A Translation from the Chinese of Mao Dun’s “The Little Witch”

Mao Dun was one of self’s favorite writers.  She decided to translate his long story, “The Little Witch,” for an Asian Languages class at Stanford.  It was the only translation which earned her an “A,”  in her entire time in the East Asian Studies Program.  Here’s one section that has absolutely no suggested edits from her professor, not even a word crossed out:

The old lady on the first floor threw down the furniture and shouted:

“One reaps what he sows!  Offend the Sun Bodhisattva:  It’s all the fault of that worthless thing:  when she entered the door that day, I knew it wasn’t a good sign!  What’s the use of calling a doctor, it would be better to kill her.  Kill her!”

When the sun had risen overhead, the townspeople were all talking excitedly about the dangerous robbers.  The chamber of commerce made a long-distance telephone call to the county, saying that the director of the Bureau of Public Security, in “seizing the robbers,” had been killed, and that the head of the local militia, in “assisting the arrest,” had also received a serious wound.

Now, if you were to place a sheet of Mandarin in front of self, and tell her to tell you what it meant, she would not be able to do it.  But back then — !  Well, that was a different story.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


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