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Lu Xun 'Tomorrow' translation, Pt. I

鲁迅 明天 一

This is the first part of a sentence-by-sentence translation of 明天 (Tomorrow), the short-story written by 鲁迅 (Lu Xun) in June 1920.

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

“沒有聲音,——小東西怎了?” “There’s no sound - what’s wrong with the little one?”

紅鼻子老拱手裡擎了一碗黃酒, Old Red-Nosed Gong lifted the bowl of yellow wine in his hand,

說著,向間壁努一努嘴。 and whilst speaking, made a face towards the wall.

藍皮阿五便放下酒碗 , Blue-Skinned Ah-wu then put down his bowl of wine,

在他脊樑上用死勁的打了一掌,含含糊糊嚷道: and gave him a hard thump on the back, growling thickly:

“你……你你又在想心思……。” “You… You’re getting sentimental again…”

原來魯鎮是僻靜地方,還有些古風: Originally Luzhen was a secluded place, and still had a few old-fashioned features:

不上一更,大家便都關門睡覺。 before the first watch, everyone locked their doors and went to sleep.

深更半夜 沒有睡的只有兩家: Deep in the night there were only two establishments that didn’t sleep:

一家是鹹亨酒店, one was the Universal Prosperity pub,

幾個酒肉朋友圍著櫃檯,吃喝得正高興; where a few friends in drink clustered around the bar, eating and drinking their way to happiness;

一 家便是間壁的單四嫂子, and the other one was next door, Mrs Shan’s place;

他自從前年守了寡,便須專靠著自己的一雙手紡出綿紗來 , she’d been widowed two years before, and by necessity had to rely on the work of her own two hands spinning cotton,

養活他自己和他三歲的兒子,所以睡的也遲。 to provide for herself and her three-year-old son, so she stayed up late.

這幾天,確鑿沒有紡紗的聲音了。 For the last few days, there had actually been no sound of spinning.

但夜深沒有睡的既然只有兩家, But deep in the night, since there were only two households awake,

這單四嫂子 家有聲音,便自然只有老拱們聽到, if there were sounds coming from the house of Mrs Shan, there was only Old Gong and his friends to hear it,

沒有聲音,也只有老拱們聽到。 so when there was no sound, only Lao Gong and his friends would notice.

老拱挨了打,彷彿很舒服似的喝了一大口酒,嗚嗚的唱起小曲來。 After enduring the punching, Old Gong, seeming totally at ease, took a big gulp of wine and began humming a little song.

這時候,單四嫂子正抱著他的寶兒, At that moment, Mrs Shan was cradling her son Bao Er,

坐在床沿上,紡車靜靜的立在地上。 sitting on the edge of the bed, the spinning wheel motionless on the floor.

黑沉 沉的燈光,照著寶兒的臉, The lamplight, submerged in the dark, illuminated Bao Er’s face,

緋紅裡帶一點青。 dark red underneath bluish black.

單四嫂子心裡計算: Mrs Shan calculated in her mind:

神簽也求過了, 願心也許過了,單方也吃過了, I’ve drawn lots at the shrine, made many vows, and used folk remedies;

要是還不見效,怎麼好? if that still doesn’t see results, then what would?

——那只有去診何小仙了 。 Then there was only a consultation with He Xiaoxian.

但寶兒也許是日輕夜重, But maybe Bao Er’s condition was serious at night and lighter by day;

到了明天,太陽一出,熱也會退,氣喘也會平的: By tomorrow, when the sun came up, his fever would subside, and his laboured breathing would relax.

這實 在是病人常有的事。 This was actually common with ill people.

單四嫂子是一個粗笨女人,不明白這“但”字的可怕: Mrs Shan simple woman, and did not know how formidable this word “but” was:

許多壞事固然幸虧有了 他才變好, Many bad things, thanks to to this word, became good,

許多好事卻也因為有了他都弄糟。 whilst many good things became bad because of it.

夏天夜短,老拱們嗚嗚的唱完了不多 時, In that short summer night, not long after Old Gong and his friends stopped singing,

東方已經發白; there was already light in the east;

不一會,窗縫裡透進了銀白色的曙光。 before long, the bright dawn filtered through the cracks in the shutters.

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

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