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汪曾祺 迷路 translation: Losing One's Way, by Wang Zengqi (小说三篇)'

This is a translation of the short story 迷路 (‘Losing One’s Way’) by the Chinese author 汪曾祺 (Wang Zengqi). The story can be found in the anthology 小说三篇 (‘Three Novels’).

小说三篇 Three Novels

迷路 Losing One's Way

我不善於認路。 I'm not good with directions.

有時到一個朋友家去,或者是朋友自己帶了我去,或者是隨了別人一同去,第二次我一個人去,常常找不著。 Sometimes, when I go to a friend's house, or they take me there, or I go with someone else, when I go alone the next time I'm often unable to find it.

在城市裡好辦,手裡捏著地址,頂多是多問問人,走一些冤枉路,最後總還是會找到的。 It's easy to deal with in the city, address in hand; at worst I've just got to ask a few people or take a few wrong turns, but I'll always find it in the end.

一敲門,朋友第一句話常常是:「啊呀!你怎麼才來!」 As soon as I knock on the door, my friend's first words to me are always: "Eh.. How have you only just got here?"

在鄉下可麻煩。 But in the countryside it's such a pain.

我住在一個村子裡,比如說是王莊吧,到城裡去辦一點事,再回來,我記得清清楚楚是怎麼走的,回來時走進一個樣子也有點像王莊的村子,一問,卻是李莊! I live in a village, let's say it's Wang village; when I go into the city to get something done and come back, I think I remember the way with total clarity, but on the way back I'll go into a village that looks a little bit like Wang village; when I ask someone, it turns out it's Li village!

還得李莊派一個人把我送到王莊。 And then I'll have to get someone from Li village to take me back to Wang village.

有一個心理學家說不善於認路的人,大都是意志薄弱的人。 There's a psychologist who says that the majority of people who are bad with directions lack willpower.

唉,有什麼辦法呢! Ha! What can you do about that?

1951年,我參加土改,地點在江西進賢。 In 1951, I took part in the Land Reform, in Jinxian County in Jiangxi.

這是最後一批土改,也是規模最大的一次土改。 This was the last bout of the Land Reform, and it was also the largest scale.

參加的人數很多,各色各樣的人都有。 Those who took part were countless; every kind of person was there.

有幹部、民主人士、大學教授、宗教界的信徒、詩人、畫家、作家…… There were cadres, democratic figures, university professors, religious believers, painters, authors...

相當一部分是統戰對像。 A large proportion were from the United Front. [?]

讓這些人參加,一方面是工作需要,一方面是讓這些人參加一次階級鬥爭,在實際工作中鍛煉鍛煉,改造世界觀。 Making these people participate was partly due to labour requirements and partly to get these people to join in the class struggle, exert themselves in actual work and change their world views.

工作隊的隊部設在夏家莊,我們小組的工作點在王家梁。 The Work HQ was located in Xiajia village, and our group worked at Wangjia bridge.

小組的成員除了我,還有一個從美國回來不久的花腔女高音歌唱家,一個法師。 Apart from me, the group also had a coloratura soprano opera singer and a Buddhist master.

工作隊指定,由我負責。 Assigning work was my responsibility.

王家梁來了一個小伙子接我們。 A young lad came to meet us at Wangjia bridge.

進賢是丘陵地帶,處處是小山包。 Jinxian County is a hilly area, and there are small groups of hills everywhere.

土質是紅壤土,紫紅紫紅的。 The soil is red loam, all stark purples and crimson.

有的山是茶山,種的都是油茶,在潮濕多雨的冬天開著一朵一朵白花。 Some of the hills were tea hills, all of them planted with tea-oil trees, and when it was wet and rainy in the winter, white flowers would bloom one after another.

有的山是柴山,長滿了馬尾松。 Some of the hills were wooded hills, with Masson pines growing all over them.

當地人都燒松柴。 The locals all burnt pine for firewood.

還有一種樹,長得很高大,是梓樹。 There was also another kind of tree, which grew extremely tall - the yellow catalpa.

我第一次認識「桑梓之鄉」的梓。 That was the first time I'd encountered the catalpa from 'Mulberry Catalpa Village'.

梓樹籽搾成的油叫梓油,雖是植物油,卻是凝結的,顏色雪白,看起來很像豬油。 The oil extracted from the seeds of the catalpa tree is called catalpa oil, and although it's a vegetable oil, it is snow white in colour, and looks very similar to lard.

梓油炒菜極香,比茶油好吃。 Food fried in catalpa oil is particularly aromatic, and tastes better than that fried in tea oil.

田裡有油菜花,有紫雲英。 In the fields there was oilseed rape and purple muscovite.

我們隨著小伙子走著。 We followed the young lad.

這小伙子常常行不由徑,抄近從油茶和馬尾松叢中鑽過去。 This lad would usually take a short-cut, cutting through clusters of tea trees and Masson pines.

但是我還是暗暗地記住了從夏家莊走過來的一條小路。 But I still quietly memorised a route from Xiajia village.

南方的路不像北方的大車路那樣平直而清楚,大都是彎彎曲曲的,有時簡直似有若無。 Roads in the South are not like the straight, clear vehicle roads in the North; the majority curve and meander, and sometimes seem to simply disappear entirely.

我們一路走著,對這片陌生的土地覺得很新鮮,為我們將要開展的鬥爭覺得很興奮,又有點覺得茫茫然,——我們都沒有搞過土改,有一點像是在做夢。 We walked along a road, finding this unfamiliar piece of land very new and feeling excited about the struggle we were going to launch; we also felt slightly lost in a void - none of us had done land reform before, and it seemed slightly surreal.

不知不覺的,王家梁就到了。 Without our realising it, we had arrived at Wangjia bridge.

據小伙子說,夏家莊到王家梁有二十里。 According to the young lad, it was twenty _li_ from Xiajia village to Wangjia bridge.

法師法號靜溶。 The Buddhist master's holy name was Jing Rong ['Dissolve in Peace'].

參加土改工作團學習政策時還穿著灰色的棉直裰,好容易才說服他換了一身幹部服。 When participating in the land reform work group or studying policy, he would still wear his grey cotton robes; we had a hard time persuading him to change to a cadre uniform.

大家叫他靜溶或靜溶同志。 Everyone called him Jing Rong or Comrade Jing Rong.

他篤信佛法,嚴守戒律,絕對吃素,但是鬥起地主來卻毫不手軟。 He firmly believed in the Dharma and strictly maintained his discipline, eating nothing but vegetables; but in his struggles against the landlords he was not soft-hearted. [?]

我不知道他是怎樣把我佛慈悲的教義和階級鬥爭調和起來的。 I didn't know how he reconciled the Buddhist doctrine of mercy with the class struggle.

花腔女高音姓周,老鄉都叫她老周,她當然一點都不老。 The soprano opera singer was surnamed Zhou, and her fellow villagers all called her Old Zhou, even though she wasn't old at all.

她身上看不到什麼洋氣,很能吃苦,只是有點不切實際的幻想。 There was nothing modern or trendy about her - she could bear hardship, but had some unrealistic fantasies.

她總以為土改應該像大歌劇那樣充滿激情。 She always thought that the land reform ought to resemble a great Western opera, brimming with passion.

事實上真正工作起來,卻是相當平淡的。 But in reality, once we'd started working for real, it was nothing out of the ordinary.

我們的工作開展得還算順利。 You could say our work got going without any hitches.

階級情況摸清楚了,群眾不難發動。 The class situation seemed clear, and it was difficult to mobilise the masses.

也不是十分緊張。 And it wasn't too frantic. [?]

每天晚上常常有農民來請我們去喝水。 Most evenings, peasants would come and invite us to drink water.

這裡的農民有「喝水」的習慣。 The peasants there had the custom of "drinking water".

一把瓦壺,用一根棕繩把壺梁吊在椽子上,下面燒著稻草,大家圍火而坐。 They'd get a ceramic pot, and use a rope to hoist the pot up on to the rafters, then light rice straw underneath; everyone would sit around the fire.

水開了,就一碗一碗喝起來。 Once the water had boiled, it would be drunk bowl by bowl.

同時嚼著和辣椒、柚子皮醃在一起的鬼子薑,或者生蕃薯片。 They'd chew chillies at the same time, and grapefruit skins pickled with Japanese [?] ginger, or raw sweet potato skins.

女歌唱家非常愛吃蕃薯,這使農民都有點覺得奇怪。 The opera singer absolutely loved sweet potatoes, which the peasants found a little strange.

喝水的時候,我們除了瞭解情況,也聽聽他們說說閒話,說說黃鼠狼、說說果子狸,也說說老虎。 When we were drinking the water, apart from finding out more about the situation, would also listen in on them gossiping, talking about yellow weasels [?], palm raccoons and tigers.

他們說這一帶出過一隻老虎,王家梁有一個農民叫老虎在腦袋上拍了一掌,至今頭皮上還留著一個虎爪的印子…… They said that there had been a tiger in these parts, and that at Wangjia bridge a peasant had had his head clawed by it; to this day his scalp still had the marks from the tiger's claw.

到了預定該到隊部匯報的日子了,當然應該是我去。 When the it came to the arranged day to go to the HQ and report, it was of course me who had to go.

我背了挎包,就走了,一個人,準確無誤地走到了夏家莊。 Carrying a bag, I set off alone, and walked with total accuracy to Xiajia village.

回來,離開夏家莊時,已經是黃昏了。 On the way back, when I left Xiajia village, it was already dusk.

不過我很有把握。 But I was very confident.

我記得清清楚楚,從夏家莊一直往北,到了一排長得齊齊的,像一堵牆似的梓樹前面,轉彎向右,往西北方向走一截,過了一片長滿雜樹的較高的山包,就望見王家梁了。 I remembered clearly to go north all the way from Xiajia village until you got to a row of neat catalpas trees that looked like a wall, where you turned right, and walked north-west for a while; once you got past a tall hill covered with various trees you'd be able to see Wangjia bridge.

隊部同志本來要留我住一晚,第二天早上再走,我說不行,我和靜溶、老周說好了的,今天回去。 At first the comrades at HQ wanted me to stay the night and go back the next day, but I refused - I had agreed with Jing Rong and Old Zhou that I would be back that day.

一路上沒有遇見一個人。 I didn't meet anybody the entire way.

太陽已經完全落下去了,青蒼蒼的暮色,悄悄地卻又迅速地掩蓋了下來。 The sun had already gone down completely, and in the dark, ash-grey twilight, everything was quietly but quickly concealed.

不過,好了,前面已經看到那一堵高牆似的一排梓樹了。 Not to worry, though - I had already spotted that wall-like row of catalpa trees up ahead.

然而,當我沿梓樹向右,走上一個較高的山包,向西北一望,卻看不到王家梁。 However, after I had turned right at the catalpa tree wall and walked over the tall hill, I looked to the north-west, but could not see Wangjia bridge.

前面一無所有,只有無盡的山丘。 There was absolutely nothing up ahead - just the endless hills.

我走錯了,不是該向右,是該向左? I'd gone the wrong way - should I have turned left, rather than right?

我回到梓樹前面,向左走了一截,到高處看看:沒有村莊。 I went back to the front of the catalpa tree wall, turned left and walked a while to a high point to look around: there were no villages.

是我走過了頭,應該在前面就轉彎了? Had I walked too far, and should have turned off earlier?

我從梓樹牆前面折了回去,走了好長一段,仍然沒有發現可資記認的東西。 I broke off back from the catalpa tree wall, and walked for a good while, but still didn't come across anything I recognised.

我又沿原路走向梓樹。 Once again I took the original route back to the catalpa trees.

我從梓樹出發,向不同方向各走了一截,仍然找不到王家梁。 Setting off from the catalpa trees, I went in every direction, but still couldn't find Wangjia bridge.

我對自己說,我迷路了。 I said to myself: I'm lost.

天已經完全黑下來了。 It was now completely dark.

除了極遠的天際有一點曖昧的餘光,什麼也辨認不清了。 Apart from an indistinct light on the distant horizon, I couldn't make anything out clearly.

怎麼辦呢? What could I do?

我倒還挺有主意:看來只好等到明天早上再說。 I actually still had an idea: it seemed there was no choice but to wait for light the next morning.

我攀上一個山包,選了一棵樹(不知道是什麼樹),爬了上去,找到一個可以倚靠的枝杈,準備就在這裡過夜了。 I climbed up on to a hill, chose a tree (I don't know what kind it was), climbed up into it, and found a branch I could rest on, and prepared to spend the night there.

我掏出煙來,抽了一枝。 I took out my cigarettes and smoked one.

藉著火柴的微光,看了看四周,榛莽叢雜,落葉滿山。 By the faint light of the match, I could see around me; it was lush with mixed vegetation, and dead leaves covered the hill.

不到一會,只聽見樹下面悉悉悉悉悉……索索索索索…… Before long, I heard a shshshsh, sosososo sound below the tree.

不知是什麼獸物竄來竄去。 I didn't know what animal it was shuffling around.

聽聲音,是一些小野獸,可能是黃鼠狼、果子狸,不是什麼兇猛的大傢伙。 From the noise, it sounded like a few small animals, perhaps yellow weasels or palm raccoons, and not some ferocious great brute.

我頭一次知道山野的黑夜是很不平靜的。 This was the first time I knew that at night the hills were by no means silent.

這些小獸物是不會傷害我的。 Those little animals couldn't hurt me.

但我開始感覺在這裡過夜不是個事情。 But I started to feel that spending the night here was no good thing.

而且天也越來越冷了。 And the air was getting colder and colder.

江西的冬夜雖不似北方一樣酷寒,但是早起看宿草上結著的高高的霜花,便知夜間不會很暖和。 Although the winter in Jiangxi isn't as ruthlessly cold as in the North, if you get up early and look at the high frost on the remaining grass, you'll know that it isn't too warm at night.

不行。 This wasn't going to work.

我想到呼救了。 I thought of calling for help.

我爬下樹來,兩手攏在嘴邊,大聲地呼喊:「喂——有人嗎——?」 I climbed down from the tree, put my hands to the sides of my mouth, and shouted loudly: "Hello? Is anyone there?"

「喂——有人嗎——?」 "Hello? Is anyone there?"

我聽見自己的聲音傳得很遠。 I heard my voice spreading far away.

然而沒有人答應。 But nobody replied.

我又喊: I shouted again:

「喂——有人嗎——?」 "Hello? Is anyone there?"

我聽見幾聲狗叫。 I heard a few barks from a dog.

我大踏步地,筆直地向狗叫的方向走去。 Taking large strides, I walked straight in the direction of the dog's barks.

我不知道腳下走過的是什麼樣的樹叢、山包,我走過一大片農田,田裡一撮一撮幹得發脆的稻樁,我跳過一條小河,筆直地,大踏步地走去。 I don't know what kind of undergrowth or hills I walked across; I walked across a large area of farmland, dotted with the brittle stumps of rice plants, and jumped across a little river, always heading straight ahead with long strides.

我一遇到事,沒有一次像這樣不慌張,這樣冷靜,這樣有決斷。 Of all the times I've had problems, there's never been a time like that when I was that unflustered, cool-headed and resolute.

我看見燈光了! I saw lamplight!

狗激烈地叫起來。 The dog started barking intensely.

一盞馬燈。 A hurricane lamp!

馬燈照出兩個人。 The hurricane lamp illuminated two figures.

一個手裡拿著梭鏢(我明白,這是值夜的民兵),另一個,是把我們從夏家莊領到王家梁的小伙子! One was carrying a launcher and darts (I knew - it was the militia on night duty), and the other was the young lad who had led us over to Wangjia bridge from Xiajia village.

「老汪!你!」 "Old Wang! It's you!"

這是距王家梁約有五里的另一個小村子,叫顧家梁,小伙子是因事到這裡來的。 This was another little village, about five _li_ away from Wangjia bridge, called Gujia bridge; the lad had come here on duty.

他正好陪我一同回去。 It so happened that he could accompany me all the way back.

「走!老汪!」 "Let's go! Lao Wang!"

到了王家梁,幾個積極分子正聚在一家喝水。 At Wangjia bridge, a few energetic members of the group had gathered in a house to drink water.

靜溶和老週一見我進門,騰地一下子站了起來。 As soon as Jing Rong and Old Zhou saw me, they leapt to their feet.

他們的眼睛分明寫著兩個字:老虎。 One word was clearly written in their eyes: tiger.

Further reading

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