The Emperor Càn Long and the Tale of Rewarding Two Skillful Generals: A Desired Gift and an Unexpected Outcome

Having witnessed the turbulent eras of feudal regimes, numerous skillful leaders have bravely fought on the battlefield to safeguard their land. However, history has also recorded that not all of these warlords concluded their lives in a complete and blissful manner.


Ancient leaders were not afraid to risk their lives to support their emperor, overcoming hardships and defeating enemies. When their achievements were recognized, their emperor proclaimed them kings and crowned them as emperors. As a result, these generals became extremely important to the new emperor, receiving titles and valuable rewards for their accomplishments.

In the reign of Emperor Qianlong, there were two outstanding generals, O Nhi Dang and Hai Lan Sat. They played a significant role in achieving resounding victories and bringing glory to the country. Emperor Qianlong was overjoyed and bestowed upon both generals numerous valuable rewards such as land, castles, and prestigious titles. During the celebratory feast, Emperor Qianlong asked the two generals if they desired anything more.

In that situation, O Nhi Dang boldly proposed to Emperor Qianlong that he wished to reinforce the army to serve the court more effectively, protect the Qing dynasty, and maintain order within the country.

After going through numerous fierce battles in the east and west, the army under O Nhi Dang’s command suffered considerable losses on the battlefield. Thus, the request to increase the number of soldiers was a reasonable and necessary step from an experienced general like O Nhi Dang.

However, in the eyes of an emperor like Qianlong, his perspective may differ from others. When hearing O Nhi Dang’s request, Emperor Qianlong suspected that this general had intentions to enhance his own position and power. The expression on Qianlong’s face became more serious, and many court officials present at the feast noticed this change and became concerned for O Nhi Dang’s fate.

When it was Hai Lan Sat’s turn to express his reward request, this general bravely expressed his desire to be granted beautiful women as wives. Qianlong was greatly pleased with this request that contained no ambition for power and quickly approved it.

Through Hai Lan Sat’s request, it seemed that he paid less attention to power and favored beauty. Although a talented military general, Hai Lan Sat chose to focus on personal passion rather than power. For Qianlong, this might have been easier to accept, as in the king’s mind, a strong and powerful military commander could become a threat to his golden throne.

Due to this perspective, Qianlong’s fondness for O Nhi Dang considerably diminished. After a failure on the battlefield, O Nhi Dang was sentenced to death by Qianlong, while Hai Lan Sat maintained his special position.

From a logical standpoint, both answers were reasonable. However, unfortunately for them, they were facing an emperor, and the strength of an emperor lies in his ability to control power.

The emperor needed loyal subjects, individuals he could fully control their power, not generals with ambitions to hold military power, which could threaten his position. O Nhi Dang’s noble background further made Qianlong wary; the combination of noble lineage and military power in O Nhi Dang’s hands only added to the emperor’s unease.

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