[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
The Scholar (2)
The Scholars (2)
Ru2 Lin2 Wai4 Shi3
Zhou Jin4 said to himself that he must read through carefully all the
exam papers submitted by the candidates. Having taken him so many years
to pass the examination he must make sure that he would not suppress any
Immediately after his arrival in Guangzhou he held a few prefectural
examinations. During the third examination Commissioner Zhou noticed a
candidate who looked quite old to him and was shivering with cold as it
was in winter and he was only wearing a linen gown.
This old candidate was the first one to hand in his paper to
Commissioner Zhou. With the answered paper in his hand Commissioner
Zhou interviewed him by referring to his registered name,
Commissioner Zhou : "You are Fan4 Jin4, aren't you?"
Kneeling, Fan4 Jin4 : "Yes, Your Excellency."
Commissioner Zhou : "How old are you this year?"
Fan4 Jin4 : "I gave my age as thirty.
Actually, I am fifty-four."
Commissioner Zhou : "How many times have you taken the examination?"
Fan4 Jin4 : "I first went in for it when I was twenty,
and I have taken over twenty times since then."
Commissioner Zhou : "How is it that you have never passed?"
Fan4 Jin4 : "My essays are poor, so none of the honourable
examiners will pass me."
Commissioner Zhou : "That may not be the only reason. Leave you
paper here, and I will read it through
Fan4 Jin4 kowtowed and left.
It was still early, and no other candidates had handed in their
papers yet. So Commissioner Zhou picked up Fan4 Jin4's essay and read
it again. But he was disappointed as they were incomprehensible to him.
He put it aside. As there were still no other candidates handing in their
papers, Commissioner Zhou picked up Fan Jin's essay and read it through
again. This time he found some sense in Fan4 Jin4's essay. When he
read it through the third time Commissioner Zhou realized it was a
When the results were published Fan4 Jin4's name was first on the list.
Now Fan Jin was looking forward to sit for the provincial examination.
Fan4 Jin4 went home and bowed to his mother who lived with him in a
hatched cottage. His wife was the daughter of the butcher of the market.
Mother and wife were very happy to hear the good news of his passing the
That evening his father-in-law, Butcher Hu2, came to congratulate him,
bringing some pork meat and a bottle of wine. While his wife and mother
prepared the dinner Fan4 Jin4 entertained his father-in-law. Butcher Hu2
told him that since he was a gentleman now he should behaviour himself
and tried not to mix with the peasants, dung-carriers and other low
Butcher Hu2 went home after the dinner. He had drunk the whole bottle
of wine and was a bit tipsy. He cursed himself for allowing his daughter
to marry such a poor bookworm.
The next day Fan4 Jin4 called on relatives and friends. He also met some
of the fellow candidates who wanted to go to the provincial capital for
the provincial examination. They invited him to go with them.
It was the end of the sixth month and was time to travel to the
provincial capital for the examination. But Fan4 Jin4 had no money for
the journey so he went to ask his father-in-law for help. Instead of
helping him, Butcher Hu2 spate in Fan4 Jin4's face, and poured out
a torrent of abuses. He did not give Fan4 Jin4 any money.
In desperation he asked his fellow candidates to help him and Fan4
Jin4 went with them to the city for the examination without telling
Butcher Hu2. After the examination was over Fan4 Jin4 returned home and
found his family had been without food for two days. Butcher Hu2 cursed
Fan4 Jin4 again.
On the day of publishing the results of the exam there was nothing to
eat in his house and his mother told him that she was hungry. She gave
him a hen and told him to sell it in the market. Fan4 Jin4 tucked the
hen under his arm and went off to the market.
After Fan4 Jin4 had left for about an hour, gongs were sounded and
three horsemen galloped up and alighted in front of his house calling out,
"Where is the honourable Mr Fan4?. We have come to congratulate him
on passing the provincial examination."
Fan4 Jin4's mother invited them into the house. There were more horsemen
arrived at the house. Fan4 Jin4's mother asked a neighbour to look for her
son in the market. The neighbour found Fan4 Jin4 clutching the hen tightly
against his chest and holding a sale sign. He cried out loudly to
"Go home quickly Mr Fan4. Congratulation! You have passed the
provincial examination. Your house is full of heralds."
Fan4 Jin4 did not believe him and continued to pace slowly looking for
a customer to buy his hen. Many a time the neighbour asked Fan4 Jin4 to
go home but he ignored him thinking that he was only joking. In the end
the neighbour siezed the hen from Fan4 Jin4 and threw it on the ground
and dragged him home.
When he reached home Fan4 Jin4 saw many heralds in the house. He
rushed into the house and saw the official announcement that he had
passed the examination. He was so excited that he read through the
annonuncement several times and cried out,
"I have passed. I have passed."
He fell back and fainted.
His mother forced some water through his lips and he regain his
consciousness. He ran out of the house laughing and clapping his hands
"I've passed! I've passed!"
He fell to the pond in front of the house. When he got out of it he was
soaked to the bone with slime and ran straight to the market laughing and
clapping. No one tried to stop him and his mother was crying,
"Why should passing the examination will make him mad."
His wife also said he was all right this morning when he went out.
The two women did not know what to do.
Their neighbours brought food and wine for the heralds and a few of
the neighbours followed Fan4 Jin4, keeping an eye on him. All of them did
not know how to make Fan4 Jin4 come to senses. One of the heralds asked if
there was someone whom Fan4 Jin4 was stood in awe of. If that person could
slap him in the face and screamed at him,
"It is only a joke and you have not passed any examination!
With a fright like that he will regain his senses."
The neighbours said Fan4 Jin4 was only afraid of Butcher Hu2. They
reckoned he was still in the market selling pork. So they rushed to the
market and they met him on the road coming with presents to congratulate
his son-in-law. Fan4 Jin4's mother told him what had happened and the
neighbours also related to him about the suggestion of the herald.
Butcher Hu2 was afraid to slap a potential official. The heralds told
him that he had no choice but to proceed with the plan. They strode off to
the market looking for Fan4 Jin4. They found him standing in the doorway
of a temple with only one shoe on, still clapping his hands and laughing
"Aha I've passed! I've passed!"
Butcher Hu2, rolling up his greasy sleeves, roared at him,
"You blasted idiot! What have you passed?"
With a bellow Butcher Hu2 gave Fan4 Jin4 a blow, knocking him out. The
neighbours rubbed his chest and massaged his back. Slowly Fan4 Jin4
regained his consciousness and sense. They told him that he had passed
the examination and told him to go home and send off the heralds. The
sight of his father-in-law standing in front of him had made Fan4 Jin4
frightened. But Butcher Hu2 stepped forward and congratulated him.
They all went back to Fan4 Jin4's house happily. With the money from
his father-in-law Fan4 Jin4 paid off the heralds. He thanked his
neighbours for their kindness for helping him. He was very grateful to
The Scholars (2)
Ru2 Lin2 Wai4 Shi3
by Wu2 Jing4 Zi3 (1701AD to 1754AD)
CHUNG Yoon-Ngan. firstname.lastname@example.org
- A fable story
- From: CHUNG Yoon-Ngan <email@example.com>