The Legend of An Orchid

Yan Ji was a humble concubine of Zheng Wen-Gong who was a monarch of Zheng State in the Spring-Autumn Period. Though she was a daughter of the monarch of the southern Yan State, Zheng Wen-Gong seldom met her. In a night, she dreamed that a herald of Heaven gave her an orchid and said, “I am Boshu. I, your ancestor, let it be your son. Because an orchid is fragrant as national virtues, people will love your son as they love orchids. ” In the following day, Wen-Gong came to meet her, and gave an orchid to her. Next morning, when Wen-Gong was ready to leave, Yan Ji said to him, “I am humble, and I am honored that I will bear a son for you in the future. Can we regard this orchid as a pledge?” Wen-Gong gladly said, “All right.” After ten months, Yan Ji bore a son. Wen-Gong named the baby “Lan” which meant orchid.

In afterward political conflicts, the brothers of Gongzi Lan died or ran away, and Gongzi Lan also had to leave Zheng State and went to Jin State. Jin Wen-Gong thought Zheng State didn’t obey him, and wanted to punish Zheng State. Gongzi Lan heard Jin State would attack his motherland, and he was very worried. He tried to request Jin Wen-Gong not to attack his motherland. Jin Wen-Gong and his ministers were affected by the sincerity of Gongzi Lan, and they thought Gongzi Lan should be the monarch of Zheng State because of his virtue. So Jin Wen-Gong abandoned the plan of attacking Zheng State, and sent an envoy to Zheng State and advised Zheng Wen-Gong let Gongzi Lan be the inheritor. Zheng Wen-Gong was old, and he remembered his son Lan and the pledge orchid. So he sent three ministers to received Gongzi Lan.

After the death of Zheng Wen-Gong, Gongzi Lan became a monarch. He loved his people, and did many good things for the people and the state. He treated other states friendly and kept the dignity of his motherland. So he had a fine reputation.

Many years passed, at his point of death, he watched a sere orchid and said sadly, “The orchid died, shall I die? I was born because of it.” He plucked the orchid down, and died.

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