Stories from a Ming Collection

Topics: Marriage, Husband, Moral Pages: 2 (628 words) Published: December 11, 2012
Stories From a Ming Collection is a book compiled by Fang Menglong and translated by Cyril Birch, of a collection of popular moral tales of oral tradition that were told by Chinese storytellers during the T’ang Dynasty in the Chinese marketplaces. The two tales that will be analyzed specifically come from The Lady who was a Beggar, both centering on important moral lessons involving the issues of love, lust, reputation and honor; issues that were very important of Chinese society during that time period. The purpose of these stories were to teach the audience lessons; The Lady Who was a Beggar specifically dealt with two stories about remaining loyal to one’s spouse, serving your spouse to the extent of your power, and not to scorn poverty and covent riches. Love is an important issue present in both stories, but especially the first story centering on a poor firewood vendor and his wife. The vendor Mai-ch’en, who was not rich with money but knowledge, had seen that his wife, “Felt humiliated by the sight of these children making fun of Mai-ch’en with his burden.” (20) “He realized that his wife had set her heart on leaving and wouldn’t be gainsaid.” (21) Out of love for his wife, he allows her to leave him to make her happy. Later in the story his love and humility is repaid when the emperor appointed him to a high position in the government. Karma, the concept of any ‘action’ or ‘deed’ which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect, may have caused this outcome to occur because Mai-ch’en’s love and humility was repaid with the success of his appointment, and after learning of this, his wife drowns herself out of humiliation and shame. The important issue of lust is also present in The Lady Who was a Beggar; lust for love and for riches. Mai-ch’en’s wife ultimately wanted to end her marriage with him because she lusted for the riches she knew she could never have while Mai-ch’en was a firewood vendor, so she decided to leave him in hopes of finding a...
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