Zhang Jihua, a talented scholar from Xiangyang, tours Hangzhou for study and visits the West Garden. When Zhang takes a rest beside Cailou, the house of the garden’s owner, a plum twig falls on him. He looks up and sees a beautiful woman, and guesses that the daughter of the garden owner loves him and so threw him a plum twig as a token of her affection. It turns out that Zhao Yuying, the only daughter of the garden owner, is dissatisfied with her engagement to a Mr. Wang and is ill abed; her close friend, WangYuzhen, has come to visit her. When Yuzhen went up the stairs to snap twigs off the plum tree, a twig fell on Jihua.
The scholar manages to get into Zhao’s mansion, hoping to meet Yuying. When he prays for blessings onYuying, he sees Yuzhen passing by, who is coming from the mourning ceremony with tears on her face. Hearing that Yuying has died, Jihua mistakes what he just saw for the ghost of Yuying. Landlord Zhaoadopts Yuzhen as daughter and Mr. Wang comes again to force an engagement. Yuzhen visits Jihua in private to pour out her love for him. At that moment, Jihua is mourning for Yuying and again mistakesYuzhen for Yuying’s ghost. He keeps his distance from Yuzhen; she is confused and upset and walks away. Later, landlord Zhao proposes a marriage for Jihua and Yuzhen, and Jihua tries his best to reject. Even at their wedding, Jihua still mistakes Yuzhen for the ghost of Yuying and attempts to escape during the night. The truth finally comes out and the misunderstanding is happily resolved.