Storehouse of Laughter – Chapter 3

遇偷

偷兒入一貧家。徧摸。一無所有。乃唾地開門而去。貧漢于床上見之。喚曰。賤可為我開了門去。偷兒曰。你這箇人呌我賤。也忒難。

Meeting a burglar (1)

A burglar broke into a poor man’s house, but couldn’t find anything worth stealing despite searching all over. So he spat on the ground and opened the door to leave. The poor man was lying on the bed and saw him, and called out: “Lowlife! Open the door and get out of here.” The burglar said: “It’s just too much if even someone like you calls me a lowlife.”

一說。喚賊關門。賊笑曰。我且問你。關他做甚麼。亦有味。舊說云。賊。可替我帶上了門。賊曰。是這等貧懶所以做不得人家。貧漢曰。我做人家與你偷麼。

Another version says that the poor man called out to the burglar to shut the door behind him. The burglar laughed and said: “I’ll ask you instead – is there any point in closing it?” This has more wit. An old version has the man telling the burglar: “Will you latch the door for me.” The burglar said: “It’s this sort of damned laziness that keeps you from making something of yourself.” The poor man replied: “Why should I bother making something only for you to steal it?”

賊見有穿新衣者。疑其富夜掘其壁。其人故貧。未睡遇掘䖏。即將鍋盖抵檔。賊嘆曰。看他不惟身上好穿着。屋裡也好裝摺。其人應云。你外面看來好。不知我裡面那東掩西。𦅈捕得好若。

Meeting a burglar (2)

A burglar saw someone wearing new clothes, and thought that he might be rich, and so tailed him home and broke into his house at night. The man was actually poor, and was not yet asleep, and so fended off the burglar with pots and pans. The burglar sighed and said: “He not only wears fine things, but also has a well-furnished house.” The man replied, saying: “It looks good to you on the outside, but you don’t know how painstakingly they have been patched up on the inside.”

偷兒入一貧家。其家止米一小甕。置卧床前。偷兒觧裙布地。方取甕傾米。床上人竊窺之潛抽其裙去。急呼有賊。々應聲曰。眞箇有賊。方纔一條裙在此。轉眼就不見了。

Meeting a burglar (3)

A burglar broke into a poor household. This household kept its grain in a small jar standing in front of the bed. The burglar took off his robe and set in on the ground, before going to pour out the grain from the jar. The person lying on the bed secretly took away the burglar’s robe, before crying “thief!” The burglar said: “There has been a thief! I had just put my robe down there, and now it’s gone!”

一說偷兒既失裙。乃曰。此䖏原來有賊的。語亦冷亦趣。

Another version says that the burglar had already lost his robe, and said: “There was already a burglar here.” The joke is best told with a straight face.

貧漁夫婦于冬天以網為被。中夜。以指透網外。私相謂曰。如此寒夜。虧=左虛=那無被的。如何熬過。

Blanket

A poor fisherman used his net as a blanket in the winter. In the middle of the night, he poked his finger through the net, and said to himself: “On such a cold night as this, it must be so hard on those who don’t have blankets. I wonder how they can survive.”

說夢

欠債者謂討債者曰。我命不久矣。昨夜夢見身[死]。討債者曰。陰陽相反。夢死反得活也。欠債者曰。還有一夢。々見還了你的債。

Interpreting dreams

A debtor told his creditor: “I don’t have long to live. Last night, I dreamed that I was dead.” The creditor replied: “Dreams are the inverse of reality. Dreaming about your death means that you’ll live.” The debtor said: “Oh there was one more dream. I dreamed that I paid back my debt.”

乞兒

有乞兒積粟二酒瓶。自謂極富。一日與伴行市中。聞路人問荅。言今嵗収[過]米三千石矣。丐躡伴足謂曰。你[聽]這人說謊。不信他家有許多酒瓶。

Beggar

A beggar accumulated two wine bottles full of millet, and considered himself to be rich. One day, he went to the market with a companion. Along the way he overheard someone saying that he had stored up three hundred tons of grain. The beggar stepped on his friend’s foot and said: “You hear that? What a liar! I don’t believe that anyone can have that many wine bottles at home.”

㣙衣

小官人穿新㣙衣出。一人見之。曰。此㣙異哉。非蠶絲所織。乃蜘蛛[絲]也。問其故。曰。根々在屁眼內抽出來的。

Silk coat

A petty official went out wearing a silk coat. Someone saw it, and said: “That is strange silk! It’s not woven from the silk of silkworms, but the silk of spiders.” When asked the reason why, the person said: “Every strand has been pulled out of an asshole.”

客與妓久別。後再往。各道相思。妓云。我無夜不夢見你。同眠同食同遊戲。當是積想所致。客云。我亦夢之。妓問。汝夢為何。客曰。我夢見你不夢見我。

Dreams

A prostitute and her john had not seen each other for a long time, and eventually were reunited. They both talked about their thoughts. The prostitute said: “There hasn’t been a night that I haven’t dreamed about you, sleeping together, eating together, playing together, now I have collected my thoughts for you.” The john said: “I have also dreamed of it.” The prostitute asked: “And how did you dream?” The john said: “I dreamed of you but didn’t dream of me.”

羊皮襖

妓接一北方客。臨去。妓欲煖其心。偽云有三箇月孕。是你骨血。你須來一看。客信之。如期而至。妓計困。乃以小白犬一隻。置兒籃內。蒙被而誑客曰。兒生矣。客啟視大喜。橅犬曰。果是我親生骨血。在娘胎就穿下羊皮襖子了。

Lambskin jacket

A prostitute received a john from the North. When it was time for him to leave, the prostitute wanted to warm his affections, and lied to him, saying: “I am three months pregnant, and it is your flesh and blood. You must come back to see it.” The john believed this, and when the time came, the prostitute was in a bind. She took a small white dog, placed it in a baby basket, and covered it with a blanket. She lied to the john, saying: “Your son has been born!” The customer uncovered it and was very happy. As he stroked the dog, he said, “this is indeed my own flesh and blood; in his mother’s womb he already put on a lambskin jacket.”

吏偕卓

一吏飯于家。欲往鄰家借卓。妻曰。自己所有。何用去借。吏笑曰。我的腳伸在別人卓子底下喫慣了。
嘲慣撞席的也得。嘲門客也得。
或謂余曰。古稱四賤。曰娼優隸卒。吏不與也。子伸丞史于古艷。而附吏書于世諱。有說手。余應之曰。有。無官不貴。無役不賤。

An official borrows a table

A government official is eating at home, and wanted to borrow a table from the neighbors. His wife said: “We have one already, why go borrow one?” The official laughed and said: “I’ve been so accustomed to eating with my legs stretched under someone else’s table.”

拿屁

官坐堂。衆人中撒一屁。官問甚麼响。拿[過]來。皂稟曰。拿不着的。官云。如何作弊。定要拿來。皂將紙包一屎塊。回云。正犯走了。拿得家属在此。
或云。這紙包該賞皂隸。余曰。未必穩。只怕官還要問家属一箇不合。

Catching a fart

An official was holding court, when someone in the crowd let out a fart. The official asked: “What made that sound? Hand it over!” A servant reported: “It can’t be handed over.” The official said: “Don’t try to cheat. Hand it over!” The servant wrapped up a turd in a piece of paper and returned, saying: “The culprit has fled, but I have brought here his household.”

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