A Japanese folk legend (coming from a Chinese story) tells that every man and woman comes into the world with a red thread tied to the little finger of the left hand (in Chinese history at the ankle). That red thread binds two soulmates who are destined to meet no matter where they are or how far apart they are. 

The thread is invisible, very long and indestructible and its purpose is to hold together the two people who are destined to be together forever. The problem is that sometimes it can get tangled and create very unpredictable knots making the meeting of the two soulmates very difficult.

However, every untied tangle represents the overcoming of an obstacle in the relationship and will serve to make the bond stronger and stronger.

The story behind this magic and powerful meaning is very touching.

During the Tang dynasty there was an orphan boy named Wei who wanted to get married and have a family. So, he set out in search of a wife, but as much as he looked for her, he could not find her. One day, while on his way, he arrived in the city of Song. There he met a stranger who told to about his desperate desire to find a wife and the difficulty in finding her. 

The stranger told him that the daughter of the governor of the city would be a good wife for him. He even offered to speak to the girl’s father, so the two met the following day in the temple.

Wei was very anxious and arrived at the temple before dawn. On the steps he saw an old man reading a book. Wei walked over to the old man, trying to read the pages but he couldn’t understand a word of it, so the old man smiled and told him it was a book from the afterlife. 

The two continued to chat and in the end, the old man revealed to him that he belonged to the afterlife and was instructed about human relationships, especially love. 

Wei was curious about his destiny and his marriage, but the old man disappointed him saying that the one who would become his wife was only three years old and that he would marry her once she turned seventeen.

The old man explained also that in its bag there were red threads used to bind husbands and wives: these were invisible and inseparable threads which established a bond from birth.

Moreover, he revealed that his future wife would be the daughter of old Chen, who had a stall in the market. They went to the market and the old man showed him the little girl, held in the arms of her mum. They were very poor, and both dressed in rags. 

Wei wanted to kill her in order to prevent him from waiting such long time to get married. He ordered a servant to kill the child. When the servant went to the market, he harmed her between the eyes and not the heart.

Despite his terrible action, Wen could not find a wife. Nevertheless, work was going very well for him and the local governor offered him his daughter as a wife. So, he finally had a beautiful wife of excellent birth, a seventeen-year-old whom he loved very much. As soon as he saw her, he noticed that the girl always wore a cloth on her forehead that she never took off, not even to wash and sleep. 

Many years later, thinking of what he did, he decided to ask his wife the reason why she always wore that bend. Crying, his wife replied that she was not the Shiangzhou governor’s daughter, but his niece. He told him that his father was once the governor of a town called Song, where he died when he was very young. 

She confessed what happened to her at the age of three: when she was with her at the market, she had been stabbed by a madman and that scar had never disappeared, which is why she had covered it with a cloth. 

Wei felt that he has to tell the truth too and after telling each other’s tales, they loved each other more than before.

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Carla Sottile


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