S1E7 | Pearl (1 of 12)

珍珠(一) 

(A Chinese Mermaid Tale)


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Read Me First!

Pearl was originally inspired by the folktale of 珠海渔女. I’ve expanded and re-imagined the tale (drawing in elements of different Chinese Myths, and taking inspiration from classic western fairytales as well — notably Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, Disney’s adaptation of said story, and other fairy tale archetypes.

WHO (I think this is?) FOR:

Intermediate to advanced speakers of Mandarin who also happen to be fantasy/magical story lovers! My hope is that this story is enchanting and engaging, and also provides good reading/listening practice for students advancing their Chinese to the next level.

^YOU??!

IF (the ABOVE) sounds like it may be up your (or your kid’s) alley, give us a listen! Subscribe below and 欢迎 aboard!


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Prologue 

序章

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Prologue 生词

Vocabulary (1-10)

1. 珊瑚 (shānhú) | n.coral

2. 翡翠(fěicuì) | n.jadeite; jade

3. 砌 (qì) | v.build (ex: 珊瑚和翡翠成的宫殿)

4. 宫殿 (gōngdiàn) | n.palace

5. 过目不忘 (Guòmùbùwàng) | adj.striking; unforgettable

6. 容颜 (róngyán) | n.appearance; looks; complexion

7. 宛如 (wǎnrú) | v.be just like (ex:眼睛的颜色宛如被风暴席卷过的海面)

8. 如 [noun]般 [adj] 的 [noun]| SENTENCE PATTERN. Simile comparison.

9. 优雅 (yōuyǎ) | adj.refined; elegant

10. 寂静(Jìjìng) |adj.peacefuln.tranquility


They called her Mei.

大家都叫她小妹。

She lived in a palace of coral and jade, deep in the southern sea. She was the youngest daughter of the dragon king and had eyes the color of a storm swept sea. Her skin glowed soft and pearly under moonlight.  Long hair of silk - black as night - fanned and swirled in waves behind her, as she glided through the silent rooms of her palace of coral and jade. 

她生活在深深的南海海底中一个珊瑚和翡翠砌成的海底宫殿里。她是龙王的小女儿,有着令人过目不忘的美丽容颜。她眼睛的颜色宛如被风暴席卷过的海面,她的皮肤在月色中泛着珍珠般柔和的光芒。她有着一头如丝绸般顺滑、如黑夜般深邃的秀发。当她优雅地滑过宫殿中寂静的房间时,她的秀发则会像扇子般展开,并像流动的波浪一样在她的身后摇曳着。

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The autumn moon was but a pale shadow in the sky when she decided to go. She wished to leave this palace of rosy coral and cool green jade, and walk among the people of the nearby village. For years and years, she had heard their songs, drifting to her in salt breezes and swirling winds, clear voices that cried of love and loss and hope. 

当她决定要离开的时候,秋天的月亮刚刚泛起影子般的苍白。她想离开这个红色珊瑚和绿色翡翠堆成的宫殿,去体验海面上的生活。她特别想去海边的那个渔村看看。多年来,村民们悠扬的歌声,总能伴着咸咸的、打着转儿的海风,传到她的耳朵里。那些歌曲讲述着收获和失去的意义,歌颂着爱与希望,深深打动着她的心。

 


Chapter 1 - Sea Heart

第一章– 海之心

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Chapter 1| 生词

Vocabulary (11 - 20)

11. 收拾妥当(Shōushítuǒdang) | v. phrase. Tidy up neatly

12. 身姿婀娜(shēnzīēnuó) | adj. phrase. Gracefully postured

13. 摩擦 (mócā)v.rub n. friction

14. 凹凸不平(Āotúbùpíng) | IDIOM.Rugged; uneven

15. 扬起(Yángqǐ) | v.to rise up; to perk up

16. 试图(Shìtú) | v.attempt to (do sth.); try to (do sth.)

17. 敬畏(Jìngwèi) | v.hold in awe and veneration; revere

18. 犹疑(Yóuyí) | v.hesitate

19. 折射(Zhéshè) | v.refract v. reveal; reflect

20. 脉搏(Màibó) | n.pulse


 

The day she left, she combed her hair carefully. 

她走的那一天,特地为自己梳了一个漂亮的发型。

 

7 strokes from top to bottom,

7 times from root to end, 

自上到下先梳七次,

从发根到发尾,再梳七次,

一个来回结束,然后再继续,




Again and again, the fine green teeth of her fine jade comb disappeared and reappeared in the waves of her hair until - at the 49th stroke her black locks shimmered to her waist.

一下,一下,又一下 - 碧玉的梳齿在她的秀发之间跳跃着,直到梳满七七四十九下时她才停下来,把闪闪发光的秀发收拾妥当,任其停留在腰际。




A soft rustle made her turn her gaze to her chamber doors.

 这时,门外传来一阵轻柔的簌簌声。她把视线移到房间的门口。

 

Her sisters entered, one by one, graceful and silent. They gathered around their youngest, their gowns whispering against the seabed current. 

大门打开,几位身姿婀娜的美人鱼一个接一个地游了进来,围在了她身边,她们长长的纱裙摩擦着凹凸不平的海底。原来是她的姐姐们来看望她了呀!

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 “Mei”, they said to her, voices soft with sadness.  “Mei, are you certain?”

‘小妹’她们对她说,‘你确定要这么做吗?’

 

 

Mei nodded, eyes clear and mouth set into a determined line 

虽然姐姐们柔和的声音里分明藏着悲伤,但是她依旧不会轻易改变自己的决定。于是小妹点点头,眼中一片清澈笃定,嘴角也扬起一个坚定的弧度。

 

“Mei”, ventured her second sister. “You know nothing about the world of men.” 

‘小妹,’二姐试图劝说,‘你不知道外面的世界是什么样的,你更不了解人类的世界。’

 

“They are selfish, thoughtless and cruel”, continued sister four and five.   

‘人类自私、薄情、残忍,’四公主和五公主继续劝道。

 

“They've forgotten the dragons, they no longer see their gods”, said sisters six and seven - seven finishing the sentence that six had begun. 

六公主和七公主也发话了:‘他们忘记了龙王是谁,对我们根本没有敬畏之心。’

 

“Mei” said sister three, and then nothing more. She simply gazed at her youngest sister.

三公主沉默到现在,开口时也只唤了一声,‘小妹。’她只是用自己褐色的双眼看着自己最小的妹妹。

 

Mei.

小妹

 

Youngest sister.

亲爱的妹妹

 

They'd never called Mei by her real name, but always the endearment "Mei". Soft, sweet and quiet - always "Mei", always the youngest. 

 姐姐们很少叫小妹的真名,偏偏爱用这亲切的小名。小妹永远是最小的那个,永远柔软、甜美、安静。


Yet Mei had forgotten how many moon tides had come and gone, with her spending her days quietly in this palace of coral and jade. 

然而一天天过去了,久到小妹已经忘记了自己在这珠玉龙宫里看过几次月盈月亏、潮起潮落,忘记了她曾在海底度过了多少岁月静好的时光。

 

Yes, it was time to go – to see

也该出去看看了。

 

“Yes sisters”, said Mei, her quiet voice steady. “I will see this world of man. I think there is beauty there too - not just the ugliness you describe. Yes, I will go.”

于是小妹毫不犹疑地答:‘是的,姐姐们,我要去人类的世界看一看,因为我相信那里不止有你们说的丑恶,也有善良和美好,所以我还是要去。’ 


She looked at her sisters with her sea-storm eyes, and they saw that her mind was made. 

她用她那双海洋风暴般的眼睛盯着姐姐们,而那一刻姐姐们明白,自己的妹妹已经下定了决心。

 

“Very well”, came the voice of the last sister to speak. Mei’s eldest sister strode forth, reaching into the folds of her deep blue gown. From her dress she drew out a single bangle, upon which hung a beautiful blue stone. She slid the bangle onto Mei’s wrist, and gave her hand a light squeeze. The blue stone lay against Mei’s skin, glowing as if lit from within.  

 ‘那就这样决定了,’小妹的大姐说道。她大步向前,从她湛蓝色长袍的皱褶深处抽出了一只美丽的手镯,手镯上挂着一块蓝色宝石。她把手镯戴在小妹的手腕上,然后轻轻捏了一下她的手心。蓝色宝石紧紧挨着小妹的皮肤,兀自闪着光芒,仿佛有人从里面把它点亮了似的。

 

Sister two glided forth and, just as the eldest had done, took out from the folds of her redgown, a golden circlet upon which was a stone of ruby red. She clasped this to Mei’s wrist and it fell against its sapphire sister with a soft musical click.

紧接着,二姐也上前来,从自己红色的长袍里拿出另一只手镯,上面还镶着一颗红宝石。她为妹妹戴上了手镯,只见它滑向第一个手镯,两者相碰时,发出了清脆的‘咔哒’声。

 

One by one, Mei’s seven sisters glided forth, adding to Mei’s left wrist bracelets of jewels alight. When they were done, elder sister took Mei’s hands in her own. 

就这样,小妹的姐姐们一个又一个上前来,为她戴上手镯。最后,大姐牵起了小妹的手,说道:

 

“Now Mei, it is your turn.”

小妹,现在轮到你了。

 

Mei looked at her, unsure of what she meant.

小妹疑惑地看着姐姐,不太确定她是什么意思。

 

“Close your eyes”, whispered sister two.

‘把眼睛闭上,’二姐悄悄说道。

 

Mei shut her eyes. The pale sea light which filtered in from her chamber windows made patterns of red, gold and green dance behind her eyelids. 

小妹听话地闭上了眼睛。她感觉到海底的光芒透过她房间的窗户,折射出五彩斑斓的颜色,模糊地在她眼前跳跃。

 

Her sisters were singing, voices ebbing and flowing.  

她的姐姐们唱起了歌,那优美动人的歌声在水中起伏着。

 

Their voices blended, melodious, low, high, sweet, rich. And suddenly, Mei no longer heard – needed no longer to hear – what it was they sang. She heard only the sound of her own heart, beating in tune with the sea.  She felt a swelling in her chest, a warm tickling heat spreading to fill her ribcage, speeding down her arms and legs, rushing to warm her face… She opened her mouth wide, as if to join her sisters in their singing, opened her eyes and – 

 她们的声音时而悠扬、时而低沉、时而高亢、时而甜美、时而醇厚。突然间,她们的声音消失了,在一片混沌的寂静中,小妹只听到自己的心随着大海跳动的声音。她感觉胸中涌起一股温暖的力量。那力量瞬间传遍了小妹的全身。她张开了嘴,仿佛在和姐姐们唱和,然后她渐渐地又睁开了眼睛。。。。

 

Her jaw would have dropped if her mouth wasn’t already open.

当她看清眼前的一切时,她意外极了,如果她不是已经张着嘴,恐怕要惊掉下巴呢!

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There, floating before her, was a large rose-colored pearl.

在她面前的,是一个巨大的,玫瑰色的珍珠。

  

***

 

Mei reached out and plucked the pearl. It was smooth in her palm, and somehow warm and cool at the same time.  

小妹上前摘下这枚珍珠。它静静躺在小妹的掌心,莹润光滑,有一种又温热又冰凉的触感。

 

This is your sea heart – 海之心–  elder sister said.

‘这是海之心,也是你的心’大姐说。



She motioned for Mei to give her the pearl. Elder sister then took, from the folds of her gown, a long thin needle of bleached fish bone.  She touched its tip and it blazed a blinding white. For a moment,elder sister’s eyes too seemed to glow. In one swift move, she pierced the needle through the rose colored pearl.  

大姐招手示意小妹把珍珠递给她。小妹照做了。大姐一手端着珍珠,另一手伸进衣裙里抽出一根细长的鱼骨头针。她用指尖轻轻点了点针头,它便迸出了一股耀眼的白色火光。在那一个瞬间,小妹觉得姐姐的眼睛仿佛也在闪着光。下一秒,没等小妹反应过来,姐姐就将针刺进了玫红色的珍珠。



A sharp ache nearly brought Mei to her knees. Gasping, she pressed the heel of one palm to her chest, feeling the spot pulse hot and cold. The pain quickly passed,yet the slight pulsing lingered, its presence oddly comforting. 

 霎那间,小妹感觉到一股针扎般尖锐的疼痛在心口炸开,疼痛让小妹几乎站不稳。她用手捂住了心口,感受着血液撞击着脉搏的火热。可令她没想到的是,疼痛很快消散了,只有心脏的脉搏还在隐隐跳动着,让她莫名感到心安。 



Elder sister threaded the rose pearl onto a fine silver bracelet. She put the last of the bracelets onto Mei’s wrist, speaking as she did so. 

 大姐把玫瑰珍珠挂在一只银色的bracelet上。她一边为小妹戴上手镯,一边说道:“

 

“ 亲爱的妹妹,our precious Mei. Your heart lies with ours and ours with yours. Take our hearts with you when you leave this sea – with them you may travel freely to the world of men and with them you may stay for the passing of 12 full moons.  On the last day of the 12th moon, however, you must return to us.  You must not ever remove these sea-hearts Mei, not even once. For if you do - you break from your birth right, your connection to us. And when that connection breaks, so will you. Broken like waves that call upon the shore, gone like the foam that gilds their crests.”

‘ Sister of mine我们最珍爱的小妹,你的心与我们同在,我们的心也与你同在。带着我们的心,离开这海底,拥有了他们以后,你就可以在人间自由地生活,并度过十二次月圆之夜。在第十二次月圆之夜到来的时候,你就必须回来。记住,你千万不能把这些海之心从手上拿下来,一次也不行。如果你这么做了,你就不再是海的女儿了,你与我们之间再无联系,而你也会失去你的生命,就像涨潮时奔向岸边的海浪一样,就像海浪顶端堆起的泡沫一样,断裂、破碎、然后消失不见。’

 

“Remember – not even once.” 

‘所以一定要记住,千万不要把它们拿下来!’

 

“For if you do, you can never come home.”  

“否则,你就再也回不来了。”

 

 Words said and warning given, the eldest daughter of the Southern Seas placed a gentle kiss upon Mei's forehead. One by one, Mei's seven sisters kissed their youngest, and one by one they turned to go.  

大姐说完后,俯下身亲吻了小妹的额头。其他的姐姐们也一个个上前与小妹道别,然后转身离开。

 

Mei watched as their colorful gowns whispered out of sight.

小妹注视着姐姐们离去的背影,看着她们彩色缤纷的长袍消失在荡漾的海水中。

 

 


Chapter 2 - Coming Ashore

第二章 - 上岸 

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Chapter 2 | 生词

Vocabulary (21 - 30)

21. 羞涩(Xiūsè)adj.shy; bashful; embarrassed

22. 鲜艳(Xiānyàn)adj.bright-colored; gaily-colored

23. 晶莹(Jīngyíng)adj.sparkling and crystal-clear; glittering

24. 脸颊(Liǎnjiá)n.cheeks; face

25. 渐渐(Jiànjiàn)adv.Gradually; by degrees; little by little

26. 迈(Mài)v.step; stride

27. 步伐(Bùfá)n. step; pace

28. 轻快(Qīngkuài)adj. brisk; spry adj.light-hearted; lively

29. 此起彼伏(Cǐqǐbǐfú)IDIOM. One after another; As on falls, another rises

30. 熙熙攘攘(Xīxīrǎngrǎng)IDIOM. Bustlingwith activity; people bustling about


 Mei set off at dawn. The eastern sun kissed the sky awake in a wild blush of rose and peach. 

天还没亮,小妹就出发了。东方的太阳羞涩地冒出了个头,把天空染成了鲜艳的玫红和桃色。

 

She stepped from the 海水, beads of sea water still clinging to her skin. 

她离开海水的庇护,从水中站起身。她的身上还挂着晶莹的一滴滴水珠。

 

Mei turned to smile into the sun. It rested warm rays atop her head and kissed the tip of her nose, her cheeks.  The land was waking and she was finally here.  She began walking, long hair blowing in the sea breeze. 

小妹转头朝太阳笑了。太阳把温暖的光芒投射在她的脸上。阳光亲吻着她的鼻尖、脸颊。她面前的陆地正在渐渐苏醒,而她,终于来到了人间。她迈开步子往前走,任由她的长发随风肆意地飘扬着。

  

The 8 bracelets on her wrist jostled with tinkling music.

八只手镯随着她的步伐发出轻快的碰撞声音。

 

***

 

She walked towards the sound of children laughing, of people clamoring. Her bare feet appeared and disappeared beneath the sweeping folds of her gown. Soft and light, it flowed from her body like water. Before long, she had reached the market. 

她听到孩子们嬉闹的笑声,便朝着声音传来的方向走去,钻进了喧嚣的人群。她光着脚踏在地面上,步伐轻盈矫健,宛如潺潺的流水。不久,她就到达了菜市场 。

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***

 

There were vendors, young and old. Skin browned by the sun, they lined the street. 

菜市场热闹极了,街边随处可见摆摊买菜的小贩们。他们或年老,或年轻,个个都身强体壮、皮肤黝黑。

 

They shouted, to each other and over each other, in loud throaty voices of the quality of their goods. Their voices overlapped and folded, and then folded around Mei - drawing her into the crowded street.

他们大声吆喝着,有时是互相你一句我一句,有时候又像是在比赛谁的声音更大。他们沙哑的声音此起彼伏,环绕着小妹,吸引着她走向熙熙攘攘的街道深处。

 

 A few people looked at Mei, and then looked again. Their curious gazes lingered on her oddly colored gown, her bare feet. Mei felt a blush creep up her cheeks. She saw a nearby wall, and ducked behind it. She leaned against the rough stones, suddenly unsure of herself, 不知所措. 

很快,小妹便发现周围的人都好奇地打量着她。他们的目光停留在她的光脚,还有她那奇怪的长袍上。小妹一下子脸红了。她瞥见近处有一面墙,于是慌忙躲到了墙的后面。她靠着粗糙的石墙,suddenly unsure of herself,有些不知所措了起来。

 

Mei cast a furtive look about her. There was no one about, only a ramshackle abandoned hut.  

小妹偷偷地四下打量,才发现周围除了一个破烂不堪的房子以外,再没有别人了。

 

 

She closed her eyes and pictured one of the village girls from the market. Holding the image of the village girl’s dress in her mind, Mei ran her fingers down the side of her sea foam gown. 

小妹的脑海中浮现了一个普通农村少女的画面,于是她开始用手指抚摸自己的衣袍,

 

As she did so, her dress began to change.  The light color darkened and the fabric became heavier.  When it rubbed rough against her skin, Mei open her eyes and looked down.  She gave a satisfied nod. She looked now as she meant to, except… 

与此同时,她的衣着也开始发生变化。原来淡色的衣袍渐渐变成了深色,轻薄的料子也变粗糙了。直到她感觉到厚厚的麻布开始摩擦自己身体时,才停了一下来。小妹睁开双眼细细审视自己的着装,满意地点了点头。她的装扮终于没问题了,可是。。。

 

Her bare toes wiggled in the dirt. 

她的脚趾头还在泥土中不安地扭动着。

                                                               

Well.

这可怎么好呢。

 

 

She had only ever been able perform transformations, had never quite mastered creation. Mei crinkled her nose at her own bare feet.

虽然她知道怎么把自己的衣服变成想要的样子,可是要她凭空变出一双鞋来,确实有点难度。小妹低头望着自己无处安放的小脚丫,懊恼地皱了皱鼻子。

 

This would have to do…

也只能这样了…

 

 

And with that, she ducked back out from behind the wall and rejoined the market.  

就这样,她从墙背后钻了出来,重现走进了人群中。

 

 

A moment later, a figure emerged from the seemingly abandoned shack. It slunk off in the direction Mei had gone.

不一会儿,一个身影从那个破烂的小屋子里闪了出来,朝着小妹离开的方向走去。

 

He had seen, quite clearly, the entire thing.

显然,他看到了刚刚发生的一切。

 

To be continued in Pearl (Part 2)


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