THE LEGEND OF BLUE WILLOW
(Spode Willow ca. 1790 image from The Spode Museum)
'Two birds flying high,
A Chinese vessel, sailing by.
A bridge with three men, sometimes four,
A willow tree, hanging o'er.
A Chinese temple, there it stands,
Built upon the river sands.
An apple tree, with apples on,
A crooked fence to end my song.'
The Legend of the Willow Plate
My Willowware plate has a story,
Pictorial, painted in blue
From the land of tea and the tea plant
And the little brown man with a queue.
Whatever the food you serve, daughter
Romance enters into the feast,
If you only pay heed to the legend,
On the old china plate from the East.
Koong Shee was a mandarin’s daughter
And Chang was her lover, ah me,
For surely her father’s accountant
Might never wed pretty Koong Shee.
So Chang was expelled from the compound,
The lover’s alliance to break,
And pretty Koong Shee was imprisoned
In a little blue house by the lake.
The Doughty old mandarin reasoned
It was time that his daughter should wed,
And the groom of his choosing should banish,
That silly romance from her head.
In symbols the dress she should wear,
Her headband of scarlet lay waiting,
She should ride in a gold wedding chair.
He was busily plotting and planning,
When a message was brought him one day,
Young Chang had invaded the palace,
And taken his sweetheart away.
They were over the bridge when he saw them,
They were passing the big willow tree,
And a boat at the edge of the water,
Stood waiting for Chang and Koong Shee.
The furious mandarin followed,
The groom with revenge in his eyes,
But the little boat danced on the water
And traveled away with the prize.
But vengeance pursued to their shelter
And burned the pagoda, they say
From out of the flames rose the lovers
A pair of doves winging away.
They flew toward the western heaven
The pretty Koong Shee and her Chang
Or so says the famous old legend
From the land of the Yangtze Kiang.
I wouldn’t be one to deny it,
For the little blue dove and her mate
Forever are flying together
Across my Willow ware plate.