S1E9 | Pearl (3 of 12)

珍珠(三) 

(A Chinese Mermaid Tale)

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FRIEND OR FOE?

In our last episode, a mysterious old woman had just invited Mei to dinner. Is this kindly seeming grandmother figure friend or foe? We find out today, with Part 3 of “Pearl” – a Chinese mermaid story.


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Chapter 6– Deciding to Stay 

第六章--决定留下

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CHAPTER 6 生词 | Vocabulary (61 - 70)

61. 掀(Xiān) v. lift; raise (a cover, etc.)

62. 率先(Shuàixiān) adv. Take the lead in doing sth

63. 随即(Suíjí) adv. Soon after; immediately; presently … (not to confuse with 随即[Suíjī]; according to the situation; pragmatic)

64. 入口即化(Rùkǒu jíhuà) v.to melt in the mouth

65. 咽下(Yàn xià) v. to swallow v. to suppress

66. 光景(Guāngjǐng) n.Scene n. situation; circumstances; conditions

67. 清脆(Qīngcuì) adj. clear and melodious adj. crisp (of carrot, cucumbers etc..)

68. 绘声绘色(Huìshēnghuìsè) IDIOM vivid; lively

69. 引人入胜(Yǐnrénrùshèng) IDIOM(of scenery, literary works, et.)fascinating; enchanting

70. 不假思索(Bùjiǎsīsuǒ)IDIOM(act, respond, etc.) without thinking; without hesitating


The old woman lived alone. Mei followed her to a small hut perched at the water's edge. It stood on strong bamboo legs, all but floating over the sea waves that lapped below. The roof was thatched, a mix of palm fronds and straw. A single blue curtain hung over the door. It flapped gently in the breeze. Lifting the curtain, the old woman entered the hut, cane first. 

小妹跟着老奶奶来到了一幢傍水而建的小茅屋前。茅屋是用竹子做的,竹制的四角深深插入水中,使整栋房子看上去像是漂浮在碧波荡漾的海面上。屋顶铺满了稻草和棕榈树叶。屋门上挂着蓝色的门帘,时不时随着清风摇曳着。老奶奶一手掀开帘子,一手拄着拐杖,率先进了屋。




“Mind your step,” she called over her shoulder, before easing herself inside.

看样子老人是一个人住。她往屋内挪了挪身子,回头叮嘱小妹:‘慢点,小心台阶。’

 

Mei followed, listening to sound of water below. 

小妹跟着进了屋,随即便坐下和老奶奶一起用餐。

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Dinner was a simple affair.

晚餐很简单,

 

Wooden chopsticks waited patiently beside two bowls of warm, fragrant rice. Lightly fried squares of turnip cakes (萝卜糕), savory and sweet, melted in the mouth. Leaves of green – lightly steamed and drizzled with soy sauce – burst upon Mei's tongue. 

两碗热腾腾、香喷喷的饭,配上炸得薄脆的萝卜糕,又香又甜,入口即化,最后是一盘绿叶青菜,用清泉蒸熟,再淋上浓郁的酱汁,美味极了。

 

“Oh, how wonderful!” she cried, after taking her first bite of 萝卜糕. “I’ve never tasted anything like it!” 

“哦,这味道简直太棒了!”小妹尝了一口萝卜糕,忍不住赞叹道。“我从没吃过这么好吃的东西!”

 

The old woman’s crinkled lips curved into a smile. For just a moment, her eyes seemed to change from milky white to a chestnut brown. “The good earth provides,” was her simple reply.

 老奶奶皱巴巴的嘴唇弯成一道弧度。有一瞬间,她的眼睛似乎从乳白色变成了栗棕色。“那是土地给我们的馈赠。”她简短地回答道。

 

 That night, the old woman with snow colored hair filled Mei's stomach with good, simple food. She fed Mei also with village tales, regaling her with stories of gods and goddesses of the sky and sea.

 那天晚上,白发苍苍的老奶奶不但为小妹准备了简单、健康而美味的家常菜,还跟她讲了许多村里的神话传说。那些上天入地的神仙故事,牢牢地吸引着小妹。

 

Therewas the beautiful Chang’e who lived on the moon – with only a white rabbit for company. Night after night she waited, in her quiet palace of woven moonbeams, longing for the day when she could return to earth.

 比如,老奶奶说起了一位名叫嫦娥的神仙。她美丽动人,却不得不离开自己的爱人,到月亮上居住,而一路跟随着、陪伴着她的,只有一只白色的玉兔。嫦娥在自己那用月光织成的宫殿里苦苦等待,她等呀等呀,等了无数个日日夜夜,只盼着有一天自己能够回到心爱的人身边。

 

How lonely Chang’e 姐姐must be up there, Mei thought to herself, before taking another mouthful of rice. The moon is even further from land than the sea… 

嫦娥姐姐一个人独自在月球上生活,该有多寂寞啊!小妹想道。她咽下一口饭,默默地思索着:“月亮和人间的距离,与海洋和大地间的距离相比,应该更远吧!’



“Aye, Chang’e’s life is a lonely one indeed,” sighed the old woman, as if she had read Mei’s mind. “But loneliness can happen when one seeks immortality… which reminds me of another story - ” 

 好像猜到了小妹在想什么似的,老奶奶叹了口气继续说道:“哎,嫦娥的确很孤单,但是为了追求永生,就得忍受这份孤独,这又让我想起了另一个故事-”

 

Here, the old woman paused. “Ah, listen to me prattle on” she said, eyes crinkling into a smile, “but I do love a good story!” she finished with a laugh. How queer, Mei silently mused, her laugh just then sounded… almost like a child’s!  

说到这,老奶奶突然停了下来,眯着眼睛笑道:“哎哟,这大好光景,净听我这个老太婆啰里吧嗦了,不过我是真喜欢这些故事啊!”小妹看着面前微笑的老奶奶,不由得暗暗想道:“刚才老奶奶的笑声真的好清脆呀,就。。像个孩子一样,真有意思啊!”

 

“Oh, so do I!” Mei replied, “I love stories too! Please, tell me another.”

她赶紧回答道:“我也喜欢!求您再给我讲几个吧!”

 

And so the old woman spoke on, telling Mei the story of Sun Wukong, a proud and mischievous monkey king who wreaked havoc in the heavens, before redeeming himself in a long and winding journey to the west…

于是,老奶奶乐呵呵地继续着她的故事。她的下一个故事的主人公,是一只神通广大的石猴,名叫做孙悟空。他不服管束,自由任性,还爱捣乱,曾经自封美猴王齐天大圣。练就了一身功夫的他不满玉帝的统治,随即大闹天宫,最后被唐僧收服,随他踏上前往西天取经的漫漫征途。。。

 

As the old woman continued her tales, Mei ate, and Mei listened. And as Mei's stomach filled, so too did her heart. 

老奶奶的故事绘声绘色,引人入胜,小妹听着听着便填饱了肚子,而她的心,也渐渐被喜悦填满。



When the food was gone, and the stories were told, the old woman looked straight into Mei’s sea-storm eyes. “I could use an extra pair of hands around here,” the old woman said, patting the back of Mei’s soft hands with her own gnarled ones. “Would you consider staying here with me?” 

饭吃完了,老奶奶的故事也讲完了。她拉起小妹的手,直直地望向她那被风暴席卷过的眼眸,说道:‘我这里还需要一个帮手,你愿意留下来,和我一起生活吗?’



“Oh, yes!” Mei cried.

小妹一听,不假思索地答道:“啊,我愿意!”

 

It was with a full stomach – and a full heart – that Mei decided to stay.

带着被美味填满的身体和被故事填满的心,小妹决定留下来,和老奶奶一起开启一段新的生活。

   


 

Chapter 7– The Fisherman

第七章–渔民

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CHAPTER 7 生词 | Vocabulary (71 - 80)

71. 渔民(Yúmín) n. fisherman; fisherfolk; fishing population

72. 精致(Jīngzhì) adj. fine; exquisite; delicate

73. 创造(Chuàngzào) v. create; produce; bring about

74. 碧波(Bìbō) literary n. azure waves (used in 碧波万顷[bìbōwànqǐng], IDIOM a boundless expanse of blue water)

75. 浮现(Fúxiàn) v. (of past events) appear before one’s eyes

76. 逼真(Bīzhēn) adj. lifelike; true to life adj. distinct; clear

77. 壮丽(Zhuànglì) adj. majestic; magnificent; glorious

78. 窃窃私语(Qièqièsīyǔ) IDIOMtalk in whispers; whisper

79. 日出而作,日入而息(Rì chū ér zuò,rìluò ér xī) IDIOM lit. to get up at sunrise and work until sunset; fig. to lead a plain and hardworking life

80. 荡漾(Dàngyàng) literary v. ripple; undulate


Mei stayed, and she learned. She learned that when summer came, waves of heat and humidity washed over the land. She learned to plait her long flowing tresses into twin braids, keeping them off her neck when the days got hot. 

在老奶奶家中住下后,小妹渐渐学会了很多新东西。她发现,当热浪席卷大地,空气变得闷热而潮湿的时候,就是夏天要到了。她还学会如何把自己的长发编成两股好看的辫子,在天热的时候,就能享受一份清爽。




Mei learned to make tang, a different broth for every ailment: spicy ginger root for health; red-orange gojis for vitality. Her clever fingers learned to shape crescent shaped dumpling – and those clever fingers also learned how to sew. Fingers dancing, Mei’s needle was a paintbrush, deftly embroidering colored thread onto a canvas of cloth. 

 她学会了煲汤,想要补身子就做姜汤,想保持活力就换枸杞汤。心灵手巧的她还学会了怎么包精致的月牙形饺子,甚至学会了复杂的针线活。她的轻盈柔软的双手像画笔般跳跃着、创造着,总是能把一缕缕五彩的棉线织成一幅令人惊叹的美好画卷。




Mei embroidered what she saw: soft pink lotuses floating on a turquoise lake, white cranes with wide spread wings – about to take flight. With each passing day, more and more scenes appeared beneath Mei’s busy fingers. 

小妹绣的都是自己周围的景色:在碧波中轻轻荡漾的柔软花瓣,还有那振翅欲飞的白鹤。日子一天天过去,小妹的刺绣作品也渐渐多了起来。无数美丽的景色一个接一个地浮现在她的画布上,逼真地仿佛随时都能从中溢出来。

 

 Each day Mei gazed towards the rising sun, never forgetting that first time she saw it kiss the sky awake. Each morning she rose and went to the water’s edge, hair in twin braids, to look out at the sea. Her eight bracelets jingled on her wrist.

 每一天清晨,小妹都会望着太阳从睡意朦胧的云层中冉冉升起—她永远都记得自己第一次看到的那场壮丽的日出。起床后,她则会扎好辫子,来到水边,远远眺望大海。她手中的八只镯子也随着清风悄悄地窃窃私语着。

 

As the days glided by, Mei began to look at the fishing boats. She watched the fishermen cast and draw their nets, watched them move in rhythm with the sea.

渐渐地,小妹开始注意到海上停泊的一排排渔船。她看到渔民们跟随着大海的潮起潮落有规律地撒网、捕鱼、收网,日出而作、日落而息。




This day, Mei gazed at a particular someone. 

这一天,小妹突然注意到了一个人。

 

He wasn't one for words.

他不善言辞,总是一个人默默地做事。

 

As the other fishermen prepared to cast off, they tossed between them words and jokes.

其他渔民总是一边撒网捕鱼,一边互相嬉笑、打闹,

 

He was quiet.

可他从不参与,

 

He untied his boat with steady hands.  Mei watched as he pushed out to sea, a single bamboo shaft gripped in his palm. Mei kept watch as his boat shrank - smaller and smaller - towards a brightening sky.  

只是俯下身子用自己那双有力的双手解开船绳,然后一手撑杆,把船推向海面。小妹一直看着、看着,直到小船缩成一个黑乎乎的小点,消失在光芒闪耀的海平面。

 

Mei rose earlier, every morning, to watch the young fisherman push out to shore. Never once did he look her way. His world seemed to consist only of ropes, knots, his boat, and the sea.  As Mei watched his boat disappear toward the horizon, she drew a deep breath of cool sweet air. The day was still waking and the heat had not yet come. 

从那以后,小妹起的更早了,就为了能看这位年轻的渔民出海捕鱼。然而他的目光从未在小妹身上停留。他的世界里好像除了粗糙的绳子、拧成一团的绳结、自家的渔船和广袤的大海,就没有别的了。小妹独自看着他的小船消失在遥远的地平线深处,不禁轻轻吸了一口甜蜜清凉的空气。新的一天刚刚开始,恼人的热浪还没有到来。

 

 There was a sweet sort of tightness in her chest, not entirely unpleasant. A soft breeze ruffled her hair. The bangles at her wrist sang. The rose colored pearl lay - warm and cool - against her skin.   

一种甜蜜的紧张感在她的心间荡漾开来。轻柔的风儿吹乱了她的秀发。她手腕上的镯子欢快地唱起了歌。玫瑰色的珍珠贴着她的皮肤,凉凉的、暖暖的,显得分外美好、动人。 

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Chapter 8– The Rose Carp

第八章– 玫瑰色的鲤鱼

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CHAPTER 8 生词 | Vocabulary (81 - 90)

81. 一如既往(Yīrújìwǎng) IDIOMas always; just as in the past

82. 缝隙(Fèngxì) n. chink; crack; crevice

83. 幽深(Yōushēn) adj. (of forests, palaces, etc.) deep and serene

84. 藤蔓(Téngmàn or Téngwàn) n. vine and tendril

85. 倾泻(Qīngxiè) v. to pour; come down in torrents (not to be confused with 倾斜[Qīngxié]; tilted or inclined)。

86. 光晕(Guāng yūn) n. halo

87. 径直(Jìngzhí) adv. Straight; directly; straight away

88. 悠扬(Yōuyáng) adj. (of music, etc.) rising and falling; melodious

89. 敏捷(Mǐnjié) adj.quick; nimble; agile

90. 赫然(Hèrán) adv. Impressively; awesomely adv. Terribly (angry)



One morning, as she watched him push off towards the sea, Mei had a thought. 

一天清晨,小妹一如既往地看着年轻的渔民出海打渔,心中突然冒出了一个想法:

 

"I will go with him". 

我要和他一起去。

 

And why not? She knew the sea as well as he. And with that thought swimming circlets in her mind, she turned and walked away from the dock, a light spring to her step. 

为什么不呢?她对大海的了解不比他少。这样想着,小妹转过身,迈着轻快地脚步离开了码头。

 

She walked along the beach, heading towards where the seashore met a coastal mountain range. 

她沿着沙滩,朝着海岸和山峰相连的地方走去。

  

Soon, she reached a cluster of rocks which rested at the foot of a mountain ridge.  The opening to the cave was almost completely hidden by jutting rocks and a curtain of hanging ivy. Sweeping the ivy aside, Mei entered through a narrow entrance, coming through to the other side. The cave was enormous. Part of the ceiling opened toward the sky, and shafts of sunlight streamed through onto a crystalline pool.

 很快,她来到了山脚下的一堆石头旁边。石头之间的缝隙形成了一个幽深的山洞。山洞的入口几乎被岩石和密密麻麻的藤蔓挡住。小妹用手拉开藤蔓,侧着身弯着腰钻进了山洞。山洞大极了。抬起头便可以从岩壁间看到蓝天的剪影。阳光顺着缝隙倾泻下来,照进清澈的池子里, 闪着点点光晕。

 

Mei smiled to herself. She knew this place well – though it was the first time she’d come through by the land. The pool at the center of the cave led straight to the sea. Mei had discovered this cave many years ago. One night, she had swum close to shore, hoping to hear more of the songs the villagers sang. It was then that she discovered the underwater pathway that lead her to this cave. Since then, she had often visited her secret alcove – to bath in the moonlight that streamed down from the sky, and to soak in the cheerful sounds that drifted from the nearby fishing village. 

小妹看着周围的一切,微微一笑。虽然这是她第一次沿着陆地来到这个山洞,但她对这里依旧很熟悉。山洞里的池子直接通往大海,是小妹很早就发现的秘密通道。很久以前的一天夜里,她为了听村民们的歌声,游到了靠近岸边的地方,却在这个过程中无意发现了一条水下暗道,径直把她引到了现在这个山洞中。从那以后开始,她便时常回到这个‘秘密基地’,在月光下沐浴的同时,还能聆听渔村中传来的悠扬的歌声。

 

How different the cave looked in sunlight! The water, which at night had been the deepest shade of midnight blue – and glittering with reflected stars – was now turquoise and smooth. 

 白天的山洞和晚上看起来真不一样呀!曾经月光下深蓝的水面,如今在阳光的照耀下泛着光滑的蓝绿色。

  

Hidden from view, Mei unplaited her hair, letting the black tresses shimmer to her feet. She shed her linen clothes, leaving them neatly folded upon a dry patch of rock. She came to the edge of the pool and stepped nimbly into the water. Mei wiggled her toes, delighting at the delicious coolness lapping at her ankles.  She continued to wade in, until she was waist deep. With a single index finger, she tapped the surface of the turquoise water: 

小妹解开自己的辫子,任由自己的一头秀发倾泻下来,碰到自己的脚面。她脱掉自己的上衣,把它们折好放在一个干燥的岩石上。她来到水池旁,敏捷地踏进水里。小妹动了动自己的脚趾,感受着冰凉的水拍打着她的脚踝。她继续往水中走着,直到水没到自己腰部。她伸出自己的食指,轻轻点了点靛蓝的水面。

 

Once,一下

Twice, 两下

Thrice – 三下- 

 

(The bangles on her wrist clinked with each movement)  

与此同时,她的镯子随着每一下动作发出轻轻的叮当声。

 

- and in one sleek movement, Mei slid beneath the water. In the next moment - she was no longer there.

下一秒,小妹弯下身子,纵身潜入水面,一下子消失不见了。

 

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Where Mei had been was a rose colored carp, swimming in happy circles. It looped figure eight patterns, clearly enjoying the feeling of flight through water. Mei savored the silken feeling of water against her shining scales, which flashed gold and white from rays of filtered sunlight. The rose carp did a few more turns. Then, with a flick of her tail, Mei swam towards the depths of the pool, heading to sea. 

水面上赫然出现了一条粉色的鲤鱼。鱼儿欢快地在水中打着圈,似乎很享受在水中遨游的感觉。小妹在鱼儿的身体里,感受着丝滑的泉水轻吻自己闪闪发光的鳞片。粉鲤鱼又转了几圈,然后,它尾巴一甩,转头朝着池子深处游去,直奔那广阔的大海。


*

To be continued in Pearl (Part 4)


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