[外文]The Young Scholar Mr. Li
That day Li Bo,who had the rank of Langzhong in the Tang Dynasty,got to post as prefect of Qizhou,a young scholar also by the name of Li came to call on him.He introduced himself as a nominee eligible to sit for the upcoming top-grade imperial examination.Li Bo happened to be taken ill and so his son played host to him. After flipping through the manuscript Mr. Li presented as his own., he found in astonishment that all the poems in it were his father′s works. After seeing Mr. Li off calmly, he rushed to show his father the manuscript.Li Bo fumed,saying,′′ This is the manuscript I presented to some VIP when I was in the capital for the highest imperial examination.Nothing but the author′s name has been changed.′′
The next day, the prefect dispatched his son to find Mr. Li out.Having met him,the son proceeded to question him in a rather mild tone,′′My father just wants to make sure if the poems in the manuscript are all yours.′′At that Mr. Li changed color immediately,but insisted that he authored them all.′′Yes. I took great pains to compose all these poems.It′s beyond all doubt.′′
“But I′m afraid, sir,” said the son,”I′ve to beg to disagree with you because it is the manuscript that my father presented to the VIP to read when he was taking the top imperial examination in the capital.Every word on it is in my father′s handwriting and the paper sheets used for the manuscript were all his.I′m begging of you not to tell a lie.”
“I admit I lied to you,”confessed Mr. Li.”Twenty years ago I chanced upon the manuscript in a bookstore in the capital and bought it at one hundred.I really didn′t know the poems were all your father′s excellent works.I do apologize for my misdemeanor.”
The son reported this back to Li Bo.And he said,laughing,”What a worthless schorlar he is!No wonder he stoops to cheating like that.He′s hard up and deprivation brings about all this.It′s really lamentable.”Then he urged his son to give Mr.Li a sack of grain and asked him to stay and eat in his study for a few days.
Having enjoyed his sojourn at the prefect′s a couple of days, Mr. Li thought of leaving.Li Bo offered him a length of silk as a momento. As fate would have it, the emperor granted Li Bo an audience on the very day Mr. Li was scheduled to depart.Having giving ample thanks for his hospitality,Mr. Li said,”I roved lots of places between the banks of the Yangtze River and the Huai River showing the precious manuscript of yours around for the last twenty years.I′d venture to ask a favour of you. Would you please let me keep the manuscript?This earns me a lot of honour wherever I go.”
“The manuscript had been my soul mate,” said Li Bo,”in the days before I passed the imperial examination.I′m aged now, besides being saddled with a prefect′s crushing duties.I don′t need it any longer.Now I offer it to you as a tribute.”
Without the least abashment,he took and put the manuscript in his sleeve at once.”May I know your destination after you leave here?”asked Li Bo.”I plan to go to Jiangliang to visit my maternal uncle Mr. Lu who has the rank of a state minister.”
“Well,would you let me know what official position your maternal uncle is holding now?”asked Li Bo.”He is now Jingnan Garrison Commander.”Oh, may I know his name?””His name is Lu Zhongxuan.”
At this Li Bo clapped his hands and gave a loud guffaw.“You′re wrong again,sir.Minister Lu Zhongxuan is my own maternal uncle.”Mr. Li was so ashamed and alarmed that he lost his composure completely.After a while, he said,”If that is the case,why wouldn′t you go the whole hog by also giving me your maternal uncle in Jingnan?”Then he retired after giving the prefect two deep bows.
“An absolutely impossible type!”the prefect commented at last. Qizhou folks spread this episode as a laughingstock.[/外文]