Tuesday 16 February 2016

About tea and dragons

Because of the recent Chinese New Year, I have started re-reading Dragons, Gods & Spirits from Chinese Mythology, one of the treasures I found and bought last year, out of an impromptu visit in a local bookshop. This is a not very good picture of one of its gorgeous illustrations. The old man on the picture and his wife are actually dragons in disguise. They had stolen the all the water of Peking through magic, and then had poured the waters in a jar. The young soldier on his horse was named Gaoliang and managed to pierce one jar, thus returning half the water to Peking, but drowning himself in the process. It is said that the water which returned to the city was hard water, and the water in the unbroken jar contained the city's sweet spring water. It remained in a place that was later called the Hill of Jade Springs. Since then, when the people of Peking wanted sweet water to make tea, they went to the Hill of Jade Springs. I remember reading the story as a child, but did not remember much of it. Now that I am a tea drinker, I appreciate it far more. I love the dramatic, even tragic legend, invented to explain something as anecdotal as the reason why you go to some place instead of another to get your water for tea. It also shows how much love the Chinese people have for the drink. it finally shows that dragons can do evil in different ways, not always manifest in brute force but also through cunning and deceit. Next time you drink Chinese tea, have a thought for this story.

1 comment:

Giselle43 said...

je vais penser à cette histoire en buvant le thé (même en France ) et j'aime beaucoup les pages de ce livre, merci