Monday, 23 February 2009


Zhao Mengfu was made a Scholar at the Hanlin Academy: that is, he became an important court official.

So he wrote to his wife a piece of doggerel along the lines of:

"Now that I have become an important court official
I will take a concubine
As many famous important court officials, as you know, have done before me.
Besides which you are on the wrong side of forty.
Hope you don't mind, old girl."

Lady Guan wrote back to him a fine lyric, along the lines of:

"Make two clay dolls, one of you and one of me, lying in bed together.

Then smash them.

Then knead the fragments in water to make clay again, and again make two clay dolls, one of me and one of you.

And so I will always be a part of you, and you a part of me."

Zhao Mengfu dropped his concubine scheme.