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Soushenji No. 157 translation: Trees neither Crooked nor Straight

搜神記:木不曲直 (一五七)

This is a translation and annotation of text No. 157 in 搜神記 (Soushenji – ‘In Search of the Supernatural’), a collection of strange happenings compiled by 干寶 (Gan Bao) in the 4th century C.E.

In order to be useful to people studying the text, this translation aims to be literal and close to the original.

木不曲直 [tree] [not] [crooked] [straight] Trees neither Crooked nor Straight

靈帝熹平三年, [_Ling_] [emperor] [_Xi_] [_Ping_] [three] [year] In the third year of Ling Di’s Xi Ping reign,

右校別作中, [right] [officer] [class] [make] [in] on the property of the Officer of Construction of the Right,

_[別](http://www.zdic.net/zd/zi/ZdicE4ZdicBDZdic9C.htm "Meaning of 别") here means 'class' or 'distinction' (the rank of the officer)._

有兩樗樹, [have] [two] [ailanthus] [tree] there were two ailanthus trees,

皆高四尺許。 [both] [tall] [four] [feet] [perhaps] both around four feet tall.

其一株, [their] [one] [trunk] One of the trunks,

宿昔暴長, [night] [evening] [sudden] [grow] overnight suddenly grew,

_宿 here is pronounced xiǔ and means 'night'. [昔](http://www.zdic.net/zd/zi/ZdicE6Zdic98Zdic94.htm "Meaning of 昔") here is actually 夕 (they're pronounced the same)._

長一丈餘, [long] [one] [ten feet] [surplus] to a length of over ten feet,

粗大一圍, [girth] [big] [one] [span] and a girth of a large arm-span,

作胡人狀, [make] [barbarian] [person] [form] making the form of a barbarian,

頭目鬢鬚髮俱具。 [head] [eye] [hair on temples] [beard] [hair] [entirely] [have] the head, eyes, hair on temples, beard and hair were all there.

其五年十月壬午, [its] [five] [year] [ten] [month] [_ren_] [_wu_] On the renwu day of the tenth month of the fifth year of that reign ,

正殿側有槐樹, [main] [palace] [side] [have] [pagoda tree] [tree] beside the main palace there were pagoda trees,

皆六七圍, [all] [six] [seven] [span] all six or seven spans wide,

自拔倒豎, [self] [pull up] [turn over] [vertical] which pulled themselves up and turned over vertically,

根上枝下。 [root] [up] [branch] [down] roots up and branches down.

又中平中, [further] [_Zhong_] [_Ping_] [in] Further, in Zhong Ping,

長安城西北六七里, [_Chang_] [An] [city] [west] [north] [six] [seven] [mile] six or seven miles north-west of Chang’An city,

空樹中, [empty] [tree] [in] in a hollow tree,

有人面, [have] [person] [face] there was the face of a person,

生鬢。 [grow] [hair on temples] which grew hair on its temples.

其於《洪範》, [it] [in] 《[_Hong_] [_Fan_]》 This is recorded in the _Hongfa_n,

皆為木不曲直。 [all] [as] [tree] [not] [crooked] [straight] all as ‘trees neither crooked nor straight’.

_If you notice an error or disagree with the translation, please comment below to make this a better resource.___

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