Storehouse of Laughter – Chapter 3



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.”


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?”


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.”


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!”


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.



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.”



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.”




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.”



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.”



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.”



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.”



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.”



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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