A Birthday Present from General Guo Zi Yi

(Guo Zi Yi zhu shou)

Volumes 1 and 2

Li Yu (A.D. 726-779) was one of the Emperors of the Tang Dynasty. The infamous 'An Shi Chaos' which occurred during his reign was finally suppressed by General Guo Zi Yi. To return the favour, the Emperor married his daughter, Princess Sheng Ping, to the General's third son, Guo Ai.

The young couple's marriage is difficult. They have grown up in different worlds, and have little in common. To make matters worse, the princess demands that Guo Ai salute her every night in their bedroom — just as subjects salute the Emperor — simply because of her royal status.

At a banquet celebrating General Guo Zi Yi's sixtieth birthday, his sons, daughters and inlaws attend to show their respect — except for Princess Sheng Ping. Guests at the party wonder at this, and Guo Ai is embarrassed. He returns home and asks why his wife did not attend the banquet. They fight, and Guo Ai slaps her. She goes to the Emperor's palace, where she complains tearfully to her parents, asking her father to punish Guo Ai. Meanwhile, upon hearing of the incident, General Guo Zi Yi ties up his son and they go to the palace to apologize for the family's violence.

The Emperor refuses his daughter's request that he punish Guo Ai. Instead, he praises Guo Ai for his devotion to his father, General Guo Zi Yi, and the Emperor chastises his daughter for not respecting her elders and her husband. The Guo family is grateful for the Emperor's decision and urges Guo Ai to apologize to his wife for hitting her. Guo Ai and his wife are reconciled. To Guo Ai's surprise, the princess even stops demanding that he salute her each day. Everyone is now happy, and the princess finally accepts her relationship as that between wife and husband, rather than princess and subject.