The setting of the opera is the end of the Sung Dynasty at Beijing. Wong Sui-lan, the daughter of the prime minister, Wong Zen, has lost her mother while they are fleeing the capital. She meets Zeng Sei-lung who is looking for his sister, Sui-lin, whose name sounds only slightly different from Sui-lan’s. As a helpless female, Sui-lan begs Sei-lung to take her along with him for protection. He pities her and agrees. They go through a lot of hardships and realize how much they care for each other. Finally they fall in love. Without the permission of their parents or an introduction by a go-between, they marry amidst the horror of war. Unfortunately, their “marriage” is not considered binding according to the norm of a traditional society. When Sui-lan’s father finds her, he forces her to leave Sei-lung, a poor scholar. Despite their protests, the lovers are forced apart. When Sei-lung tries to look for her, in order to extinguish Sei-lung’s hope, Wong Zen makes up a lie and tells him Sui-lan has suddenly died of sickness. Heart-broken, Sei-lung tries to drown himself but is saved instead. He ends up being adopted by a powerful family and later becomes a high court official.
Meanwhile, Wong Zen arranges to have Sui-lan betrothed to a son from a powerful family, but she refuses to remarry, so the father then tells her of Sei-lung’s drowning. Sui-lan goes to the Moon Pavilion to mourn for her beloved’s death while Sei-lung coincidentally goes there to reminisce about the time they have spent together. While she is there, they meet. Like the ending of most comedies, finally all obstacles disappear and the two lovers get married.