In the Tiansheng reign period (1023-32) of Emperor Song Renzong 宋仁宗 a banquet was held at which poems were to be presented, the rhyming scheme to follow the word paihuai, or ‘dithering’. Jesters put on a skit using the various meanings of the word. A group of them wandered about aimlessly and said they were ‘loitering’ (paihuai).
They then started looking behind them and when asked what they were doing, they all said ‘hesitating’ (paihuai). Another one laughed and said, `That’s all very well, but there’s too much ‘dithering’ going on around here!’, perhaps mocking the stilted versifying.
See another jester skit, also in Song Renzong’s court, in response to a different royal command for poetry compositions.
Source: Su Wei Gong wenji 蘇魏公文 集, by Su Xiangxian 蘇象先 (Song), quoted in Ren Erbei 任二北 (comp. and ed.), Youyu ji 優語集 (Shanghai: Wenyi Chubanshe, 1981; repr. 1982), p. 93, though it doesn’t appear in the China Text Project version of Su Xiangxian’s work.
Image credit: needless to say I was ecstatic to find this little animation online, but couldn’t see any way to cite a source. I will gladly give credit if the creator comes forward.