A long time ago, there was a man named Fang Chang. He was in the cotton business and worked hard to save quite a bit of money. He then died, leaving behind his only daughter and his wife — who the neighbors called Granny Fang. Some years later, Granny Fang’s daughter reached marriage age, making the local matchmakers quite busy. But Granny Fang became afraid that they may match her daughter with the wrong man, and that it may cause a great deal of future suffering. So she came up with a plan on how to pick her own son-in-law.
When buying fabric from other stores, Granny Fang began paying a little more for it than what had been agreed upon. A few days passed, and she had not encountered any store owner who had returned the extra change. Everyone had taken the extra money with a smile on their face, without saying a word. Granny Fang continued.
One day, she bought some fabric from a young man, and as usual, gave a few extra pennies for the purchase. The young man counted the money and returned the extra to her. A few days later, she saw the young man again when he came to her store to sell fabric. Granny Fang gave him a silver coin and deliberately paid too much for the fabric. “You’ve made a mistake,” said the young man, taking the scales from Granny Fang to check for himself. He then returned the extra money to her.
“It’s rare to find such a kind, young person!” exclaimed Granny Fang with a smile. “Please have a drink before you go!” The young man quickly declined, saying that he did not drink.
“Let’s have a cup of tea and some fruit then!” she said.
Even before the young man could reply, Granny Fang walked to the back of her store to make tea. She deliberately left some loose change on the counter. It took her quite a while to make the tea. When she returned, she saw the young man sitting there and the coins on the counter wrapped neatly.
“I’m not staying for tea. I’m just waiting here because I’m afraid someone may take your money,” said the young man to Granny Fang. “Please count the money so I can leave,” he continued.
Granny Fang was very happy to see that this was indeed a decent young man. They had a pleasant conversation and she learned that he was not married.
She then asked her elderly neighbor to be the matchmaker. But the young man would not accept the proposal, saying that he was too poor. He had to support his mother and had no money for a wedding.
Granny Fang said: “You are very young and motivated, and you’re honest. These are valuable qualities. We can’t give up on this marriage just because you are poor.”
So the young man and his mother moved in with Granny Fang and she arranged the young couple’s wedding. She gave her son-in-law her savings and made him the master of the family. So the two families merged into one and lived very well together. Granny Fang lived to be 95 years old and had a happy and content life.
Translated by Yi Ming
Edited by Emiko Kingswell