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A joke for the planting season

有兄弟合種田者,禾既熟,議分。兄謂弟曰:“我取上截,你取下截。”弟訝其不平,兄曰:“不難,待明年你取上,我取下可也。”至次年,弟催兄下穀種,兄曰:“我今年意欲種芋頭哩。”

There were two brothers working together in a field. When the grain was ripe, [they] discussed how to divide it. The elder one said to his younger brother, “I take the upper part; you take the lower part.” The younger one was astonished by such unfairness. The elder one said, “It’s simple: next year you take the upper part; I take the lower part.” The next year, when the younger one urged his brother to sow grain seeds, his brother said, “I’m just thinking about planting taro this year.”


* From Youxi zhuren 遊戲主人 (fl. 19th century)  ed., Xiaolin guangji 笑林廣記, 9.2b: https://ctext.org/library.pl?if=en&file=92726&page=280.


Album leaf by Leng Mei 冷枚 (1661-?) Image credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei


"Yu ji" 芋雞 (Taro and Chickens), hanging scroll by Fang Ming 方洺 (1882-?)

Image credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei


 

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