The 73 Chinese fables translated into English in this book form a significant part of the moral education of all Chinese. These fables are often based on real events combined with literary touches to form a fabric of behavioral guidelines for children and adults alike.

By translating these fables into English, CHUNG Yoon-Ngan hopes to share the gems of Chinese wisdom with those who want to learn more about Chinese culture.

Taken from the original classically written source material, some of these stories were written more than 2000 years ago, providing an insight into Chinese cultural and morality, as well as China of long ago.

In Store Price: $AU20.00 
Online Price:   $AU19.00

ISBN: 1-9208-8430-0
Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages: 174
Genre:  Non fiction

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Author: CHUNG Yoon-Ngan
Imprint: Poseidon
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published: March 2004
Language: English




The Chinese idiomatic stories are part of the moral education of all Chinese. These stories are often real stories with certain literary touches form a fabric of behavioral guidelines for children and adult alike. Using simple language and attractive stories, Chinese idioms have been told from generations to generations with unabated interest. In ancient time when many of the people were illiterate or under-educated, these stories were important rules for social interactions. They were told by grandmas to kids, or acted out by storytellers in the teahouses, or as part of the regional operas. It is a simple way to educate the public in vivid and succinct language understood by all.  Their significance in upholding the moral values among Chinese is no less important than the classical literature of Confucius, Laozi, Buddhism to the Chinese scholars and what the Bible meant to the western culture. 

Many of these Chinese idiomatic stories are prevalent in other Asian countries as well. By compiling these idiomatic stories into one single book in English, Yoon-Ngan is hoping to share such precious gems of Chinese wisdom with those who want to learn more about how the Asians think. In a way, this serves the same purpose of the book "Zen of Vegetable Roots" by the Ming scholar Hong Ying Ming that I have put into a volume of calligraphy and Chinese painting with the graceful illustration by Ms. Fu Yiyao. 

Yoon-Ngan is also the author of the two books of “The Origin of Chinese Surnames” and “The Origin of the Hakka Chinese”.I wish Yoon-Ngan have all the success in making this book available to all interested in Chinese culture especially on how Chinese moral values are taught through the generations. 

The Founder and Administrator of Asiawind Forum

Professor Dr. Siu-Leung Lee

Columbus, Ohio

January 12, 2004


I would like to thank Dr. SL Lee, the founder of Asiawind Forum (, for allowing me to post drafts of these Chinese Fables in his Forum; since 1994, I have occasionally posted one or two of these Chinese Fables to the Forum, which I have compiled together to form these 73 fables. 

I must also thank my son, Voon-Li Chung, who helped me in arranging this book to be published. He has just established his new IT Consultancy, picoSpace (, and I wish him success in his new undertaking. 

CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)

28th Janurary, 2004

Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

Read a sample - some browsers may not reproduce the Chinese characters correctly.

01. Life is like a short dream: 黃梁一夢
(Huang2 Liang2 Yi Meng4)


This parable was from the novel 枕中記 (Zhen Zhong Ji or The Pillow) written by Shen Ji Ji (沈既濟) who lived during Tang Dynasty ( 618AD to 907AD). 

There lived a scholar by the name of Lu Sheng (盧生) who was poor and unemployed. Lu Sheng was a scholar of 嘗志于學[1] and 富于游藝[2]. His ambitions were 建功樹名[3], 出將入相[4] and 列鼎而食[5]. However, being unemployed and poor Lu Sheng was disappointed in life and was much dispirited. He often sighed under the burden of his problems. 

Once he stayed at an inn in the city of Han Dan (邯鄲 present day Han Dan city in Hebei province 河北省). An old monk occupying the next room repeatedly heard Lu Sheng verbally despairing about his life. He went over and talked to Lu Sheng who related his life of despair and hopelessness. The monk gave Lu Sheng a ceramic pillow to rest his head when he went to bed that night. 

It was still daylight and in the inn's kitchen the innkeeper was cooking yellow millet. Curious about what it could do, Lu Sheng laid in bed with his head on the ceramic pillow. Before long he fell asleep. 

Lu Sheng then had the sweetest dream. He arrived in an unrecognised country and married a beautiful girl by the surname of Cui (). He passed the Imperial examination and became a 進士 (Jin Shi or Imperial Graduate). He was appointed an official and led a comfortable life. He was later blessed with five sons who were extraordinarily gifted. Eventually he was appointed the Prime Minister. He lived till the ripe old age of eighty and was really 富貴壽考[6]. He was survived by many descendants.




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