made him contemptible to his people.

He was desperately in love with a concubine called pao ssee, for whose sake he put away the empress and her son, who was the lawful heir to the crown, in order to put in his place the son which he had by his concubine . The Empress, with the prince retired to his uncle, who had the government of the province of Chensi.

Notwithstanding this Yeou vang had so great pleasure in the enjoyment of his beloved Pao Ssee, because she was naturally of a very splenetic and melancholy temper, although he had recourse to all sorts of amusements that might inspire her with gaiety and mirth.

He was then at war with the eastern tartars, and had given orders that when the soldiers saw beacon fires lighted they should immediately take to their arms, and attend his person. this signal, which was never used but in case of necessity, he looked on as a proper diversion for the object of his love, who was highly delighted to see the hurry that the soldiers were in to run to the emperor when the fires were lighted, in order, as they thought, to defend him against the enemy, and then to fee how surprised and astonished they looked at their disappointment, after all their needless flutter and fatigue.

Nevertheless the emperor was displeased that his son had abandoned him, and sent an order to his brother to bring him to him immediately : His brother answered, that he would obey his orders as soon as the young prince should be declared lawful heir of the empire ; which so provoked Yeou vang, that he immediately declared war against him.

This prince, not being in a condition to stand out against the forces of the emperor, joined the Tartars, and in the nighttime attacked the imperial camp : The fires were immediately lighted, but as this signal had deceived the soldiers so often before, they disregarded it, and looked on it as the ordinary diversion of Pao Ssee : In the mean time the camp was forced, and the Emperor slain. This happened the seventh year of the cycle, and Ping vang his son succeeded him in the Empire.


Popular posts from this blog

The wonderful pear-tree

Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry." "Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The o

The Fox and The Tiger

ONE day a fox encountered a tiger. The tiger showed his fangs and waved his claws and wanted to eat him up. But the fox said: 'Good sir, you must not think that you alone are the king of beasts. Your courage is no match for mine. Let us go together and you keep behind me. If the humans are not afraid of me when they see me, then you may eat me up.' The tiger agreed and so the fox led him to a big high-way. As soon as the travellers saw the tiger in the distance they were seized with fear and ran away. Then the said: 'You see? I was walking in front; they saw me before they could See you.' Then the tiger put his tail between his legs and ran away. The tiger had seen that the humans were afraid of the fox but he had not realized that the fox had merely borrowed his own terrible appearance. [This story was translated by Ewald Osers from German, published by George Bell & Sons, in the book 'Chinese Folktales'.  Osers noted that this story was

The Legend of The Three-Life Stone

The Buddhist believe metempsychosis, or the migration of the souls of animated beings, people's relationships are predestined through three states of life: the past, present, and future life. Legend has it that there's a road called Yellow Spring Road, which leads to Fogotten River. Over the river there's a bridge called Helpless Bridge (Naihe Bridge), at one end of the bridge sits a crimson stone called Three-life Stone. When two people die, they take this route to reincarnation. if they carve their name on the Three-life Stone together while they pass the stone, they are to be predestined to be together in their future life. Although before their rebirth they will be given a MengPo Soup to drink and thereby their memory of past life are obliterated. In reality, San-Sheng Shi (三生石), or Three-Life Stone is located beside Flying Mountain near the West Lake, Hangzhou. On the stone, there is seal with three Chinese characters that say "The Three-life Stone," and a