Nanke dream, a Chinese idiom from “Legend of Prefecture Chief Nanke”, refers to the story of a man who dreamed that he became the governor of Nanke in the Kingdom of the Ants and means an illusory joy or an empty dream. also known as a fond dream and Alnaschar's dream.
At the alternative period of Dynasty Sui and Tang, a man named Chun Yuzun lives in Guangling. On his birthday, his relatives and friends come to celebrate and he is pleased, drunken and slept under a big locust tree in the court.
In his dream, he has arrived in Kingdom Da Huai’an, just when they hold an exam in the capital. Yu applies for the qualification to attend the exam and performs well in poetry writing, ranking No.1. In the final imperial examination (presided over by the emperor). The emperor likes him for his striking appearance, appointing him of Number One Scholar (title conferred on the one who came first in the highest imperial examination) and betroths his daughter to him before long. Their marriage is sweet and happy; the princess is quite considerate and filial to parents, giving birth to five sons and two daughters.
Later, Yu is dispatched to County Nanke as Prefecture Chief (governor) where he is beloved by the people for twenty years. During this period, his subordinates are honest and diligent, the emperor appreciates him very much. His five sons all have title of nobility and daughters marry to princes and marquises, highly honored in this kingdom.
Kingdom Da Huai’an is attracted by the neighbor country, defeated several times, unable to counterattack. The emperor is angry, ordering Yu to lead the army to fight, upon the advice of the prime minister. However, Yu knows little of military science, losing and then his wife dies of illness. When returning to the capital, the emperor is so angry to put his sons in jail, sending him back to his hometown without any investigation. Yu yells, waking up.
Soon, Yu sees an ant hole in the tree, where there are some palaces and fortresses made of soil. He suddenly realizes what he experienced is just a dream and the kingdom is the ant hole actually.
Yu recalls what happens in Nanke in his dream, considering the impermanence of life and all wealth and honor easily gone. He lives in seclusion, converting to superstitious sects and secret societies finally.