Groom’s Extended Stay: Unusual Circumstances Delay Wedding

A groom's prolonged stay at his bride's family home due to mysterious circumstances, causing a delay in their wedding.

In the south of the Yangtze River, there was a scholar named Mei Mou. He once told the story of his fellow villager, Mr. Sun, who served as a magistrate in Dezhou and presided over a peculiar case. Initially, a family in a village was arranging a marriage for their son. After the new bride entered the household, relatives and neighbors from the village came to offer their congratulations. After drinking late into the night, the groom came out of the room and saw the bride wearing bright and colorful clothes. She quickly walked to the back of the house. Suspicious, the groom followed closely behind her. At the back of the house, there was a long stream with a small bridge connecting both sides. The groom watched as the bride walked directly across the bridge, which raised his suspicions even more. He urgently called out to her, but instead of responding, she gestured for him to come over from a distance. The groom hurried over, and although they were only a foot apart, he couldn’t catch up to her. They walked for several miles and entered another village. The bride finally stopped and said to the groom, “Your house is too desolate; I can’t stay there comfortably. Please stay with me at my house for a few days, and then we can visit your parents together.” With that, she removed a hairpin from her head and knocked on the courtyard door. A young girl answered and opened the door. The bride walked in first, and the groom had no choice but to follow. Once inside the house, he saw his father-in-law and mother-in-law sitting in the hall. They said to him, “Our daughter has been spoiled since childhood and has never been apart from us for even a moment. Leaving home would make her sad and distressed. Now that she has returned with you, it eases our worries. Stay here for a few days, and we will definitely send both of you back to your home.” They then cleaned a room for them, prepared the bedding and quilts, and the groom ended up staying there.

The groom’s relatives and guests at his home noticed that he had been gone for a long time without returning. They all went together to look for him. Inside the new house, there was only the bride, and no one knew where the groom had gone. From that point on, the groom’s family searched far and wide, but there was no news of him. The parents-in-law were heartbroken and constantly in tears, believing that their son must have passed away. Nearly half a year passed like this, and the bride’s family, grieving for their daughter without a spouse, approached the groom’s father to request that their daughter be remarried. The groom’s father, even more saddened, said, “We haven’t seen my son’s remains or clothing; we can’t confirm if he is truly gone. Even if he has indeed passed away, it wouldn’t be too late to let the bride remarry after some time has passed. Why are you so hasty?” Upon hearing this response, the bride’s family grew resentful and reported the matter to the authorities. Mr. Sun, upon hearing the complaint from the bride’s family, found the circumstances of this case to be extremely unusual and difficult to resolve at the moment. He decided to instruct the bride’s family to wait for three years. He ordered the authorities to open a case, and then he sent both families back home.

The groom stayed at the bride’s house and received a warm welcome from her family. Every time the groom discussed going back home with the bride, she agreed, but always delayed and refused to set off immediately. This delay continued for over half a year, and the groom was torn and couldn’t make up his mind. He was preparing to return home on his own, but the bride was determined to keep him there. Suddenly, one day, the entire family was in a state of panic, as if some urgent danger was about to befall them. The father-in-law hurriedly said to the groom, “We had planned to send you and the bride back home in another three or four days. Unexpectedly, we haven’t prepared the gifts and belongings for your journey yet, and all of a sudden, we’ve encountered a terrible incident at home. We have no choice but to send you back immediately.” So, the father-in-law escorted him out of the main gate. Just as they reached the gate, the father-in-law hastily turned back, and their parting gestures were hurried. The groom was just about to find his way back home when he turned around and saw that the father-in-law’s house had disappeared, replaced by a tall grave. The groom was greatly surprised, quickly found his way home, and upon arrival, he explained the whole situation to his family and reported it to the authorities. Mr. Sun summoned the bride’s father, told him the reason for the groom’s departure, and offered some advice. The bride’s family then sent their daughter back to the groom’s house. It was only at this point that the couple was able to finally get married.

《新郎》

江南梅孝廉耦长,言其乡孙公,为德州宰,鞫一奇案。初,村人有为子娶妇者,新人入门,戚里毕贺。饮至更馀,新郎出,见新妇炫装,趋转舍后。疑而尾之。宅后有长溪,小桥通之。见新妇渡桥径去,益疑,呼之不应,遥以手招婿。婿急趁之,相去盈尺,而卒不可及。行数里,入村落。妇止,谓婿曰:“君家寂寞,我不惯住。请与郎暂居妾家数日,便同归省。”言已,抽簪扣扉轧然,有女僮出应门。妇先入。不得已,从之。既入,则岳父母俱在堂上。谓婿曰:“我女少娇惯,未尝一刻离膝下,一旦去故里,心辄戚戚。今同郎来,甚慰系念。居数日,当送两人归。”乃为除室,床褥备具,遂居之。

家中客见新郎久不至,共索之。室中惟新妇在,不知婿之所往。由此遐迩访问,并无耗息。翁媪零涕,谓其必死。将半载,妇家悼女无偶,遂请于村人父,欲别醮女。村人父益悲,曰:“骸骨衣裳,无可验证,何知吾儿遂为异物?纵其奄丧,周岁而嫁,当亦未晚,胡为如是急也!”妇父益衔之,讼于庭。孙公怪疑,无所措力,断令待以三年,存案遣去。

村人子居女家,家人亦大相忻待。每与妇议归,妇亦诺之,而因循不即行。积半年馀,中心徘徊,万虑不安。欲独归,而妇固留之。一日,合家遑遽,似有急难。仓卒谓婿曰:“本拟三二日遣夫妇偕归,不意仪装未备,忽遘闵凶。不得已,即先送郎还。”于是送出门,旋踵急返,周旋言动,颇甚草草。方欲觅途行,回视院宇无存,但见高冢。大惊,寻路急归。至家,历言端末,因与投官陈诉。孙公拘妇父谕之,送女于归,始合卺焉。

Leave a Comment