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.