A man named Fu Xian was fond of reading books. Though proficient1 in literature and etiquette2, he was stubbornly adherent3 to outworn rules. Being impractical4 and dull, he looked just like an old pedant5.
One day, Fu Xian strolled on the street with measured strides and asked whomever he met: "Have you seen Wei San?"
Someone pointed6 to the direction and he walked on unhurriedly with measured strides. When he saw Wei San, he panted for a while, then said: "I just saw your wife doing needlework under a tree. She was tired and taking a nap. Your child was playing beside a well, only 3 to 5 chi away from it. It seemed to me that some accident might happen. As there is prudent7 reserve between men and women, it was not convenient for me to awaken8 your wife in person. That's why I have come all the way here to tell you."
Upon hearing this, Wei San was panic-stricken and hurried home. When he got home, his wife was bending over the well, wailing9 bitterly for their son.
The Chinese people call flattery to someone's face "presenting a tall hat" to someone.
In the past, an official in the imperial1 court in Beijing was appointed to an official post outside the capital. Before departure, he went to his teacher's home to bid farewell. His teacher warned him: "It is not easy to be an official outside the capital. You should be prudent2 and careful."
The official replied: "Please don't worry. I have prepared 100 'tall hats'，and will present one to each and every person I meet. I'm sure all the local people will be pleased."
The teacher said reproachingly3: "We are all honest gentlemen. How can you do that?"
The official pretended he had no way out and said: "Very few people under heaven are like you who dislike being flattered4 or presented with tall hats."
Hearing this, the teacher was very much pleased. He nodded and said: "What you said is true, too."
After the official said farewell to his teacher and went out, he said to his friend: "Of my 100 'tall hats', now only 99 are left."
One day, deities1 from various places came to pay homage2 to the Emperor of Heaven.
The emperor gave his minister in charge of wine cups the following order: "Register the names of the deities first, then bestow3 wine upon them."
The minister registered the names of the deities on bamboo slips, and prepared to bestow wine. But he kept on working for 3, 000 years and had not finished the registration4 yet.
The emperor inquired: "Why haven't you finished registering?"
The minister reported: "All the deities have brought their sedan-chair carriers."
The emperor ordered: "Then register the sedan-chair carriers as well."
7, 000 years passed and the registration was still not done.
When the emperor inquired again, the minister had no way out but reported: "The sedan-chair carriers of the deities have brought their own carriers too."
So the wine was not bestowed5 after all.
The Emperor of Heaven remained silent for a long time and then heaved a deep sigh.