Family first

During the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 713-56), his beloved consort (and one of the most famous in Chinese history), Yang Guifei, showed great favouritism towards her `adopted’ son, An Lushan, the man who later instigated a rebellion which brought down the dynasty. While An Lushan received Yang Guifei’s `maternal’ favour, the son of the emperor, the future Emperor Suzong (r. 756-63), was pitifully neglected. 

The emperor asked his jester Huang Fanchuo 黃幡綽 (In Full Streamer Huang), ‘What sort of sons earn one’s sympathy?’  He answered, ‘Your own’.   

 

玄宗問黃幡綽:「是勿兒得人憐?」對曰:「自家兒得人憐。」

When the Emperor heard these words, he bowed his head [in shame] for a long time.

 

Source: Yinhua lu 因話錄, by Zhao Lin 趙璘 (fl.c. 844), fol. 4, 太平廣記 Taiping Guangji, fol. 164, Siku Quanshu 四庫全書 (Shanghai: Guji Chubanshe, 1987), vol. 1035, p. 489a.

Photo credit: rosiekeystrokes at pixabay

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