蘇小妹三難新郎

故事源自明代馮夢龍《醒世恒言》的同名故事。蘇東坡有妹名蘇小妹,聰明伶俐,才華不亞三蘇。到了擇偶之年,父親蘇老泉欲以才選婿,讓往來求親的青年都留下詩作讓小妹自選姻緣,最後小妹選中了才華與三蘇並驅的秦觀,但秦觀投柬之初,雖慕小妹之才,卻也擔心其容貌是否如坊間流傳般醜陋,於是打聽得小妹到岳王廟燒香,就假扮道人,以窺芳容,一見果是脫俗閑雅,欲以言語挑逗,卻被小妹一一還擊,更覺傾心。小妹回家後得知廟中道人就是投柬之人,心中既暗自高興,卻也怒其傲氣,於是在新婚之夜,開出三道題目,讓秦觀回答,答錯則不許踏入新房之內。秦觀自視才高,輕易答允,誰知一二道題的對詩和猜人名都好答,卻被尾一道題「閉門推出窗前月」的賦聯難倒了,正是心煩之際,蘇東坡把小石投入池中,水花濺到秦觀身上,秦觀馬上悟出了「投石衝開水底天」的下句,成就一段美好姻緣。



Su Xiaomei's Three Questions

This opera is based on a story with the same title from “Lasting Words to Awaken the World” by Feng Menglong of the Mingdynasty.

 

Su Dongpo, the famous poet, has a brilliant sister, Xiaomei, who is no less talented than her father and two brothers. Coming of the age for marriage, her future spouse will be selected with care. Father Su Laoquandecides that the prospective son-in-law should be no less talented than the family into which he is marrying. He therefore asks that all suitors leave poems for Xiaomei’s discernment. She finally chooses Qin Guan, who is well matched with the whole family when it comes to literary talents.

 

Though he admires Xiaomei for her talent, Guan wonders if she may be as ugly as she is rumored to be. Informed of her routine of offering incense at the YueFeiTemple, he poses as a Taoist monk in order to catch a glimpse of her. Relieved to find an elegant and refined lady, he teases her with words and, to his delight, meets with witty retorts. Back home, Xiaomei learns that the Taoist monk is none other than her prospective spouse. Although delighted to find him compatible, she is irritated by his insolence.

 

On the wedding night, Xiaomei refuses to let Guan enter the bridal chamber unless he can answer three questions. The first and second, a poem and a riddle, Guan solves easily. He is baffled, however, by the last one—a matching stanza to complement the phrase: 'closing the door / pushes out / the moon / in front of the window'. Getting anxious, Guan’sbrother-in-law throws a stone into the pond, splashing water onto him. He immediately gets an answer: 'throwing a stone / penetrates / the sky / under the water'! The brilliant solution qualifies him to join his bride.