Skip to main content


Once upon a time there was a man who dropped a silver bowl into the sea while crossing it. He pondered, "I'm going to make a mark on the water. I'm carrying on my journey now. But I'll come back for it later."

After two months' travel during which he visited Ceylon and many other countries. On seeing a river, he jumped into the water looking for the bowl he had lost before.

"What are you doing there?" people asked.

He replied, "I have lost my bowl. Now I would like to get it back."

People went on, "When did you lose it?"

He answered, "I lost it crossing the sea."

Again people asked, "How long ago did you lose it?"

He answered, "I lost it two months ago."

People asked, "Since you lost it two months ago in the sea, why are you looking for it here in the river?"

He answered, "I made a mark on the water where I lost the bowl. This water looks the same as the other. There seems no difference. That's why I'm doing this."

People went on, "Though all waters are identical, the place that you have lost it is there. How can you find it here?"

Everybody jeered at him.

The heretics, who do not practice the right religious belief, but a fallacious one, suffer from their useless mortification in seeking deliverance. Those men are just like the stupid man who has lost his bowl in the sea and looked for it in the river.





Popular posts from this blog


Miss Li, ennobled with the title "Lady of Ch‘ien-kuo," was once a prostitute in Ch‘ang-an. The devotion of her conduct was so remarkable that I have thought it worth while to record her story. In the T‘ien-pao era there was a certain nobleman, Governor of Ch‘ang-chou and Lord of Jung-yang, whose name and surname I will omit. He was a man of great wealth and highly esteemed by all. He had passed his fiftieth year and had a son who was close on twenty, a boy who in literary talent outstripped all his companions. His father was proud of him and had great hopes of his future. "This," he would say, "is the "thousand-league colt" of our family." When the time came for the lad to compete at the Provincial Examinations, his father gave him fine clothes and a handsome coach with richly caparisoned horses for the journey; and to provide for his expense at the Capital, he gave him a large sum of money, saying, "I am sure that your talent is such that …

The Fox and The Tiger

ONE day a fox encountered a tiger. The tiger showed his fangs and waved his claws and wanted to eat him up. But the fox said: 'Good sir, you must not think that you alone are the king of beasts. Your courage is no match for mine. Let us go together and you keep behind me. If the humans are not afraid of me when they see me, then you may eat me up.'

The tiger agreed and so the fox led him to a big high-way. As soon as the travellers saw the tiger in the distance they were seized with fear and ran away.

Then the said: 'You see? I was walking in front; they saw me before they could See you.'

Then the tiger put his tail between his legs and ran away.

The tiger had seen that the humans were afraid of the fox but he had not realized that the fox had merely borrowed his own terrible appearance.

[This story was translated by Ewald Osers from German, published by George Bell & Sons, in the book 'Chinese Folktales'. 
Osers noted that this story was from oral tradition.…

The wonderful pear-tree

Once upon a time a countryman came into the town on market-day, and brought a load of very special pears with him to sell. He set up his barrow in a good corner, and soon had a great crowd round him ; for everyone knew he always sold extra fine pears, though he did also ask an extra high price. Now, while he was crying up his fruit, a poor, old, ragged, hungry-looking priest stopped just in front of the barrow, and very humbly begged him to give him one of the pears. But the countryman, who was very mean and very nasty-tempered, wouldn't hear of giving him any, and as the priest didn't seem inclined to move on, he began calling him all the bad names he could think of. " Good sir," said the priest, " you have got hundreds of pears on your barrow. I only ask you for one. You would never even know you had lost one. Really, you needn't get angry."

"Give him a pear that is going bad ; that will make him happy," said one of the crowd. "The old…