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

A branch with cherry blossoms.

Cherry Blossom Day: Why It’s Important To Japan

Japan’s Cherry Blossom Day is celebrated on March 27, a momentous day. Although not an ...

Family sharing dinner at the table.

Table Manners 101: How to Teach Your Children Proper Table Manners

Teaching your children table manners is extremely important in their upbringing. But if you’re struggling ...


6 Key Practices to Stop Being a Victim

Life isn’t fair, and most of the time, you find yourself the victim of particular ...

Chinese family getting food with chopsticks.

Proper Manners Begin at the Dining Table

Manners are a cornerstone of every culture. And while most manners align with the culture ...

A Russian jet spraying a U.S. drone with fuel.

The Black Sea Drone Incident: Avoiding ‘Accidental’ War

The extraordinary footage of a Russian jet intercepting a U.S. drone over the Black Sea ...

Knight was a military bull.

An Awesome Bull (Part 1)

In 1940, the Germans invaded Belgium and quickly occupied much of the country. When the ...

A German Shepherd.

An Awesome Bull (Part 2)

The change to the bull’s prisoner-of-war status made General von Bock very angry. He sent ...

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David R. Stilwel

U.S. Diplomat: ‘China Is a Lawless Bully’

David Stilwell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific ...

Two acorns with oak leaves in the background.

Reviving Ancient Delicious Acorn Dishes

The acorn nut is familiar to many, often used in decorations, jewelry, and crafts. But ...

Send this to a friend