So, in order to help myself remember some Chinese idioms, I started writing stories narrated by Meiling, that are adapted versions of stories that birthed some Chinese four-character phrases. I'm absolutely certain that if I write something about it, I won't forget the idiom. Or so I hope.
It is a beautiful day, and I am relaxing at Kourindou. The scent of summer, the cool breeze, it's a perfect day for a nap.
But that's beside the point. My name is Hong Meiling, and I'd like to tell you a story.
This fine afternoon, I am relaxing outside, while Rinnosuke's manning the store. Akyuu had just come in, browsing about.
Finally, she makes her decision, and strides up to the counter. “Rinnosuke? I need your help with something.”
With a grunt, Rinnosuke levers himself up out of his chair, and drops his hand onto the counter with a loud thunk. “Hiya, Akyuu. What do you need?”
She gapes for a moment, struck off balance by the mummy wrapping that covers Rinnosuke's right hand. It's white gauze and a cast and all kinds of other things: I remember asking him about this. But I'll let him tell Akyuu. He lifts it, and then lets it thump down again, for emphasis. “Funny story. So, one of the things I found was labeled 'US ARMY, 105 MM HE SHELL. FOR USE ONLY IN M101 HOWITZER.' Thing weighed like 19 kilos. So I put it on a shelf, and forgot about it. Nobody ever bothered to buy it. Couple days ago I was sitting down to write in the ledger, and I apparently bumped my desk. Which bumped the wall. Which shook the shelf. Which knocked off that shell. It then proceeded to fall onto my hand, and a loud crunching sound could be heard. That is, if you could hear it over my girly scream, which proceeded to draw out to a very manly whimper, with only a hint of crying.” Akyuu's face proceeded to get whiter and whiter over this retelling, and her mouth was agape. “So I went and called Eirin, entirely calmly, and with no misunderstandings caused by me sobbing in pain, and she sent out Reisen to set my bones and give me the painkillers I definitely didn't beg for in an entirely undignified manner. So. What can I help you with?”
Akyuu takes a moment to gather herself back together. “I, I, uh, I want to buy, to buy a donkey.” She shakes her head and regains the last bits of her composure. “Yes. I would like to buy a donkey from you today.”
Rinnosuke smiles at her. I'm not sure if this is part of his natural charm, or that he's just so hopped up on opiates that he can't help but be happy. He walks out the front door, the one that I'm relaxing by, Akyuu in tow. “Meiling, could you do me a favor?”
I stretch,and begin to sit up. “Sure. What do you need?”
“I need you to take Akyuu out back and show her the donkeys. I would do it myself, but,” and he waves his wrapped stump in the air.
“Sure, I'd be glad to help.” I turn to Akyuu and give her a companionable pat on the back. “Let's go find you a donkey.”
Shortly afterwards, we're at the pasture behind Kourindou, and I'm leaning on the fence, with Akyuu looking at the couple animals in there, including a few donkeys. “Hey. Akyuu.” I hand her a carrot. “Use this, they'll come on over.”
Akyuu waves the carrot over the fence. “Here, donkey. Nice donkey! Heeeeeeeere, donkey!” One of the donkeys ambles over, and nibbles at the carrot. Akyuu looks at me hesitantly.
“Go on, you can pet him.”
Akyuu starts to scratch the donkey behind the ear. “Hee. He's a nice donkey.”
I shrug. “She. Also, watch out for them, though. They're like cats. They seem nice, until they get angry, except instead of claws that make cuts, donkeys will kick you, breaking bones and rupturing organs.” Akyuu jerks her hand away and looks at me, fright plainly showing on her face. I should probably not scare her like that. “But this one's a fairly nice donkey, or so I've heard.”
Akyuu swallows, hands the rest of the carrot to the donkey, who happily chews away at it. She nods, a decision made. “Yeah. I'll buy that donkey.”
“Kay. Come on.”
We walk back into Kourindou. “Rinnosuke, she picked one out.”
Rinnosuke pops his head up from the box he was pawing through. “Oh? Which one?”
“The girl you didn't name.”
“Oh! Oh. Cool!” He turns to Akyuu. “So, 10000 yen, and we've got a deal?”
Akyuu nods. “Sounds good to me.”
Rinnosuke gestures at his mummified hand again. “Could you write the receipt?”
“Sure!” Akyuu collects a piece of paper, and a pen. She gets to work, writing away. This continues, and she finishes a page. Finishes an entire page. For a receipt. For a donkey. Rinnosuke was distracted, rummaging around in his box, but he turns to watch as Akyuu starts writing on a second page. I'm kind of surprised. I step beside her to shoulder-surf a bit, and watch what she's writing. As she finishes the second page and starts in on the third, Rinnosuke holds up a hand.
“Hold on. What... what are you writing?”
Akyuu looks up at him. “Eh? The receipt, like you asked?”
Rinnosuke folds his arms. “What have you written so far? Read it to me.” What follows is an epic tale, declaiming Akyuu's grand entry to the store, her brave and powerful conversation with the wizened old shopkeep, and her epic battle with the door as she stepped aside. Rinnosuke stops her mid-sentence. “Hold on. Hold on, just a moment. Did you even say anything about a donkey?”
“Well, I, uh, was going to put that in the second volume-”
“No, no no. Stop right now. Why don't you just write that I sold you a donkey, on this date, for ten thousand yen?”
“I, uh, well...”
I chuckle to myself. “That's what we get when 博士买驴 (bóshì mǎi lǘ, a scholar buys a donkey), I guess.”
The use of this idiom, 博士买驴 (bóshì mǎi lǘ), is mostly to satirize overly wordy works, like the writing in that receipt.