最能体现林逋与众不同的是他 “梅妻鹤子 ”的传奇经历。“梅妻鹤子 ”就是以梅为妻、以鹤为子。林逋喜欢游历名山大川，在游览过程中，如果遇到上好的梅花品种就一定重金购买下来，种在庭院观赏。日积月累，栽种的梅花越来越多。相传，在林逋庭院有 300株梅花可供人观赏。林逋还很喜欢赏鹤，在家中养了一只，主人不在的时候，家里的童子就把仙鹤放出来寻找林逋。林逋看到仙鹤就知道有客人来，该回家了。
林逋去世后，后人为了纪念他，在山坡上造了一座亭子，叫“放鹤亭 ”。每当冬天快要过去，春天快要到来的时候，人们登上 “放鹤亭 ”远望，就会看到梅花开放的盛况。梅花的体态、梅花的气质、梅花的精神都可以在 “放鹤亭 ”上一览无余。
这天，两个文人来到 “放鹤亭 ”赏梅。其中一人说：“有些人明明可以做官，在官场上呼风唤雨、大显身手，最后却隐居到深山老林里做了隐士，难道不可惜吗？”另一个人却说：“每个人追求的东西是不一样的。在官场的人追求的是名和利，隐居的人反而追求逃离名和利。” “拥有名利难道不好吗？为什么要逃离呢？”“名利固然是人人渴望的，但是得到名利的过程也是痛苦的，牵扯到各种利益争夺，往往到最后，就会把人性中最丑恶的一面暴露出来！”“所以隐士就要逃离这一切，像梅花一样不与其他众花争春，在寒冬默默开放，显示出高洁的品质！”这番讨论过后，两人又在 “放鹤亭 ”伫立了许久。
Wife and Son of a Recluse
This is the story of a single man, who loved his plum blossoms like a wife and his crane as a son. It is the legendary tale of a Song Dynasty (960-1279) hermit, Lin Bu (林逋).
Born into a poor family, Lin Bu was very diligent in studying and grew up to be a learned scholar. He had traveled extensively across China before retreating to a secluded life somewhere along the West Lake of Hangzhou. He hated the constraints of an official post and longed for the carefree life of a hermit.
Indifferent to fame and fortune, Lin Bu was immune to vanity. He was a good poet and writer but never kept any of his writings, tearing them up right after penning them.
“Why won’t you keep them for later generations?” people asked.
“I’m a forest hermit,” he said. “If I seek no praise now, why should posthumous fame matter to me?”
The most extraordinary thing about Lin Bu was his Plum Blossom Wife and Crane Son, meaning that he had a plum blossom for his wife and a crane for his son. On his journeys to famous mountains and rivers, he bought every superb variety of plum blossom that he found, heedless of cost, and planted them around his courtyard for his own enjoyment. Over time, he planted more and more plum trees, the number of which was reported to be up to 300. He also raised a crane as a hobby. When visitors came while he was out, the boy servant would let the crane free signaling to Lin Bu it was time to return home to entertain guests.
His fascination with plum blossoms and cranes bewildered his friends. “Why plum blossoms, of all flowers?” they’d ask.
“Because they are always the favorite of well-cultivated intellectuals and literati,” he replied. “Plum blossoms are considered proudly defiant, for they alone flourish during the coldest of days, unyielding to the chilly gusts or the falling snow. It is the character of these ‘Gentlemen of the Flowers’ that attracts hermits like myself.”
When pressed, “Do you prefer the white blossoms or the red?” he answered, “Each has its own distinct place in my heart. White ones, dignified and pure, evoke an image of quiet and untainted beauty. In winter, they vanish into the snow, yet are still recognizable by their pervading fragrance. Hence the lines, ‘It must not be the snow I see/For a quiet aroma fills the air.’ As for red blossoms, they are more delicate and enchanting by comparison. Blooming in the snow, they bring a dynamic vitality into the white vastness.”
After Lin Bu died, the Flying Crane Pavilion was built in his memory. People would come here at the turn from winter to spring and admire the hundreds of plum trees in full bloom, appreciating to their hearts’ content the form and temperament of Lin Bu’s beloved “wife.”
One day, as two scholars visited the pavilion for the plum blossoms, one proposed a topic for discussion, “Isn’t it a shame that those with means and competence to obtain and justify their official ranks settle for a hermit’s life in the depths of the mountains?”
“We all want different things,” the other said. “Those in government service pursue fame and fortune, while those in seclusion avoid them.”
“What’s so bad about fame and fortune that they have to escape it?”
“It’s true that all people wish for fame and fortune, but they must suffer a great deal to obtain them, often finding themselves taking sides in partisan wars. The darkest side of human nature is almost always revealed in these scrambles for fame and fortune.”
“That’s why a hermit would flee from all worldly cares, maintaining his noble character, just as the solitary plum blossoms quietly flower in the depths of winter!” Their discussion ended, but the two lingered in the pavilion for a long time.