Stories from Ancient China: A Place of Idyllic Beauty

Tao Yuan Ming was a great writer of the Jin Dynasty in ancient China. He once wrote a famous article of "A Place of Idyllic Beauty," which described a paradise of peach blossoms: A fisherman lived in Wu Lin District of Wuhan. One day, he paddled a boat along a river. The boat was floating and floating. He did not know how far and how long he had been floating, until all of a sudden, he found himself going into a paradise full of peach blossoms. Grasslands were situated on both banks of the river, where the fresh green grass was set off by the luxuriant peach blossoms.

The fisherman was attracted by the scenery and was also wondering why he had never been here before. He continued to paddle the boat and a mountain appeared in front of him. There was a cave in the middle of the mountain, which he curiously crawled into. At the entrance, it was dark and narrow in the cave. But he kept on crawling. Not long after he began crawling, the cave suddenly became wide and spacious. At the end the cave, he was astonished to see a plain that was as beautiful as a paradise.

There were houses along the roads. ll types of crops were growing in the rich fields. Many people were busy going and coming on the roads and children were playing in the fields. The people were surprised to see the fisherman. They paid their respects to him and treated him well. They told him that their ancestors were the civilians who came over here to escape the war turmoil during the Qin Dynasty. Since then, from one generation to another, they had been living in this peaceful land where it was isolated from the outside world.

Before the fisherman left, he promised the people that he would not tell anybody about the land and keep it a secret. However, after he returned, he did not keep his promise but instead reported his adventure to the prefecture chief in charge of the local area. The chief sent his men to look for the paradise with the fisherman. They couldn't find it because the fisherman could no longer remember the location.

Later generations extended the meaning of "The Place of Idyllic Beauty" to an idiom as "A Retreat Away from the World". It refers to a place that is isolated from the world and looks like an earthly paradise. People can live there in seclusion without being interfered with or affected by worldly matters.

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