Author: Fu Hu
About: This book Tales of the Qing Court makes no pretensions to
historical accuracy. It is based on the folklore which surrounds the
imperial family, and so must be regarded as partly factual and partly
imaginary. These are tales of laughter, tears, love and hate in the
lives of emperors, empresses, imperial ladies, generals, ministers, and
courtiers. These tales are presented to the reader for recreation and
Warning, while 2/3rds of this novel is typical folkore in line with the dozen or so other books Silk Pagoda publishes, the final section, concerning Empress Dowager, is quite mature in its themes. Be warned.
Greedy and ambitious, the fifth prince Manguertai refused to submit
to his younger brother, Emperor Huangtaiji. He formed an alliance with
Prince Degelei and made secret plans to overthrow Huangtaiji when the
opportunity arose. Kneeling before a statue of the Buddha, they vowed
not to betray their purpose under any circumstances.
One day, Manguertai persuaded his sister and sister-in-law Xiaonamu
to invite Huangtaiji to a sumptuous banquet. During the banquet they
tried to murder the emperor by poisoning his wine, but their plot was
discovered and the conspirators were caught red-handed. Manguertai
swore he had no part in their scheme, and declared that the banquet had
been prepared by his son Gebilun. As a result, Gebilun was sentenced to
death and his five brothers were banished as commoners.
Shortly after this incident, Manguertai died of a sudden illness.
Years later Degelei also died. After the death of these two
conspirators, Prince Shenlunji was in a state of suspense and decided
to reveal the true story to the emperor. All the people involved in the
conspiracy were eventually killed except Shenlunji.
Just as the curtain came down on this play, an even fiercer struggle
began on the same stage.
After 17 years on the throne, Huangtaiji died at the age of 51. He
died so unexpectedly that he had no time to appoint an heir, thus
setting in motion a complicated series of events. Both the eldest
prince Haoge and the 14th prince Duoergun were in the prime of life,
and each had his own powerful supporters and military forces.