PEERLESS BEAUTY

 

(YEAR OF THE ROOSTER: An individual born in this year sets high standards and goals, and is uncompromising in his integrity, and in the honesty of those around him.)
 

    Wang Chao-chun is one of the Four Great Beauties of China.  She was one of several thousand concubines of Emperor Yuan of the Western Han dynasty (around 40 B.C.).  It was the custom for each lady to have a portrait painted, for that was how the monarch would select his companion for the evening.
 
    Now Mao, the court painter, was very corrupt.  He solicited bribes from all the women he painted.  When he came before Wang Chao-chun, she steadfastly refused to submit to his thinly veiled extortion attempt, confident that her natural beauty would win out in the end.  In malice, Mao added an ugly birthmark to Wang Chao-chun's face in the portrait, ensuring that she would never receive the emperor's favors.
 
A few years later, Emperor Yuan negotiated peace with the barbarians.  To cement the deal, he agreed to give "a Han beauty" to the barbarian king.  Not wishing to give a real beauty, the emperor looked at the portraits of all the women in his harem, and chose the ugliest he could find: Wang Chao-chun.  Not until she was on the point of departure did Emperor Yuan see her in person for the very first time.  Indeed, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life.  The emperor wanted to renege on his promise, but his ministers warned there would be further bloodshed and warfare, so reluctantly, he had to let her go.  But because of her courage and self-sacrifice, she brought peace to the two nations for many years.

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