One of the pillars upon which civilization is built

by layman k

The Home Garden

Inside the gate there is a footpath, and the footpath must be winding. At the turn of the footpath there is an outdoor screen, and the screen must be small. Behind the screen there is a terrace, and the terrace must be level. On the banks of the terrace there are flowers, and the flowers must be bright-colored. Beyond the terrace there is a wall and the wall must be low. By the side of the wall is a pine tree, and the pine tree must be old.  At the foot of the pine there are rocks, and the rocks must be quaint.  Over the rocks there is a pavilion, and the pavilion must be simple. Beyond the pavilion are bamboos, and the bamboos must be sparse. At the end of the bamboos there is a house, and the house must be secluded. By the side of the house is a road, and the road must branch off.  Where several branches come together is a bridge, and the bridge must be tantalizing to cross.  At the end of the bridge there are trees, and the trees must be tall.  In the shade of the trees there is grass, and the grass must be green.  Above the grass plot is a ditch, and the ditch must be slender.  At the top of the ditch is a spring, and the spring must gurgle.  Above the spring there is a hill, and the hill must be undulating.  Below the hill is a hall, and the hall must be square.  At the corner of the hill there is a vegetable garden, and the garden must be big.  In the garden is a stork, and the stork must dance. The stork announces that there is a guest, and the guest must not be vulgar.  When the guest arrives he is offered wine, and the wine must not be declined.  At the drink the guest must get drunk, and the drunken guest must not want to go home.”

– Chen Chiju, quoted in Barry Hughart’s The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox