5 Words-The Legend of General Tso

Once upon a time in China, there was a mighty emperor who oppressed the people with an icy wind. His name was Leng. It was said that he had mastered the 7 Winds of the Northern Plains and kept them sealed within a glass vial. When the people revolted, Emperor Leng would step out onto the battlements of his castle in Liang and open the vial just briefly. A blast of freezing wind would rush over the land bringing a harsh winter and laying down the revolt.

It was during this time that a clever youth in Hu Nan devised a plan to bring an end to the Emperor’s harsh tyranny. His name was Tso.

Hu Nan was famous for its chilis. Peppers so hot it was said that one who ate too many would grow a heart of fire.

Young Tso told his plan to all in Hu Nan. That year, every rice paddy across Hu Nan grew chilis. Dark green leaves and bright red peppers filled the countryside. They cascaded over hills and poured into the forests.

When the harvest came, a mountain of chilis stood in Hu Nan, and Young Tso stood before it.

The scholars of Hu Nan consulted the Almanac of One Thousand Seasons, choosing a day that would likely be the hottest of the year.

Young Tso set out on his journey to distant Liang carrying nothing more than a satchel of chilis as a gift for Emperor Leng.

After many weeks of walking across the land, Young Tso arrived at the gates of Emperor Leng’s castle.

“I come from distant Hu Nan, bringing a gift for the Honored August Emperor Leng,” Young Tso told the guards.

Young Tso soon stood before the evil Emperor Leng, the Vial of 7 Winds nearby.

“What do you bring me from Humble Hu Nan?” asked Emperor Leng.

Young Tso kowtowed low bumping his head on the marble floor. He spoke without rising.

“Honored August Emperor Leng, I have brought a gift of chilis from the grateful people of Hu Nan. But first, I would like to read a Haiku to express my feelings for the Emperor,” said Young Tso.

The Emperor was pleased.

“Rise and speak, Young Tso,” said Emperor Leng.

Young Tso stood, bowed, and placed his hands inside the sleeves of his robe.


“Great Emperor Leng,

Fire will end your icy reign.

Farewell evil Leng.”


“What is the meaning of this?!” shouted Emperor Leng, rising from his throne. Emperor Leng grabbed the Vial of 7 Winds and opened it toward Young Tso. Instantly, a hurricane wind blew down on Young Tso, filling the room with a dense fog. Emperor Leng closed the vial, smiling to himself. But soon his wicked smile turned to shock as Young Tso stepped forward, an orange flame burning from his chest.

“You will no longer oppress the people of China with your frozen heart, Emperor Leng,” said Young Tso.

“No, I am the Master of the 7 Winds of the Northern Plain! You are nothing more than a Peasant of Peppers!” shouted Emperor Leng, dashing the vial to the floor.

All the power of the 7 Winds rushed upon Young Tso, but his heart burned with the hope of Hu Nan. The Winds turned back on Emperor Leng.

“Noooooo!” screamed Emperor Leng as the 7 Winds crashed down upon him and flew skyward, returning to the Northern Plains.

A statue of ice stood where Emperor Leng had been, only briefly, before melting away.

Young Tso returned to Hu Nan, all of China rejoicing as he went. They tried to make him an emperor, but Young Tso refused, choosing to become a general instead.

Such is the legend of General Tso.

For 5 Words-5/18/2016 #5words

© Tyler M Deal. All Rights Reserved.



2 thoughts on “5 Words-The Legend of General Tso

  1. Pingback: A Haiku from General Tso to Evil Emperor Leng – Tyler M Deal

  2. Pingback: Young Readers Focus Group – Tyler M Deal

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