Hello World! Hello Monkey Mandarin! This is the first post on my new Monkey Mandarin website. Before you start with our recurring Chinese reading practice series, you may want to read another article I wrote entitled how to get the best out of the reading practice exercises on the Monkey Blog.
For today's post, I'm going to kick off a series of posts themed around the famous Ancient Greek storyteller, Aesop. I decided to start you guys off with Aesop's Fables because these stories are usually of reasonable length and are relatively easy to read and comprehend. I rate today's story as Beginner level reading and boy, it sure seems like Aesop doesn't believe in happy endings!
Note that the basic structure of all our reading exercises will be: an introduction including some of my thoughts on the story, followed by a section where I break down the key vocabulary of the original Chinese text, and lastly showing the Chinese article side-by-side with my English version of it (click on the Show/Hide button to toggle the English translation).
If you have any questions or comments or any story requests, leave a message in the comments box below.
Alright, I'm excited with this first post, so let's get started!
蛇 (shé) - snake
冻僵(dòng jiāng) - 冻 means frozen, 僵 means stiff. When you combine these two words together, it means cold to the point of frozen.
可怜(ké lián) - pitiful/pathetic
温暖(wēn nuǎn) - warm
本性(běn xìng) - 'human' nature, natural instincts. In Chinese, there is an idiom called 本性难移 (běn xìng nán yí) which means it is hard to change people's natural character.
怜悯(lián mǐn) - also means pity, this is a verb
仁至义尽(rén zhì yì jìn) -仁 means humanity, 至 means till the end, 义 means righteousness, 尽 means finish; this idiom means you do your best to treat someone with utmost duty and righteousness, to the point of finishing, but they do not appreciate, so you could not do anything else more in the end. So for example this is a sample sentence: 我对你仁至义尽 which means "I've done all these good things towards you, now this is the end, I'm not going to do anymore, I can't really do anymore."
The Snake was revived by the warmth, and soon regained consciousness. [Having regained consciousness] and resuming its natural instincts (true to it's nature), it bit its benefactor, inflicting upon him a fatal wound.
As he drew his last breath [the literally translation is "at death's door"], he said to those standing around: Damn it (I deserve to die)! I took pity on a vile creature, so I deserve what I got. You all should learn from my fate not to take pity on a scoundrel!
The moral of the story is: even if you treat an evil person with your full heart with extreme benevolence, their inherent evil nature is not going to change.