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More Vietnam Folk Tales - Travel reading

Dinh Dong,Glory to the Lord Buddha!

A pretty young married woman was ,-Cvpursued by the attentions of no fewer tHan three suitors: the village headman, the schoolmaster and the monk from the local pagoda. A faithful wife, she told her husband everything and they decided to teach the lustful men a lesson.Soon after, feigning to yield to their attentions, she arranged a rendezvous with them at her home, telling them that her husband would be away on some business. The times she fixed for the three were adequately spaced so that they would show up at a few minutes' interval. The first man to come that night was the monk. Before he could give full vent to his desires, however, knocks were heard on the door.
- What am I to do? - he asked, trembling with fear.
- Just get into the canvas bag hanging from this beam. Quick!
She went to open the door: it was the headman already licking his lips. She invited him in and said a few kind words which fanned his ardour even more, if that was still possible. But he was no more fortunate than his predecessor. Impatient knocks were heard before he had time to offer her his passionate compliments. Sudden fear seized him, numbing his limbs and tongue.
- Get under the bed - whispered the young woman.
- Give a few yaps at the right moment. If it's my husband. I'll tell him that I've just bought a small dog.
It was not the husband coming back, however but the schoolmaster, looking as happy as a lark and his mind full of pleasant expectations.
- Oh, do come in, please - said the beautiful hostess - You're a very punctual man.
A very well-timed arrival indeed, for just at that moment, the voice of the husband was heard, hallooing to his wife from the front gate and telling her that he had finished his business much earlier than usual. The teacher had barely time to slip into a big trunk and pull the lid down.The woman greeted her husband with a wink which signalled the full success of their strategem. Now it was his turn to act. First, he made for the bed. As he approached, the headman dutifully gave a few yaps.
- What's that? - the husband exclaimed.
- Just a little dog I've bought - said his wife, choking back a laugh.
- I'll teach it not to bark at its master - said the man. Whereupon he grabbed a stick and swung it under the bed, hitting the headman hard and repeatedly.
Then he turned to the corner where the trunk stood and said in a concerned voice:
- I hear suspicious noises inside that trunk. Maybe mice have slipped in. They'll ruin our clothes. Let me have a look.
He already had his hand on the lid handle when it sprang open and the schoolmaster emerged pleading for mercy. He was then tied to a column of the house, pending a decision on his fate.
Now, raising his head, the husband pointed at the bulging bag hanging from a beam.
- I though that bag was empty - he told his wife with some surprise in his voice -What's in it?
- Oh, just a bell the village has bought for the pagoda - said his wife smothering a giggle - They've asked us to keep it for a while.
- A bell? Let's see if it rings true.
Seizing the stick, the husband whacked at the bag. To keep up the pretence, the monk would cry at each blow:
- Ding dong!
But in the end, unable to bear the pain, he blurted out:
- Glory to the Lord Buddha, ding dong!

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