The Broken Mirror

Princess Le Chang was the sister of the last emperor of Chen. She and her husband, Xu, a member of the east palace retinue, were devoted to each other. On the eve of the fall of Chen, her husband took a bronze mirror and broke it in half. Handing her one half, he said, "A beautiful, intelligent woman like you will survive the demise of the empire. You will easily attract the attention of a wealthy protector. I must leave with the army." He instructed her to go to the market on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month of the following year, and offer her half of the mirror for sale. If he were still alive, he would go there to look for her.

As he predicted, the Chen empire fell. Princess Le Chang became the concubine of a wealthy duke of the Sui dynasty. Xu suffered great hardships, but on the appointed day, he eagerly made his way to the market. There, he saw a servant trying to sell a broken bronze mirror. Rushing over, he saw that it matched his piece. The servant told him of her mistress's situation, that she could not leave the duke's compound. Xu wept in bitter disappointment, and went away broken-hearted. Upon hearing this, the princess vowed to starve herself in memory of her husband.

When the duke learned of the love Princess Le Chang had for Xu, he held a banquet for him. There, husband and wife were reunited, and, with the blessing of the duke, they settled in southern China, living to a ripe of age.

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