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Topic-icon 詩詞古文英譯集帖

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2018-04-15 21:31 #401 海外逸士
海外逸士 回复: 詩詞古文英譯集帖
Chapter 27

Linda went alongside the stream and soon saw a grassland. She walked on the soft grass, humming her favorite American pop songs. All at once she was face to face with a cobra within five feet. She recognized it because she had often seen it on television. She was afraid to stir as she had been told what she should do before a cobra, which was seemingly about to attack. She had only been told to stand still and did not know what to do next.
Just at the critical moment, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a mystic tornado came. It carried Linda away into the air. She was in panic, but still kept calm. At length the tornado subsided and Linda was falling. She had on the dress a Chinese girl had given her. The sleeves of it were big and loose; the nether part was like a skirt. Linda spread her arms like the wings of a bird and the skirt part was blown open like a parachute. She was not very high when the tornado had let her go and so the pull of the gravity was not strong. Soon she descended in a square on her feet.
There were some elder women sitting outdoors. Their houses were made of irregular stones, one heaped upon another, but were steady enough and would not crumble. They looked up when Linda flew down from the mid-air. They thought she was a goddess from the heaven. At that time, most people were superstitious. They believed that only a goddess could come down from the above. So they all fell on their knees and kowtowed to Linda.
Linda did not know what it meant and what she should do until she heard them calling her “Our Goddess! Welcome, our Goddess! Pray, bless our tribe!” Then they crawled over to Linda and kissed her bare feet one after another, her shoes being lost when she had been carried across the air.
This was a unique minority, different from other minorities. It was ruled by women while others were governed by men. A lady chieftain ruled the tribe. Men in this minority must do all the work and obeyed the women. The husband had no say in the household and must listen to the wife.
One of the women was the chieftain. She said, "Goddess, pray come in!" Linda did not say anything and walked into the house, ensued by the women still on all fours. It was their tradition that they must always on their knees before a goddess to show their esteem and homage.
The tribe had built a temple to worship the goddess their ancestors created from imagination, or maybe, from a beautiful girl as the model. By coincidence, the statue of the goddess was gilded to the long hair, which matched Linda’s long golden hair. Therefore, they were all sure that it was the goddess herself that came down from heaven to bless them.
There were two main rooms in it; the middle room served as dining and living room and the lateral room on the left as the bedroom; the storeroom and kitchen affixed on the right side. There was a large armchair in the middle room set against the back wall. It was generally occupied by the chieftain and now Linda was begged to sit in it. She would be worshipped by all the members of the tribe. The chieftain had issued an order that the whole tribe gather in this room.
According to Chinese historical records and books, there had been some small countries under the reign of the female. But there are no detailed chronicles about most of them. Only one has a little something we know. This one was called East Female State. There was a West Female State that we know nothing more about except the name. The legend said that there was a hot spring and the queen liked to bath in it, waited on by male concubines. The women in this country were all beautiful, which was the cause that this country perished. It was so said.
In the seventh century, the Tibetans invaded this country. The queen was pro-Tang-Dynasty (618—907 A.D.) and so sent an emergency message to the Tang emperor in hopes that they would send troops to protect her, but Tang Dynasty was a great distance away while Tibet was very close. When the Tibetans occupied their territory, they had to flee to the present location, but they could not establish a state there. They lived as a tribe and the queen turned to be the chieftain to hide from the invaders and to elude further harm to their people.
The tribe members were summoned to the house where Linda was in, but the house was too small to hold all of them. So only some important ladies crawled in to kowtow to their goddess and also kissed her feet. Their belief was that if they could touch the goddess, they could get blessing directly from her. But they could not use their hands to touch the goddess. It would be disrespectful. And they could not touch any part of the goddess. So it would be in the highest regard to use their lips to touch the feet of the goddess. It was how their ritual had been set up.
Most of the members were prostrating outside and kept kowtowing. Linda did not know how to react and just let them do whatever they were doing. She was indulging in her own daydreaming.
At last they stopped kowtowing, but still knelt there. Then at the signal of the chieftain, everyone crawled out backwards, because they thought that it was also disrespectful to show their buttocks to the goddess. The people outside had already dispersed after kowtowing.
One girl of about thirteen was left to wait on the goddess. Although the girl still knelt before Linda, but she kept her upper torso upright and looked at Linda in the face, so naively.
Linda felt relieved when all the people were gone. She had never had such experience before, of course, since she was not a goddess. She even doubted that a real goddess could have had such experience if there were goddesses in heaven.
“What’s your name?” Linda asked the girl.
“My Goddess can call me Danba.”
“A nice name.” Linda smiled at her.
“Can my Goddess tell me something that happened in heaven?” The girl implored.
Linda was totally amazed that the girl should ask such a question. How could she answer it? What could she answer? She sat there motionless like being spellbound.
The girl looked at Linda, guessing what the goddess would tell her. As the goddess was taking time thinking, she must be searching for some intriguing stories for her. There must have been a lot of stories in heaven as the goddesses had lived since the beginning of the world.
Many ideas were spinning in Linda’s head like the wheel of fortune. She could not be certain which to grasp. Suddenly a wonderful notion struck her. “Why not tell her some science stories? Like how the world began.” She loved to study science at school.
“Okay, I tell you the story from the beginning. Do you know how the world began?”
“No.” Danba said laconically, looking up at Linda from her position on her knees.
“Very long long long ago in the universe—” She was interrupted.
“Pardon me, my Goddess, what is the universe?” Danba had keen curiosity.
“The sun, the stars and our earth are all in the universe. It encompasses everything.”
“Even the goddesses?” The teenager asked, tilting her head to the right.
“Of course. Or where do you think the goddesses are living?”
Danba was silent, waiting with her eyes opened large for Linda to continue.
“There was a ball in the universe—” She was interrupted again.
“Where the ball come from?” Danba asked.
That was a tough question. Even scientists cannot answer it. If scientists cannot tell where the ball came from, how can they be sure there was a ball there in the universe and it exploded? But she could not avoid answering it to the girl even though the scientists do. Should a goddess know everything? Linda must invent some kind of story.
“The ball originally belonged to the goddesses. They often played with it. One day a goddess kicked the ball hard into the depth of the universe and it exploded. People call it the Big Bang. Then time began from that moment.” Then Linda thought, “Should I say time began to be counted from that moment?”
Danba cut in here, “No time before the Big Bang? How can the goddesses tell time if there’s no time before the Big what?”
“The Big Bang. The goddesses don’t need time. When they feel hungry, they eat ambrosia; when they are thirsty, they drink nectar; when they are drowsy, they fall asleep.” Do goddesses ever need to sleep? Linda was not sure about it herself. Anyway, it was only a story told to a teenager.
“After the Big Bang, suns, stars and planets formed as we see now in the sky.”
Danba listened attentively. She had never heard such things before.
“Do you know how there sprang out human beings on earth?” Linda asked. Danba shook her head. “The human beings originally evolved from microorganisms.” Linda explained as best as she could. But from the look of the girl Linda knew it was beyond her comprehension. “Oops!” Linda thought, “Too complicated.”
“Let’s put it this way.” Linda considered for a while and went on, “Do you know lizard?”
‘Yes.” Danba replied, “A lot around here.”
“Bird evolved from lizard and—” Linda was interrupted once more.
“Pray, my Goddess, what is ‘evolved’?”
“Change. Lizard changed into bird.” She must choose common words to make her understand.
“But, my Goddess, I never see any lizard changed into a bird.”
“The process was very slow. It changed little by little. It might take millions of years to complete the change from lizard to bird.”
“Suppose the front claws of the lizard changed into the wings. How did they actually change?”
Now Linda was cornered. She did not know how to reply. The theory of evolution did not give such particulars. If no details are provided for a theory or a plan, the theory or plan is meaningless just like the blueprint of a machine: if there is only an outline and no details on the blueprint, how can the machine be made? This blueprint is senseless. She thought.
“How about the long tail of the lizard? The bird’s tail has only long feathers. How the lizard’s tail changed into the bird’s tail?” Another tough question.
However, she had to say something to the girl. “As I said the change happened little by little. First, the front claws turned into something between the claw and the wing.” She stopped there. Suddenly she had a question herself. Why did we never get a fossil of the transitional forms in the changing process from the reptile to the bird as the evolution took millions of years? If there is no fossil to prove it, how can the theory be true? Linda thought.

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