Crying on Behalf of Others

Some women are paid to cry beside the coffin at a funeral. (Image: Bernadette Wolf / Vision Times)
Some women are paid to cry beside the coffin at a funeral. (Image: Bernadette Wolf / Vision Times)

It is a local custom of Yangzhou to have women cry beside the coffin during a funeral. Many local offspring would hire elderly women to cry at a funeral. One elderly woman was hired to act crying. While she was tired of doing it after a long time, she cried: “What is this to do with me?”

When the mourners heard this, they complained to her: “You are hired for this. Since you are paid, how could you say this?” When the old woman heard this, she continued to cry: “What is this to do with you?” 

‘Good Laughs’ is meant to nourish a good heart with stories. (Image: Bernadette Wolf / Vision Times)

Good Laughs is meant to nourish a good heart with stories. (Image: Bernadette Wolf / Vision Times)

About the Good Laughs

Good Laughs (笑得好) is a collection of short stories edited by Chinese doctor Cheng-Jin Shi (石成金) of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). The collection is considered as the Chinese version of Aesop’s Fables. Doctor Shi was believed to have lived between the Kangxi and early Qianlong reigns. He also authored many other books on remedies for life and health. 

Good Laughs meant to nourish the good heart with stories. In the preface, Doctor Shi wrote: “People entertain by being sarcastic; I inspire people with sarcasm. It entertains the heart, but also saves a life like acupuncture.”

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