Chinese Ancient Love Story: The Moonlight Pavilion (English-Chinese)

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The plot of The Moonlight Pavilion is centered on the intricate love affairs of Jiang Shilong and Wang Ruilan, and Tuoman Xingfu and Jiang Ruilan. The story is set in Zhongdu (Central) City (now Beijing), the capital of the Jin Dynasty. When the Mongols launched an attack on the capital, the Jin Emperor, believing the slanders of Nie Jialie, a minister who advocated negotiation, ordered the death of Tuoman Haiya, a minister who recommended going to war. He also wanted to have all of Haiya's family members killed. Haiya's son, Xingfu managed to abscond with the assistance of a scholar named Jiang Shilong. The two of them became sworn brothers. With large contingents of Mongolian troops pressing on to the border, the Jin Emperor decided to move the capital to Bianliang (now Kaifeng) and ordered all citizens of the capital to move with him. Shilong and his sister lost contact with each other on their way south. Meanwhile Wang Zhen, the minister of war, traveled north as an envoy on the orders of the emperor, leaving behind his wife and daughter Ruilan. They also lost contact with each other on their journey south with other refugees. Shilong failed to find Ruilan, but met up with Ruilan. The two of them went through thick and thin together and adored each other. With the help of the keeper of the Merchants' Inn and his wife, who acted as go-betweens, they were married. When the wife of Minister Wang searched for her daughter, she found Ruilan instead. She adopted her as a daughter and they traveled south together, relying on each other for survival.

Wang Zhen, the minister, met Ruilan at the Merchants' Inn on his way back from his northern mission. He became irate when he learned that Ruilan had married without his permission and, what was worse, to a poor scholar! He dragged his daughter away, leaving behind Shilong who was sick.

Following the withdrawal of Mongolian troops peace was restored and Wang Zhen gave a "family feast in celebration of peace" in the capital, Bianliang. Ruilan, however, prayed to the moon in front of the Moonlight Pavilion, as King Heaven to reunite her with her husband. Overhearing the prayers, Ruilian, the adopted sister, was both surprised and delighted to discover that her brother-in-law was actually her own brother. She joined Ruilan in praying to the Moon Goddess for his safety and early return. Later Shilong and Xingfu won first places in the palace civil examination and military examination respectively. The curtain falls on the marriage, with the approval of Wang Zhen, of the two couples on the orders of the emperor, and with the happy reunion of husbands and wives, and brothers and sisters.

The plot of The Moonlight Pavilion is based on a series of coincidences. For example, Jiang Shilong loses contact with his sister but meets with the daughter of the minister. The wife of the minister is separated from her daughter but comes across Jiang Shilong's sister and adopts her as a daughter. On his way back from his mission Minister Wang Zhen meets his daughter, and his wife the following day at the inn. His sons-in-law are the first-place getters in the palace civil and military examinations who happened to be his daughters' sweethearts. There seem to be too many coincidences for a novel. They are, however, believable for a play that eulogizes the pure and faithful love between young men and women in ancient China.

Table of Contents
第一章        陷害贤良  Chapter One  The Able and Virtuous Minister Is Framed
第二章        兄妹失散  Chapter Two  Brother and Sister Lose Contace
第三章        旷野奇逢  Chapter Three  A Happy Encounter in the Wilderness
第四章        虎头遇救  Chapter Four  Meeting and Old Acquaintance on Tiger Head Mountain
第五章        招商偕偶  Chapter Five  Jiang Shilong and Ruilan Get Married at the Merchants' Inn
第六章        抱恙离鸾  Chapter Six  Ruilan Leaves Her Sick Husband
第七章        幽闺拜月  Chapter Seven  The Sisters Kowtow to the Moon at the Quiet Pavilion
第八章        洛珠双合  Chapter Eight  Wedding Ceremony for Two Couples
Chinese Ancient Love Story: The Moonlight Pavilion (English-Chinese)