This is the third part in a line by line translation / annotation of the 1983 story 哦， 穆罕默德 · 阿麦德 (O, Mùhǎnmòdé · Āmàidé) - ‘Ah, Mohamed Ahmed’ - by the Chinese author 王蒙 (Wang Meng).
As always, if you notice a mistake or have any suggestions please share them in the comments at the end of the page.
哦， 穆罕默德 · 阿麦德
Ah, Mohamed Ahmed
屋里空气潮湿憋闷，我其实宁愿出去到土台上坐，但是他正在认真地张罗着。 In the house the air was damp and stuffy, and I actually would have preferred to on the earth floor outside, but he was welcoming me fervently.
先是在我面前铺上了饭单，然后打开黄条木箱，拿出两个小碟，一个碟里放上方块糖和葡萄干，一个碟里放着小馕与小饼干。 First he put a food mat out in front of me, then opened the yellow-stripped wooden box and took out two small plates; on one plate he put some sweets and raisins, and on the other he put bread and biscuits.
然后，他从室外拿来一个搪瓷高桩茶壶，从案上取下两个小碗，给我和他自己各倒了一碗茶：“请，请，请……” Then, he brought in an enamel teapot from outside, and got two bowls from the shelf; he poured us each a bowl of tea: "Please, please!"
他平摊着向我伸手，极为彬彬有礼。 He extended a hand to me extremely courteously.
从茶色的淡薄上，我又一次体会到这一家经济上的拮据。 In the thin colour of the tea, I could once again see that this family was pressed for cash.
茶虽淡，方块糖、葡萄干种种看来也是历史悠久，但他的招待却是一丝不苟，我也就非常感激地端起茶来啜饮，饮着饮着忽然想起了他的父母，维吾尔人是最讲敬老的， 岂有把老人丢在室外之理。 Although the tea was weak, and the sweets and raisins looked very old *[?]*, he was meticulous in his hospitality, and I was very grateful to sip this tea; as we drank I suddenly thought of his mother - Uighurs have the highest respect for their elders - how could he leave his parents outside?
我眼睛看着门口要说话，他已明白，皱着眉对我说：“他们不喝茶，喝开水。” I looked at the door and was about to speak when he understood; he frowned at me and said: "They don't drink tea, they just drink hot water."
稍待，他又解释说：“在南疆，没有几户人家喝得起茶。” After a while, he explained again, saying: "In Nanjiang, very few people drink tea."
喝了几口，这道程序结束，他拿起一个小碗出去了，一去好大一会儿也不回来，使我坐也不是走也不是。 We drank a few more sips and it was finished, and he got out a small bowl; then he left and didn't come back for a long time, leaving me to sit there uncertainly.
最后他拿着空碗气冲冲地进来了，他生气地说：“你是北京来的客人，我要不来一碗奶皮子，这儿的人，太不好了，在我们南疆，一家做好吃的，一定把周围所有的人叫来。” Eventually he came in angrily holding an empty bowl, and said furiously: "You're a guest from Beijing, if I don't give you a bowl of milk skin [?], it's terrible - we people in Nanjiang, if we make some good food, we'll always invite everyone round."
没有奶皮子，做不成奶茶，但还是一起喝了咸茶，并且吃的是白面馕。 There was no milk skin [?], so he couldn't make milk tea, but we still drank salted tea together, and ate white bread.
我本来中午是带了馕的，但那是包谷馕。 I'd brought some bread for lunch in the first place, but it was corn bread.
在春天青黄不接的季节，中午是难得有白面馕吃的，看来，他已经全力对我进行规格最高的款待了。 In spring when the yellow crops don't last until the green, it's hard to get white bread to eat for lunch, but it seemed that he had tried his hardest to treat me with the highest standards.
从此，我结识了这位懂汉语的、殷勤亲切又有点神啦巴唧的年轻人。 From then on, I got to know this Chinese-speaking, polite, cordial young person.
我那时初到维吾尔农村定居，言语不通，心情沉郁，穆罕默德·阿麦德的存在，使我感到了友谊的温暖。 At the time I had only just arrived to live in the Uighur countryside, didn't understand the language, and felt lost; Mohamed Ahmed's presence gave me a sense of friendship and warmth.
每逢到伊犁河边干活的时候，我就带上馕，到他家喝热茶，就是喝碗开水，也是暖的。 Every time I went to the Ili riverside, I would take some bread, and go to his house to drink hot tea, or a bowl of boiled water, which was warm too.
我得知，他们全家是五年前从喀什噶尔老城（今疏附县）步行半个月，从新源那边翻天山来到伊犁地区落户的。 I found out that five years ago his entire family had walked for two weeks from the old town in Gar (now Shufu) in Kashgar, crossing Tianshan from near Xinyuan, and arriving in the Ili area to set up home.
由于他天资聪颖又好学，三年前考上了乌鲁木齐气象学校 （他告诉我是“空气学校”，当时我正抱着维语课本学维语，知道“哈娃”这个词既可作天空、空气也可作气象解，替他纠正成气象学校），但这个学校的食堂整天吃吐鲁番产的白高粱面，他吃不惯，加以家里老的老，小的小，病的病，离了他日子没法过，他便退学回来了，回来后心情抑郁，整天胡打混闹。 Because of his gift of intelligence and good studying, three years ago he passed the entrance exam for a school in Urumqi (he told me it was the "Meteorology School" - at that time I was studying Uighur from a textbook, and knew that the word _hawa_ meant 'sky', 'atmosphere' or 'meteorology', so I assumed it was a meteorology school), but every day the school canteen served white sorghum bread produced in Turpan City, and he couldn't get used to it, and moreover his parents were very old, his siblings very young, and they were ill, and when he wasn't there they couldn't carry on, so he quit school and came back; after he came back he was despondent, and his mood was low all day. *[?]*
我也把我的大概情况介绍给他，他立即表示：“我听了心疼得很。” I also explained my general situation to him; he immediately said: "Hearing that makes my heart hurt a lot."
他的“很”字拉得很大，而且中间拐两个弯。 He extended the words "a lot", and wavered in the middle of them.
后来他见我穿着带补丁的衣服，他要说一次心疼，看我吃一次干包谷馕，他也要说一次心疼。 Then he noticed that I was wearing patched clothes and again said that his heart hurt, and when he saw me eating dry corn bread, he said it once more.
有一次队里出义务工，到公社西面三公里远去修湟渠，中午回不来，周围又没有人家，只好就着西北风和泥沙吃硬馕，他又“心疼”起来，还掉了眼泪。 One time I left the team to do volunteer work, and went three kilometres out of the commune to repair the Huang canal banks; I couldn't come back at noon, and there was no-one with me - I could only eat tried biscuits on the mud in the wind; again he his "heart hurted" and shed tears.
我问：“你们不也都是这样吃的吗？” I said: "Don't you eat like that as well?"
他说：“我们惯了，你可是北京来的呀。” He said: "We're used to it, but you're from Beijing!"
他正式请了我一次客，是伊犁人最爱吃的“大半斤”——抻条面。 Once he formally invited me as a guest to eat the 'big half pound' that Ili people loved - stretched noodles.
他自己和面，做剂儿，抻面。 He kneaded the dough himself, made portions and stretched the noodles.
他做抻面（当地叫“拉面”）的方法与伊犁的旁人不同，伊犁人是先把面剂儿做成一小段一小段的，然后一一拉细，像毛线缕一样地悬挂在桌角边，然后一锅一锅地煮。 The way he made stretched noodles (locally called 'pulled noodles') was different to outsiders in Ili; people from Ili first split the dough portions into small pieces and then stretched them one by one, hanging them over the edge of a table like wool thread, and then put them into the pot to boil one by one.
他呢，跪在毡子上，做了一个大面剂儿，裹上油，像盘香一样地盘成一座小山， 等到锅开了，他飞快地拉起来，愈拉愈多，愈拉愈长，中间不断，直到拉满一锅的时候， 他才把面从中间断开。 But he knelt on a felt mat, made a large dough portion and put oil on it; it looked like a little hill of incense coils; he waited until the pot boiled, and then stretch it more and more, longer and longer, lightning fast; the middle didn't break, even when it stretched it so it would fill the pot, and only then would he break it himself.
他说：“这是喀什噶尔做拉面的方法。” He said: "This is how we make pulled noodles in Kashgar."
说起喀什噶尔，他满脸的依恋之情。 When he said 'Kashgar', his whole face filled with regret at leaving it.
不但面是他做的，菜卤也是他做。 Not only did he make the noodles, but also topping and sauce.
“你的妈妈呢？”我问。 "What about your mum?" I asked.
“她做不好！” 他粗暴地回答。 "She can't make them!" he answered cruelly.
面煮好以后，他倒是很仁义，不但给父、母、妹妹盛好送到手上，而且确实如他所说过的，他推开房门，谁从这儿过他就叫谁来吃。 Once the noodles were boiled, he become very benevolent, and not only served his father, mother and younger sister, but also, as he said, opened the door and called in anyone who passed by.
最后，他自己只剩了小半碗。 In the end, there was only half a bowl left for him.
这时来了一只邻居的黑白花小猫，向他喵喵地叫，他以惊人的慷慨从他的碗里用手捏出一半面条来，喂了猫。 At that moment a black and white kitten from a neighbour's house meowed at him, and with astonishing generosity he he pinched half the noodles out of his bowl and fed them to the kitten.
剩下的几根面条，他也不用筷子，就用手指捏着吃了。 For the few noodles that remained, he didn't use chopsticks - he just put them straight in his mouth with his hand.
都拾掇完了以后，他自己又吃了一个包谷馕。 Once everything had been cleaned away, he ate some corn bread himself.
利用饭后的融洽气氛，我向他进了一言：能不能换个稍微大一点的砍土镘，干活时稍稍多卖点力气。 In the convivial atmosphere after eating, I said to him: "Could you use a slightly bigger trowel when you're working - you'd be able to put a little bit more effort in when you work."
他立刻板起了脸，恶狠狠地对我说：“我不爱劳动嘛！我不是国家干部嘛！我不是积极分子嘛！” His face hardened immediately, and he looked at me fiercely and said: "I don't love work! I'm not a state cadre! I'm not an apologist!"
“那你爱什么呢？” "Then what do you love?"
我没气，却笑着问。 I wasn't angry - I was smiling.
“我爱玩，我爱看电影，我爱唱歌跳舞，我爱看书。” "I love playing, I love watching films, I love singing and dancing, I love reading books."
“什么书？” "What books?"
“爱情小说。我最喜欢爱情啦，我喜欢美，漂亮，我喜欢女孩子。” "Romantic fiction. I like romance the most, I like beauty and prettiness - I like girls."
说着说着他转怒为喜，突然，他向我跪下，给我磕了一个头： As he spoke his anger became joy, and suddenly knelt down and kowtowed to me:
“王大人，请不要肚子胀。” "Great Mr Wang, please do not get bloated." *[?]*
在我莫名其妙的时候，他又粗俗丑陋地笑开了。 Whilst I was trying to fathom his cleverness, he laughed vulgarly.
笑得突然，止得也突然，他突然停住了笑，问我：“你会跳‘坦萨’吗？” He laughed suddenly and stopped suddenly, and then suddenly stopped altogether and asked me: "Can you dance the _tansa_?"
“什么‘坦萨’？” "What's the _tansa_?"
他抬起两手，做出一个交际舞的姿势。 He raised his hands and adopted a social dancing posture.
我不快地哼了一声。 I snorted slowly.
“我最爱跳‘坦萨’了。” "I love dancing the _tansa_!"
他哼哼着歌噌地站了起来，一个人前后左右地迈着步子。 He hummed the song and stood up, and took steps back and forth.
我当时的心情与交际舞是格格不入的，连看也不看他，于是他改唱维吾尔歌曲和跳维吾尔舞。 At that time my frame of mind and social dancing weren't right, and I looked to him and away repeatedly [?], and at that he switched to a Uighur tune and danced a Uighur dance.
然后他气喘吁吁地从墙上摘下都塔尔，一通乱弹，然后把都塔尔乒地一扔，颓然叹道： Then, panting for breath, he tore down the _dotar_ from the wall, played it chaotically, and then plucked it once, sighing with disappointment:
“每天都抡砍土镘，每天都抡砍土镘，手指头都粗了，还怎么弹都塔尔呢？” "Everyday I cut down trees *[?]*, every day I cut down trees - my hands and head have thickened - how can I play the _dotar_ now?"
人是不错，可是思想太差劲，我当时想。 He was a good guy, but his thinking was disappointing, I thought at the time.
同时我想起，根据我的一段观察，人们对穆罕默德·阿麦德普遍抱着一种取笑和轻视的态度。 At the same time, I thought, according to my observations, people normally have a kind of smiling contempt for Mohamed Ahmed's attitude.
当穆罕默德·阿麦德大说大笑或者出洋相的时候，特别是年轻的男社员，便会互相挤挤眼睛，撇撇嘴，老头儿们也忍俊不禁，有的还摇摇头，最无保留地欢迎他和欣赏他的倒是女社员，特别是中年女社员。 When Mohamed Ahmed spoke and laughed loudly or made a fool of himself, especially around young, male villagers, he would wink at people, their mouths twitching, and old people would be unable to contain their laughter; some still shook their heads, but the most unreserved, who welcomed him and appreciated him the most, were the female villagers, especially middle aged women.