Days later, the messenger returned.
“Lord, in no great house of this province does any young man know the song. But in a nearby village I found a man who sings it, a fisherman named Truong Chi. I have brought him to the palace.”
“A fisherman?” said the mandarin in disbelief. “Let me see him.”
The messenger brought him in. The fisherman stood uneasily, his eyes wide as they cast about the richly furnished room.
For a moment, the mandarin was too astounded to speak. The man was neither young nor handsome. His clothes were ragged and he stank of fish. Certainly no match for my daughter! thought the mandarin. Somehow, she must not realize . . . .
He gave his order to the messenger. “Bring the fisherman to my daughter’s door and have him sing his song.”
Soon Truong Chi stood anxiously outside the young lady’s room. He could not understand why they’d brought him here. What could they want? He was just a fisherman, wishing only to make an honest living. He had hurt no one, done nothing wrong!
At the messenger’s signal, he nervously started to sing.
My love is like a blossom in the breeze.
My love is like a moonbeam on the waves.
In the room beyond the door, Mi Nuong’s eyes flew open. “He’s here!” she cried to her maid. “How can that be? Oh, quickly, help me dress!”
Mi Nuong jumped from her bed. Never had she so swiftly clothed herself, put up her hair, made herself up. By the time the song drew to a close, she looked like a heavenly vision in flowing robes.
“Now, open the door!” she said, trying to calm her wildly beating heart.