The association of the three-legged toad and osmanthus recalls the omen of Changong zhe gui (‘to clutch osmanthus on the moon’), representing success in the imperial examinations. In ancient times it was believed that there was a mythical three-legged toad residing in the legendary Guanghan Palace on the moon, which was sometimes referred to as Changong (‘Palace of the Toad’). Blooming during the eighth lunar month when the results of the ancient imperial examinations were released, osmanthus came to symbolize literary success and the flowering of an official career. In addition, the Chinese name for osmanthus, gui, is a pun for the word noble or honour. The story of the woodsman Wu Gang’s ceaseless attempt to chop down a mysterious self-healing osmanthus tree on the moon further supported the plant as an appropriate analogy of the seemingly impossibility of passing the civil examinations. According to the folklore, the Goddess of the Moon would bestow an osmanthus branch to the scholar who has passed the metropolitan examination and earned the jinshi degree, the prerequisite for a career as a high official.
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