Even a year after her marriage, the empress casts no shadow; she is barren and must therefore return to the spirit realm from which she had once departed to the human world. Plagued and full of fear, she persuades the poor dyer to sell her shadow to her. However, she cannot bear the suffering and unhappiness she causes in the life of the simple woman. She would rather renounce her own fulfillment. In the renunciation she is granted redemption.