Eulogies to the Plum Blossom at the Beginning of the Winter

(Dong chu ji mei)

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This plot of this play comes from a popular folktale, 'Er Du Mei', which means 'the second blossoming of the plum flower'. Its synopsis is similar to both The Second Blossoming of the Plum Flower and Parted Forever: Madam Chen Xing Yuan.

The story takes place during the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907). Mei Bogao is magistrate of Shangdong Province. He is a dedicated officer who is known for his honesty and fairness. He refuses to bribe powerful high-ranking officials at the corrupt court, and has been sentenced to death by the Emperor, based on evidence of rebellion forged by some disloyal subjects. Mei Bogao's entire family has been sentenced to death along with him. His only son, Mei Liangyu, manages to escape and, with the help of a Buddhist monk, finds Chen Dongchu's mansion, where he is hired as a household servant.

Chen Dongchu is a close friend of Mei Bogao, and also serves as a government official in another province. When he hears that Mei Bogao and his family have been falsely accused and unjustly executed, he becomes depressed over the fate of the Mei family. He prays for the Mei family before the plum tree in his garden, but the wind blows and the blossoms fall. He feels there is no hope for the corrupt government, and decides to become a Buddhist monk. Seeing this, his daughter Chen Xing Yuan prays to the plum tree and asks it to blossom again. The Goddess of Flowers observes their loyalty, and magically causes the tree to blossom the following day.

Mei Liangyu writes a poem on the wall when he sees the plum tree blossom for a second time. Chen Dongchu is surprised to see such a good poem on the wall in his garden. He asks his servants who wrote it, and learns that Liangyu is the son of his close friend Mei Bogao. He is overjoyed, and introduces his daughter to Mei Liangyu. His daughter is equally thrilled to know that Mei's son is still alive, and that he has been living amongst them as a servant. As time passes, the two fall in love and get married.