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Main > Chinese folktales > Fairy tale "The Heartless Husband"

The Heartless Husband

A neighbor took pity on him and said to him one day: “The beggar-king has a child named Little Golden Daughter, who is beautiful beyond all telling. And the beggar-king is rich and has money, but no son to inherit it. If you wish to marry into his family his whole fortune would in the end come to you. Is that not better than dying of hunger as a poor scholar?”

At that time Mosu was in dire extremity. Hence, when he heard these words he was greatly pleased. He begged the neighbor to act as a go-between in the matter.

So the latter visited the old beggar-king and talked with him, and the beggar-king talked over the matter with Little Golden Daughter, and since Mosu came from a good family and was, in addition, talented and learned, and had no objection to marrying into their family, they were both much pleased with the prospect. So they agreed to the proposal, and the two were married.

So Mosu became a member of the beggar-king’s family. He was happy in his wife’s beauty, always had enough to eat and good clothes to wear. So he thought himself lucky beyond his deserts, and lived with his wife in peace and happiness.

The beggar-king and his daughter, to whom their low estate was a thorn in the flesh, admonished Mosu to be sure to study hard. They hoped that he would make a name for himself and thus reflect glory on their family as well. They bought books for him, old and new, at the highest prices, and they always supplied him liberally with money so that he could move in aristocratic circles. They also paid his examination expenses. So his learning increased day by day, and the fame of it spread through the entire district. He passed one examination after another in rapid succession, and at the age of twenty-three was appointed mandarin of the district of Wu We. He returned from his audience with the emperor in ceremonial robes, high on horseback.

Mosu had been born in Hanchow, so the whole town soon knew that he had passed his examination successfully, and the townsfolk crowded together on both sides of the street to look at him as he rode to his father-in-law’s house.

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