Who Is the Main Character in “The Soul and the Great Bell”?

The main character of Lafcadia Hearn’s short story “The Soul of the Great Bell” is Ko-Ngai, the daughter of a Chinese official. She sacrifices herself to save her father’s life.

In the story, the emperor orders his official Kouan-Yu to make a bell of gold, brass and silver that can be heard from a long distance away. After the first two attempts fail, the emperor tells Kouan-Yu that if he fails again, he will be killed.

Kouan-Yu’s daughter learns of this and asks an astrologer for advice. He tells her that the bell can only be made with the blood of a maiden mixed in. She jumps into the molten metal and her soul merges with the third bell, which comes out perfectly. Lafcadio Hearn included the story in his 1887 book called “Some Chinese Ghosts.”