Yan Shu

Yan Shu of the Northern Song Dynasty could write essays when he was just 7 years old. (Image:  wikimedia /  CC0 1.0)

Honesty Creates a Prime Minister

Yan Shu of the Northern Song Dynasty could write essays when he was just 7 years old. The local officials called him a child prodigy. At the time, the Emperor tested the scholars personally and asked Yan Shu to take the…

Yan Shu (right) encountered Wang Qi while traveling to Hangzhou to assume office. He invited Wang, second in command of Jiangdu County, for dinner, and told him of his trouble: He was working on a poem, and could not come up with the next phrase after “Helplessly, the flowers wither away” Wang Qi, deep in thought, looked up into the sky. Some swallows flew past. “Why not use ‘The swallows, once seen, return again’? he said. Yan heard the verse, shouted 'Bravo!', and adopted it. It remains a familiar saying in Chinese to this day. ( (Image courtesy of  Mu Chuan, Taste of Life Magazine )

The Quiet Conqueror: Poet Yan Shu

Some ancient Chinese advisors led vast armies to suppress rebels, while others devised elaborate stratagems to eliminate political rivals. Yet others were like Yan Shu. Born in a peaceful era of the Northern Song Dynasty, he was admired for a…

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Honesty Creates a Prime Minister

Yan Shu of the Northern Song Dynasty could write essays when he was just 7 years old. The local officials called him a child prodigy. At the time, the Emperor tested…

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The Quiet Conqueror: Poet Yan Shu

Some ancient Chinese advisors led vast armies to suppress rebels, while others devised elaborate stratagems to eliminate political rivals. Yet others were like Yan Shu. Born in a peaceful era…