Reflections


001

Pardon my poor writing. This is a month’s worth of effort as I learnt from the calligraphy lessons of Professor Tian on Youtube, 每日一题每日一字 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Putqx_2nSeQ&list=PL216D25F4F657AC2E

夫以銅為鏡, adult_male with bronze as mirror
可以正衣冠.   able with straighten clothes formal_hat
以古為鏡,       with ancient as mirror
可知興替.       able with flourish substitution
以人為鏡,       with man as mirror
可以明得失.  able with understand obtain error
朕常保此三鏡, We always protect/defend this three mirror
以防己過.          to prevent self error
今魏徵殂逝,    now Wei Ching dead passed
遂亡一鏡矣     thereupon death one mirror alas

By literal translation

Man uses bronze as mirrors to straighten his gown and cap. To use the ancient as a mirror, one knows of its rise and fall.  To use man as a mirror, one understands one’s errors and failures.  We have long defended these three mirrors to check our errors.  Now that Weiching is dead, thus a mirror’s death.

A more polished semantic translation.

Man uses bronze as mirrors so that he can straighten his attire.  Using history as a mirror, one knows of its rise and fall.  Using Man as a mirror, one understands one’s errors and failures. We have long guarded these three mirrors to check our oversight.  Now that Weiching is gone from us, a mirror is shattered.

Notes:

  1. 夫 is an adult male. However, in classical Chinese, as an initial particle, it means that whatever comes after it is an opinion.  Thus it can be left out in translation.  However, in this context, it works in both cases.  Thus the first line can be also translated as, “To use bronze as mirrors, one can…”
  2. Mirrors in the modern sense are a western invention. In ancient China, bronzes are highly polished to give a good reflection.  Of course, it is only an approximation.  Depending on the hue of the surface, true colors are not reflected.  The back of the mirror is highly etched into a high degree of art work.  There are mirrors that can exhibit their designs in a faint illusion in the reflection.
  3. Weiching was a minister to the second Tang Emperor, Tai Tsung. He was such an upright person that even the emperor dreaded him.  He was not considered a true loyalist, however.  He had been a trusted advisor to the former crown prince whom the Emperor had killed to usurp the throne.  He had advised the crown prince to take action first against his pretender brother.  Once the emperor had questioned him on this, he merely replied that if his older brother had listened to his counsel, today’s questioning is moot!  He had served five other masters before the Emperor.  In Confucianism, this is not considered as someone who is loyal but an opportunist.

Another story is that once, the Emperor had a sparrow hawk for hunting; so pleased was the Emperor that he had it on his hand.  Then, upon the arrival of Weiching to discuss some state matters, the Emperor dreaded his admonishment of imperial pleasures (hunting costs a plenty because of its size, security etc) and hid the bird in his chest since there was not enough time to put it away without him seeing it.  After he left, the Emperor took out the bird and found that it had suffocated.

Weiching is the subject of many stories and legends.  The most famous of these is “Executing the Dragon in a Dream” 魏徵夢中斬龍.  It is one of the subplots in the story of the Monkey King.

The original article had many of the details of this story left out due to space limitation on italki.  However, this blog has no such limitation, so here’s the full blown story (still omitting other irrelevant details).

It all started with this fortuneteller in the city of Changan who told a filial fisherman where to go at a certain spot at a certain time in the river for his daily catch, with the stipulation that only a certain number is to be caught, no more and no less.  As time went on, the Dragon King of this river became alarmed at the number of subjects caught with such uncanny accuracy.  One day, he appeared in front of the fisherman asking for the reason.  The Dragon King was incredulous and could not believe his dragon ears1.  So he went before the fortuneteller to test him.

He posed an impossible question:  How many drops of rainwater will fall the next time? Even as the guardian and bringer of the rain, he himself would not know such detailed information until the edict came from the Jade Emperor.  He warned the fortuneteller if he is wrong, he will come and destroy his shop.  Without missing a beat, the fortuneteller went with his calculations and told him of the answer of how many drops of water will fall the next day at such a time.

No sooner than the Dragon King returned to his palace that the Jade edict came.  He was told to scatter the exact amount of rain at the time given by the fortuneteller.  However, he did not want to lose face and decided to add three more drops of water and to rain a bit later.

After his deed, he smugly went to the fortuneteller to thrash his place while shouting at the fortuneteller that what a fraud he was.  However, the fortuneteller looked calmly into the dragon’s eyes and muttered,

“You rascal of a worm!  Don’t you know that I knew who you are when you first came to me.  You dare go on with this proud rant of yours.  Not only did you not discharge your duty, you dared to falsify the edict.  How long do you think your head will be with your neck!”

Upon hearing these words, the Dragon King grew cold with fright and realized what a treasonous crime he had committed.  He fell onto his knees begging the fortuneteller to tell him of a way out.

“Since you have repented, I shall show you a way.  Your appointed executioner will be Weiching and you will be executed at noon tomorrow.  If you can persuade the True Dragon2 on your behalf, you may have a new lease on life.”

When the night drew in, the Dragon King appeared before Emperor Tang Tai Tsung as an old man in a dream begging for his life.  The Emperor agreed.

The very next day after the morning audience, Weiching was summoned to the Inner Palace for a few games with the Emperor.  Not wishing to defy his master, Weiching complied even though he knew he had a heavenly duty to perform.  The Emperor employed all his tricks to delay the minister, reasoning that if he can’t leave the palace, he can’t perform his divine duty on time and thus the Dragon King will be saved.

A few minutes before the appointed time while at the chess game, Weiching fell asleep.  Upon seeing this, the Emperor smile to himself and lamented to himself,

“This old rascal has been working too hard for the empire.  I shall leave him in peace for a much needed rest.”

However, unbeknownst to the Emperor, the soul of Weiching flew up to the execution’s site in the heavens to witness and oversee the execution. The dragon’s head was lopped off.

Just moments after, Weiching woke up and apologized to the Emperor most profusely for his lack of decorum.  The Emperor merely smiled and thought smugly that he too had accomplished his deed when suddenly news poured into the palace saying that there was a shower of red rain falling from the sky and a dragon’s head fell.

The head was brought into the palace and shown to the Emperor.  Upon looking at it, its eyes suddenly popped open and glared most venomously at the Emperor.  The Emperor took fright and fell ill.  He could not sleep nor rest, hearing the wailing of a headless soul the moment his eyes closed.

The next part of the story tells how the Emperor was being summoned to Hades to answer against a charge of breach of promise.  After witnessing the terrors and horrors of Hell, the Emperor needed a way to help ease these eternally damned souls.  Therefore when he returned to earth safely, he ordered Buddhism to be spread in the Empire.  Thus the impetus and the cause for the Journey of Tripitaka, aka the story of Monkey King

  1. This is a joke on my part. For dragons don’t have ears – or they are so insignificant compared to other majestic parts of its body.  Hence the character for deafness is聾!
  2. The reigning emperor.

Friday, August 15, 2014

輪迴轉世 Reincarnation


二百六十七年的清宮一夢, 已有百多年相隔. 往事重重如昨日情, 不過, 去如風. 有多少為江山喪? 有多少血淚灑? 今時又何人為他們泣哭? 時間無情或有情? 看看歲月速速又一過, 萬事都已淡. 史讀不如親眼見, 親身覺…

生涯短短期間中, 風吹雨橫人生路, 蹊蹺激烈.  雲開月明戲劇臺, 酸甜苦辣, 盡皆空.

一天在生存, 是係一日福. 何苦太認真? 將来是福非福, 到時烟飛雲散又如何? 宛若有輪迴轉世的話, 那「送征衣」唱得好,

今世共你如魚水. 是前世因緣. 兩情準擬過千年. 轉轉計較難. 教汝獨自眠. 每見庭前雙飛燕. 他家好自然. 夢魂往往到君前. 心專石也穿, 愁甚不團圓. 」

以「末代皇帝」主題曲為感, 懷古之作. 致敬羅賓·威廉斯死亡。一個人把一個世界笑.

Two hundred sixty seven years of the Ch’ing Palace dream is now a gulf of more than a hundred years apart.  Layer upon layer of past events happened as if they were yesterday’s but gone, like a gust of wind.  How many had died for the Empire?  How many had bitterly wept for them?  Time is ruthless or is it being kind? Look how fast the phases of the moon had passed, a myriad things are already indifferent. Learning from history is not the same as seeing and experiencing first hand… 

In the short span of how one had lived, there will be the blowing wind and the slanting rain on one’s road of life – odd, colorful and exciting; clouds a parting and the moon comes out bright, shining on life’s stage with all the four tastes of bitterness, sweetness, sourness and spiciness.  In the end, just emptiness.

One day of living is a day of thankfulness.  So why take things so seriously? Whether the future is bliss or not, everything will come to an end. Then what? And if there is such a thing as reincarnation, then Sending the Traveler’s Clothing sings most appropriately:

This life with you my beloved is like fish and water, inseparable.  This must be the destiny of our previous lives. Two loves, hoping to last more than a thousand years long, too short a time to fuss or bicker.  Tell you what, just go and sleep in solitude.  Each time whenever you see a pair of swallows flying in front of the courtyard, just see how their family is so natural with ease.  I will come to you my love, in your dreams.  If you have the will, stones will be pierced through.  Sad not, for reunion will come.

Inspired by the theme song of the “Last Emperor”, the product of reminiscing and nostalgia.  A tribute to Robin William’s death.  One man making a world laugh.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

戀詩四首, Four Love Poems


兩岸凡間泪,  Mortal tears on both sides of the bank,

一年鵲橋聚.  Once a year on the Magpie Bridge we meet.

世上風雲止,   And when life’s turbulence stopped,

霎時又聲雷.   Suddenly once more, a crack of thunder heard.

14 Jul 2014

015

小舟水上浮     A little boat floating upon the waters,

桃源何處求?   Oh where can the Peach Source1 be sought?

春色終須盡,    The colors of spring will end one day,

烟花向東流.    The mists and flowers flow eastwards.

1. i.e. paradise

18 Jul 2014

蛙鳴曲                  Song of Croaking Frogs

窗外蛙鳴夢中曲    Outside the windows, the croaking of frogs is the melody of my dreams

驚醒春眠夜来宿    Awakened rudely from a spring dream of a wanderer come begging for a night’s rest

風吹雨橫只花知    The wind blew and the rains slanted, only the flowers knew

朝明滿地不是菊    As the dawn breaks, fallen on the ground are not chrysanthemum blossoms.

Inspired from someone’s line 一夜的蛙鳴in italki

26 Jul 2014

歲月不絕來,   The phases of the moon keeps on coming,

江水直流東.    Like the river continuously flowing east.

春宵一夜夢,    One spring night’s dream,

恐是昨晚風.    I’m afraid is alas but last night’s wind.

Revision of the original written on 25 May 13

05 Aug 2014,

 

 

 

Learning Classical Chinese – 蒙學漢文初階


First of all I have to thank Kuiwon, http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ for letting me know of this wonderful book in beginning Classical or Literary Chinese. For this I am indebted to him.  Although it is a primer written for Koreans, it is nevertheless a most precious resource.

Upon reading the first lesson, there is no problem for me to understand the text.  As such, I embarked on the idea of translating the entire book into English.  Each lesson is short and gives an insight to cultural, historical and traditional thought. The book was written in the first year of the Korean Emperor Lung Hsi (隆熈) or the 33rd year of Kwang Hsu (光緒) Era in China.  In other words, 1907).  There are 203 lessons in total.  For sure, there will be many new words, terms and concepts.  It will be a great way to improve my Chinese.

Since each lesson is short, I shall post fifty lessons together each time.  All footnotes and commentaries will appear at the end of each passage.  A word by word English translation is given first and then followed by a polished version. If there are mistakes, please let me know.  Thanks!

In some cases where there are many meanings to a character, I shall give the most appropriate one for the context.  In cases where a single translated word cannot be used because of the terseness of the language, the English term shall contain words separated by the underscore. A second repeated word means that both words are used as a compound and cannot be used singly.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lesson 1

天地之間有人焉,   Heaven Earth {pp} space/span have man from
有萬物焉.              have ten_thousand things from
萬物之眾              ten_thousand things {pp} populace
最貴者,                 most precious  thing
以其有五倫也.      by which this has five relationships.

Between Heaven and earth where man had come from; where a myriad of things had sprung forth, the most precious of all these are those that posses the Five Relationships.

Notes:

  1. 之 is the possessive particle [pp]. It functions like the apostrophe ‘s’ or the possessive “of” in English
  2. 者 is a particle describing “the thing which has”, “the one who is”.
  3. 其 has many meanings. Depending on context, it can mean this, his, hers, theirs etc. 
  4. 也 in classical is an emphasis particle. The emphasized words are in bold or underlined.
  5. 蒙 has many meanings. The basic meaning of the word is “befuddled”, “misty” and extended to mean “ignorant”, “naïve” or “uncultured”. I suspect that it is a short for some longer phrase.  I could not find any evidence to support my suspicion.  Obviously it cannot mean “befuddled knowledge”, or “ignorant study”.  Some dictionaries give “to initiate” as one of its meanings.  With this, clue, the term means to fill emptiness with  knowledge.  In another words, to teach the young and uninitiated.

Thus蒙學 can be translated as the “to elucidate the uninitiated” or “the school for the uninitiated”.  However, to free the clutter of title of these pedantic details, “beginning” is the best term to use.

For a complete listing of the meanings of this word, see http://xh.5156edu.com/html3/4173.html

Included here are some definitions for easy reference and interest.

「易·蒙卦」:“匪我求童蒙,童蒙求我” 指蒙昧的人求我不断解决疑难。後来用“蒙求”做啓蒙的書名。如唐代李翰有《蒙求》,宋朝周守忠有《歷代名医蒙求》,清朝王筠有《文字蒙求》 
幼稚, 暗昧不明

匪我求童蒙,童蒙求我。——《易·蒙》 
stupid, lack of knowledge e.g., 蒙昧, 啓蒙, 發蒙

蒙士 (蒙昧無知,学識淺薄的人)

蒙幼 (不懂事的幼童; 蒙昧幼稚的儿童);

蒙稚(幼稚无知)

蒙師(蒙的老師, 教育孩童的老師) 

蒙塾/舘/ (traditional private elementary school) 舊時指對兒童進行啓蒙教育的私塾 
蒙學 same as 蒙舘. Also to mean the homework of the initiated children. 也指学童啓蒙的功課
蒙師 First teacher启蒙的老师;教育孩童的老師
我小时候听蒙师讲的,却又是一样讲法。——《二十年目睹之怪現状》 
蒙童 ignorant children i.e. children without schooling
蒙昧 Uncultured, barbaric; uncivilized, illiterate指未开化的原始状态蒙昧时代 愚昧,不通事理 蒙昧无知 
Some other interesting meanings

To suffer

蒙塵

a. go into exile; the sufferance of imperial or high ranking officials when their power was lost. 舊指帝后流亡在外, 蒙受灰塵.

  1. g.主上蒙塵, 「三國志, 諸葛亮傳」靖康年間金人圍困汴梁, 欽二帝蒙塵北狩, 一時后妃公主被去甚多「初刻拍案驚奇」
  2. non-visibility due to dust etc.

蒙垢 – to be humiliated.

蒙難to meet with disaster /killed/in the clutches of the enemy/to fall foul of/in danger

  1. To receive
    蒙幸/猶幸蒙 (幸运地受到);

蒙恩(承蒙恩惠);

蒙允(承蒙允许);

蒙教(承蒙教诲) 
承蒙 to be indebted to someone

  1. Ether: 蒙气 (古指包围地球外面的大气) 
  2. 蒙直Honest & tolerant; sincere and kind 忠厚老实
    那呆子雖是心性愚頑,却只是一味蒙直。——《西游記》

Lesson 2

五倫者,      five Relationships thing-{tp}
父子有親,  father son have affection,
君臣有義,  ruler subject have righteousness
夫妻有别,   husband wife have differences
長幼有序,  old young have order
朋友有信. Friends have trust.

The so called Five Relationships are:

There is affection between father and son.
Righteousness between the ruler and subjects
Differences between the husband and wife
There is order between the old and the young
And trustworthiness among friends.

Lesson 3

五倫之中    Inside the Five Relationships
有三綱        Have Three Principles
君為臣綱    The ruler for his subjects
父為子綱    The father for his sons
夫為妻綱    The husband for his wives.

Within the Five Relationships, there are three Principles,

The responsibility of the ruler to his subjects.
The responsibility of the father to his sons.
The responsibility of the husband to his wives.

Note the use singular and plural nouns.

Lesson 4

人.                Man
非父不生,     not father not born
非君不食,      not ruler not eat
非師不知,      not teacher not know
故曰               so said
君師父一体也 ruler teacher father one body

Without the father, there is no life. Without the ruler, there is no food. Without the teacher, there is no knowledge.

So it is thus said,

“The ruler, the teacher and the father is of one body!”

Lesson 5

同受父母之遺體以為人者, same receive parents’ body remnants to become human
兄弟也,                                     [to become] brothers
故曰                                           thus said
兄弟同氣也,                             brothers same breath
手足也                                       hands feet

We are made from the material of our parents. With other issues, brethren unto to each other. Thus it is said,

“Brethren share the same breath [as our parents]. Hence we are considered that we are the hands and feet [of our parents].

Cultural Notes: 

“Hands and feet” thus become the idiom to mean “brotherly love”. Ancient Chinese culture from the time of Confucius onwards had been brainwashed to change from a matriarchal society into a patriarchal one.

Lesson 6

朋友.                          Friends
有責善之道故取友,     Have responsibility good at the way/path thus take friends.
必端人.                      Must be orthodox/proper/upright man.
擇友必勝己                choose friends must superior [than] myself
沒有不湏友而成者也. Not yet, no need friend and success/become those

On Friends. Those who are well versed in the path of righteousness will make friends who, themselves are upright too. When selecting friends, the chosen ones will be superior than oneself. If there is no need for friends, how can one consider oneself a success?

Notes:

  1. Literary Chinese does not possess much grammar niceties due to the preference of brevity. Hence this influences the thought of Chinese writing to become reader responsible.  This is unlike English where it is the writer’s responsibility to make things clear.
  2. 湏 is an ancient variation of須.
  1. The most difficult to understand is the last line. Parsing term by term can lead to a different outcome. This is also due to the character, 成.

As a verb, this can mean “to become”, “to be transformed”. In this way, the line becomes                  “When you don’t have any friend, there is no need to have/become one”.

Does not make any sense. However, if you treat this as an adjective to mean “success”, it               becomes, “When you don’t have any friend, there is no need to become a successful one.”             Still there is something intuitively wrong with this interpretation in a moral lesson. This sort of           interpretation is understandable due to the lack of grammatical niceties. This sentence is a               rhetoric; best translated in English as a question.

 Lesson 7

有夫婦然後有父子.  Have husband and wife, then have father and son.
夫婦人道之始也.     Husband and wife principle’s start
故聖人,                   Thus a saint
重婚姻之禮.            Attach importance to marriage’s ritual.

Husband and wife relationship comes before a father-and-son’s. This is the primordial principle between husband and wife. Thus to be a saintly person, Importance is placed upon marriage.

Lesson 8

人受天地之愛 man receives Heaven and Earth’s love
力而生故,       by all means and beget thus
愛家族,          love family clan
愛社会,          love society collective
愛國家.          love country family
本然之義       ought to be  propriety
務也              duty

Man is favoured by Heaven and Earth. Thus by all means go forth and multiply. Love thy clan. Love thy society and love thy country. It’s not only propriety but Duty!

Lesson 9

六十分為一時.          Sixty minutes become one hour.
二十四時為一日.      Twenty four hours become one day.
三百六十日為一歲.  Three hundred and sixty days become one year.
歲我不延人生.          Years I not prolong life.
當識分陰.                 Ought know distinguish darkness.

Sixty minutes is one hour.  Twenty-four hours is one day. Three hundred and sixty days is one year.  Life is short. Spend your time wisely.

Notes:

  1. The lunar calendar has 360 days.
  2. The last two lines are the most difficult to translate and because of the terseness of literary Chinese, a direct translation will not make sense to a non-Chinese reader. Even for those Chinese who have not exposed to literary Chinese will not understand the last line.  Here 陰 is short for 光陰 (light and darkness) to denote the passage of time going from light to dark and vice versa.

Lesson 10

百草之中,         Hundred grasses {pp} within
穀植最貴者.     Grain plants most precious thing
為其養人命也. As its sustain human lives
眾木之中           Populace trees {pp} within
松柏者最貴.     Pines and cypress those most precious.
為其有材用也 As they have material/wood to use.

Of the myriad grasses, grains are the most precious as they sustain human life.  Of all the trees, the most precious are the pine and cypress for their timber is useful.

Notes:

The modern meaning of 木 is wood.  In Classical Chinese, it means tree just like the Japanese following this convention.  材 means wood/timber or even ability.

Lesson 11

一梨皮色甚美.      one pear skin color very pretty
張生謂其味必佳.   Chang Mr. says its taste must good
趙生曰否.              Chao Mr., says, “not”
外美必有內惡.       outside beauty must have inside bad
張生食之.              Mr. Chang eat it.
果然味惡.             The_result taste (noun) bad.

There was a pear in which its skin looks pretty.  Mr. Chang said, “Its taste must be great”.  Mr. Chao replied,

“Not so.  Outside beauty does not mean that it will be pretty inside”. 

Mr. Chang ate it.  Indeed, its taste was not good.

Notes:

  1. What you have seen here is the result of my parsing of the text. In its original form, there is no punctuation at all.  One has to make sense from the context!  For example, 張生 can also mean to grow!  張 has to different tones to indicate the difference in meaning.  Thus, 一梨皮色甚美張生, as we first scanned from left to right becomes, “There is a pear growing with a lovely skin appearance”
  2. 生 has several meanings of which “born” is the main one. Hence extended to “life”.  先生, “to be born early” means a teacher who in Sinicized cultures is an older person and thus has respect.  On the other hand, 後生 means a young person. It does not mean a student as no respect is accorded to a learner since he has not earned it. 書生 is a scholar, being born to the books.  衛生 born to guard/protect/defend is a relative modern term to mean “hygiene”.
  3. 之 here is not the possessive particle. The meaning here means “it”, a pronoun.
  4. 惡in modern usage it means evil/fierce/vicious/ugly/coarse/to harm and as a verb “to hate”, “to loathe”, “to be ashamed”, “to fear”,  “to slander” and fierce. In literary usage, it means “bad” as in 善惡, the good and the bad.
  5. The last line can be also translated as “The resultant taste is bad”. This is more precise.  However, the nuance in the original is not as severe as the English version.  This is mainly due to cultural differences.

Lesson 12

人之有衣,                   man [state indicator] has clothing
猶鳥獸之有毛羽也.     like birds animals [state indicator] have fur feather
鳥獸有毛羽然不製服. birds animals have fur feather thus [negation] make clothes.
人能製服故.               man able to make clothes reason/thus
雖無毛羽而不偎寒     although/since no fur feather and not afraid cold.

Man thus has clothing, like birds and animals having feathers and fur.  As such, they  need no clothing. Man is able to make clothing.  Though having neither fur nor feathers, he is unafraid of the cold.

Notes:

  1. 之 here is an indicator of action or a state.
  2. 猶 has other meanings, “as if”, “still”, “yet”

Lesson 13

某生家貧為木工  Certain young_person family/house poor become wood work
性好學,                   nature love/like learning
稍暇則獨習書算.  somewhat leisure then alone learn books calculation
聞者歎曰                heard those sigh say
無師也.                   no teacher!
尚能勤學                still able diligent/constant study/learn
况有師者乎            moreover have teacher ?

A certain young man whose family was poor and had to become a carpenter.  However, he had an innate love to study.  Somewhat, when he has leisure, he would study the Classics and mathematics.  Those who heard of him would sigh and say,

“Alas! No teacher and still so diligent in the pursuit of his learning.  What would the result be if he has a teacher?

Notes:

  1. 書 as a noun means books. Here it is referring to the Four Books of Confucius.  Korea is a Confucian society.
  2. 算 is to calculate or to predict. Here it is referring to mathematics.  Short for 算學, the study of calculations.
  3. 乎 is a final particle in literary Chinese to denote a question. Its function is very similar to the modern forms of 嗎, 呢 and 吧. Another use is similar to 於, another particle to mean in/ at/from/because/than

Lesson 14

一兒至人家.   One child approach man house
見一河池.        Saw one river pond
池中多魚         pond in many fish
往來遊行.        towards come wander walk
兒喜玩不已.    child joy play not stop.

A child was approaching a house and saw a pond formed by a river.  In it, were many fish swimming around.  The child was overjoyed without bound.

Notes:

  1. 人家 = human abode. Thus a house.  Only humans build houses.  So translating 人 into English is redundant and unnatural.
  2. 遊行 in modern meanings are “to tour”, “to parade”, “to march” (as in a demonstration). Since it referring to the fish, even the literal meanings cannot be translated directly into English as walking to and fro.

Lesson 15

一兒兄出外         One child older_brother go_out side
至夕不回             towards sunset not return
兒大哭至門前     child big cry towards door front
則兄與友人         then big_brother and friend person
已同行而回         already same walk and returned.

A boy’s older brother went out.  Evening came and still has not returned.  The boy wept and went to the front door.  Then saw the older brother and friend were already walking together towards home.

Lesson 16

兒問其父曰          Son asks his father said
筆以何物所製      pen with what thing from made
答曰                    reply said
黄者黄鼠毛          yellow thing yellow rat hair
青者青鼠毛          black thing black rat hair
白者羊毛或獐也   white thing goat hair or roe_deer

The child asked his father,

“What is the brush made from?”  

The father replied,

“The yellow hair is made from the hair of the brown squirrel.  The black ones are from the black squirrel and the white ones are from goat or roe deer hair.”

Notes:

  1. 筆 in modern usage means pen, a writing instrument. However, in this context it means the Chinese writing brush.
  2. There are several color meanings of 青. It ranges from black to blue!  The modern meaning is “green” while in classical Chinese, it is either blue or green.  Here’s the general rule.
  3. green, if about grass, plants, mountains etc.
  4. blue if sky, stones, ceramics etc.
  5. black if, clothing, hair, etc.

Lesson 17

菜園中                 vegetable garden in
有小鷄一群          have small chicken one group
其毛不一              its fur not one
有黑有白有黄       have black have white have yellow
與母鷄同在草地   with mother chicken same/together on grass ground
爭食其葉              vie_for eat this leaf

In the vegetable garden, there is a group of little chicks.  Their feathers are different from each other.  There were black, white and yellow.  Together with the mother hen on the grass patch, fighting over which grass blade to eat.

Lesson 18

人力小             man strength little
牛馬之力大      cow horse [pp] strength great
然不能與人爭  still not able with man vie_with
以人知學         because man knows knowledge
牛馬不知學     cow horse not know knowledge
人知群,           man knows group
牛馬不知群耳 cow horse not know group this_is_all.

Man’s strength is little.  The strength of cattle and horses are great.  Still they are unable to vie with Man.  This is because Man knows knowledge and they don’t.  Man understands the concept to work in groups.  Cattle and horses don’t.  This is all to it.

Notes:

  1. 學 as a verb means “to study”. As a noun, it is “study/learning”.  Hence knowledge.
  2. 耳 is a classical particle to mean, “this is all”, “this is it”, “end of story”, “the end” etc.

Lesson 19

早飯之後             early cooked_rice [pp] after
有一老人             have one old man
長鬚白髮             long beard white hair
披風帽戴眼鏡      draped wind hat wearing eye mirror
引二兒入室          lead two children enter room
祖父呼孫              ancestor father call_out grandson
拜之曰                  pray him said
此我之好友, 李丈  this my [pp] good friend, Lee Chang(yard, measurement)
彼二兒                  these two children
此丈之孫也           These Chang [pp] grandsons

After breakfast, a bespectacled old man with long beard and white hair wearing a hat to ward off the winds, led two children into the room.  The grandfather called out to his grandson.  After the children paid their respect, he said,

“These two are my good friend’s; Li Chang’s grandchildren.”

Notes:

  1. 風帽 is a kind of ancient hat with a long back (a ducktail) to ward off the winds. Nowadays, it is a hood where it may be attacked to the jacket used for the same purpose.
  2. 拜 means to pray. However, if you don’t know Chinese culture, you will be mystified.  Filial piety demands the younger generation pay full respect by prostration and do the necessary kowtows.  In the old days, children are expected to pay their respects to the parents every morning.  This is called 請安 or “inviting peace”.  This sort of custom is unfortunately no longer in vogue in modern society except perhaps on grand occasions such as a traditional wedding.  This is still followed in South East Asian Chinese societies.  After the kowtowing, the bride and groom receive red packets containing lucky amounts of money for good luck.
  3. 李 is a Chinese last name, also used by Koreans. 丈 here refers to a person’s name. Remember this classical Chinese primer is written for Koreans.

A cultural note:

Traditional Chinese families like to have the entire clan living under one roof. To be able to have five generations living together is the greatest honour most cannot have. Longevity is an honour and is a big motive in Chinese arts being represented by cranes, peaches etc.  There are a thousand ways to write the character for “longevity” 壽.

Here’s an abridged story… When the Ch’ing Dynasty Emperor Ch’ien Lung (亁隆) while travelling incognito, he saw on a door, a horizontal plaque saying “Under Heaven, The First Family” (天下第一家). The Emperor was visibly annoyed for his should be the one. Therefore this plaque is treasonous and the entire family can be executed. However, he was curious and went in to ask. The explanation given was that even the current monarch cannot lay claim to have five generations living under the same roof! (五代同堂, five generations in the same hall)

Another slightly different version can be found at

http://www.hudie.org/duilian/gs/gs43.htm

Another totally different version of the story but involving the same Emperor can be found at

http://www.storychina.cn/frmPopAuthor_Detail.aspx?ID=33796

Personally I think this story is rather contrived.

Lesson 20

祖父問二兒           ancestor father ask second child
予兄讀書已二年矣 my older brother read books already two years ah
我年幼尚未讀書也 my age young yet not_yet read books

The  grandfather asked the second boy. [He replied,]

“Ah, my older brother has been studying for two years already.  I am still small, not yet started on any study.”

Notes: In classical Chinese二 doubles as either two or second.  The context will resolve this issue.  Thus unlike English, can be puzzling on the first reading.

Lesson 21

小兒問其兄曰    small kid asks his older_brother said
禽何善飛           birds why good fly?
獸何善走           beasts why good run?
曰                      replied
禽有兩翼故善飛 birds have two wings hence good fly
獸有四足故善走 beasts have four legs hence good run

A small kid asked his older brother,

“Why are birds good at flying and animals good at running?”

[The older boy] replied,

“Birds have two wings and thus able to fly well. Animals have four legs and so they run better.”

Notes:

1. Originally 禽 means wild animals that can fly. This includes snakes for their fast actions that made them look like they can fly. However, nowadays, it is restricted to birds only.

  1. 走 means to walk in modern Mandarin. In literary Chinese, Japanese and dialects such as Cantonese, it retain the original meaning, “to run”. However, one has to be very careful in interpreting this character for there are vestiges of its original meaning in common expressions such as…
  2. 走狗 – running dogs to mean traitors.
  3. 走馬灯 – running horses lanterns, a type of lanterns when lit will produce a moving pictures, a kind of a zoetrope.
  4. 走火 – running fire to mean, “to go off accidentally” or “to catch fire”. The more famous expression is走火入魔 – to catch on fire and enter the demonic realm. This phrase is usually found in Chinese martial arts story where it is a condition that during higher levels of mastering a technique, if one is accidentally not in concentration enough, will cause great damage to one’s body and even death can occur. Thus nowadays, it can mean that if one is not paying attention enough to a job, disaster will result.
  5. 走水 – running water. This is even trickier. It is a palace taboo wood. During the imperial days, lightning strikes can cause the palace to catch fire. This is because the buildings are made of wood and the palace is the highest structure in a vast open space area. To avoid the word “fire”, water is used instead. Another way of looking at it is that great cisterns were placed in strategic locations to store water. So you can imagine how buckets of water go “running” through the lines eunuchs to bring them to the burning area.
  6. 飛簷走壁 – flying on eaves and running along the walls. Another martial arts setting phrase to mean a highly skilled practitioner.
  7. 遠走高飛 – far fleeing and high flying – to mean “escape by fleeing”. In the same vein, 偷走- steal and run. To translate as “walking” is definitely wrong!
  8. 不脛而走 – no calves and run (ie even without calves, one can still get away so fast) “to get around fast” or to “spread like wild fire”.

Lesson 22

有不能則當學      have not then ought learn
有不知則當問      have not know then ought ask
是曰學問             is said learn study
學問多者其才大   learn study many those his talent great
學問少者其才小   learn study little those his talent small

Those without ability then, should learn. Those without knowing, then ought to ask.  Hence learn-and-study is known as knowledge.  Those who asked frequently, their abilities will be become great.  Those who asked little, their abilities remain miniscule.

Lesson 23

人之所居        man’s [pp] place live
有平屋            has flat houses
有樓屋            has tower houses
皆有門與窓     all have doors and windows.
有門則可出入  has door then can exit enter
有窓則放光      has window then release light

Man’s abode can are single and multiple storied.  However, all have doors and windows.  With a door, one can enter and leave.  With windows, light can be let in.

Notes:

窓 is a variant form for窗, chiefly used in Japan and Korea.

Lesson 24

河水淺              river water shallow
江水深              large_river water deep
海水最深           sea water most deep
洋則尤深而大    ocean then especially deep and large
水之源泉           water’s [pp] source spring
乃一勺之多也    therefore one unit_of_volume many [emphasis particle]

The waters of a river are shallow.  The waters of a large one are deep. But most of all, the deepest are those of the sea.  An ocean’s is especially deep and vast.  The source of the all waters is but of only a centilitre!

Notes:

  1. 河 is river. 溪 is stream.  江 is larger than河
  2. 勺 is a unit of volume about 10 centiliters. It is 100th of a升, the modern equivalent to a litre.

Lesson 25

人有過已改之   man has wrongs afterwards change it
人有善已從之   man has goodness afterwards obey it
故曰                 hence said
三人行             three man walk
必有我師焉      must have my teacher

When a man has wrongs, change them.  When a man has good, follow them.  Hence said, “Three men walking, surely one a master from which I can learn from”.

Note:

The last two lines come from the Analects.  The full version says that when three persons are walking together, there is one from which I can call a teacher, whom I can learn from his good.  If there is any fault, then he shall act as a mirror so that I can avoid them.

Lesson 26

用心則心強    use heart then heart strong
用身則身強    use body then body strong
身心俱弱        body heart both weak
為物且不能存 as thing/object yet not able survive
而况人乎        and moreover man?
故曰               thus said
弱肉強食        weak meat strong eat

Train thy heart and it will become strong.  Train thy body and it will become robust. If both the heart and body is weak, as something alive, it will not survive.  Moreover, a human being?  Hence said, “The weak will be preyed upon!”

Note:

The last line is an idiom which literally means, “the strong will eat the weaker flesh”.  The last line can also be translated as the “law of the jungle”.  This translation is too figurative for my taste, in this context of learning Classical Chinese.

Lesson 27

鑛物有珠玉     mining things have gems jade
有銅鐵            have copper iron
珠與玉其物貴 gems and jade its thing precious
銅與鐵其用廣 copper and iron its use widespread

There are gems and jade; copper and iron from the mines. Gems and jade are precious. [However, ] Copper and iron, [though not precious, ] their uses are wide spread.

Notes:

  1. 銅 can also mean to use bronze. 古銅 usually mean ancient bronzes of the Shang and Chou Dynasties.  Nowadays bronze are called 青銅.  From the context, it can only mean copper since bronze is manmade.  Copper is an element.
  2. 珠 means pearls or precious beads. However, in this context it means gems that are to be fashioned into beads.
  3. The last two sentences have an identical structure. I chose to translate using different structures but having the same meaning to make the English version more natural and true to its intent.  Without the implied words in the square brackets, the nuance is lost.

Lesson 28

一兒渴甚         one child thirsty very
欲取冷茶飲之  want take cold tea drink it
其兄曰             his older brother said
不可飲之         no can drink it
必有腹疾         must have stomach disease
兒不聽             kid no listen
後果病             after result sick

One child was very thirsty.  He wanted to drink some cold tea.  His older brother cautioned, “Do not drink it for it will cause you stomach problems”.

The child did not listen.  In the end, the result was that he got sick.

Lesson 29

貓似虎而小            cat like tiger but small
鯨名魚而有乳         whale named fish but has milk
雞有翼而不能高飛  chicken has wings but not able high fly

The cat is like a tiger but small. The whale is named as a fish but gives milk. The chicken has wings but unable to fly high.

Lesson 30

凡物熱則化            all things hot then melt
冷則凝                cold then gel
故夜寒則露結霜   hence night cold then dew harden frost
日出則霜融          sun out then frost melts
冬寒則水結冰      winter cold then water harden ice
春暖則冰解         spring warmth then ice melts

All things when heated melt, when cold, they gel.  Hence the cold of the night turns dew into frost and when the sun comes out, it melts.  The cold of winter solidifies water into ice.  The warmth of spring melts it.

Lesson 31

窓外有蘠薇架  Window outside has a rambler rose frame
其花如玫瑰      Its flower like rose
蝴蝶飛其上      butterflies fly its top
怡然有自得意  joyfully have self complacency

There is a rambler rose frame outside the window.  Its flowers are like those of roses.  Butterflies hovering on top of them in joy and complacency.

Note:

蘠薇 = rosa multiflora

Lesson 32

牧丹與海棠盛開  peony and crabapple vigorous open
其色甚美             its color very beautiful
有人倚欄干而觀   have person lean fence trunk view
花與人面相暎       flower and person face mutual reflection

The peonies and crabapples are blooming in vigor.  Their colors are very beautiful.  There is a person leaning against the fence viewing them.  Man and flowers reflecting in each other.

Notes:

  1. 海棠 = malus spectabilis (crabapple), begonia or Chaenomeles speciosa (flowering quince)
  2. 暎 = variant form of 映.

Lesson 33

或問李童           or ask Li (last name) child
天寒何不飲酒    sky cold why not drink wine
童曰                  child said
父親謂年幼之人 father dear said year/age young’s [pp] man
不當飲酒            not ought drink wine
飲則傷身            drink then harm body
父命安何違乎     father command where how violate ?

On asking the child of Li,

“When the sky is cold, why not have some wine?”

The child replied,

“My father said that young ones ought not to drink it.  If so, thus harm to health.  How could one violate the orders of one’s father?”

Notes:

  1. 或問 literally means “or asking”. It is a literary style in which a point is expounded and clarified through a dialogue.  The point discussed here is the principle of obeisance towards one’s elders as they have more experience.
  1. 安 here is used as an interrogative particle and not the noun for the more common meaning for “peace”, “tranquility” etc. It can mean either “where” or “how” depending on context.

         而今安在?  And where is it now?

         As answering a question with another question meaning how…

         不及虎穴, 安得虎子?   To fall short of the tiger’s lair, how to get its cub?  The more common               idiom is 不入虎穴, 焉得虎子 “By not entering the tiger’s lair, from whence its cub be                         gotten/gained?” or “By not entering the tiger’s lair, how can its cub be gotten/gained?”

          安能若无其事  “How can it be as if nothing had happened?”

Lesson 34

一日秋風涼爽           one day autumn wind cool comfortable
夕陽欲下                  setting sun want down
王生與李生乘馬而行 Wang Mr. and Li Mister ride horse and move
見數鴉                      saw number crows
待群鴉盡歸               wait group crows all return
乃共入巢                  then together enter nest

One autumn’s day, the breeze was cool and comfortable; the sun was setting, Mr. Wang and Mr. Li were riding their horses.  They saw a flock of crows.  They were in wait until all had returned before entering the nest together.

Note:

Most of these short lessons tell of a moral on how humans should act and behave.  You just have to read deeper into its meanings.  If lowly animals can do it, as higher forms, why can’t humans be the same, having courtesy to one another?

Lesson 35

一夕月色糢糊    one night moon color blur muddle
半夜睡醒           half night sleep awake
聞窓外雨聲淅瀝 hear window outside rain sound [onomatopoeia “c”][ onomatopoeia, “lee”]
簷馬丁東           eave horse [onomatopoeia “ding”][ onomatopoeia “dong”]

One night when the moon was hazy.  I woke up at midnight and heard from the window outside: the rain went pitter-pattering and the wind chime goes ding-ding-dong-dong.

Notes:

  1. 簷馬 are so called because most probably they resembled the distant sounds of ringing bells put on horses to warn people. Wind chimes are used in ancient China to determine the wind direction and later to become musical chimes for the rich and powerful and can be made from jade!
  2. 淅瀝 and丁東 (or 叮咚, 玎璫) are onomatopoeia.
  3. This lesson teaches that if the moon is hazy, then rain will sure to follow.

Lesson 36

馬車                       horse carriage
或駕一馬或駕兩馬  or harness one horse or harness two horses
其輪或二或四         its wheels or two or four
四輪者二大二小     four wheels of two big two small
小者在前               small one at front
大者在後               big one at rear/behind

One or two horses are harnessed to a carriage.  Its wheels, therefore are of two or four.  Those with four wheels have two large ones and two small ones.  The small ones are in the front while the larger ones in the back.

Note:

車 = car in modern usage but carriage in pre-automotive days.  In Chinese chess, it is the war chariot, equivalent to the rook or castle and has a different Chinese pronunciation.

Lesson 37

某處有公井 some place have public well
數家往汲水 number family go_to/bound_for draw water
每家每日    every family ever day
約用水六桶 to_make_a_pack use water six buckets

Somewhere there was a public well in which a number of families go to draw water.  It was agreed that each family would draw six buckets of water for their daily use.

Another style,

Somewhere was a public well where a number of families go to draw water.  Each family and for each day, all had agreed to use six buckets.

Lesson 38

諸生課畢          some students lesson done
或遊園              or tour/travel garden
或遊野              or tour/travel wilderness/field/open_space/rural_countryside
眾人同遊則樂    group people same/together tour/travel then happy
各人獨遊則不樂 each person tour/travel then not happy

Some students on finishing their class would either go to the gardens or to the woods for fun.  If going together, then it is a joyful event.  However, if each went alone, then it would not be so.

Notes:

  1. 遊 does not really mean tour or travel. In this context, it means to go and have fun. Such are the simplistic joys of the past.
  2. 野 has many meanings. It also includes “feral”, “limit” and “boundary”. In this particular context, it means some place where no human work is at hand. Most probably by an area nearby the woods or forest.  It cannot be too far off a place since they are doing it every day.  We cannot translate “gardens” into parks because at that time, no such concept as a public park exists.

Lesson 39

洪君與客談           Hung (Last Name) master and guest converse
兒在旁默聽           child at side silent listen
客述                      guest narrate
崔姓兒入塾甫一年 Chui last_name child enter private_school just_barely one year
已能作信札演諸說 already able compose letter note practise various talk
兒聞而大羨之        child hear and great admiration him

Master Hung and a guest were conversing.  A child stood nearby and silently listened.  The guest described how the son of Mr. Chui had barely entered a private school for a year and is already able to write letters and notes, and recited various discourses.

Notes:

  1. 塾 is actually a room in some scholar’s house where children of those who can afford tuition are being taught. The richer families and nobilities of course can hire a live-in teacher to teach their scions.
  2. 札 Among the many meaning, it can also mean the bamboo slip in which ancient Chinese books are made of; or a kind of official document in the imperial days.
  3. 說 Here it means a discourse as a dialog between the master, such as Confucius to his student, or a king to his subject.

Lesson 40

春日晴和             spring day sunny warm
楊柳曳風中          poplar willow drag wind in
溪水蕩漾             brook waters undulating rippling
客徘徊溪邊甚樂  wanderer irresolute hesitate brook side very happy

The spring day is sunny and warm.  The poplars and willows dragging in the wind;  the brook waters rippling away and the wanderer dithering along the banks in happiness.

Note:

客 can also mean a guest.  However from the context, a wanderer is more appropriate.

Lesson 41

長兄謂幼弟曰 older brother told young brother said
我為爾兄        I because you older_brother
爾為我弟        you because I younger_brother
我當教爾        I ought teach you
爾當聽我言    you ought listen I words

The older brother told his younger brother,

“As your older brother and you, my younger sibling, I ought to teach you and you ought to listen to my words.”

Lesson 42

某兒願習字   One child willing practise words
父授一筆曰   father give one brush said
爾可以習字  you can use practise words
兒得筆甚喜  child having brush very joy

A child was willing to learn and practise his writing of characters.  The father gave him a writing brush and said,

“You now can use it to practise your writing.”

The child having the brush was overjoyed.

Lesson 43

家有貓     house have cat
鼠不敢出 mouse not dare out
河有獺     river has otter
魚不敢出 fish not dare out
林有鸇    forest has sparrow_hawk
鳥不敢出 bird not dare out

The house has a cat and mice dare not come out.  The river has otters and the fish dare not come out.  The forest has sparrow hawk and birds dare not come out.

Notes:

  1. 家 can mean home or house. In this context, a house is better a translation.
  2. Note the use of singular and plural forms. This is because one has to take into account the solitary nature of some creatures.
  3. The moral of this lesson is about tyranny.

Lesson 44

一兒將入塾      One child about_to enter private_school
父呼而謂之曰   father called and told him said
予無暇教汝       I no leisure teach you
命汝從師          order you obey teacher
汝當聽師言       you ought listen teacher word
如聽予言           like listen my word

A child was about to enter a private school.  The father called him and said,

“I don’t have the time to teach you. I am ordering you to obey your teacher.  You ought to listen to him as if his words are mine.”

Notes:

  1. 塾 = private school, see Chapter 39.
  2. In ancient China, a teacher is considered like a second father and sometimes more important than the biological one. This is because a teacher teaches not only knowledge but to live as an upright person.  Hence this rise to an idiom, 一日為師, 終身如父, One day a teacher, a father for life. From this we can see how respectful a position a teacher is, even by today’s standards for a teacher.  Very much unlike the West.

Lesson 45

張童不能寫字            Chang boy not able write characters
怨筆不佳                   complain pen not good
父曰爾不能書當自怨  father said you not able write ought self complain
勿怨紙筆                    not complain paper pen

A boy named Chang was unable to write properly and complained that the brush is not good.  The father said,

“You cannot write well, you should complain about yourself, not the brush or the paper!”

Notes:

  1. The translation of “不能寫字” should be “unable to write”. However, in this context it is not that the child cannot write but unable to write well.  Using a brush to write is more difficult to write with a fountain pen or a ballpoint.  The moral of this lesson is not the ability to write but the ability to have good penmanship.  Calligraphy is one of the Four Accomplishments (琴棋書畫), zither (knowledge to compose music), chess (shows analytical thinking), calligraphy (to write poetry) and painting (appreciating the arts).
  2. 書 as a noun is “book” but as a verb “to write”. However in this context, it means 書法 or “The Law of Writing” aka Chinese calligraphy.  In Japanese, it is known as 書道, “The Way of Writing” and in Korea, 書藝, “The Art of Writing”.  All these have subtle meanings and hence the way of how characters are written.

Lesson 46

筆以毛為之       brush by_means_of hair becomes it
其桿以竹為之  its pole by_means_of bamboo becomes it
執桿而寫字      grasp pole and write character
指密掌虛          fingers dense palm weak
字密行疏          characters refine column sparse

A brush is made out of hair.  Its body is made from bamboo.  Grasp its body to write.  Fingers should be firm and the palm at ease.  The written characters should be refined with plenty of columnar white space.

Notes:

  1. This lesson illustrates the various meanings of 密. The first one means dense and in this context to hold firmly.  The second one means refinement through meticulous work.
  2. The last line Chinese calligraphy jargon to denote a visual style.

Lesson 47

某兒讀書勤               some child read book diligent
父以梨賞之               father for pear bestow him
兒食其半曰               child eat its half said
欲留其半与我妹食之 want leave its half and my sister eat it

Some child was studying diligently.  The father gave a pear to him as reward.  The child ate half and said,

“I shall leave [the other] half for my sister to eat.”

Lesson 48

催生兒少傲惰        Chui (surname) Mr. son small arrogant lazy
及父死無衣食        and_when father die no clothing eat
遂為乞人               then_finally become beg man
徐君歎而謂其子曰 Yu(surname) lord sighed and said its son said
鳴呼                       cry (of animals) call_out
此傲惰之罸也         this arrogant laziness (pp) punishment emphasis_particle
吾兒汝當戒之         my son you ought guard_against it

Chui’s son, when little was arrogant and lazy. Then when his father died, no one clothed or fed him. Finally then he was reduced to being a beggar.  Lord Yu lamented and warned his son said,

“This is the punishment for being arrogant and lazy!  My son, you ought to guard against being so.”

Lesson 49

母問              mother asked
水之流何清   water’s flow why clear
竿之影何直   pole’s shadow why straight
兒不能答       child not able reply
母曰              mother said
源清故流清    source pure because flow clear
形直故景直    form straight because situation straight

The mother asked,

“Why is the water flowing clearly? Why is the shadow of a pole straight?”

The child could not answer.

The mother said,

“The source is pure and hence the flow is clear.  The form is straight and hence the situation will be straight.”

Note:

The moral of this lesson is to teach one to be an upright person.

Lesson 50

有物飛入室      have thing fly into room
形如鼠而有翼  shape like mouse and have wings
兒異之             child wondered it
父曰                father said
是名蝙蝠         is name bat bat
喜食蚊            loves eat mosquitoes

Something flew into the room.  Its shape looked like a mouse but has wings.  The child wondered.  The father explained, “It is called a bat and loves to eat mosquitoes.”