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

The Heartless Husband

With these words she began to lament loudly, and she called him one hard-hearted scoundrel after another.

Mosu lay before her, speechless with shame, and begged her to forgive him.

Now when Sir Hu noticed that Little Golden Daughter had sufficiently relieved herself by her scolding, he helped Mosu up and said to him: “My dear son-in-law, if you repent of your misdeed, Little Golden Daughter will gradually cease to be angry. Of course you are an old married couple; yet as you have renewed your vows this evening in my house, kindly do me a favor and listen to what I have to say: You, Mosu, are weighed with a heavy burden of guilt, and for that reason you must not resent your wife’s being somewhat indignant, but must have patience with her. I will call in my wife to make peace between you.”

With these words Sir Hu went out and sent in his wife who finally, after a great deal of difficulty, succeeded in reconciling the two, so that they agreed once more to take up life as husband and wife.

And they esteemed and loved each other twice as much as they had before. Their life was all happiness and joy. And later, when Sir Hu and his wife died, they mourned for them as if in truth they had been their own parents.

Note: “To marry into”: as a rule the wife enters the home of her husband’s parents. But when there is no male heir, it is arranged that the son-in-law continues the family of his wife’s parents, and lives in their home. The custom is still very prevalent in Japan, but it is not considered very honorable in China to enter into a strange family in this way. It is characteristic that Mosu, as a punishment for disdaining to “marry into” a family the first time, is obliged to “marry into” a second time, the family of Sir Hu.

The costume here described is still the wedding-costume of China. “Little Golden Daughter” said: “You heartless scoundrel!”; despite her faithfulness, in accordance with Chinese custom, she is obliged to show her anger over his faithlessness; this is necessary before the matter can be properly adjusted, so that she may “preserve her face.

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