​​         Chinese Stories in English   

4. Off-Color Hammer
5. Random Comments
6. Registering

1. Ban Smoking
2. Bright Road
3. Great Gimmick

10. Stand with People
11. Talking Riddles
12. Winning

1. A Remarkable Move to Ban Smoking (禁烟有奇招)
Chen Xinxiang (陈新祥)

            Manager Wang has been depressed recently because an imminent purchase order had been washed away and disallowed by the customer. Surprisingly, the downfall of the company’s image was the detection of an overly thick smell of cigarette smoke in the men’s room during an inspection tour.
            It started when Manager Wang, because of a painful experience, decided to ban smoking. First he put up a sign in the men’s room in the hope that employees would regulate themselves. But a bunch of old fogeys in the company had the habit smoking like chimneys when they went to the toilet, and no sign was going to stop them. Manager Wang had no choice but to make daily inspection rounds to catch and fine violators. But before half a month had passed, he was flat on his back from fatigue.
            After his attempts to stop the smoking had failed, Manager Wang was burning with impatience. One day he happened to see on the ceiling a fire-fighting device called a “smoke detector” suddenly flashing before his eyes. Whenever it encountered smoke, the device would sound an alarm and automatically spray water droplets. How about having these devices installed in the toilets?
            He said he would do it and he did. He immediately hired an electrician and plumber to install a smoke detector on the ceiling in every men’s room.
            It needn’t be mentioned that, while this move seems noxious, the results were excellent. Over the next few days, a few disobedient types refused to be deterred and committed their crime despite warnings, and they ended up being turned into wet hens by the shower. With those few exceptions, nobody dared smoke in the toilet anymore. The cleanliness of the men’s rooms was greatly improved.
            A month later, a female customer came to the company for an inspection tour. Full of confidence, Manager Wang took her to the shop floor to show her around. Just as the tour was getting exciting, an alarm sounded from the men’s room. It startled the lady and she asked what was happening. Manager Wang answered truthfully, but before he finished speaking, the lady suddenly slapped her thigh and said, “This is terrible!”
            Manager Wang was stunned and immediately asked what was wrong. The lady’s face turned red. She said “I forgot to tell you, I came here with my husband. When we got out of car he said he had to go, and he went off to the toilet.”
            “What!” Manager Wang’s face paled when he heard that. He made a mad dash to the men’s room. Just as he got there, a soaking wet man came running out in a panic. “This company’s really weird,” he growled. They install their toilet flushers on the ceiling!”

Translated from 分节阅读2, also available at 故事大全
2. The Bright Road to Marriage (结婚囧途)

Chen Binhua (陈彬华)

            Tiger was a miserly sort. He even calculated the financial aspects of marriage meticulously. One day he suggested to his girlfriend, Little Beauty, “These days the fashion is to pick up the bride on a bicycle, isn’t it, Little Beauty? Let’s go with the flow!”
            Little Beauty snorted, “What fashion? You think I don’t know you just hate to spend the money for a car? But I do like that about you. You’d better hurry home and get ready.”
            Tiger got a together with a bunch of his buddies right away. They formed a Bridal Bicycle Brigade.
            On their wedding day, surrounded by the celebratory sound of firecrackers, Tiger loaded Little Beauty on his bike and peddled off slowly, humming the Wedding March. But right when they were immersed in sweetness, pow! A tire suddenly blew.
            Little Beauty got off the bike in a dark mood. “What kind of a wreck is this bike?” she complained. “Didn’t you check it over before we left?”
            Tiger scratched his head in embarrassment. “It was fine before we left,” he said. “Then it lets me down right at the crucial moment.”
            Little Beauty pouted. “So what do we do now? We’re still a long way from your place.”
            Just then one of Tiger’s buddies from the Bicycle Brigade came walking by, pushing a bicycle. When he learned what had happened he said, “What’s the big deal? Just ride my bike!”
            Tiger let out a long sigh. When they got back on their way, he didn’t dare dawdle anymore. He peddled straight to the door of his place. As the people coming to greet them got closer, Little Beauty reminded him, “Ring the bicycle bell, Tiger. I agreed with your family that when the bell rings, they’ll set off the firecrackers.”
            Tiger looked at her blankly. My buddy recycles old appliances. He’s remodeled his bike. There’s no bell, only a big horn.”
            “It doesn’t matter what kind of a horn it is, as long as it makes noise,” Little Beauty said anxiously.
            Tiger didn’t have time to think about it. He just pushed the button for the horn. To their surprise, after a recorded sound of a horn, a resounding message played:
            “Residents, please note! Recycle your appliances here for a high price! Color TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, computers, clothes washers, old cell phones….”
            Tiger and Little Beauty were so mad when they heard that, they almost fell off the bike.

Translated from 分节阅读4, also available at 天天故事网
3. A Great Gimmick (要命的噱头)

Zhang Kai (张凯)

            Xu Jia is the senior host of a gourmet foods television program. She’s fairly well known.
            One day the owner of a meat pie shop sent an acquaintance to set up a meeting with her. He hoped she could help him turn around his half-dead business. The owner’s name was Li Fei, and he operated a shop that had been decorated with special workmanship of the highest grade. It had a workroom made of transparent glass through which customers, after placing an order, could enjoy watching the master baker as he flaunted the full range of his splendid skills to produce the cakes on the spot.
            Xu Jia was very interested. “That’s not a bad gimmick,” she thought. “Logically the business ought to be doing great. So why is it on its last legs?”
            Li Fei scowled. “Even the smell of bread baking won’t attract customers if it’s too far from the main street. When you open a new shop, you haven’t built up any name recognition yet. But if you’re willing to give my shop some publicity you’ll get us going. You create the conditions, and I won’t be stingy about doing whatever I can.”
           Xu Jia agreed with no hesitation whatsoever. Doing this kind of program would kill two birds with one stone: not only would it yield some remuneration under the table; more importantly, creative things could add color to the show and increase ratings by quite a lot.
            When she went to Li Fei’s shop with a cameraman, the master baker happened to be making a fresh lot of pies. She tasted one and thought it was unthinkably good, with a flavor that basically couldn’t be expressed in words. It was absolutely one of the best pies that she’d ever tasted. “This makes no sense,” she said in surprise. “Such good pies, but no business?”
            Li Fei didn’t have an answer and shrugged his shoulders. “Who knows? We’ve been testing the operation for the last few days,” he said, “and people have been coming in droves, crowding around and applauding. But it’s been almost a week and we haven’t sold a single pie.”
            Xu Jia savored another bite of the pie in her hand and it really was better than words can say. She gestured for the master baker to get ready so the cameraman could begin taking video. She believed that, with her glib tongue and the master baker’s consummate skill, it would be difficult for the business not to take off like wildfire once the program aired.
            The master baker was a great showman and flaunted his skills vividly and incisively, with consummate flair. The program was recorded without a hitch. But when Xu Jia had the cameraman play it back to check the production results, one detail jumped out and made the flesh on her face start twitching. She asked Li Fei, “Have you always made your pies like this?”
            He nodded and, “blaaa”, Xu Jia threw up. Her expression showed she was in great pain. Li Fei looked at her, perplexed, wondering what in heaven’s name was wrong.
            The cameraman hurried to turn the lens around. All he could see was the master baker standing behind his counter, looking very dignified. He took a deep breath and cried out “heh”. Then he spat on each palm and started to knead the dough in a very presentable, very skillful manner….

Translated from 分节阅读4, also available at 论文网
4. An Off-Color Russian Hammer (俄版黄大锤)

Compiled by Li Dongmei (编译/李冬梅)

            “Are you a man? You don’t do anything around the house. You don’t even know how to hammer a nail.” Once again Huo Jijin’s wife, Varvara, began her endless nagging.
            Huo was at the end of his rope. He got out an extra-long spike and a sledgehammer from somewhere.
            “I’m gonna pound this nail for you now,” he said, mad as hell. “Wha’d’ya say? I’ll pound it all the way to the next town!”
            “Nail what where?”
            “This nail, damn it! Didn’t you say I don’t know how to nail anything?” As he spoke he was swinging the hammer and spike as if to demonstrate his prowess to her.
            “Nail it here, then.” She didn’t think her husband would really do it, so she casually pointed to a spot on the wall. “That ought to be just right for my mom to hang her coat,” she said.
            “If that’s what you want!” he said, and then he spit on his hands. Holding the spike in one hand, he swung the hammer with all his might with the other. Ka-bam!
            When the dust settled, a huge hole had appeared in the wall. Panic stricken, Huo peered into the hole. On the other side, the neighbor lady Tatyana Vitaliyanova had heard the sound and come over to look.
            “So it’s you! Don’t just stand there and look, come on over.” She not only wasn’t angry, she warmly invited him in.
            Huo squeezed through the hole into the neighbor’s room.
            “You even brought your tools. You’re really a good man to have around the house!” There was a slightly flirtatious look in her eyes.
            “I just wanted to put a nail in the wall....” he explained in embarrassment.
            “Well, then, you can also help me nail something.” She said the double entendre affectionately.
            Her provocative teasing was just what Huo had been waiting for. The two were hitting it off and began to look at each other amorously. But just when they were about to move together to take it to the next level, they heard Huo’s wife shout, “Get back over here right now!”
            Her shout was still echoing as she shot through the hole and wrenched him back into their room.
            “Hey, who’s gonna patch up this hole for me?” The disappointed neighbor yelled after them.
            “Do it yourself!” Varvara roared without looking back.
            “From now on you just sit in front of the TV and behave yourself. Never even think about hammering any nail again!” After dragging her husband home, Varvara was still fuming.

Translated from 分节阅读5, also available at李冬梅的博客

5. Random Comments (胡点乱评)

Qin Lin (秦林)

            Random comments on ——
            A vacation tour: Before – busy here, busy there, busy everywhere making arrangements; During – getting screwed, getting tired, getting mad; After – overtime, extra work, irregularities.
            Best sellers: Author – Either a foreigner or a star; Contents – Either hype or propaganda; Fate – Today but no tomorrow.
            The guys at work: On the job, always thinking about family matters; At home, always thinking about the job; Always talking up the company to other people; Always talking up other companies at work.
            The eunuch (boss’s pet): Boot-licking can move the emperor; Fool everyone above and below, and leave no trace; Claiming accomplishments as your own requires no effort; Job assignments depend on the individual’s abilities.
            The pickpocket class:
                        Shifty eyes lurk at year’s-end weal;
                        They see money and goods, all ripe to steal;
                        They target women, the old and young to boot;
                        And forget compadres when divvying loot.
            The new “six skills”: Reporters consider “puffery” a skill; Peddlers consider “falsity” a skill; Restaurants consider “swindling” a skill; Karaoke bars consider “accompaniment” a skill; Teahouses consider “gambling” a skill; Hair stylists consider “sleeping” a skill.
            The latest generation: If you have something to say, don’t make the effort to say it well, and if you have something to do, don’t make the effort to do it well; If you have a lover don’t try to speak to her well, and if you have a wife don’t try to love her well; If you have youngsters don’t try to bring them along well, and if you have oldsters don’t try to respect them well; If you have money don’t try to spend it well, and if you have a brain don’t try to use it well —— twist other people’s aspirations to serve your own best interests.
           Farsightedness: These problems belong to eyes that are not yet old – closing the eyes when seeing difficulties, opening the eyes wide when seeing money, getting eyes red from greed when seeing gifts, looking away when seeing things to be done, looking disdainful when seeing the people, looking dumb when seeing quotas.
            Tour guide types: Tourists come from all over, open up everything to tourism, leave your footprints wherever you want, no tip no play.
            Being a husband: A busy career is the biggest reason for ignoring the family; An overly talented wife is a reason to live off the woman; A good mood and a bad mood are both reasons to smoke and drink; Social engagements with friends are the reason you don’t know where your bonus went.
            Closed meetings:
                        For a private meeting the ‘burbs will do,
                        A luxury hotel will take care of you,
                        In two or three days the work is done,
                        Then a week on the public is lots of fun;
                        At week’s end to home you’ll hie,
                        Singing a tune that’ll make you sigh,
                        Expenses are entered in general overhead,
                        Thousands of Yuan get put to bed.
            Public toilets: In a big city with a forest of high rises, they are the only construction that can retain the aesthetics of ancient one-story buildings.

Translated from 分节阅读10, also available at 第一文库网
6. He Really Wants to Register (就是要报名)

Zhang Guoyong (张国永)

            The Sholin Temple is a famous martial arts school with its own distinctive style of fighting, but Xiao Cai works as a student recruiter in the Shaolin Driving School, which is not affiliated with the Temple. One day a drunk burst in the outside door, his head wrapped in a gauze bandage. “I wanna register!” he shouted.
            Xiao Cai went up to him right away and said: “We’re full this term. You’ll have to wait until next term.” Surprisingly, the drunk mumbled, “No, I wanna attend this term!”
            Given the man’s stance, Xiao Cai was afraid he might tear up the school if he wasn’t admitted. All he could do was ask him what license he wanted, class A, class B or class C, but the drunk said “Wha’d’ya mean, ABCD. I wanna learn Shaolin boxing. Is it Shaolin boxing you teach?”
            Xiao Cai said in surprise, “Sir, we’re a driving school....”
            “I only came to you because you’re a Shaolin school.” Pointing to his head, the drunk said, “I just got in a fistfight with a guy, and then I saw your name Shaolin, so I came here.” He dragged Xiao Cai out the door as he spoke and pointed to the billboard above the doorway. “Look, doesn’t it say ‘Shaolin Fighting School?’”
            Xiao Cai looked and was at a loss for words. The new billboard did in fact say “Shaolin Fighting School”.
            In the characters for “drive” and “fight” (驾 and 架, respectively) the top parts are the same and only the bottom parts (马 and 木) are different. Xiao Cai guessed that the fellow at the advertising agency had printed “Fighting” instead of “Driving” through inattention, leading the drunk to misunderstand. He hastened to apologize. “I’m sorry, the sign was printed wrong. The character should have a ‘马’ instead of ‘木’ at the bottom….”
            After this explanation, the drunk went away angrily. Xiao Cai immediately informed the advertising company of the error and ordered a new billboard. Two days later, the advertising company sent people to deliver the new sign.
            When Xiao Cai looked, he saw that the new billboard still said “Shaolin Fighting School.” He called the advertising company right away and asked: “Who printed this word? How come it’s still the character for ‘fight’?”
            Believe it or not, the guy at the agency said in an affected voice, “Doesn’t ‘drive’ have a ‘木’ at the bottom? I’ve written it that way for over ten years.”
            Xiao Cai almost fell over. But the thing that made him both laugh and cry was, the drunk came back with his head still wrapped in gauze and said “You obviously are a fight training school. Why didn’t you accept me? You’d better let me register today, or else!”

Translated from 分节阅读2, also available at 故事大全

7. Looking for the "Relevant Departments" (寻找“有关部门”)

Wan Junhua (万俊华)

            Old Wang was sick and went to Rivers Hospital for in-patient treatment. The treatment only took a bit more than one month but cost over 150,000 Yuan. Everyone was shocked that the cost was so high for an illness that really wasn’t all that serious. What shocked them even more was that, although Old Wang was a male, a charge for “Vaginitis Examination” was listed on his itemized bill. No wonder costs are so high, when the hospital lists any old charge it feels like. Isn’t that awful?
            They found someone at the hospital to discuss their argument. The hospital immediately admitted that this was a computer error caused by improper operational programming, and further, that the charge would be rescinded immediately.
            Even though this one item was deleted from the bill, Old Wang’s family still wasn’t happy. Because this item was an obvious error, the hospital knew the entire billing wasn’t on solid ground, and couldn’t it be rescinded right away?
            They felt they were being defrauded in this matter, but they didn’t know where to go to have the billing reviewed and evaluated. They thought about it long and hard, and finally thought of complaining to the Bureau of Hygiene, the hospital’s supervisory body.
            The staff at the Hygiene Bureau recommended, “Please go consult with the Inspector-General of Hygiene about this matter.”
            The Hygiene Inspector-General’s staff directed them, “Please file a complaint with the Department of Commerce.”
            The Commerce Department staff responded, “You should look to the Drug Regulatory Administration to take care of this matter.”
            The Drug Regulatory Administration staff, in turn, believed that, “You should take your complaint to the Material Goods Pricing Department.”
            The Pricing Department staff answered, “We never manage these matters. You’d better go find another relevant department.”
            Having fallen into the vicious circle of “relevant departments”, Old Wang sought to apprise a local government leader of the situation. The leader welcomed him hospitably, but without another word, immediately brushed him off by instructing him, “Please have the relevant department resolve this matter.
            He’d come full circle and still needed to find the relevant department. He sighed helplessly and, with the leader’s written instructions in hand, looked up toward the heavens and asked, “Oh, Relevant Department, where are you, anyway?”

http://bbs.tianya.cn/post-shortmessage-103540-1.shtml, Author 014, Story 3
8. Search Compulsion Disease (搜索强迫症)

Zheng Lili (郑丽丽)

            Ping Ping got pregnant and her husband, Young Deng, was ecstatic, but something came up that worried them. The young couple didn’t have any experience, and they didn’t know what to do when they encountered problems during the pregnancy.
            Later Young Deng had an idea. If he didn’t know about something, he could just search the internet, of course! Ping ping’s immediate reaction was that she would never have expected it. Just get pregnant and there’d be more materials on the net than you could shake a stick at!
            Based on the experiences of their internet buddies, Ping Ping traded in their sheets and blankets for “antenatal colors” that would foster the fetus’s development. She also made over their furnishings in cosmological coconut, which was said to “pacify the fetus’s spirit”.
            Before long Ping Ping had become just like an out-and-out internet addict. Whenever she ran into a problem, whether big or small, she’d get on the net as soon as she had the time and do a search. For example, is it important to eat pork during pregnancy? Is it OK to watch scary movies? Will it affect the fetus if you spend too much time in the sun?....
            It even got to the point where, when she had a pregnancy check-up, she wanted to post the test results online and have her net buddies look over them for her to see if there were any problems. Young Deng tried to persuade her not to. “You don’t believe what the doctor says, but you’re going to believe your net buddies?” But it was in one ear and out the other. Young Deng could only roll his eyes and watch.
            One day Young Deng was out on their balcony smoking. Ping Ping walked over and, seeing that her husband had no intention of putting out his cigarette, she blew her stack. “I heard on the net,” she roared, “that second-hand smoke increases the risks for pregnant women!”
            Young Deng had heard enough of that talk. “You believe everything you see on the net. If they said pregnant women shouldn’t surf the net, would you still log on every day?”
            Ping Ping defended herself right away, and a big fight started. In a snit, Young Deng had to step out for a breath of fresh air.
            He took a long walk around the neighborhood and gradually calmed down. He thought about how hard pregnancy was on his wife, and how smoking was bad for him anyway. It was really a bit beyond the pale for him to chew her out. Once he’d thought things through to that point, he hurried back toward home.
            Ping Ping was already asleep when he got there, but the tracks of her tears still hung from the corners of her eyes. He sighed remorsefully. When he noticed the computer was still on, he walked over for a look, and what he saw made him cry. Ping Ping had posted a query on Sparrownet: “What are the consequences of a fight with your husband during pregnancy?”

Translated from 分节阅读15, also available at 故事大全

9. The “Speedy Bird” Test (“高速鸟”测试)

Compiled by Pang Qifan (庞启帆 编译)

            A glass manufacturing company was testing the impact strength coefficient of an airplane's windshield. One of the procedures was called the "high-speed bird" test, which was a test of what would happen when a bird impacted the windshield at high speed. The company assigned young engineering intern to this procedure, and he needed to go to the supermarket to buy a chicken to complete the test. Back at the test site, he would use a specially designed device to hurl the chicken into the aircraft windshield at a speed of 800 miles per hour.
            When everything was ready, the company's leaders, engineers and some manufacturing workers came to the test site to monitor the results. After receiving instructions from the company’s boss, the young intern pressed the launcher and, with a "whoosh", the chicken rocketed toward the windshield.
            Everyone saw a startling sight: The chicken not only smashed the windshield to pieces; it also continued to fly a few dozen yards further and punctured a metal wall. This result was outside all expectations. The engineers had to rethink their designs because of it.
            The test was repeated six months later. This time, everyone was full of confidence. Moreover, the company invited many media representatives to the test site to witness the moment. A company spokesmen answered the reporters' questions one after another. Finally, a television reporter asked, "What are some of the improvements in the windshield design for this test? 
            "We’ve made no design changes,” the spokesman replied. “We just needed to confirm that the chicken was thawed before the launch."

2013 Annual Humorous Writings of China, from Comedy World Magazine, Ding Si, Ed., p. 116
Translated from version at
10. Stand with the People (永远站在人民那)

Liu Yong (刘墉)

            The Head of State of a certain country summoned the official with responsibility over a particular area.
            “Go back and make an announcement right away. Starting tomorrow, the price of sugar will increase thirty percent!”
            “Heavens! How horrible that could be!” The official was so shocked his face turned pale. “Let me report, my leader. Sugar is a commodity necessary to the people’s lives. A precipitous increase in the price might incite the people to complain. Moreover, since edible sugar is a government monopoly, there’s no competition, and we currently make a tremendous profit. I’m just afraid that if the commoners knew that, it wouldn’t bode well. Could we increase the price slowly instead of such a large increase all at once….”
            “Stop all this talk! When I say he price is increasing, the price is increasing!”
            Seeing the Head of State had no intention of taking back an order he had already issued, the official changed his posture. He moved slowly forward and in a soft voice said, “You may perhaps have already noted that your popularity among the populace has been decreasing lately. Won’t you consider that, if things keep going as they have, your popularity might be even more….”
            “Are you thinking of disobeying my order?” the Head of State shot out of his chair and the guards at his side pressed forward a step, frightening the official into falling back several paces.
            “I wouldn’t dare! I wouldn’t dare! I’ll go make the announcement immediately!”
            Before the official had reached the door, the Head of State yelled out again. “Note well! You are not permitted to say I ordered you to do this! You will treat it as your own decision!”
            “It shall be so! It shall be so!”
            The news was announced. As expected, the entire country was in an uproar. Prices for all commodities also rose in the blink of an eye, following sugar’s lead. The Head of State suddenly issued a decree: “The responsible official is removed from his position and will be investigated! Edible sugar is returned to its former price! In matters that affect the people’s livelihood, it is absolutely impermissible to raise prices on a whim!”
            The official was a scapegoat, but he didn’t dare let that be widely known. As he hurried to clean out his desk drawers and vacate his office, not even one person bid him farewell. His confidential secretary evil reviled him behind his back: “He did an evil thing and shouldn’t be allowed to live.”
            As for the one who had really committed the evil act, the Head of State, his popularity among the people of course skyrocketed overnight to its highest point in years. “A truly wise and brilliant leader, he always stands together with the people!”
            Two years later.
            The former responsible official, who’d been kept on ice for a long time, was again summoned to appear before the Head of State. “You’ve gone through tough times. To make up for the harm done to you, I shall give you a high position, a much higher position than you held previously.”
            The former responsible official still felt wronged, but was also moved. His tears immediately began to flow.
            “Don’t be upset! Look at it this way! What happened two years ago, nobody was harmed. To the contrary, you’ve received a promotion, I’ve become popular, and the people have obtained a wise and brilliant leader!” The Head of State consoled the official in this way.
            News of the new appointment was promulgated, and the people had different reactions. Some hollered, “How can such a person get another appointment?”
            But others nodded. “He must have come to a realization during the last two years, and reformed.”
            As for the Head of State, though, no one failed to give him a big thumb’s up. “He truly is a big-hearted leader! Two years ago the Head of State’s popularity was almost destroyed by that fellow, but today he doesn’t hold a grudge. That’s really repaying enmity with kindness! Astounding!”

Translated from 分节阅读5, also available at qkzz.net
11. Talking in Riddles (打哑谜)

Zhang Shuxia (张淑霞)

            One day Bureau Chief Zhen had his secretary go out to buy a case of soy sauce and a box of pears. He was going to give them to Old Zhang, the newly retired Inspector of Discipline.
            His secretary was at a loss for words. He knew the Chief and Old Zhang didn’t get along, so this gift was rather unseemly.
            Chief Zhen wasn’t too happy when he saw that his secretary wasn’t moving. "When I tell you to go do a job, go do it,” he said. “These two things have meaning. Old Zhang is a literary type and he’ll understand as soon as he sees them.”
            The secretary had to bite the bullet and take the things to Old Zhang. When the retired Inspector saw them, his expression changed. "It seems that Chief Zhen despises me. He had you bring me pears and soy sauce because pears symbolize leaving, and ‘get soy sauce’ means ‘mind your own business’. He’s telling me, now that I’ve retired, I shouldn’t stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong!”
            As the secretary was about to leave, Old Zhang handed him a copy of the "
Dao De Jing", the Daoist bible, and a copy of "The Complete Book of Meat Dishes". "May I trouble you to take these two books to Bureau Chief Zhen?” he said. They are profoundly meaningful. Chief Zhen is a talented scholar and he’ll understand as soon as he sees them.”
            The secretary brought the books to the Chief. Chief Zhen frowned in thought for a moment, but then laughed. "This riddle of Zhang’s is childish. The basic idea of the ‘Dao De Jing’ is 'rule by inaction'. Eating meat symbolizes the good life. He’s telling me to eat, drink and be merry, and he won’t care a whit.”
            Who would have figured? Just six months later, Chief Zhen was arrested on charges of corruption, and the whistleblower was Old Zhang! Before he was arrested, an utterly discomfited Chief Zhen confronted the old Inspector: "When you sent me those two books, weren’t you saying that you wouldn’t care what I did?”
           Old Zhang was pleased as punch when he heard that. “A talented scholar in the Chinese Department like you, and you still couldn’t solve the riddle correctly! Let me ask you, who was the author of the ‘Dao De Jing’?”
            “Lao-tze, the Old One,” Chief Zhen answered. "What of it?"
            “Doesn’t that do it?” Old Zhang was quite proud of himself. "When you add "The Complete Book of Meat Dishes", the answer is clear. I was telling you that this old guy hasn’t quit eating meat! Don’t write off this Inspector of Discipline, ‘cause even retired he can still inspect you the same as always!"

Translated from 分节阅读13, also available at 故事大全

12. Winning First Prize (抽到特等奖)

Zhang Zhisong (张志松)

            My wife and I went shopping in the mall on Sunday. We weren’t there long before I’d purchased a digital camera that caught my eye. It was worth more than three thousand Yuan and, under the policies of that mall, with my sales receipt I got three chances to win a drawing. First prize was two thousand Yuan.
            So I took my receipt and walked quickly to the drawing counter. After the friendly woman attendant looked carefully at the receipt I handed her, she smiled and said, "You can draw your chits now, but under our rules you can only draw three times, and only one chit at a time.”
            I said "um" and "oh" in reply, while at the same time I stuck my hand into the box of chits like I was afraid to wait. I mixed the chits around and pulled one from the bottom layer, sucked in my breath and opened it up. Only three words were on it: ball point pen.
            I felt a pang of disappointment. Still smiling, the attendant said, “You can draw your second chit now. I believe you’ll have good luck." I winked at her and put my hand in the box again. I mixed the chits around for a long time before pulling one out. I opened it and looked: another ball point pen.
            One more chance! Of course I didn’t lose hope. I stuck my hand in again and pulled out a chit from the corner of the box. I sucked in my breath before slowly opening it up. I immediately went crazy, jumping for joy. My God, the top prize! I’d won two thousand Yuan!
            While I was ecstatic, the attendant’s pretty face suddenly went pale. "This is impossible," she said. As she was speaking she looked up her sleeve and seemed to grope around for something. All of a sudden she looked like she was going to cry.
            “Please don’t make so much noise, OK?” she whispered to me. "To tell you the truth, when I started out this box didn’t have a two thousand Yuan chit in it. I followed the boss’s orders and hid the two thousand Yuan chit up my sleeve. I was supposed to let his wife draw it, but I got careless and dropped it in the box!”

Translated from 分节阅读2, also available at 论文网

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​7. Relevant Department
8. Search Compulsion
9. Speedy Bird

Merry-Go-Round 03