~ 1. 大闹天宫, Uproar in Heaven
The stone monkey, Sun Wukong, before he journeyed on a quest to find the Buddhist Paradise with the monk Sui Tang(1), was a mountain king. His mountain was called Flowerfruit Mountain, and all year round green trees stirred gently in the wind, brooks babbled, fresh flowers bloomed, and fruit overflowed. Sun Wukong was head of the monkeys who lived there, extremely free and cheerful.(2)
Only, small devils often came to cause trouble, so Sun Wukong trained the little monkeys in swordplay. One day, they were picking ripe(3) fruit and started to train, and it was the liveliest scene. Sun Wukong saw this, and having a hankering, shed his king’s mantle(4) and shouted ‘Come get my ringed sword!’ Holding his sword, he showed it off, drawing it like an immortal who had come to learn martial arts in-depth(5), and the many confused little monkeys gleefully applauded.
Immediately, the sword unexpectedly broke. If it was an average sword, which should be able to withstand life, how much must have Sun Wukong used it?(6)
‘Oh dear, my monkeys, there isn’t a balanced(7) weapon in existence!’ Sun Wukong was very disappointed.
(This is Hayley’s English translation of a book adaptation of the animated film. For the text and my notes, see below. – 潶莉)
(1)I am unfamiliar with this construction, but I guess that 在 + 没有 + (clause) + 前 is a variant of the 有 existence sentence, indicating a place in time (hence the 在) before (hence the 前) the clause, in this case, going with Sui Tang on the journey to the West, has transpired. 没有, it doesn’t exist yet. If anybody could confirm that, I’d be much obliged, I can’t find it in any books.
(2)I don’t know how to determine here whether it’s Sun Wukong or the monkeys who are cheerful.
(3)My dictionary says that 完 means “finished,” but I can’t imagine it meaning anything other than “ripe” here given the context — what else would “completed fruit” mean?
(4) I think 把 is marking 王袍 as the direct object here, but I don’t understand why 一 is there. In general I need to read more about 把 constructions because whenever they happen, I’m usually confused.
(5) Yeah… Really unsure about this… First, how to translate 拿, because in the sentence Wukong speaks, it seems more like “come TAKE my sword”, sort of like, “come and get it!” But the sentence immediately after it seems more like “hold,” and my dictionary lists a LOT of meanings, and none of them seem to fit both sentences well. I am also unsure about how 里 is supposed to be translated here, so I took a guess. Inside study? In-depth study? I don’t know.
(6) This seemed like the author was asking a rhetorical question, so I guessed.
(7)称 is balanced, my dictionary says, but I’m not sure why it’s 称手. Maybe it’s balanced specifically for hand tools, weapons, etc., or maybe something else grammatically is happening, I’m not sure.
Neat vocab/expressions that stuck out to me from this passage:
“依依” and “潺潺” — charming onomatopoeias for leaves in the wind and running water;
“一年四季” : all year round — kind of literally “a year’s four seasons”;
“纷纷”: an adjective meaning both numerous and disorganized — I don’t think there is an English equivalent, at least not for the numerous part. Ha, maybe you could translate it “willy-nilly.”
“俺”: apparently a Northern dialect for “I.” This, coupled with the fact that Sun Wukong is using a ringed broadsword, makes me think that he’s supposed to be Mongolian?
“件”: Same measure word for weapons as for shirts and dresses, ha… I guess a weapon is (or used to be) something you wear.