The Laziest Boy in China

My informant for this is my mother, JL. The following is a recollection from when I was younger and she used to try to scare me into doing things right with stories with a moral. I went back and interviewed her for her experiences for this project afterward.

Once there was a boy who was very lazy. His parents did everything for him, and he never had to lift a finger. One day, his parents had to go on a trip for a weekend. They made him a very big pancake and cut a hole in the center to hang it around his neck so he wouldn’t go hungry.

When they came back 3 days later, the boy had starved to death in the house, with the back half of the pancake still hanging behind his head, because he was too lazy to turn the pancake around when he finished the front half.

I just translated the food item to “pancake” for ease of storytelling, as the actual type of food doesn’t matter in a story about someone starving to death for being too lazy to rotate something around his neck. The actual food is a type of flat wheat-based food, like a tortilla or the crust of a pizza, generally referred to in Chinese as “bing.”

This story, while morbid, is actually meant to be humorous when told to a child. It warns off the child from being lazy themselves because the death that occurs within the story is so unlikely and easily avoidable. A child told this story is encouraged to not want to embarrass themselves by letting themselves sink so low.