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Chinese Text Project
Simplified Chinese version
Show translation:[None] [English]
-> -> -> In which an introductory story of a good scholar points the moral of the book

《说楔子敷陈大义 借名流隐括全文 - In which an introductory story of a good scholar points the moral of the book》

Library Resources
1 说楔子敷... :
人生南北多歧路,将相神仙,也要凡人做。百代兴亡朝复暮,江风吹倒前朝树。
功名富贵无凭据,费尽心情,总把流光误。浊酒三杯沉醉去,水流花谢知何处。
In which an introductory...:
Men in their lives go on different ways;
Generals, statesmen, saints and even immortals
Begin as ordinary people. Dynasties rise and fall,
Mornings change to evenings; winds from the river
Bring down old trees. From a former reign;
And fame, riches, rank may vanish without a trace.
Then aspire not for these, wasting your days;
But drink and be merry, for who knows
Where the waters carry the blossom cast over them?

2 说楔子敷... :
这一首词,也是个老生常谈。不过说人生富贵功名,是身外之物;但世人一见了功名,便舍著性命去求他,及至到手之后,味同嚼蜡。自古及今,那一个是看得破的!
In which an introductory...:
The idea expressed in this poem is the commonplace one that in human life riches, rank, success and fame are external things. Men will risk their lives in the search for them; yet once they have them within their grasp, the taste is no better than chewed tallow. But from ancient times till now, how many have accepted this?

3 说楔子敷... :
虽然如此说,元朝末年,也曾出了一个嵚崎磊落的人。这人姓王名冕,在诸暨县乡村里住。七岁上死了父亲,他母亲做些针黹,供给他到村学堂里去读书。看看三个年头,王冕已是十岁了。母亲唤他到面前来说道:“儿啊,不是我有心要耽误你。只因你父亲亡后,我一个寡妇人家,只有出去的,没有进来的;年岁不好,柴米又贵;这几件旧衣服和些旧家伙,当的当了,卖的卖了;只靠著我替人家做些针黹生活寻来的钱,如何供得你读书。如今没奈何,把你雇在间壁人家放牛,每月可以得他几钱银子,你又有现成饭吃,只在明日就要去了。”王冕道:“娘说的是。我在学堂里坐著,心里也闷;不如往他家放牛,倒快活些。假如我要读书,依旧可以带几本去读。”当夜商议定了。
In which an introductory...:
However, at the end of the Yuan Dynasty a really remarkable man was born. His name was Wang Mian, and he lived in a village in Zhuji County in Zhejiang. When he was seven his father died, but his mother took in sewing so that he could study at the village school. Soon three years had passed and Wang Mian was ten. His mother called him to her and said, “Son, it's not that I want to stand in your way. But since your father died and left me a widow, I have had nothing coming in. Times are hard, and fuel and rice are expensive. Our old clothes and our few sticks of furniture have been pawned or sold. We have nothing to live on but what I make by my sewing. How can I pay for your schooling? There's nothing for it but to set you to work looking after our neighbour's buffalo. You'll be making a little money every month, and you'll get your meals there too. You start tomorrow.”
“Yes, mother,” said Wang Mian. “I find sitting in school boring anyway. I'd rather look after buffaloes. If I want to study, I can take a few books along to read.” So that very night the matter was decided.

4 说楔子敷... :
第二日,母亲同他到间壁秦老家。秦老留著他母子两个吃了早饭,牵出一条水牛来交与王冕,指著门外道:“就在我这大门过去两箭之地,便是七泖湖,湖边一带绿草,各家的牛都在那里打睡。又有几十夥合抱的垂杨树,十分阴凉。牛要渴了,就在湖边上饮水。小哥,你只在这一带顽耍,不必远去。我老汉每日两餐小菜饭是不少的,每日早上,还折两个钱与你买点心吃。只是百事勤谨些,休嫌怠慢。”他母亲谢了扰要回家去,王冕送出门来。母亲替他理理衣服,口里说道:“你在此须要小心,休惹人说不是;早出晚归,免我悬望。”王冕应诺,母亲含著两眼眼泪去了。
In which an introductory...:
The next morning his mother took him to the Qin family next door. Old Qin gave them some breakfast, and when they had finished he led out a water buffalo and made it over to Wang Mian.
“Two bow shots from my gate is the lake,” he said, pointing outside. “And by the lake is a belt of green where all the buffaloes of the village browse. There are a few dozen big willows there too, so that it is quiet, shady and cool; and if the buffalo is thirsty it can drink at the water's edge. You can play there, son; but don't wander off. I shall see that you get rice and vegetables twice a day; and each morning I shall give you a few coppers to buy a snack to eat while you're out. Only you must work well. I hope you'll find this satisfactory.”
Wang Mian's mother thanked Old Qin and turned to go home. Her son saw her to the gate, and there she straightened his clothes for him.
“Mind now, don't give them any reason to find fault with you,” she charged him. “Go out early and come back at dusk. I don't want to have to worry about you.”
Wang Mian nodded assent. Then, with tears in her eyes, she left him.

5 说楔子敷... :
王冕自此只在秦家放牛,每到黄昏,回家跟著母亲歇宿。或遇秦家煮些腌鱼、腊肉给他吃,他便拿块荷叶包了来家,递与母亲。每日点心钱,他也不买了吃,聚到一两个月,便偷个空,走到村学堂里,见那闯学堂的书客,就买几本旧书,日逐把牛栓了,坐在柳荫树下看。
In which an introductory...:
From this time onwards, Wang Mian looked after Old Qin's buffalo; and every evening he went home to sleep. Whenever the Qin family gave him salted fish or meat, he would wrap it up in a lotus leaf and take it to his mother. He also saved the coppers he was given each day to buy a snack with, and every month or so would seize an opportunity to go to the village school to buy some old books from the book-vendor making his rounds. Every day, when he had tethered the buffalo, he would sit down beneath the willows and read.

6 说楔子敷... :
弹指又过了三四年。王冕看书,心下也著实明白了。那日,正是黄梅时候,天气烦躁。王冕放牛倦了,在绿草地上坐著。须臾,浓云密布,一阵大雨过了。那黑云边上镶著白云,渐渐散去,透出一派日光来,照耀得满湖通红。湖边上山,青一块,紫一块,绿一块。树枝上都像水洗过一番的,尤其绿得可爱。湖里有十来枝荷花,苞子上清水滴滴,荷叶上水珠滚来滚去。王冕看了一回,心里想道:“古人说:‘人在画图中’,其实不错。可惜我这里没有一个画工,把这荷花画他几枝,也觉有趣。”又心里想道:“天下那有个学不会的事,我何不自画他几枝。”
In which an introductory...:
So three or four years quickly passed. Wang Mian studied and began to see things clearly. One sultry day in early summer, tired after leading the buffalo to graze, he sat down on the grass. Suddenly dense clouds gathered, and there was a heavy shower of rain. Then the black storm clouds fringed with fleecy white drifted apart, and the sun shone through, bathing the whole lake in crimson light. The hills by the lake were blue, violet and emerald. The trees, freshly washed by the rain, were a lovelier green than ever. Crystal drops were dripping from a dozen lotus buds in the lake, while beads of water rolled about the leaves.
As Wang Mian watched, he thought, “The ancients said, 'In a beautiful scene a man feels he is part of a picture.' How true! What a pity there is no painter here to paint these sprays of lotus. That would be good.” Then he reflected, “There's nothing a man can't learn. Why shouldn't I paint them myself?”

7 说楔子敷... :
正存想间,只见远远的一个夯汉,挑了一担食盒来,手里提著一瓶酒,食盒上挂著一块毡条,来到柳树下,将毡铺了,食盒打开。那边走过三个人来,头带方巾,一个穿宝蓝夹纱直裰,两人穿元色直裰,都有四五十岁光景,手摇白纸扇,缓步而来。那穿宝蓝直裰的是个胖子,来到树下,尊那穿元色的一个胡子坐在上面,那一个瘦子坐在对席;他想是主人了,坐在下面把酒来斟。
In which an introductory...:
Just then, he saw in the distance a fellow carrying two hampers over his shoulder and a bottle of wine in his hand. Hanging from one hamper was a rug. The man spread the rug under the willows, and opened the hampers. Behind him came three men in scholars' square caps, all some forty to fifty years old. Two were dressed in dark grey, and the third in a blue linen gown. Fanning themselves with white paper fans, they advanced slowly. The one in blue was fat. When he reached the willows he asked one of the men in grey, one with a long beard, to take the seat of honour, and another, a thin one, to sit on the rug opposite. He himself was evidently the host, for he sat in the lowest place and poured the wine. They began eating.

8 说楔子敷... :
吃了一回,那胖子开口道:“危老先生回来了。新买了住宅,比京里钟楼街的房子还大些,值得二千两银子。因老先生要买,房主人让了几十两银卖了,图个名望体面。前月初十搬家,太尊、县父母都亲自到门来贺,留著吃酒到二三更天。街上的人,那一个不敬。”那瘦子道:“县尊是壬午举人,乃危老先生门生,这是该来贺的。”那胖子道:“敝亲家也是危老先生门生,而今在河南做知县。前日小婿来家,带二斤乾鹿肉来见惠,这一盘就是了。这一回小婿再去,托敝亲家写一封字来,去晋谒晋谒危老先生;他若肯下乡回拜,也免得这些乡户人家,放了驴和猪在你我田里吃粮食。”那瘦子道:“危老先生要算一个学者了。”那胡子说道:“听见前日出京时,皇上亲自送出城外,携著手走了十几步,危老先生再三打躬辞了,方才上轿回去。看这光景,莫不是就要做官?”三人你一句,我一句,说个不了。
In which an introductory...:
After a while, the fat man said, “Mr. Wei has come back. His new house is even bigger than the one in Bell Tower Street in the capital. The price was two thousand taels of silver, but, because the purchaser was so distinguished, the owner allowed him several dozen taels discount for the sake of the credit he would get from this transaction. On the tenth of last month Mr. Wei moved in. The prefect and the county magistrate called to congratulate him, and stayed there feasting until nearly midnight. There is nobody who does not respect him.”
“The magistrate used to be Mr. Wei's pupil,” said the thin man. “It was only right for him to pay his respects.”
“My son-in-law's father is an old pupil of Mr. Wei's, too,” said the fat man. “He has a post as magistrate now in Henan Province. The day before yesterday my son-in-law came to visit me, bringing two catties of dried venison—that's it on this dish. When he goes back, he's going to ask his father to write a letter of introduction so that I can call on Mr. Wei. Then, if Mr. Wei condescends to come to the village to return the visit, the villagers won't dare to turn their donkeys and pigs loose to eat the grain in our fields any more.”
“Mr. Wei is a real scholar,” said the thin man.
“Recently, when he left the capital,” said the man with the beard, “I heard the emperor himself escorted him out of the city, taking his hand and walking nearly twenty steps with him. It was only after Mr. Wei had repeatedly bowed and entreated him to go no further that the emperor got into his sedan-chair and returned to the city. Judging by this, Mr. Wei will probably soon become a great official.”
The three men talked on and on.

9 说楔子敷... :
王冕见天色晚了,牵了牛回去。自此,聚的钱不买书了,托人向城里买些胭脂铅粉之类,学画荷花。初时画得不好,画到三个月之后,那荷花,精神、颜色无一不像,只多著一张纸,就像是湖里长的;又像才从湖里摘下来,贴在纸上的。乡间人见画得好,也有拿钱来买的。王冕得了钱,买些好东好西,孝敬母亲。一传两,两传三,诸暨一县都晓得是一个画没骨花卉的名笔,争著来买。到了十七八岁,不在秦家了,每日画几笔画,读古人的诗文,渐渐不愁衣食,母亲心里欢喜。
In which an introductory...:
Wang Mian saw that it was growing late, and led the buffalo back. After that, Wang Mian no longer spent his savings on books, but asked someone to buy paints for him in the city, and learnt to paint lotus flowers. At first he did not do too well, but after three months he succeeded in capturing the very essence and shades of colour of the lotus. Though he painted on paper, his flowers seemed to be growing in the water, or as if freshly plucked from the lake and placed on a scroll. When the villagers saw how well he painted, some even bought his pictures. And when Wang Mian had money he bought good things for his mother. One person told another, until the whole of Zhuji County knew that he was a famous flower painter, and people vied with each other in their eagerness to buy. By the time he was eighteen he had stopped working for Old Qin, and spent every day doing some painting or reading old poems and essays. By degrees he no longer had to worry about his livelihood, and his mother was happy.

10 说楔子敷... :
这王冕天性聪明,年纪不满二十岁,就把那天文、地理,经史上的大学问,无一不贯通。但他性情不同:既不求官爵,又不交纳朋友,终日闭户读书。又在楚辞图上看见画的屈原衣冠,他便自造一顶极高的帽子,一件极阔的衣服。遇著花明柳媚的时节,把一乘牛车载了母亲,他便戴了高帽,穿了阔衣,执著鞭子,口里唱著歌曲,在乡村镇上,以及湖边,到处顽耍,惹的乡下孩子们三五成群跟著他笑,他也不放在意下。只有隔壁秦老,虽然务农,却是个有意思的人;因自小看见他长大,如此不俗,所以敬他,爱他,时时和他亲热,邀在草堂里坐著说话儿。
In which an introductory...:
Wang Mian had genius. While still in his teens, he mastered the whole field of astronomy, geography, the classics and history. He was, however, eccentric. He did not look for an official post, and did not even have any friends. All day he studied behind closed doors; and when he saw in an edition of the poems of Chu Yuan a picture of the poet's costume, he made himself a very high hat and a loose flowing gown. In the fresh and flowering spring he would take his mother out in a buffalo cart, and, dressed in his high hat and loose gown, flourishing the whip and singing songs, would drive all over the countryside and around the lake. Small groups of village children would tag after him, laughing; but he did not mind them. Only his neighbour, Old Qin, realized how remarkable he was; for Old Qin was an intelligent man, though a peasant, and he had seen Wang Mian grow up. He respected and loved Wang Mian, and often asked him to his thatched cottage to talk with him.

11 说楔子敷... :
一日,正和秦老坐著,只见外边走进一个人来,头带瓦楞帽,身穿青布衣服。秦老迎接,叙礼坐下。这人姓翟,是诸暨县一个头役,又是买办。因秦老的儿子秦大汉拜在他名下,叫他乾爷,所以常时下乡来看亲家。秦老慌忙叫儿子烹茶,杀鸡、煮肉款留他;就要王冕相陪。彼此道过姓名。那翟买办道:“只位王相公,可就是会画没骨花的么?”秦老道:“便是了。亲家,你怎得知道?”翟买办道:“县里人那个不晓得。因前日本县老爷吩咐:要画二十四副花卉册页送上司,此事交在我身上。我闻有王相公的大名,故此一径来寻亲家。今日有缘,遇著王相公,是必费心大笔画一画。在下半个月后,下乡来取。老爷少不得还有几两润笔的银子,一并送来。”秦老在傍,著实撺掇。王冕屈不过秦老的情,只得应诺了。回家用心用意,画了二十四副花卉,都题了诗在上面。翟头役禀过了本官,那知县时仁,发出二十四两银子来。翟买办扣克了十二两,只拿十二两银子送与王冕,将册页取去。时知县又办了几样礼物,送与危素,作候问之礼。
In which an introductory...:
One day Wang Mian was sitting in Old Qin's cottage when a man wearing a bailiff's cap and blue cloth gown came in. Old Qin welcomed him, and after an exchange of courtesies they sat down. This newcomer's name was Zhai. He was a county runner and also a bailiff, but since Old Qin's son was his godchild he often came to the village to visit their family. Old Qin hastily called his son to make tea, kill a chicken and cook some meat to entertain the bailiff, and asked Wang Mian to accompany them.
When Bailiff Zhai heard Wang Mian's name, he asked, “Is this Mr. Wang the flower painter?”
“Yes,” said Old Qin. “How did you get to know of him?”
“Is there anyone in the county who doesn't know him?” retorted the bailiff. “The other day the county magistrate commissioned me to get twenty-four paintings of flowers to send to a superior. Knowing Mr. Wang's great reputation, I've come straight here; and now I'm lucky enough to meet Mr. Wang himself.” Then he turned to Wang Mian and said: “I must trouble you to do some paintings. In two weeks I shall come to fetch them, bringing the payment from Magistrate Shi.”
Old Qin pressed Wang Mian to consent and, to please the old man, he agreed.
He went home and took infinite pains to paint twenty-four pictures of flowers, each with a poem appended. Bailiff Zhai reported his meeting with Wang Mian to the magistrate, who gave him twenty-four taels of silver. Of this sum Zhai appropriated half, giving twelve taels only to Wang Mian. He took the flower album away with him, and then the magistrate sent it with some other presents to Mr. Wei.

12 说楔子敷... :
危素受了礼物,只把这本册页看了又看,爱玩不忍释手。次日,备了一席酒,请时知县来家致谢。当下寒暄已毕,酒过数巡,危素道:“前日承老父台所惠册页花卉,还是古人的呢,还是现在人画的?”时知县不敢隐瞒,便道:“这就是门生治下一个乡下农民,叫做王冕,年纪也不甚大。想是才学画几笔,难入老师的法眼。”
In which an introductory...:
When Mr. Wei accepted the gifts, the album alone attracted his attention. He looked at the paintings again and again, liking them so much that he could scarcely take his eyes off them. The next day he invited Magistrate Shi to a feast to thank him. They exchanged greetings, and drank several cups of wine.
“Yesterday I received your gift of a flower album,” said Mr. Wei. “Is it the work of an old master or of a contemporary?”
Not daring to conceal the truth, the magistrate told him, “It was painted by a peasant in one of the villages in my county. His name is Wang Mian, and he is quite young. I believe he has just learnt to paint; but his work is unworthy of your distinguished notice.”

13 说楔子敷... :
危素叹道:“我学生出门久了,故乡有如此贤士,竟坐不知,可为惭愧。此兄不但才高,胸中见识,大是不同,将来名位不在你我之下。不知老父台可以约他来此相会一会么?”时知县道:“这个何难,门生出去,即遣人相约。他听见老师相爱,自然喜出望外了。”说罢,辞了危素,回到衙门,差翟买办持个侍生帖子去约王冕。
In which an introductory...:
Mr. Wei sighed and said, “I left home so long ago that, though my native place has produced so great a man, I did not know it. I am ashamed. He shows not only remarkable skill but exceptional insight, and in future his fame and rank will at least equal ours. I wonder if you would invite him to pay me a visit?”
“What could be simpler?” replied Magistrate Shi. “When I leave I shall send a man to invite him. He will be only too pleased to come.”
When Magistrate Shi had taken his leave of Mr. Wei, he returned to his yamen and ordered Bailiff Zhai to take an invitation card couched in most respectful terms to Wang Mian.

14 说楔子敷... :
翟买办飞奔下乡,到秦老家,邀王冕过来,一五一十,向他说了。王冕笑道:“却是起动头翁,上覆县主老爷,说王冕乃一介农夫,不敢求见。这尊帖也不敢领。”翟买办变了脸道:“老爷将帖请人,谁敢不去!况这件事,原是我照顾你的;不然,老爷如何得知你会画花?论理,见过老爷,还该重重的谢我一谢才是!如何走到这里,茶也不见你一杯,却是推三阻四,不肯去见,是何道理?叫我如何去回覆得老爷!难道老爷一县之主,叫不动一个百姓么?”
In which an introductory...:
Zhai hurried down to the village to Old Qin's house, and sent for Wang Mian to step over. Then he told him what his business was.
Wang Mian smiled and said, “I must trouble you to inform the magistrate that Wang Mian is only a peasant and dare not accept such an invitation.”
The bailiff's face fell. “When the magistrate invites, who dare refuse?” he demanded. “Especially as it was I who did you this favour! If I hadn't recommended you, how would His Honour know you could paint? You ought by rights to be rewarding me! Instead, after coming all this way, I don't see so much as a cup of tea, and you fob me off with excuses. And why won't you go, pray? Do you mean to say a county magistrate can't summon a common man? What am I to say to the magistrate when I get back?”

15 说楔子敷... :
王冕道:“头翁,你有所不知。假如我为了事,老爷拿票子传我,我怎敢不去!如今将帖来请,原是不逼迫我的意思了;我不愿去,老爷也可以相谅。”翟买办道:“你这都说的是甚么话!票子传著倒要去,帖子请著倒不去?这不是不识抬举了!”
In which an introductory...:
“It's not that, sir,” said Wang Mian. “If I receive a summons from the magistrate, how dare I refuse? But you have brought an invitation, which means I am under no compulsion. I don't want to go. His Honour must excuse me.”
“That doesn't make sense!” exclaimed the bailiff. “Served with a summons, you go. Asked by invitation, you don't. You simply don't know what's good for you!”

16 说楔子敷... :
秦老劝道:“王相公,也罢;老爷拿帖子请你,自然是好意,你同亲家去走一回罢。自古道:‘灭门的知县’,你和他拗些甚么?”王冕道:“秦老爹!头翁不知,你是听见我说过的。不见那段干木、泄柳的故事么?我是不愿去的。”
In which an introductory...:
“Mr. Wang,” put in Old Qin, “if the magistrate sends an invitation, he must mean well. So why not go? The proverb says, 'Magistrates can ruin families.' Why ask for trouble?'
“The bailiff doesn't understand, uncle,” said Wang Mian, “but haven't you heard me tell the stories of the two ancient sages who refused to see their rulers? No, I'm not going.”

17 说楔子敷... :
翟买办道:“你这是难题目与我做,叫我拿甚么话去回老爷?”秦老道:“这个果然也是两难。若要去时,王相公又不肯;若要不去,亲家又难回话。我如今倒有一法:亲家回县里,不要说王相公不肯,只说他抱病在家,不能就来,一两日间好了就到。”翟买办道:“害病,就要取四邻的甘结!”
In which an introductory...:
“You are making it very difficult for me,” said the bailiff. “What can I say to the magistrate when I go back?”
“In fact, it is difficult for you both,” said Old Qin. “Mr. Wang doesn't want to go. But if he doesn't go, that'll be very embarrassing for Bailiff Zhai. Now I have a plan. When you go back to the yamen, bailiff, don't say that Mr. Wang refuses the invitation, but just that he is ill and can't go. He will go in a few days when he is better.”
“If he were ill,” objected the bailiff, “I should have to get a signed statement to that effect from the neighbours.”

18 说楔子敷... :
彼此争论了一番,秦老整治晚饭与他吃了;又暗叫了王冕出去问母亲秤了三钱二分银子,送与翟买办做差钱,方才应诺去了,回覆知县。
In which an introductory...:
They argued for some time. Then Old Qin prepared supper for the bailiff, and while he was eating told Wang Mian secretly to ask his mother for a little silver as messenger's fee. Only then did Zhai consent to go back.

19 说楔子敷... :
知县心里想道:“这小厮那里害甚么病!想是翟家这奴才,走下乡狐假虎威,著实恐吓了他一场。他从来不曾见过官府的人,害怕不敢来了。老师既把这个人托我,我若不把他就叫了来见老师,也惹得老师笑我做事疲软。我不如竟自己下乡去拜他。他看见赏他脸面,断不是难为他的意思,自然大著胆见我;我就便带了他来见老师,却不是办事勤敏?”
In which an introductory...:
When Magistrate Shi heard the bailiff's report, he thought, “How can the fellow be ill? It's all the fault of this rascal Zhai. He goes down to the villages like a donkey in a lion's hide, and he must have scared this painter fellow out of his wits. Wang Mian has never seen an official before in his life. He's afraid to come. But my patron charged me personally to get this man, and if I fail to produce him, Mr. Wei will think me incompetent. I had better go to the village myself to call on him. When he sees what an honour I'm doing him, he'll realize nobody wants to make trouble for him and won't be afraid to see me. Then I'll take him to call on my patron, and my patron will appreciate the smart way I've handled it.”

20 说楔子敷... :
又想道:“一个堂堂县令,屈尊去拜一个乡民,惹得衙役们笑话。”又想到:“老师前日口气,甚是敬他;老师敬他十分,我就该敬他一百分。况且屈尊敬贤,将来志书上少不得称赞一篇。这是万古千年不朽的勾当,有甚么做不得!”当下定了主意。
In which an introductory...:
Then, however, it occurred to him that his subordinates might laugh at the idea of a county magistrate calling on a mere peasant. Yet Mr. Wei had spoken of Wang Mian with the greatest respect. “If Mr. Wei respects him, I should respect him ten times as much,” Magistrate Shi reflected. “And if I stoop in order to show respect to talent, future compilers of the local chronicles will certainly devote a chapter to my praise. Then my name will be remembered for hundreds of years. Why shouldn't I do it?” So he decided to go.

21 说楔子敷... :
次早,传齐轿夫,也不用全副执事,只带八个红黑帽夜役军牢。翟买办扶著轿子,一直下乡来。乡里人听见锣响,一个个扶老携幼,挨挤了看。轿子来到王冕门首,只见七八间草屋,一扇白板门紧紧关著。翟买办抢上几步,忙去敲门。敲了一会,里面一个婆婆,拄著拐杖,出来说道:“不在家了。从清早晨牵牛出去饮水,尚未回来。”翟买办道:“老爷亲自在这里传你家儿子说话,怎的慢条斯理!快快说在那里,我好去传!”那婆婆道:“其实不在家了,不知在那里。”说毕,关著门进去了。
In which an introductory...:
The next morning the magistrate called for his chairbearers. Taking only eight runners in red and black caps, and with Bailiff Zhai in attendance, he went straight down to the village. When the villagers heard the gongs, young and old flocked round to see the chair. Then the procession reached a cluster of huts. Wang Mian's door, of unvarnished wood, was firmly fastened. Bailiff Zhai hurried forward to knock at the door, and after some time an old woman came out, leaning on a stick.
“He is not at home,” she said in reply to Zhai's inquiry. “Early this morning he took the buffalo out to water it, and he has not come back.”
“The magistrate himself is here to speak with your son,” said the bailiff. “How can you be so offhand? Tell me quickly where he is, so that I can fetch him back.”
“He is really not at home,” answered the old woman. “I don't know where he is.” This said, she went in, closing the door behind her.

22 说楔子敷... :
说话之间,知县轿子已到。翟买办跪在轿前禀道:“小的传王冕,不在家里,请老爷龙驾到公馆里略坐一坐,小的再去传。”扶著轿子,过王冕屋后来。屋后横七竖八,几棱窄田埂,远远的一面大塘,塘边都栽满了榆树、桑树。塘边那一望无际的几顷田地,又有一座山,虽不甚大,却青葱树木,堆满山上。约有一里多路,彼此叫呼,还听得见。知县正走著,远远的有个牧童,倒骑水牯牛,从山嘴边转了过来。
In which an introductory...:
During this conversation the magistrate's chair had come up. Bailiff Zhai knelt before the chair and said, “I asked for Wang Mian and found he is not at home. Won't Your Honour go to the local office to rest for a little, while I make further inquiries?” Then he escorted the chair past the back of Wang Mian's cottage.
Behind the cottage were a few strips of arable land and a big lake, its banks thickly grown with elms and mulberry trees. Then more fields could be seen, stretching to the horizon. There was a hill too, covered with fresh green trees, only a few hundred yards away. If you shouted, your voice would carry there. And round the foot of this hill, as the magistrate's chair advanced, came a little cowherd riding back to front on a water buffalo.

23 说楔子敷... :
翟买办赶将上去,问道:“秦小二汉,你看见你隔壁的王老大牵了牛在那里饮水哩?”小二道:“王大叔么?他在二十里路外王家集亲家家吃酒去了。这牛就是他的,央及我替他赶了来家。”翟买办如此这般禀了知县。知县变著脸道:“既然如此,不必进公馆了!即回衙门去罢!”时知县此时心中十分恼怒,本要立即差人拿了王冕来责惩一番;又想恐怕危老师说他暴躁,且忍口气回去,慢慢向老师说明此人不中抬举,再处置他也不迟。知县去了。
In which an introductory...:
Hurrying over, Bailiff Zhai called, “Little Qin! Did you see where Old Wang from next door went to water his buffalo?” The small boy replied, “Uncle Wang has gone to Wang Market, seven miles away. He went to a feast with a relative there. This is his buffalo that I'm bringing home for him.” When Magistrate Shi heard this, he flushed angrily and said, “In that case, I need not go to the local office. Let us go back to the yamen.” Thoroughly annoyed, his first impulse was to tell his attendants to arrest Wang Mian and punish him. Afraid, however, that Mr. Wei would call him hotheaded, he decided to swallow his anger and go back to explain to his patron that Wang Mian did not deserve to be honoured. He could punish the fellow later. Having reached this decision, he left.

24 说楔子敷... :
冕并不曾远行,即时走了来家。秦老过来抱怨他道:“你方才也太执意了。他是一县之主,你怎的这样怠慢他?”王冕道:“老爹请坐,我告诉你。时知县倚著危素的势,要在这里酷虐小民,无所不为。这样的人,我为甚么要相与他?但他这一番回去,必定向危素说;危素老羞变怒,恐要和我计较起来。我如今辞别老爹,收拾行李,到别处去躲避几时。只是母亲在家,放心不下。”
In which an introductory...:
Wang Mian had not really gone far. He came back presently and was reproached by Old Qin, who said, “You are too obstinate. He is the head of a county; how can you show such disrespect?”
“Please sit down, uncle,” said Wang Mian, “and I will explain. This magistrate relies on Mr. Wei's authority to tyrannize over the common people here, and do all kinds of bad things. Why should I have anything to do with such a man? But now that he has gone back, he will certainly tell Mr. Wei; and if Mr. Wei becomes angry he may want to make trouble for me. So now I shall pack up my things, leave my mother, and go into hiding for a time. The only thing that worries me is leaving my mother here by herself.”

25 说楔子敷... :
母亲道:“我儿,你历年卖诗卖画,我也积聚下三五十两银子,柴米不愁没有。我虽年老,又无疾病,你自放心出去躲避些时不妨。你又不曾犯罪,难道官府来拿你的母亲去不成?”秦老道:“这也说得有理。况你埋没在这乡村镇上,虽有才学,谁人是识得你的;此番到大邦去处,或者走出些遇合来也不可知,你尊堂家下大小事故,一切都在我老汉身上,替你扶持便了。”王冕拜谢了秦老。秦老又走回家去,取了些酒肴来替王冕送行,吃了半夜酒回去。
In which an introductory...:
His mother said, “Son, all these years, thanks to the poems and paintings you have sold, I have saved nearly fifty taels of silver. I don't have to worry about fuel and rice; and, old as I am, I'm hale and hearty. There's no reason why you shouldn't leave home and lie low for a time. You haven't committed any crime. The officers can't arrest your mother.”
“She's right,” agreed Old Qin. “Besides, if you bury yourself in this village, who will recognize your talents? Go to some big place, and who knows but what you may meet with recognition. I'll keep an eye on everything here for you, and see that your mother is all right.”
Wang Mian bowed his thanks to Old Qin, who went home to fetch food and wine for his friend. They feasted late into the night.

26 说楔子敷... :
次日五更,王冕起来收拾行李,吃了早饭,恰好秦老也到。王冕拜辞了母亲,又拜了秦老两拜,母子洒泪分手。王冕穿上麻鞋,背上行李。秦老手提一个小白灯笼,直送出村口,洒泪而别。秦老手拿灯笼,站著看著他走,走的望不著了,方才回去。
In which an introductory...:
The next day Wang Mian got up before dawn, packed his belongings, and had breakfast; and then Old Qin arrived. Wang Mian bowed to his mother and to Old Qin; then, in tears, son and mother bade each other farewell. Wang Mian was wearing hempen sandals and carrying his possessions on his back. Old Qin, holding a small white lantern in his hand, saw him to the end of the village and, shedding tears, bade him goodbye. Then he stood, lantern in hand, gazing after Wang Mian until he could see him no more.

27 说楔子敷... :
王冕一路风餐露宿,九十里大站,七十里小站,一径来到山东济南府地方。这山东虽是近北省分,这会城却也人物富庶,房舍稠密。王冕到了此处,盘费用尽了,只得租个小菴门面屋,卖卜测字,也画两张没骨的花卉贴在那里,卖与过往的人。每日问卜卖画,倒也挤个不开。弹指间,过了半年光景。
In which an introductory...:
Braving the wind and dew, Wang Mian travelled day after day past large posting stations and small, till he came to the city of Jinan. Although Shandong is a northern province, its chief city was rich and populous, packed with buildings. By the time Wang Mian arrived here, his money was spent, and he had to rent a small front room in a temple and tell fortunes there. He also painted pictures of flowers, and posted up a couple to sell to passers-by. Every day he told fortunes and sold paintings, and customers flocked to him. In this way six months flew by.

28 说楔子敷... :
济南府里有几个俗财主,也爱王冕的画,时常要买;又自己不来,遣几个粗夯小厮,动不动大呼小叫,闹的王冕不得安稳。王冕心不耐烦,就画了一条大牛贴在那里;又题几句诗在上,含著讥刺。也怕从此有口舌,正思量搬移一个地方。
In which an introductory...:
Now there were some rich men in Jinan who took a fancy to Wang Mian's paintings and became regular customers. They did not come to buy themselves, but would send rough servants who shouted and wrangled and gave Wang Mian no peace. Finally, in exasperation, he painted a picture of a big ox and pasted it up in his shop, appending some satirical verses. After that he knew he could expect trouble, and planned to move to another town.

29 说楔子敷... :
那日清早,才坐在那里,只见许多男女,啼啼哭哭,在街上过。也有挑著锅的,也有箩担内挑著孩子的,一个个面黄肌瘦,衣裳褴褛。过去一阵,又是一阵,把街上都塞满了。也有坐在地上就化钱的。问其所以,都是黄河沿上的州县,被河水决了。田庐房舍,尽行漂没。这是些逃荒的百姓,官府又不管,只得四散觅食。
In which an introductory...:
One morning, as he was sitting in his room, his attention was attracted by a number of men and women, many of them in tears, passing down the street. Some were carrying pans, others had children in baskets suspended from a pole over their shoulders. Group after group passed, haggard, half-starved, their clothes in rags. They filled the streets, and some of them sat on the ground to beg. When Wang Mian asked where they were from, he found that they came from the villages by the Yellow River. Their fields and homes had been flooded, so now they were refugees; and since the government would do nothing for them, they were reduced to beggary.

30 说楔子敷... :
王冕见此光景,过意不去,叹了一口气道:“河水北流,天下自此将大乱了。我还在这里做甚么!”将些散碎银子,收拾好了,栓束行李,仍旧回家。入了浙江境,才打听得危素已还朝了,时知县也升任去了;因此放心回家,拜见母亲。看见母亲康健如常,心中欢喜。母亲又向他说秦老许多好处。他慌忙打开行李,取出一匹茧紬,一包耿饼,拿过去拜谢了秦老。秦老又备酒与他洗尘。自此,王冕依旧吟诗作画,奉养母亲。
In which an introductory...:
Distressed by this sight, Wang Mian sighed and said, “Now the river has left its course again. This has invariably been a prelude to a period of great confusion. Why should I stay here?” Putting together his money and belongings, he started for home. When he reached Zhejiang Province, he heard that Mr. Wei had gone back to the capital and Magistrate Shi had been promoted to another post. He could, therefore, feel easy in his mind about going home.
He bowed before his mother, and was happy to see that she was as healthy as ever. She told him that Old Qin had been very good to her, whereupon Wang Mian hastily unpacked a whole bolt of silk and a package of dried persimmons which he gave to Old Qin to express his thanks. And Old Qin prepared a feast for his home-coming. After that Wang Mian lived as before, chanting poetry, painting pictures and taking care of his mother like a good son.

31 说楔子敷... :
又过了六年,母亲老病卧床。王冕百方延医调治,总不见效。一日,母亲吩咐王冕道:“我眼见得不济事了。但这几年来,人都在我耳根前说你的学问有了,该劝你出去作官,作官怕不是荣宗耀祖的事!我看见那些作官的都不得有甚好收场!况你的性情高傲,倘若弄出祸来,反为不美。我儿可听我的遗言,将来娶妻生子,守著我的坟墓,不要出去作官。我死了,口眼也闭!”王冕哭著应诺。他母亲淹淹一息,归天去了。王冕擗踊哀号,哭得那邻舍之人,无不落泪。又亏秦老一力帮衬,制备衣衾棺椁。王冕负土成坟,三年苫块,不必细说。
In which an introductory...:
Six years later, his mother, weak from old age, took to her bed. Every means was tried to cure her, but in vain. One day she called him to her and said, “I am near the end. The last few years everybody has been telling me that as you are so learned, I should advise you to go out and become an official. Of course, being an official would reflect credit on your forefathers. But the officials I have seen have all come to a bad end. And you are so proud that if you got into trouble it would be serious. Listen, son, to my dying wish: Marry, have children and care for my grave; but don't become an official. Promise me this and I shall die in peace.”
In tears, Wang Mian assented. Then his mother breathed her last. Wang Mian mourned and wept so bitterly that all the neighbours shed tears. Old Qin helped him prepare the burial clothes and coffin, while he himself carried earth to make the grave. For three years he mourned.

32 说楔子敷... :
到了服阕之后,不过一年有馀,天下就大乱了。方国珍据了浙江,张士诚据了苏州,陈友谅据了湖广,都是些草窃的英雄。只有太祖皇帝起兵滁阳,得了金陵,立为吴王,乃是王者之师;提兵破了方国珍,号令全浙,乡村镇市,并无骚扰。
In which an introductory...:
A year after the period of mourning was over, the whole empire was plunged into confusion. Fang Guo-zhen occupied Zhejiang, Zhang Shi-cheng occupied Suzhou, and Chen Youliang occupied Huguang. They were mere rebels. But at the same time, Zhu Yuan-zhang, who later became the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, raised soldiers in Chuyang, took Nanjing, and established himself as Prince of Wu. His was a kingly army. He led his troops to defeat Fang Guo-zhen, and ruled over the whole province of Zhejiang, so that villages and towns were at peace once more.

33 说楔子敷... :
一日,日中时分,王冕正从母亲坟上拜扫回来,只见十几骑马竟投他村里来。为头一人,头戴武巾,身穿团花战袍,白净面皮,三绺髭须,真有龙凤之表。那人到门首下了马,向王冕施礼道:“动问一声,那里是王冕先生家?”王冕道:“小人王冕,这里便是寒舍。”那人喜道:“如此甚妙,特来晋谒。”吩咐从人都下了马,屯在外边,把马都系在湖边柳树上。
In which an introductory...:
One day at noon, just as Wang Mian was returning from his mother's grave, he saw a dozen horsemen entering the village. The leader of the band wore a military cap and flowered silk costume. He had a clear complexion, his beard was fine, and he looked every inch a king. When this man reached Wang Mian's door, he alighted from his horse, saluted and said, “May I ask where Mr. Wang Mian lives?”
“I am he,” replied Wang Mian, “and this is my humble house.”
“I am in luck then,” said the stranger, “for I have come specially to pay my respects.” He ordered his followers to dismount and wait outside, and they tethered their horses beneath the willows by the lake.

34 说楔子敷... :
那人独和王冕携手进到屋里,分宾主施礼坐下。王冕道:“不敢拜问尊官尊姓大名?因甚降临这乡僻所在?”那人道:“我姓朱,先在江南起兵,号滁阳王;而今据有金陵,称为吴王的便是。因平方国珍到此,特来拜访先生。”王冕道:“乡民肉眼不识,原来就是王爷。但乡民一介愚人,怎敢劳王爷贵步?”吴王道:“孤是一个粗卤汉子,今得见先生儒者气像,不觉功利之见顿消。孤在江南,即慕大名,今来拜访,要先生指示:浙人久反之后,何以能服其心?”
In which an introductory...:
The stranger took Wang Mian's hand and went into the house with him. They sat down in the positions of guest and host, and Wang Mian asked, “May I know your honourable name and what has brought you to this village?”
“My name is Zhu. I raised troops in Jiangnan and was known as the Prince of Chuyang; but now, because I hold Nanjing, I am called the Prince of Wu. The campaign against Fang Guo-zhen brought me here, and now I have come to pay my respects to you.”
“I am an ignorant villager,” said Wang Mian, “and did not recognize Your Highness. This is indeed an overwhelming honour for a simple peasant like myself.”
“I am a rough and ready fellow,” answered the Prince of Wu, “but at the sight of your scholarly bearing, my thirst for fame and wealth has vanished. When I was still in Jiangnan your fame reached my ears, and now I have come to consult you. The people of Zhejiang have rebelled many times. What can I do to win their love?”

35 说楔子敷... :
王冕道:“大王是高明远见的,不消乡民多说。若以仁义服人,何人不服,岂但浙江?若以兵力服人,浙人虽弱,恐亦义不受辱。不见方国珍么?”吴王叹息,点头称善。两人促膝谈到日暮。那些从者都带有乾粮。王冕自到厨下烙了一斤面饼,炒了一盘韭菜,自捧出来,陪著。吴王吃了,称谢教诲,上马去了。这日,秦老进城回来,问及此事。王冕也不曾说就是吴王,只说是军中一个将官,向年在山东相识的,故此来看我一看。说著就罢了。
In which an introductory...:
“Your Highness is far-sighted,” said Wang Mian. “There is no need for a humble person like myself to say much. If you use goodness and justice to win the people, you will win them all — not only those in Zhejiang. But if you try to conquer by force, weak as the people of Zhejiang are, I am afraid they will not submit. Look at the case of Fang Guo-zhen whom you defeated.”
The prince nodded and expressed approval; and sitting face to face they talked till evening. The prince's followers had brought rations, and Wang Mian went to the kitchen to make bread and fry leeks for the prince, sharing the meal with him. The prince then thanked him for his advice, mounted his horse and rode away.
That day Old Qin had gone to the county-seat. On his return he asked Wang Mian who his visitors had been; but instead of telling him that it was the Prince of Wu, Wang Mian simply said, “It was an army officer I knew when I was in Shandong.”

36 说楔子敷... :
不数年间,吴王削平祸乱,定鼎应天,天下一统,建国号大明,年号洪武。乡村人,各各安居乐业。到了洪武四年,秦老又进城里,回来向王冕道:“危老爷已自问了罪,发在和州去了。我带了一本邸抄来与你看。”
In which an introductory...:
In a few years the Prince of Wu pacified the country and established his capital at Nanjing, so that once more the empire was united. His dynasty was called Ming, and his reign Hong Wu. Once more the villagers could live at peace, enjoying the fruits of their labour. During the fourth year of the reign Old Qin went to the county-seat again, and on his return told Wang Mian, “Mr. Wei is in disgrace and has been sentenced to exile in Hochow. I have brought a bulletin to show you.”

37 说楔子敷... :
王冕接过来看,才晓得危素归降之后,妄自尊大,在太祖面前自称老臣。太祖大怒,发往和州守余阙墓去了。此一条之后,便是礼部议定取士之法:三年一科,用五经、四书、八股文。
In which an introductory...:
Wang Mian read it, and discovered that, since his surrender, Mr. Wei had continued to indulge in foolish display, calling himself his sovereign's old and trusted servant, until the emperor in anger had banished him to Hochow to look after the grave of Yu Que. This decree was followed by the rules of the Board of Ceremonies for the civil service examinations. Candidates would be tested every three years, and required only to write paGu essays on the Confucian classics.

38 说楔子敷... :
王冕指与秦老看,道:“这个法却定的不好!将来读书人既有此一条荣身之路,把那文行出处都看得轻了。”说著,天色晚了下来。此时正是初夏,天时乍热。秦老在打麦场上放下一张桌子,两人小饮。须臾,东方月上,照耀得如同万顷玻璃一般。那些眠鸥宿鹭,阒然无声。王冕左手持杯,右手指著天上的星,向秦老道:“你看贯索犯文昌,一代文人有厄!”话犹未了,忽然起一阵怪风,刮得树木都飕飕的响。水面上的禽鸟,格格惊起了许多。王冕同秦老吓的将衣袖蒙了脸。少顷,风声略定,睁眼看时,只见天上纷纷有百十个小星,都坠向东南角上去了。王冕道:“天可怜见,降下这一夥星君去维持文运,我们是不及见了!”当夜收拾家伙,各自歇息。
In which an introductory...:
Pointing this out to Old Qin, Wang Mian said, “These rules are not good. Future candidates, knowing that there is an easy way to high position, will look down on real scholarship and correct behaviour.” By now dusk had fallen. It was early summer and the weather was turning warm. Old Qin set a table on the threshing floor, and they drank wine. Soon the moon came up from the east, and shone so brightly that everything seemed made of glass. The water-birds had gone to their nests, and all was quiet. Holding his cup in his left hand, Wang Mian pointed to the stars with his right, and said, “Look! The Zhains have invaded the Scholars. That shows that scholars of this generation have hard times ahead.”
As he spoke, a strange wind sprang up. It soughed through the trees, and made the waterfowl take wing, crying in alarm, while Wang Mian and Old Qin hid their faces in their sleeves for fear. Soon the wind dropped, and when they looked again they saw about a hundred small stars in the sky, all falling towards the south-east horizon.
“Heaven has taken pity on the scholars,” said Wang Mian. “These stars have been sent down to maintain the literary tradition. But we shan't live to see it.” Then they cleared away the things and went to bed.

39 说楔子敷... :
自此以后,时常有人传说,朝廷行文到浙江布政司,要徵聘王冕出来做官。初时不在意里,后来渐渐说的多了,王冕并不通知秦老,私自收拾,连夜逃往会稽山中。半年之后,朝廷果然遣一员官,捧著诏书,带领许多人,将著彩缎表里,来到秦老门首,见秦老八十多岁,须鬓皓然,手扶拄杖。那官与他施礼。秦老让到草堂坐下。那官问道:“王冕先生就在这庄上么?而今皇恩授他咨议参军之职,下官特地捧诏而来。”秦老道:“他虽是这里人,只是久矣不知去向了。”秦老献过了茶,领那官员走到王冕家,推开了门,见蠨蛸满室,蓬蒿满径,知是果然去得久了。那官咨嗟叹息了一回,仍旧捧诏回旨去了。
In which an introductory...:
Later on, many rumours were heard to the effect that the government had ordered the Zhejiang authorities to offer Wang Mian an official appointment. At first he ignored these rumours; but when more and more people began to talk of it he secretly packed his belongings and, without telling Old Qin, slipped away by night to Kuaiji Mountain. After another six months an envoy with an imperial decree, followed by retainers carrying silk and brocade, did actually come to Old Qin's door. They saw an old man of more than eighty, with a white beard and white hair, leaning on a stick. The envoy greeted him, and Old Qin invited him into his cottage to take a seat.
“Does Mr. Wang Mian live in this village?” asked the envoy. “His Majesty has appointed him Commissioner of Records. I have brought the imperial decree.”
“He belongs to this village,” replied Old Qin, “but he disappeared long ago.
After Old Qin had served tea, he led the envoy to Wang Mian's house, and pushed open the door. The rooms were filled with cobwebs and the yard with weeds, so they knew it was true that Wang Mian had been gone for a long time. The envoy expressed regret, and went back to report to the emperor.

40 说楔子敷... :
王冕隐居在会稽山中,并不自言姓名;后来得病去世,山邻敛些钱财,葬于会稽山下。是年,秦老亦寿终于家。可笑近来文人学士,说著王冕,都称他做王参军!究竟王冕何曾做过一日官?所以表白一番。这不过是个楔子,下面还有正文。
In which an introductory...:
Wang Mian lived as a hermit in Kuaiji Mountain, and never disclosed his real name. When later he fell ill and died, his neighbours there collected some money and buried him at the foot of the mountain. During the same year, Old Qin died of old age in his home. Curiously enough, writers and scholars nowadays refer to Wang Mian as the Commissioner of Records, though actually he never served as an official for a single day, as I have tried to make clear. The foregoing is only the introduction to the story which I shall now begin.

URN: ctp:rulin-waishi/1