The Tibetan Legend of Tea & Salt
In Tibetan folklore, there is a sad and beautiful love story about tea and salt. This legend is related to the Tibetan customs of using salt in tea, which we’ve recently described in this article: Tibetan Tea Drinking Culture And Customs
The Story of Maimeicuo & Wendunba
According to the legend, there were two tribes with feud: the Xia tribe living on the east bank of a river and the Nu tribe living on the west bank. Over the years, the two tribes had no intention of reconciling and had cut off all communications.
The Tusi (ethnic leader) of the Xia tribe had a daughter, Maimeicuo, who grew up herding sheep on the east bank of the river.
The Tusi of the Nu tribe had a son named Wendunba, who also herded sheep, but on the west bank of the river.
Two kids saw each other every day across the river. Year after year, Maimeicuo and Wendunba grew up and fell in love. From then on, they gathered their sheep in the morning, and spent time together until the sun went down.
After a while, the love affair between them was discovered, which was strongly opposed by both tribes.
Then the tragedy happened, Tusi of the Xia tribe sent men and killed Wendunba.
During the cremation ceremony of the young man, Maimeicuo jumped into the flames and died for love.
After their death, the spirit of Wendunba flew to Qiangtang on the north Tibetan plateau and became the salt in the lake.
The spirit of Maimeicuo flew to Yazhou in Sichuan province, and became tea trees.
Buddha was moved by their love. He sent Tibetan merchants to bring tea from Yazhou and salt from Qiangtang. By adding salt in the tea, the two lovers met again in the end.