A rich Chinese lady had a foolish son. One day, the son had to go to meet his future bride’s parents. So, his mother told him what to say. She did not want them to know how foolish he was. He was to carry a costly fan with some landscape painted on it. She taught him how to answer about the painting by replying, “Oh, that’s just a fancy sketch.” If they asked him about the mule on which he would ride, he should say, “’The animal is a good beast of burden, reared on our farm.”
The young man reached the future bride’s home. At the door, his would-be mother-in-law asked about the health of his mother. He said, “The animal is a good beast of burden, reared on our farm.” The mother-in-law was shocked, “I was told that you belonged to a decent family!” The fool thought that he should have given the first answer that his mother had taught him.