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Chinese Wit and Humor
While browsing in the library, I found this book "Chinese Wit and Humor" compiled and edited by George Kao. As I read this book, for the humorous content, I also found out many glimpses into Chinese manners and customs. There are a lot of humor about misers and cheats, henpecked husbands, impatient maidens and quack doctors- all the familiar butts, each with a Chinese twists.
Here are some of my favorites.
A Tea Connoisseur
A Chinese countryman went up to town to see a relative who entertained him with some choice tea made with water from famous spring.
"Delicious, Delicious!" cried the countryman, several times.
"You, my old relative are evidently a connoisseur."
"Is it the tea or the spring water," asked the host, "which takes your fancy?"
"I like it, " replied the countryman, "because it's Hot."
The nose and the eyebrows were quarrelling over their positions. The nose said, "All manner of scents I am the first to detect and this counts as a great merit to me; but you, you useless creature, what merit have you, that
you should occupy a higher place than I do?"
"I admit," replied the eyebrows, "the strength of your reasoning; but if you are place above me, do you think people would be pleased?"
Interpretation of Dream
A debtor said to a creditor, " I am not long for this life; last night I dreamed that I was dead."
"Yes", rejoiced the creditor, "but dreams go by contraries and to dream of death means that you will live."
"Then" added the debtor, " I had another dream; I dreamed that I was paying my debt to you."
A Bigger Word
The father wrote out a word and taught it to his small son.The next day the son was hanging around when the father was mopping the floor. With a corner of his wet mop the father traced out the word on the table and asked the son to read it.
The son did not know how."Why, this is the same word I taught you yesterday," the father said. "It's grown much bigger overnight." the son answered wide-eyed.
Out All Day
A man's shoes and socks were both worn. The socks laid the blame on the socks; the socks on the other hand, laid the blame on the shoes.
So they appealed to God for justice.
God could not settle the case so he had the heels arrested as material witness.
"And how should I know?" demanded the heels. "I am out in the streets all day!"
The Broken Buddha
A particularly shrewd lawyer was admiring a porcelain Buddha in a crowded curio shop. He inquired about the price."A hundred dollars", said the salesman with his nose in the air. "How about thirty dollars?" the lawyer bargained.
"For thirty dollars you can only have the Buddha's little finger," the salesman sneered.
The lawyer did not say a word. He picked up a stone and knocked off a little finger from the exquisite figurine.
Shocked and furious, the salesman wanted to have the lawyer arrested."Here's the money and these are my witnesses," the lawyer said coolly."You said yourself that for thirty dollars I could have the Buddha's little finger."
Fixing the blame
A carpenter was hired to fix a bolt on the door. Through a mistake he put the bolt on the outside.
"The blind fool!" the owner scolded him.
"You're blind fool yourself!" the carpenter retorted.
The owner asked, "How come I'm a blind fool?"
"If you had eyes," he answered, "would you hire a carpenter like me?"
A man who loved to drink found a jug of cold wine in his dream.
He was about to warm it up and drink it when all of a sudden he awoke.
"I should have had it cold!" he said with profound regret.
A wealthy man said to a very miserly fellow, " I will give you a thousand ounces of silver if you let me beat you to death."
The miser thought over the offer for some time and then replied, " Make it five hundred ounces and half beat me to death."
The Use of Books
A student of the Imperial Army hired a room at a Buddhist monastery for purposes of study. Everyday he would wander about amusing himself; and in the afternoon, when he got back, he would call the boy to bring his books.
The boy brought the famous Anthology but when he had glanced at it he said: "Fetch the History of the Han Dynasty and put it underneath." he look at it and said, " I want the Historical Records" and again after inspection he said, " Bring some Buddhist sutras."
The boy in atonishment replied, "the three works I have brought are enough to fill your belly * ; why want more?" (* A colourful way of saying "enough for you to read." )
"What I want," said the student "is to go to sleep and have the books as pillow."