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The Heartless Husband

Thereupon they went into another apartment. Here brightly colored candles were burning, and a wedding dinner had been prepared. Mosu felt as happy as though he had been raised to the seventh heaven.

But when he wanted to leave the room, seven or eight maids with bamboo canes in their hands appeared at each side of the door, and began to beat him without mercy. They knocked his bridal hat from his head, and then the blows rained down upon his back and shoulders. When Mosu cried for help he heard a delicate voice say: “You need not kill that heartless bridegroom of mine completely! Ask him to come in and greet me!”

Then the maids stopped beating him, and gathered about the bride, who removed her bridal veil.

Mosu bowed with lowered head and said: “But what have I done?”

Yet when he raised his eyes he saw that none other than his wife, Little Golden Daughter, was standing before him.

He started with fright and cried: “A ghost, a ghost!” But all the servants broke out into loud laughter.

At last Sir Hu and his wife came in, and the former said: “My dear son-in-law, you may rest assured that my adopted daughter, who came to me while I was on my way to this place, is no ghost.”

Then Mosu hastily fell on his knees and answered: “I have sinned and beg for mercy!” And he kowtowed without end.

“With that I have nothing to do,” remarked Sir Hu, “if our little daughter only gets along well with you, then all will be in order.”

But Little Golden Daughter said: “You heartless scoundrel! In the beginning you were poor and needy. We took you into our family, and let you study so that you might become somebody, and make a name for yourself. But no sooner had you become a mandarin and a man of standing, than your love turned into enmity, and you forgot your duty as a husband and pushed me into the river. Fortunately, I found my dear adopted parents thereby. They fished me out, and made me their own child, otherwise I would have found a grave in the bellies of the fishes. How can I honorably live again with such a man as you?

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