The Willow Legend

Long ago in China, in a magnificent palace surrounded by trees, lived a Mandarin, his daughter, Koong-shee, and his secretary, Chang. Chang and Koong-shee fell in love, but Chang was a commoner and she the daughter of a noble. Still their love grew as they met beneath a willow tree in the garden. When the Mandarin discovered their secret, he banished Chang & imprisoned Koong-shee by encircling the palace with a zig-zag fence. Then he promised her hand to a another. He had a feast to celebrate and after, when all fell asleep, Chang crept into the palace and fled with Koong-shee, The Mandarin awoke & pursued them across the little bridge that spans the river.

The lovers escaped, but soon the Mandarin discovered them and sent his men to find the couple. They came upon Chang as he was working his fields and killed him. Koong-shee, who had seen the entire scene from afar, rushed into the pavilion and set it afire, determined to be with Chang in death as she had been in life.

The gods, looking down on the tragedy, took pity on the lovers & transformed their souls into a pair of immortal lovebirds to forever live in the pagoda. We can still see Chang & Koong-shee, flying over the willow tree where they first pledged their love. Their story lives forever on the Willow-pattern.

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