On Dang Mountain there was a teahouse run by a beautiful young woman called Quan Gu. Her skin was fair and she was lithe and slender.
When she was nineteen she had an affair with her neighbor, an equally handsome young man by the name of Chen. Some local hooligans happened to discover their illicit affair and threatened to expose it.
Chen was from a wealthy family and he gave them a hundred gold pieces to keep the affair a secret. Somehow the officers at the magistry got wind of the deal and decided they'd take a cut.
Having the money in their hands, these hooligans weren't happy to part with any of it. A fight ensued and they were arrested and imprisoned. Chen and Quan's affair was exposed.
The head magistrate regarded himself as a proud neo-Confucian
who maintained a strict moral order among the populace. He promptly ordered that Chen be given forty strokes of the cane. When Quan heard the verdict she cried and wailed, begging the magistrate to show mercy. She lay on Chen's outstretched body declaring that she would take the beating in his place.
The magistrate was scandalized by her reaction. Deeming Quan to be a shameless woman, he ordered that she also be given forty strokes.
The officers charged with administering her punishment had been slipped some money by Chen and decided to go easy on her. In any case they were reluctant to beat Quan's soft, supple, tender flesh. So while they did perform the caning, they applied very little strength in their strokes.
Unfortunately, the magistrate's anger was not slaked by the beatings and so he ordered that her hair be cut and her tiny slippers be removed from her bound feet and placed on his bench. Everyone in the courtroom who so desired was allowed to fondle the slippers, by way of warning to others. Eventually, the shoes were locked in the officer's safe. The magistrate then put Quan up for sale as a concubine and