Mes­sages of Love Sent from Afar

Special Focus - - Love -

Ac­cord­ing to a tale in Sto­riestoAwak­en­the World , Miss Zhou ran across Mr. Fan Er­lang in a tea house in a bustling Dongjing street (then the cap­i­tal) dur­ing the reign of Em­peror Huizong of the Song Dy­nasty. They gazed at each other's eyes and fell in love at first sight.

The crowded street was crammed full of throngs of vis­i­tors. Miss Zhou thought to her­self, “If I let this man go, where might I find the love of my life?” She thought quickly and asked a street ven­dor to sell her a bowl of sugar wa­ter. Af­ter tak­ing a sip, she cried, “What is the mean­ing of this? Don’t you know who I am? I am the daugh­ter of Zhou Dalang of Caomenli. My nick­name is the Tri­umphant An­gel Maiden. Those names should mean some­thing to you! In my 18 years of life, no one has ever plot­ted against me like this. You are the first to con­spire against a chaste young vestal vir­gin like me. ” This was her round­about way of re­veal­ing her per­sonal in­for­ma­tion to him.

Fan Er­lang un­der­stood what she meant and fol­lowed suit. He also bought a bowl of sugar wa­ter from the same ven­dor and made a big show of it cry­ing, “You must re­ally love plot­ting against oth­ers! Don’t you know who I am? My el­der brother is the owner of the Fan­lou Ho­tel and he has never treated a pa­tron with such im­pu­dence. His name is Fan Dalang, and my name is Fan Er­lang. These names should mean some­thing to you! In my 19 years on this earth no one has ever con­spired against me as you do now. I’m a mas­ter archer, and yet un­be­trothed.”

So what was this “sugar wa­ter con­spir­acy”? It seemed so queer. But Miss Zhou and Fan Er­lang in­sisted that there was a stalk of grass in it.

How­ever, even if they were the vic­tims of some das­tardly grass-in-the-sugar-wa­ter con­spir­acy, they did not blame the street ven­dor. The drinker’s heart is not in the cup. But the poor ven­dor was at his wits end and ac­tu­ally be­lieved that some­thing had tainted the sugar wa­ter he was sell­ing that day. (From

, Is­sue 29, 2017. Trans­la­tion: Chen Jiani)

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