Who’s Knock­ing at the Door?

外面何人击户

Special Focus - - Contents - By Fang Zhaox­i­ang

Fang Zhaox­i­ang 方兆祥

Two fam­i­lies, both with only one son, lived next door to each other. One of the sons was ex­tremely in­tel­li­gent, while the other was thick­headed. One day the fa­ther of the dimwit went knock­ing at the neigh­bor’s door, and a voice came from in­side the house: “May I ask, who is out there?”

Hear­ing this re­ply, the fa­ther thought: “Hey, who’s this so cul­tured and pol­ished?” and promptly replied, “It is me!”

As the door swung open, it was the clever lit­tle kid stand­ing there. See­ing it was the man from next door, the kid im­me­di­ately bowed to him and said, “It is the es­teemed pres­ence of his Ex­cel­lency. Please ex­cuse me for not com­ing out to meet you.”

Upon hear­ing this, the man was even more im­pressed with the child’s up­bring­ing and man­ners. He was ut­terly thrilled. Re­mem­ber­ing whom he was there to see he hur­riedly asked, “Is your fa­ther home?”

The child replied, “My fa­ther has gone to the other side of the moun­tain to play chess with the mas­ter monk.”

“Oh, when will he be back then?”

“If he comes back early, it will be at sun­down; if late, he will room with the mas­ter.”

As the child talked so elo­quently and re­spect­fully, the man thought of his own son, who couldn’t even hold a can­dle to the neigh­bor’s kid. Upon re­turn­ing home, he scolded his own child for all the things he couldn’t do right, right in front of his wife.

His wife said, “You’d bet­ter not use other chil­dren’s am­bi­tions to de­stroy our son’s dig­nity. You’re only talk­ing about a few sen­tences, as if our son couldn’t learn to say the same way.”

A few days later, the lady from the next door came knock­ing at the door of the dimwit child’s home. His fa­ther got him to an­swer the door.

From be­hind the door the child asked, “May I ask, who is out there?”

His fa­ther, lis­ten­ing, thought that ev­ery­thing was go­ing ac­cord­ing to plan, and even be­gan to feel that his son was not as dull as he had reck­oned, for his son mas­tered what he was sup­posed to say straight away.

The woman out­side replied, “It is me.”

The man’s son opened the door im­me­di­ately, and gave a bow, “It is the es­teemed pres­ence of her Ex­cel­lency. Please ex­cuse me for not com­ing out to meet you.”

Hear­ing this, his fa­ther felt that his son was re­ally quite man­nered.

The woman asked, “Is your mother at home?”

The kid, with­out hes­i­ta­tion, replied, “Mother has gone to the other side of the moun­tain to play chess with the mas­ter monk.”

His fa­ther be­came anx­ious, as his son messed it up and be­gan to talk waf­fle.

The woman, slightly taken aback, asked, “Oh, is that right? When will she be back then?”

The kid, as­suredly, replied, “If she comes back early, it will be at sun­down; if late, she will room with the mas­ter.”

Be­fore the woman re­al­ized what had hap­pened, the fa­ther of the dimwit had al­ready be­come so an­gry that he frothed at the mouth and fell to the floor. (From Ram­bling­sofa

Sec­re­tary , An­hui Lit­er­a­ture and Art Pub­lish­ing House. Trans­la­tion: Sam Bow­den)

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