The Chinese people call flattery to someone's face "presenting a tall hat" to someone.
In the past, an official in the imperial1 court in Beijing was appointed to an official post outside the capital. Before departure, he went to his teacher's home to bid farewell. His teacher warned him: "It is not easy to be an official outside the capital. You should be prudent2 and careful."
The official replied: "Please don't worry. I have prepared 100 'tall hats'，and will present one to each and every person I meet. I'm sure all the local people will be pleased."
The teacher said reproachingly3: "We are all honest gentlemen. How can you do that?"
The official pretended he had no way out and said: "Very few people under heaven are like you who dislike being flattered4 or presented with tall hats."
Hearing this, the teacher was very much pleased. He nodded and said: "What you said is true, too."
After the official said farewell to his teacher and went out, he said to his friend: "Of my 100 'tall hats', now only 99 are left."