Storehouse of Laughter – Chapter 6

性剛

有父子俱性剛。不肯讓人者。一日父留客飲。遣子入城市肉。子取肉回。將出城門。值一人對面而來。各不相讓。遂挺立良久。父尋至。見之。謂子曰。汝姑持肉回陪客飯。待我與他對立在此。

Stubborn

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.”

性急

一人性甚急。常謂妻曰。世上若更有性急[過]我者。我必懆[死]。一日入麫店。曰。快取麫來。麫主人持麫至。傾之卓上。曰。你胡亂喫罷。我要緊凈碗。其人怒。歸。對妻述之。曰。我必[死]矣。妻聞之。便往嫁人。既嫁。踰一宿。後夫欲出之。婦曰。我何罪。後夫曰。我恠你不養兒子。

Impatient

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.”

有性急者。僕有[過]。跪而責之。連呼板子不至。懆甚。僕謂主曰。且打箇巴掌。應一應急。

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?”

性緩

一人性緩。冬日共人圍爐。見人裳尾為火所燒。乃曰。有一事。見之已久。欲言。恐君性急。不然。又恐傷君。然則言是耶。不言是耶。人問何事。曰。火燒君裳。其人遽𠬧衣而怒曰。何不早言。曰。我道君性急。果然。

Hesitant

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.”

性懶

有性極懶者。卧而懶起。家人喚之喫飯。復懶應。良久度其必餓。乃哀懇之。徐曰。懶喫得。家人曰。不喫便[死]。這如何使得。曰。我亦懶活矣。

舊話云。夫婦俱懶。約早上須靜卧。先開口者。罰燒面湯。至午不起。鄰家訝其寂然。排闥入視。妻不覺曰。戶啟矣。夫曰。是你去燒面湯。

Lazy

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.”

好靜

一人極好靜。而所居介于銅鐵匠之間。朝夕咶耳。甚苦之。常曰。此兩家若有遷居之日。我願作東款謝。一日二匠。忽並至曰。我等且遷矣。足下素許作東。特來叩頭問其期。曰。只在明日。其人大喜。遂盛欵之。酒後問曰。汝兩家遷于何䖏。二匠曰。我遷在他屋裡。他遷在我屋裡。

何不自遷。弄得他好。

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.

善忘

一人攜刀往竹園取竹。偶內急。乃置刀于地。就園中出恭。忽擡頭曰。家中正要竹用。此䖏好竹。惜未帶刀耳。己觧畢。見刀。喜曰。天随人願。適有刀在此。方擇竹下刀。見所遺糞。慍曰。何人沿地出痢。幾污吾足。

舊話挾弓矢騎馬出者畧同。後益云。須臾抵家。徘徊門外。曰。此何人居。妻適見。知其又忘也。罵之。其人悵然曰。娘子頗有些面善。如何開口便罵。

又一人問翁何姓。曰。姓張。少焉再問。翁復告之。至第三問。翁慍曰。已說姓張。如何屢問。其人便云。這位李老官人。直得就惱。

有一官極善忘。有商人得罪于某門子。官正坐堂。門子即差一人拘商人到。差人稟稱拿某人到。門子即抽籤喚皂責商人三十板訖。大聲喝令去。此官直自而視。不知所以。既退堂。召門子問曰。適商人誰喚他來。曰。老爺着喚他。又問因何打他。曰。老爺看籤筒。小的就知要打他。官俯仰尋思。心中恍惚。睨視門子曰。這件事多一半是你做的。

Forgetful

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.”

好飲

一好飲者。夢得美酒。將熱而飲之。忽然夢醒。乃大悔曰。恨不冷吃。

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.”

此人遺嘱。必寫云。身後須赤埋土中。異日化而為土。或取為甕。冀以盛酒。

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.

呆子守店

有呆子者。父出門。令其守店。忽有買貨者至。問尊翁有麼。曰。無。尊堂有麼。亦曰。無。父歸知之。謂子曰。尊翁。我也。尊堂。汝母也。何得言無。子懊怒曰。誰知你夫婦兩人都是要賣的。

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?”

幸是呆子。不然連爺娘也賣了。

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

問令尊

一人遠出。嘱其子曰。如有人問你令尊。可對以小事出外。請進拜茶。又以其呆。恐忘也。書紙付之。子置袖中。時取看。至苐三日。無人來問。以此紙無用。付之燈火。苐四日忽有客至。問令尊。覔袖中紙不得。因對曰。沒了。客驚曰。幾時沒的。對曰。昨夜燒了。

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.”

一字

父寫一字教幼兒。明日兒在旁。父適抹卓。即以濕布畫卓上問兒。々不識。父曰。此吾昨所教汝一字也。兒張目曰。隔得一夜。如何大了許多。

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!”

愁文王

有講文王囚羑里者。師適赴召。不竟其說。一士快々而歸。愁容可掬。中途。友人問之。對曰。朝來吾師說文王大聖人也。為紂所囚。吾憐其辜耳。友曰。文王不久便釋。非老于囚者。士曰。不愁不釋。只愁今夜獄中難過。

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.”

毡帽

有暑月帶毡帽出者。趕大樹下歇凉。即脫帽以當扇搧訖。謂人曰。今日若不帶此帽出來。幾乎熱殺。

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!”

近來暑月有賣簿絨襪者。謂之絨暑襪。有言其佳者。問佳䖏何在。曰。取他臨脫時一陣凉快。

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.”

下公文

有急足下緊急公文。官恐其遲也。撥一馬與之。其人逐馬而行。人問如此急事。何不乘馬。曰。六隻脚走。豈不快于四隻。

Despatch

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.”

認鞋

一婦夜與鄰人有私。夫適歸。鄰人踰窓而出。夫攫得其鞋。罵妻不已。因枕鞋而卧。謂妻曰。且待天明認出此鞋。當與汝筭帳。妻乘其熟寐。以夫鞋易去之。夫晨起。復罵。妻使認鞋。既已見鞋。大悔曰。我錯怪你了。原來昨夜跳窓的倒是我。

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!”

解僧卒

一卒。管解罪僧赴戍。僧故點。中道。醉之以酒。取刀髡其首。脫己索反紲之。而逸。次早。卒寤。求僧不得。自磨其首。居然髡也。而索又在項。乃大詫曰。僧故在此。我在那裡去了。

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?”

有赤貧者。所親偶寄地平一塊。其人恐招盜。每夜必身卧其上。一日偷兒乘其睡熟。拽之天井中。而取地平以去。及醒仰面見天。大詫曰。地平虧=左虛=我壓住在此。屋已被拆去了。意亦同。

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.

搽藥

一婦陰中有瘡。請醫治之。醫知其夫之呆也。乃曰。此藥須我親搽方可。乃以藥值龜頭。與婦行事。夫從旁視之。良久曰。若無這點藥在上。教我疑心到底。

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.”

又一童子出恭。其蚱蜢跳入後庭。倩人取出。其人曰。取則不能。為汝樁殺之可也。既行事。童子曰。快些樁殺了罷。恐旁人看見。疑為男風耳。

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.”

呆壻

一壻有呆名。舅指門首楊竿問曰。此物何用。壻曰。這[193]樹大起來。車輪也做得。舅喜曰。人言壻呆。妄也。及至廚下。見拈醬擂盆。曰。這盆大起來。石臼也做得。適岳母撒一屁。曰。這屁大起來。霹靂也做得。

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.”

凍水

一呆壻至妻家。舅留飯。偶喫凍水味美。乃以紙裹匿腰間。歸謂妻曰。汝父家有隹味。我特[攜]來啖汝。索之腰間已消矣。驚曰。出了一塲尿。迯走了。

Ice

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.”

穿肚皮

一壻新婚。受教于人。而未詳也。乃據婦腹。漫作往來勢。久之。偶插入牝中。大駭。披衣走門外。自匿。[過]數日。昬夜。潜至巷口。詢傍人云。可聞得某人家新婦。搠穿了肚皮。沒事麼。

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?”

鬻饅頭

有鬻饅頭者。壻甚不慧。婦翁偶欲出外。因嘱壻曰。饅頭定須四分一籠。若折本。不如自喫。既而買者紛然。但不肯依價。婿一々啖之。翁歸查筭。壻云。亦有人來。因價不合。某依尊命。悉自喫。翁怒以杖逐之。壻繞卓而走。翁見其愚態。不覺失笑。壻曰。大人。你今方始悟耶。

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.”

守楊芉

有栽楊芉者。命童守之。旬日。不失一株。主喜。謂童曰。汝用心可佳。然何法而能不失。荅曰。我夜々拔來藏在家裡。

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.”

看茶

有童子甚愚。其家客至內命看客多少。以便具茶。童以指數客曰。一箇兩箇。主人怒而責之。且戒曰。自後只當暗數。後值客至。童點額暗數。逓茶畢。忽撫主人背曰。今番何如。

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?”

櫈脚

[鄉]間坐櫈。多以現成樹丫叉為脚者。一脚偶壞。主人命僕于林中覔取。僕持斧出。至晚空回。主人問之。對曰。丫叉儘有。都是向上生。更無向下的。

相傳此為太倉張阿留事。

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.”

藏鋤

有兄弟耦耕者。其兄先歸作飯。々熟。聲喚弟歸。弟遙荅云。待我藏鋤田畔。即來也。飯時。兄謂之曰。凡藏物須密。如汝高聲。人皆聽見。豈不被偷。弟唯々(唯音委)。及飯畢。下田。鋤已失矣。因急歸。低聲附兄耳曰。鋤已被偷去了。

有于席間述此笑話者。一客停杯問曰。畢竟此鋤是誰人偷去的。舉座大笑。

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.

賣鵝

有賣鵝者。因如厠。置鵝于地。一人以鴨換去。其人觧畢。取視嘆曰。終一時不見。如何餓得黑瘦了。

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?”

噴嚏

一[鄉]人自城中歸。問其妻曰。我在城中連打噴嚏。何也。妻曰。是我思量你故。他日桃糞。[過]危橋。復打噴嚏幾失足。乃罵曰。騷花娘。就是思量我。也須看甚麼所在。

Sneezing

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!”

代打

有應受官責者。以銀二錢浼鄰人代往。其人得銀。欣然而往。既見官。々喝打三下。方受數杖。痛極。因私出所得銀賂行杖者。得從輕。其人出謝前人曰。蒙公與銀救我性命。不然幾乎打殺。

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.”

好內

或問好色者曰。世間何事最樂。荅曰。行房最樂。又問既行房後。還有甚樂。沈吟曰。除是再行。

又一人好于醉後近色。或戒之曰。大醉行房。五臟反覆。此甚不宜。荅曰。惟我不妨。問何故。荅曰。我每行定是兩度。又有好色者。病劇。于色愈昵。人喻止之。對曰。誠恐[死]期一迫。不及為此耳。更可笑。聞一先軰語云。婦人衣下有甚好窟竉。掘得淺是箇藥礶。掘得深就是箇棺材。吁。可畏哉。

Lustful

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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