On a Mid-Autumn Festival night of the Tang Dynasty, the round moon hung in the sky, shining all over the world glittering. Monk Deming of the Lingyin Temple, Hangzhou, suddenly heard the sound of ticking like the rain. So he opened the door, and suddenly saw a lot of tiny particles like pearls dropping down from the moon, and fell on the peaks nearby the temple. Then he picked up a full pocket of them from the peaks.
The next morning Deming told his master about it. His master looked carefully and said that they were the seeds of the moon, which shaken off from the tree when Wu Gang was chopping the laurel. (In Chinese traditional folklore, a man on the moon named Wu Gang has to cut down a laurel tree in front of the Moon Palace as divine punishment for violating the law of heaven.)
Then they sowed those colorful seeds on the hillsides around the temple. In the next Mid-Autumn Festival, the laurels became taller and bigger, with fragrant flowers blooming.
Deming named those trees as golden osmanthus, silver osmanthus, orange osmanthus, and semperflorens.
Bai Juyi, a poet of the Tang Dynasty, wrote a line of “Looking for osmanthus under the moonlight at Tianzhu Temple” in his Three Poems of Memories of Jiangnan, and Song Zhiwen in his poem Lingyin Temple wrote, “In the Mid-Autumn Festival night, Osmanthus fragrans is often falling in the temple, and its incense can float up to the Cloud Nine.” Up to now, “a gift from the moon” has become a much-told tale.