(Translation) 2019 諧謔

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Original Script

昔劉伯龍歷位九卿。貧窶尤甚。將營什一之方。有鬼在傍大笑。又貧人辨得隻瓮。夜宿瓮中。心計曰此瓮賣之。可辦二瓮。自二瓮化而爲四。其利無窮。遂喜而舞。不覺瓮破云。以此觀之。凡人貧富得失。皆有定分。不可以妄求者也。

-昔有一將官畏妻者。以爲天下之貞男。莫我若也。欲試諸人。乃植靑白兩旗於庭。令曰。貞男者赴靑旗。非貞男者赴白旗。於是軍中或左或右。有一卒獨中立不動。怪而問之。對曰。卒妻甞戒卒曰。男子眾會。則必談及女色。愼無往云。故不敢違耳。將官乃下庭。挽而上座曰。今日之事。爾爲將矣。

-有士人畜一妻一妾而摘白鬚者。妾拔白唯謹。而妻惡其欲媚於妾也。去其黑者。一朝白黑俱盡。儼一老婆。經歲不敢出焉。 《芝峯類說.卷十六》


Translation

Student Translation : I.Yi

In the past, Yu Paekyong served in nine government ministries. Nevertheless, he was destitute. He was about to administer a method (to run a business) to make a one-tenth profit. A ghost beside him laughed heartily.

There was also a poor man who who managed to obtain one jar. At night, he slept inside the jar. He calculated in his mind and said, "I can sell this jar and turn it into two jars. From two jars, they will transform to become four. This profit will be endless!" Therefore he was delighted and danced, not realizing the jar broke. From this, we can see that in general, when it comes to peoples' poverty and wealth, gains and losses, they all have their fixed share. One cannot pursue (gain) without principle.

In the past there was a general who was afraid of his wife. He thought, "Among the faithful men of the world, no one is as chaste as I am. He wanted to put this to a test among men. Therefore he planted two blue and white flags in the courtyard. He ordered the chaste men to go towards the blue flag, and the unfaithful men to go to the white flag. Upon this, some among the soldiers went left and some went right. There was one soldier who stood alone in the middle, unmoving. The general thought this was strange and asked him about it. The soldier replied, “My wife once warned me, saying, "When men gather in a crowd, the talk will certainly turn to women. Be careful not to go there." For this reason, I do not dare to go against it [her words]. The general then went down to the courtyard. He pulled the soldier to the upper seat and said, "As for today's matter, you become the general."

Once there was a literatus who kept a wife and a concubine and had them pluck his white hair. The concubine carefully plucked only the white ones. But the wife disliked his desire to charm the concubine, so she removed the black hairs. Overnight, the white and black hairs were all gone. He looked like an old woman. All year, he didn’t dare leave the house.


  • Discussion Questions:

(YO) A couple of minor points:
To be precise, 昔劉伯龍歷位九卿 should read, “In the past, Yu Pangnyong served as nine ministers.”
I wonder if 妄求 is more likely “pursue senselessly” or “seek presumptuously.”
Does “two blue and white flags” sound like two blue and two white flags or one each?