To drink vinegar

A jealous woman is said “to drink vinegar”, and the origin of the term is as follows:–Fang Hsuan-ling (房玄龄) was the favourite Minister of the Emperor T’ai Tsung(唐太宗), of the T’ang dynasty. He lived A.D. 578-648. One day his master gave him a maid of honour from the palace as second wife, but the first or real wife made the place too hot for the poor girl to live in. Fang complained to the Emperor, who gave him a bowl of poison, telling him to offer his troublesome wife the choice between death and peaceable
behaviour for the future. The lady instantly chose the former, and drank up the bowl of “vinegar”, which the Emperor had substituted to try her constancy. Subsequently, on his Majesty’s recommendation, Fang
sent the young lady back to resume her duties as tire-woman to the Empress. But the phrase lived, and has survived to this day.

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