​​         Chinese Stories in English   

1.  A Beautiful Memory (page 149)
   A father asked his son, “What’s the most beautiful episode that you remember in your life?”
     Without hesitation the son said, “It was one evening when you came to pick me up after a Scouts meeting. On the way home you stopped the car and helped me catch lightening bugs.”
     It was such an ordinary thing that the father couldn't quite remember it, but it had become the son’s most beautiful memory. At the time the son knew his father was very busy and he thought he wouldn’t stop the car. That was a wonderful evening for the father and son together. The father’s actions told the son, “I love you.”
The Moral: Parents unconsciously reveal through their actions their affection for their children. They may not realize it themselves at times, but their children sense and appreciate their loving intent, and because of it attain a joy and felicity that will sustain them throughout their lives.
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2. Becoming the Person You Want to Be (page 28)
     An American surgeon was famous far and wide for his expertise in facial reconstructive procedures. He performed miracles, turning many people with ill-favored features into attractive individuals through plastic surgery. He found that many people who had undergone surgery would later complain to him that they were still not good-looking, even though the reconstructive procedures had been very successful. They felt the procedures had not done any good and that their appearance was the same as always.
     The surgeon consequently came to a realization: “Beauty resides not only in one’s innate features, but also in how one perceives oneself.”
The Moral: Lack of self-confidence is often the principle reason for a weak character and failure in one’s undertakings.
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3. The Best Hunter (page 62)
     Old Abba took his three sons to the prairie to go hunting. When they got there Old Abba posed a question: “What do you see?”
     The oldest answered: “I see the rifles in our hands, wild rabbits running on the grassland, and the prairie as far as the eye can see.”
     Old Abba shook his head and said: “Wrong.”
     The middle son answered: “I see Papa and my brothers, the rifles, the wild rabbits, and the endless prairie.”
     Old Abba shook his head again and said: “Wrong.”
     The youngest son said: “I only see rabbits.”
     This time Old Abba said: “That’s the right answer.”
The Moral: The person most likely to achieve his dreams is the one who focuses on his goal.
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4. The Dao of Correcting Shortcomings (page 190)
     A woman complained to her neighbor that she had received unsatisfactory service at a certain drug store. She hoped the neighbor would convey her complaints to the store’s owner. When the woman went to the store the next day, the owner welcomed her warmly and filled her prescription for her immediately. He even said that she should come right to him any time she needed anything.
     Later the woman told her neighbor what had happened. “You telling the owner that I was dissatisfied really did the trick.”
     “Uh, no, I didn’t do it that way,” the neighbor said. “I just told him that you really admired his dedication to his job. I told him you thought his store was one of the finest drug stores you’d ever shopped in.”
The Moral: The cold truth freezes people’s hearts in June; a kindly lie warms people in the depths of winter. But the precondition for telling lies is to have no malice.
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5. Give Yourself Hope (page 3)
     There was a doctor who enjoyed fame throughout the world of medicine for his superior medical skills. His career became more prosperous with each passing day. But unfortunately, one day he was diagnosed with cancer. It hit him like a blow to the head. He was severely depressed for a while, but in the end he came to terms with reality. Also, his attitude changed because of it. He became more tolerant, more gentle and modest, and he better understood the value of cherishing everything he had.
     He was a hard worker and, even in his spare time, had never been able to leave behind his struggles with [his patients’] serious illnesses. He passed several more years in this fashion without incident. Some people were surprised at his accomplishment and asked what miraculous power was supporting him.
     The doctor answered with a broad smile, “It’s hope. Almost every morning I give myself something to hope for. I hope I can cure one more patient, or I hope my smile can bring warmth to everyone.”
The Moral: Give yourself something to hope for every day. If we are to live with vitality, aroused with magnificent energy, how can we afford time for sighs, or time to be sorrowful, or time to waste our lives on ennui and such trivial things?
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6. Narcissism and an Inferiority Complex are the Same Illness (page 30)
     Late one night, when not a sound could be heard, a messenger from the gods came to a zoo and asked the animals if they were happy with the way they looked. If they were not satisfied he could change their appearance and make them prettier.
     He asked the monkey first, and the monkey said, “I don’t think I look too bad, but the elephant’s trunk is a sight!”
     The elephant boomed, “I’m pleasingly plump and quite presentable, but the horse’s face is just too, too long.”
     The horse was frustrated that she couldn’t kick the elephant. “My face may be long,” she said, “but it’s delicate and pretty. It’s the bear’s face and eyes that are hard to look at.”
     The bear nodded.  He seemed calm but inside he was as angry as can be. Suddenly a rabbit ran by. The bear pointed at it and said, “The rabbit’s pointy mouth and face really aren’t pretty.”
     “Everyone says I’m a nifty little guy, and clever, too,” the rabbit fumed. “Are you all blind? This wild pig here is the world’s ugliest.”
     The wild pig said to the messenger, “I figure the monkey has the weirdest face of all of us, so why doesn’t he want to get it changed?”
     “Since you’re all satisfied with yourselves, and think the others are ugly,” the messenger said, “I won’t change the way you look.”  And then he left.
The Moral: “Denigrating others to elevate yourself” isn’t real self-confidence; “denigrating others to elevate yourself” is proof of a real inferiority complex.
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7. One Cow, Two Hundred Forty-Nine Cows (page 43)
     A cowherd owned two hundred fifty head of cattle. Every day he would take the herd out to pasture at a place in the wilderness where there was lots of water and grass, and let them roam around free, eating and drinking as much as they liked.
     One day a tiger jumped out unexpectedly and killed one of the cows, so the herd was one short of two hundred fifty. The cowherd was completely disheartened. He felt that being one cow short was, for him, an imperfection. He was very upset about this and brooded about it continuously.
     A few days later he decided that being short one cow really wasn’t the same as having the original two hundred fifty cows. So what was the use of having the remaining two hundred forty-nine cows? Consequently he drove the two hundred forty-nine cows off a cliff, thereby wiping out the entire herd.
The Moral: Don’t let a minor setback destroy the good things that remain.
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8. Don’t Take Praise to Heart (page 192)
     In ancient Greek mythology, Hermes was the son of the god Zeus. He was the god of commerce. He decided to do an experiment to see exactly how highly he was regarded by the people of the mortal world.
     One day he disguised himself as a customer and went to a sculptor’s shop. “How much is this,” he asked the sculptor, pointing at a bust of Zeus. “Seven Drachma.” Then he walked over to his own statue. I’m the protector of businesses, he thought to himself, so I ought to rank higher than Zeus. “What does this one cost,” he asked. Pointing to the statue of Zeus, the sculptor said, “If you buy that one, I’ll throw this one in as a bonus.”
     Hermes had expected to hear the sculptor praise him, to raise his value. Who would have thought that he’d be dismissed so casually? He could only walk away, crestfallen.
The Moral: When associating with friends, avoid arrogance, conceit and self-aggrandizement at all costs; one’s self-worth cannot be evaluated or verified by others.
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9. A Guiding Light Engraved in Memory (page 202)
     The economist Sun Yefang and the dancer Zi Huayun were both delegates at the Fifth Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and they often attended meetings together.
     One day Sun found out that Zi was a student of the famous scholar Chen Hansheng, so he shared with her: “Your teacher was my guiding light. Under his influence I joined the Revolution and became interested in economic problems, so I’m very grateful to him.” Later Zi told this to Chen, but Chen said, “I don’t remember.”
     Zi thought the old guy was getting on in years and his memory was getting dim. She said to him in a scolding tone of voice: “A great economist calls you his guiding light, and you can’t even remember the man?” She was surprised when old Chen answered in complete seriousness: “I only put my mind to remembering the things I did wrong – so I don’t make the same mistakes again. If I do something right, that’s natural and the way things should be. I can’t bother to remember all that stuff. Whatever road Sun Yefang took, and whatever accomplishments he’s had, it was the result of his own hard work and I get no credit for it.”
The Moral: Remember forever the kindnesses that others show you; don’t dwell on the things you’ve done right, just put your mind to remembering your mistakes.
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10. The Squad Leader and the Trooper (page 208)
     During the War against America to Aid Korea, in an unusually fierce battle, an enemy aircraft was diving down toward the battlefield at a high rate of speed. Just as the Squad Leader was about to drop to the ground, he saw to his surprise that a young soldier four or five meters away from him was still standing straight up, frozen in fear. Without giving it a second thought, the Squad Leader threw himself onto the soldier and covered him with his body.
     After a huge explosion, the Squad Leader stood up and brushed off the mud that had landed on him. He was about to give the soldier a dressing down when he turned around and was stunned to see: The bomb had made a big crater in the place he had just been standing. 
The Moral: You need no other reward for rescuing someone, because saving another is itself the greatest gift. Good-hearted people receive the benefits of bestowing kindness on others.
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11. The Art of Listening
     The famous American TV host Art Linkletter was interviewing a small child one day. He asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
     "Uh…. I want to be a pilot!" the child replied innocently.
     "Suppose one day your airplane is flying over the Pacific Ocean and all the engines stop. What would you do?"
     The child thought it over. "I'd tell everybody on the airplane to fasten their seatbelts, then I'd put on my parachute and jump out."
     The studio audience laughed uproariously. Mr. Linkletter kept watching the child closely to see if he was being a smart-aleck. Unexpectedly, tears started to flow from the child's eyes. This made Mr. Linkletter feel that the child was really more compassionate than words could describe, so he asked, "Why would you do that?"
     The boy's answer revealed a child's sincerity. "I'd be going for gas. I'd come back!! I'd come back."
     When you're listening to someone talk… do you really understand what they mean? If you don't, please listen until they're finished speaking. This is "the Art of Listening".
     1. Don't half listen.
     2. Also, don't project your own meaning onto another person's words.


[The pun in the title is a creation of the translation – it does not appear in the Chinese. Also, the interview with this boy is described a bit differently in Mr. Linkletter's L.A. Times obituary. (Click HERE.) – Fannyi
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12. To Have and Have Not
     An entrepreneur had astonishing success at a shopping mall. One day when his career was at its peak, he went with his father to eat at a very grandiose restaurant.
     An unusually talented violin player was performing there. The entrepreneur, while listening appreciatively, remembered that he had once studied the violin himself and in fact had been crazy about it.
     "If I'd kept on studying the violin back then," he said to his father, "I might be performing here."
     "That's right, son," his father replied, "but then you wouldn't be eating here."
     Think about it:
     We often sigh over bygone opportunities and accomplishments,
     But we frequently forget to be thankful for what we have.
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13. A Revelation while Strolling
     God gave me a job. He told me to take a snail for a walk.
     I couldn't walk too fast because the snail was already crawling along for all he was worth, but each motion only covered a tiny bit. I encouraged it, roared at it, cursed it – the snail looked at me apologetically, as if to say, "I'm going all out already."
     I pulled it, I yanked it, I even thought about kicking it. The snail was hurting. It was sweating and panting, crawling ahead really strange. Why did God tell me to take a snail for a walk?
     "Why, God?" But the heavens were quiet. "Sheesh! Maybe God's out catching snails."
     All right, I'd had it. God didn't care anyway, so why should I?
     I let the snail crawl on ahead while I stayed behind and sulked. But wait, I could smell flowers. It turned out there was a garden there. I felt a slight breeze, the evening breeze, so soft and gentle. Hold on a sec! I heard birds singing, and insects buzzing. I saw a sky full of stars, bright and beautiful. Say, how come I'd never experienced these things before?
     It suddenly occurred to me – maybe I got it wrong! After all, God wanted the snail to take me for a walk.
     Have you found your snail? Take it for a walk every once in a while!
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14. The Wisdom of Knowing One's Own "Limits"
     There once was an intelligent child whose mother took him to a variety store to buy some things. When the proprietor saw this lovable child, he opened up a can of sweets and told child to take a handful. The child, however, didn't move a muscle.
     After telling him several times to take some, the proprietor took a handful of candy himself and put it in the boy's pocket. The mother was very curious and, when they got home, she asked the little boy why he hadn't grabbed some candy himself instead of making the proprietor do it.
     The child gave her a brilliant answer: "Because my hand is smaller! The man's hand was bigger, so he picked up a lot more than I could've!"
     Think about it:
     This is a smart kid. He knows his limits, but more importantly, he understands when others are better at something than he is.
     Whenever you don't rely solely on yourself, but learn how to rely on others as appropriate, it's a kind of modesty, but even more it's a kind of wisdom.
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15. The Secret to Family Happiness
Li Dongmei
Two couples lived side by side in a small town. One of the couples was always fighting, with never a day of peace; while the other lived in perfect harmony and always treated each other with respect.
     The former couple was very envious of the latter's life of wedded bliss. One day the wife told her husband to "Go over to the neighbor's place and sneak a look. Find out how come they can live in such peace and harmony."
     So the husband went over to the front of the neighbor's place and hid beside a window that had been left wide open.
     The neighbor wife was cleaning house. She was in the front room carefully dusting a very beautiful vase. Just then the phone rang and she hurried off to answer it, putting the vase down on the edge of a table. Then her husband came into the front room looking for something. He accidently bumped the vase and it fell to the floor and broke to pieces.
     "This is going to be something to see!" The husband hiding outside the window chuckled at his neighbor's misfortune.
     The neighbor wife heard the noise and came running back into the room. As she was helping her husband pick up the pieces of the broken vase from the floor, she sighed with regret. "I'm sorry, dear," she said. "It's all my fault. I put it down too close to the edge."
     "No, it was my mistake. I was in too much of a hurry and didn't notice the vase. Heck with it! 'Lots of pieces, peace for all', as they say."
    The neighbor hiding outside the window had mixed feelings about what he'd seen and heard. He tromped off back to his own house.
     When he got home his wife eagerly asked, "Why were you gone so long? What did you find out?"
     "Nothing," he answered. "Just that, in their house, everybody's always wrong, but in our house, everybody's always right."

小品文选刊笑林 Forrest of Laughs, Short Literary Selections Magazine
Feb. 2014, 2nd Semimonthly Issue, p. 28

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16. A Full Life
     A young man was studying the art of carving jade from an old craftsman. After several years he was able to carve jade pieces with a number of exquisite patterns. He thought he had learned almost everything there was to learn, so he suggested to the master that it was time to end the apprenticeship. The master declined to comment. He simply said, “Go get the biggest wooden bucket and bring it here. Then fill it with rocks.”
     He filled the bucket quickly. “Is it full?” the master asked. “Yes, it is,” said the apprentice, nodding his head. The master then pointed to a pile of sand some ways away. “Well,” he said, “put that sand in the bucket, too. Can you get it all in?”
     The apprentice got the sand and poured it into the bucket, and of course it trickled in through the spaces between the rocks. “Now is it completely full?” the master asked. “Yes,” the apprentice replied confidently, “it’s completely full.”
     The master didn’t say anything. He turned around and went inside, and scooped up a ladleful of water. “Well, try to pour this water in,” he said. The apprentice took the ladle and carefully poured it into the bucket. The water quickly seeped into the sand. A good time later, with a look of shame on his face, he said, “Master, I won’t be leaving.”
     A person’s life is like a bucket. You can never fill it; but you can make it fuller and richer, if only you keep putting new things in.

From Ideas Magazine Customer Presentations Download, http://3g.yilin.net.cn
Republished at http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4bdc7dbf0102e7e3.html
Recommended by Chen Yaodong

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17. A Kindness Repaid
by Jiang Zehan
     He was successful in his career, but he also knew how to enjoy life. Every week he would go hiking in the mountains, striking a balance between work and rest, and physically he was as strong as an ox. He was contented with every breath he took, thankful for the blessings nature had bestowed on him.
     Suddenly he heard a scream from behind a small mound. He crawled over to take a look and saw a farmer sitting on the ground in pain. His right arm was hanging loosely and he was slapping the crook of the arm with his left palm. The farmer had been picking herbs and had been attacked by the proverbial snake in the grass.
     The two teeth marks showed clearly and the blood was turning dark. It had obviously been a poisonous snake. There wasn't enough time for the 112 [emergency team] to get there, given the hilly terrain, so he swallowed twice and put his mouth on the wound, to suck the poison out of the farmer.
     He rinsed his mouth as well as he could in a mountain stream, being sure not to swallow even the tiniest bit of liquid in the process. He got a checkup himself while on the way to the hospital with the farmer.
     Fortunately, he had not ingested any poison; unfortunately, they found he had stomach cancer; but fortunately it was in the early stages. With timely treatment, it would not worsen into late-stage cancer.
     Two years later he was completely cured, and could even continue in his stressful business enterprises. He felt this was his reward for the good deed he had done. But the reward didn't stop there….
     Every third day, the farmer and his wife brought a basketful of freshly picked vegetables to his door. They were completely natural, raised without pesticides, and very wholesome.
     He repeatedly declined or tried to pay for them. The farmer said: "It was a coincidence they found your disease, but what you did to save me was intentional. I ain't educated, but I know enough to be thankful for having my life saved."

针孔窥月系列之010 Peek through a Pinhole Monthly # 10
Republished (w/Modifications) in Stories Magazine, May 2013, 1st Semimonthly Issue, p. 83

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18. Mom and Dad
Author: Dicta from Under the Golden Throne
     Seventeen, the flowering of youth; seventeen, when life is just starting. My seventeen, carrying a travel bag on my back, trekking far from home, my dream, my life.
     Home. I suddenly realize how dear this word is. At home, that’s where my kindly mother is, and my hard-working dad, my warm bed, the desk I leaned over while pulling all-nighters, and my now silent guitar. It’s where…. Where all the things I can’t bear to part with are.
     Mom. She’s usually chattering away. She always says she’s not a good talker and doesn’t have any great wisdom to impart to me. But, Mom, you know something? Those things you told me, that you thought weren’t such great wisdom, they taught your son how to conduct himself, how to get along with people, how to live. Mom, I don’t want any so-called great wisdom, I just want your chattering to linger in my ears.
     Dad. Fathers don’t say anything much, or try to run things, but there was never a day I didn’t know my father’s hopes for me. But I was and am so naive, that time and again I took your love for me and…. And then when I was about to leave home alone, even though you didn’t say anything, how could your son not see that you didn’t want to part. Dad, your son has grown up, really grown up, and I know what I have to do.
     Now I’m on the road, alone, leaving home. I’ve got my travel bag on my back and I’m carrying my own weight. The outside world is wonderful but you can’t do anything for it. Home, that’s my greatest comfort, and it’s mom and dad that keep me going.




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10. Squad Leader, The
11. Art of Listening, The
12. Have and Have Not
13. Strolling
14. Knowing One's Limits

15. Family Happiness
16. Full Life, A
17. Kindness Repaid
18. Mom and Dad

1. Beautiful Memory, A
2. Becoming the Person
3. Best Hunter, The
4. Dao of Correcting, The

5. Give Yourself Hope
6. Narcissism
7.  One Cow
8.  Praise
9.  Remembering a Guide

Apologues (Page 1) Translated at https://www.chinese-stories-english.com/
Originals 1 to 10 translated from Small Stories, Great Meaning (page # in parentheses)
Principal Editor Wang Baohua, South Sea Publishing Company, 2011
The others were translated from websites which are no longer available on the net.
Contact us if you want the Chinese text. Unless otherwise noted, authorship unattributed.