Once three scholars on the way to the civil service examination stopped to buy refreshments from a woman who sold pastries by the wayside. One man was calm and quiet, while the other two argued over literature.
asked where they were going. The latter two told her they were going to
take the civil service examination. She said, “You two scholars won’t
pass the exam; that other man will.” The two men swore at her and
When the results of the examination turned out as the woman had predicted, the two scholars who had failed went back to find out how she had known they would not pass, while the third man would. They asked her if she knew physiognomy (face reading).
“No,” she said, “all I know is that when a pastry is thoroughly cooked, it sits there quietly, but before it’s finished it keeps on making noise.”