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Lu Xun 'The Story of Hair' translation, Pt. I

鲁迅 头发的故事 一

This is the first part of a sentence-by-sentence translation of 头发的故事 (The Story of Hair), the short-story written by 鲁迅 (Lu Xun) in 1920.

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

星期日的早晨, Early one Sunday morning,

我揭去一張隔夜的日曆,向著新的那一張上看了又看的說: I took the previous day’s sheet from the calendar, and looking twice at the new page I said:

“阿,十月十日,——今天原來正是雙十節。 “Oh! Tenth of October - today is actually Double Tenth!

這裡卻一點沒有記載!” But here it hasn’t been marked down!”

我的一位前輩先生N,正走到我的寓裡來談閒天, My acquaintance from the older generation, Mr N, had just come to mine for a chat,

一聽這話,便很不高興的對 我說: and as soon as I said this, he said to me very unhappily:

“他們對!他們不記得,你怎樣他; “They’re right! They don’t remember, so why are you different?

你記得,又怎樣呢?” if you do remember, then what’s that like?”

這位N先生本來脾氣有點乖張,時常生些無謂的氣, This Mr N had always had a slightly irregular temper, often giving rise to inexplicable anger,

說些不通世故的話。 and saying things in discord with the ways of the accepted wisdom.

當這 時候,我大抵任他自言自語,不贊一辭; At those times, I generally talk it out himself, and didn’t give a word of encouragement;

他獨自發完議論,也就算了。 he could spew out his comments on his own, and then we could move on.

他說: “我最佩服北京雙十節的情形。 he said: “I admire Double Tenth festival in Beijing the most.

早晨,警察到門,吩咐道‘掛旗!’ Early in the morning, the police come to your door, and command you: ‘Raise the flag!’

‘是,掛 旗! ’各家大半懶洋洋的踱出一個國民來, ‘Yes, I’ll hang the flag!’ the citizens of every family shuffle out half asleep,

撅起一塊斑駁陸離的洋布。 and stick up a piece faded foreign cloth.

這樣一直 到夜,——收了旗關門; It’s like that until night-time, when they take down the flag and close their doors;

幾家偶然忘卻的,便掛到第二天的上午。 a few families happen to forget, though, and then it stays up till the following morning.

他們忘卻了紀念,紀念也忘卻了他們! They’ve forgotten what it commemorates, and what it commerates has forgotten them too!

我也是忘卻了紀念的一個人。 I’m also someone who’s forgotten what it commemorates.

倘使紀念起來,那第一個雙十節前後的事, If it did make me remember, then that whole incident around the first Double Tenth,

便 都上我的心頭,使我坐立不穩了。 it would all be in my mind, making me unsteady.

多少故人的臉,都浮在我眼前。 So many old friends’ faces, all floating before my eyes.

幾個少年辛苦奔走了十多年, Several of them exhausted, running around for a dozen years,

暗地裡一顆彈丸要了他的性命; only for a bullet to quietly take their lives;

幾個少年一擊不中,在監牢裡身受一個多月的苦刑; several youths avoided being hit, but were tortured in prison for more than a month;

幾個少年懷著遠志,忽然踪影全無, several youths holding far-reaching ambitions, suddenly disappeared without trace,

連屍首也不知那裡去了。 the whereabouts of even their corpses unknown.

—— “他們都在社會的冷笑惡罵迫害傾陷裡過了一生; All of them laughed at, abused , persecuted and framed by society their whole lives;

現在他們的墳墓也早在忘卻裡漸漸平塌下去了。 Now their graves have already been forgotten, and gradually collapse.

我不堪紀念這些事。 I cannot bear to remember these things.

我們還是記起一點得意的事來談談罷。” We should recall some pleasing memories to talk about instead.”

N忽然現出笑容,伸手在自己頭上一摸,高聲說: Mr N suddenly showed a smile, putting up his hand to rub his head, and saying loudly:

“我最得意的是自從第一個雙十節以後, What I’m most proud of is that since the first Double Tenth,

我在路上走,不再被人笑罵了。 ” when I’m walking in the street, I am no longer laughed at or insulted.”

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

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