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鲁迅《狂人日记》杨宪益、戴乃迭英译本

发布者: waishi.com | 发布时间: 2017-9-26 16:37| 查看数: 199| 评论数: 0|帖子模式

鲁迅《狂人日记》杨宪益、戴乃迭英译本
狂人日记
鲁迅
某君昆仲,今隐其名,皆余昔日在中学时良友;分隔多年,消息渐阙。日前偶闻其一大病;适归故乡,迂道往访,则仅晤一人,言病者其弟也。 劳君远道来视,然已早愈,赴某地候补⑵矣。因大笑,出示日记二册,谓可见当日病状,不妨献诸旧友。持归阅一过,知所患盖“迫害狂”之类。语颇错杂无伦次,又多荒唐之言;亦不著月日,惟墨色字体不一,知非一时所书。间亦有略具联络者,今撮录一篇,以供医家研究。记中语误,一字不易;惟人名虽皆村人,不为世间所知,无关大体,然亦悉易去。至于书名,则本人愈后所题,不复改也。七年四月二日识。
  今天晚上,很好的月光。
  我不见他,已是三十多年;今天见了,精神分外爽快。才知道以前的三十多年,全是发昏;然而须十分小心。不然,那赵家的狗,何以看我两眼呢?
  我怕得有理。
  今天全没月光,我知道不妙。早上小心出门,赵贵翁的眼色便怪:似乎怕我,似乎想害我。还有七八个人,交头接耳的议论我,张着嘴,对我笑了一笑;我便从头直冷到脚根,晓得他们布置,都已妥当了。
  我可不怕,仍旧走我的路。前面一伙小孩子,也在那里议论我;眼色也同赵贵翁一样,脸色也铁青。我想我同小孩子有什么仇,他也这样。忍不住大声说,“你告诉我!”他们可就跑了。
  我想:我同赵贵翁有什么仇,同路上的人又有什么仇;只有廿年以前,把古久先生的陈年流水簿子⑶,踹了一脚,古久先生很不高兴。赵贵翁虽然不认识他,一定也听到风声,代抱不平;约定路上的人,同我作冤对。但是小孩子呢?那时候,他们还没有出世,何以今天也睁着怪眼睛,似乎怕我,似乎想害我。这真教我怕,教我纳罕而且伤心。
  我明白了。这是他们娘老子教的!
  晚上总是睡不着。凡事须得研究,才会明白。
  他们——也有给知县打枷过的,也有给绅士掌过嘴的,也有衙役占了他妻子的,也有老子娘被债主逼死的;他们那时候的脸色,全没有昨天这么怕,也没有这么凶。
  最奇怪的是昨天街上的那个女人,打他儿子,嘴里说道,“老子呀!我要咬你几口才出气!”他眼睛却看着我。我出了一惊,遮掩不住;那青面獠牙的一伙人,便都哄笑起来。陈老五赶上前,硬把我拖回家中了。
  拖我回家,家里的人都装作不认识我;他们的脸色,也全同别人一样。进了书房,便反扣上门,宛然是关了一只鸡鸭。这一件事,越教我猜不出底细。
  前几天,狼子村的佃户来告荒,对我大哥说,他们村里的一个大恶人,给大家打死了;几个人便挖出他的心肝来,用油煎炒了吃,可以壮壮胆子。我插了一句嘴,佃户和大哥便都看我几眼。今天才晓得他们的眼光,全同外面的那伙人一模一样。
  想起来,我从顶上直冷到脚跟。
  他们会吃人,就未必不会吃我。
  你看那女人“咬你几口”的话,和一伙青面獠牙人的笑,和前天佃户的话,明明是暗号。我看出他话中全是毒,笑中全是刀。他们的牙齿,全是白厉厉的排着,这就是吃人的家伙。
  照我自己想,虽然不是恶人,自从踹了古家的簿子,可就难说了。他们似乎别有心思,我全猜不出。况且他们一翻脸,便说人是恶人。我还记得大哥教我做论,无论怎样好人,翻他几句,他便打上几个圈;原谅坏人几句,他便说“翻天妙手,与众不同”。我那里猜得到他们的心思,究竟怎样;况且是要吃的时候。
  凡事总须研究,才会明白。古来时常吃人,我也还记得,可是不甚清楚。我翻开历史一查,这历史没有年代,歪歪斜斜的每叶上都写着“仁义道德”几个字。我横竖睡不着,仔细看了半夜,才从字缝里看出字来,满本都写着两个字是“吃人”!
  书上写着这许多字,佃户说了这许多话,却都笑吟吟的睁着怪眼看我。
  我也是人,他们想要吃我了!
  早上,我静坐了一会儿。陈老五送进饭来,一碗菜,一碗蒸鱼;这鱼的眼睛,白而且硬,张着嘴,同那一伙想吃人的人一样。吃了几筷,滑溜溜的不知是鱼是人,便把他兜肚连肠的吐出。
  我说“老五,对大哥说,我闷得慌,想到园里走走。”老五不答应,走了;停一会,可就来开了门。
  我也不动,研究他们如何摆布我;知道他们一定不肯放松。果然!我大哥引了一个老头子,慢慢走来;他满眼凶光,怕我看出,只是低头向着地,从眼镜横边暗暗看我。大哥说,“今天你仿佛很好。”我说“是的。”大哥说,“今天请何先生来,给你诊一诊。”我说“可以!”其实我岂不知道这老头子是刽子手扮的!无非借了看脉这名目,揣一揣肥瘠:因这功劳,也分一片肉吃。我也不怕;虽然不吃人,胆子却比他们还壮。伸出两个拳头,看他如何下手。老头子坐着,闭了眼睛,摸了好一会,呆了好一会;便张开他鬼眼睛说,“不要乱想。静静的养几天,就好了。”
  不要乱想,静静的养!养肥了,他们是自然可以多吃;我有什么好处,怎么会“好了”?他们这群人,又想吃人,又是鬼鬼祟祟,想法子遮掩,不敢直截下手,真要令我笑死。我忍不住,便放声大笑起来,十分快活。自己晓得这笑声里面,有的是义勇和正气。老头子和大哥,都失了色,被我这勇气正气镇压住了。
  但是我有勇气,他们便越想吃我,沾光一点这勇气。老头子跨出门,走不多远,便低声对大哥说道,“赶紧吃罢!”大哥点点头。原来也有你!这一件大发见,虽似意外,也在意中:合伙吃我的人,便是我的哥哥!
  吃人的是我哥哥!
  我是吃人的人的兄弟!
  我自己被人吃了,可仍然是吃人的人的兄弟!
  这几天是退一步想:假使那老头子不是刽子手扮的,真是医生,也仍然是吃人的人。他们的祖师李时珍做的“本草什么”⑷上,明明写着人肉可以煎吃;他还能说自己不吃人么?
  至于我家大哥,也毫不冤枉他。他对我讲书的时候,亲口说过可以“易子而食”⑸;又一回偶然议论起一个不好的人,他便说不但该杀,还当“食肉寝皮”⑹。我那时年纪还小,心跳了好半天。前天狼子村佃户来说吃心肝的事,他也毫不奇怪,不住的点头。可见心思是同从前一样狠。既然可以“易子而食”,便什么都易得,什么人都吃得。我从前单听他讲道理,也胡涂过去;现在晓得他讲道理的时候,不但唇边还抹着人油,而且心里满装着吃人的意思。
  黑漆漆的,不知是日是夜。赵家的狗又叫起来了。
  狮子似的凶心,兔子的怯弱,狐狸的狡猾,……
  我晓得他们的方法,直捷杀了,是不肯的,而且也不敢,怕有祸祟。所以他们大家连络,布满了罗网,逼我自戕。试看前几天街上男女的样子,和这几天我大哥的作为,便足可悟出八九分了。最好是解下腰带,挂在梁上,自己紧紧勒死;他们没有杀人的罪名,又偿了心愿,自然都欢天喜地的发出一种呜呜咽咽的笑声。否则惊吓忧愁死了,虽则略瘦,也还可以首肯几下。
  他们是只会吃死肉的!——记得什么书上说,有一种东西,叫“海乙那”⑺的,眼光和样子都很难看;时常吃死肉,连极大的骨头,都细细嚼烂,咽下肚子去,想起来也教人害怕。“海乙那”是狼的亲眷,狼是狗的本家。前天赵家的狗,看我几眼,可见他也同谋,早已接洽。老头子眼看着地,岂能瞒得我过。
  最可怜的是我的大哥,他也是人,何以毫不害怕;而且合伙吃我呢?还是历来惯了,不以为非呢?还是丧了良心,明知故犯呢?
  我诅咒吃人的人,先从他起头;要劝转吃人的人,也先从他下手。
  其实这种道理,到了现在,他们也该早已懂得,……
  忽然来了一个人;年纪不过二十左右,相貌是不很看得清楚,满面笑容,对了我点头,他的笑也不像真笑。我便问他,“吃人的事,对么?”他仍然笑着说,“不是荒年,怎么会吃人。”我立刻就晓得,他也是一伙,喜欢吃人的;便自勇气百倍,偏要问他。
“对么?”
“这等事问他什么。你真会……说笑话。……今天天气很好。”
  天气是好,月色也很亮了。可是我要问你,“对么?”
  他不以为然了。含含胡胡的答道,“不……”
“不对?他们何以竟吃?!”
“没有的事……”
“没有的事?狼子村现吃;还有书上都写着,通红斩新!”
  他便变了脸,铁一般青。睁着眼说,“有许有的,这是从来如此……”
“从来如此,便对么?”
“我不同你讲这些道理;总之你不该说,你说便是你错!”
  我直跳起来,张开眼,这人便不见了。全身出了一大片汗。他的年纪,比我大哥小得远,居然也是一伙;这一定是他娘老子先教的。还怕已经教给他儿子了;所以连小孩子,也都恶狠狠的看我。
  自己想吃人,又怕被别人吃了,都用着疑心极深的眼光,面面相觑。……
  去了这心思,放心做事走路吃饭睡觉,何等舒服。这只是一条门槛,一个关头。他们可是父子兄弟夫妇朋友师生仇敌和各不相识的人,都结成一伙,互相劝勉,互相牵掣,死也不肯跨过这一步。
  大清早,去寻我大哥;他立在堂门外看天,我便走到他背后,拦住门,格外沉静,格外和气的对他说,
“大哥,我有话告诉你。”
“你说就是,”他赶紧回过脸来,点点头。
“我只有几句话,可是说不出来。大哥,大约当初野蛮的人,都吃过一点人。后来因为心思不同,有的不吃人了,一味要好,便变了人,变了真的人。有的却还吃,——也同虫子一样,有的变了鱼鸟猴子,一直变到人。有的不要好,至今还是虫子。这吃人的人比不吃人的人,何等惭愧。怕比虫子的惭愧猴子,还差得很远很远。
“易牙⑻蒸了他儿子,给桀纣吃,还是一直从前的事。谁晓得从盘古开辟天地以后,一直吃到易牙的儿子;从易牙的儿子,一直吃到徐锡林⑼;从徐锡林,又一直吃到狼子村捉住的人。去年城里杀了犯人,还有一个生痨病的人,用馒头蘸血舐。
“他们要吃我,你一个人,原也无法可想;然而又何必去入伙。吃人的人,什么事做不出;他们会吃我,也会吃你,一伙里面,也会自吃。但只要转一步,只要立刻改了,也就是人人太平。虽然从来如此,我们今天也可以格外要好,说是不能!大哥,我相信你能说,前天佃户要减租,你说过不能。”
  当初,他还只是冷笑,随后眼光便凶狠起来,一到说破他们的隐情,那就满脸都变成青色了。大门外立着一伙人,赵贵翁和他的狗,也在里面,都探头探脑的挨进来。有的是看不出面貌,似乎用布蒙着;有的是仍旧青面獠牙,抿着嘴笑。我认识他们是一伙,都是吃人的人。可是也晓得他们心思很不一样,一种是以为从来如此,应该吃的;一种是知道不该吃,可是仍然要吃,又怕别人说破他,所以听了我的话,越发气愤不过,可是抿着嘴冷笑。
  这时候,大哥也忽然显出凶相,高声喝道,
“都出去!疯子有什么好看!”
  这时候,我又懂得一件他们的巧妙了。他们岂但不肯改,而且早已布置;预备下一个疯子的名目罩上我。将来吃了,不但太平无事,怕还会有人见情。佃户说的大家吃了一个恶人,正是这方法。这是他们的老谱!
  陈老五也气愤愤的直走进来。如何按得住我的口,我偏要对这伙人说,
“你们可以改了,从真心改起!要晓得将来容不得吃人的人,活在世上。
“你们要不改,自己也会吃尽。即使生得多,也会给真的人除灭了,同猎人打完狼子一样!——同虫子一样!”
  那一伙人,都被陈老五赶走了。大哥也不知那里去了。陈老五劝我回屋子里去。屋里面全是黑沉沉的。横梁和椽子都在头上发抖;抖了一会,就大起来,堆在我身上。
  万分沉重,动弹不得;他的意思是要我死。我晓得他的沉重是假的,便挣扎出来,出了一身汗。可是偏要说,
“你们立刻改了,从真心改起!你们要晓得将来是容不得吃人的人,……”
十一
  太阳也不出,门也不开,日日是两顿饭。
  我捏起筷子,便想起我大哥;晓得妹子死掉的缘故,也全在他。那时我妹子才五岁,可爱可怜的样子,还在眼前。母亲哭个不住,他却劝母亲不要哭;大约因为自己吃了,哭起来不免有点过意不去。如果还能过意不去,……
  妹子是被大哥吃了,母亲知道没有,我可不得而知。
  母亲想也知道;不过哭的时候,却并没有说明,大约也以为应当的了。记得我四五岁时,坐在堂前乘凉,大哥说爷娘生病,做儿子的须割下一片肉来,煮熟了请他吃,⑽才算好人;母亲也没有说不行。一片吃得,整个的自然也吃得。但是那天的哭法,现在想起来,实在还教人伤心,这真是奇极的事!
十二
  不能想了。
  四千年来时时吃人的地方,今天才明白,我也在其中混了多年;大哥正管着家务,妹子恰恰死了,他未必不和在饭菜里,暗暗给我们吃。
  我未必无意之中,不吃了我妹子的几片肉,现在也轮到我自己,……
  有了四千年吃人履历的我,当初虽然不知道,现在明白,难见真的人!
十三
  没有吃过人的孩子,或者还有?
  救救孩子……
                      一九一八年四月。
  注释
⑴本篇最初发表于一九一八年五月《新青年》第四卷第五号。作者首次采用了“鲁迅”这一笔名。它是我国现代文学史上第一篇猛烈抨击“吃人”的封建礼教的小说。作者除在本书(《呐喊》)《自序》中提及它产生的缘由外,又在《〈中国新文学大系〉小说二集序》中指出它“意在暴露家族制度和礼教的弊害”,可以参看。
⑵候补:清代官制,通过科举或捐纳等途径取得官衔,但还没有实际职务的中下级官员,由吏部抽签分发到某部或某省,听候委用,称为候补。
⑶古久先生的陈年流水簿子:这里比喻我国封建主义统治的长久历史。
⑷“本草什么”:指《本草纲目》,明代医学家李时珍(1518—1593)的药物学著作,共五十二卷。该书曾经提到唐代陈藏器《本草拾遗》中以人肉医治痨的记载,并表示了异议。这里说李时珍的书“明明写着人肉可以煎吃”,当是“狂人”的“记中语误”。
⑸“易子而食”:语见《左传》宣公十五年,是宋将华元对楚将子反叙说宋国都城被楚军围困时的惨状:“敝邑易子而食,析骸而爨。”
⑹“食肉寝皮”:语出《左传》襄公二十一年,晋国州绰对齐庄公说:“然二子者,譬于禽兽,臣食其肉而寝处其皮矣。”(按:“二子”指齐国的殖绰和郭最,他们曾被州绰俘虏过。)
⑺“海乙那”:英语hyena的音译,即鬣狗(又名土狼),一种食肉兽,常跟在狮虎等猛兽之后,以它们吃剩的兽类的残尸为食。
⑻易牙:春秋时齐国人,善于调味。据《管子•小称》:“夫易牙以调和事公(按:指齐桓公),公曰‘惟蒸婴儿之未尝’,于是蒸其首子而献之公。”桀、纣各为我国夏朝和商朝的最后一代君主,易牙和他们不是同时代人。这里说的“易牙蒸了他儿子,给桀纣吃”,也是“狂人”“语颇错杂无伦次”的表现。
⑼徐锡林:隐指徐锡麟(1873—1907),字伯荪,浙江绍兴人,清末革命团体光复会的重要成员。一九○七年与秋瑾准备在浙、皖两省同时起义。七月六日,他以安徽巡警处会办兼巡警学堂监督身份为掩护,乘学堂举行毕业典礼之机刺死安徽巡抚恩铭,率领学生攻占军械局,弹尽被捕,当日惨遭杀害,心肝被恩铭的卫队挖出炒食。⑽指“割股疗亲”,即割取自己的股肉煎药,以医治父母的重病。这是封建社会的一种愚孝行为。《宋史•选举志一》:“上以孝取人,则勇者割股,怯者庐墓。”
译文:
一鸣选自《鲁迅小说选》,杨宪益、戴乃迭译,外文出版社,2003年,114页。

鲁迅《狂人日记》杨宪益、戴乃迭英译本

鲁迅《狂人日记》杨宪益、戴乃迭英译本
A MADMAN'S DIARY
Two brothers, whose names I need not mention here, were both good friends of mine in high school; but after a separation of many years we gradually lost touch. Some time ago I happened to hear that one of them was seriously ill, and since I was going back to my old home I broke my journey to call on them, I saw only one, however, who told me that the invalid was his younger brother.
"I appreciate your coming such a long way to see us," he said, "but my brother recovered some time ago and has gone elsewhere to take up an official post." Then, laughing, he produced two volumes of his brother's diary, saying that from these the nature of his past illness could be seen, and that there was no harm in showing them to an old friend. I took the diary away, read it through, and found that he had suffered from a form of persecution complex. The writing was most confused and incoherent, and he had made many wild statements; moreover he had omitted to give any dates, so that only by the colour of the ink and the differences in the writing could one tell that it was not written at one time. Certain sections, however, were not altogether disconnected, and I have copied out a part to serve as a subject for medical research. I have not altered a single illogicality in the diary and have changed only the names, even though the people referred to are all country folk, unknown to the world and of no consequence. As for the title, it was chosen by the diarist himself after his recovery, and I did not change it.
I
Tonight the moon is very bright.
I have not seen it for over thirty years, so today when I saw it I felt in unusually high spirits. I begin to realize that during the past thirty-odd years I have been in the dark; but now I must be extremely careful. Otherwise why should that dog at the Chao house have looked at me twice?
I have reason for my fear.
II
Tonight there is no moon at all, I know that this bodes ill. This morning when I went out cautiously, Mr. Chao had a strange look in his eyes, as if he were afraid of me, as if he wanted to murder me. There were seven or eight others, who discussed me in a whisper. And they were afraid of my seeing them. All the people I passed were like that. The fiercest among them grinned at me; whereupon I shivered from head to foot, knowing that their preparations were complete.
I was not afraid, however, but continued on my way. A group of children in front were also discussing me, and the look in their eyes was just like that in Mr. Chao's while their faces too were ghastly pale. I wondered what grudge these children could have against me to make them behave like this. I could not help calling out: "Tell me!" But then they ran away.
I wonder what grudge Mr. Chao can have against me, what grudge the people on the road can have against me. I can think of nothing except that twenty years ago I trod on Mr. Ku Chiu'saccount sheets for many years past, and Mr. Ku was very displeased. Although Mr. Chao does not know him, he must have heard talk of this and decided to avenge him, so he is conspiring against me with the people on the road, But then what of the children? At that time they were not yet born, so why should they eye me so strangely today, as if they were afraid of me, as if they wanted to murder me? This really frightens me, it is so bewildering and upsetting.
I know. They must have learned this from their parents!
______
[Note: Ku Chiu]: Ku Chiu means "Ancient Times." Lu Hsun had in mind the long history of feudal oppression in China.
III
I can't sleep at night. Everything requires careful consideration if one is to understand it.
Those people, some of whom have been pilloried by the magistrate, slapped in the face by the local gentry, had their wives taken away by bailiffs, or their parents driven to suicide by creditors, never looked as frightened and as fierce then as they did yesterday.
The most extraordinary thing was that woman on the street yesterday who spanked her son and said, "Little devil! I'd like to bite several mouthfuls out of you to work off my feelings!" Yet all the time she looked at me. I gave a start, unable to control myself; then all those green-faced, long-toothed people began to laugh derisively. Old Chen hurried forward and dragged me home.
He dragged me home. The folk at home all pretended not to know me; they had the same look in their eyes as all the others. When I went into the study, they locked the door outside as if cooping up a chicken or a duck. This incident left me even more bewildered.
A few days ago a tenant of ours from Wolf Cub Village came to report the failure of the crops, and told my elder brother that a notorious character in their village had been beaten to death; then some people had taken out his heart and liver, fried them in oil and eaten them, as a means of increasing their courage. When I interrupted, the tenant and my brother both stared at me. Only today have I realized that they had exactly the same look in their eyes as those people outside.
Just to think of it sets me shivering from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet.
They eat human beings, so they may eat me.
I see that woman's "bite several mouthfuls out of you," the laughter of those green-faced, long-toothed people and the tenant's story the other day are obviously secret signs. I realize all the poison in their speech, all the daggers in their laughter. Their teeth are white and glistening: they are all man-eaters.
It seems to me, although I am not a bad man, ever since I trod on Mr. Ku's accounts it has been touch-and-go. They seem to have secrets which I cannot guess, and once they are angry they will call anyone a bad character. I remember when my elder brother taught me to write compositions, no matter how good a man was, if I produced arguments to the contrary he would mark that passage to show his approval; while if I excused evil-doers, he would say: "Good for you, that shows originality." How can I possibly guess their secret thoughts—especially when they are ready to eat people?
Everything requires careful consideration if one is to understand it. In ancient times, as I recollect, people often ate human beings, but I am rather hazy about it. I tried to look this up, but my history has no chronology, and scrawled all over each page are the words: "Virtue and Morality." Since I could not sleep anyway, I read intently half the night, until I began to see words between the lines, the whole book being filled with the two words—"Eat people."
All these words written in the book, all the words spoken by our tenant, gaze at me strangely with an enigmatic smile.
I too am a man, and they want to eat me!
IV
In the morning I sat quietly for some time. Old Chen brought lunch in: one bowl of vegetables, one bowl of steamed fish. The eyes of the fish were white and hard, and its mouth was open just like those people who want to eat human beings. After a few mouthfuls I could not tell whether the slippery morsels were fish or human flesh, so I brought it all up.
I said, "Old Chen, tell my brother that I feel quite suffocated, and want to have a stroll in the garden." Old Chen said nothing but went out, and presently he came back and opened the gate.
I did not move, but watched to see how they would treat me, feeling certain that they would not let me go. Sure enough! My elder brother came slowly out, leading an old man. There was a murderous gleam in his eyes, and fearing that I would see it he lowered his head, stealing glances at me from the side of his spectacles.
"You seem to be very well today," said my brother.
"Yes," said I.
"I have invited Mr. Ho here today," said my brother, "to examine you."
"All right," said I. Actually I knew quite well that this old man was the executioner in disguise! He simply used the pretext of feeling my pulse to see how fat I was; for by so doing he would receive a share of my flesh. Still I was not afraid. Although I do not eat men, my courage is greater than theirs. I held out my two fists, to see what he would do. The old man sat down, closed his eyes, fumbled for some time and remained still for some time; then he opened his shifty eyes and said, "Don't let your imagination run away with you. Rest quietly for a few days, and you will be all right."
Don't let your imagination run away with you! Rest quietly for a few days! When I have grown fat, naturally they will have more to eat; but what good will it do me, or how can it be "all right"? All these people wanting to eat human flesh and at the same time stealthily trying to keep up appearances, not daring to act promptly, really made me nearly die of laughter. I could not help roaring with laughter, I was so amused. I knew that in this laughter were courage and integrity. Both the old man and my brother turned pale, awed by my courage and integrity.
But just because I am brave they are the more eager to eat me, in order to acquire some of my courage. The old man went out of the gate, but before he had gone far he said to my brother in a low voice, "To be eaten at once!" And my brother nodded. So you are in it too! This stupendous discovery, although it came as a shock, is yet no more than I had expected: the accomplice in eating me is my elder brother!
The eater of human flesh is my elder brother!
I am the younger brother of an eater of human flesh!
I myself will be eaten by others, but none the less I am the younger brother of an eater of human flesh!
V
These few days I have been thinking again: suppose that old man were not an executioner in disguise, but a real doctor; he would be none the less an eater of human flesh. In that book on herbs, written by his predecessor Li Shih-chen, it is clearly stated that men's flesh can he boiled and eaten; so can he still say that he does not eat men?
As for my elder brother, I have also good reason to suspect him. When he was teaching me, he said with his own lips, "People exchange their sons to eat." And once in discussing a bad man, he said that not only did he deserve to be killed, he should "have his flesh eaten and his hide slept on. . . . I was still young then, and my heart beat faster for some time, he was not at all surprised by the story that our tenant from Wolf Cub Village told us the other day about eating a man's heart and liver, but kept nodding his head. He is evidently just as cruel as before. Since it is possible to "exchange sons to eat," then anything can be exchanged, anyone can be eaten. In the past I simply listened to his explanations, and let it go at that; now I know that when he explained it to me, not only was there human fat at the corner of his lips, but his whole heart was set on eating men.
______
[Note: Li Shih-chen] A famous pharmacologist (1518-1593), author of Ben-cao-gang-mu, theMateria Medica.
[Note: lips] These are quotations from the old classic Zuo Zhuan.
VI
Pitch dark. I don't know whether it is day or night. The Chao family dog has started barking again.
The fierceness of a lion, the timidity of a rabbit, the craftiness of a fox. . . .
VII
I know their way; they are not willing to kill anyone outright, nor do they dare, for fear of the consequences. Instead they have banded together and set traps everywhere, to force me to kill myself. The behaviour of the men and women in the street a few days ago, and my elder brother's attitude these last few days, make it quite obvious. What they like best is for a man to take off his belt, and hang himself from a beam; for then they can enjoy their heart's desire without being blamed for murder. Naturally that sets them roaring with delighted laughter. On the other hand, if a man is frightened or worried to death, although that makes him rather thin, they still nod in approval.
They only eat dead flesh! I remember reading somewhere of a hideous beast, with an ugly look in its eye, called "hyena" which often eats dead flesh. Even the largest bones it grinds into fragments and swallows: the mere thought of this is enough to terrify one. Hyenas are related to wolves, and wolves belong to the canine species. The other day the dog in the Chao house looked at me several times; obviously it is in the plot too and has become their accomplice. The old man's eyes were cast down, but that did not deceive me!
The most deplorable is my elder brother. He is also a man, so why is he not afraid, why is he plotting with others to eat me? Is it that when one is used to it he no longer thinks it a crime? Or is it that he has hardened his heart to do something he knows is wrong?
In cursing man-eaters, I shall start with my brother, and in dissuading man-eaters, I shall start with him too.
VIII
Actually, such arguments should have convinced them long ago. . . .
Suddenly someone came in. He was only about twenty years old and I did not see his features very clearly. His face was wreathed in smiles, but when he nodded to me his smile did not seem genuine. I asked him "Is it right to eat human beings?"
Still smiling, he replied, "When there is no famine how can one eat human beings?"
I realized at once, he was one of them; but still I summoned up courage to repeat my question:
"Is it right?"
"What makes you ask such a thing? You really are . . fond of a joke. . . . It is very fine today."
"It is fine, and the moon is very bright. But I want to ask you: Is it right?"
He looked disconcerted, and muttered: "No...."
"No? Then why do they still do it?"
"What are you talking about?"
"What am I talking about? They are eating men now in Wolf Cub Village, and you can see it written all over the books, in fresh red ink."
His expression changed, and he grew ghastly pale. "It may be so," he said, staring at me. "It has always been like that. . . ."
"Is it right because it has always been like that?"
"I refuse to discuss these things with you. Anyway, you shouldn't talk about it. Whoever talks about it is in the wrong!"
I leaped up and opened my eyes wide, but the man had vanished. I was soaked with perspiration. He was much younger than my elder brother, but even so he was in it. He must have been taught by his parents. And I am afraid he has already taught his son: that is why even the children look at me so fiercely.
IX
Wanting to eat men, at the same time afraid of being eaten themselves, they all look at each other with the deepest suspicion. . . .
How comfortable life would be for them if they could rid themselves of such obsessions and go to work, walk, eat and sleep at ease. They have only this one step to take. Yet fathers and sons, husbands and wives, brothers, friends, teachers and students, sworn enemies and even strangers, have all joined in this conspiracy, discouraging and preventing each other from taking this step.
X
Early this morning I went to look for my elder brother. He was standing outside the hall door looking at the sky, when I walked up behind him, stood between him and the door, and with exceptional poise and politeness said to him:
"Brother, I have something to say to you."
"Well, what is it?" he asked, quickly turning towards me and nodding.
"It is very little, but I find it difficult to say. Brother, probably all primitive people ate a little human flesh to begin with. Later, because their outlook changed, some of them stopped, and because they tried to be good they changed into men, changed into real men. But some are still eating—just like reptiles. Some have changed into fish, birds, monkeys and finally men; but some do not try to be good and remain reptiles still. When those who eat men compare themselves with those who do not, how ashamed they must be. Probably much more ashamed than the reptiles are before monkeys.
"In ancient times Yi Ya boiled his son for Chieh and Chou to eat; that is the old story. But actually since the creation of heaven and earth by Pan Ku men have been eating each other, from the time of Yi Ya's son to the time of Hsu Hsi-lin, and from the time of Hsu Hsi-lin down to the man caught in Wolf Cub Village. Last year they executed a criminal in the city, and a consumptive soaked a piece of bread in his blood and sucked it.
"They want to eat me, and of course you can do nothing about it single-handed; but why should you join them? As man-eaters they are capable of anything. If they eat me, they can eat you as well; members of the same group can still eat each other. But if you will just change your ways immediately, then everyone will have peace. Although this has been going on since time immemorial, today we could make a special effort to be good, and say this is not to be done! I'm sure you can say so, brother. The other day when the tenant wanted the rent reduced, you said it couldn't be done."
At first he only smiled cynically, then a murderous gleam came into his eyes, and when I spoke of their secret his face turned pale. Outside the gate stood a group of people, including Mr. Chao and his dog, all craning their necks to peer in. I could not see all their faces, for they seemed to be masked in cloths; some of them looked pale and ghastly still, concealing their laughter. I knew they were one band, all eaters of human flesh. But I also knew that they did not all think alike by any means. Some of them thought that since it had always been so, men should be eaten. Some of them knew that they should not eat men, but still wanted to; and they were afraid people might discover their secret; thus when they heard me they became angry, but they still smiled their. cynical, tight-lipped smile.
Suddenly my brother looked furious, and shouted in a loud voice:
"Get out of here, all of you! What is the point of looking at a madman?"
Then I realized part of their cunning. They would never be willing to change their stand, and their plans were all laid; they had stigmatized me as a madman. In future when I was eaten, not only would there be no trouble, but people would probably be grateful to them. When our tenant spoke of the villagers eating a bad character, it was exactly the same device. This is their old trick.
Old Chen came in too, in a great temper, but they could not stop my mouth, I had to speak to those people:
"You should change, change from the bottom of your hearts!" I said. "You most know that in future there will be no place for man-eaters in the world.
"If you don't change, you may all be eaten by each other. Although so many are born, they will be wiped out by the real men, just like wolves killed by hunters. Just like reptiles!"
Old Chen drove everybody away. My brother had disappeared. Old Chen advised me to go back to my room. The room was pitch dark. The beams and rafters shook above my head. After shaking for some time they grew larger. They piled on top of me.
The weight was so great, I could not move. They meant that I should die. I knew that the weight was false, so I struggled out, covered in perspiration. But I had to say:
"You should change at once, change from the bottom of your hearts! You must know that in future there will be no place for man-eaters in the world . . . ."
______
[Note: Yi Ya] According to ancient records, Yi Ya cooked his son and presented him to Duke Huan of Chi who reigned from 685 to 643 B.C. Chieh and Chou were tyrants of an earlier age. The madman has made a mistake here.
[Note: Hsu Hsi-lin] A revolutionary at the end of the Ching dynasty (1644-1911), Hsu Hsi-lin was executed in 1907 for assassinating a Ching official. His heart and liver were eaten.
XI
The sun does not shine, the door is not opened, every day two meals.
I took up my chopsticks, then thought of my elder brother; I know now how my little sister died: it was all through him. My sister was only five at the time. I can still remember how lovable and pathetic she looked. Mother cried and cried, but he begged her not to cry, probably because he had eaten her himself, and so her crying made him feel ashamed. If he had any sense of shame. . . .
My sister was eaten by my brother, but I don't know whether mother realized it or not.
I think mother must have known, but when she cried she did not say so outright, probably because she thought it proper too. I remember when I was four or five years old, sitting in the cool of the hall, my brother told me that if a man's parents were ill, he should cut off a piece of his flesh and boil it for them if he wanted to be considered a good son; and mother did not contradict him. If one piece could be eaten, obviously so could the whole. And yet just to think of the mourning then still makes my heart bleed; that is the extraordinary thing about it!
XII
I can't bear to think of it.
I have only just realized that I have been living all these years in a place where for four thousand years they have been eating human flesh. My brother had just taken over the charge of the house when our sister died, and he may well have used her flesh in our rice and dishes, making us eat it unwittingly.
It is possible that I ate several pieces of my sister's flesh unwittingly, and now it is my turn, . . .
How can a man like myself, after four thousand years of man-caring history—even though I knew nothing about it at first—ever hope to face real men?
XIII
Perhaps there are still children who have not eaten men? Save the children. . . .
April 1918

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