|Long Corridor of the Summer Palace |
The Summer Palace was also closely connected with Empress Dowager who on her 70th birthday embezzled the military expenditure to decorate the Summer Palace. One day Empress Dowager turned around in Foxiang Pavilion and felt there was always something lacked. She questioned an old craftsman:”why are lack of the dragon statues on lakeside and in the lake?” The old craftsman found Empress Dowager was not happy and instantly answered:”Your majesty, there is only the Fengwei Corridor in Foxiang Pavilion, but on lakeside and in the lake, there were no dragon statues.” Ci Xi was furious and shouted at the understrappers:”Go! To summon all the dragon-players nearby and let them non-stop play dragon-games on the lakeside! I must see the dragon!”. It troubled these players too much. They took all-out efforts to play the dragons all day long; many players were too exhausted to play. A group of players was dead beat, and another group followed. The Empress Dowager just watched a half hour per day but she never had these players stop. The old craftsman quite regretted his wrongdoings and contemplated for three days but still thought out a solution.
One night, an old men entered his room as he was about to sleep and begged for something to eat. The old craftsman saw he was a beggar and gave him a bowl of noodle with meat. The old man just watched the noodle and sighed, and he said to this old craftsman:” I am not comfortable these days!” He put the bowl in reverse and took some pieces of noodles to encircle along the verge of bowl. And then this old sighed and walk out. The old craftsman suddenly waked up. It is a dream！He reminded the appearance gesture of that old man and believed that old man was Lu Ban(鲁班)，the forefather of Chinese craftsmanship. And the noodles Lu Ban took to encircle the verge of the bowl quite looked like a dragon. In a flash, he got an idea that built a long dragon-shaped corridor. He right away reported to Empress Dowager and promised to build a dragon in next three months; meanwhile he requested to release the dragon-layers. Empress Dowager agreed. After three months, Empress Dowager once again stepped up into Foxiang Pavilion and suddenly found a long dragon swimming along the side of Kunming Lake. She was exultant and rewarded this old craftsman a lot. In fact, this dragon is this long corridor with 273 spaces.
Writer: David from Seeraa International
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