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The origin of tea drinking

The fith son of Huang Di (Yellow Emperor) was called Hui. He invented a weapon by tying a string to the two ends of a bamboo stick. He called it Gong (bow). Later he invented arrows made of bamboo strips. He was a strong man. He could stretch the string with the bow wide and long and then placed an arrow on the string and let the string off. That was ejecting or shooting an arrow. There was an occasion when Hui went hunting with his father the Yellow Emperor and his entourage. After the hunt at the end of the day they were resting under a tree. Some of the attendants were boiling water for him to drink.

Along flew a big bird and it perched on the tree top. Hui used his bow and arrow and shot it down. At the same time he shot down some leaves from the tree. Coincidentally the leaves fell into the boiling hot water. Immediately the boiling hot water turned into brownish colour. The attendants wanted to throw away the brownished boiled water. But one of them took a sip of it. He screamed out in excitement, "It tastes very good".

He went and informed Yellow Emperor who had a sip too and he also liked the taste of it. He ordered his followers to pluck a large quantity of the leaves from that particular tree and took them back to the palace. The tree was a tea tree. The leaves were the tea leaves.

From then on ever day Yellow Emperor ordered hot water with the leaves to be served as his drink instead of wine. Later the officials in his palace followed him drinking hot water with leaves. It was called drinking tea. This habit of drinking tea soon after spread far and wide in China and later to the whole world.

Article contributed by CHUNG Yoon-ngan.

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