Apologues 03

1. Invisible Happiness
2. The Peacock's Tail
3. The Press Conference
4. Suitable Distance

10. Multi-Layered Snowbank
11. Really Self-Satisfied
12. The Avaricious Hunter
13. Don't Please Everybody

14. The Happiness of Existence

​​         Chinese Stories in English   

5. Where You Should Grow
6. The Magical Gordian Knot
7. Mood Food
8. Procrastination Isn't Bad
9. Revenge is Reasonable

1. Invisible Happiness (看不见的幸福)
Ma Guofu (马国福)

      A star gave it her all performing a dance on stage at an international competition. She easily won the championship and was flooded with flowers, applause, flashing lights and honors.
      A reporter asked her, "Now that you have success and fame, what do you believe will make you the happiest?"
      "Sleeping in late when I get back home," she answered. "Eating a plate of hash brown potatoes cooked by my husband, regardless of whether it's day or night. I hardly ever get to do those things."
      It wasn't flowers and applause she needed. It was a comfortable and real living situation. Her happiness didn't lay in having a lot of possessions, but in truly enjoying the carefree contentment, freedom and simple love that make up happiness and life itself.
      All in all, happiness is the lines of our palms, turning and bending, not drawing people's attention, but held in our own hands.

青年文摘2011/10上, Youth Digest, October 2011, Issue 1, p. 7
Translated from
http://blog.tianya.cn/post-3656540-32778645-1.shtml, story #4
2. The Peacock's Tail (不开屏才是孔雀的常态)
Huang Xiaoping (黄小平)

      Once when I was at the zoo with a friend, we happened upon a peacock with its tail spread open. My friend asked, "When is a peacock most beautiful?"
      "It's most beautiful when its tail is open, of course," I said.
      "Yes, a peacock is most perfect with its tail open," my friend said, "but it can't keep its tail open all the time. Maintaining such perfect posture constantly would not only affect its freedom of action. It could also tire the peacock to death if it always held its tail feathers erect and straight. Thus, a wide-spread tail is not the peacock's normal position. The norm is tail closed. And just like the peacock, we can pursue perfection, but we cannot because of that lose our desire to maintain normalcy."
      My friend's words gave me a new understanding and awareness of perfection.

青年文摘2011, 9期, Youth Digest, September 2011, p. 7
Translated from version at
3. The Press Conference (记者招待会)
Fei Er (菲儿)

       A Caucasian reporter raised a sensitive issue. "Sir, the situation in South Africa is so confused; do you think there's really any hope for the Black government?"
       Smiling, Mandela answered unhurriedly. "Young man," he said, "I've lived a good many more years than you have, but I'm much more optimistic than you. Why are you so pessimistic?"
       The entire hall instantly broke out in laughter. The Caucasian reporter scratched his head, turned red in the face, and laughed as well.
       A short time later it was a Black reporter's turn. To everyone's surprise, he stuttered and said, "My question was already asked by that man just now."
       At that, Mandela laughed and said, "Is that man the puppy who stole your tongue?"

—From Mandela: Humor and Freedom Together
http://book.soushiti.com/shu/0S12213452015.html, first story.
4. Suitable Distance (合适的距离)

      I've heard experts say that if the distance between the Earth and the sun were one percent less, the Earth would be a perpetual "Mountain of Flames"; but if it were three percent greater, the Earth would be an eternal "Moon Palace." As it is now, the distance is neither too great nor too small, but just right.
      Looking at the [other] planets, as lonely and barren as they are, we truly rejoice that we have [such] diverse weather, with temperatures appropriate for humans. We rejoice that the distance between us and the sun suits us. Thus it's not distance that creates beauty – suitable distance creates beauty.

青年文摘2011/10上, Youth Digest, October 2011, first semimonthly issue, p. 7
Translated from version at
5. Where You Should Grow (你该生长在那里)
Zhang Yu (张雨)

      A lily seed fell into a field of oats. It sprouted, leafed out, and produced buds that grew into pure white flowers. It was very proud when it looked at the oats sprouting around it. "Your only value is to bear a few spears of oats that become food for humans. But me, I'm the noble lily, a symbol of purity. None of you can even be spoken of in the same breath as me...."
      The lily was immensely proud of its superiority, and the oats said nothing. Then, one day, the farmer came along. To him, the beautiful lily was no more than a weed, stealing water and nutrients from his crops, and competing with them for sunlight. He casually pulled it up and threw it on the ridge at the side of the field.
      It seems that even a lily has to choose the right position for itself. If it makes the wrong choice and grows in a farmer's field of oats, it's just a weed.

青年文摘2011/10上, Youth Digest, October 2011, Issue 1, p. 7
Translated from
6. The Magical Gordian Knot (哥顿神结)
Zhang Junxia (张军霞)

[Fannyi – The author arguably understood the moral of this legend, but in typical Chinese essayist fashion, did not let the facts get in the way of the story. See here for a more accurate description of the legend. Incidentally, Chinese essayists often date events in ancient Western history hundreds of years after the actual dates. Fannyi is sure that this is a simple mistake, not an intentional conspiracy to make Chinese history seem more ancient than anyone else’s.]
      A legend says that King Gordias of the ancient Greek Kingdom of Phrygia used an unusually intricate method to tie a knot on the yoke of a chariot. He then predicted that someone in the future would be able to undo the knot, and that that person would conquer Asia. Because of this mystical prophecy, many people tried many times, but no one was able to succeed in undoing the "magical Gordian knot".
      In the year 333 AD [sic], Alexander led an army to encamp in a city in Asia to avoid the winter’s cold. He had also heard of this mysterious fable and, full of confidence, immediately spurred his horse forward to go and undo the knot. However, although he tried several methods, they all failed.
      He did not give up. Over the next few weeks he put aside his other affairs and devoted his whole heart and mind to dealing with the "magical Gordian knot". He still got no results.
      Eventually, Alexander had a sudden inspiration while pondering the problem. "Why can’t I make my own rule for undoing the magical knot?" So he immediately took out his sword, swung it, and cut the "magical Gordian knot" in two. This "solution" finally loosened the knot completely. Later, Alexander really did take over the Persian Empire in one swoop, fulfilling Gordias’s prediction.
      In anything you do, don’t be bound by the power of habitual ways of thinking. If you just boldly abandon conventional rules and create new methods, then, even if you don’t play your cards in accordance with conventional wisdom, you can create novel ways to achieve success.

Translated from


7. Mood Food (情绪性吃食)
Mao Li (毛利)

      A boring, everyday drama. The lead role is the taciturn boss of a coffee shop. The most entertaining thing he does is to give a free order of ice cream, quietly and without fanfare, to every lovelorn female customer who comes into the shop. Why does it have to be ice cream? There's no reason, except that women in TV dramas who have just had their hearts broken, and who are perhaps crying, immediately devour a bowl of ice cream, as if to swallow their broken hearts with it.
      As for the eating of ice cream, the famous brands have done some painstaking advertising: If you love her, take her to eat at XXXX. I've always felt that that's nonsensical. If two people love each other in the winter, do they also have to go to XXXX to have a cup of ice cream, and pretend to enjoy eating it? The idea that you have to eat ice cream when you're in love is really stretching it a bit, because only the lovelorn eat ice cream. With that brutally frigid sweetness and all, it has just the flavor for being dumped.
      For love, on the other hand, the most appropriate food is strawberry shortcake. This spring, convenience stores and bakeries everywhere are pushing strawberry season. Fresh, sweet strawberries with just a hint of sourness are the best endorsement for the taste of love. Only in moments of all-consuming love can two people go, hand in hand, to perform the eating of strawberry shortcake. It's just for this reason that springtime love is particularly flavorful. Love that blossoms forth with everything else, you just don't get that in any other season. Like strawberry cake, it's a special order for springtime only.
      These days, we're starting to see some people put labels on foods. In the past people only knew that they wanted to eat well, but today everyone knows that chocolate is for lovers, while peanuts are left for drinkers. If someone is up late working overtime, the process isn't finished until they get up the next morning and go the XX coffee shop for a cup of black coffee. Some say that when a woman has high tea with her best girlfriend, if they don't order three plates of sweets to eat together, it can't really be considered a close friendship.
      In my mind, even divorce also has a specific meal. In countless television shows, when a couple who's feelings for one another have not completely vanished goes to the Civil Affairs Bureau to get their green book [to initiate a divorce], one of them will always suggest going out together for a break-up dinner. This dinner will certainly be in a family restaurant, so the couple will be faced with people eating the kind of home cooking that they're so used to. With tears swirling in their eyes, they won't be able to control their emotions. Only at this point will the audience be given a satisfactory explanation for the divorce.
      And what's the most appropriate dish to be ordered by a woman who has achieved nothing in her life? Need I say it? It's definitely Korean
bibimbap [rice stew] á la Kim Sun-ah [a Korean actress]. Whenever I'm in a Korean restaurant and see an imposingly fat woman, sitting alone, eating a huge order of stone-pot bibimbap, then I know, as though I were seeing it through a clear lens, that her hopes and dreams have once again been swamped by the world.
      Through research, the ancients discovered that the year is divided into twenty-four
solar terms, and that a certain type of meal is fixed for each term: eating things like sweet rice dumplings during the Qingming [Tomb Sweeping] Festival, for example. Modern people don't abide by these expectations. They've discerned dozens of emotional states from their life experiences, and an appropriate food has been allocated to each. Since you've read this far, I know you're about ready to reach out and tear open a bag of potato chips. That's the optimal footnote to modern style boredom.

青年文摘Youth Digest, June 2013, 1st Semimonthly Issue, P. 29
Also Published at
8. "Procrastination" Isn't a Bad Habit (“拖延症”不是坏习惯)

by The Beauty's Smile (妃子笑)

      My roommate listened intently to the lectures in class, not wanting to miss any bit of knowledge the teacher might say. At the end of the term, when the other students were burning the midnight oil to cram for finals, he went to bed early, like he had a trick up his sleeve, and the next day he swaggered smugly out of the exam room. The result was that his grades were the lowest in our dorm. The next semester, he crammed furiously before the exams, just like the rest of us, and ended up getting the highest scores with ease.
      I've tried the even-pace style of learning, the "don't cram for exams, and don't slack off afterwards" method. Almost everyone says that it's better than "praying at the eleventh hour". The thing is, though, the theory has been knocked down countless times.
      I find that when I put things off until the last minute, it increases my efficiency a hundred-fold. In contrast, when I start preparing things as soon as possible, I crawl along as slow as a snail.
      But isn't "slacking off until the eleventh hour" something we're warned against? Sure, that's often the case, but it's because we've been fooled about the word "procrastination".
      Whenever I wait to get started until I feel that I won't have enough time if I wait any longer, I always get done just in the nick of time. That moment when you "won't have enough time if you don't start now" is real. How can you tell when it is? Only by getting help from the "invisible hand." This hand is the "procrastination" of time management studies. As long as you have a clear understanding of yourself, you will without doubt have a confident feeling for when this point in time is. Then you can sally forth, faster than a lightning bolt, fully armed and with your sword raised for battle. Using your full powers of concentration, problems will fall and be trampled beneath your onslaught.
      If you don't wait for the last minute before starting, you won't experience the thrill of jumping onto a train at the last second before it pulls out of the station. But if you always jump on at the very last second, your understanding of yourself, your understanding of the issues, and your understanding of time will take on an entirely new ambiance.
      Consider Pang Tong [the famous Han Dynasty official]: With a backlog of an entire month's paperwork piled up, he laid around drinking every day. When General Zhang Fei came to him for something, Pang Tong went to his office and got to it, and finished it all in one morning. How cool-headed that was, and how confident! This is what comes from having a clear understanding of oneself and the issues, so there is no need to fear "procrastination."
      Why are you afraid of "procrastination"? Because you lack an understanding of the task you face, which causes a lack of confidence. So you dither between "to do" or "not to do", between "do now" and "do later". Obviously you don't think it's too late to postpone, but you also worry about what will happen if you postpone it too long. In fact, what's really making you apprehensive isn't the task per se, but your own anxious mood.
      If something really is a special emergency, you'll get started right away without hesitation; and as for joining in on something you particularly like to do, you won't vacillate about whether to put it off, you'll get going on it right away. The reason you procrastinate is because you subconsciously tell yourself: it's not something I like to do, or it's actually not so urgent. There are too many things in this world that aren't worth doing, and yet we have to force ourselves to do them, so why not just postpone them? Your body will have sent you a signal to procrastinate.
      Don't think that reason and logic are very reliable. They'll deceive you, and convince you to do things that aren't worth doing. But your body and your intuition will be faithful to you. They know what you like and what you hate.
      The great barrister Webster adhered to three principles in his lifetime. One of these was: don't do today what you can put off until tomorrow.
[Fannyi was unable to find any such quote, but did find these:
“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well". ― Mark Twain
“I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do - the day after.” ― Oscar Wilde

Published in 青年文摘, June 2013 #11, 1st Semimonthly Issue, p.16
9. For the Superior Person Revenge is Reasonable (君子报仇有道)

by Liang Fengyi (梁凤仪)

      In life one often experiences feelings of gratitude and resentment, of love and animosity. Try as one might, they cannot be avoided.
      Of course, repaying kindness with kindness is to be expected. But what about animosity? How does one handle it? It is often said, and with reason: One who feels wronged and does not return it is not a superior person. I agree.
      Animosity forms, in principle, when one is harmed without reason. If one does not get revenge, it is difficult to give vent to one's aggravation. As people these days say, resentment that builds up too much for too long will lead to cancer. Thus, draining away the grievances and hatred in one's heart can be considered a way to good health. But generally speaking, repaying a kindness is easy while repaying injustice is difficult. I have a method for getting revenge, however, that will succeed almost every time.
      I tell you, the best way to devastate the ones you hate and defeat your enemies is to make yourself a better person.
        Let me give you an example. Suppose you are unlucky at love and are cast aside through no fault of your own. You bear grudges against the one who deserted you and the one who stole your love. You want to get revenge but you want to be sure of success. In that case you certainly cannot be passive and must be proactive. Being proactive means having a comprehensive plan to gain control. I recommend: Grieve for three days after losing a love. On the fourth day start to "strengthen yourself" in word and action, to "arm yourself". This will include studying more, to increase your erudition; making more friends, to open up your heart; exercising more, to refine a perfect physique; buying more new clothes and cosmetics, to strive for beauty; working more, to seek the satisfaction of a career; and so on.
      In a very short time, you will have changed beyond recognition. When you have occasion to encounter your former companion again, you will truly cause him to gasp in amazement. Comparing you to your rival, you will be taller than she is, and stronger; and prettier than she is, and richer; and you will have a higher social status than she does, and be living more carefree and more elegantly. Imagine that! What hostility will you still have that's worth mentioning? What grievance will still remain in your heart?
     And even better, if the one you bore a grudge against has been sincerely swayed toward the newly packaged you, to the extent that he's happy for you and applauds you, he should absolutely no longer be considered your enemy, but can be seen as a friend.
      How can animosity be soothed without blood and sweat? Pain is inevitable. Why put yourself through the expenditure of such mental anguish and heartache if it's to no avail, if there's the slightest chance that it might just incite your to enemy make fun of you?
      Thus, for me, both kindnesses and animosities must be paid back. I always look to myself to find the method for repaying the debt, so as to benefit myself rather than hurting others. Please believe me, really, and you'll often be a winner.

今日文摘, Today's Literary Digest #352, Second Semimonthly Issue, Jan. 15, 2013, p. 7
Republished at
10. Multi-Layered Snowbank (积雪分几层)

by Sun Junfei (孙君飞)

      In art class, the teacher had us draw a snowbank.
      No problem. I see snow banks every winter. Just a bunch of snowflakes piled up on the ground, a thick layer of them, covering the earth like a comforter. Snowflakes are water frozen into small petals, obviously, but when they're piled up into banks, a certain amount of warmth is retained in them.
      I quickly drew a sketch of the snowbank I had in mind, a very thick one, of course.
      Teacher praised me, and I was also satisfied with how I'd done the exercise. But I was puzzled by what the teacher asked me next. "You drew one layer of snow very well, but with so many snowflakes coming down, would a snowbank really have only one layer?"
      Do snowbanks have layers? How could I have not seen that? Who could see layers in that kind of blended whiteness? Unless it's a "fantasy snowbank", with first one color laid down, and then another.
      "Have you heard this poem?" The teacher looked into my eyes and recited with a smile:
      "The top layer of snow is so cold,
      "An icy moonbeam shines on it.
      "Below the snow is so heavy,
      "Hundreds of people have crushed it.
      "In the middle the snow is so lonely,
      "Neither heaven nor earth can be seen."
      Can people who paint pictures write poems as well? I was in awe, but the most awesome thing was that the poem had actually divided the snow into levels, "cold", "heavy" and "lonely". I instantly felt a very beautiful sympathy and compassion.
      The teacher said the poem's author was a Japanese children's poet named
Kaneko Misuzu, and told me the relationship between poetry and painting, and what kind of eyes and feelings you need to create a good painting that will move people's hearts....
      I was deeply affected by this poem, "On the Layers of a Snowbank". I found myself wanting to warm the "cold layer" in my hands. I thought I would tread lightly the next time I walked over a snowbank, and I wanted to keep the "lonely layer" company more often, quietly listening to its innermost thoughts. I would even paint some of the warmth of my heart into the snowbank, and the gracefulness of the poem's lines. And I'd also paint in the world that cannot be seen in some snowbanks, so that the upper layer of snow could tell the middle layer about it.
      The next time the teacher has me paint a snowbank, I certainly won't just draw "a one-layer comforter." Even in the thinnest of snowbanks, I'd be able to see abundant life stories.
      I'll never forget the lesson about "On the Layers of a Snowbank". I savor and appreciate it more and more. It's even helped me understand the people and the things around me.
      Once, a friend suddenly started looking very frail. He felt that he'd been wronged, but he also blamed himself, and heaven, and his superiors. The complaints came blubbering out of him.
      All of a sudden, when I saw his gushing tears, sad eyes and trembling fingers, I felt that he was both familiar and a stranger to me. For a moment I even thought of trying to hide from him, but eventually I restrained myself. Another friend next to him said bluntly, "You're not a man! I've got no respect for you!"
      The reason I was able to restrain myself, and hear my friend out, was because I remembered the lesson about "On the Layers of a Snowbank". I thought, he's definitely got more than just a layer of vulnerability. He also has a layer of strength, and one of persistence, and optimism.... How could a life with so many levels be frozen into one layer of such frailty? Human nature is rich, and if we focus on one layer and ignore the rest, if we won't see the forest for the trees, will the result be anything other than regrettable misunderstandings?
      When I thought of this, I immediately understood that this friend in front of me was in fact myself! His weakness was also my weakness. I not only saw this one layer, I saw the other levels as well, and was understanding and cherishing myself! When he finished pouring out his heart, I had a new understanding of him, and was finally able sympathize with him and encourage him.
      Sure enough, my friend eventually laughed. "I was just talking," he said. "Life will bring what it brings. Thanks!"
      Even snowbanks have three layers. How can a life richer and more complex than a snowbank be treated and dealt with summarily?

青年文摘,June 2013 #11, 1st Semimonthly Issue, p.13, Youth Literary Digest
11. You Can Really Feel Self-Satisfied (你真的可以很自在)


      Milan Kundera has a book called Life is Elsewhere.
I can really relate to these three words, because my life is always somewhere far away. I'm constantly thinking: If I have the money tomorrow, I can….
      If you're not earning much money at present and aren't happy, then I guarantee you wouldn't be happy even if you have more money;
      If you don't know how to enjoy yourself when you're alone, then you'll be just as unhappy even if you get married and are with someone else;
      If you don't know how to enjoy life now, you won't know how to enjoy life in the future;
      Someone asked what freedom is. What we call freedom is:
      If you feel like turning down a date with another person, you don't need any other reason. You have the right to live the life you want, and the right to go places you want.
      In fact, life is simple.
      Men and women all love to set deadlines in their lives, like:
      I must be married by the time I'm 25,
      I must have a child before I'm 26,
      A boy and a girl before 30,
      And I must have a house by 31,
And because of this, they make a lot of very hasty decisions.
      If you've just found someone and they're not the right one, they won't be the right one later, either, no matter how hard you work at it; sometimes, we keep telling ourselves that all the problems will disappear when we get married; then, if there are still problems after we marry, hurry up and have a child. Truth is, your problems won't be solved at this stage, and will just be bigger at the next stage;
      Don't expect too much for your future. If you expect too much…. Honestly, you'll feel deeply frustrated. It's better to look at what makes you feel satisfied in the things you're doing now. You'll only feel that life is fulfilling when you've absorbed a lot of things.
      Also, if someone works too hard at living for outward appearances, they'll be hurt beyond imagining. If you believe you're doing pretty well today, and don't care about how others see you, you can really feel satisfied.
            To fly together, beyond our dreams
            You and I must be as one in our hearts

Available in various versions including this one.
12. The Avaricious Hunter (贪婪的猎人)

by Xu Mingjun (许铭君)

      There once was a hunter named San Wang who was as avaricious as can be. When he went hunting, he wouldn't even spare does caring for young fawns, or wild goats that had just learned how to run, so he had a very bad reputation. He was well over thirty, and not one woman was willing to marry him.
      One day San Wang dug a pit trap in a thick forest deep in the hills, and the next day he found that a wild donkey had fallen in. He was tickled pink about it, because the pelt of a wild donkey is worth a lot of money and he could sell it for a high price. He would use most of the money to get himself a wife.
      Bursting with excitement, San Wang picked up a pitchfork. But to his surprise, just as he was about to jab it into the donkey, the animal opened its mouth and spoke: "Young man, please don't kill me!" San Wang was so startled that he stayed his hand.
      "I used to be the demigod of this place," the donkey told San Wang, "but a demon cast a spell while I was asleep and turned me into a donkey. Now I've carelessly fallen into the pit you dug. But if you'll spare me, I'll grant you two wishes. "Really?" San Wang said, overjoyed at this stroke of good fortune. The donkey nodded its head.
      "All right," San Wang said after thinking for a moment. "I want a beautiful wife." "Easy as pie," said the donkey, "just a sec." Almost before the words were out of its mouth, a woman in the prime of life, and as beautiful as a goddess, floated down beside San Wang. The hunter was ecstatic when he saw her and smiled from ear to ear. He hated that he couldn't take her in his arms right then and there. But hadn't the donkey said that he would grant two wishes? "I also want a big house," he said hastily to the donkey, "with a courtyard. And I want to spend my wedding night there tonight!"
      The donkey nodded its head as before. "This wish is also easy," it said, and with the slightest effort a majestic courtyard home appeared before San Wang's eyes, a multi-level building with pavilions and terraces, patterned railings and decorated beams. San Wang was dumbstruck. How could he let the donkey go after that? "Since you can perform such magic, grant me another wish, OK?"
      The donkey shook its head. "Young man," it said, you can't be so greedy. I've already granted you two wishes. You better pull me out of here now." When San Wang realized that the donkey wasn't willing to grant another wish, he immediately scowled and glared at the creature. "You won't do what I want? Then don't blame me if I get hostile!" The donkey thought about being in the pit, unable to get out by itself. It had no choice but to accede to the hunter's demand.
      "Listen up," San Wang said to the donkey at once. "I'm going to be a new husband tonight, and after that I want to be happy for the rest of my days. I…. I want to change so that I have the same abilities that you do." The donkey kept shaking its head as it listened. "That's a preposterous wish," it said. "It's unacceptable, completely unacceptable!" When San Wang saw that the donkey wouldn't do it, he snatched up the pitchfork and ferociously hit the donkey over the head with it. "That won't do," he said. "You must grant me a wish, or I'll stick you with this and kill you!"
      In view of San Wang's attitude, the donkey sighed deeply and said, "All right, I can grant you one more, but I think you'll end up regretting it." There's no need to mention how elated and excited San Wang was when the donkey agreed. He threw the pitchfork down. He couldn't wait until that evening. He impatiently hugged the beautiful woman who was beside him, then ran into his courtyard home.
      Who would have thought it? After a brief moment San Wang came rushing out of the bedroom of his courtyard home, screaming like a lunatic as he ran: "Oh, God! How can I have changed into a woman? You damn donkey, why didn't you tell me you're a female…?"

股市会精品系列, Stories Magazine Premier Collection
奇异故事,第, 2010年11月, 44页, Fantasy Stories, November 2010, p. 44
13. Don't Try to Please Everybody (不要取悦所有人)

by Li Liangxu (李良旭)

      When I was a sophomore in college, my good friend Xu Wen asked me to go into business with him. He'd rented a small shop by the entrance to the college especially to sell stationary and school supplies.
      I fidgeted as I answered: "What if the teachers say we're not focusing on our studies?"
      Seeing the situation, Xu Wen had to go it alone. To my surprise, after he got the store started, business was really good.
      By the time we were seniors, Xu Wen had already opened three stores. People not only didn't gossip about him, the teachers held him up as example. He became a model for everybody to study.
      After I [graduated and] started working, a relative offered me a job at his company. He was short of help at the time.
      I fidgeted and said: "I'm your relative. Other people would certainly gossip about me behind my back."
      Seeing the situation, my relative had to hire someone else.
      I never would have thought it. The fellow my relative hired not only didn't get gossiped about, but to the contrary, everybody admired him. After a few years the company was going like a ball of fire and expanding by leaps and bounds. The guy my relative had hired back then had become a branch manager.
      My co-worker Little Wang and I were good friends. He asked me to attend a foreign language class with him in our spare time. He said it might come in handy later if we could master a foreign language. I fidgeted and asked him: "If our co-workers find out, won't they say we're too ambitious?"
      So Little Wang ended up going alone.
      One day a foreign businessman came to our company to discuss a deal and, as it happened, our translator wasn't there. Little Wang's fluency made the foreigner sing his praises and the discussion went without a hitch. The boss was pleasantly surprised and later promoted Little Wang up several grades.
      In my life, I've always been excessively cautious in all respects and worried about how other people would see me. As a result, I've never succeeded in anything.
      Once at a press conference for a new movie, a reporter asked the famous American director Bill Cosby to talk about the key to success. He answered, "I don't know the key to success, but I can confirm that the lesson of failure is, don't try to please everybody."
[The actual quote is: "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." – Fannyi]

意林 Yilin Magazine #215, May 2013, Second Semimonthly Issue, p. 51
Also at


14. The Happiness of Existence (生存的喜悦)

Li Yinhe (李银河, Milky Way Li)

      Although Buddha said that all beings live in bitterness, I can often feel the joy of living.
      Every morning I get out of bed early, turn on my computer and scribble whatever I like, using the words to drown out the depression in my mind. On occasion I may produce a masterpiece, and then a great satisfaction fills my heart. It’s a joy when that happens.
      Occasionally I chat with friends on WeChat. While we may be physically separated by vast expanses of mountains and rivers, our hearts are near to each other. Our souls converse and blend together like milk and honey. It’s a joy when that happens, too.
      In the direct sunlight with a book in my hand, I turn my back to the sun and use my own shadow to shield the pages from the brightness. The nape of my neck basks in the heat. It’s a joy when that happens, too.
      After a meal I stroll leisurely down to the beach, where I strive to absorb more oxygen anions than in other places, many more. In the slow-motion lens of my heart, the old floats up from my innards to be replaced by the new. It’s a joy when that happens, too.
      I get aroused and post a blog, then five minutes later click on it and look to see that people have exuberantly joined the battle from their sofas. Some praise my post, some curse it, but all are impassioned, with their hackles up. It’s a joy when that happens, too.
      Sometimes I get depressed. I feel in my bones that there’s nothing new under the sun, or that things often don’t turn out the way I want. I look down on human life, down on the entire universe. Then I recall that we’re all in the same boat, and I let it go. That also is a joy.
      But I wish there was more joy in my heart, and that doing what pleases me didn’t exceed the rules.

读者, 2015-9期 (5月上), p. 41, Readers Magazine
Translated from version at

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