Episode 130: Ancient Chinese Jokes 1 – Stool Legs & Sharing Boots

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Laugh is a world language. People from different cultures all have jokes and today we will start a new series in our podcast about ancient Chinese jokes and hope you can laugh or smile about it.

One of the most famous book of jokes is called XiaoFu 笑府 by the author Feng Menglong 冯梦龙, who was a Chinese writer and poet of the Ming dynasty, between the year 1574 ~ 1646. The book contains almost 600 jokes. Our series will start with this book. We will tell two jokes today.

The first joke is called stool legs. It says, most wooden stools in the countryside usually used ready-made branches as legs. One day, the stool legs were broken in the house and the master asked his servant to search for one ready to use branches to replace the broken stool legs.


The servant left with an ax however came back with nothing. The master asked what happened. The servant answered, “pardon me my master. I know there are branches everywhere. But they all grow upwards. I could’t find branches that grow downwards.”


The second joke is called sharing boots. It says, there were two brothers. They bought one pair of boots together and was going to share the boots. The elder brother had many parties to attend and always worn the boots during the day. The younger brother felt he should do something that he couldn’t just pay the money without having the chance to wear the boots. So he wore them all nights and walked around in the house without sleeping. After not too long, the boots were worn out, the elder brother suggested that they could buy a new pair together again. The younger brother replied, “I need to sleep.”




笑府 XiaoFu

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