(A Chinese Mermaid Tale)
Written and illustrated by Linda Yi | Chinese Translations by 竻竻
Last time, Mei had just revealed her identity to Hai –
— that she was the rose-carp he had once saved, and the youngest daughter of the dragon king. Hai must believe her, of his own accord… in order for Mei to become human and stay on land. What did Hai do? Did he believe?
We continue our story today, in Part 9 of Pearl – A Chinese Mermaid Story！
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Chapter 25– Disbelief
CHAPTER 25 生词 | Vocabulary (251 - 260)
251. 深信不疑(Shēnxìn bù yí) IDIOM believe completely; without any. doubt
252. 编(Biān) v.to compose; make up | vs 骗(piàn). v. to deceive
253. 强忍(Qiáng rěn)v. resist with great difficulty
254. 打发(Dǎfā) v.dismiss; send away
255. 忽略(Hūlüè) v.overlook; neglect
256. 孤零零(Gūlínglíng)adj. solitary; lone; all alone
257. 不消(Bùxiāo) adv.Needless; to not need
258. 彻底(Chèdǐ) adj.thouroughly, completely
259. 缓过劲儿(Huǎnguòjìn er) expression.To regain one’s strength/spirit
260. 拖(Tuō) v. pull; drag; carry
Hai did not believe.
The days when he had believed in Yeye’s stories – tales of gods of the skies and dragons of the sea – those days were long gone. Stories of dragon kings were the stuff of fantasy meant only to entertain children before sleep.
Hai shook his head. His throat had tightened and he gritted his teeth against the tears that had gathered behind his eyes. Then, Hai spoke:
“If you are to refuse me, then refuse me – but why peddle me these lies? I am not a child to be coddled. Did you imagine these fairytales would comfort me? If you won’t leave – “ here Hai drew in a sharp breath and ignored the painful tightening in his chest, “If you won’t leave…then I will.”
Hai rose from the table, his bowl of half eaten rice cooling before him. Without looking at Mei, he turned towards the door, blinking away the wetness in his eyes. In four long strides, Hai was gone… leaving a stricken Mei still seated at the table.
It was many minutes before she too rose to her feet and hurried towards the sea. Her hairand tears streamed behind her as the wind carried the scent of drying tears for miles.
Chapter 26– A Glimmer of Light
CHAPTER 26 生词 | Vocabulary (261 - 270)
261. 纹理(Wénlǐ) n.veins
262. 依稀可见(Yīxī kějiàn) expression faintly or dimly visible
263. 茧子(Jiǎnzi) n.callus
264. 饱经风霜(Bǎojīngfēngshuāng)IDIOMweather beaten; had one’s fill of hardships
265. 脚踝(Jiǎohuái) n.ankle
266. 不知不觉(Bùzhī bù jué) IDIOM unconsciously; unwittingly
267. 梭巡(Suōxún) v.move around as if guarding; patroling
268. 迷迷糊糊(Mí mí húhú)adv. in a daze; bewildered
269. 突兀(Túwù). Adj.towering; sudden, abrupt
270. 无影无踪(Wúyǐng wúzōng) IDIOMdisappear into thin air; without a trace
Hai walked, barefooted, along the sea shore – feeling grains of sand shift between his toes. He looked up at the moon. It gazed down at him, her silver white face implacable. Hai looked down at his hands, their roughness visible even under the pale moonlight – calloused, darkened, and weather beaten by long days at sea.
That same sea water lapped softly at his ankles. Without knowing it, Hai’s feet had carried him to the sea. He looked down to see the water, expecting to see only the inky blue of a nighttime ocean. Instead, he saw something else:
By moonlight, the rose carp appeared a pale violet. The rainbow scales that ran from its forehead and along its back shimmered like jewels as water and moonlight slid across its supple body. The rose carp swam around Hai’s ankles, winding close before drawing back, and then coming forward once more… it was as if it wanted Hai to follow.
And Hai did follow – as if in a dream. The rose carp swam ahead in the shallows, and Hai trailed behind it under the moonlight.
They came to a bend in the shore. A cluster of rock jutted out into the sea - cutting off Hai’s path. The rose carp paused, then darted around the bend, disappearing from sight. Hai tried to follow. He walked until he was almost chest deep in the water, searching for a glimpse of the rose carp.
Hai ran a hand along the stones. Some were smooth from the constant ebb and flow of waves - others rough and broken by those same waters. he shook his head, not for the first time, at the strange behavior of the carp. Returning to shore, Hai wrung the sea water from his shirt and prepared to head back … though to where, he was at a loss to say. Silent clouds had shaded the moon from sight. Hai blinked into the shadowy gray that blanketed his surroundings.
Then, a breeze.
The clouds above parted, and a faint wisp of moonlight drifted from the night sky. It settled gently upon a sweep of dark ivy, which covered the cluster of rocks Hai had just left. A second gust of wind ruffled the ivy, and for the briefest of moments, Hai thought he saw a glimmer of light.
He moved closer.
Another glimmer. More light.
He was right by the cliff wall now....
Hai pulled back the hanging ivy to find a narrow entrance. Something shimmered on the other side: a soft and beckoning light. Hai entered. The something seemed to call to him, pulling at his heart and plucking at its strings. Whatwas it?
... and he was through to the other side.
This is what he saw:
Chapter 27– One Last Time
CHAPTER 27 生词 | Vocabulary (271 - 280)
271. 堆叠(Duīdié) v.pile up
272. 屏(Bǐng, Píng) v. (Bǐng) hold (one’s breath); n. (Píng) Screen
273. 一言不发(Yī yán bù fā) IDIOM not say a word; keep. One’s mouth shut
274. 眼熟(Yǎnshú) adj. look familiar
275. 掠过(Lüèguò) v.to flit across; sweep past
276. 银铃(Yín líng) n.silver bells
277. 触感(Chùgǎn) n.tactile impression; touch
278. 一语不发(Yīyǔbùfā) IDIOMsame as一言不发
279. 大理石(Dàlǐshí) n.marble
280. 脉络(Màiluò) n.veins; arteries
He was in a cave.
There must have been an opening, somewhere up above, for silver moonlight streamed down in slender rays from the sky. At the center of the cave was large crystalline pool. At the center of that pool stood a maiden.
She stood with her back to him, shoulders bare, raven hair loose and flowing. It streamed down her back, shining in the moonlight and pooling into the midnight blue water at her feet.
It streamed down her back, shining in the moonlight and pooling into the midnight blue water at her feet. Hai realized that he was holding his breath. He exhaled, slowly, and silently turned to leave. He felt like an intruder. This was not a place for someone like him...
Yet something stopped him. Hai turned again to look at the maiden. There was something familiar about her.
And then Hai saw – had they been there before?– a row of stepping stones which led to the center of the pool. His feet carried him forward before he realized he was even walking.
One, two, three, four...
Hai reached the maiden on his forty-ninth step. As he took his final step, the maiden turned…Hai found himself gazing into a pair of sea-storm eyes. Hai’s heart jumped in his chest. Wonder, bewilderment, joy, and shock danced in quick succession across his mind. Before Hai could think to ask Mei how she came to be here, he felt her press something into his palm. He heard the familiar musical clink of jangling bracelets.
Lowering his gaze, Hai saw that he now held a single bangle upon which hung a rose-colored pearl. The pearl felt odd to the touch – alternately hot and cool against his palm. He shot a quizzical look at Mei and nearly dropped the bracelet.
Mei’s eyes were closed. Her skin glowed, pearl like, under pale moonlight, smooth as fine marble. Skin as hard as marble too – with delicate veins of gray spidering across its surface. One hand rested, butterfly like, on her chest. The other, from which herseven otherbracelets still hung, was extended, as if to touch Hai.
As if to touch him one last time.
Story Video (with bonus drawing process! )