Beautiful, strong-willed and eager to learn, Zhu Yingtai came from a rich but
conservative family in Zhejiang province during Eastern Jin Dynasty. She
knew her father would not let her attend classes outside and tried hard to think
of a way to convince him. She then disguised herself as a man and neither her
father nor mother could recognise her. With their approval, Zhu set off for
Hangzhou with her maid Yin Xin.
On their way they met Liang Shanbo and his servant Si Jiu from Huiji. They became good friends and swore brotherhood.
Three years had passed. Zhu was secretly in love with Liang, but Liang did not know Zhu was a girl.
Zhu's father had been sending her letters forcing her to return home. Zhu
had no choice but to quit. Before departure she asked her teacher's wife to be
a matchmaker for her and Liang.
Liang saw Zhu off for miles. On their way Zhu tried to hint at her true identity, but Liang did not get the message at all. Before they parted, Zhu told Liang she had a twin sister at home and asked him to visit her as soon as he could for a proposal.
Liang was told the truth when he returned to the college. He then rushed off to
visit Zhu with Si Jiu. However, Zhu's father had already accepted another proposal
from a rich man Ma Wencai and refused to change his mind. Liang missed the
chance and left with disappointment and frustration.
A few days later, Liang died of sorrow and illness. Grief-stricken, Zhu insisted to visit his graveyard before going to the wedding with Ma. She took off her wedding gown in front of Liang's tomb and cried with all her strength. Suddenly the tomb opened and Zhu jumped inside. Since then, Liang and Zhu became a pair of colourful butterflies which never parted again.