Storehouse of Laughter – Chapter 12

破網巾

有見人網巾甚敝。勸令修補。其人喚匠至。即與坐上伸頭令修。匠請除下。應曰。若除下。散矣。

Broken hairnet

Someone saw a man with an old and mangled hairnet, and advised him to get it repaired. The man went to a hatter, sat down, and stretched his neck out for him to repair the hairnet. The hatter said: “Why don’t you take it off?” He replied: “If I try to, it’ll just fall to pieces.”

一人網巾破。用布補之。久而布多于騌矣。或曰。如此網巾。帶之熱=上執=否。荅曰。難道布唐巾不帶了。

此與皮補鞋說難道靴不穿了同意。又一人蒲鞋破。屢用皮補。或見之。訝曰。你的皮鞋。如何帶此蒲在上。

Hairnet (3)

A man’s hairnet was broken, and he patched it up with cloth. After some time, there was more cloth than horsehair. Someone said to him: “Doesn’t it get very warm wearing such a hairnet?” He replied: “What do you mean? Does no one wear cloth caps any more?”

This is like the man who repaired his sandals with leather, saying: “Does no one wear boots any more?” Another man’s straw sandals were broken, and he repaired them with leather. Someone saw them and was shocked: “Why is there straw in your leather shoes?”

鞋襪訟

一人鞋襪俱破。鞋歸咎于襪。々亦歸咎于鞋。相與訟之于神。々亦不能决。乃拘脚跟證之。脚跟曰。小的一向逐出在外。何由得知。

鞋襪都該歸咎于脚跟。問何故。曰。都被老脚跟摩壞了。

一人見破襪者。戱謂曰。你的鞋子在那裡滾。其人不觧。問之曰。襪都抪出來了。

The shoe and sock argue

A man’s shoes and socks were both broken. The shoes blamed the socks, and the socks blamed the shoes. The both of them took their dispute to the deities, but the deities could not resolve it, and so they asked the feet to arbitrate. The feet replied: “I’ve been hanging out in the open all this while – what would I know?”

The socks and shoes should both blame the feet. When the feet ask why, they reply: “We were both spoiled by the feet’s grinding.”

Someone saw a man with broken socks, and wanted to tease him, saying: “Where did your shoes get rolled about?” The man didn’t understand and asked him what he meant. He replied: “Your socks are all scattered about.”

一人襪破無底。跳一水缺。襪從脚面墜下。旁人見之呼曰。老兄轉來。拾了襪去。其人穿襪謝曰。不遇兄這般好人。幾失此襪矣。家中有舊襪一雙。當以相謝。

Socks

Someone’s socks were so broken, that when he jumped over a puddle, they slipped off his legs entirely and were left behind. A bystander saw this and called out to him: “Hey brother! You’ve left your socks behind!” The man thanked him as he put them back on, saying: “Good people like you are hard to find! Thanks to you, I didn’t lose my socks. I have an older pair at home; I’d like to give them to you in thanks.”

属犬

一酒客訝同席者飲啖太猛。問其年。對以属犬。曰。早是属犬。若属虎。連我也都喫了。

Year of the Dog

A guest at a banquet was alarmed that his neighbor was devouring his food so violently, and asked him what sign he was born under. The neighbor replied that he was born in the year of the dog. The guest said: “That’s just as well; if you had been born in the year of the tiger, you would have gobbled me up along with everything else!”

[攜]燈

有夜飲者。僕[攜]燈往候其主。々曰。少時便天明矣。何用燈為。僕乃歸。至天明。復往。主訝曰。汝大不曉事。今日反不帶燈來。

Bringing a lantern

A man was drinking into the night. One of his servants carried a lantern when he came to attend to him, but the master said: “It’s going to be daybreak soon, why are you bothering with a lantern?” The servant went away. When the sun came up, the servant returned. The master was surprised, and said: “You really have no common sense – today you don’t bring a lantern.” [?]

淡酒

有以淡水酒飲客者。客甞之。極譽其烹庖之妙。主人曰。粗殽尚未設。何以知之。荅曰。勿論其他。只這一味酒煮白滾湯。已好喫矣。

Diluted wine

At a dinner, the host secretly added water to dilute the wine that he served to his guests. Before the meal began, one of the guests remarked: “The soup you’ve prepared for us tonight is excellent!” The host said: “But the dishes haven’t been served yet – how could you possibly know what it tastes like?” The guest replied: “It doesn’t matter what the other dishes are like, but this clear broth spiced with a dash of wine is very tasty.”


有人見淡酒。便向主人索刀。問何用。曰。欲殺此壺。又問壺如何殺。曰。殺了出此水氣。

Diluted wine (2)

A guest found that he had been served a pot of diluted wine, and asked his host for a knife. The host asked: “Why do you need a knife?” He replied: “To stab this pot.” “Why would you want to stab the pot?” “To let out some of the moisture.”

酸酒

有上酒店而嫌其酒酸者。店人怒。弔之于梁。客[過]。問其故。訴曰。小店酒極佳。此人說酸。可是該弔。客曰。借一杯我甞之。既甞畢。攢眉謂店主曰。可放此人。弔了我罷。

Soured wine

A customer at a tavern complained that his wine had gone sour. The proprietor was furious, and strung him up in the rafters. Another guest came by, and asked what happened. The proprietor explained: “My shop sells good wine. But this man complained that it was sour, and so deserved to be hung up in the ceiling.” The new guest said: “Why don’t you give me a glass so I can taste it for myself.” After he had tried it, he sorrowfully told the proprietor: “You can let that man go, and hang me up there instead.”

有賣酸酒者。客上店。謂店主曰。腐菜足矣。但須美酒。店主應去。少間。來問曰。菜內可着醋。客曰。醋滴菜心甚好。取菜置訖。又問曰。荳腐中可着醋。客曰。醋烹荳腐也好。取腐置訖。又問曰。酒中可着醋。客訝曰。酒中如何着得醋。店主攢眉曰。怎麼䖏。已着在酒內了。

Soured wine (2)

There was a shop that sold soured wine. A customer came to the shop, and told the proprietor: “Just tofu and vegetables will do, but I need to have good wine to go with it.” The proprietor nodded and went to the back. A while later he returned to ask: “Do you mind some vinegar in your vegetables?” The customer said: “Vegetable hearts cooked with a touch of vinegar are excellent.” When they arrived at the table he ate everything up. Again the proprietor asked: “Do you mind some vinegar in your tofu?” The customer said: “Tofu steamed with vinegar sauce is delicious.” And he ate it all when it arrived. Again the proprietor asked: “Do you mind some vinegar in your wine?” The customer was shocked: “Why would you want to add vinegar to wine?” The proprietor frowned and said: “Well I can’t help it, it was already in there to begin with.”

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