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Soushenji No. 355 translation: Mother Huang Becomes a Sea Turtle

搜神記:黃母化黿 (No. 355)

This is a translation and annotation of text No. 355 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.


[Huang] [mother] [become] [sea turtle] Mother Huang Becomes a Sea Turtle

漢靈帝時, [_Han_] [_Ling_] [emperor] [time] In the time of Emperor Ling of Han,

江夏黃氏之母,浴盤水中, [_Jiang_] [_Xia_] [_Huang_] [clan] ['s] [mother],[bathe][] [river] [in] in Jiangxia the mother of the Huang family was bathing in the river;

久而不起, [long time] [yet] [not] [get out] a long time passed yet she did not get out;

變為鼋矣。 [change] [to be] [sea turtle] [.] she had changed into a sea turtle.

婢驚走告。 [servant girl] [alarm] [go] [tell] A servant girl, alarmed, went to tell the others.

比家人來,鼋轉入深淵。 [by] [family] [people] [come],[sea turtle] [turn] [enter] [deep] [abyss] When the family arrived, the sea turtle turned and entered the deep water.

其後時時出見。 [its] [after] [time] [time] [come out] [see] After this, from time to time it would emerge and be seen.

初浴,簪一銀釵,猶在其首。 [beginning] [bathe],[hairpin] [one] [silver] [hairpin],[still] [on] [its] [head] Originally when bathing, she had a silver hairpin, and this was still on its head.

於是黃氏累世不敢食鼋肉。 [at] [this] [Huang] [clan] [generations][] [not] [dare] [eat] [sea turtle] [meat] Since then, the Huang family for generations has not dared to eat sea turtle meat. _[累世](http://www.zdic.net/cd/ci/11/ZdicE7ZdicB4ZdicAF315593.htm "Meaning of 累世") is a binome meaning 'many generations'._