Storehouse of Laughter – Chapter 8

射虎

一人為虎啣去。其子執弓逐之。引滿欲射。父從虎口遙謂子曰。汝須是着脚射來。不要射壞了虎皮。

Shooting a tiger

A man was eaten by a tiger. His son picked up a bow and arrow, and was ready to shoot the tiger, when the father called out from the tiger’s mouth: “Aim for the feet. Don’t damage the tiger’s hide!”

溺水

一人溺水。其子呼人急救。父于水中探頭曰。是三分銀子便救。若要多。莫來。

Rescue from drowning

A man fell into the water and was drowning. His son called out for someone to help save him. His father stuck his head out from the water and said to him: “If they ask for more than three pieces of silver to save me, don’t bother!”

不請客

一人性極吝。從不請客。一日鄰人借其家設宴。有見者。問其僕曰。汝家主今日請客乎。僕曰。要我家主請客。直待那□世來。主人聞而罵曰。誰要你許他日子

Reluctant host

A person was stingy by nature, and never had guests at his home. One day, a neighbor borrowed his house to stage a banquet. Someone saw this, and said to a servant of the house owner: “So your master finally is playing host.” The servant said: “If you want my master to play host, you’ll have to wait for the next century!” His master heard this and scolded him: “Who told you to give him a date!”

門神

夜遊神見門神夜立。憐之。問曰。汝長大乃爾。如何做人門客。早夜伺候。受此辛苦。荅曰。出于無奈耳。曰。然則有飯喫否。荅曰。無。曰。既上他門。如何沒有飯喫。荅曰。若要他飯喫時。又不要我上門了

Door god

The night tour deity saw the door god on duty and took pity on him, asking: “You’re a fine and hefty fellow. Why persist in being someone’s hanger-on? You have such a hard life serving him day and night.” The door god replied: “I have no other choice.” “Do you at least get something to eat?” “No.” “Since they are your hosts, they should at least give you something to eat.” “If I wanted something to eat, they wouldn’t want to be my hosts.”

一人謀做褲。而吝布。連喚裁縫。俱以費布辞去。最後一裁縫至云。只須布三尺。其人喜甚取布與之。乃縫一管。今穿二足在內。曰。廹甚。如何行動。裁縫笑曰。如此要省定行不動。

Trousers

A man wanted to have a pair of trousers made, but was unwilling to spend much on cloth. He went from tailor to tailor, but dismissed each of them in turn as being wasteful with fabric. Finally, one tailor said: “I can do it with only three feet of cloth.” The man was happy with this, and brought the cloth to him. However, the tailor made only one trouser leg for both his legs. The man said: “This is impossible! How can one walk with trousers like these?” The tailor laughed and said: “You can’t expect to save so much and still be able to walk.”

一猴[死]見冥王。求轉人身。王曰。既欲做人。須將毛盡拔去。即喚夜叉拔之。方拔一根。猴不勝痛呌。王笑曰。看你一毛不拔。如何做人

Monkey

A monkey died and met the King of Hades. He begged to be reborn as a human. The King said: “Since you want to be human, we’ll first need to pluck out all your fur.” He then called one of his yakshas to do it. But on plucking the first hair, the monkey cried out in pain. The King laughed and said: “How can you become human, if you can’t even spare a hair (i.e. be so stingy)?”

錫馬桶

女眷嫌木馬桶易壞。不如打一錫者。可以傳久。一人須錫五斤。訝其太費。斥不用。後遞减至一斤。猶以為多。帷一人止用三兩。喜甚。問曰。三兩如何打。工曰。只打一錫杓。娘子尿急時。舀出罷了

Tin toilet

A woman felt that wooden toilets were too easily broken, and wanted to have one made from tin, which would be more durable. Someone quoted a figure of five pounds of tin. Shocked, she rejected it as being too expensive. When another said he could make it with one pound, she also found that excessive. Finally, someone said that he could make it with only three taels. She was very happy, and asked: “How would you make it with three taels?” The tinsmith said: “I’ll just hammer out a tin spoon. When m’lady wishes to answer the call of nature, she can just ladle it out.”

指石為金

一貧士遇故人于途。故人已得仙術矣。相勞苦畢。因指道傍一磚。成赤金。贈之。士嫌其少。更指一大石獅為贈。士嫌未已。仙曰。汝欲如何。士曰。願乞公此指

The Midas touch

A poor scholar bumped into an old acquaintance on the road. The old acquaintance in the meanwhile had already become an immortal. When the scholar had finished listing all his woes, the other man touched a stray brick lying by the road with his finger, turned it into pure gold, and presented it to him. The scholar complained that it was too little, so the other man touched a large stone lion, and presented that to him. The scholar still complained that it wasn’t enough. The immortal said: “What do you want, then?” The scholar said: “That finger of yours.”

合做酒

甲乙謀合本做酒。甲謂乙曰。汝出米。我出水。乙曰。米都足我的。如何筭帳。甲曰。我决不欺心。到酒熟時。只逼還我這些水便了。其餘都是你的

Wine cooperative

Two people wanted to make wine together. A told B: “You provide the grains, and I’ll provide the water.” B said: “If I provide all the grain, how will we split the products?” A said: “I don’t intend to cheat you. Once the wine is ready, I’ll take away the watery part, and you can have all the rest.”

合種田

有兄弟合種田者。禾既熟。議分之。兄謂弟曰。我取上截。你取下截。弟訝其不平。兄曰。不難。待明年。你取上。我取下可也。至次年。弟催兄下穀種。兄曰。今年種了芋艿罷

Planting together

A pair of brothers were planting a field together. The millet was ripe for harvest, and they were discussing how to split the yields. The older brother told the younger: “I’ll take the upper half, and you’ll take the lower half.” The younger brother was shocked and said that this wouldn’t be fair. The brother replied: “Don’t worry. Next year, you’ll take the upper half, and I’ll take the lower half.” Next year, the younger brother was urging the elder to sow the fields. The elder said: “This year, we should plant taro.”

討便宜

一人好討便宜。市人相戒無敢[過]其門者。或[攜]砂石一塊。自念無妨。逕[過]之。其人一見。即呼且住。急趋入。取廚下刀于石上一再鐾。麾曰去(鐾音避治刀使利也)

Taking advantage

There was a man who was fond of taking advantage of other people. His neighbors warned each other about him, and no one dared to pass in front of his door. Someone decided to walk past his house while holding a pebble in his hand, thinking that there could be no harm in that. The man saw him, and called out: “stop!” and hastened him into his house. From the kitchen he took out a knife, and started sharpening it on the pebble. “You can go now.”

新絹裙

一人穿新絹裙出行。恐人不見。乃聳肩而行。良久。問童子曰。有人看否。曰。此䖏無人。乃弛其肩曰。既無人。我且少歇

一說嘲道學云。有道學遇雨。歛手緩步。容甚肅。轉一巷。問童子曰。背後有人看否。大曰。無。乃趋曰。既是無人得知我且避雨

New silk gown

A man put on a new silk gown and went out. He was afraid that no one would see it, so he walked with his shoulders pulled up to his ears. After some time, he asked his servant: “Is anyone looking?” The servant replied: “There’s no one about these parts.” And so the man relaxed his shoulders, saying: “Since there’s no one here, I’m going to take a break.”

Another version makes fun of Neo-Confucians. There was a Neo-Confucian who got caught in the rain. He drew in his arms and slowed his pace, with a reverent expression on his face. After turning into an alley, he asked his servant: “Is there anyone behind us?” “Nope” He immediately hastened his pace, saying: “Since no one’s looking I’m going to go seek shelter from the rain.”

說大話

主人謂僕曰。汝出外。須說幾句大話。裝估体面。僕頷之。值有言三清殿大者。僕曰。只與我家租房一般。有言龍衣船大者。曰只與我家帳船一般。有言牯牛腹大者。曰。只與我家主人肚皮一般

一說見馬。則曰。我家狗還大些。見驢。則曰。我家猫還大些。見攤船。則曰。我家主母的脚還大些

Braggart

A master told his servant: “When you go out, you ought to exaggerate a little, to keep up appearances.” The servant nodded in agreement. So when the servant heard someone talking about how large was the Hall of Triple Purity, he said: “That’s just like my master’s house.” When someone mentioned how big was the Dragon’s Coat Boat, he said: “That’s just like the little skiff we have at home.” When someone talked about a big-bellied bull, he said: “That’s just like my master’s belly.”

Another version says that when he saw a horse, he said: “Our dogs at home are bigger.” When he saw a donkey, he said: “Our cats at home are bigger.” When he saw a boat, he said: “My mistress’s feet are bigger.”

甲云。家下有鼓一面。每擊之。聲聞百里。乙曰。家下有牛一隻。江南喫水。頭直靠江北。甲搖首云。那有此牛。乙曰。不是這一隻牛。怎謾得這一面鼓

Braggart (2)

A: “We have a drum at home which is so big, that every time you strike it, the sound can be heard for a hundred miles.”
B: “We have a cow at home that’s so big, when it takes a drink from the southern bank of the river, its head is pressed up against the northern bank.”
A (shaking his head): “That’s impossible, there can’t be a cow like that.”
B: “If there wasn’t a cow like ours, how could you have the leather to make a drum like yours?”

孝順媳婦

一翁曰。我家有三媳婦。俱極孝順。大媳婦。怕我口淡。見我進門。就增(憎)塩(嫌)了。次媳婦。怕我寂寞。時常打竹筒鼓。與我聽苐三媳婦更孝。聞說夜飯少喫口。活到九十九。故蚤飯就不與我喫。

Filial daughters-in-law

An old man said: “I have three daughters-in-law at home, and they are all very filial. The eldest, afraid that my sense of taste is weakened with age, will always add more salt (#wordplay – a pun on “harbor resentment”) when I am home. The second, afraid that I am feeling lonely, will play the drums loudly for me. The youngest is the most filial of them all. There’s a saying that eating a mouthful less at dinner will keep you living to ninety-nine. And so she doesn’t let me eat dinner at all!”

掇馬桶

甲乙俱惧內。乙往訴甲曰。房下迩來作事更狠。至晚馬桶亦要我掇。甲攘臂言曰。這箇𢖼難。若是我言未畢。甲妻背後大喝曰。若是你。便怎麼。甲不覺下跪曰。若是我就掇了。

Emptying the latrine

Two henpecked men were talking. B complained to A, saying: “The missus is becoming even worse. Last night she even wanted me to empty the latrine!” A grabbed him by the arm and said: “That is definitely crossing the line! If it were me, I wouldn’t put up with that!” A’s wife overheard this and loudly cried out from the distance: “If it were you? Just say what you would do if it were you.” A immediately fell to his knees and said: “If it were me I would just empty it.”

脫脚

妻命夫為脫脚帶。脚臭甚。不覺掩其鼻嘴。妻怒問之。荅曰。纔吃蒜。怕觸了娘子貴脚。

Taking off her shoes

A wife ordered her husband to take her shoes off for her. Her feet stank terribly, and he couldn’t help but cover his nose with his hand. The wife was furious, asking him what he meant by that gesture. He replied: “I just ate some garlic, and was just afraid that the smell might bruise my mistress’s precious feet.”

避打

一人被妻打無奈。鑚在床下。妻呼曰。快々出來。荅曰。男子大丈夫。說不出來。定不出來。

如今為男子大丈夫者。大半皆此軰也。可嘆可嘆。

Avoiding a beating

A man couldn’t stand being beaten by his wife any more, and so he hid under the bed. The wife called to him: “You’d better get out!” He replied: “A real man stands by his word! I said I wouldn’t come out, so I won’t!”

The so-called “real men” of today are mostly of this sort. It’s a real pity.

記酒

有觴客者。其妻每出酒一壺。即將[鍋]煤畫于臉上。記數。主人索酒不已。童子曰。少吃幾壺罷。家主婆臉上有些不好看了

How much wine?

A man had some guests over at his home for drinks. Every time his wife warmed up a new pot of wine for them, she made a stroke on her face with the soot from the cauldron to keep count. The man kept on calling up more wine from the kitchen. Eventually, the servant-boy said to him: “Do slow down with the wine; Madam’s face is becoming quite hard to look at.”

正夫綱

衆怕婆者相聚。欲議一不怕之法以正夫綱。或恐之曰。列位尊嫂聞知。已相約即刻一齊打至矣。衆駭然奔散。惟一人坐定。疑此人獨不怕者也。察之則已驚[死]矣。

Male prerogative

A group of henpecked husbands were having a meeting. They wanted to find a way to stop fearing their wives and restore their male prerogative. Then someone said to them fearfully: “Gentlemen, our wives have found out about this meeting, and are planning on coming to teach us a harsh lesson!” The group immediately dispersed in all directions, except for one man who sat fast in place. Everyone thought that he was the only one there who had no fear, but it turned out that he had simply died from the fright.

婆像

一怕婆者。婆既[死]。見婆像懸于柩側。因理舊恨。以拳擬之。忽風吹軸動。大驚忙縮手曰。我是取笑。

Portrait

A henpecked man was lately widowed. Leaning on the wife’s coffin was her portrait. Owing to his long pent-up resentment, he was going to smack the portrait, but just at that moment a gust of wind blew and made it move. The man hurriedly drew back his hand and said: “I was just kidding!”

一人善踱。行步甚遲。日將晡矣。廵夜者于城外見之。問以何往。曰將往府前。廵夜者即指犯夜。欲捉送官。辨曰。天尚未黑。何為犯夜。曰。如此踱法。踱到府前。極早也是二更了

Dawdler

There was a man who was notorious for dawdling. He was walking very slowly one late afternoon, when the night watchman saw him outside the city walls. The watchman asked: “Where are you going?” “Back to my house.” Whereupon the watchman arrested him for breaking the curfew and wanted to bring him before a magistrate. The man protested: “It’s not yet dark! How could I have been breaking the curfew?” The watchman replied: “With the way that you dawdle, by the time you reach your front door it would already be two past midnight.”

學樣

有于郊外見遺骸暴露。憐而瘞之。夜聞叩門聲。問之。應曰妃。再問。曰。妾楊妃也。遭馬嵬之難。遺骨未[収]。感君掩覆。來奉枕席。因與極歡而去。鄰人聞而慕焉。因遍覔郊外。亦得遺骸瘞之。夜有叩門者。問之。應曰。飛。曰。汝楊妃乎。曰俺張飛也。其人惧甚。強應曰。張將軍何為下顧。曰俺遭閬中之難。遺骨未[収]。感君掩覆。特以粗臀奉獻

Imitation

Someone was passing through a wasteland when he saw human bones exposed on the ground. Taking pity on the poor soul, he reburied the bones. At night he heard a knocking on his door. He asked who it was, and the reply: “Fei.” He asked again, and the reply: “I am Yang Fei (the Consort Yang, one of the four great beauties of China). I came to grief at Ma Wei, and my remains were not given a proper burial. I am grateful to you, sir, for burying my bones, and I am here to share your pillow in appreciation.” And so he accepted her offer with great glee. The neighbor overheard this and was jealous. He went to scout out the wasteland, and chanced upon some exposed bones, which he buried. At night, there was a knocking on his door. He asked who it was, and the reply: “Fei.” He asked: “Are you the consort Yang Fei?” But the reply came: “I am Zhang Fei.” The neighbor was shocked, and loudly asked: “Why has General Zhang come back to this world?” He replied: “I came to grief at Lang Zhong, and my remains were not given a proper burial. I am grateful to you, sir, for burying my bones, and I have specially come to offer my hairy bum in appreciation.”

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