The lady in the palace

Ho-Pan Yeung

Chen Ming, one of the King's famous officials, works in central government in ancient China. His father died when he was ten years old, and his mother is a housewife. One day, he was called to give advice to the king, and he met a beautiful lady in the palace, her dress was a white skirt. However, he did not have a chance to talk to the lady, since he needed to immediately present his policy. The lady was gone after presenting his idea to the king. He thought that he would meet her the next day, but he did not see her again in the palace. He asked the people who worked in the palace about the white skirt lady, but no one could answer his question.

Since Chen Ming could not forget the white skirt lady after their first meeting, he kept looking around for her. After a week, he went to the palace to present another policy. After finishing the presentation, he met the white skirt lady again in the hallway. He called the lady with a gentle voice. "The temperature would get colder in the evening; you should wear more clothes rather than a skirt." He said, "I do not know what your name is."

She thanked him for the reminder and said her name was "Li Man." After the first conversation, they became friends. Each time Chen Ming went to palace, he met Li Man before going home. After a year, they both fell in love with each other.

Chen Ming asked her to marry him because he really loved her. She agreed without thinking. He told his mother about his girlfriend. His mother was surprised that her son had a girlfriend. She was interested in how the lady looked and her personality.

Li Man told Chen Ming "I no longer need to stay in the palace since the King accepts my leaving for marriage with you."

He was surprised that the King let her leave and get married with him. Because the king let her leave, he brought his girlfriend home and introduced her to his mother. Chen Ming's mother could not believe how beautiful and nice Li Man was. After a few meetings, Chen Ming's mother liked this lady to be his son's wife. "It should be the time to meet your parents." Chen Ming said to Li Man.

However, she responded, "I do not know who my parents are since I am an orphan." He apologized to her. She was fine with his apology as he did not say this on purpose. 

After a month, they got married and lived with Chen Ming's mother. Chen Ming spent a lot of time with his wife after he came home from the palace. For this reason, their relationship was getting closer and they began to know much more about each other. When Chen Ming went to work, Li Man would look after Chen Ming's mother and do all the housework before her husband came home.

"You need to bear a child as my son is the only child in our family," Chen Ming's mother told Li the day of anniversary. Because Chen Ming and his mother did not know that Li was a fairy rather than a human being, she worried whether she could have a child. For this reason, she told her husband that her health is not good enough for pregnancy. Then, she asked her husband, "If I cannot bear a baby for you, would you still love me?" Her husband replied, "Of course. Even though we did not have a baby, I will still love you forever until I pass on." She was glad that her husband said this.

Chen Ming told his mother that they would not bear a child. His mother was angry and said, "You must have at least one baby as you are the only child in our family."

Chen Ming repeated, "If my wife cannot bear a baby because of her health, would it be a good reason, mother?"

However, his mother did not accept this reason and she gave her son one suggestion: "You have to marry another woman." He did not agree with his mother's suggestion and said that his wife is only Li and no other woman. He negotiated with his mother after a few days, but it did not work the way he wanted. One day, Chen Ming saw his mother pack all her stuff in two bags.

He asked his mother, "What are you doing?"

She replied, "From Chinese tradition, I cannot accept that my son will not bear a child." For this reason, she packed all her stuff.

He requested "Mother stay here, please." However, she was a stubborn woman. When she decided to do one thing, no one could change her mind. Because of this, he gave money to his mother, and hoped she would find a better place for living.

After a year, Chen Ming found out where his mother was living. Because he did not want to make his mother angry again, he visited her with some food and money by himself. When he called his mother's name many times in front of her apartment, no one answered him. He thought his mother maybe was still angry about bearing a baby, so he decided to leave and came again later. Suddenly, the neighbor opened his door and told Chen Ming that the woman did not live in this apartment anymore.

Chen Ming said, "She is my mother, do you know where she moved?"

"She is in the tomb now. Maybe you should build one for yourself. I cannot image that a son did not even stay with the mother in the last moment before she passed on," the neighbor said to him with loud voice.  

Chen Ming did not say any words and walked along without thinking the destination. By the way, he felt sad that he did not have a chance to look his mother at the last moment. Also, he did not finish his responsibility of taking care of her. When he got back to home, he was depressed that he did not even finish his mother's last wish for bearing a baby. For this reason, he talked to his wife to bear a baby as it was a last wish of his mother. However, Li said, "You already know that I am not healthy enough for pregnancy. Are you telling me that I am not as important as your mother?" She asked Chen.

He replied that "I do not mean that you are not important, I just ask you to try to pregnant once. I wanted to do one thing for my mother and make her happy to go to heaven."

"Sorry, I will not try to be pregnant for any reason as I already told you about my health situation," Li said.

"What should I do that you would bear a baby for me?" Chen asked to Li "Just do me a favor. It is not that hard for you."

"You wanted me to bear a baby, but it is for your mother rather than us." Li said. "Maybe we should divorce since your only care is your mother's last wish rather than my life."

 "You want to divorce, I am totally fine with that." Chen replied "Do not say 'regret' to me in the future."

Chen could not focus on his work because of losing a mother and wife in the last three months. And then, his working performance was not effective. Since he worked with the King for a long time, the King gave him advice to improve his performance before he would fire him.  However, he still kept his working attitude the same as before. And then, the King fired him and hired another person to take this position.

After Chen was fired by the king, he was even more depressed than before. Because of a baby, he lost a mother, wife and job. He felt that he had lost everything from his life, so he killed himself and passed on.