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《Chinese Tales for Everyone__Real and Imaginary:(33) The Unseasonal Weather, (34) Corruption Has Many Faces》__ Kong Shiu Loon (53)

Tales Real and Imaginary

(33)The Unseasonal Weather

Once upon a time, out in China’s northern frontier, a famous general was drinking solitarily inside a Mongolian tent. The well enclosed space was lit bright by huge candles. A warm fire pot was burning red in front of him.

The general drank and felt very hot as he downed one bowl of liqueur after another. Beads of sweat covered his brow making him feel uncomfortable.

“What an unseasonal weather we have!” he exclaimed, “It should be biting cold now when we are in winter, and yet it is so hot!”

A soldier standing guard outside the tent heard the general’s complaint. He rushed in, knelt and reported: “It is indeed winter, sir, and the weather is seasonal. If you do not believe me, please step outside to feel for yourself, sir.”

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Note: This is an English narration of an allegory in the book雪濤小書》.The title of the original story 天氣不正has become a phrase commonly used to denote the tendency of people in high places who care for themselves and nobody else.

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Tales Real and Imaginary

(34)Corruption Has Many Faces

There was once a greedy government official who pretended to shun corruption.

On his first day of office, he invited people to watch him made an oath: “If I ever received a bribe with my left hand, let it be rotting off, and if I do the same with my right hand, it should rot off too.”

On the sixth day of office, he was offered a hundred silver coins as a bribe. He wanted very much to accept it. But he declined, saying: “I must not accept else my hands would rot, like I had said in my oath.”

Seeing this, his assistant suggested a solution. He proposed: “Why don’t you put the bribe into the sleeve of your big official gown? All that will rot is just a sleeve, and you can easily get a new one made.”

The official grinned and accepted the bribe as suggested.

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Note: This is an English narration of an allegory in the book雪濤小書》. The original title 發誓 discredited the act of an oath taken in pretention. It also showed that corruption had many faces.

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