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Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Tea


   There lived high in Wuyishan a poor family with a son who excelled in his study. To further his studies he had to sit for an entrance examination in the city, a long distance from his village. He had to travel by foot and with little food to eat on his way he soon became exhausted and was completely spent and ill when he reached a temple in another village half way through his journey. The monk took pity on him and nursed him back to health with good tea and food.

    After his recovery, he resumed his journey and took with him three packs of tea and food given by the monk who advised him to drink the tea if he were ill. He reached the city just in time to sit for the entrance examination which he passed with flying colors. He later graduated from the university and became a renowned scholar.

    As he was also a handsome young man, the daughter of the Emperor fell in love with him and subsequently they got married and he became a nobleman. He lived a luxurious life in the palace but had not forgotten the people who had contributed to his success, particularly the monk.

    Then one day the Empress fell ill. After all the available herbs could not cure her, He fed her with the tea given by the monk many years ago. Very soon the Empress recovered and enquired from her son-in-law the source of the tea. The son-in-law told her the story how he obtained the tea. The Empress told him to return to the village and obtain more of the tea to help the sick.

    The request by the Empress gave him the opportunity to return to the village to pay respect to the monk.

   He gathered sufficient food and with some of his subjects, journeyed his way to the village. He was glad to meet the monk but was sad to note that the temple was in a very run-down state. He decided to stay in the temple and help to renovate it. To help, he had to disrobe, put on the ordinary workers’ clothing and soil his hand.

    As a nobleman, his official attire was a big red robe. After disrobed, he spread it over three tea plants beside the temple. The leaves of these three plants had good therapeutic values which had helped to cure his illness and that of the Empress. And that was how the tea obtained from those plants derived its name.

    These three tea plants are said to be still growing today.


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