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Lu Xun 'A Small Incident' translation, Pt. I

鲁迅 一件小事 一

This is the first part of a sentence-by-sentence translation of 一件小事 (A Small Incident), the short-story written by 鲁迅 (Lu Xun) in July 1920.

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

我從鄉下跑到京城裡,一轉眼已經六年了。 Since I left the countryside for the capital, six years have already passed in the blink of an eye.

其間耳聞目睹的所謂國家大事, In that time I’ve seen and heard so called ‘major national events’,

算起來也很不少; and counting them up, there’s been quite a few.

但在我心裡,都不留什麼痕跡, Yet in my heart, none of them left a trace on me;

倘要我尋出這些事的影響來說, if you really wanted me to search out their influence,

便只是增長了我的壞脾氣, then I’d say they just added to my bad temper

——老實說,便是教我一天比一天的看不起人。 — to be honest, they made me despise people even more with every passing day.

但有一件小事,卻於我有意義, But one small incident was significant to me;

將我從壞脾氣裡拖開,使我至今忘記不得。 it dragged me out of my bad temper, which made me remember it to this day.

這是民國六年的冬天, This was in the winter of the sixth year of the Republic,

大北風刮得正猛, when the great northern wind was gusting ferociously,

我因為生計關係,不得不一早在路上走。 and to make a living, I could not avoid being out on the streets early in the morning.

一路幾乎遇不見人, On the street there was almost nobody to be seen,

好容易才僱定了一輛人力車,教他拉到S門去。 so I had a hard time flagging down a rickshaw, which I told to take me to S Gate.

不一會,北風小了,路上浮塵早已刮淨, Before long, the northern wind reduced, and the swirling dust on the road settled,

剩下一條潔白的大道來,車夫也跑得更快。 leaving wide, clear road ahead, and the runner went faster.

剛近S門,忽而車把上帶著一個人,慢慢地倒了。 Just as we neared S Gate, the handlebar suddenly caught someone, and they slowly fell down.

跌倒的是一個女人,花白頭髮, The one who fell down was a woman, with streaks of white in her hair,

衣服都很破爛。 and ragged clothes.

伊從馬路上突然向車前橫截過來; She had suddenly cut out from the pavement in front of the rickshaw;

車夫已經讓開道,但伊的破棉背心沒有上扣, The runner had already moved to the side, but her tattered waistcoat was not done up,

微風吹著,向外展開,所以終於兜著車把。 and had blown in the breeze, swinging outwards and ending up catching the handlebar.

幸而車夫早有點停步, Fortunately the runner stopped quickly,

否則伊定要栽一個大斤斗,跌到頭破血出了。 otherwise she would’ve been sent tumbling, dropping on to her head and losing blood.

伊伏在地上; She lay on the ground;

車夫便也立住腳。 the runner also stopped.

我料定這老女人並沒有傷,又沒有別人看見, I was certain this old woman was not hurt, and that nobody had seen,

便很怪他多事, so I was bewildered by his officiousness;

要自己惹出是非,也誤了我的路。 he would only stir up trouble for himself, and was also delaying my journey.

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