Lü Huan Gong Dies While Drunk-鲁桓公醉中丧命

Lü Huan Gong, whose given name was Gui, was the fifteenth ruler of the state of Lu. His father was Duke Hui of Lu, and his mother was initially a favored concubine of Duke Hui. After the death of Duke Hui’s main wife, Gui’s mother was elevated to the position of the main wife, and Gui was consequently recognized as the heir. As Gui was still young when Duke Hui passed away, the ministers, through deliberation, decided to temporarily appoint Duke Yin, the eldest son from another consort, as the ruler. Lu had another son named Ji, with the courtesy name Yufu, who was cunning and crafty, aiming to sow discord between Duke Yin and the crown prince Gui.

Ji approached Duke Yin, offering to eliminate Crown Prince Gui to prevent future troubles. However, Duke Yin, upon hearing this, angrily rebuked him, asserting that the throne rightfully belonged to Gui, and he would soon abdicate in Gui’s favor. Humiliated and vexed, Ji, fearing retaliation from Gui, devised a plan. He secretly met with Crown Prince Gui, spreading false rumors that Duke Yin intended to harm him. Unaware of the plot, Gui believed Ji and sought his help. Ji suggested preemptive action to avoid harm, advising Gui to send someone disguised as a servant to ambush Duke Yin while paying respects outside the city. They could then kill him in his sleep and frame the crime on a noble named Wei Dafu. Gui agreed to the plan, promising Ji the position of Grand Minister once successful.

Ji executed the plan as devised, successfully conspiring to assassinate Duke Yin. Gui ascended to the throne as Duke Huan of Lu. Lu was a small state neighboring the powerful Qi, which had become a dominant force among the feudal lords since its establishment by Jiang Shang during the reign of King Wu of Zhou. When Duke Huan assumed power, he was already of mature age but had not yet married. Advisers proposed a marital alliance with Qi by proposing a union between Duke Huan and Princess Wen Jiang, the second daughter of Qi’s ruler, Duke Xiang.

Duke Xiang had two daughters, both renowned for their beauty. The elder daughter, named Xuan Jiang, was married to the state of Wei, while the younger daughter was Princess Wen Jiang. Princess Wen Jiang, in addition to her striking beauty, was well-educated and articulate, justifying her name “Wen Jiang.” Originally, Qi proposed a marriage between Princess Wen Jiang and the heir of the state of Zheng, but the proposal was rejected.

Upon hearing this, Duke Huan returned to the state of Zheng and informed his son, Crown Prince Hu, about the potential marriage. However, Crown Prince Hu, driven by his aspirations for independence, declined the marriage proposal. Duke Huan respected his son’s decision and did not insist. Qi’s emissary, learning about the refusal, reported the matter to Duke Xiang, who decided to delay discussions on the marriage.

Later, Qi faced invasion from the western Rong tribes, and Zheng, being an ally of Qi, sent Crown Prince Hu to lead the troops and repel the invaders successfully. Impressed by Crown Prince Hu’s valor, Duke Xiang revisited the idea of marriage and proposed to have Princess Wen Jiang marry Crown Prince Hu. This time, Crown Prince Hu, having proven himself in battle, agreed to the marriage.

Duke Xiang returned to Zheng and conveyed the news to his son. However, Crown Prince Hu, now with ambitions of his own, declined the marriage, stating his desire for self-reliance and refusal to rely on marital alliances for power. Duke Xiang respected his son’s determination and did not force the matter. The emissary from Qi, upon hearing of Crown Prince Hu’s reluctance, reported back to Duke Xiang, who decided to postpone the marriage.

Subsequently, Qi faced incursions from the western Rong, and Zheng, as a Qi ally, dispatched Crown Prince Hu to lead the forces and successfully repel the invaders. Duke Xiang, impressed by Crown Prince Hu’s heroic deeds, revisited the marriage proposal. Unexpectedly, Crown Prince Hu remained firm in his refusal, causing disappointment in Qi. Meanwhile, Princess Wen Jiang, who initially looked forward to the marriage, was dismayed to learn about Crown Prince Hu’s rejection.

Princess Wen Jiang, feeling the humiliation and unable to bear the disgrace, fell into a deep melancholy. Consumed by sorrow, she neglected her health, leading to an illness marked by alternating chills and fever, mental confusion, and a loss of appetite. Princess Wen Jiang had a half-brother named Jiang Zhu’er, the heir to Qi. Observing his sister’s deteriorating condition, Jiang Zhu’er, a handsome young man, couldn’t bear to see her suffer.

Jiang Zhu’er, known for his charming appearance, was nevertheless licentious and indulged in a life of pleasure. Aware of the rumors surrounding Crown Prince Hu and Princess Wen Jiang’s initial engagement, Jiang Zhu’er continued to engage in inappropriate behavior, frequently engaging in intimate interactions with his sister. Duke Xiang, fond of his children and indifferent to their closeness, saw no issue with their relationship.

Jiang Zhu’er, learning about his sister’s illness, visited her under the pretext of offering condolences. One day, Duke Xiang visited Princess Wen Jiang and discovered Jiang Zhu’er in her chamber. The two appeared affectionate, leading to Duke Xiang’s wrath. He sternly rebuked Jiang Zhu’er for disregarding the proper conduct between siblings and ordered him to refrain from personally visiting Princess Wen Jiang in the future.

Duke Xiang, concerned about the potential complications of their relationship, decided to arrange a marriage for Jiang Zhu’er, diverting his attention from Princess Wen Jiang. Jiang Zhu’er, newly married, was preoccupied with his own affairs, and the interactions between the siblings diminished. However, Princess Wen Jiang’s sadness persisted, and her condition worsened over time.

At this juncture, Lu Huan Gong, seeking a marital alliance, sent an envoy to propose marriage to Princess Wen Jiang. Duke Xiang, using his daughter’s illness as an excuse, initially delayed the matter. However, Princess Wen Jiang, learning of the proposal, found solace in the news, and her health gradually improved. Later, when Lu and Qi convened at Ji for a meeting, Duke Huan Gong personally raised the proposal again. Duke Xiang, still hesitant, postponed the decision to the following year.

A year later, Lu Huan Gong reiterated his proposal, and Duke Xiang finally agreed to the marriage. Jiang Zhu’er, hearing about Princess Wen Jiang’s impending departure, felt a renewed sense of attachment and sent flowers with a poem expressing his emotions. Upon receiving his poem, Princess Wen Jiang replied with a poem, expressing her mixed feelings.

Soon, Lu Huan Gong’s delegation arrived in Qi to escort Princess Wen Jiang. Duke Xiang, avoiding any potential suspicion, refused Jiang Zhu’er’s request to accompany Princess Wen Jiang and personally escorted her to Lu. From that moment, the interactions between Lu and Qi increased, and Duke Huan Gong valued his new wife greatly, showering her with affection. Princess Wen Jiang bore two sons for Duke Huan Gong, Ji Tong and Ji Jiyu.

Qi, apprehensive about the reunion of siblings, prohibited Princess Wen Jiang from returning to her homeland. For fourteen years, she remained at the border between Lu and Qi, continuing her interactions