Eating lions

The English language may have a propensity for wordplay (cf. Headline punning), but you can’t beat Chinese. This poem (“The story of Mr Shi eating lions”), composed in the 1930s by Yuen Ren Chao (Zhao Yuanren), plays solely on different meanings of characters pronounced shi:

施氏食狮史
石室诗士施氏,嗜狮,誓食十狮。施氏时时适市视狮。十时,适十狮市。是时,适施氏适市。
施氏视十狮,恃矢势,使是十狮逝世。氏拾是十狮尸,适石室。石室湿,施氏使侍拭石室。
石室拭,施氏始试食十狮尸。食时,始识十狮实十石狮尸。试释是事。

For what it’s worth, you can read about the Li family’s shishi Bestowing Food ritual in my book…

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