n Australian woman thought she had found herself in the middle of a fairytale after discovering a Chinese love letter in a bottle set adrift at sea, only to later be given a cold, hard dose of reality when she managed to track down the author.
On August 8th, while sailing off the coast of Queensland in Australia, Kate Challenger and her partner Daniel McNally spotted a barnacle-covered bottle floating in the ocean. After fishing it out, they found a note inside.
The note was written in Chinese, so McNally, the owner of a local tour company, later used his company’s Facebook page to ask for help. Several people responded with translations, explaining that the note was written by a Chinese sailor who had gone to sea shortly after getting engaged:
I am a sailor now sailing on the Indian Ocean. I deeply miss my fiancée at home. I feel so sorry for leaving her behind straight after our engagement. I can only write down the words that are in my mind and seal them in a floating bottle.
My only wish is to return home and live a long, happy, and beautiful life with Jing. I know that this bottle is floating in the deep seas and don’t expect it to ever be found and read. I’m only doing this to comfort my own heart.
I love you, Jing.
The Brisbane Times reports that after hearing what was written on the note, Challenger decided that she needed to find this lovesick sailor, so that at least his fiancée would know what a “fantastic bloke” he was. News of the love letter soon went viral on Chinese social media, leading to a man contacting her, claiming to be a friend of the author.
Through this friend, the author revealed that, sadly, he was no longer engaged to the woman he had written the letter about, explaining that she had actually married another man and now had a family with him.
While this wasn’t the ending that Challenger had been expecting, she said that it didn’t change her respect for the romantic sailor.
“Because his former fiancee now has another family, he is worried that if either of them are identified it will hurt her and the family she now has,” she said. “He’s a really lovely man… the world would be such a nicer place with more men like him. I cried when I first read the letter and I still get goosebumps every time I read it again.”
“It just didn’t work out. He’s single and I’d love for him to find a nice girl. This is a story of love found, love lost and then love making its own way along the currents to Tongue Bay.”
News of the fate of the note’s author has created quite the stir on Chinese social media, confirming the views of all the romantic pessimists out there. “A fairytale beginning and a realistic end,” reads one comment with more than 54,000 likes.