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Bard Stiff

Temple staff in southern China are bard stiff after having to listen to the same ancient poem more than 6,000 times when a promotion stunt went wrong.

Officials at the Yueyang Tower in Hunan province had declared that anyone who could recite the lengthy 1,000-year-old ode about the site from memory could get in for free.

"We'd expected a few hundred people to try it, but we were overwhelmed," said one official.

"It is a lovely, inspiring poem but after hearing it a few thousand times it begins to lose a bit of its charm," they added.

Visitors - who would normally be charged 8 GBP to get into the pavilion - queued round the block to recite the poem, created by an 11th century writer as a tribute to the tower's beauty.

"We all learn this poem in school so it's just a question of stretching your memory to save quite a bit of money," said one.

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