Thursday, August 18, 2011

Willow Pattern, butter box ends and tongue and groove rustic trestle table

The Legend of the Willow Pattern

There was once a Mandarin who had a beautiful daughter, Koong-se.
He employed a secretary, Chang who,
while he was attending to his master's accounts,
fell in love with Koong-se, much to the anger of the Mandarin,
who regarded the secretary as unworthy of his daughter.

The secretary was banished and a fence constructed
around the gardens of the Mandarin's estate
so that Chang could not see his daughter
and Koong-se could only walk in the gardens and to the water's edge. 

  One day a shell fitted with sails containing a poem,
and a bead which Koong-se had given to Chang,
floated to the water's edge.
Koong-se knew that her lover was not far away.
She was soon dismayed to learn
that she had been betrothed to Ta-jin,
a noble warrior Duke.
She was full of despair when it was announced
that her future husband, the noble Duke,
was arriving, bearing a gift of jewels to celebrate his betrothal.

after the banquet, borrowing the robes of a servant,
Chang passed through the guests unseen and came to Koong-se's room.
They embraced and vowed to run away together.

The Mandarin, the Duke, the guests,
and all the servants had drunk so much wine
that the couple almost got away without detection,
but Koong-se's father saw her at the last minute
and gave chase across the bridge.

The couple escaped and stayed with the maid
whom Koong-se's father had dismissed for conspiring with the lovers.
Koong-se had given the casket of jewels to Chang and the Mandarin,
who was also a magistrate,
swore that he would use the jewels
as a pretext to execute Chang when he caught him.
One night the Mandarin's spies
reported that a man was hiding in a house by the river
and the Mandarin's guards raided the house,
Chang had jumped into the ragging torrent
and Koong-se thought that he had drowned.  

Some days later the guards returned to search the house again.
While Koong-se's maid talked to them,
Chang came by boat to the window and took Koong-se away to safety.

They settled on a distant island,
over the years Chang became famous for his writings
This was to prove his undoing.

The Mandarin heard about Chang and sent guards to destroy him.
Chang was put to the sword and
Koong-se set fire to the house while she was still inside.

Thus they both perished and the gods, touched by their love,
 immortalised them as two doves, eternally flying together in the sky.