Chinese Idiom Stories

The Broken Mirror is Put Back Together

Shiu De-yan was an attendant of the emperor during the Southern Dynasties period. The emperor of the time paid no attention to the affairs of the state, and so Shiu De-yan feared for their kingdom's future. He aslo feared for his wife, Le-chang, who was the younger sister of the emperor, because she was very beautiful and very talented, and sure to be taken away from him if the kingdom were overthrown. So Shiu De-yan took a mirror and broke it in half, giving one half to his wife and keeping the other for himself. The two then agreed on a day on which they ever become separated.

And sure enough, not long after, their kingdom was destroyed, and Le-chang was taken away by a new court official named Yang Su. When the appointed day arrived, Shiu De-yan went out to look for his wife, but found instead an old woman with his wife's half of the mirror. As it turned out, Le-chang had been unable to come out that day, and so had asked this woman to take her half of the mirror and go in her place. When Yang Su heard this story, he was so moved that he not only allowed this couple to be reunited, but gave them many gifts as well.

And so today, when a man and woman who have been separated for along time are finally reunited, we can say that "the broken mirror has been put back together."







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