11. Incorruptible
12. Interview, The
13. Man and Mule
14. Manager Tang
15. Office Joke, An

  6. Fate
  7. Fierce Competition
  8. First Time, The
  9. I Get It
10. In Business

1. Appearance
2. Chairs
3. Doctor Zhou
4. Ersheng's Job
5. Farmer and Fox

16. Optimistic Dog
17. Shedding Tears
18. Taste, A
19. Thief, The
20. Wasn't Drunk

1. Appearance
Nine Rapids Eighteen Beaches (九泷十八滩)


            Old Liao went shopping on Sunday. He was looking for bargains, valuable merchandise sold at reduced prices or large discounts.
            He was on the lookout, his head turning left and right and his ears leading the way. All of a sudden, a smiling insurance huckster walked up and handed him a form to fill out. "Sir, let me introduce you to our Household Assets Protection Plan. It has ten major benefits, all for a very small monthly payment…."
            "My monthly wages are enough to buy food," Old Liao said, "but I don't have any 'household assets', so I don't need to buy insurance."
            "Come on," the huckster replied with a smile. "You look like an important man to me. How could you be poor? You're such a jokester, heh, heh!"
            Old Liao giggled, too. "Young fellow, looking like an important person is what makes me so miserable." (Page 269)

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2. Chairs
Flavorless Son (无味子)


            When the new Department Chief started work, the first thing he did was tell his secretary to replace the old chief's chair.
            "But this chair's a treasure," the secretary protested. "The old chief sat in it for thirty years if it was a day."
            "What, you mean you want me to sit in it for thirty years, too?" The secretary understood immediately and hurried to exchange the old chair for a new one.
            A year later the new chief was promoted to Assistant Mayor. The secretary was elevated to Department Chief and smugly exchanged the new chair for a newer one.
            After another year the Vice Mayor was Dual-Tracked [subjected to a discipline investigation by the Party]. When he heard the news, the Department Chief wasted no time having his secretary get the old chief's chair back. After his secretary left the room, the Department Chief sat in his new chair for a while, then sat in the old chief's chair for a while. "Wouldn't it be nice," he thought to himself, "if I could combine these two chairs into one?" (Page 261)

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3. Doctor Zhou
Ke Xiaojun (柯晓军)


            Old Zhou was a doctor in a commune clinic. He treated his patients warmly, as though they were his older brothers.
            He paid such careful attention to hygiene that he would disinfect his chairs after anyone sat in them, but he drank a little and liked barbequed pork. In those days they only barbequed pigs that had died from some disease, so people laughed at him: "If you're worried about hygiene, why do you eat pigs that have died of disease?" He said the high cooking temperatures would kill any germs.
            There's a story about him. One time after a patient got an injection, the guy stood there woodenly and didn't move. Doctor Zhou told him he could go, and said he could come back if he showed any symptoms. The patient seemed like he wanted to say something, but held his tongue and left.
            The patient was back a couple of days later and Doctor Zhou asked him if he still felt poorly. The guy started to cry and said, Doctor Zhou, "I haven't been able to sleep or even sit down for these two days and I'm just miserable! Can you take the needle out now?"
            Doctor Zhou's eyes opened wide in disbelief…. (Page 237)

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4. Ersheng Does a Job
Flavorless Son (无味子)


            Only the bathroom flooring tile remained to be installed. "Let's eat pickled veggies for lunch today, Ersheng," Old Wang said to his nephew. "I'm running out of money."
           Ersheng thought about it a bit, and the more he thought the madder he got. So he used a little sleight of hand. He mixed sand and water and spread it on the floor, sprinkled cement on top, and then laid the flooring tiles. Could that work? But you wouldn't see anything wrong just by looking at it. The tiles were laid very smooth and very neat.
            During the Spring Festival, when they were celebrating Chinese New Year, Old Wang got to huffing and puffing. "See what kind of job you did?" he said to his nephew. "Only seven months and the bathroom flooring is all gone."
            Ersheng laughed. "Let me clue you in, uncle. It's
like they say. Eat meat, you're living the good life; eat pickled veggies, you're in a pickle." (Page 261)

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5. The Farmer and the Fox
Hundred Day Starry Sky (白日星空)


            Farmer: "What are you doing, coming here again to steal my chickens?"
            Fox: "You got me wrong. I've completely changed since I learned that stealing chickens is a shameful thing. I'll bet my ancestors never expected that we can actually live just as well by eating grass instead of stealing chickens to eat."
            Farmer: "I know, but we've lost chickens, and I've got to find the perpetrator!"
            Fox: "Yesterday by the rabbit's nest, I saw a chicken feather on the ground with my own eyes. Why don't you go have a look?"
            When he got to the mound of earth, the farmer did indeed see a chicken feather by the rabbit's nest. Without a second thought, he took his shovel and ended the rabbit's life.
            The farmer threw the dead rabbit to the fox. "Thanks to you, I found the thief," he said. "Here's your dinner!"
            "Well, I'll eat meat just this once," the fox replied. (Page 244)

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6. Fate
Hou Jianzhong (侯建忠)


            At the time the schooling competition was held, four cadres from the Production Brigade by the mountain – the Brigade Chief, the Party's Branch Secretary, the Accountant and the Chair of the Women's Association – were all young. Back then, the system in place for those competitions was entirely recommendations [based on political class], and all four were from the [favored] poor peasants class.
            The Branch Secretary recommended the other three for admission to vocational high schools: the School of Agriculture, Accounting School and the School of Medicine. He himself applied for admission to a college in the capitol. Before long, the other three got what they wanted, and only the Party Secretary had not received a notice of admission.
            Later on they took positions in the Brigade as Head of the Agriculture Bureau, Chief of the Financial Office and Chief Administrator of the Hospital. Every January they remembered to invite the old Party Secretary out for a banquet. To hear them tell it, he must have known that the allotted spot for admission to college would be taken by the son of the Culture and Education Department's Chief, who was a Vice Mayor at the time. (Page 235)

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7. Fierce Competition at Animals' Internet Cafés
Crazy Ancient Pride (古傲狂生)


            Spider made full use of his Internet skills and opened an Internet café. According to those who knew him he was an openly friendly sort. His café was very well equipped, and getting online there was an exceptionally enjoyable experience, like walking on a cloud.
            Silkworm opened an Internet café, too, and he didn't think much of Spider's place. "What's the big deal? Just a spider's broken-down Internet café! It's a mess, and the customers are all herded together like cattle, no individuality at all.
            "You're better off coming to this chrysalis-style café I started. We've got unique individual rooms where you can go online in privacy, so you don't have to worry about your information leaking out. It's full of individuality.
            "And our place functions as a beauty parlor, too. You know Madam Butterfly, right? She broke out of her chrysalis and turned into a butterfly right here in our place." (Page 247)

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8. The First Time
Cold Month Desolation (冷月潇潇)


            In writing class, the Chinese instructor smiled as he told the students, "This time the theme for the composition will be quite easy to write about. It's 'The First Time….' Please remember the format. Bring your own life experiences fully to bear, and do whatever it takes to produce a novel, brilliant essay."
            The students all handed in their papers after one period, and the teacher was nodding his head in admiration as he corrected them. When he got to Little Bright's essay, though, his face drained of color – there was no content written on the paper, only an eye-catching title.
            The awesome title of Little Bright's essay was – The First Time I Didn't Do a Composition! (Page 277)

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9. I Get It
Ma Changshan (马长山)


            A wild rabbit saw a panda gnawing contentedly on tender bamboo shoots which humans had given to it. "Brother", it said, green with envy, "you're living the Life of Riley, with everything provided for you. It really makes us jealous!"
            The panda, after inquiring about how the rabbits lived their lives, said cordially, "I'm deeply sorry about your lot in life."
            The rabbit's eyes flared red. "Why are we always getting butchered by humans, while you have your every need taken care of?"
            "Maybe it's because you propagate so fast and can have dozens of kits in each nest," the panda responded.
            "I get it," said the rabbit. "Loose sexual behavior doesn't pay dividends." (Page 249)

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10. In Business with God
Jia Jiaer (贾甲儿)


            Two brothers and their little sister were eating dinner. The oldest, sighing with emotion, said, "You know, when God watches us eating, it's like us watching a puppy gnaw on a bone."
            The younger boy asked, "Is there really a god?"
            His little sister replied, "What could you do if there was?"
            The young boy got angry. "I'd put Him in a bamboo cage, set it down in front of the entrance to the park and sell tickets. I'd just have to write a line of characters on the cage. Then I could sit opposite it and wait for the money to come in, and everything would be great."
            "What would you write?" his brother asked.
            "That wouldn't be easy," the boy said. "A prayer for something you want, 500 Yuan. A chance to whine about something, 200 Yuan. A prayer of thanks, 100 Yuan."
            Their little sister started mumbling to herself. "It'd be great if there was a god. I'd wish for Him to help me with my homework."
            The young boy grabbed his sister's arm. "It's a deal – 500 Yuan. You're my first customer." (Page 262)

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11. The Incorruptible Government Initiative
Jiang Xiaohui (蒋小辉)


            When M took office as the Prefecture's new mayor, he pushed "diligent and thrifty government" reformist measures. He called for the wearing of course, inexpensive fabrics, eating vegetarian foods and drinking mineral water instead of alcohol.
            These measures were supported by government officials. Inspections showed county and village leaders uniformly were wearing rough clothing and only serving vegetables and mineral water at banquets.
            The new ethos swept through the entire prefecture. The public rushed to buy simple clothing, vegetarian foods and mineral water, and these items came to be in short supply.
            Then Mayor M went on an inspection of N County. The County Manager was wearing a suit made of high-quality fabric and arranged a feast of seafood and meats!
            Mayor M was very angry. The County Manager explained that, because people had bought everything up, course fabric was now more expensive than other fabrics, mineral water was more expensive than alcohol, and vegetarian foods were several times more expensive than meats! (Page 259)

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12. The Interview
Third Master from South Lake (南湖三少)


            My son would be attending nursery school. My wife had made a lot of contributions to earn him a spot on the list for admission to an upper-class school.
            As we were about to go to bed, she stuck a letter of recommendation written for him by a Nobel laureate into my hand. "Remember to go to the interview tomorrow," she nagged me.
            There was a sea of people at the nursery school the next day. A Who's Who of people from the city was crowded into the place.
            The teacher who greeted us was arrogant and overbearing. "First fill out the form. Then, after the interview, we'll be able to confirm whether your child will be admitted."
            "Social status, political aspect...."  The form was packed with such questions.
            How could a child have a social status? I was filled with doubts as we rushed toward the Principal's office.
            "This is preposterous! Who told you to bring your son to the interview?" The principal was pointing right at my nose. "It's you we're interviewing today!" (Page 236)

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13. The Man and the Mule
Ma Changshan (马长山)


            A man saw a mule and bid it a polite "Good day!"
            "What's so good about it?" the mule said unhappily.
            "Things not going your way?" the man asked with concern.
            "Worse than 'not going my way.' I just got beaten." Several tears fell from the mule's eyes as it spoke.
            "Why? Did you steal some grain to eat?" The man inspected the mule's wounds.
            "Just now I slowed down a bit going uphill, and felt my master's whip."
            "I'm sorry." The man was quite upset.
            "Why do you humans have people encourage you when you're going uphill," the mule asked angrily, "but us mules have people whip us?" (Page 252)

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14. Manager Tang
Tang Xianglong (汤祥龙)


            Ding Ding had a new co-worker in her office.
            She shook hands with the newcomer and asked, "What's your name?"
            "Manager Tang," the newcomer replied.
            "What? Are you our manager?" Ding Ding thought she'd heard wrong.
            "No. My last name is Tang, T-A-N-G, and my first name is Manager, as in "company manager."
            Ding Ding was astounded. "How did you get such a name?"
            My pop worked hard his whole life for one company and never got to be a manager. He picked this name for me so I could get a taste of being a manager right from childhood." Page 258)

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15. Office Joke
Gold for Booze (抛金引酒)


            A joke was making its way around the office. One of the secretaries told it very expressively: "A man was bitten by a little spotted dog and was bleeding profusely. He picked up a stick to beat it, but surprisingly, the dog acted resentful. Sticking out its neck, it said, 'Beat me to death if you will. Anyway, I already have some of your flesh and blood in my belly."
            The Bureau Chief pushed open the door and came into the room just in time to hear the last sentence. His face paled in surprise, and he dropped the papers he was carrying and exclaimed, "oh!" At first everyone was struck dumb, but they soon covered their mouths and giggled.
            The Chief recovered his composure and said, "Ha, ha. You all go ahead and laugh. That shout of surprise just now was me telling you a joke." (Page 243)

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16. The Optimistic Dog
Ma Changshan (马长山)


Man: "How can you be so bubbly all day long?"
Dog: "Because I focus on the good things in life."
Man: "If you go outside and step in some stinky dog shit, could you still see the good side?"
Dog: "I could! I'd put my nose down close and take a sniff…."
Man: "What's there good to smell in dog shit?"
Dog: "I'd smell it to see if it was left there by a young female. If it was, I'd find her by following the scent, and we'd whisper sweet nothings to each other for a while."
Man: "This particular pile of shit was left by a rabid dog. Let's see what would make you happy about that!"
Dog: "I'd stomp on it ruthlessly to get the anger off my chest. With all the anger gone out of me, I'd be happy again, wouldn't I?" Page (250)

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17. Shedding Tears
Crazy Ancient Pride (古傲狂生)


            My wife had been going on about something for a couple of days, crying to High Heaven and rubbing the tears from her eyes. It was getting to me, so I worked up my facial muscles with the idea of fighting tears with tears. But I discovered, against all expectations, that I wasn't able to cry.
            My wife stopped carrying on and helped me come up with ideas. We used tear-jerkers and stories of painful experiences to try to get my tears started. It was no use, I still couldn't cry. Since I'd become an official, my face had become so used to smiling that I'd forgotten how to shed tears.
            I searched high and low for a prescription than would enable me to cry. I tried N different ways, all without results. I went to see the saddest movies and made special visits to funeral homes and crematoriums, but it was just wasted effort.
            Just when I'd come to my wits' end, the higher-ups sent down a memo saying I was relieved of duty. My tears unexpectedly started to flow. My Lord, so I'm still able to cry after all. Page 267)


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18. Just A Taste
Gold for Booze (抛金引酒)


            A young girl was so thirsty she couldn't take it any more. She saw a man carrying a bottle of water on his back, so she swallowed her pride and went over to ask him for a sip. "Say, buddy," she asked, "I'd like a taste of that, OK?"
            "Of course it's OK." The man was excited. "But…. But we've only just met."
            "Please, buddy, gimme a taste. I just can't stand it."
            "All right, then." As he spoke, he took the girl in his arms and tried to kiss her.
            "Wild man!" She pushed him away and ran off.
            Perplexed, the man said innocently, "You're the one who wanted a taste, and you call me the wild one?" (Page 240)


[The Chinese words 喝你口水 could mean "drink a sip of your water" or "drink your saliva". Once again, out of pure hubris, Fannyi has butchered the translation in a vain attempt to make the story sensible in English.]

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19. The Thief
Rainy Wong


            As chance would have it, there was an automated teller machine just ahead. The thief worked out a plan in his mind and got in line. The guy ahead of him happened to be making a withdrawal, and when he finished, the thief took a peek at the balance in the account: 8,345.78 Yuan! What a great number! The thief was overjoyed!
            Right away he dropped two one-hundred-Yuan notes from his hand to the ground. The guy's card was half-way out of the machine. The thief tapped him on the shoulder and said, "You dropped some of your money!"
            The guy bent over to pick up the money, and the thief instantly took the opportunity to switch the card in the machine for a fake one. With the 200 Yuan in his hand, the guy took the fake card out of the machine and left.
            The thief also left the premises and walked quickly to another ATM, but when he tried to stick the card in, it wouldn't go. Wondering what the problem was, he took a closer look at the card. It was a rewards card from a supermarket.
            The thief was mystified. "What happened? Did I just run into an expert con artist? And what about my 200 Yuan?" (Page 264)

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20. He Wasn't Drunk, Actually
Rainy Wang (王雨)


            The dude was a "princeling", the son of a high level official. In fact, his dad was the head of the Public Security Bureau, so he'd stroll into the gentleman's club like he was walking in the park. "Bite me! What are you doin' askin' that. This face of mine is my pass!"
            One time he'd had a lot to drink and was doing some chest-thumping. The guy beside him took the opportunity to suck up to him. "Hey, bro', you go anywhere around here like you own the place."
            The princeling reacted quickly and slapped his hand down on the table right away. "That's bull! I know the score. I can't break the rules.
            "If I go to the Empress Club I can't screw around – that's Princeling Qian's territory. His dad's the city's Party Secretary.
            "And the Dynasty Spa, I can't screw around there, either. That's Princeling Zhao's territory. He's the son of Mayor Zhao.
            "I've gotta be careful if I go to Bigfoot's Grand Spa, too. Princeling Liu, son of Mayor Liu, that's his territory." (Page 230)




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Chinese Mini-Literature, One Thousand Stories (Page 2)
中国迷你文学1000 篇, Principal Eds. Ma Changshan (马长山) and Cheng Siliang (程思良)
Modern Press, ISBN 780244358X, 9787802443587 (Page numbers cited at end of each story)

​​         Chinese Stories in English