One day, deities from various places came to pay homage to the Emperor of Heaven.
The emperor gave his minister in charge of wine cups the following order:“Register the names of the deities first, then bestow wine upon them.”
The minister in charge of wine cups registered the names of the deities on the bamboo slips, and prepared to bestow wine. But he kept on working for three thousand years and had not finished the registration yet.
The emperor inquired:“Why haven’t you finished registering?”
The minister reported:“All the deities have brought their sedan-chair carriers.”
The emperor ordered:“Then register the sedan-chair carriers as well.”
Seven thousand years passed and the registration was still not done.
When the emperor inquired again, the minister had no way out but reported:“The sedan- chair carriers of the deities have brought their own carriers too.”
So the wine was not bestowed after all.
The Emperor of Heaven remained silent for a long time and then heaved a deep sigh.
*Selected from the book Complete Works of Gong Ding by Gong Zizhen (1792-1841 A.D.) of the Qing Dynasty
【生词与短语 New Words & Expressions】
1.天帝赐酒 [tiān dì cì jiǔ] The Emperor of Heaven Bestows Wine
2.朝拜 [cháo bài] v. pay homage
3.登记 [dēng jì] v. / n. register / registration
4.竹简 [zhú jiǎn] n. bamboo slip
5.査问 [chá wèn] v. inquire
6.轿夫 [jiào fū] n. sedan-chair carrier
7.报告 [bào gào] v. report
8.沉默 [chén mò] a. silent
9.叹息 [tàn xī] v. sigh