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Dynasty Tales of Henpecked Hans
We Laowai and Laonei are more alike than we realize, and nothing brings
it home better than these ancient Ming Dynasty tales of henpecked Hans.
I hope Susan Marie doesn’t read them….
After his wife had beaten him badly, a man crawled under his family bed.
“Come out this instant!” his wife screamed.
“I am man enough to do as I please!” he said. “And I’ll
come out when I’m good and ready.”
Do We Part
A number of henpecked men were holding an emergency meeting to discuss
ways to regain their dignity. A bachelor prankster walked into their midst
and said, “Your wives heard of this gathering and are all on their
way here to deal with you.” All but one panicked and dashed out
“He’s the only one with courage to stand up to his wife!”
the bachelor exclaimed. But closer examination revealed he’d died
A magistrate asked his court clerk how he got the scratches on his face.
The embarrassed clerk said, “Last night, I was walking in the yard,
taking in the cool night air, when a grape trellis fell on me and scratched
The magistrate declared, “Only a wife could do this. Have her brought
here this instant.”
But the magistrate’s own wife had been hiding in the next room,
and hearing this she stormed into the court. The terrified magistrate
shouted, “Court’s in recess! Clear the court! My own trellis
is coming down!”
Ancient Chinese had plenty of doctor jokes as well. Here are a few of
Things First (Ming Dynasty Tale, 1368-1644)
A doctor was detained by the furious relatives of a patient he had killed
with the wrong prescription, but he escaped by night and swam across a
wide river to reach home. When he saw his son studying medical texts,
he said, “Don’t be in such a hurry to study medicine. First
things first. And first, learn to swim.”
– A Qing Dynasty Tale (1644 -1912) When a quack doctor’s treatment
killed a family’s son, he was forced to give them his own son. He
lost his daughter in the same way. One day a man knocked on his door and
asked his help. “Who’s the patient?” the doctor asked.
The tearful doctor told his wife, “Sweetheart, I fear someone has
taken a fancy to you.”
Getting the Boot (Ming Dynasty Tale, 1368-1644)
A heavily laden woodcutter stumbled into the local doctor on a narrow
path. When the doctor drew back his fist to hit him, the woodcutter dropped
to his knees and begged, “Please kick me instead.”
A bystander asked, “Why would you rather him kick you?”
The terrified woodcutter replied, “Treatment by his hands would
be much deadlier than with his feet!”
Jokes Americans warn against "talking religion or politics,"
but ancient Chinese did not fear poking fun at either one--though this
joke probably really bugged Buddhists...
Bugs! (A Qing Dynasty Tale)
A Buddhist monk vowed to offer his blood to feed other living things,
but after mosquitoes had bitten him for hours the itching got to him and
he began swatting them with abandon.
“What happened to your vow?” asked a bystander.
The monk sighed. “Some of them have started coming back for seconds.”
of the People (Chinese, not Americans, invented polical jokes!)
A newly appointed official decided to impress folks with his moral virtues
by writing three phrases on the walls of his office:
1. Don’t covet money.
2. Don’t desire promotions.
3. Don’t fear death.
A few days later some wit added two characters to the bottom of each:
1. in small quantities.
2. unless it’s much higher than this one.
3. But I want to live as long as I can.
Rats and Oxen (Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644)
On his birthday, an official's subordinates chipped in to give him a life-sized
solid gold rat, since he was born in the year of the rat (each year of
a twelve year cycle has a different animal). The official thanked them,
then asked, "Did you know that my wife's birthday is coming up? She
was born in the year of the ox."
More ancient Chinese
humor? Read "Amoy Magic--Guide to Xiamen
Fujian Sites Fujian
Foto Album Xiamen
Last Updated: May 2007
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