Over 600 years ago, in the Ming dynasty, Zheng He’s fleet prepared to sail to the west. A young carpenter called -Wu was excited to be part of this grand undertaking. He thought he’d just be hammering and chiselling, a tiny screw in the whole project, but thanks to a packet of seeds from his grandfather he came to play a much larger role.
Over 600 years ago, before Magellan and Columbus set sail, the Chinese admiral Zheng He led an enormous fleet of ships into the southern seas. A carpenter called Wu was excited to be part of the plans. Although his job was to help build the ships, he dreamed of climbing on board and going to sea. He worked hard every day, but still found time to follow his grandfather’s instructions – to plant the seeds he had brought with him, and grow vegetables that tasted of home. Wu never expected that doing something as small as planting seeds would bring about great changes for the fleet!
For a grand undertaking, when everyone must do what they do best, and everyone has a specific role, a tiny idea can have a massive impact. After consulting old texts and visiting historical remains, Lee Ru-Qing has written the glorious history of Zheng He’s voyage in a completely new way – from the perspective of a lowly carpenter. Instead of writing about the ambitions of emperors and dignitaries, he shows the wisdom of a young carpenter, and how the astonishing power of seeds made the dream of conquering the oceans come true.