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Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, III

鲁迅 狂人日記 三

An open mouthThis is a sentence-by-sentence translation of the third chapter of 狂人日記 (Diary of a Madman) by 鲁迅 (Lu Xun).

As always, the translation here aims to be fairly literal at the expense of sounding idiomatic in English.

晚上總是睡不著。 At night, I always fail to sleep.

凡事須得研究,才會明白。 Everything must be investigated, and only then can one understand it.

他們——也有給知縣打枷過的,也有給紳士掌過嘴的, They… have also been pilloried by the county magistrate, also been struck across the mouth by the gentry,

也有衙役佔了他妻子的,也有老子娘被債主逼死的; also had their wives requisitioned by bailiffs, also had their parents hounded to death by creditors;

他們那時候的臉色,全沒有昨天這麼怕,也沒有這麼兇。 their faces at those times, none had the fear they did yesterday, and none were so savage.

最奇怪的是昨天街上的那個女人,打他兒子,嘴裡說道, The strangest thing is that woman on the street yesterday, hitting her son, on her lips the words:

“老子呀!我要咬你幾口才出氣! ” “I, your mother! I’d need to bite a few mouthfuls of you before I could vent my anger!”

他眼睛卻看著我。 But her eyes were looking at me.

我出了一驚,遮掩不住; I jumped in fright, unable to resist covering myself.

那青面獠牙的一夥人,便都哄笑起來。 That green-faced, fierce-toothed crowd of people, all began roaring with laughter.

陳老五趕上前,硬把我拖回家中了。 Old Chen rushed forward, grabbing me firmly and dragging me home.

拖我回家,家裡的人都裝作不認識我; He dragged me home, and the people at home all pretended not to know me.

他們的臉色,也全同別人一樣。 Their faces, all just the same as those other people.

進了書房,便反扣上門,宛然是關了一隻雞鴨。 Once I was in the study, the door was fastened behind me and suddenly I was shut in like a bird.

這一件事,越教我猜不出底細。 This incident left me even less able to guess what was going on.

前幾天,狼子村的佃戶來告荒, A few days ago, a tenant farmer from Wolf Cub Village came to report a famine,

對我大哥說,他們村里的一個大惡人,給大家打死了; telling my older brother that an evil man in their village had been beaten to death by everyone;

幾個人便挖出他的心肝來,用油煎炒了吃,可以壯壯膽子。 a few people then scooped out his heart and liver, fried them in oil and ate them, as this can strengthen one’s courage.

我插了一句嘴,佃戶和大哥便都看我幾眼。 When I interrupted with a single sentence, the tenant farmer and my elder brother both glanced at me a few times.

今天才曉得他們的眼光,全同外面的那伙人一模一樣。 Only today do I know that look of theirs, it’s all exactly the same as that group of people outside.

想起來,我從頂上直冷到腳跟。 Thinking about it, I’m chilled from the top of my head to my toes.

他們會吃人,就未必不會吃我。 If they might eat people, then it’s not certain that they won’t eat me.

你看那女人“咬你幾口”的話, Look at that woman’s words - “I’ll bite a few mouthfuls of you” -

和一夥青面獠牙人的笑, and the laughter of that green-faced, fierce-tooth group of people,

和前天佃戶的話,明明是暗號。 and the words of the tenant farmer yesterday; these are clearly secret signals.

我看出他話中全是毒,笑中全是刀。 I can see that their within their words is poison, and within their smiles are knives.

他們的牙齒,全是白厲厲的排著,這就是吃人的傢伙。 Their teeth, all severe and white, lined up; these are tools for eating people.

照我自己想,雖然不是惡人,自從踹了古家的簿子,可就難說了。 Reflecting on myself, although I am not a bad person, ever since I trampled on those notebooks of the Gu family, it’s difficult to say.

他們似乎別有心思,我全猜不出。 They seem to have their own ideas, and I cannot guess at any of them.

況且他們一翻臉,便說人是惡人。 Moreover, as soon as they fall out with someone, they say that person is a bad person.

我還記得大哥教我做論, I still remember my older brother teaching me to write essays,

無論怎樣好人,翻他幾句,他便打上幾個圈; and no matter how good a person was, if I wrote a few sentences overturning this, he would circle it several times;

原諒壞人幾句,他便說“翻天妙手,與眾不同”。 if I excused evil people with a few sentences, he would say: “Going against Heaven with such skill, that stands out from the masses”.

我那裡猜得到他們的心思,究竟怎樣; How can I guess at what their thoughts are like after all;

況且是要吃的時候。 all the more when it is time to eat.

凡事總須研究,才會明白。 Everything must be investigated, and only then can one understand.

古來時常吃人,我也還記得,可是不甚清楚。 In the olden days they often ate people, I still remember this, though it’s not very clear.

我翻開歷史一查,這歷史沒有年代, When I open up a history book, the history is undated,

歪歪斜斜的每葉上都寫著“仁義道德”幾個字。 and scrawled across every page are a few words about compassion, duty, propriety and integrity.

我橫豎睡不著,仔細看了半夜, As I couldn’t sleep anyway, I read closely for half the night,

才從字縫裡看出字來,滿本都寫著兩個字是“吃人”! and only then from the seams of the letters could I see the two words that it was packed full of: “Eat people”!

書上寫著這許多字,佃戶說了這許多話, All these many words written in books, the many things said by the tenant farmer,

卻都笑吟吟的睜著怪眼看我。 these all look at me with a strange, smiling stare.

我也是人,他們想要吃我了! I am a person - they want to eat me!

[← Part II](/3084/china/baihua/lu-xun-diary-madman-2/" rel="prev "Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, Pt II") · [Contents](/china/baihua/lu-xun-diary-madman/" rel="contents "Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation") · [Part IV →](/3210/china/baihua/lu-xun-diary-madman-4/" rel="next "Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, IV")

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Series: Diary of a Madman

  1. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, Pt. I
  2. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, Pt II
  3. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, III (this article)
  4. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, IV
  5. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, V
  6. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, VI
  7. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, VII
  8. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, VIII
  9. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, IX
  10. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, X
  11. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, XI
  12. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, XII
  13. Lu Xun Diary of a Madman translation, XIII