In Suzhou there was an inspector by the name of Song Zongyuan. A distant cousin of Song's who had been orphaned since early childhood was sent to live with an uncle. The uncle was extremely strict with Song's cousin and at the age of seven the boy was sent to study with the village teacher.
One day when he should have been studying the young cousin sneaked out to watch a dramatic performance in town. Someone saw him dodging class and told his uncle.
Too scared to return to his uncle's home, the boy ran off to Mudu Village and survived for a while as a beggar.
Eventually a man by the name of Li took pity on him and invited him home. From then on he worked in Mr. Li's coin shop and lived with the Li family. He was a very hardworking lad and won the affection of Mr. Li for his industry. Li decided to reward the boy and eventually gave him one of the maids, a girl by the name of Zheng, for a wife.
After nine years in Mudu Village, Song's cousin had become quite wealthy. He decided to go into the city and burn some incense as an offering of thanks to the gods.
On his way to the temple he happened to run into his uncle. Realizing he would not be able to hide the truth, he explained everything. Once the uncle found out his nephew had become quite wealthy, he immediately ordered the young man home with the intention of marrying him to someone more suitable than the maid.
At first the young man refused. "I can't leave my wife--she has just given birth to a daughter."
His uncle became furious and shouted, "We are part of a great clan! How dare you take this maid for your wife?" He forced his nephew to agree to divorce his wife.
When the Li family heard what had happened, they hoped that if