The Spring

浩然 :: 著
By Hao Ran




浩然 :: 著

September 3rd, 1979
Shanghai Donghu Road
By Haoran

汉堡包 :: 画

April 24th, 2010
Cambridge, Mass.
Illustrated by Hannibal



Adapted and Translated by Hannibal Taubes

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Explanation of the Contents

Chairman Mao is dead, and the Great Cultural Revolution soon will end: Spring has come to the People's Republic of China. Who would think, already at a time like this, that suddenly it would start to snow! On this day, an official leaves Beijing in his jeep, and on the road meets a girl. She carries a snow-bright, strangely shaped little knife, pursuing her enemy...

(Drawn for a class called Art and Violence in the Cultural Revolution)

(1) 起大早,我们的吉普车从北京出发。开过七十里远的白庙桥,小雪花就开始飞落。大约一个小时以后,北边的山峦,南边的平原,都被涂染了一片洁白。

(1) Waking early, our jeep leaves Beijing. By the time we've reached Baimiao Bridge, seventy kilometers away, small snowflakes have started to flutter down. After another hour, the mountain ridges to the north and the plains to the south have all been smeared with a coat of white.

(2) 司机突然来了个急刹车。他打开车门,朝外边吼一声:“你不想活啦?”

(2) Suddenly the driver brings the car to a screaching halt. He opens the door and shouts out, "Are you trying to kill yourself?"
It's only then that I realize that there's a person standing in the middle of the road with their arms oustretched, wearing a peach-red rain coat. When the car has come to a complete stop, the person says, "Comrades! Give me a lift, please, take me to Bangjun! There's a matter - it's very urgent...!"

(3) 拦车的人是个青年姑娘。她张开的手掌不太大,但每一根指头都很粗,而且带着厚茧。她脚上穿着旧鞋子,却没有穿袜子。从这一切可以判断出,她是个山村姑娘。我说,“让她上来吧。”

(3) The person who's stopped the car is a young woman. Her two outstretched palms are not big, but they're rough, and every finger is covered in thick callous. Her feet are wearing old shoes, and she's not wearing socks. From all this I can guess that she's a girl from the mountain villages. "Let her in," I say to the driver.

(4) 我问,“姑娘,你是什么地方的呀?”
“是降福山农校的 ...”

(4) I ask, "Miss, where are you from?"
"I'm from Jiangfu Mountain agricultural college."
"Have you graduated?"
"I still have a semester."
"Snow in the spring like this - is it bad for the animals?"
"That depends on how you look at it. Snow in the spring can kill harmful insects, which would come out and cause trouble..."

(5) 姑娘坐正了身子。我看见她的衣服内藏有一把雪亮亮,奇形怪状的小刀子。我吓一跳,惊疑地问道,“你带这种东西是干什么用的?”

(5) The girl sits up straight. Beneath her rain-coat is a snow-bright, strangely-shaped little knife. I'm startled, and ask in surprise, "What are you going to do with something like that?"
"It's a weapon," the girl coldly replies.

(6) 我警惕起来了。姑娘朝车子外看一眼,忽然大声地说:“这儿是邦均南路口,我要下车啦!姑娘跳下车,说了一声“谢谢啦!”,向邦均镇奔去。

(6) My vigilance is aroused. The girl glances out the car window, and suddenly says in a loud voice, "This is Bangjun South intersection! I'm getting off." She hops out of the car, says "thank you!" and begins hurrying towards the town.

(7) 司机说,“咱们快去抓住她吧!”
我回答,“不能轻易这样做。先盯住她,看淮了,再商量下一步的对策。” 我和司机就分工,他先到派出所去挂个号,我一个人跟着那个可疑的姑娘。

(7) The driver says, "Quick! Let's go and arrest her!"
I reply, "We can't do it so lightly. First watch her, and whne we've seen enough, we'll discuss our actions for the next step." I separate from the driver; he goes to the police station to register us, I follow the suspicious girl alone, on foot.

(8) 这一天大概是春忙前一个很重要的集日,来到这里赶集的人特别多。那个穿着桃红色雨衣的姑娘,走得很快,马上就消失在流动的人河里。

(8) Today is an important market day before the spring planting season, and a huge number of people have come to attend the fair. The girl in the peach-red raincoat is walking quickly, and she rapidly vanishes into the rushing river of people.

(9) 我走的满头大汗,也没有再发现那姑娘的影子。我转进一条胡同。出了小巷的北口,是个很开阔的牲口市场。左边围着许多人,从里边传出一阵尖厉的猪叫。

(9) I walk until my head is covered in sweat, but I can't catch sight of the girl's figure again. I turn up an side street. At the north end of the alley is a busy animal market. On the left there's a crowd of people surrounding something; from the middle of them comes the sharp, piercing squeal of a pig.

(10) 我不由得过去,挤进圈里。里面是个劁猪的男人,三十左右岁。戴着深度的近视眼镜,穿着很讲究的制服。

(10) I can't help but go over to look. I push my way into the crowd; in the center there's a man castrating pigs. He's about thirty years old, wearing glasses for the deeply nearsighted and a fastidious doctor's robe.

(11) 劁完一头猪,他向刚交了钱的老头说,“老大爷,您这钱,差两毛。”

(11) When he's done with one pig, he says to the old man who's just paid him, "Grandfather, this money's short two mao."
The old man replies with a sigh, "Doctor Huang, I didn't realize it would be this much to have one gelded!"

(12) 突然人们背后传来了一个洪亮的声音:“社员同志们,让我来劁吧!” 我会头一看,正是那个穿着桃红色雨衣的姑娘。“我是降福山农校小组的,今天利用假日,为大伙尽义务。劁了猪,不收半分手术费!”

(12) Suddenly from behind everyone comes a loud and clear voice, "Citizen comrades! Let me castrate the pigs!" I turn my head to look - it's the girl in the peach-red raincoat. "I'm from the Jiangfu Mountain agricultural school work unit! It's my day off and I've come to do serve everyone. I'll geld the pigs, and not accept half a cent of operating fees!"

(13) 我问旁边的老农民,“这穿着雨衣的姑娘是什么人?”

(13) I ask an old peasant beside me, "Who is this girl in the raincoat?"
She replies, "You don't know her? She's a girl from a mountain village. Going back a few generations her family's been destitute peasants, so poor they can't even buy wool socks."

(14) 一个年纪小小的女孩子,能干这行,敢干这行,就很让人吃惊了。但是,正在上农业中学的小青年,为什么要赶集走市来劁猪呢? 我拿定主意,要把这个人弄清楚。

(14) That this little girl could do this - that she dares to do this - is surprising. But why would a young person in agricultural school come into town on the fair day to castrate pigs like this? I come to a decision - I must make this person clear.

(15) 人民都从黄医生的劁场招到姑娘那边来。门前冷落的黄医生说,“她是乡村的女孩子,不行...”。

(15) Everybody moves from Doctor Huang's gelding table over towards the girl. Alone and despondent, Doctor Huang says, "She's just a village girl, she's no good..."
Someone replies, "Who says us villagers aren't any good? What an irritating way of thinking."

(16) 黄医生叫起苦来:“你要再降福山露一手,跑出来夺我的生意,我让了,躲到段甲岭,我还没有站住脚,你又追我到段甲岭,我只好躲到这么远的地方来。可是你,你还想往哪儿挤我?”

(16) Doctor Huang cries out bitterly, "You were showing off at Jiangfu Mountain and had the idea of coming out to seize my business, I let you and I went off to Duanjialing. Before I'd even got on my feet in Duanjialing, you followed me there, and the only thing I could do was come all the way out here. But you...! Where do you want to push me now?"

(17) 姑娘像用快斧子劈开木柴那样一字一句地回答说:“我们要挤垮你!决不给你干这种勾当留下一寸地盘!”

(17) The girl replies word by word like she was chopping wood with a swift axe: "We're going to push you over! You're not going to have one bit of this shady dealing!"

(18) 门前冷落的黄医生说,“人家通过劳动,换取一点手续费,又方便了群众,犯啥法呢?小姑娘,眼下跟过去不一样,我们自由啦!”

(18) The forlorn Dr. Huang says, "A person who works, who takes a little service charges and at the same time conveniences the people - what law is that against? Miss, things aren't like the way they were before! We're free!"

(19) “我不相信有搞歪门邪道的自由!你是拿薪金的国家工作人员,泡病号,开私业,劁猪要高价,这能允许吗?我们到集市管理委员会去,让这儿的人认识认识你的本来面目!”

(19) "I don't believe in the freedom to be dishonest! You're a salary-receiving government employee, claiming to be sick to skip work, taking part in private commerce, and charging a high price for castrating pigs! How can that be allowed? We're going to the market authorities to let these people get to know your true face!"

(20) 我跟司机离开邦均,春天的小雪花在汽车四周纷纷挥撒着。我想起穿着桃红色雨衣的姑娘的关于春天落雪的回答。对于一切害人虫来说,是有被除掉的可能!

(20) The driver and I leave Bangjun, the spring snowflakes scattering away on all sides of our car. I think about what the girl in the peach-red raincoat said about snow in the springtime - it really can get rid of harmful insects!

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Big thanks to Isamar and Min for being models, to Kunming for proofreading, and also to Xiaojing Li/Angela for some pro-bono Chinese-language editing.