《聪明人和傻子和奴才》(The Wise Man, The Fool And The Slave)

9 Nov

“The Wise Man, The Fool And The Slave” by Lu Xun. Translation is my own.

“Sir!” He lamented, tears streaming from the corners of his eyes. “You know – people don’t have to experience all I’ve gone through. Every day, I don’t know where my next meal is coming from, and the meal I do get is just sorghum. Pigs and dogs don’t want to eat this, not even a small bowl’s worth …”

“That is really moving,” said the wise man, also sadly.

“Of course!” The slave was happy. “But doing work tires me out: early in the morning, I carry water; late at night, I cook food. In the morning, I’m running around; at night, I mill flour. I wash clothes in the morning, hold the umbrella when it’s raining; heat the stove in the winter, and fan [my master] in the summer. I have to prepare white-ear soup all day, and I wait for the master to come back from gambling and the money never comes. Sometimes he even flogs me.”

“Aye, aye…” sighed the smart man, whose eyes were red around the rims, as if he were about to tear up.

“Sir! I can’t go through the motions anymore. I want to find another way. But what other way is there?”

“I … I think your lot will improve.”

“Really? I hope so. I’ve already complained so much to you, and have received your sympathy and comforting words. I feel so much better already. Apparently, reason hasn’t crumbled to pieces just yet.”

However, not long after, he felt ill at ease again and looked for someone else to vent to.

“Sir!” He sobbed as he spoke. “You know – my home is worse than a pig sty. The master doesn’t take me as a human; he treats his dog better than me.”

“Son of a … !” The man began to shout, which surprised the slave. This man was a fool.

“Sir, I live in a rundown little room that’s dank and dark. Plus, there are bed bugs that bite like mad when I sleep. It smells awful, and there isn’t a single window.”

“You can’t ask your master to open a window for you?”

“How could I?”

“Well, then … you just take me there!”

The fool followed the slave just outside his home, and then hit and destroyed part of the mud wall.

“Sir! What are you doing?!” He was shocked.

“I’m giving you a window.”

“That’s unacceptable! My master is going to scold me!”

“Who gives?” And he continued to break apart the wall.

“Somebody! Come! A bandit is tearing down our house! Come quick! Hurry up, or there’ll be a hole soon enough!” He wept, rolling on the ground.

A crowd of slaves gathered around, and sent the fool out of town.

After hearing the yelps, the master slowly came out at last.

“There was a bandit who wanted to tear down our house, but I loudly protested, and together, we all threw him out,” he proudly said.

“Not bad.” The master thus praised him.

That day, a lot of visitors came to express their regards. The wise man was among them.

“Sir. The master praised me, for I was meritorious. Before, you said I’d be on the up and up, and I think you had foresight.” He said this, imbued with hope.

“But of course,” the wise man joyfully replied.

奴才总不过是寻人诉苦。只要这样,也只能这样。有一日,他遇到一个聪明人。

“先生!”他悲哀地说,眼泪联成一线,就从眼角上直流下来。“你知道的。我所过的简直不是人的生活。吃的是一天未必有一餐,这一餐又不过是高粱皮,连猪狗都不要吃的,尚且只有一小碗……”

“这实在令人同情。”聪明人也惨然说。

“可不是么!”他高兴了,“可是做工是昼夜无休息的:清早担水晚烧饭,上午跑街夜磨面,晴洗衣裳雨张伞,冬烧汽炉夏打扇。半夜要煨银耳,侍候主人耍钱;头钱从来没分,有时还挨皮鞭……”

“唉唉……”聪明人叹息着,眼圈有些发红,似乎要下泪。

“先生!我这样是敷衍不下去的。我总得另外想法子。可是什么法子呢?……”

“我想,你总会好起来……”

“是么?但愿如此。可是我对先生诉了冤苦,又得你的同情和慰安,已经舒坦得不少了。可见天理没有灭绝。……”

但是,不几日,他又不平起来了,仍然寻人去诉苦。

“先生!”他流着眼泪说,“你知道的。我住的简直比猪窠还不如。主人并不将我当人;他对他的叭儿狗还要好到几万倍……”

“混帐!”那人大叫起来,使他吃惊了。那人是一个傻子。

“先生,我住的只是一间破小屋,又湿,又阴,满是臭虫,睡下去就咬得真可以。秽气冲着鼻子,四面又没有一个窗……”

“你不会要你的主人开一个窗的么?”

“这怎么行?……”

“那么,你带我去看去!”

傻子跟奴才到他屋外,动手就砸那泥墙。

“先生!你干什么?”他大惊地说。

“我给你打开一个窗洞来。”

“这不行!主人要骂的!”

“管他呢!”他仍然砸。

“人来呀!强盗在毁咱们的屋子了!快来呀!迟一点可要打出窟窿来了!……”他哭嚷着,在地上团团地打滚。

一群奴才都出来了,将傻子赶走。

听到了喊声,慢慢地最后出来的是主人。

“有强盗要来毁咱们的屋子,我首先叫喊起来,大家一同把他赶走了。”他恭敬而得胜地说。

“你不错。”主人这样夸奖他。

这一天就来了许多慰问的人,聪明人也在内。

“先生。这回因为我有功,主人夸奖了我了。你先前说我总会好起来,实在是有先见之明……”他大有希望似的高兴地说。

“可不是么……”聪明人也代为高兴似的回答他。

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