His Sovereign was pleased, and told the young man to strive to imitate the example of his honest father. He then asked him what position he wished. Ye Toh Ryung answered that he wished no other position than one that would enable him to be of service to his King. "The year has been one of great prosperity," said he. "The plentiful harvest will tempt corrupt men to oppress the people to their own advantage. I would like, therefore, should it meet with Your Majesty's approval, to undertake the ardous duties of Ussa"- government inspector.
He said this as he knew he would then be free to go in search of his wife, while he could also do much good at the same time. The King was delighted, and had his appointment - a private one naturally - made at once, giving him the peculiar seal of the office.
The new Ussa disguised himself as a beggar, putting on straw sandals, a broken hat, underneath which his hair, uncombed and without the encircling band to hold it in place, streamed out in all directions. He wore no white strip in the neck of his shabby gown, and with dirty-face he certainly presented a beggarly appearance. Presenting himself at the stables outside of the city, where horses and attendants are provided for the ussas, he soon arranged matters by showing his seal, and with proper at-tendants started on his journey towards his former home in the southern province.
Arriving at his destination, he remained out-aide in a miserable hamlet while his servants went into the city to investigate the people and learn the news.
It was spring-time again. The buds were bursting, the birds were singing, and in the warm valley a band of farmers were plowing with lazy bulls, and singing, meanwhile, a grateful song in praise of their just King, their peaceful, prosperous country, and their full stomachs. As the Ussa came along in his disguise he began to jest with them, but they did not like him, and were rude in their jokes at his expense; when an old man, evidently the father, cautioned them to be careful. "Don't you see," said he, "this man's speech is only half made up of our common talk; he is playing a part. I think he must be a gentleman in disguise." The Ussa drew the old man into conversation, asking about various local events, and finally questioning him concerning the character of the Prefect. "Is he just or oppressive, drunken or sober? Does he devote himself to his duties, or give himself up to riotous living?" "Our Magistrate we know little of. His heart is as hard and unbending as the dead heart of the ancient oak. He cares not for the people; the people care not for him but to avoid him. He extorts rice and money unjustly, and spends his ill-gotten gains in riotous living. He has imprisoned and beaten the fair Chun Yang Ye because she repulsed him, and she now lies near to death in the prison, because she married and is true to the poor dog of a son of our former just magistrate."
Ye Toh Ryung was stung by these unjust remarks, filled with the deepest anxiety for his wife, and the bitterest resentment toward the brute of an official, whom, he promised himself, soon to bring to justice. As he moved away, too full of emotion for further conversation, he heard the farmers singing, "Why are some men born to riches, others born to toil, some to marry and live in peace, others too poor to possess a hut."
He walked away meditating, He had placed himself down on the people's level, and began to feel with them. Thus meditating he crossed a valley, through which a cheery mountain brook rushed merrily along. Near its banks, in front of a poor hut, sat an aged man twisting twine. Accosting him, the old man paid no attention; he repeated his salutation, when the old man, surveying him from head to foot, said: "In the government service age does not count for much, there rank is every thing; an aged man may have to bow to a younger, who is his superior officer. 'T is not so in the country, however; here age alone is respected. Then why am I addressed thus by such a miserable looking stripling?" The young man asked his elder's pardon, and then requested him to answer a question. "I hear," says he, "that the new Magistrate is about to marry the gee sang, Chun Yang Ye; is it true?"
"Don't mention her name," said the old man, angrily, "You are not worthy to speak of her. She is dying in prison, because of her loyal devotion to the brute beast who married and deserted her."
Ye Toh Ryung could hear no more. He hurried from the place, and finding his attendants, announced his intention of going at once into the city, lest the officials should hear of his presence and prepare for him. Entering the city, he went direct to Chun Yang Ye's house. It presented little of the former pleasant appearance. Most of the rich furniture had been sold to buy comforts for the imprisoned girl. The mother, seeing him come, and supposing him to be a beggar, almost shrieked at him to get away. "Are you such a stranger, that you don't know the news? My only child is imprisoned, my husband long since dead, my property almost gone, and you come to me for alms. Begone, and learn the news of the town."
"Look! Don't you know me? I am Ye Toh Ryuug, your son-in-law," he said.
"Ye Toll Ryung, and a beggar! Oh, it cannot be. Our only hope is in you, and now you are worse than helpless. My poor girl will die."
"What is the matter with her?" said he, pretending.
The woman related the history of the past months in full, not sparing the man in the least, giving him such a rating as only a woman can. He then asked to be taken to the prison, and she accompanied him with a strange feeling of gratification in her heart that after all she was right, and her daughter's confidence was ill-placed. Arriving at the prison, the mother expressed her feelings by calling to her daughter: "Here is your wonderful husband. You have been so anxious to simply see Ye Toh Ryung before you die; here he is; look at the beggar, and see what your devotion amounts to! Curse him and send him away."