Excerpt from an anonymous Chinese playwright:

Li Chun. What’s your business?

Ting Lang. To collect the tax on fishing.

Li Chun. Have you the Emperor’s permission?

Ting Lang. No.

Li Chun. Well, where did you get your authority from?

Ting Lang. From His Honour the Magistrate.

Li Chun. Be off with you and tell him to abolish the fishing tax. If he doesn’t, there’s a chance that something incovenient may happen if we meet in the road.

Ting Lang. You talk pretty big; what is your name anyway?

Li Chun. I’m the Dragon that confuses the Rivers.

Ting Lang. You mean you’re the stink-bug in a ball of dung.

Li Chun. Just wait till I give you a walloping, you eight days’ spawn of a turtle!

Ni (to Ting Lang). Roll back, and I’ll gouge out your eyes and boil them to liquor! I’ll flay your hide and mix it with dog-skin to make a plaster for carbuncles.

Ting Lang. Stop bragging! What’s your name I’d like to know?

Ni. I’m Ni Jung, the Curly-haired Tiger.

Ting Lang. What sort of louse in a mongrel’s hair are you?

Ni. Look out for a thrashing, you mouldy spawn of a turtle.

Ting Lang. Just wait, don’t be in such a hurry. I’ll first take off my hat and gown… (To Hsiao) You hold him while I run away. (He exits).

Is it just me, or did that sound more like a typical John Wayne western, than an ancient Chinese fishing play?

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