ORIENTAL WOMEN TALK
A long lost old classic Chinese story written
     by CAO YU and adapted by Hani Law
          Copyright © 2007  All rights reserved
THUNDERSTORM

CHAPTER ONE
The story began in one evening in 1948. It happened in a large
mansion in a small town in China. The night is dark, but with the
help of the full moon up above, coupled with the two large
lanterns hung in front of the large double entrance door of the
mansion, we can see the words ZHOU RESIDENCE engraved
on the door panels.

In a room in the servants’ quarters, a young servant, named Shi
Ping is in labor. She has been in labor for over two days and the
midwife is afraid that her baby would not survive the long ordeal
and even if the baby is born alive, he or she will not live long. Shi
Ping’s mother is extremely worried and stands by the side of her
daughter throughout the difficult labour time. The midwife is so
worried about Shi Ping that she goes straight to Young Master
Zhou, the father of the baby, and tells him the situation. When
Young Master Zhou learns of the long labour that Shi Ping is
going through, he does not show any emotion or concern.
Shortly after midnight, Shi Ping has given birth to a baby boy
after a hard labor. The next morning, Young Master Zhou sends
for Shi Ping’s mother.

“My father has arranged for me to marry the daughter of a
wealthy merchant. I am afraid you and your daughter have to
leave our residence. Of course both of you will be well
compensated,” says Young Master Zhou.

“I cannot believe what you have said. You and Shi Ping already
have a son and she just gave birth to a baby yesterday. You are
now turning her away after having a relationship with her for all
these years. I am not going to break this horrible news to her,”
says Shi Ping’s mother. She then walks away.

That evening, Shi Ping goes to see her mothers as she has not
seen her for the whole day, which is most unusual. When she
pushes open her mother’s room, she is shocked to see that her
mother has hanged herself on the beam of the room. She
immediately cries for help and the other household servants rush
to the room and help Shi Ping to lower her mother’s body. While
Shi Ping is crying madly with tears covering her entire face, she
sees a letter on the desk. It is her mother’s death note in which
she says how Young Master Zhou has pressurized her and Shi
Ping to leave the Zhou family with the new born baby. Having
endured two days pre-natal labour, coupled with the death of
her mother and the shocking news, Shi Ping just cannot stand it
any more and collapsed.

She does not know how long she has been unconscious but
when she comes round in the early evening, she sees Young
Master Zhou standing in front of her bed. Without waiting for her
to say anything, Master Zhou tells her that he loves her but as
his father has already arranged for him to marry another girl
who may be able to help his family’s business; he had no
alternative but to agree the marriage arrangement. He then asks
Shi Ping again to leave his house as soon as possible.

“I can offer you a large sum of money, so that you do not have
to worry about money. The midwife said that this baby would
not live long anyway, and you are free to marry in the future.
You must leave today as the family has to start preparing for the
wedding very soon and you know that I cannot defy my father,”
said Master Zhou.

“I will not take your money, and I will never see you again. But
why can’t I take my elder son with me. I will bring them up on
my own. We have been together all these years and I thought
you love me. How can you be so cruel to me?” begged Shi Ping.

While she is uttering all these words, tears pouring out from her
swollen eyes, like a heavy waterfall. It is heart broken enough
for Shi Ping already. In the night before, she has been mourning
her mother’s death all night.

“You cannot take our elder son with you. He is my son and he is
a member of the Zhou family. He will stay here and be taken
care of by us. You must leave now. The servants have already
done the packing for you. Go, go, go, take the baby with you. I
do not wish to see the baby any more, as he will die soon. I do
not want him to die in my house,” said young Master Zhou.

Despite Shi Ping’s repeated pleas, Master Zhou still insists that
she cannot see her elder son before she leaves, as his father
will not allow it. Shi Ping is then escorted to the door, carrying
the infant son with her.

Where would she go? The night is dark already; she carries the
baby and walks aimlessly away form the Zhou Residence. After
walking for some time, she sees in front of her a river called
“Mother and Son River”. Thinking that this is the only solution for
her, she jumps into the river carrying the baby with her.

CHAPTER TWO  
Twenty years later, a car stopped at the Zhou residence. A
young man who is in his early 20’s comes out and knocks at the
glamorous large door. The housekeeper comes out and says,

“Master Zhou, you are back and how nice to see you again. I
will go and tell Madam Zhou that you are home.”

Meanwhile, the driver has already taken out the luggage from
the boot of the car and walks into the mansion with Master
Zhou. Trying to put on a smiling face, Zhou Ping walks into the
mansion through the front garden, and sees a sweet girl in her
late teens watering the flowers which are in full blossom.
He asks the housekeeper who is leading the way to the front
parlor, “Who is that girl?”

“Oh, she is my daughter, Si Feng. She has no working
experience at all and she is now working here as a junior maid.
You must pardon her if she does not do her job well,” replies the
housekeeper.

In the balcony overlooking the reception hall inside the mansion,
there stands a looking young woman looking down to the front
garden. She is sleek and feminine and is in her early thirties. As
soon as she sees Zhou Ping coming into the front parlor, she
hastily goes downstairs to meet him. The housekeeper and the
driver excuse themselves as they have no business to attend to
in that room.

Seeing the woman, Zhou Ping greets her by saying, “Mother,
how are you?” His voice is solemn and his eyes are staring
away from her.

The woman says angrily, but sadly “So it is time for you to come
home, eh? You must have been enjoying your trip overseas so
much so that you forget there is a lonely person in this world.”  

At this time, an energetic young man enters the parlour.
“Mother, I am so pleased that Big Brother Ping has come home.
We are all together again,” says the young man.

“Chung, I am very pleased to see you again. How is your
study?” asked Zhou Ping.

“I am doing very well and I hope to be admitted to university this
summer,” says Zhou Chung.

That evening, just when Zhou Ping is about to turn off the light
and retires, someone knocks at the door. When he opens the
door, he sees his mother standing outside his room who is
dressed in a pink nightdress which reveals her figure vividly.
When he tries to close the door, his mother has already pushed
her way into his room. She immediately closes the door behind
her, and runs up to Zhou Ping trying to hug him. Zhou Ping
stands back quickly and refuses to be have any contact with her.

“Please don’t. You have already caused me more shame and
guilt than I can bear,” says Zhou Ping.

“Ha, I have caused you great shame and guilt. Just think back
what you have done to me. You have captured my heart, and
now you just dump me like that. You have ruined my life. I am a
human being and I have feelings too. Please, I beg you. Let’s
continue our intimate relationship,” says Mrs Zhou.

“No, we can’t. You are my Mother,” said Zhou Ping.

“I am not your mother and you are not my son. You are the son
of my husband, that's all,” says Mrs Zhou.

“You would not know how life is when a young woman like me is
married to a man who is more than ten years older than me.
There is no love between me and your father. Life is literally
unbearable. You are the person who has given me hope and
light in my life,” says Mrs Zhou.

“I do not wish to hear any more. I was young then and had
made mistakes. I was drunk that night and did not do it
purposely. But you, you are the one who seduce me and force
me into this relationship. Please forgive me and forget about this
whole thing. I went away this time because I want to get rid of
my guilt and sorrow. I have brought shame to my father and my
younger brother. Please leave this room at once and I do not
wish to see you any more,” says Zhou Ping.

“How can you say such things to me? I will go, I will go and you
will regret one day,” says her mother. She then runs to the door
and leaves the room, crying hysterically.

The following months, the house is very quiet. Zhou Chung is
taking every opportunity to find Si Feng and teaches her to read
and write. Zhou Chung likes Si Feng very much.

Zhou Ping also tries to see Si Feng whenever possible, as Si
Feng has captivated Zhou Ping’s heart. They both fall in love
with one another and start having a secret affair.

Several months has passed by. One day, Mr Zhou the senior
returns home after a business trip abroad. He believes that as
head of the family, he is superior and has absolute power over
the affairs of his family, just as his father did 20 years ago.
When he comes in, he summonses all his family members in the
family sitting room. He sits on the large comfy chair in the centre
of the room, his wife sits on the left in a smaller chair, and a
large empty chair on his right is left empty. Zhou Ping is standing
next to the large empty chair and Zhou Chung is standing next to
his mother.

“Have you been taking the medicine regularly that I have bought
for you?” Mr Zhou asks his wife.

“The medicine is so bitter and I do not want to drink it. After all, I
am not sick,” says Mrs Zhou.

“Si Feng,” shouts Mr Zhou senior.

“Yes, Mr Zhou,” replies Si Feng, running into the room.

“Has Mrs Zhou taken her medicine today?” shouts Mr Zhou.

“Em, no, Madam Zhou does not want any medicine today,”
replies Si Feng, dropping her head and avoiding any eye contact
with Mrs Zhou.

“Bring her medicine over,” orders Mr Zhou.

“Here it is, Sir” says Si Feng.

“Chung, bring the medicine to your mother and ask her to take
it,” orders Mr Zhou senior.

In this family, Mr Zhou is superior and every member of the
family has to obey him.

“Mother, please take the medicine. It will do you good and you
will feel better later,” says Zhou Chung.

“Chung, I cannot take it any more. I am not sick and I do not
need to take any medicine,” says his mother, trying to explain
the situation to his own son.

Seeing that his order is not obeyed, Mr Zhou senior is so angry
that he orders his elder son, Zhou Ping, to bring the medicine
over to his stepmother and get her to take it. Zhou Ping walks
over to his stepmother. Zhou Ping hides his embarrassment and
says,

"mother, I beg you, take the medicine for my sake and do not
make father angry.”

Hearing her stepson’s plea, Mrs Zhou cannot bear the begging
from her ex lover whom she still has great love and feeling for
him. She finally takes the whole bowl of medicine in one mouthful
and after that, she runs up stairs to her room, crying incessantly
again.

“Sir, may I retire to my room?” says Zhou Ping to his father.

“No, you cannot leave now. I need to talk to you. What are you
doing these days?” asks Mr Zhou senior.

Zhou Ping’s heart is pounding.

“Your mother died young and she was a person I respect very
much. That is the reason why I am still keeping this chair here,
which is sitting on my right. It memorises Shi Ping.  If your
mother is still here, she would have high expectation of you. It is
now time that you should develop a skill. Go and help me
manage the mine and gain some experience. You will leave
home and start work next week,” orders Mr Zhou senior.

Zhou Ping nods his head and leaves the room.

“Father,” said Zhou Chung, “can I have a minute with you?” says
Zhou Chung.

“What is it?” says Mr Zhou senior.

“Si Feng, our maid, is very intelligent and hard working. Can I
use my pocket money to pay for her schooling?” asks Zhou
Chung.

“What? Are you out of your mind? A servant is a servant all her
life. Why would she need to go to school? Chung, don’t forget
that we are of the upper class and you’d better not get too close
to people belonging to the lower class. I am tired now and need
a rest. That’s all for now,” says Mr Zhou senior.

CHAPTER THREE
The next day, when Si Feng is about to leave for home after a
full day’s work, she meets Chow Ping at the back door.

“Si Feng, I must see you tonight. I have something very
important to discuss with you. Can I go to your place tonight?”
asked Chow Ping.

“Ping, you can’t. Although my mother is away working in another
village and rarely comes home, she is very strict with me. My
elder brother and my father are even sterner and they have bad
temper. They both also fight a lot.If they find out that I have
brought you inside the house, they will kill me,” says Si Feng.

“If you don’t see me tonight, you will never see me again,” said
Zhou Ping.

“Ok, ok, come to my house at midnight, but do not knock at the
door. Wait until you see a lit candle at my window, then you can
come in. My mother is away for work today, my father will not
be off this evening, and my brother is working away from home.
I think it should be safe”.

That evening, Zhou Ping arrives at Si Feng’s house punctually.
He stands under a tree just a few feet away from Si Feng’s
window. He waits for a while and not too long, he sees a candle
light at Si Fung’s window. He walks towards the door and before
he knocks, he notices that the door has already been opened.
Zhou Ping turns his body sideway and enters the house.

“What is it that you want to see me so urgently?” asked Si Feng
anxiously.

“Si Feng, my father wants me to help him to manage the mine. I
will need to leave for the quarry next week. I just cannot bear
not seeing you for a long time. Would you come with me?”
asked Zhou Ping.

“Ping, you know that I love you very much, but I have to get
permission from my mother before I can say yes,” reply Si Feng.

“Yes, of course, let me have the answer this week. Please I beg
you, you must not break my heart,” said Zhou Ping.

Zhou Ping moves closer to Si Feng, holding her tightly, and
kisses her. Si Feng does not resist his approach and gradually
lets she melts intimately with Zhou Ping’s body. They both
moved over to the bed. Before it gets light the following morning,
Zhou Ping leaves Se Feng’s house stealthily, trying to avoid
being seen by anybody in the house. When Si Feng’s mother
returns home from work the next evening, Si Feng tells her
mother nervously that the elder son of the Master of the
household in which she works wants to marry her. She assures
her mother that the elder son of the Master is deeply in love with
her and she loves him very much. Si Feng’s mother is skeptical
about it, as it is her firm belief that rich people do not take love
seriously with a maid, who is not of the same class as the
Masters. However, she promises Si Feng that she will talk to the
elder son of her Master first before she can give her approval.

The next day, co-incidentally, Si Feng is requested by Mrs Zhou
to invite her mother over to the Zhou residence, as she would
like to meet her mother. Si Feng is over the moon as she thinks
that Mrs Zhou might accept her as her daughter-in-law despite
her low status of a maid. When Si Feng‘s mother arrives at the
Zhou residence, she is invited to go to Mrs Zhou’s bedroom on
the firs floor..

“So, you are Si Feng’s mother,” says Mrs Zhou, still elegantly
dressed and looks attractive and sexy.

“Yes, Madam,” answers Shi Ping.

“I would really appreciate it if you could do me a big favor,”
requests Mrs Zhou.

“I definitely will do whatever you want me to it if I can be of any
help to you, Madam,” answers Shi Ping.

“Your daughter, Si Feng, wants to marry my elder son and you
know that this is impossible. Considering the huge difference in
our classes, would you be so kind as to take your daughter
away from this house and never come back again? You will be
well compensated,” says Mrs Zhou.

Shi Ping is feeling so humiliated that she promises to take her
daughter away, but refuses to take any money from Mrs Zhou.
Mrs Zhou of course is very pleased and satisfied. On her way
out, Shi Ping passes a small reception room; the door to the
reception room is left ajar. A chair in the reception room attracts
her attention immediately, and without thinking twice, she
wanders into the reception.  She curiously looks around and
finds that the furniture and the layout, such as the chest and a
side table, look very familiar to her, but she cannot remember
where she has seen the furniture before. At that moment, Mr
Zhou senior comes into the room.

“Who are you? Why are you here in this room?” asks Mr Zhou,
rather rudely.

“Sir, I am Si Feng’s mother. I am visiting her,” answers Shi Ping
with her head lowered.

“Leave this room at once; this is no place for a servant,” says
Mr Zhou senior with an indignant voice...

Knowing that she has done nothing wrong, Si Feng’s mother
raises her head high and walks to the door. As she is about to
step out of the room, she hears Mr Zhou senior asking behind
her.

“Wait, who are you and what is your name,” asks Mr Zhou
senior, this time with a gentler voice.

“Sir, I am one of your servant’s mother.” While she is giving the
answer, she looks into Mr Zhou senior’s eyes direct.
There is a long silent moment.

“You are not Shi Ping, are you?” asked Mr Zhou senior.

“Yes, I am. You would never think that you will see me again,
eh,” says Shi Ping, feeling rather angry and upset when she is
reunited with her previous lover.

“Are you coming here to seek financial help?” asks Mr Zhou
senior.

“No, Sir, my wound will never be healed with your money. I will
let you bear the guilt all your life, and bring it with you even when
you go to hell. I come here today to take my daughter away
from your family. I am Si Feng’s mother,” says Shi Ping.

“I was told that you were dead,” asks Mr Zhou senior.

“Twenty years ago, when I was forced to leave you and had no
where to go to on that evening. Thinking that having no prospect
for me and my son, I jumped into the river with our baby. A man
rescued our baby and me.  I married him out of gratitude,” says
Shi Ping. He took me to his house several hundred miles away,
and took care of us both. The man was a manual worker and his
small wage was just enough to feed us all.  We later had a
daughter who is Si Feng. In order to earn some extra money to
save up for my old age, I work in another town also as a servant
and goes home once a fortnight to see my family. I am not
aware that Si Feng and her father are both working for you. I do
not even know that you live here in this town,” says Shi Ping.

“So you have remarried. By the way, where is our second son?
Is he still alive?” says Mr Zhou senior.

“Your second son whom you believe will not survive is still alive.”

“Shi Ping, you don’t understand. My father wanted me to marry
a rich girl.  I could not disobey him. He was the head of the
family. I have never forgotten about you since you left me. You
see, all around me in this room is your favorite furniture which I
am still keeping, although we have moved several times,” says
Mr Zhou senior.

“If you still have some conscience, please let me have a glimpse
of my elder son, Ping. I will not let him know that I am his
mother who is a working class woman,” begs Shi Ping.

“OK, now that I know that you are not blackmailing me, I will
send for him now. However, you must go after you have seen
him. Stand aside in this room,” says Mr Zhou senior. He then
sends for Zhou Ping.

Just at that moment, there is a commotion is outside the house
Just before Mr Zhou senior tries to find out what is happening, a
well-built young man wearing a very worn shirt barges into the
room, followed by several  servants of the Zhou family.

“Mother, what are you doing here?” asks the man.

“I am coming here to see Si Feng,” answers Shi Ping.

“This is Si Hai, MY SON,” says Shi Ping turning her head
towards Mr Zhou senior.

Mr. Zhou stares at Si Hai. No emotion is shown on his face after
he has got the hint from Zhi Ping that this man stands in front of
him is his younger son.

“Who are you? Why have you barged into my house?” asks Mr
Zhou senior.

Turning to Mr Zhou’s senior, Si Hai says,

“I am the union leader of the mine workers. I come here today
to negotiate with you on behalf of the workers for better working
condition and pay. We have asked you so many times, but our
requests have all been ignored. Therefore we have no
alternative, but to go on strike.”

Mr Zhou senior stares at Si Hai, silent for a while. Then he says,

“so you are the trouble maker who always stirs up things
amongst the workers against the management. You have incited
the workers to go on strike, eh. The workers have already
returned to work this morning. Haven’t they told you, ha ha?
Your demands are ridiculous and out of all proportion. You
should feel lucky to have a job with us. There is no way that the
company will meet your demands. You are fired now."

"So, I now truly believe that you are really exploiting the workers
and a mean employer. Their daily wages are so low that they
hardly have enough to eat, not considering that they have to
feed their families. Furthermore, there should be hardship
allowance, as the condition in the mine is so poor and
dangerous," says Si Hai.

Si Hai is so enraged that he cannot help shouting at Mr Zhou
senior, who is in fact his biological father. He is even more
furious with his fellow workers who have betrayed him and given
up their demands for better wages and better working
conditions. He pulls out a gun from his pocket and points it at Mr
Zhou senior. Mr Zhou is of course utterly shocked and steps
back behind his servants. At this time, enters Zhou Ping who has
come to the reception at his father’s instruction. Seeing a man
pointing a gun at his father, he jumps quickly towards Si Hai,
knocks him down, and takes the gun away from him. The
servants push Si Hai down on the floor then seize him.  Shi Ping
runs towards Si Hai and stands in front of him, trying to stop
Zhou Ping to hit his younger son again.

"Stop hitting my son. All of you are money suckers and bullies.
You all disgust me".

"Let them go, PING ", says Mr Zhou senior, loudly on purpose.

After hearing the name, Shi Ping stands there like a stone and
stares at Zhou Ping, nearly motionless.

"Take them both away from this house. No need to report this
incident to the police," says Mr Zhou senior to the servants.

Si Hai stands up on his feet and is led by the guards on both
sides to the front door. Shi Ping sobs her heart out and then
follows Si Hai out of the Zhou mansion. It is extremely heart
breaking for Shi Ping to witness her son hitting her son, and
especially when she cannot openly declare to be the mother of
one them.

CHAPTER FOUR
Back to their home that evening, Shi Ping has found it necessary
to talk to Si Feng in her room..

“Si Feng, I have told the Zhou family that you will not work for
them any more. You should promise me that you will never see
Zhou Ping again. I do not believe that a rich man will marry a
servant. He may love you now, but you will never be his wife,”
says Shi Ping.

“No, mother, Ping truly loves me and I love him too. He promises
me that he will marry me and take me with him to the quarry.
Please don’t break us up,” begs Si Feng.

“You must listen to me. I love you dearly and I know what is
best for you. Forget about Zhou Ping, and we will leave this
town  immediately and lead a new life,” says Shi Ping.

Si Feng is very upset and insists, “No, no, mother, I will not
leave Zhou Ping.”

“Listen, Si Feng, you and Zhou Ping cannot be together. Kneel
down and swear to heaven that you will not see Zhou Ping
again,” says Shi Ping, starting to get a bit upset.

Shi Ping feels a hacking pain in her heart while making this
demand, which she knows will inflict tremendous pain on her
daughter.

“No, no, mother I beg you not to force me to leave Zhou Ping,”
begs Si Feng again.

“Si Feng, if you do not make this promise, I will not have you as
my daughter.” Shi Ping sounds very determined when making
this declaration but deep down  her heart, she is really grief-
stricken.

Se Feng does not understand why her mother opposes her
relationship with Zhou Ping so obstinately. See that she has no
alternative,  she at last gives in. She kneels down and swears to
heaven that if she breaks the promise, she will be struck to
death by thunder. Both mother and daughter hold each other
and cry their hearts out, for different reasons though.

A few days have gone by. Zhou Ping has not seen Si Feng
working in the house and wonders where she is. He then finds
out from the housekeeper, who is Si Feng’s father, that her
daughter has left her job. Zhou Ping is naturally surprised to
learn of her departure without being informed beforehand. He
secretly goes to Si Feng’s at midnight that night and knocks at
Si Feng’s bedroom window. Si Feng wonders who knocks at her
window and opens it to check. As soon as she sees Zhou Ping,
she shuts the window. Zhou Ping knocks at the window again
lightly and asks Si Feng in a whisper to open the window, so
that he can speak to her.
There is no response from inside. Zhou Ping refuses to leave
and waits by the window as he is determined to find out from Si
Feng why she has left her job without saying goodbye. Inside
her bedroom, Si Feng is standing by the window. Knowing that
Zhou Ping is out there, she feels the urge of seeing him again.
However, she is afraid that she may break the promise she has
made to her mother.

After a while, rain starts to fall. Not wanting Zhou Ping to get
wet, Si Feng courageously opens the window to let Zhou Ping in.

“Why do you refuse to see me and talk to me? What has
happened? I do not even know you have resigned?” asks Zhou
Ping quietly.

“Ping, I cannot see you anymore. My mother does not allow us
to be together. She has no trust in you because you come from
a wealthy family,” says Si Feng.

“Si Feng, you know that I cannot leave you. I want you to be my
wife and I love you wholeheartedly. I have to go away tomorrow
and work in my father’s quarry. Come with me, and I promise
you I will take very good care of you all my life,” says Zhou Ping.

“But I have sworn to heaven not to see you again,” replies Si
Feng.

“Nothing will come between us; there is nothing greater than my
love for you. Go, pack your stuff, come with me tonight and we
will leave for the quarry together tomorrow,” says Zhou Ping.

Si Feng is so moved by Zhou Ping’s love and quietly nods her
head. She graps several essential items and some clothing, and
they both climb out of the window and run back to Zhou Ping’s
house.

Having gone through such upheavals, Shi Ping’ just cannot sleep
that night. She gets up and goes to see whether there is any
rain leaking into Si Feng’s room. However, she does not see Si
Feng in her room and a chill goes down her spine. She finds that
the wardrobe is left open and some of her daughter’s clothes
are missing. She walks up to the window, and sees footprints on
the windowsill. She dashes out of the room, takes an umbrella
and runs as fast as she can to the Zhou residence.
She knocks at the door. It is well past midnight, and all the
servants are asleep. Zhou Ping hears the knocking of the door
and he has the feeling that it may be Si Feng’s mother who is
making the noise. He is prepared to face Si Feng’s mother if she
does come to fetch Si Feng. He goes to open the door, and
sees a woman. He recognizes her at Si Hai’s mother.

“Ah, you are Si Hai’s mother. Why do you come here so late?
Come again tomorrow if you wish to talk with us about your
son,” says Zhou Ping abruptly, hoping to go back to Si Feng
quickly.

When he is about to close the door, Shi Ping pushes her hand
against the door, trying to stop Zhou Ping from closing the door.

“I am Si Hai’s mother, and I am also the mother of Si Feng,”
says Shi Ping firmly.

Zhou Ping is shocked and says, “Oh, I am sorry, please …
come in.”

They walk into the main hall. Before Zhou Ping says anything,
Shi Ping asks, “Is Si Feng here? I must bring her home and she
must not stay here with you.”

“Madam, I love Si Feng and she loves me dearly. May I have
your permission to let her go with me to the quarry where I will
be working? I realize that my family may not approve of this
marriage, but I do not care whether they agree or not. I will take
care of Si Feng all my life,” says Zhou Ping.

By that time, Si Feng has already come out from Zhou Ping’s
room which is adjoining the main hall. She has heard the
conversation between her mother and Zhou Ping and therefore
tries to persuade her mother to change her mind. Si Feng kneels
down in front of her mother, and Zhou Ping follows suit.

“Please mother, let us stay together.” begs both Zhou Ping and
Si Feng.

“No, you two cannot be together. Come home with me Si Feng,”
says Shi Ping, tears dropping on her chin again.

“Mother, I have to be with Ping …. because I am carrying his
child,” says Si Feng, bursting into tears.

“Madam, please let Si Feng come with me, I beg you,” Zhou
Ping starts to kow tow to Shi Ping.

Shi Ping is so devastated by what she has heard that she can
hardly stand up. Seeing that Si Feng’s mother is about to fall to
the floor, Zhou Ping rushes towards her and help her to a chair.
Shi Ping is reflecting on herself asking what she has done to
deserve all this. She once had a relationship with the young
master of the house and now her daughter is following her
footsteps. It is even heartbreaking that she is pregnant by her
half brother. She cannot utter a word. She feels like having a
knife piercing in her heart. What has been done is done, and
when she recovers from her shock and grief, she says, “Go, go,
go as far as you can and never come back to this town and
never let me see you two again,” says Shi Ping, sopping bitterly.

“Mother, mother, you cannot do this to us. I love you,” says Si
Feng.

“Si Feng, let’s go now. Your mother says this only because she
is so upset now.”

“After we have settled down, we will come back to see you
again,” says Zhou Ping.to Si Feng’s mother/

At that very moment, they hear footsteps coming down the
stairs. Zhou Ping looks up and sees his father and his step-
mother coming down to the hallway. He believes that they must
have been awaken by the noise they have made.

“Ping, so you are leaving with Si Feng,” says Mrs Zhou jealously.

“You cannot leave with Si Feng,” says Mrs Zhou again.

“Leave us alone, and get out of the way,” says Zhou Ping, trying
to push his way back to his room with Si Feng.

“Chung, come down to the hall,” shouts Mrs Zhou to the first
floor above.

“See what your brother is doing. He is taking away your lover,”
continues Mrs Zhou.

Zhou Ping is very cross with his step-mother because he sees
no reason why his brother should be involved in the whole affair.

“How can you be so cruel and unkind to your own son? You
should not try to hurt his feelings,” says Zhou Ping.

Zhou Chung has been awakened by his mother’s hysterical
shouts and comes down to the hall.
“Chung, your big brother has snatched your lover and is trying to
elope with her,” says Mrs Zhou.
“Mother, although I love Si Feng, I will wish them all the
happiness if this is what she wants,” replies Zhou Chung.

“You are not my son, Chung. Don’t you have any spine?” says
Mrs Zhou.

Seeing what is going on, Mr Zhou senior has no choice, but to
disclose the secret to his elder son.

“Ping, this woman is your mother,” says Mr Zhou senior.

Mrs Zhou cannot believe what her husband has said. Shi Ping
can now look at Zhou Ping as her son and says "Ping, I am
sorry for what has happened to you and Si Feng". However,
what Mr Zhou senior has said comes as a bombshell to both
Zhou Ping and Si Feng. They look at each other as they know
what they have done to each other. They know that they will
bear their guilt of incest for the rest of their lives. Si Feng
suddenly becomes hysterical and runs out of the door to the
courtyard in the heavy rain and storm. Zhou Chung follows her.
Suddenly a loud and shattering thunder strikes Si Feng when
she runs under a tree. She falls on the soggy ground
immediately. Chung runs towards her and tries to lift her up, but
he is also electrocuted. Mrs Zhou runs after Chung and when
she sees that her son is also dead, she cries her eyes out and
shouts that this is what the Zhou family deserves. At that very
moment, a gunshot is fired. Mr Zhou senior traces the source of
the noise to Zhou Ping’s room and finds that Zhou Ping has shot
himself with the gun he has snatched from Si Hai.

                               THE END

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Photo taken in 2012 with Ruru Li,
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ghter of Cao Yu.