Enchanting Serenade of Moonlit Trysts

In the ancient city of Kuaiji, Zhao Wenshao, a court attendant in the Eastern Palace, found himself enchanted by the melancholic moonlit nights. Seated on Qingxi Bridge, merely a stone’s throw away from the residence of the esteemed Wang Shuqing, his heart yearned for home.

On one autumn night, Wenshao, immersed in his homesickness, began to sing the sorrowful melody “Black Crows Soar in the Western Night.” The haunting tunes echoed through the stillness of the night, reaching the ears of an unexpected audience.

A mysterious maiden, dressed in a azure gown, appeared and revealed herself as a messenger from Wang Shuqing’s household. She conveyed the lady’s admiration for Wenshao’s singing, inviting him to join their moonlit gathering just a short distance away.

Without suspicion, Wenshao accepted the invitation. The maiden, accompanied by two attendants, arrived promptly. Her age was around fifteen or sixteen, and her graceful presence was accompanied by an aura of innocence. Wenshao inquired about her residence, and she pointed towards the residence of Wang Shuqing, expressing that the lady, upon hearing his song, had sent her to invite him personally.

The rendezvous continued as Wenshao, captivated by the allure of the maiden, sang the melodious “Grass Sprouts on the Plateau.” The harmonious tunes resonated, deepening the connection between the two souls.

As the night unfolded, the maiden suggested a poetic duet, unveiling her mastery of the zheng. The enchanting sounds of the guzheng, accompanied by her lyrical voice, heightened the ethereal atmosphere. They sang “Frosty Morning,” a song expressing the poignant beauty of longing.

Upon the completion of the serenade, the night had grown late. The maiden bid farewell, leaving a token of her appreciation—a golden hairpin for Wenshao. In return, he gifted her a silver bowl and a white crystal spoon.

The mystery remained unsolved as the maiden vanished into the night. When Wenshao visited the temple by the Qingxi Bridge, he discovered the offerings—a white crystal spoon and the untouched guzheng—serving as a testament to the ephemeral encounter.

Original story in 《齊諧記》


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