The Power of Love

This story took place in the times of Jin Wu-Emperor (晋武帝) which was the first emperor of the Western Jin (西晋) Dynasty. In the Hejian (河间) Jun (郡) where was in modern-days Hebei Province, a pair of young persons loved each other, and they privately promised to marry each other. Later, the young man was recruited and fought against foreign nations. Several years passed, but there was not any news about the man. Every day the young woman stood in the entry of the village, and watched the far road, but she saw nothing. Her parents thought their daughter had grown up, and she should get married. The young woman said, “I have had my lover, and I don’t want to marry other man.” Her parents said, “There is not any news about your lover in these years. Are you sure that your lover is still alive?” The parents forced their daughter to marry with the son of a rich man. The sad woman had to obey her parents because she was an obedient daughter. Though the rich young man treated her very well, the woman still felt deeply sad. Her eyes were tearful every day. She became seriously ill because of her melancholy. Later, she died.

A year later, the lover of the woman returned. He had been an officer because of his valor. When there was a hard-won pause in the war, he asked his general for leave because he wanted to return to his hometown and perform a wedding with his love. He went to the home of the woman, but didn’t see her. He felt nervous and asked the parents of the woman. The old couples sadly told him that their daughter had gotten married and later she died because of her melancholy. The young officer knew his love felt melancholy because she was deeply worried about him. The parents of the woman led the young man to the tomb of the woman. When the officer saw the tomb of his love, he felt brokenhearted. He bent over the tomb and sobbed out his heart. He seemed to hear the cry of the woman. He felt surprised and thought this must be a hallucination. But the cry of his love didn’t stop, and he clearly heard she was calling his name. The young man then decided to see his love with his own eyes. He found a spade and opened the tomb.

When the coffin was opened, the young officer saw the wan complexion of his love. The woman’s eyes were still shut, but there were tears in her face. The young man called the name of the woman, and his tears fell on to her face. The eyes of the woman were opened slowly, and she said her lover’s name. The young officer felt very pleasantly surprised. He carried her on his back and returned home. The woman was very weak, and the officer took meticulous care of her. Several days later, the woman recovered. She poured out her heart to her lover.

The son of the rich man heard this news, and went to the home of the officer. The rich young man wanted to take his wife away. The young officer refused him, and said, “Your wife has been dead. Does anybody hear that a dead person can relive in the world? The Heaven returns my love to me, and she is not your wife.” The rich young man was very angry, and brought an accusation against the young officer. The county magistrate didn’t know how to adjudicate on this dispute, so he reported the case to the magistrate of the Hejian Jun. The magistrate of the Jun was not able to adjudicate, too. He reported to the judiciary minister of the imperial government. The judiciary minister reported to the emperor, and the emperor asked ministers how to adjudicate on such an extraordinary case. Wang Dao (王导), who was Mishulang (秘书郎, an official who manage the imperial library) at that time and decades later became the pillar of the Eastern Jin (东晋) Dynasty, said, “The two moved the Heaven because of their constant faith and loyalty, so the dead can relive. This is an extraordinary case, so we can’t adjudicate as usual. Please return the woman to the man who opened the tomb.” Then the imperial government adjudged the woman to the young officer, the true lover of the young woman.

The son of the rich man didn’t dare to be against the judgment of the imperial government, so he didn’t dare to make trouble any longer. The young officer and the young woman performed a simple but impressive wedding. The young officer resigned his position, and lived his placid and happy life with his dear wife…

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