Home China A Homely Bride’s Blessings

A Homely Bride’s Blessings

As the saying goes: A marriage is a match made in Heaven. In China, it is known that although a good wife may not be pretty, but she can still help her husband. Many famous figures in China’s history were courteous and respectful to their plain wives. During the Qin Dynasty, Chen Dashou’s marriage was a good example a homely bride’s blessings.

There was a young woman from a very wealthy family. Her parents loved her dearly and arranged for her to be married to the son of another wealthy family. When the groom lifted up her bridal veil at the wedding and found her face pitted with smallpox scars, he ran off.

The wedding guests looked at each other, and after whispering to each other for a while, they left and went out to search for the groom. The bride stayed calm, went home to her new husband’s house, and slept alone and soundly that night.

The next morning, she woke up to discover she had wet the bed. The groom had returned and found that intolerable. The groom’s family decided to annul the marriage.

The Chinese believed that it was heaven, not mortals, who had the final say over one’s destiny. This principle is embodied in the folktale behind the proverb: “Just as rain falls from the heavens, your mother must marry.” (Image: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain)
The Chinese believed that it was heaven, not mortals, who had the final say over one’s destiny. This principle is embodied in the folktale behind the proverb: ‘Just as rain falls from the heavens, your mother must marry.’ (Image: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain)

The young homely woman marries a poor student

The young woman went back home. After three years, no one wanted to marry her. Her parents were worried. One day, a teacher talked to the wealthy man about his daughter marrying a student of his named Chen Dashou. The rich man hesitated, as he did not want his daughter to live in the poor conditions of this student’s family’s house. The teacher said that Chen Dashou had real talent and would have a bright future for sure. The father met Chen and agreed to the arrangement. His one condition was that Chen must marry into his family, so his daughter would not have to live with Chen’s family in their poor house.

It just so happened that after Chen married the homely woman, he became very successful in his career. Promotion after promotion, he eventually became the emperor’s right-hand man. And of course, his wife was also much respected, and together they lived a good life.

Sometime later, one of the princesses passed away due to illness. The queen mother was very depressed and wept incessantly. The emperor tried everything to ease his mother’s pain. One day, the emperor was told that Chen Dashou’s wife resembled the deceased princess. Chen’s wife was invited to the palace to meet the queen mother.

 (Image: kanegen via flickr CC BY 2.0 )
It just so happened that after Chen married the homely woman, he became very successful in his career. (Image: kanegen via flickr CC BY 2.0 )

The queen mother takes Chen’s wife as her daughter

The queen mother saw Chen’s wife, then grinned and said: “You are really my daughter!” It turned out that the deceased princess was also plump with a pockmarked face.

Chen’s wife stayed in the palace for many days and also received many gifts from the queen mother, who had just found a replacement for her deceased daughter. Chen’s wife went to the palace often to cheer up the queen mother. The queen mother was always so happy to see her; going to the palace felt like going home to see her real mother.

One night when Chen’s wife was sleeping in the palace, she woke up and suddenly needed to go to the bathroom. She wondered why the scene felt so familiar. Then she recalled that the night she wet the bed on her wedding night, she was dreaming of being an overnight guest at a palace.

Actually, that dream showed her how her life was pre-arranged by fate. People may work very hard, but sometimes it is a little thing that can change their lives forever. Chen did not reject the woman because of her appearance. This was an important virtue of a noble man in ancient China, so he was rewarded with a high position and wealth. Through this, we see that good begets good, but also keep in mind the converse — evil leads to evil.

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