There was once a young, newly-wed
couple. The young man was intelligent, but
his wife was both clumsy and stupid. She
rarely touched an object without damaging
One day, having bought two earthenware jars,
she showed them to her husband, hoping he
would be pleased with her for once in his
"This is a chance to teach her a lesson,"
the young man said to himself. "It's too bad
for the new jars, but at least she will be
cured of her habit of breaking things."
And right away, he gave the jars two good
kicks which shattered them to smithereens.
"What have you done? Are you mad?" shouted
his wife in bewilderment.
"I've smashed them to save you the trouble
of breaking them later," retorted the
Some time after that even, the husband told
his wife to go to market to buy fish for
Back from market, she showed her husband a
live fish of the best kind. Then she went to
the pond at the back of the house, and there
she let it go.
"What have you done, you stupid woman?"
shouted the husband angrily.
"Only what you taught me. I've released it
to save you the trouble of freeing it
A few days later, they received the news
that an octogenarian relative, a retired
mandarin whom they had not seen for a long
time, would honour them with a visit.
"Do you know how you should talk to elderly
and titled people, scatter-brain? " asked
"No, teach me," replied the wife.
"For such respectable old men, you must be
polite. You speak only when they speak to
you. If they ask about your family, you must
also ask them news of theirs. In a word, you
must return their courtesy and even outdo
them. When our uncle comes. I'll pretend to
be absent for a while, and will let you talk
to him alone for haft an hour. But be
careful, I'll hide behind the curtain and
listen to every word you say."
The venerable visitor arrived. And here is
the bout of politeness which took place
between him and the young mistress of the
"I'm happy to see you, my dear nice! How you
have grown in the years since I last saw
you. I remember knowing you when you were
very little, no taller than a boot."
"I'm very happy to see you too, great uncle.
You have grown several feet since I last saw
you. I remember knowing you as a little kid,
when you were no taller than my knee."
"How are your grandparents? They were good
friends of mine."
"They're very well, thank you. And by the
way, how are your forbears? They were great
childhood friends of mine."
Thinking that this hare-brained young woman
was trying to make a fool of him, the old
mandarin asked wrathfully"
"Where's your husband? Let me see him at
"He's over there, behind the curtain. He's
been listening to make sure I know how to
talk to you as he advised me to."
Too much expensive food
A skinflint never gave his family
anything to eat except plain rice.
However, a wooden fish was hung over the
dining table. Each time they had taken a
mouthful of rice, the children were
ordered to look at the fish and imagine
that they had taken a bite of it. To
maintain the illusion and show
appreciation of the food, they were to
make an audible chewing noise.
One day, the youngest child, aged four,
absent-mindedly made a whole string of
sucking and swallowing noises.
The miser blew his top.
"What!" he exclaimed.
"Didn't I tell you that just one bite of
the fish is enough? Don't you realize
how expensive meat and fish are these
"Buffaloes" is a bull
The tutor of a family was very stupid.
He didn't know many words and very often
had to ask others about the words he was
going to teach his pupils.
One day, the tutor taught his pupils the
word "to flee". It was written in the
old style so it consisted of three words
"buffalo" placed on one another. The
tutor didn't know it so he asked a man:
- What animal is as strong as three
The man answered:
- A wild bull.
The tutor was very glad. He came back
home and taught the pupils:
- "Buffaloes" is wild bull.
Another day, the tutor taught the pupils
the word "nail". He knew how to read it
but didn't know its meaning. He saw it
looked like the handle of a rice-hulling
mill so he carelessly said:
- "Nail" is the handle of a rice-hulling
The host saw that the tutor was very
stupid, so he asked the tutor out of his
house, and read the following poem to
see him off:
"Nail" is the handle of a rice-hulling
What a good teacher I have never seen!
Ah, "buffaloes" is a wild bull
Please, go to ask a farmer's job to do!
was a man who played the monochord very badly
but still thought that he played it very
beautifully. His neighbour was a young widow.
One day, when he was playing the monochord, he
heard the neighbour crying. He thought that she
might be affected by his wonderful monochord's
tunes. He checked the idea by stopping playing
it. As a matter of the fact, the young widow
stopped crying, too.
After that, the man also learnt that she cried
every time he played the monochord. The harder
he played, the harder she cried. He was very
glad and thought that she was surely keen on his
talent of monochord playing. From then on, he
just played it during quite nights in order to
One day, when he was sure that she had
completely fallen in love with him, he said to
- What makes you so sad that you cry whenever I
play the monochord? If my monochord playing
troubles you, I'll stop it from now on.
The widow answered:
- Yes, it does. I recall my dead husband
whenever you play the monochord.
The man was beside himself with joy and asked:
- Was he a good monochord playerr when he was
The widow shook her head and answered:
- No, my dead husband knew how to card cotton
only. I recall the sound from his cotton carding
and cry whenever hearing your monochord's tunnes.
Whenever that man took
his meal, he at once picked up
dishes, chewed and swallowed
them all time and never took
even a look at the people eating
with him. His wife was very sad
of his bad table manner. She
offen told him to give it up but
One day, he and his wife came to
his wife's parents to attend a
feast. His wife was afraid that
his bad table manner would make
her ashamed with her parents and
the guests there so she thought
a way out.
According to the rural rules in
the old time, the host meals
with his guests first and his
wife and children did in later.
When the glutton attended the
feast with his father-in-law and
guests, his wife tied one end of
a string to his toe and led the
other end to the kitchen. She
whispered to her husband:
- Remember to pick up the
dishes just when I pull the
The man nodded. Surely, in the
feast, he ate slowly because his
wife in the kitchen sometimes
pulled the string while doing
Whenever she paid much more
attention to her work and forgot
pulling the string, he just
gazed at the dishes and didn't
dare to pick a morsel. His
father-in-law then had to help
him to the food.
Suddenly, a hen ran across the
string and got stuck there. It
jerked unceasingly to get free
but couldn't. In the house, the
man thought his wife allowed him
to eat as much as he could so he
picked up the dishes
continuously. At last, he felt
the string was jerked so hard
that he took the dishes up and
shifted all their contents into
story told in its time order
landlord was living in the countryside but his
children and his wife were living in town.
Oneday, a servant in the landlord's farm came to
see the lanlord's wife and children. The lady
told him in and asked:
- Is everything in the farm all right? Does your
boss give me any notice?
- No, madam, the servant answered, my boss
doesn't give me any notice, but there has
happened a queer event: His dog is dead!
- What a poor creature! But why did it die too
- Madam! It died of a fire beside the pig-sty!
- My God! And what about the pigs?
- They were also burnt to death and the cows and
the horses were in the same lot!
- Dear me! But why did the fire happen? Did
somebody set them on fire for his hatred of your
- No, madam! It was just because of some ashes'
flying from the house!
- What? Even the house was on fire, wasn't it?
- Yes, madam!
- But, why?
The servant scratched his head and his ears for
a long time and then answered:
- Madam! Because yesterday some robbers rushed
into the house and then they set it on fire!
- Did they take anything away?
- Yes, they took away everything and even killed
- Oh, dear! What about my husband?
- Madam! They stabbed him with a sharp knife and
he died at once!
Three idiotic generations
members of that family were very idiotic. One
day, the grandfather told his grandson to take
two coins and two bowls to the market to buy
fish sauce and soya sauce. The little boy went
off for a long time and then came back and asked
- My granddad, which coin is for fish sauce and
which coin is for soya sauce?
The old man got angry and shouted:
- What a nonsense! You can buy fish sauce and
soya sauce with either of them.
The little boy went off for a long time and then
came back again. He showed the two bowls out and
- My granddad, but which bowl will contain fish
sauce and which bowl will contain soya sauce?
The old man flew into a passion and gave his
grandson some whips.
At the moment, the little boy's father got home.
Seeing his father beating his son, he got angry
- Ah, you are beating my son! Then I'll beat
And then he took the whip and beat himself
The old man also got angry. He pointed to his
son's face and said:
- Well, you dare beat my son then what can stop
me hanging your father?
And then, he looked for a rope to hang himself.