S1E8 | Pearl (2 of 12)

珍珠(二) 

(A Chinese Mermaid Tale)

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Secrets Revealed?

To “blend in” with the human villagers, Mei does a bit of secret magic…

But alas, not secret enough… for a shadowing figure had been watching her the entire time! Who was it? Today, we find out, as we continue with Part 2 of “Pearl” – a Chinese mermaid story.




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Chapter 3– A Taste of Sun 

第三章:太阳的味道

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CHAPTER 3 生词 | Vocabulary (31 - 40)

31. 穿梭(Chuānsuō) V. shuttle back and forth

32. 目不暇接(Mùbùxiájiē) IDIOM The eye cannot take it all in

33. 目不转睛(Mùbùzhuǎnjīng) IDIOM Look/regard with rapt attention or fixed gaze

34. 尽收眼底(Jìn shōu yǎndǐ) IDIOM

35. 热切(Rèqiè) adj. fervent; earnest; ardent

36. 情侣(Qínglǚ) n.sweethearts; lovers

37. 挥霍(Huīhuò) v. spend freely; squander

38. 探索(Tànsuǒ) v.explore; probe; exploration

39. 玲琅满目(Líng láng mǎnmù) IDIOM superb collection of beautiful things; feast for the eyes

40. 清澈(Qīngchè)adj.limpid; clear


Mei walked along the street, following the pace of the villagers who milled in front and behind her.  Her eyes fell everywhere, drawn to and fro by sights, colors... smells.  She didn’t notice the figure following behind her, taking care to stay just out of sight. 

小妹跟随着村民们轻快的脚步,在大街小巷之间穿梭。她一会儿看看这,一会儿瞧瞧那,整个人都被令人目不暇接的色彩和气味紧紧包围。所以,她根本没注意到身后有人在悄悄地跟踪自己。 

A woman behind a cart to her left waved in Mei's direction. "A pretty kerchief for a pretty girl?" The woman pointed at the squares of fabric dyed indigo, green, yellow and red. "For yoursweetheart!" She called again. Mei watched as a pair stopped by the kerchief stand. The girl, hair tied in two braids, gazed intently at a red kerchief. The boy standing beside her gazed, just as intently, at the girl.  Mei smiled to herself.

这时,一个推着车的女人突然从小妹的左后方冒了出来。她朝着小妹的方向挥挥手,吆喝道:“好样妹妹,买个手绢啩?”这女人边说边指着手上那些被染成靛蓝色、绿色、黄色和红色的鲜艳的布料,又加了一句:“买个送给阿哥啩!” 她又吆喝了几遍,不一会儿,就有一对年轻男女在她的摊前驻足。女孩扎着两条麻花辫儿,低着头目不转睛地望着一条红色的手绢。一旁的男子则目不转睛地盯着身旁心爱的女孩。小妹把这一幕尽收眼底,转而会心一笑。

As Mei watched the young lovers, the man dogging Mei’s footsteps watched her through narrowed eyes. He watched as the bare footed girl walked past the ribbon vendor and stopped before a fresh fruit stand.

这边小妹正热切地望着那对年轻的情侣,而在她身后,一路尾随她的男人也在密切地观察着小妹。他看着她光脚踩过泥泞的小路,路过一家丝带铺,在一个水果摊前停了下来。

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 The man following Mei was named Sha.

跟踪小妹的这名男子名叫沙。



And Sha had a taste – and an eye – for expensive things. His parents had left him a small fortune when they died, but years of gambling and drinking – coupled with a distaste for honest work – meant that Sha’s fortune was much depleted. Sha attributed his plight to bad luck. 

他是个很有眼光的人,但凡有好的东西、贵的东西,他一眼就看得出来。沙的父母死得早,留给他不少家产。可是多年来、他成日饮酒无度,嗜赌成性,又不愿意老老实实打工挣钱,所以父母留下来的家产很快就被他挥霍光了。但是沙则认为这一切都不是自己的错,而是运气不好造成的。

 

But perhaps his luck was about to change… Sha squinted his eyes at the barefooted girl. What a strange wench, he thought to himself, wasn’t she dressed in fine rich silks just a moment ago?Sha rubbed his eyes, still bleary from sleep and drink. Last night, Sha had stumbled into an abandoned shack to sleep off a drunken stupor. When he’d awoken, he had noticed that strange girl standing just feet from his hut. Sha didn’t know how she managed to change her dress from light silk to dark linen… but he meant to find out. At the very least, a wench with silks was a wench with silver. Sha licked his lips and moved closer… 

但是也许他马上就要转运了!他站在暗处眯着眼注视光着脚丫的小妹,心里开始盘算起来: “这小妮子有点奇怪啊,”他想道,”她前一分钟不还穿着绫罗绸缎吗?” 沙揉了揉眼睛,怀疑自己是不是看错了。昨天晚上他喝多了,于是就跌跌撞撞地走进了一个废弃的茅草屋,在里面睡了一觉。而他第二天清晨一醒来就发现这个奇怪的姑娘站在离自己不远的地方。沙不明白她是怎么把自己的衣服从高级的丝绸变成常见的麻布的,但他准备把真相探索个究竟。不管怎么说,这小妮子既然穿得起丝绸,就一定有不少银子。沙一边这么想着,一边舔舔自己的嘴唇,一步步向前逼近。

***

As Sha plotted, Mei looked at the fruit laid out before her, marveling over the riot of colors before her. Her gaze slid over orange mangos which smelled of sun before coming to rest on some lychee fruit. The bumpy skin of the small orbs was the color of dusky rose. Some of the fruit still clung shyly to branches and leaves.  

而另一边,刚在水果摊前停下的小妹面对着眼前琳琅满目的商品,惊叹极了。她的目光停留在黄澄澄的芒果上,她低头闻了闻,闻到了太阳的味道。然后还有那一颗颗小巧的荔枝,它们那坑坑洼洼的果皮表面让人联想到暗粉的玫瑰花瓣儿。有一些果子刚刚被采摘下来,还娇滴滴地挂在枝干和枝叶间。

 

The old fruit vendor squinted at Mei, his eyes half hidden under folds of crinkled skin. With a sun browned hand, he plucked a lychee from its bushel. He placed it into Mei's palm, indicating that she should give it a try.

卖水果的伯伯看了看小妹。他的眼睛藏在脸庞的皱纹间,有些暗淡,有些温暖。他伸出一双被太阳晒过的粗糙的双手,摘下一颗荔枝,然后把它放在小妹的手心里,示意她尝尝。

 

Mei held the rose dusted fruit and sniffed.  A light scent – fragrant like spring. She broke open the lychee's shell like skin to reveal fruit flesh of translucent white. "Almost like jellyfish" she murmured to herself with a small smile of surprise.  

小妹端着暗粉的水果,轻轻凑上去闻了闻。她闻到一股清冽的香气—那是春天的味道。她掰开荔枝,看到了果皮包裹下晶莹剔透的果肉。‘真像海里的水母呀’,小妹开心地小声说道。

 

She popped the fruit into her mouth.  

她把水果放进嘴里品尝。

 

Liquid tasting of honey and jasmine, with just a splash of lilacs filled her mouth. It was like tasting sunshine threaded through a clear mountain stream. Mei closed her eyes, savoring the taste ... Opening them only when naught but a dark smooth pit remained.  She carefully removed the seed, tucking it into the folds of her sea-foam gown. 

饱满的果肉一下融化在她的唇齿间,那汁水有着蜂蜜和茉莉的甜香味,还带有点丁香花的清润。那感觉,就像是尝到清澈的溪流间的一缕阳光。小妹陶醉地闭上双眼,回味着这令人忘不掉的味道。她一直含着荔枝,直到她把荔枝吃得只剩一枚黝黑的光滑的果核为止。她小心地把果核挑出来,认真地把它藏好放在身上。

  

Such magic in a thing so small!

这么小的东西,却蕴含着这么神奇的魔力!

  

From her pocket,she then retrieved a cream white pearl, perfectly round and perfectly smooth. Pearls were common in the sea – Mei and her sisters would sometimes twine them into their hair. They were small trinkets, easily forgotten. 

小妹从她口袋里掏出一个奶白色的、圆润剔透的珍珠。在海底,珍珠随处可见。小妹和姐姐们时不时便会拾起一颗珍珠别在发间。对她们来说,珍珠只是小饰品,不算什么。

 

Mei handed the pearl to the fruit vendor, a small token of gratitude for his gift. She regretted that she had nothing more valuable to give him in exchange for this taste of sunshine. The old vendor reached for the pearl, eyes widened in surprise.

小妹把珍珠递给水果摊主,心中有点愧疚,觉得这份礼物太微薄,不足以表达她内心的感激之情,可是她身上没有更贵重的东西了。摊主伯伯伸手接过了珍珠,眼里满是掩饰不住的惊讶。

  

 

Chapter 4– “Spring Chicken”

第四章--花姑娘

 

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CHAPTER 4 生词 | Vocabulary (41 - 50)

41. 目睹(Mùdǔ) v.witness; see with one’s own eyes

42. 不怀好意(Bùhuái hǎoyì) IDIOM harbor evil designs; ill-intentioned; malicious

43. 突如其来(Tūrúqílái) IDIOM arise suddenly; appear out of nowhere

44. 趔趄(Liè qiè) v. stagger; reel

45. 眨眼(Zhǎyǎn) v.blink (eyes)

46. 映入眼帘(Yìng rùyǎnlián) IDIOM greet the eye; come into view (compare with #34 尽收眼底)

47. 步履蹒跚(Bùlǚpánshān) IDIOM walk haltingly; hobble along

48. 猝不及防(Cùbùjífáng) IDIOM be taken by surprise

49. 条件反射(Tiáojiàn fǎnshè) conditioned reflex; automatically

50. 狡黠(Jiǎoxiá)literary adj.sly; crafty; cunning


A short distance back, Sha’s eyes widened as well.  He had seen the pearl too.  

躲在不远处的沙目睹了这一切。当他看到这枚珍珠时,也吃惊地瞪大了双眼。

 

Sha bit into the fleshy ball of his thumb with yellowed teeth, and then bared those teeth in an oily smile. 

沙咬了咬指甲,随即露出了一个不怀好意的微笑。

 

He moved to follow Mei as she began to walk away. What a lucky day to have found a pretty girl with expensive baubles. Sha liked pretty and expensive things. Why he couldn’t wait to – 

小妹一离开,他便快速跟上了小妹。他觉得自己今天真是走运了,居然碰上了一个拥有珍贵珠宝的美丽女孩!沙喜欢所有美丽的、贵重的东西。他真的迫不及待地想要—

  

Thwack!  

哐当!

 

Sha walked straight into the gnarled end of a wooden walking cane, hard.  He stumbled, nose smarting from the impact.  He blinked angrily and saw, to his confusion, a small white-haired woman tottering about before him.  

沙美滋滋地坐着白日梦,没有注意看路,于是迎头撞上了一支凹凸不平的拐杖。突如其来的撞击使他趔趄了一下。他摸摸自己被撞肿的鼻尖,气愤地眨眼望着前方,映入眼帘的是一位白发苍苍、步履蹒跚的老奶奶。

 

“Oh dear fellow”, she croaked cheerily, “I do beg your pardon!” She swung her cane as she gestured, the end catching him squarely in the jaw. For such an old woman, her blow packed quite a punch. 

“真是不好意思啊小伙子”,奶奶和蔼地说道。她一边说着一边伸手挥了挥拐杖,不巧却又撞到了沙的下巴。别看奶奶年老,手劲却还是挺大的。

  

Ai-yah!” yelped Sha in surprise, as much as pain.  

“啊呀!”沙猝不及防地大呼起来。

  

The old crone squinted up at him, one eye milky with cataracts. “Did you say something, young man?”She leaned forward on her cane. Sha leaned back by instinct. 

老奶奶眯起眼睛把沙上下打量了一番,她的瞳孔因为白内障的缘故显得有些浑浊。“你刚说什么啊,小伙子?”老奶奶问道。她说着说着便倚在了拐杖上,沙一见,条件反射地往回缩了缩身子。

 

“My old eyes are not what they used to be. Not a spring chicken anymore, as they say!” The crone cackled loudly. Sha stared at her, incredulous. And then he remembered: the girl!Sha whirled around, but she was gone.  He swore loudly and turned on his heel to leave.   

“我年纪大了,眼睛也花了。。。哎,再不是人家口中的花姑娘啦!”沙怔怔地望着絮絮叨叨的老奶奶,突然想起一件事:那个女孩上哪儿去了?他飞快地转头,急切地左右张望着,但女孩已经消失了。沙生气得不得了,只得骂骂咧咧地转身离开。

 

He needed a blasted drink!

他真的需要喝点酒消消火!

  

Behind him, the old woman leaned on her cane and watched him leave, a small smile playing at her wrinkled lips.

而站在他身后的老奶奶只是悠闲地靠在拐杖上目送着沙离开。她望着沙离去的背影,嘴角浮现出一抹狡黠的微笑。  

 

 

Chapter 5– A Gift in Return

第五章--还礼

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CHAPTER 5 生词 | Vocabulary (51 - 60)

51. 端详(Duānxiang) v. look something or somebody up and down

52. 唤(Huàn) v. call out

53. 制成(Zhì chéng) v. to manufacture; to produce adj. made of..

54. 活灵活现(Huólínghuóxiàn) IDIOM vivid; lifelike

55. 摇曳(Yáoyè) literary v. flicker; sway

56. 不禁(Bùjīn) adv can’t help (doing sth.); involuntarily

57. 慷慨(Kāngkǎi) n.generosity adj. fervent; impassioned; vehement

58. 馈赠(Kuìzèng) v. present a gift; make a present of sth.

59. 恰到好处(Qiàdàohǎochù) IDIOM just right (for the purpose or occasion)

60. 情真意切(Qíng zhēnyì qiè) IDIOM genuine; full of affection and genuine concern


Mei had found a quiet spot and was examining her lychee seed. She wondered if she could bring it back to her sisters, after her 12 moons on land were done.  Perhaps she would plant it in her gardens under the sea. She wondered if it would grow…

小妹找到了一个安静的地方,便停下脚步开始仔细端详那颗神奇的荔枝核。她想,十二个月圆之夜过后,或许她可以把荔枝核带回家送给自己的姐姐们。或许她可以把荔枝核种在自己的海底花园里。她很想知道,种下去之后的荔枝核会开花结果吗?

 

"Maiden" came a voice from behind her, soft and rasped with age. 

 突然,小妹感觉到身后有一人轻轻地唤了一声‘小姑娘’。那声音沙哑柔和,充满了岁月沧桑的味道。

 

Mei turned to look behind her, and saw an old woman with snow colored hair.  In her wizened hands, she held a pair of modest cloth slippers.  They were small and made of sturdy black linen. On their sides, someone had embroidered a pair of small white fish. Delicate white thread made the fish come alive, their bodies slender and supple. The fish tails flowed behind them, reminding Mei of the water gowns she and her sisters wore.

她转过身,只见面前站着一位满头银发的老奶奶。她爬满皱纹的双手上还提着一双看似普通的布鞋。鞋很小,却是用坚固的黑亚麻制成的。鞋的边沿处还绣着一双小巧的白鱼。细细密密的针线把鱼儿们勾勒得活灵活现。它们的身体细长而柔软,鱼尾巴轻盈地在身后摇曳着,这不禁让小妹想起昔日自己和姐姐们常在水中穿着的长袍。

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 "A gift for your generosity" the old woman smiled up at Mei, nodding to her bare feet.  

‘你的慷慨为你赢得了这份礼物’,老奶奶看着小妹的光脚丫点了点头,笑着说道。

 

“That fruit seller will not need to sell his wares for a year, after your gift”, she continued with a chuckle, as Mei looked at her in confusion. 

 她轻声笑了一下,接着说:“因为你的馈赠,那家水果摊的摊主一年都不用再卖东西了。”小妹越听越糊涂,只得疑惑地看着这位老奶奶。

 

"Mei", the old woman spoke again,  "you will eat with me tonight. Come, take my arm and walk with me.  You won’t mind terribly if I lean on you a bit? My old bones…” She smiled helplessly up at Mei. The series of commands were given so skillfully, so endearingly, that Mei found it impossible to refuse.

老奶奶又发话了:“小妹啊,你今晚就和我一起吃晚餐吧。来,挽着我的手。你不介意我靠着你吧?你看我这一把老骨头啊,不中用啦。”她看着小妹,慈祥的微笑中带着一点无奈。老奶奶的这一系列请求提的极有水平,不但恰到好处,还十分情真意切、惹人同情,叫小妹根本无法拒绝。

 

It was only much later, that Mei realized: she had never told the old woman her name.

直到很久以后小妹才意识到,她从未将自己的名字告诉过老奶奶。

*

To be continued in Pearl (Part 3)


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