In Chinese culture, butterflies are a reflection of the soul and the symbol of conjugal bliss, so it is not uncommon to find them in a variety of Oriental works of art from different periods. The sculptures, paintings and costumes inspired literary works as beautiful as the legend of butterfly lovers.
This ancient legend of more than 1,000 years is one of the four most popular in China and is as beautiful as it is tragic. The main character is a young woman who is ready to do anything to realize her dreams, even masquerading as a man to study.
WittyBubbles offers this beautiful story that speaks of faithful love beyond death, and the conquest of dreams.
The legend is that of a girl as beautiful as it is intelligent and full of determination, named Zhu Yingtai. Although she was of high descent, her life of luxury was not enough for her and she decided to convince her father to give her permission to study at a school. Such a request may seem simple today, but at the time, education was only accessible to boys , so that his father’s agreement was not easy to obtain; but at Zhu’s insistence, and given his affection for his daughter, he finally accepted.
Zhu packs her things and travels to Hangzhou to study … disguised as a boy, since being a male is the basic requirement for entering the Academy.
Once in the institution, she meets Liang, a young man of the same age, intelligent and kind, with whom she makes strong connections. What begins as an innocent friendship, with games, confidences and moments of complicity, ends up becoming a conflicting love for Zhu, who is aware that she can not declare her feelings without revealing her identity to Liang. In a desperate attempt to keep him by her side, she tries to convince the young man to marry her supposed twin sister, and although the description of the young woman arouses Liang’s interest in meeting her, he is more focused on textbooks only about the things of love. He is so focused on his studies that he does not even realize that Zhu describes himself.
After three years, Zhu receives an order from her father to go home. Liang accompanies him to the exit of Hangzhou to spend a little more time with his friend, and Zhu enjoys the trip to try to reveal by clues, but the young man does not seize them. Reluctantly, they separate at the exit, and as a last attempt, she gives him a letter to read when she is far from the academy.
Alone, Liang reads the letter and finally discovers that her best friend is actually a girl. He also understands that he was in love with Zhu all this time, and that this love was reciprocal. Aware of this truth, he does not want to waste time anymore and goes to look for him to ask him to marry him.
Unfortunately, once there, he can not see her, and even worse, he learns that Zhu’s father promised him in marriage to a merchant close to the family. In China, marriage is understood as a union between two families, and compromising the engagement is unthinkable.
Drowned in regret, Liang tries to continue to live, but his sadness is as deep as his love, and he ends up getting sick and dying (without even needing to drink poison, like Romeo, yes, worse than Romeo, he did not need to drink poison).
Zhu learns the news of Liang’s death from her university classmates, and anxiety weakens her body, s she loses hope of being happy in a world without him.
The day of Zhu’s wedding arrives, but she has a stone instead of the heart, and the will to say yes by duty rather than love; as the only condition for her marriage, she asks permission to go to the grave of her late love to say goodbye and pay him a last tribute.
In her wedding dress, she arrives at Liang’s grave, instantly waking up memories of their years together. The feeling of loss and helplessness turns into tears that spread over the earth. His heart begs heaven to be with him again, and this is forever this time, without anything ever separating them.
Suddenly, a crack opens from the tomb, but far from frightening Zhu, it fills her with relief, and after the last sigh she falls silently into the hole, which closes on her.
From the tomb of lovers emerge two large butterflies that fly together to eternity.
The earliest manuscript where this story was found was written by author Zhang Du in the years 850-880.
Even if one can think that the story of these young people ready to “die of love” is exaggerated and even exceeded, the tragic legend of the butterfly lovers is a story that speaks of freedom . Let no one tell you what your limits are, for you are the only master of your own wings, and with confidence they can lift you up if you are able to be faithful to your principles.
Did you know this story? Did she touch you or leave you indifferent? Give us your opinion in the comments.