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In ancient Nanjing, a boy was born into the great JIA FAMILY with a rare jade in his mouth. He was named BAOYU (The Jade) and quickly became the favorite of all of who lived at the great Rong Palace. BAOYU, with inborn tenderness and affection, cared much for the ladies around him, especially for DAIYU, his cousin. DAIYU'S mother died when she was a child leaving her alone in the world. She soon deemed BAOYU as her only true love. But the love between BAOYU and DAIYU was challenged by the interference of the popular and charming, BAOCHAI, another cousin of BAOYU from another noble family, who was far better at meeting and pleasing people. BAOYU becomes a rebel against his feudal family, objecting to the idea of scholarly honor and official rank. DAIYU is the only one who understands him. Love becomes a tacit understanding and mutual expectation between the two young innocents. When the bride, chosen by the family for BAOYU, turns out to be BAOCHAI ; DAIYU weeps to death in depression. BAOYU proceeds with his helpless and hopeless filial resistance; leaving his family to become a cloistered monk and to live out his days on earth alone in spiritual contemplation.

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