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Folk Legend of Yushan Hill and Shanghu Lake: Lady of Qi’s home hopes

2011-10-27    admin    Browsed:2347

On the top of the Yushan Hill lied an ancient tomb of the Spring and Autumn Period: the tomb of Lady of Qi. But why she was buried here? A sad story can explain this.
      In the Spring and Autumn Period when Zhou Dynasty began to decline, and the kingdoms gobbled up the weak ones, wars were not a rare thing. During the reign of Emperor Jing, Helu the Vassal of the Kingdom Wu appointed the talented and virtuous general Wu Ziyu and Sun Wu. Besides, he stabilized the country and cultivated people’s mind to make every efforts for the prosper of the kingdom. In no more than several years, Kingdom Wu became a strong one. To realize his emperor dream, Helu dispatched an expedition on Kingdom Yue in the south, Kingdom Jijin in the west; even the strong Kingdom Chu was defeated. He was once the emperor in the southeast part and became one of the top five in the Spring and Autumn Period.  
      At that time, Qi Jinggong, the Vassal of Kingdom Qi was busy with something else. He gave himself up to debauchery, and doing nothing but game and glee. To handle the rising Kingdom Wu, Qi Jinggong started to negotiate with Kingdom Chu to be allied. Heard about this, Helu started to worry, and he told Wu Zixu his prime minister, that “it would be a trouble for our north part if Kingdom Qi and Chu became alliance”. He was prepared to attack Kingdom Qi only wait for the right time. Wu Zixu suggested that since the wife of our price was gone and did not have a second, why not proposed a marriage to the princess of Qi, the beautiful and talented unwedded lady, and that would be the right time if Qi said no. Nodded his head, Vassal Wu sent the official Sunluo to Kingdom Qi and proposed a marriage to prince Po. Although Qi Jinggong was not pleasant, he agreed out of Wu’s power. And he sent the official Baomu to accompany his daughter to Kingdom Wu. Besides, Qi Jinggong asked Baomu to send the words of caring of his daughter to Vassal Wu. Qi Jinggong’s daughter, Shaojiang, was a smart and talented girl, she was also the apple of Qi Jinggong’s eye. Knowing that this journey was even worse that departing, she cried her eyes out.     
      Shaojiang was still a teenager when she married Price Po, and she could not find any amusement in marriage, but only the miss of her parents. She cried all night long. Eventually, she was sick. Vassal of Wu, Helu and Prince Po comforted her with dancing and singing, and banquets all day around. But these worked for nothing to relief her sorrow. She continued to cry and cry. Price Po was also called as Zhonglei, the oldest son of Helu, and he was pictured as a brave warrior in Tso Zhuan(a commentary in the Spring and Autumn Annals). Seeing the beautiful lady became a withering flower, both Prince Po and His father, Vassal of Wu could do nothing. At last, Wu Zixu thought about an idea. He asked people to build a nine-floor attic which was named as The Gate of Qi. And he also asked the prince to accompany her to climb high up the attic and look from there to have a view of Kingdom Qi. But how was it possible to see her parents there? On a cloudless sunny day, when Shaojiang sat besides the window and looked into the distance, she saw a wavering mountain blended into the cloud. Prince Po told her that this was Yu Mountain, which was named because it buried the second King of Kingdom Wu, Yuzhong. Smiled sadly, Shaojaing thought of herself. Being sad all the time, she died eventually. Before her death, she asked Prince Po to bury her in Yushan Hill so that she could see Kingdom Qi from there. Accordingly, Price Po asked his father’s permission and buried her there. From then on, people called this place the “the tomb of Lady of Qi”. 
      Missing her lady so much, Price Po soon died afterwards. At recorded in a local chronicle of Wu, that “HaiYushan Hill is situated in Changshu, in which, there are two caves. The stone alter in the right cave is about 180 meters large. In the east of the cave, there is a stone room. Wu Zhongyong, Zhou Zhang, and the oldest son of Helu were all buried here”. From this description, we can see that the tomb of Prince Po is also here, but we would never know whether they were buried together.
      There are different versions about the exact place of Lady of Qi’s tomb. Someone believed what was recorded by “ The Top of Yu Mountain”, that it should be on the top of Yu Mountain. What’s more, it should be on “The Pier Overlooking the Sea” since it was the top of the mountain. Others said that it should be beneath the Xinfeng Pavilion, since it is the highest point of the mountain within the town. It seems that the later one is more reasonable since the historical recordings incline to the later. 
      In the earliest local history “Yue Jue Shu”, that “because of missing her homeland, the Lady of Qi was buried on the west of Yushan Hill.” The most detailed one is the Emperor Jian Wen of Liang in South Dynasty. The stone tablet was built by the Zhan Zhenzhi to honor the national rabbi Zhang Daoyu. It was built in the southeast of Yu Mountain. On the tablets, when describing the location of this construction, it can be inferred that the tomb of Lady of Qi was beneath the Xinfeng Pavilion. The chronograph of Kingdom Wu also described this as “the Lady of Qi longed for her home so much after the death of her husband, that she was eventually buried on the south of Yushan Hill in Changshu. Her tomb was near Zhongyong and Zhou zhang’s. Another Annals of Geography Taiping Huanyu in Song Dynasty provided a clearer description: “In the Yu Mountain, Changshu, there lies the tomb of Zhongyong and the Lady of Qi, with the former buried in the east, the later in the west. And we can find other evidences from the other annals in Tang and Song Dynasty. 
      Built in South Song Dynasty, Xinfeng Pavilion was first named as Pavilion Overlooking Lake, but was later changed into Gaze Pavilion(Ji Mu), Pavilion Overlooking Qi(Wang Qi), even as Daguan, which means take things as they are in Ming Dynasty. The last name was changed by Xiao Yinggong, who was the third in the emperor examination. He was also a local of Changshu. Most of the descriptions in Ming and Qing Dynasties are coherent with what accorded in Tang and Song Dynasties. We can find the evidence in many famous articles in the ancient times, for instance, Zhang Yinglin and Qian Dadao of Ming Dynasty, etc. In Zhang Yinglin’s article the Annals of Yu Mountain, “in the east of Qianyuan Palace, there was a prominent point. It is the the tomb of Lady of Qi, on which established Daguan Pavilion…”. In Qian Dadao’s article the Maps of Yu Mountain, “above Zhidao the Taoist Temple there is the tomb of Lady of Qi, and its top is Daguan Pavilion.” “Daguan Pavilion was first named as the Gaze Pavilion(Ji Mu), then changed its name into Xinfeng Pavilion by Xiao Yinggong. Similar expressions can be found in Liu Ding’s article too. If we look through the recordings from varied dynasties, it is true that the tomb of Lady of Qi is beneath Xinfeng Pavilion, what Yue Jueshu has described as the west part in Yu Mountain. At that time, there were five tops in Haiyu Mountain. The east top was called Yushan Hill after the burrier of Zhongyu. The area from the northwest to Xingfu Temple was called Wumu Mountain. Ding Mountain, West Mountain, Xiao Mountain was named in turn to the west. The ancient Yushan Hill is what now the Xinfeng Pavilion area.      
      In the early times of the Republic of China, Changshu government once established a standing committee to manage the places of interests. And they believed Jingyu was the highest point in Yu Mountain. For on this place, the Lady of Qi can look into the distance of Qi. Then they erected a gigantic stone in the Jinfeng Mountain, and asked Jiang Fanzhi to write an article to inscribe on it. At that time, the famous writer Jinhe, who is also a Changshu native, wrote an article named The Lady of Qi. And he used a lot of historical materials to prove that the tomb of the Lady of Qi is beneath the Xinfeng Pavilion. At the end of the article, he said that “the so-called Wang Qi, is just a metaphor. How is it possible to see the Kingdom Qi from the top. Even as high as the mountain Tai, you can never see the Kindom of Wu and Chu. If we do not correct this mistake, the fellow people would accept this without knowing.” Since it was clarified clearly in Jinhe’s article, the committee soon gave up the idea of inscribing. But we will never find out why, eventually, the committee did not erect a tomb-stone in Xinfeng Pavilion for the Lady of Qi.