Orphan Lin Daiyu is the granddaughter of Lady Dowager Jia. Shortly after moving into the Spectacle Garden, Lin falls in love with Baoyu, the second young master of the Jia family. Baoyu was born with a piece of jade in his mouth. His cousin Xue Baochai has a golden lock, and cousin Shi Xiangyun has a golden chi-lin. The whole family considers the connections between Baoyu’s jade and his cousin’s precious possessions an omen that heis destined to marry one of the two girls. Weak and helpless, Lin lives in Xiaoxiang House, her temporary abode. Lamenting the brief life of flowers and her own fate, sentimental Linspends her spare time burying fallen flowers alone. Her actions fill Baoyu with tender affection.
Lady Dowager Jia and Wang Xifeng mislead Baoyu into thinking that he is to marryLin. Baoyu discovers the deception on the wedding night and is thrown into despair. While Lin is dying, she burns the manuscripts and handkerchiefs bearing the poems she has written for Baoyu. Baoyu faints when he learns of Lin’s death. Mourning his love,Baoyu weeps at Xiaoxiang House, and soon he leaves home to become a monk. In a dream, the young man meets Lin, who reveals herself as an immortal in heaven.