During the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (712-756) of the Tang Dynasty, there was a poor scholar by the surname of Lu who passed by Hantan, a city in Hebei Province. He stayed the night at an inn and met a Taoist named Lü. They got along well and chatted heartily.
After a while, Lu felt tired and wanted to take a rest. The inn owner started to cook rice with golden millet. The priest passed Lu a pillow and said: “Sleep on it for a good rest. You will get the wealth and glory that you have always wanted.”
In his sleep, Lu dreamed of marrying the daughter of a rich family by the name of Cui. His official career went smoothly — he succeeded in the highest imperial civil service examination, became a provincial governor after a few years, and was even the prime minister for 10 years. He owned plenty of land and mansions and had pretty women and horses. He enjoyed boundless wealth and glory until he died. At this moment, Lu stretched himself and woke up.
He found himself still sleeping in the inn. The priest was beside him and the inn owner’s golden millet rice wasn’t even done! He was astonished because what he saw and experienced in the dream was so real. He could not help but remark: “Is it true that all wealth and glory are mere illusions like a dream?” The priest answered: “Now you should know that what people chase throughout their lives is nothing but a pipe dream!”
Edited by Chen Huaizhang, translation by Cecilia