Author: CHUNG Yoon Ngan
Date: 04-07-12 04:32
中國成語故事 - 南柯一夢 Nanke Yi Meng4
(From the story of a man who dreamed that he became governor of Nanke (南
柯) in the Kingdom of the Ants)
Chun Yufen (淳于棼) was born in Guangling county (廣陵縣) in Jiangsu province
(江蘇省) during the Tang Dynasty (唐朝 618AD to 907AD). There grew a big
old Chinese scholartree in the south near Chun Yufen's house. Although it
was an old tree it grew luxuriantly.
One day, in the afternoon Chun Yufen drank a few cups of wine and he felt
a bit tipsy. So he laid down under the tree to rest. In no time he was fast
He dreamed that he was living in a big country called Huai An (槐安國).
The ruler of Huai An was very fond of him and married his only daughter,
the Princess, to Chun Yufen. Thus Chun Yufen became a celebrity for a time
and people admired and respected him. Soon after, his father-in-law, the
ruler, assigned him to be the Governor of a prefecture called Nanke (南柯
). Serving as a Governor of Nanke, Chun Yufen exerted himself to govern
the region as best as he could. He enjoyed the love and esteem of the people.
Chun Yufen became a renowned Governor and he served in the region for twenty
During the period as a Governor Chun Yufen had seven children: five boys
and two daughter. All his sons had grown up and become high ranking officials
and the daughters were married to the children of the nobles. Life was good
to Chun Yufen and he was very happy. However, the neighbouring country of
Tan Luo (檀蘿) sent army to invade the prefecture of Nanke and Chun Yufen's
forces were defeated in a battle. Soon after his wife died of illness and
Chun Yufen was devastated. He resigned as the Governor of Nanke and returned
to the capital.
Soon, the bad officials in the court took the opportunity to slander him
in front of the King who listened to their backbites. The King sacked Chun
Yufen as an official. He was sent back to his hometown and his children
were detained in the capital because they were the grandchildren of the
In retrospect, Chun Yufen felt sad for his life for being glory, wealth
and rank. At that particular moment he woke up from his dream. He looked
at the sky and saw the sun was setting. He recalled what he was doing in
the dream and thought that there must be something strange in the Chinese
scholartree (槐樹). So he went round the tree and tried to find the unusual
sign of the tree. He saw a big ant colony on the other side of the tree
where he was lying. He then said to himself that the ant colony must be the
prefecture of Nanke. He sighed:
人世虛浮,---Ren2 shi4 xu fu,
似夢似幻.---Si4 meng4 si4 huan4.
This world is superficial,
Like dream and illusion.
Why people are so anxious fighting for their names and seeking for profit
After all, life is but a short dream.
The moral of this story is that "Life is like a dream"
[夢至大槐安國, 妻公主, 為南柯太守二十年]
Posted to asiawind.com
By CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)