Willow Scholar Liu: A Tale of Locusts, Dreams, and Divine Intervention

Explore the intriguing tale of Willow Scholar Liu, who appeared in a dream with a solution to a locust plague during the late Ming Dynasty. Discover how divine intervention spared the crops in this captivating folklore.

In the late Ming Dynasty, a locust infestation occurred between Qingzhou and Yanzhou, gradually spreading to Yishui County. The county magistrate was deeply worried. After returning to the yamen, he lay down and dreamt of a scholar coming to seek an audience. The scholar wore a tall green hat, stood tall, and claimed to have a solution to the locust plague.

The county magistrate hurriedly sought advice, and the scholar replied, “Tomorrow, on the southwest road outside the county town, there will be a woman riding a pregnant mother donkey; she is the locust deity. Plead with her, and the locust disaster can be averted.”

The county magistrate considered this dream unusual and prepared food and wine before heading to the south of the city. After waiting for a while, a woman with a high hair bun and a brown shawl, riding a slow and old gray donkey, approached from the north. The county magistrate immediately lit incense, offered wine, knelt by the road to welcome her, and held onto the donkey to prevent her from leaving.

The woman asked, “What does the official want to do?” The county magistrate earnestly begged, saying, “In this humble county, I earnestly implore for mercy to spare it from the locust plague.” The woman said, “It’s a pity that Scholar Liu was too talkative and revealed my secret! I will let him bear the consequences with his body, as long as it doesn’t harm the crops.”

She then drank three cups of wine and disappeared in the blink of an eye. Later, the locusts swarmed, darkening the sky, but they did not land in the fields. Instead, they settled on willow trees, leaving the leaves untouched wherever they passed. The county magistrate finally understood that the scholar was actually the willow deity. Some say this was the result of the magistrate’s concern for the people, moving heaven to protect them, and it was indeed so!



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