Prime Minister Liu holds a party to select a husband for his beloved daughter, Yue'e, and invites only young men from families of distinction. Lu Mengzheng passes by in ragged clothes. Scorned by the crowd, he replies with an improvised poem. Yue'e hears his words and is impressed by his talent. The shabby Lügets the embroidered ball (a token of marriage) by chance, but the snobbish prime minister refuses to take him as son-in-law. Yue'e insists on marrying Lu. Outraged, Yue'e’s father banishes them both from the house.
Living in a humble cave dwelling, the couple leads a happy and contented life. Lu, who begs for food at White Horse Temple, is often scorned by the monks after dinner and they refuse to let him get warm by the stove. He voices his indignation by writing poems on the wall.
Yue'e’s mother sends an old servant to deliver money and food to her daughter. Seeing the big and small footprints on the snow at the cave entrance, Lu suspects that his wife is having an affair. Yue'e clears away his suspicion after she explains what has really happened.
Lu travels to the capital and succeeds in the imperial examination. Richly dressed, Lu and Yue'e return to White Horse Temple and find the poems Lu wrote sheltered by covers of green gauze. The monks ask Luto write new poems. Yue'e expresses her wish that poems could warn people against snobbishness.