Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Chen Hsuansu

Summary: Wang Chou as a baby had been betrothed to Chenniang as a baby by her mother and her brother, Wang Chou’s father. When Wang Chou’s father died, he told Wang Chou to go to his sister’s home far away and to remind his sister that he and Chenniang were to be married. When they were at last reunited, Wang Chou and Chenniang fell deeply in love.

However, the father of Chenniang wanted her to marry the son of a wealthy family. He was the authority in the family. Channiang became very sick over the impending separation from Wang Chou and her spirit fled from her body. She no longer knew her parents, she stared blankly out at the world and would not eat. When Wang Chou visited her to say that he was going away, her spirit returned to her body.

As he was sleeping on a moored boat, he heard Chenniang’s voice on the river bank. She had left her home, she said, to join him. Wang Chou wondered that, sick as she was, she was able to cover so much territory and in her bare feet. Overjoyed, they made their home in a rented room on a farm. They were very happy together, and Chenniang gave birth to a wonderful baby boy. But Channiang missed her mother. After the birth of the child, Wang Chou offered to take her home.

Wang Chou went to Chenniang's mother’s home separately to see whether the parents would welcome Chenniang. Of course, the father was incredulous, but the mother was happy or would have been happy if Chenniang were not lying in a coma in the next room where her body lay without her spirit. It was Chenniang’s spirit that had run away from home to join Wang Chou while her body remained inert in the sick room at home. When the body of Chenniang recognized Wang Chou, she rose, merged her spirit with the spirit of Chenniang who had married Wang Chou. Their spirits merged, and they lived happily to a ripe old age.

Famous Chinese Short Stories. Re-told by Lin Yutang. New York: The Pocket Library. 1954.

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