A Consort’s Wisdom Saved the King and His Kingdom (Part 1)

King Zhuang.

King Zhuang of Chu State (reign 613-591 B.C.) was the most accomplished monarch among the five rulers during the Spring and Autumn period in ancient China. (Image: via Public Domain)

King Zhuang of the Chu State (reign 613-591 B.C.) was the most accomplished monarch among the five rulers during the Spring and Autumn period in ancient China. Lady Fan Ji was his principal consort.

In the first three years of his reign, Zhuang indulged himself in hunting while neglecting his official duties. Fan Ji knew that as a ruler, his behavior would be detrimental to the kingdom. She attempted to dissuade Zhuang repeatedly, but to no avail. As a way of showing her disapproval to the king, Fan Ji stopped eating meat. Fan Ji’s determination and perseverance eventually moved Zhuang to give up hunting.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Receive selected content straight into your inbox.

In ancient China, kings had many consorts. Fan Ji understood that if the king was preoccupied with women, it would lead to the collapse of the state. In order to prevent King Zhuang from going awry, Fan Ji personally searched for beautiful women across the country. The women chosen by Fan Ji possessed high moral characters in addition to their beauty. In this way, the king would be surrounded and influenced by noble people. Fan Ji’s foresight greatly impressed him.

The king was a heavy drinker

In the early days after King Zhuang ascended the throne, he was a heavy drinker and enjoyed parties day and night. Fan Ji reasoned with him numerous times, but was brushed off by the king. To draw his attention, Fan Ji stopped dressing up and looking after herself every day. Zhuang was puzzled. He asked Fan Ji: “Why don’t you clean yourself up and look glamorous?”  Fang Ji replied: “You are addicted to wine and women, leaving state affairs unattended. The future of the state is so bleak that I could care less about my appearance.” He was touched by her concern and expressed regret for his reckless behavior, but it did not take long before he returned to his old habits.

Fan Ji later ordered a high platform to be built in the southern part of Jinan. Every night, she would go up to the platform and dress herself up nicely. Her move befuddled King Zhuang: “Why do you dress up in the wilderness every night?” Fan Ji responded: “You promised me you would put in great efforts to rule the country, but you did not fulfill your promise. Why should I bother for a person who does not care for me? It’s better to let the moon and the stars appreciate me.” Zhuang finally awakened to Fan Ji’s good intentions and after that, he began to focus on governing the state.

Zhuan was an avid musician who enjoyed playing a musical instrument called the guqin. One day, he received a famous guqin from Huayuan, a politician of the state of Song. The guqin, named Lingering, was famous for its melodies lingering around for days after being played, and Zhuang completely lost himself in playing the instrument.

King Zhuan was an avid musician who enjoyed playing a musical instrument called the guqin.
King Zhuan was an avid musician who enjoyed playing a musical instrument called the guqin. (Image: via Secret China)

Once, he played Lingering for seven consecutive days without attending to state affairs. Fan Ji was very worried and criticized Zhuang: “You are out of control! Do you know the addiction to a guqin by emperor Xia Jie caused the collapse of the Xia Dynasty and the obsession of women by King Zhou of the Shang Dynasty led to his death in Lutai. Now, your addiction to the guqin has prevented you from fulfilling your duties for seven days; are you going to ruin your country and your life?” King Zhuang finally was shaken by Fan Ji’s condemnation. To show his determination to resist the temptation of playing Lingering, he reluctantly ordered that it be destroyed.

Translated by Chua BC and edited by Angela

Source: The Epoch Times

Follow us on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest

Recommended Stories

The tower in Kaiyuan Temple with cherry blossoms.

Historical Tale From China: Murong Yanchao Outsmarts a Swindler

During the Later Han Dynasty (947-950), Yunzhou’s leading commander, Murong Yanchao, was celebrated for his ...

A basket of eggs.

Reviving the Simple Long-Lost Art of Roasting Eggs

Roasting eggs is probably the most ancient way of cooking eggs. About 1 million years ...

A closeup view of jail cell iron bars casting shadows on the prison floor.

Successful Entrepreneurs in China Lose Everything Overnight on Trumped-Up Charges (Part 2)

Mr. Yang said persecuted entrepreneurs like him are too numerous in his home province and ...

A polar ring galaxy.

Astronomers Have Discovered a Rare ‘Polar Ring Galaxy’ Wrapped in a Huge Ribbon of Hydrogen

A galaxy can come in many shapes and sizes, from giant, slowly rotating ovals and ...

Mr. Yang.

Successful Entrepreneurs in China Lose Everything on Trumped-Up Charges (Part 1)

Mr. Yang, one of China’s highly successful entrepreneurs now living in exile, recounted how he ...


Besenwirtschaften Explained: Learn More About the Broomstick Inns

Many cultures have their unique seasonal practices, and among these are the Besenwirtschaften. While the ...

Double rainbow over a field of yellow flowers with a tree in the background.

The Power of Emotional Healing in Traditional Chinese Medicine

“The heart’s ailment requires the heart’s remedy,” remarked Zhang Jingyue, a renowned physician from the ...

Sad girl sitting alone.

6 Tips for Successful Emotional Healing

There can be times when you experience some intense emotional pain or trauma that has ...

Engraved illustration of men surrounding Abraham Lincoln on his deathbed.

The Mystery of Spirit Photography: The Lincoln Photo and Beyond

Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of American President Abraham Lincoln, had her photo taken in 1872. ...

Send this to a friend