Once upon a time, a District Magistrate was trying a case.
His secretary was present in the Court. His face was marked with bruises, and the Magistrate asked him, ” What is the matter with your face ?”
He replied: ” While I was sitting under the grapevine bowers, cooling myself, a sudden gust of wind came and blew down the vine bower; hence I received these wounds.”
The Magistrate did not believe this and said :
” It is evident that your wounds were caused by fingernails. You must have been fighting with your wife, who scratched your face. Am I not right?”
The secretary’s face turned” red, and he said: ” Your Honor’s supposition is correct.”
The Magistrate said: “Your wife’s temper is so violent and vehement, I will send for her and give her a good beating, in order to relieve your suppressed anger.”
Just as he was saying this, the Magistrate saw his furious wife come up from the back of the Yamen, saying: ” Whom do you wish to lick? ”
The Magistrate on seeing this, immediately addressed his underlings thus, ” Let us adjourn the Court. You must all disperse at once. Your master’s vine bower will also soon tumble down.”
Translation: Y. T. Woo. , 1909, from ‘Chinese merry tales’ by Woo, Y. T, 1909 (The American Presbyterian Mission Press)
Featured image: Ten Thousand Riplets on the Yangzi, from a series of paintings of water. 水圖卷﹝局部. 1160-1225. ink on silk, author Ma Yuan
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