Life is predestined, particularly marriage. As the saying goes: “Marriage is destined by heaven; even if the wife is homely, it can bring prosperity to the husband.”
During the time of Emperor Qianlong, it was said that heaven had brought together a poor student and a girl from a wealthy family as husband and wife.
A young girl from Hunan, Qiyang County, was from a wealthy family where her parents doted on her and even arranged for a marriage into a wealthy family. On the day of her marriage, after the couple exchanged vows and the bridal veil was lifted, the groom saw that his bride’s face was full of pimples and her body full of fat. He was shocked and felt that his future was lost, so he fled into the night.
The families and guests were dumbstruck and dispersed to search for the groom. However, the bride accepted the situation, went straight to her bridal chamber, and was soon snoring loudly.
A guest located the groom at an inn in a nearby town, but upon his return the following morning, he found that his bride had soiled their new marriage bed. He could not tolerate the situation any longer and immediately sought the help of the match-maker to nullify the marriage.
The girl went back to her parents were she lived for the next three years. No one was interested in her and the parents were worried that she would never find a husband. At the height of their despair, they received word of a potential suitor who was a poor scholar by the name of Chen Da Shou.
Chen Da Shou’s teacher formally introduced him to the family. The girl’s father found that the Chen family was too poor and was indecisive about the marriage. The teacher said: “From my observation, I found Chen Da Shou to be talented and manly, and I am sure he will be famous and rich one day.”
The girl’s father looked at Chen Da Shou, who had thick eyebrows and sparkling eyes. When he read the articles written by Chen Da Shou, he found them very well written and interesting. He nodded and agreed that Chen Da Shou should marry into his family so that his daughter would not suffer.
After Chen Da Shou took his wife, his luck changed for the better. He passed the imperial examination and was promoted year after year, and soon became Emperor Qianlong’s confidante.
During this time, the Mother Dowager was full of grief as her daughter, the princess, had recently died. Emperor Qianlong saw that his mother had became haggard and he was gripped with anxiety to find a way to console her. A maid who had seen Chen Da Shou’s wife said to the emperor: “Chen Da Shou’s wife resembles the princess.” To Emperor Qianlong, it was like he had found a treasure and he informed his mother. The Mother Dowager immediately summoned Chen Da Shou’s wife to the palace.
When she saw her, she started to laugh and said: “This is really my daughter!” It seemed that the princess also had a lot of pimples and an obese body. The Mother Dowager wanted Chen Da Shou’s wife to stay in the court and rewarded her generously. After that, the Mother Dowager’ love for the princess shifted to Chen Da Shou’s wife, whose visits to the Mother Dowager were like going back home to her parents.
Translated by Chua BC.