Ah Q stood there irresolutely.
From the distance approached another of Ah Q’s enemies. This was Mr. Qian's eldest son whom Ah Q thoroughly despised. After studying in a foreign-style school in the city, it seemed he had gone to Japan. When he came home half a year later his legs were straight and his Queue had disappeared. His mother wept bitterly a dozen times, and his wife tried three times to jump into the well. Later his mother told everyone, " His Queue was cut off by some scoundrel when he was drunk. By rights he ought to be a big official, but now he'll have to wait till it's grown again. Ah Q, however, did not believe this, and insisted on calling him a “Bogus Foreign Devil" or "Traitor in Foreign Pay. At sight of him he would start cursing under his breath.
What Ah Q despised and detested most in him was his false Queue. When it came to having a false Queue, a man could scarcely be considered human; and the fact that his wife had not attempted to jump into the well a fourth time showed that she was not a good woman either.
Now this “Bogus Foreign Devil' was approaching.
"Baldhead! Ass. . ." In the past Ah Q had just cursed under his breath, inaudibly; but today, because he was in a rage and itching for revenge, the words slipped out involuntarily.
Unfortunately this Baldhead was carrying a shiny brown cane which looked to Ah Q like the "staff carried by a mourner." With great strides he bore down on Ah Q who, guessing at once that a beating was in the offing, hastily flexed his muscles and hunched his shoulders in anticipation. Sure enough, Thwack! Something struck him on the head.
"I meant him!" explained Ah Q, pointing to a nearby child.
Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!
As far as Ah Q could remember, this was the second humiliation of his life. Fortunately after the thwacking stopped it seemed to him that the matter was closed, and he even felt somewhat relived. Moreover, the precious ability to forget handed down by his ancestors stood him in good stead. He walked slowly away and by the time the approached the tavern door he was Quite cheerful again.
Just then, however, a little nun from the Convent of Quiet Self-improvement came walking towards him. The sight of a nun always made Ah Q swear; how much more so, then, after these humiliations? When he re-called what had happened, his anger flared up again.
"I couldn’t think what made my luck so bad today---so it' s meeting you that did it! " he fumed to himself.
Going towards her he spat noisily. “Ugh…Pah!"
The little nun paid not the least attention but walked on with lowered head. Ah Q stepped up to her and shot out a hand to rub her newly shaved scalp, then with a guffaw cried, "Baldhead! Go back Quick, your monk' s waiting for you. .."
"Who are you pawing?..." demanded the nun, flushing all over her face as she Quickened her pace.
The men in the tavern roared with laughter. Tills appreciation of his feat added to Ah Q elation.
"It the monk paws you, why can' t I?" He pinched her cheek.
Again the men in the tavern roared with laughter. More bucked than ever, and eager to please his admirers, Ah Q pinched her hard again before letting her go.
This encounter had made him forget Whiskers Wang and the Bogus Foreign Devil, as if all the day's bad luck had been avenged. And strange to relate, even more completely relaxed than after the thwacking, he felt as if he were walking on air.
"Ah Q, may you die sonless!" wailed the little nun already some distance away.
Ah Q roared with delighted laugher.
The men in the tavern joined in, with only a shade less gusto in their laughter.