​​         Chinese Stories in English   

Merry-Go-Round Mini-Stories (Page 1)

1. Anti-Itch
2. Are You Sure
3. Big Difference
4. Borrowing Money

15. Seeing Ghosts
16. Strange Customs
17. Strange Illness, A
18. Tit for Tat

10. In Vino Veritas
11. Keeping Up
12. Little Pussies
13. Old Egg
14. Pirate King

1. Anti-Itch Medicine
From a Compilation by Pang Qifan


     In olden days, there was a Chief Justice who greatly admired the Empress' beauty. Her lips were so sexy as to make him swoon, and every night he dreamed of kissing them. But he never did more than hope in vain, because he knew that if he ever dared to commit such a crime against the Emperor, his head would certainly be on the chopping block.
     One day he could no longer contain himself and told his secret to the Court Physician. The doctor laughed and said, mysteriously, "I can help you achieve your desires, if you will...."
     The Chief Justice agreed at once. To taste what he wanted, he would give the doctor ten thousand gold coins.
     The doctor formulated a secret potion that would make people itch, and also bribed the Empress's personal maid. That night, while the Empress was at her bath, the maid coated her lipstick with the itching potion. The Empress was getting ready to go to a banquet, so after she bathed she started to put on her make-up. She felt an incredible itch as soon as she applied the lipstick to her lips.
     The Emperor summoned the Court Physician forthwith. After making a show of examining the Empress, the doctor said, "Your Majesty, Her Highness has a strange disease. In order to cure such an illness...." He pretended to be reluctant to say any more.
     "Speak!" the Emperor ordered. "I will agree to whatever methods are necessary to relieve the Empress of her suffering."
     The doctor hemmed and hawed for a moment more, then said, "Your Majesty, the only way to relieve Her Highness's itching is to allow a certain person to kiss her lips. This person's saliva is an effective anti-itch medicine."
     The Emperor frowned when he heard what the doctor was saying, but the Empress's moans of pain and pleading eyes prevented him from hesitating further. "Tell me, who is this person," he said with a sigh.
     "The Chief Justice," replied the doctor, stifling a smile.
     The Chief Justice was immediately called to the palace. The Court Physician had previously given him the antidote to the itching potion and he was carrying it inside is mouth. Following the Emperor's instructions, he started to perform the "task" that he had been dreaming about. Sure enough, when he pressed his lips against the Empress's, she felt the itching stop right away.
     The Court Physician went to see the Chief Justice the next day to claim his reward. "You're joking," the Chief Justice laughed. "Why would I promise you such a thing?" He was certain the doctor wouldn't dare talk to anyone about the secret between them and saw no need to carry out his end of the bargain.
     The doctor didn't get angry. He just shook his head and left.
     One night shortly thereafter, when the king put on his underpants after taking a bath, he immediately felt an intolerable itching on his ass, as if tens of thousands of ants were crawling on it. Thus, the Chief Justice was once again immediately called to the palace....


2012中国年度幽默作品,《喜剧世界》杂志社选片,丁斯主编
2012 Annual Humorous Writings of China, from Comedy World Magazine, Ding Si, Ed., p. 120
Translated from text at
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_509ba96e01015sqk.html
See Also
http://epaper.voc.com.cn/wczm/html/2012-08/02/content_539309.htm?div=-1
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2. Are You Sure?
Zhang Jingjuan


     Mike had a bad case of voyeurism. He'd recently opened a small hotel and had installed a video camera in one of the rooms. When he didn't have anything to do, he could sneak a peek at the guests.
     One day he had just opened the peephole when he remembered that two men were guests in the room that day. Feeling disappointed, he decided to turn the camera off, but then happened to see one of the men hand a bag of white powder to the other. The second guy took it and sniffed....
     "Oh, no," Mike exclaimed, "a drug deal!" But when he remembered that people reporting crimes in his province could receive huge rewards, he called the crime-stoppers hotline right away.
     The policeman who took his report asked cautiously, "Are you sure it's a drug deal?"
     "Of course it is," Mike said confidently. "No mistaking it!"
     The officer drilled him as to why he was sure, and Mike did an about-face. "It's like this," he said. "I'd just delivered room service to them, and from outside the door I unintentionally happened to overhear what they were saying...."
     The police came quickly. Mike gave them a key and told them the room number. He was overjoyed as he watched the officers rush up the stairs.
     They came back down before long with the two men in custody. One of the officers walked over to the front desk and gave the key back to Mike. Mike took the opportunity to ask, "When will I get my reward, Officer?"
     "We won't stiff you," the policeman said, deadpan, "but right now I want to ask you something...."
     Mike was all smiles. "No problem, Officer. Helping you in your work is the right thing to do. Go ahead and ask...." He opened the registration book as he spoke.
     But the officer slapped the book closed. "I just want to know," he asked, "how were you so sure they were negotiating a drug deal?"
     Mike was startled. "Why wouldn't I be sure," he said with complete sincerity. "The guys you arrested are drug dealers, aren't they?"
     The officer smiled coldly. "They are indeed," he said, patting Mike on the shoulder. "But they're members of the Deaf Mutes Gang. Please tell me, how could you have heard mutes talking?"
                                                                                                                                 Recommended by Tian Zeyu from Stories Magazine.


Translated from _分节阅读_5 http://55txt.net/bbs/html/view_60725_5.html
Also available at
http://www.92gushi.com/2013_16/gshu20131630.html
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3. How Come Such a Big Difference?
Compiled by Li Dongmei


     A man who wanted to lose some weight heard about a doctor who had invented a kind of diet pill that worked wonders. Take the stuff at night before going to bed, and by the next morning you'd be 10 pounds lighter.
     The man asked around until he finally found the doctor and was able to buy the weight loss drug he wanted. He took some at bedtime that very night. He fell asleep right away and dreamed that a beautiful young girl was lying beside him. They spent the entire night in the warmth of physical love, and he was covered in sweat when he woke up happy and satisfied the next morning. After a bath, he got on the scale and saw that he actually had lost ten pounds.
     At work that day, the man happily and excitedly told one of his male colleagues about his weight loss experience. The guy was filled with envy and wanted to try it, so he got the address of the hospital where the doctor had his office. On his way home from work he stopped to visit the doctor and bought the medicine.
     He couldn't wait, so as soon as he got home he took the medicine and lay down on his bed. In his dream, though, an incomparably ugly, naked woman walked over and lifted up his covers. He was so scared that he half rolled, half jumped right out of bed, trying to get away. But the door to his room was locked, so all he could do was run around the table as fast as he could go. The naked woman followed close behind him, and the two of them kept at it the entire night.
     When the guy woke up the next morning, he was covered in sweat and completely exhausted. He weighed himself after taking a bath and had indeed lost ten pounds.
     He stopped by the hospital on his way to work, looking for the doctor.
     "How did it work out for you," the doctor asked when he saw the guy.
     "I did lose ten pounds, but why was my dream so different from my friend's. It really isn't fair," the guy said indignantly.
     "What's unfair about it? Your friend came to my home to buy the medicine in private. You came here to the hospital for yours."


http://blog.sina.cn/dpool/blog/s/blog_48e632300102eehg.html?md=gd
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4. Borrowing Money
Liu Lang


     Erleng, who was in the City working a temporary job, made a phone call to his wife, Shuiyue. "I got my head smashed, Shuiyue."
     Shuiyue was startled. "Oh, that's just great! How did it happen? Is it serious?"
     "I've been dizzy all along," he answered. "Haven't had any shuteye in two days."
     Shuiyue started to cry loudly, "What are you going to do?"
     "Crying won't help any more than farting," Erleng shouted roughly. "You better go borrow some money right away, four or five hundred, or whatever you can get." He hung up.
     Shuiyue started running around trying to borrow money. Erleng's family had been poor even before this, and when the villagers heard that he'd hurt his head, they avoided Shuiyue like the plague. Even their friends and relatives turned their backs. She ran around for two days but wasn't able to borrow a penny. She called Erleng twice, but his phone was turned off.
    By the night Erleng finally got home, Shuiyue had gotten cold sores from worrying so much. She came close to look at his head, but didn't see anything different anywhere. "Didn't you hit your head?" she asked.
     Erleng chuckled and said, "I hit the lottery on the head. I only spent two Yuan, and won 200,000." He pulled out a brand new bankbook, "Look! After I paid the taxes, I put all the rest in the bank!"
     Shuiyue grabbed the book and took a close look. Sure enough, Erleng hadn't been lying. She was both laughing and crying as she hit him on the shoulder. "Were you crazy or something, making me run all around to borrow money?"
     "Were you able to borrow any?" he asked.
     "Borrow, shmorrow," she replied. "Forget about our friends in the village, even our relatives all said they didn't have any money."
     Erleng slapped his thigh and laughed out loud. "Good!" he said. "They all turned their backs on us this time, so let's see if anyone has the chutzpa to try to borrow money from us!"
                                                                                                                                                                       (Published in Beijing Youth Daily)


Stories by Liu Lang,Posted by 浪不起来
http://bbs.tianya.cn/post-53748-3724-1.shtml, story #4
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5. Choosing a Partner
by Fu Xiujuan


     After we got married two years ago, my husband and I thought about vetting a partner for his never-married mother. We never figured that she would politely decline our idea on the ground that she was used to being single.
     Then I took her to a park for an outing one weekend. The park not only has romantic young couples walking hand in hand, but also a number of elderly couples who sit next to the pavilions and pagodas to talk and chat.
     When we saw them, I told her, "Mom, look at the happiness that comes with having a partner! Let us find you one, OK?"
     To my surprise, this time she was pleased and said, "All right, if you find someone appropriate, introduce him to me."
     Within a week of receiving this commission, my husband and I had each picked a candidate for his mother. We made plans to have them to our house for dinner on successive evenings so she could get to know them under our watchful eyes.
     Last weekend, the first to come over for dinner was Mr. Li, my husband's candidate. He's two years older than my mother-in-law. Although he's rather skinny, he can write and paint, and can sing as well.
     My candidate, Mr. Zhang, came over the next evening. He's the same age as my mother-in-law. He's tall and well-built, but otherwise has no special talents. I thought to myself, "I'm afraid the 'signs are not good' for Mr. Zhang, compared to Mr. Li and his expertise in calligraphy."
     "Mom, do you think Mr. Zhang is more suitable, or is Mr. Li?" After dinner, I couldn't wait to ask her.
     She looked at me and said, "Mr. Zhang's not bad."
    That startled me. "Mr. Li is so gifted, but Mr. Zhang can't do anything." I was quite puzzled.
  "I'm into photography, don't you know?" she said. "But as I get older, it takes more and more of my strength to tote all that equipment around. Mr. Zhang's in good shape. I could have him carry anything I wanted...."


咚咚呛的博客Rub-a-Dub Ugh's Blog
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_c27a7d070101avew.html
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6. Double Benefit: Two Birds, One Stone
by Xue Xin


     Liu Bo is a white-collar worker with a generous salary in the big city. He is successful in his career because he takes his work seriously. At the end of the year, the company gave him a ¥20,000 bonus.
     Liu shouted for joy and went home to talk with his wife about how they should spend the bonus. He suggested using the money to broaden their horizons by taking a trip during Spring Festival Golden Week [the peak of the tourist season]. His wife was dead-set against the idea. She said tourism is a waste of money and that you couldn't both play around for a while and also come back home with anything to show for it!
     What could they do that would both be fun and bring a reward? After racking his brains, Liu talked to his wife about a shopping trip to upgrade the appliances in their home, and to get a new cell phone for himself. Unexpectedly, his wife opposed that idea, too. She said they'd only had their appliances a few years and they all worked fine, so buying new ones would be a complete waste of money. And all you can do with a new phone is make calls and send texts and play games, same as the old phone, so that wouldn't bring any reward, either. Liu couldn't think of any reply to that, so he said, "Well, what do you think we should do with the money to get the best reward?"
     His wife smiled. "Give me the money," she said, "and I'll choose an investment that gives us a return both now and in the future, like killing two birds with one stone!"
     "OK," Liu said as he handed the money over. "I want to see what your brilliant idea is."
     First thing when Liu got home the next day, his wife came up and kissed him. "Dear," she said, "everything's taken care of. I completed the investment without a hitch."
     Liu was excited. "Tell me, dear, what exactly did you invest in?"
     His wife took two jewelry boxes out of a drawer. "I used the money to buy two gold bracelets, one for me and one for my mom. The risks of investing in gold are small and the value appreciates quickly, and besides that, it makes for a good relationship between you and your mother-in-law. Isn't that killing two birds with one stone?"


故事林, A Forest of Stories #277, p. 66
http://www.wenxue100.com/baokan/32652.thtml
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7. Econ 101: Everybody's Happy
Compiled by Li Dongmei


     A wealthy tourist came to our town. He gave the hotel owner a US $100 deposit and went upstairs to pick out a room.
     The hotel owner didn't dare put off paying his bill at the butcher shop any longer, so he picked up the money and ran there right away to settle up; the butcher rushed straight to the cattle rancher to pay what he owed; the rancher tucked the money in his pocket and hurried over to the auto repair shop to pay up; the auto shop owner sped to a store with the money to clear his account; the store owner immediately headed for the local bordello to reimburse a call girl for services rendered; and the call girl went to the hotel without delay, to pay for the room she used while entertaining her guests.
     At this time the tourist came downstairs and said he couldn't find a suitable room. He retrieved his deposit and left.
     So nobody made anything, but the whole town is now debt-free, happily looking forward to a better future....


首发《讽刺与幽默》Originally published on Sarcasm and Humor website, November 1, 2013
Translated from version at
http://blog.sina.cn/dpool/blog/s/blog_48e632300102eei4.html?md=gd
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8. The Eighth Practice
Author: Zhang Wei


     A leader from a provincial government department was going to come to Little Elm Family Village to have a look at the old folks' home. They had a week to get ready. They found some articulate old people to sit by the road into the village.
     The first practice session was with a district government leader. As he walked toward the entrance to village, accompanied by the village head, the old people stood up quickly. He shook hands with them, his topcoat draped over his shoulder, and they all started talking at once: "We're so blessed by our leaders! We don't have to worry about our meals or our clothes! Our housing is bright and cheery! Just can't say how much better than living with our children!"
     An Assistant Section Chief, a Section Chief, an Assistant Secretary-General, a Secretary-General and an Assistant Secretary, all from the Prefecture's Party Headquarters, paid separate visits on days two through five. The old people at the village entrance answered their questions in the same way.
     On the sixth day, a question and answer session with a Prefectural leader and the oldsters at the village entrance was considered the last acceptance check. It was their eighth practice session – but they got a phone call at the same time. The upper level leader was too busy and the scheduled visit to the old folks home was cancelled.
                                                                                                                                                    From Southern Weekend, November 3, 2011


2011 中国最佳短片小说,主编王蒙,辽宁人民出版社,第295页
China's Best Short Stories 2011, Wang Meng Ed., p. 295
Translated from version at
http://www.infzm.com/content/64462
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9. Five Days to Wealth
by Yan Xianhua


     The last few days, the streets and alleys of Taishan City had been alive with discussions of an ordinary fellow from out of town who came there and prospered. He became a multimillionaire in only five days. The secret of the outsider's success, as well as his complicated and confusing experiences, whetted the city residents' appetites for some high speculation.
     The manager of the City's TV station saw that there was a story here. He made plans for a live, from-the scene interview with the outsider, "The Road to Wealth", as a way to improve ratings for the station's programs.
     The outsider was quite eloquent in answering the MC's questions on the set of the live interview. "On the first day," he said "I sold two pounds of apples in the fruit market and made one Yuan; On the second day at the fruit market, I sold 20 pounds of apples and earned ten Yuan; I sold 200 pounds of apples on my third day at the fruit market got 100 Yuan; The fourth day, 2,000 pounds and 1,000 Yuan; Then on the fifth day...."
     The outsider paused here for a moment, and took a few sips of water to refresh himself. Only after the eyes of the people in the audience were bulging with expectation did he say, softly, "Then on the fifth day, I bought two lottery tickets and won the Grand Prize of 10 million!”


http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6d4709100101hl1d.html (at bottom of page)
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10. In Vino Veritas
Unattributed


     I can't drink much. Two beers and I'll pass out. If my girlfriend wants to find out my true feelings about something, she'll talk me into having drinks with her.
     This morning I woke up with a hangover and discovered her looking at me with tears in her eyes. Uh oh, I must have said something I shouldn't have last night.
     "Hey, Honey, whatever I said last night, it wasn't true," I explained.
     "Bastard," she said, and hit me. "Last night you asked me to marry you."


Manuscript Compiled and Submitted by Grape
Mini-Fiction Blog, Republished from Youth Blog
http://www.hao1111.cn/a/qnbl/41603.html
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11. Keeping Up
Text by Jiang Xianping


     Bureau Chief Zhang loved to drink. He could put away more than half a liter with a meal and still be able to fight the good fight.
     Office Manager Li couldn't hold his liquor very well, but he tried to do the best he could whenever he went drinking with Chief Zhang. He'd heard people say that the ability to drink has to be cultivated, so through "hard work and practice" he got to where he could down six or seven ounces with a meal, and do so two meals in a row without a problem.
     Chief Zhang liked to sing after he'd been drinking. Manager Li had never previously graced a karaoke bar with his voice. In order to keep pace with the Chief, though, Manager Li began going to karaoke bars with some friends to practice his singing. Eventually he learned how, and in fact he sang pretty well. He often won loud applause when he joined in with Chief Zhang to sing duets after they'd been drinking.
     Chief Zhang also liked to play a few rounds of mahjong on the weekends. Once more, Manager Li overcame the weakness in his playing ability by studying and seeking instruction from experts in mahjong palaces. He ended up with greatly increased skills, but was able to throw the game to Chief Zhang at the proper time, which pleased the Chief greatly.
     Since Manager Li was able to keep up with Chief Zhang in his diversions in every respect, the Chief was very appreciative. After two years, he gave him a promotion. Manager Li was now Deputy Chief Li.
     Last month Chief Zhang suddenly had a cerebral hemorrhage and was admitted to the hospital.
     Deputy Chief Li had also been feeling some numbness in his face recently. He was worried about it so he went in for a checkup. It was a mild cerebral thrombosis and he was also admitted to the hospital.
     Behind his back, his colleagues all said that Deputy Chief Li was able to keep pace with Chief Zhang in everything.


咚咚呛的博客
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_c27a7d070101avew.html
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12. Let's Go, You Pussies
Author: Zhang Wei


[Fannyi's wife was shocked by the foul language in this story. Read at your own risk.]

     It's a depot in a small city. It's after eight in the morning. As in similar depots, this period would be classified as the most crowded, most chaotic time of day. Passengers with packages in their arms and hanging from carrying poles are crowded together in the narrow waiting room and in a rather small plaza [outside, where the busses are parked]. Fruit peels and empty beverage containers are everywhere, and the smell of sweat assaults one's nose.
     A chubby fellow with a dark face, wearing a transportation [company] uniform, stands sucking in his gut beside the busses waiting for passengers to have their tickets punched [prior to boarding]. After a while he strides across the little plaza, and everyone hustles to get out of his way. He cusses as he walks, "These dog-fucking little dingbats!" He keeps saying the same thing over and over.
     He walks into the waiting room through the side door and turns into a smaller room. All of a sudden he grins broadly. A dozen or more girls are sitting in here, uniformed transportation attendants with [ticket collection] bags hanging over their shoulders. They are putting on eye liner and eye shadow.
     "Let's go, you pussies!" he shouts to remind them it's time to get to work.
     Two or three of them answer crisply, "OK!" Then they get up, one after the other.
                                                                                                                                                        Southern Weekend, September 15, 2011.


2011 中国最佳短片小说,主编王蒙,辽宁人民出版社,第295页
China's Best Short Stories 2011, Wang Meng Ed., p. 295
Translated from version at
http://www.infzm.com/content/63149
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13. It Was Old Egg Coming
Author: Zhang Wei


     It was already after three in the afternoon and I was kind of stressed because I was in a hurry to get into the city. The main road on the east side of town was blocked off and there were a lot of cops around, with police cars coming and going. Cars and pedestrians kept piling up to wait at the intersection. I knew somebody important would be coming through soon.
     But this time the road was barricaded for too long. Half an hour went by and nothing happened. I didn't know whether to go around or keep waiting.
     Suddenly police sirens wailed: There were two motorcycles in front, then a speeding jeep with lights flashing, followed by a lead car and several black sedans – in the rear was a police car. Certainly someone important had arrived, like the head of state from a foreign country or something.
     It was only after I got to town and was chatting over supper when I learned that a big shot from a city back east had arrived here today. The guy was a classmate of mine in junior high and couldn't have been any more familiar to me: a short, slow moving kid with a big butt, we'd nicknamed him "Old Egg".
     I've become inured to these kinds of motorcades passing through, but this time, because it was Old Egg who'd come, I was very unhappy.
                                                                                                                                                         From Southern Weekend, October 6, 2011


2011 中国最佳短片小说,主编王蒙,辽宁人民出版社,第296页
China's Best Short Stories 2011, Wang Meng Ed., p. 296
Translated from version at
http://www.infzm.com/content/63709
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14. Pirate King
Unattributed


     The youngest guy in our dorm, who is unattached, is really into Pirate King [from the One Piece anime].
     Once when he went to study hall wearing a Pirate King T-shirt, a girl sat down beside him. "Hey, guy," she said, "I like Pirate King, too. I just got the new episode on my cell. Wanna watch it together?"
     The guy looked the girl over. "Your screen's too small," he said. "I'd rather go home and watch it on the computer." Later, there wasn't any later.
     All I've got to say is, child, if you never get a girlfriend, it's your own fault.


意林 Ideas Magazine
No. 209, February 2013, 2nd Semimonthly Issue, p. 13
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15. Seeing Ghosts
Unattributed


     Miss Wang went to a friend's birthday party one evening. The party lasted until late at night, so she had to catch the last bus home.
     The bus was just pulling slowly up to the bus stop when she got there. It was moving slower than an old water buffalo pulling a broken cart.
     Miss Wang jumped on as soon as the door opened. There was no one else on the bus, not even a driver. With nobody aboard, could the bus have driven itself? Miss Wang panicked and jumped back, tumbling off the bus.
     Then she saw that there were two people behind the bus. She looked closely and saw it was the driver and the conductor, pushing the bus.


小笑话大创意 Great Originality in Little Jokes, p. 10
上海绵绣文章出版社,上海故事会文化传媒有限公司
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16. Strange Customs Hereabouts
Wang Yingbiao


     There was a Director of the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Bureau nicknamed the "Fat Secretary." He reigned supreme while he was in office, a real high and mighty type, and after he retired he lived the life of Riley. Sometimes he'd get bored, and when he did he'd take his car out for a spin.
     One day the Fat Secretary had just driven out of the city when he saw some peasants in the distance carrying coils of ropes on shoulder poles. They were walking toward the entry to a village, making a lot of noise and shouting numbers as they went.
     "What are these people doing? They can't be going to a rumble." This piqued the Fat Secretary's interest, and he had nothing to do, anyway, so he followed along behind them.
     He followed them straight to somebody's yard. They stood there beside a wall, pointing at something. It turned out to be a pigsty with a bunch of piglets jumping around inside. The Fat Secretary thought they were so cute that he had to laugh, and his laugh sounded like a snort. This immediately attracted everyone's attention. After a moment, one of the peasants walked over to him and said, "Say, old brother, we're here to buy pigs today. How'd you like to try your hand at catching one."
     "What do you mean, try my hand," the Fat Secretary asked, a little puzzled.
     One of the others said, "You got good hands and good luck, the piglet you catch'll be a big'n."
     "I've been losing a lot at mahjong lately," the Fat Secretary thought to himself, "and that's because my luck's been bad, isn't it? But that's no reason I shouldn't give this a try."
     He perked up, rolled up his sleeves, and walked into the sty.
    Right at that moment one of the piglets started to run, and the Fat Secretary saw his chance. His hand shot out and, just like that, the little piglet was caught.
     Several people shouted, "Great hands," and stepped forward to buy the piglet. The Fat Secretary reached out and forked another one.... Eventually he counted up, and he'd caught eight of them all together.
     A crowd walked off happily with the piglets they'd bought. "They're lucky you came along," the seller said. "Look at you. You've gotta weigh at least 200 pounds!..."
   That got the Fat Secretary confused. "What's my weight got to do with them buying piglets?" he wondered.
     Later he asked around and found out that the locals there have a custom: When buying piglets, they get the fattest guy around to catch them. They say that will ensure that the piglets grow up fat and make them rich....
                                                                                                                                                           Selected from Everybody's Stories


http://www.rensheng5.com/gushihui/ymgs/id-3008.html
http://55txt.net/bbs/html/view_60725_3.html
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17. A Strange Illness at the Autumn Festival
Unattributed


     Bureau Chief Ding sat at home every day after he retired, bored to tears, drinking tea and reading the paper. He’d get dispirited and downcast.
     But whenever he got this way, he’d then get sky high and say to his better half: “Listen, someone’s coming. Hurry and open the door.” His wife would do what he said and open the door, but not see anyone there.
     After this had happened several times, his wife started to get a little worried: Could the old guy have gotten sick from sitting around being bored? She phoned her daughter and son-in-law straightaway. After the three of them had talked it over, they put Chief Ding in a hospital.
     Chief Ding didn’t show any real improvement after going into the hospital. Sometimes he would still say to his wife: “Listen, someone’s coming. Hurry and open the door.” Even the doctors were puzzled.
     One day Old Liu from the bureau’s mailroom came over carrying a box of fancy moon cakes [which the Bureau passes out to employees and former employees every year as a bonus]. “It’ll be Autumn Festival soon. I came to look in on my old boss. Get well soon,” he said.
     The strange thing was, all of a sudden Chief Ding’s days-long depression changed to happy excitement. He took Old Liu’s hand and asked him about everything and anything that was going on. He was especially concerned with how his old subordinate was doing as a leader.
     His wife told their daughter and son-in-law about this change for the better right away.  The son-in-law thought it over, then went and bought some top grade cigarettes, booze and health-care products. He hired some young hourly workers to visit Chief Ding periodically, to ask for the old leader’s advice and thank him for his friendliness.
     This move was exceptionally successful. Chief Ding was soon bursting with life, his face glowing.
     Before long, however, the daughter and son-in-law got another call from Chief Ding’s wife. “Oh, dear! Your dad’s depression is back. He keeps asking himself how come so many people come to visit and bring him gifts, but no one asks him to do any favors for them?!


From the Beijing Evening News, September 27, 2006 (Principal Ed. Zhu Yue-yi)
Republished at
http://culture.people.com.cn/GB/71641/71809/71811/4875054.html
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18. Tit for Tat: A Tooth for a Tooth
Author: Wang Jiayue


     My employer sent me out on a business trip. I'd only been on the train a short while when a hawker came along selling newspapers. I decided to get one to read on the road to pass the time. I dug out a one-Yuan bill and handed to the guy, smiling as I said, "I'll take one."
     "Right", he said, and took the money.
     He pulled a newspaper out of his canvas bag and gave it to me. I hurried to open it, but then noticed that the copy he'd given me was somewhat old and worn. It didn't look new, even though it was that day's edition. Quite unhappy, I said to the vendor, who was still beside me, "Can you give me a new one? This copy looks old and I feel uncomfortable reading it."
     He was very amiable and smiled at me. "Old?" he asked.
     I nodded. "Yes, you should give me a new one."
     "I can do that," he said with a slight hesitation, "but...."
     While he was speaking, he very deftly pulled out the bill I'd just given him. He shook his head at me and, looking unhappy, said, "Can you give me a new one? My papers may be a little old, but at least you can still read the words clearly. I can't make out anything on your money."


柳州晚报, 2014-03-16, p. 23, Liuzhou Evening News
http://www.lznews.gov.cn:9999/epaper/lzwb/html/2014/03/16/23/23_50.htm



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