The Three Brothers (Bauhinia)

The 54-year-old informant is a elementary school Chinese teacher and is originally from Taiyuan, China. She’s been hearing and telling Chinese folklore her entire life, and often shares it with her students. Her stories represent Chinese culture and the qualities that Chinese people value.

“Once, there were three brothers… they treat each other very well because in Chinese tradition, brotherly love in a family is very important because after parents pass away, brothers treat each other very well. If their relationship’s not great, that means the whole family will be broken. Even if they have the same last name, sometimes they will be like enemies.

Sooo, in this family there are three brothers, the first two are already married, and the third one married later, but the third brother’s wife is the kind of girl that brought in a lot of good stuff in terms of family needs. Like, silver and gold– she grew up in a rich family I guess… And this kind of situation, she tried to create trouble. She said, ‘Ok, why don’t we separate from the other two brothers, so this way, we can live better, right?’ Because they live together and they eat together and they work in the field together. So, this is why the wife of the third brother feels like it’s not fair and that they can live better without the two brothers. So, that’s why the property has to be divided into three.

So everything is divided really well and equally, but there’s only one tree in the yard… do not know how to do it. So they talk about how to divide the tree, probably just chop into three pieces and even the leaves would be divided equally. Over the night, this tree seemed to die… and when the brothers used an axe to try to cut it–the tree, it seems like, overnight, no longer lived. That’s why the big brother held the tree and cried, cried, cried. So the third brother asked, ‘Why are you crying?’

And the brother said, ‘See, even a tree understand human being because the tree thought you were going to chop it up, so that’s why it just died. Even trees have feelings, so why do our brothers want to divide our property into three parts?’

That’s why the big brother said, ‘Why don’t we not divide it into three. We still stay in the same family.’

After they said that, the tree came back to life!

So, actually, the flower of Hong Kong is from this kind of tree. So the reason they select this tree flower as a Hong Kong symbol is actually based upon this Asian story.”

This is an interesting story to me because if the Hong Kong flower is truly based on this story, it would make a lot of sense because the idea that Hong Kong is part of China, but they have two different systems, just as the brothers all decided to be one family and just live their own lives, as opposed to trying to completely separate into three different entities.