chapter  IV
The Willow Pattern Plate
Pages 8

Once upon a time there lived a very rich Mandarin who, after a long life spent in oppressing and plundering the poor cultivators of the soil,3 retired to a fine palace on the banks of a broad river. He had a beautiful daughter, named Koong See, and also a private secretary, named Chang. In due course these two young people fell in love, and it was not long before the Mandarin discovered the fact and promptly dismissed Chang from his service, for he had decided to bestow his daughter on an old, ugly, but rich, duke, and would not think of her marrying a humble scholar like Chang. He warned Chang that if he again attempted to see Koong See he would be slain, and locked up the girl in a suite of rooms behind his banquet hall, where he always sat. As the suite was surrounded on three sides by water he thought she was perfectly safe, and considered that the balcony which overhung the river would enable her to obtain sufficient fresh air and sunshine to keep her healthy. Therefore, to make assurance doubly sure, he built a stout wall across the path which led down to the bridge which linked the palace gardens with the mainland.4