Storehouse of Laughter – Chapter 6




A father and son were both very stubborn by nature, and unwilling to let others have their way. One day, the father had a guest over for a meal, and sent the son into the city to buy some meat at the market. The son was carrying the meat home and was passing through the city gates when another person was just wanting to come in. The two stood facing each other for a long time, neither willing to give way. The father came looking for the son, and when he saw the situation, he said: “Son, why don’t you go carry the meat back and accompany our guest at home. In the meanwhile I’ll take your place and stand here opposite this fellow.”




A man was very impatient by nature, and often told his wife: “If anyone else in this world is more impatient than me, I would be upset enough to die.” One day he went to a noodle shop, and said: “Quick! Bring me noodles!” The boss brought the noodles over, slopped them on the table, and said: “Eat them however you want, I am in a hurry to wash the dishes.” The man was angry, and went home to tell his wife about it, saying: “Now I must die.” The wife heard this, and left to marry someone else. After getting married and spending the first night together, the new husband wanted to leave. The wife asked: “What wrong have I done?” The new husband replied: “I am upset that you have not borne me a son.”


Impatient (2)

There was an impatient man, whose servant had committed some wrong. He made him kneel and wanted to punish him, but was very upset because the plank he wanted to beat him with had not yet been fetched. The servant said to the master: “Why not slap me instead, and relieve some of your tension?”




A man was hesitant by nature. On a winter’s day, he was sitting with someone at a fireplace, and saw that the person’s coattails had caught fire. He thus said, “There’s something I want to say, that I have observed for some while, but I’m afraid to say it because I know that you are of a nervous temperament, so never mind. But I’m afraid that you might be injured, so I’m not sure if I should say it or not.” The other person asked: “What is it?” He replied: “Your coattails are on fire.” The other person hurriedly pulled them out of the fire, and angrily asked: “Why didn’t you say so earlier?” The reply: “I said that you were the nervous type, and so you are.”





There was a lazy man, who was lying in bed and too lazy to get up. His family called him to lunch, but he was too lazy to respond. After a long time he was hungry, and ailing. He softly said: “I’m too lazy to eat.” His family responded: “If you don’t eat you’ll die, and how can you let that be?” He said: “I’m too lazy to live.”

An old story goes: There were husband and wife who were both lazy, and in the mornings they would lie in bed in silence. The first to speak, would have to get up and cook breakfast. It was already afternoon and they still were not up. The neighbors were surprised that it was so quiet, and so stepped in to have a look. The wife unthinkingly said: “Someone’s in the house.” The husband replied: “It’s your turn to make breakfast.”




Peace and quiet

A man loved to have his peace and quiet, but lived between a bronzesmith and an ironsmith, and so from dawn to dusk the noise lapped at his ears. It was very painful for him, and he often said: “If these two households ever move out, I will gladly host them a banquet.” One day, the two smiths suddenly came knocking and said: “We are planning to move out, and would like to have a banquet. We specially came to kowtow and humbly ask you to pick a date.” He replied: “Tomorrow!” The man was very happy, and spent a lot of money on it. After the drinks were over, he asked: “Where are your two households going to move to?” They replied: “I’m going to his house, and he’s going to my house.”

Why not just move out himself? That would do him good.







A man was carrying a knife to a bamboo grove to harvest bamboo. He felt the inner urge, and so set down the knife on the ground and took a dump in the grove. Suddenly he raised up his head and said: “We need bamboo at home. This place has good bamboo, but it’s a pity I didn’t bring a knife.” After he had relieved himself, he saw the knife, and was glad: “Heaven listens to people’s wishes! Here’s a knife!” When he went to pick out bamboo and was about to cut it, he saw the shit he had left behind, and angrily said: “What kind of person craps beside a path? Could have soiled my feet!”

Another joke: A person asked an old man for his name, and he said: “My surname is Zhang.” The younger man asked him again, and he replied once more. When he was asked the third time, he got angry, and said: “I already said that my name is Zhang, why do you ask me again?” The younger man said: “This old Mr Lee is so easily upset.”



Loving drink

Someone who loved to drink dreamed about good wine, and was warming it up to drink when suddenly he woke up. He regretfully said: “I should have just drunk it cold.”


The same person wrote in his will, that after his death he should be buried naked, so that in time he would crumble to earth. Perhaps then that earth would be gathered up to make a ceramic jar, and with any luck it would be used to hold wine.



A fool tends the shop

A fool’s father was going out, and told him to tend the shop. Suddenly there was a customer who came and asked: “Have you a father?” The fool said: “None.” “Have you a mother?” Likewise: “None.” The father came back, and learned what had happened. He said to his son: “Your father, that’s me! Your mother, that’s my wife! What did you mean, ‘none’?” The son was angry and vexed, and said: “Who knew that you were both for sale?”


Luckily he was a fool, otherwise grandpa and grandma would also have been sold off.



Seeking the father

A man was going on a long journey, and instructed his son: “If anyone should come seeking your father, you can reply that I have gone out for some small business, then invite him in for some tea.” He felt that his son was stupid and was afraid that he’d forget, and so wrote this down on a piece of paper. His son kept this in his sleeve, and took it out to read once every while. Until the third day, when no one had come knocking, he thought that the paper was useless and disposed of it in the fire. On the fourth day a visitor suddenly came around, and asked for his father. He felt in his sleeve and the paper wasn’t there, and so he said: “Lost.” The visitor was shocked, and said: “When did this happen?” The reply: “Last night in the fire.”



The number one

A father showed his son how to write the number one. The next day, the son was beside him when he was cleaning a table. The father took the wet cloth and drew a single stroke across the table, and asked the son if he recognized it. The father said: “This is the number one that I taught you yesterday.” The son’s eyes opened wide and he said: “Just one night, and it’s grown so big!”



Worrying about King Wen

A teacher was speaking about King Wen of Zhou’s imprisonment, but he was summoned away and did not finish the lesson. One of the students left quickly for home, with an anguished expression on his face. On the road, a colleague asked him what was the matter, and he replied: “Earlier my teacher told us about the great sage King Wen, and how he was imprisoned by King Zhou of Shang. I’m just distressed by this crime.” The colleague said: “King Wen is soon released, he won’t grow old in prison.” The student said: “I’m not worried about his release, I’m just worried that he’ll have a hard time in jail tonight.”



Felt hat

A man wore a felt hat out in the summer, and stopped under a big tree for a break in the shade. He took off the hat and used it to fan himself, saying to a bystander: “If I hadn’t worn this hat out today, I would be dying of the heat!”


Recently there was a man selling woolen socks in the summer, calling them summer socks. Someone asked him what was good about them, and he said: “It feels really cool and refreshing when you take them off.”




There was an urgent message that had to be delivered. The official was afraid that it would be late, and so he sent a horse along with the courier. Instead of riding it, the courier ran behind the horse. When asked why, he said: “Going on six legs must be faster than going on four legs.”



Recognizing shoes

A wife was carrying on at night with a neighbor, when her husband came home. The neighbor escaped through the window, but the husband managed to grab his shoes, and scolded his wife to no end. He held on to the shoes as he went to bed, saying to his wife: “Tomorrow when the sun’s up, I’ll see who these shoes belong to, and settle this score with you!” The wife waited till he was asleep, and swapped the shoes with the husband’s own shoes. The next morning, he continued to scold her. The wife asked him if he recognized the shoes. When he saw them, he was filled with regret and said: “I’m sorry that I wrongly accused you; it turns out that the one jumping out the window last night was me!”



Guarding a monk

There was a soldier who was supposed to stand guard over a monk in prison. As the monk was chanting, the soldier got drunk and passed out. The monk shaved the head of the soldier, freed himself from his chains, shackled up the soldier in his place, and escaped. The next morning, the soldier woke up and couldn’t find the monk. He rubbed his head, and found that it was bald, and that there were chains around his neck. He sighed and said: “Well the monk is still here. But where am I?”


There was a poor man who was left a plot of land by a relative. The man was afraid of bandits, and so spent every night sleeping there. One day, a thief came while he was sleeping, dragged him into a well, and stole that piece of land. The next day he raised his head and saw the sky, and said: “The ground has caved in and trapped me here, and the house is also gone.” This is much the same story as the first one.



Administering the drug

A woman had a boil in a privates, and consulted a physician about it. The physician knew that her husband was a fool, and said, “I have to administer the medicine for this personally.” He then smeared some ointment on the tip of his penis, and had sex with the woman. The husband stood by watching, and after a long time, said: “If not for that medicine that he smeared on, this would make me very uneasy.”


A boy was taking a shit, when his grasshopper jumped into his arse. He asked someone to help fish it out, but the person said: “It can’t be fished out, but I can help you stab it to death.” And so he carried on with him. The boy said: “Stab it quickly! Otherwise, if people see us, they might think that we are participating in buggery.”



Stupid son-in-law

A son-in-law was said to be very stupid. His father-in-law pointed to a willow sapling at the door and asked of what use was this thing. The son-in-law replied: “If this tree were bigger, it could be used to make a carriage wheel.” The father-in-law was glad, and said: “People say that he’s stupid, but they are wrong.” They went to the kitchen. On seeing a small dish for sauces, the son-in-law said: “If this dish were bigger, it could be a mortar and pestle.” At this moment, the mother-in-law farted. The son-in-law said: “If this fart were bigger, it could be a thunderstorm.”




A stupid man went to have dinner with his wife’s family, hosted by his father-in-law. At dinner, he found the taste of ice to be exquisite, and so wrapped some ice up in paper and stowed it away in his pocket. When he got home, he told his wife: “Your father served some real delicacies. I specially brought some back for you to try.” When he searched in his pocket, he found that it had already melted. Shocked, he said: “It has escaped! And left behind a puddle of urine.”



Stabbed in the belly

A son-in-law was newly married, and received instruction, but it was not detailed enough. When he laid with his bride, he performed what had been described to him. After a while, he penetrated her, but was greatly shocked. He grabbed his clothes and ran out the door and went into hiding. A few days later, under cover of darkness, he went back to his street, and asked a passer-by: “Did you hear about the new bride who got stabbed in the belly? She’s alright now, eh?”



Selling buns

There was a bun-seller whose son-in-law was not too bright. One day, he had to go somewhere, and so told the son-in-law: “Make sure that you sell these buns for four cents a basket. Otherwise we won’t break even and might as well eat them ourselves.” Later, a customer came who wanted to have them for cheaper, and wouldn’t accept that price. The son-in-law therefore ate all the buns one by one. When the father-in-law returned, he asked what had happened, and the son-in-law replied: “There was a person who came, but because he would only accept a lower price, I obeyed your instructions and ate them all myself instead.” The old man was angry and took a stick to beat him, chasing the son-in-law in circles around the table. At some point, the old man saw how ridiculous this situation was and couldn’t help but laugh. The son-in-law said: “Sir, I see that you are beginning to understand.”



Guarding poplars

A man who farmed poplars instructed a servant boy to guard them. After several days, not a tree had been stolen. The owner was happy, and told the boy: “Your perseverance is commendable! How did you manage not to lose a single one?” He answered: “I dig them out every night and hide them in my house.”



Counting guests

There was a stupid servant boy. His master told him to count how many guests came into the room, so that he could prepare an appropriate amount of tea. The boy promptly started pointing at each guest and counting aloud: “One, two…” The master was furious and scolded him, saying: “From now on you can only count silently.” Then as each new guest came, the servant boy tapped his forehead and counted silently. After serving the tea, the servant boy suddenly patted his master on the back and said: “Was that better?”




Chair legs

In the countryside, chair legs are often made from Y-forked pieces of wood, with the tips of the Y pointing downwards. A man had such a chair, and one of the legs was broken. He sent his servant to fetch a piece of wood from the forest to replace it. The servant set off with an axe, but returned at night empty-handed. The master asked him what happened, and he replied: “There was plenty of wood forked in a Y, but they were all pointing upwards. I couldn’t find any that were pointing downwards.”




Hiding a hoe

A pair of brothers were working the soil on their farm. The elder brother left early to prepare their meal. When it was ready, he called out to his brother still in the fields to return to eat. The younger brother called back: “I’m coming! Let me first hide our hoe in the ditch!” When they were eating, the elder brother said: “If you want to hide something, you have to keep it secret. If you shout it out loudly as you did, everyone will hear about it. Wouldn’t it then be stolen?” The younger brother nodded. After they ate, the younger brother went back to the field, but the hoe was already gone. In a panic, he rushed back to his brother. Dropping to a whisper, he said: “Our hoe has been stolen.”

This joke was told at a banquet. One of the guests paused in mid-drink and asked: “So who was it that stole the hoe?” Everybody laughed uproariously.



Selling a goose

A man selling a goose had to go to the toilet, and so set his goose on the ground. Someone else came along and swapped the goose for a duck. When the goose-seller was done with his business, he came back, saw the animal, and said: “I’ve been gone only a short while. How could my goose have starved to become so dark and skinny?”




A villager returned from the city, and asked his wife: “I was sneezing a lot while I was there. Why was that?” The wife said: “It’s because I was thinking about you so much.” The next day he was hauling manure across a rickety bridge, when he sneezed again and lost his footing. He angrily yelled: “Interfering woman! Even if you want to think about me, there’s a proper time and place!”



Changing places

Someone was due to receive punishment in court, and so paid a neighbor two silver coins to take his place. The neighbor took the silver and merrily went to face the judge. The judge ordered that he be lashed three times. In fear of the pain, he used the silver that he received to bribe the men who were to beat him, and so they only lashed him slightly. He went back and thanked the first man, saying: “Your silver has saved my life! If not for it I would have surely been lashed to death.”





Someone asked a lustful person: “What thing brings you the most pleasure?” The person replied: “Having sex.” “Aside from having sex, is there anything else pleasurable to you?” “Having sex again.”


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