Lighting The Lamp & Recruiting People For Comfort
Idler’s Note: Sorry for the lateness of this chapter! There was a part that I had some difficulty with… You will know it when you see it. In any case, I apologize if some of the footnotes suck or might still be confusing or incoherent. I tried my best to proofread it all but I was just all researched out… My brain is a bit fried…
Disclaimer: This translation is by a fan for fans. Any opinions or commentary presented here are translated as is written by the original author. Any remarks by the translator will be in footnotes or in an editorial aside. The original work is the property of the author and any other associated copyright holders in their respective territories. Please do not reproduce, redistribute, or resell this translation anywhere else without permission! If you are reading this anywhere else but on WordPress, then it is being reposted without permission from the translator! If you are the copyright holder and/or have licensed this work for English publication and wish for this translation to be removed, please contact me to do so. Thank you!
It was night. The drizzling rain was misty as the charcoal stove in the room spouted fire sparks. Shiliu and Mrs. Zhang-Wang’s maid servant who slept next door each took shifts in the evening watch as they sat and lightly napped in a rocking chair1 by the doorway that Wang Juan had people make.
“Xiaobao, you asleep? The charcoal is burning—it’s inside the room.” Wang Juan used her finger to poke Zhang Xiaobao.
“If I were asleep, I’d still be woken up by you. I was always afraid of being caught so my sleep was also never sound. Don’t fear. The door’s open, ~ne. The possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning is very low. Sleep.” Zhang Xiaobao slightly turned his head, sweeping an eye over the door as he replied.
“But I’m still cold and there’s no air conditioning, no central heating, and no underfloor heating.2 I feel like it’s difficult to breathe.” Wang Juan said.
“That’s normal. I’m the same, too. A child’s body is sensitive. Typically during this time, children as big as us would cry as only security could be felt by being carried in an adult’s arms. With the loss of body heat, it leads to the blood circulation slowing down and an insufficient blood supply to the brain, stimulating the heart as the pressure increases too much.
You would also have this type of thing happen during your trainings before. It’s only that an adult’s body is stronger than a child’s. I was the same way when I had previously been training myself in the mountains as there were times that I wanted to cry. Tomorrow, let’s have them come over to set up the kang [bed-stove]. By then, it’ll be fine.”
Zhang Xiaobao had learned quite a few things before so of course, he knew what the current state was. Most importantly was that he and Wang Juan couldn’t possibly cry. Understanding was understanding—he was also not comfortable and had even used self-induced mental suggestion3 in order to sleep before he had been woken up by Wang Juan.
“I don’t care. I don’t want to use mental suggestions. My body will still be uncomfortable even after going to sleep. You hurry up and think of a way. Right now, I feel empty and helpless. The mental pressure is too much. Even if I can endure it, it’s still detrimental to the body’s growth.”
Wang Juan had naturally gone through this type of thing before. But what she needed for her body right now was physical relaxation and not mental fortification.
Zhang Xiaobao thought on it and felt it was like that. He and Wang Juan possessed tough minds but had no way of guaranteeing normal rest for the body. It was still a bit too early for this kind of physical exhaustion training.
“Actually, it’s very simple. Just sleep by your mother’s side. That way, you would feel warmth and peace of mind. It has no connection to the nervous reflexes. It’s that your body’s muscular control system can form a kind of resonance with your mother’s body. The most obvious manifestation is through the pulse. I don’t know if my Mom will have any effect on you.
At least, I have no problems. As long as I fall asleep, my Mom’s heart rate and metabolism will unconsciously sync up with my heartbeat and metabolism. This isn’t saying that the heartbeats will be the same but is a kind of natural calibration of the frequencies.
During this process, even if a child suddenly feels frightened, they would still proactively seek out their mother’s embrace. And when a mother encounters danger during their dreams, they will still continue maintaining a protective posture over their child.
To give one of the simplest examples, when you really want to pee in your sleep, you’ll discover that all of the toilets that appear in your dreams are all either especially dirty or clogged up. Or perhaps you’re unexpectedly interrupted just as you were thinking of using the toilet until you’ve woken up from the urge to pee.
When a mother hugs a child while sleeping, the same sort of involuntary awareness will be formed. How about you go lie down by my Mom’s side for a while? It might have some effect.”
Zhang Xiaobao talked a bunch and finally suggested letting Wang Juan go to another room.
But Wang Juan shook her head: “I finally understand why was it that some mothers who’d given birth to children but would still look so young while some aged faster. The young ones generally didn’t raise the children by their side and had others take care of them.
The ones who aged faster typically kept the children by their side. They were always consciously cherishing and involuntarily within their subconscious protecting their child. Their bodies and minds were constantly strained at the same time under a prolonged effort. I’m not going. You think of a way quickly. You’re an International Criminal Swindler—don’t weaken your name.”
“A person such as you is too unreasonable. I currently have no way of telling if you’re being complimentary or derogatory. Fine, I’ll talk. Don’t kick me. Even if you put me down, you still can’t get to sleep. Move the couch against the wall—against the wall of that room my Mom sleeps in. There are two doors here. You stick close to the wall. I’ll be fine at your side here.”
Zhang Xiaobao felt that the rate his brains cells were dying at this time was faster than when he was swindling. At least when he was swindling, he didn’t need to get kicked.
Wang Juan accepted Zhang Xiaobao’s suggestion and woke up Shiliu to have her help push the couch to the specified location. When she lay down again, Wang Juan laughed.
“Impressive, ~ya! Comrade Zhang Xiaobao, no wonder you could swindle so many people. Not speaking of anything else, in your grasp of human nature, you really are not at the normal level. Talk—how many ignorant young girls have you deceived in the past? Pushed them in the corner.”4
“You feel like you can sleep well here, right? There’s a wall on that side. Outside the wall, there are people. This side has me. Calmed down, right? Destroying the bridge after crossing the river,5 killing the donkey after the milling,6 cooking the dog after the rabbits’ death,7 hiding the bow after the birds are gone8 isn’t right, ~di.9 What young girls did I deceive? I was working hard to make money. You only think of yourself. Look at Shiliu. Don’t you feel pity?”
Zhang Xiaobao regretted it. What was this called, ~ah? A woman’s reason had its own reason with no relation to age.
Wang Juan didn’t continue pestering him and looking at Shiliu who was sitting in the chair, she really did feel uneasy—even if Shiliu had three proper meals and one midnight snack.
“I’ve decided. Let’s find some more people from the manor for three shifts per day and every person at 8 hours each. The money will come from the treasury that we both share. Exploitation isn’t the goal; to be able to produce more benefits is fundamental.”
Wang Juan said she’d do it and did. The second day’s morning, she had people find several clever maids in the manor to come over. They could be assured of the loyalty of these people. The daytime still had Shiliu looking after the children. At night, Shiliu laid down to sleep while outside, two maids were positioned inside the room.
These two people could quietly talk there and even light an oil lamp that wouldn’t be quenched for the entire night. It was fine as long as they stepped softly when walking a circuit inside the room every hour.
Other places in the courtyard house also had several additional people to keep evening vigil with the same treatment. It was just that some places had men and they could drink all of the tea that they wanted to along with little snacks10 in order to let the manor have enough life11 at night.
After Mrs. Zhang-Wang learned of this arrangement by her own daughter-in-law, she didn’t understand why she would want to do this as there’d be an additional expense. But since they had used their own money to pay for it, Mrs. Zhang-Wang was also not willing to be overly controlling and so let the little guys mess around.
The result was that waking up in the morning of the day after sleeping, the people of the manor all discovered that they slept especially well last night as each and every one of them clearly had a lot more vigor than in the past. This caused Mrs. Zhang-Wang to become astonished as she called over the steward to inquire after the cause.
The people inside the courtyard house didn’t sleep like she and the others with someone specifically waiting on them at the sidelines. Sometimes, they’d have to worry about problems cropping up during the night so normally, they didn’t sleep soundly. Before sleeping yesterday night, the servants learned of the new arrangements. Understanding that there would always be people around nearby and that they’d be woken up if something did happen, they no longer had any worries in their heart.
“Mistress, Little Mister and Little Miss are indeed extraordinary people. That 6 year old little daughter of mine who would have nightmares every day before actually didn’t get frightened awake yesterday night. Getting up today, she even said to me that she wasn’t afraid as she knew that there would always be people protecting her.”
Steward Zhang didn’t think that such a simple arrangement by Juan-Juan could actually have such a great advantage as he started singing praises to the side.
Mrs. Zhang-Wang was all smiles: “Unh, Steward should go busy yourself. I’ll call Master to go see the children.”
“Xiaobao, think quickly. How to make it, ~ne?” Wang Juan and Zhang Xiaobao were sitting together once the both of them had gotten up in the morning. Placed on top of the paper in front of them was a bit of white sugar. The two of them were preparing to come out with a new product type but couldn’t think of a method so could only futilely glare there.
“What I think is that water should be added. Boil it, ~ah, boil it until the sugar doesn’t melt. When it’s dried, it can be turned into blocks.”
Zhang Xiaobao’s brow had wrinkled up but he still hadn’t thought of a good method. Even the words he spoke out loud himself, he wasn’t certain about.
Wang Juan was just about to speak but instead raised her head together at the same time with Zhang Xiaobao to see Mrs. Zhang-Wang and Father Zhang approaching them together. Both of their awareness levels were rather high.
Seeing people had arrived, they’d hurriedly stood up in greeting—that thoughtful and well-behaved demeanor made people like them the more they looked at them.
“My son, what is this being made? Rock sugar?”12 Father Zhang came over by that white sugar and asked while smiling.
“Ah~? Dad, there’s rock sugar? Then, wouldn’t there be white sugar, too? It’s over, that sugar of mine won’t make money.” Zhang Xiaobao and Wang Juan were both simultaneously shocked. The two of them hadn’t gotten to eat any rock sugar so had assumed that there weren’t any, ~ne.
Father Zhang seemed to know what his son and this future daughter-in-law were thinking so he smiled while nodding and then shaking his head.
“My son has no need to worry. This white sugar and rock sugar is difficult to produce; the price is also high. Moreover, it doesn’t compare to the fineness that this sugar of my son’s has. The sugarcane required to produce 1 catty of white sugar can produce several times the amount of brown sugar. This sugar of yours only needs to be directly placed within the pot; after it’s thickened, cool it directly into blocks.”
Zhang Xiaobao and Wang Juan emphatically nodded their heads. It looked like bookworms were rather impressive at times. Such a simple method, why didn’t they think of it, ~ne?
Mrs. Zhang-Wang and Father Zhang left after staying with the children for an hour. Zhang Xiaobao and Wang Juan were also no longer in the mood to make the sugar and prepared to hand it over to that one surnamed Zhou to figure out as their training started up once again.
It was another instance of autumn rain that fell as the weather was a bit cooler than the previous days.
Within the Great Hall of Zhang Manor.
“Master13 spake:14 ‘If riches were sought after, even if as a whip hand,15 then I [archaic]16 shall do so. If unable to seek them, then I [archaic] shall follow my preferences…’17 ‘Master used elegant speech:18 Poetry, Books, and the practice of Etiquette—on all these, he used elegant speech.’”19
“My son, stop first.” When Zhang Xiaobao was reciting the things he’d memorized over these past few days, Father Zhang suddenly told him to halt.
“Does my son remember what your father20 has taught of the meaning of ‘Master used elegant speech: Poetry, Books, and the practice of Etiquette—on all these, he used elegant speech?’” Father Zhang here wasn’t satisfied with his son only knowing how to recite it.
“I know. Elegant speech was the official speech21 of the Zhou dynasty.22 Master Confucius normally used Lu dialect23 but used the speech of Zhou officials when reading poetry, reciting books, and in etiquette.” Zhang Xiaobao had been studying extremely hard these past few days.
“And why Poetry, Books, and Etiquette?”24 Father Zhang had actually directly jumped from one question to another question, already at a different place than that of what had been discussed from the Analects.
“Poetry, Books, and Etiquette are contained in the Six Classics.25 The Six Classics: the Classic of Poetry, the Book of Documents,26 Ceremonial Etiquette,27 the Classic of Music,28 the Changes of Zhou,29 the Spring and Autumn Annals.”30 This time, Zhang Xiaobao didn’t wait for his father to ask and straight away listed the Six Classics.
Seated in this hall were the elders of the two families of Zhang and Wang and seeing that Xiaobao was able to answer once asked, they all nodded their heads in approval.
At this time, Father Wang also grew interested. He hadn’t read books in this way like Father Zhang had so he offhandedly asked Wang Juan: “Does Juan-Juan know why there are so many people who study the Six Classics?”
At once, everyone froze, especially Father Zhang—he hadn’t even taught it yet, ~ne.
Wang Juan had no time to fault her father for his ignorance and blind questioning as she replied after a bit of consideration: “A wealthy family doesn’t need to buy good fields for there are a thousand zhong31 of millet within the books; establishing residence doesn’t need a frame to be raised for there is a golden house within the books… If men wish to pursue their lifelong ambitions, then diligently read the Six Classics in front of the window.”32
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The Chinese used here is “xiao yao yi” (逍遙椅), which literally translates to “free (unfettered) chair” and can refer to either a rocking chair or a lounge chair. Amusingly enough, this name has been coopted as the name for an electric chair that, as far as I can tell, is a literal loveseat that that confusingly looks like an overly complicated lounge chair but is really used as a sex toy. Oh, you can imagine my confusion until I realized what was going on. Don’t believe me? Go to the Baidu page here. There are diagrams. Needless to say, I opted to translate this as rocking chair… ↩
“Di re” (地熱) technically could be translated as “geothermal” since it is basically the character for earth or ground (di/地) combined with the one for heat (re/熱). However, it is actually likely an abbreviation for “di re di ban” (地熱地板), which is a form of underfloor heated flooring used in modern Chinese housing and an expansion on the concept of the hypocaust. ↩
Juan-Juan says “bi qian jiao” (逼牆角), which literally means “force (to the) wall corner.” So this immediately calls up a common “romantic” stereotype in Asia, popularized by Japanese dramas called the kabedon (壁ドン), which is rendered as “bi don” (壁咚) in Chinese. It entails the boy trapping or forcing the girl into the corner and using an arm to bar her escape with the “don” being the onomatopoeia for his hand hitting the wall. Considering that Juan-Juan is teasing Xiaobao here, I wouldn’t put it past her to be making this reference. You can see illustrations in Chinese of this stereotype on the Baidu page here (It’s a bit surreal to read for me because they are way too detailed about it as they start categorizing the possible types). ↩
The Chinese expression is “guo he chai qiao” (過河拆橋), which shares a similarity in image and meaning to the English idiom of “burning your bridges” but not quite. The action of tearing down or removing the bridge after one’s crossed is basically used in situations describing someone who discards a person who previously helped them simply because they lived out their usefulness. So it’s a criticism of those who answer another’s kindness with spite. ↩
“Xie mo sha lu” (卸磨殺驢) means “unhitch millstone, kill donkey.” It’s another Chinese idiom that describes a person being ungrateful and punishing those who previously helped them. In this case, the image conjured up is to unhitch the millstone from the donkey that had been pulling it after the milling is finished in order to kill it because they are no longer needed. ↩
I translated “tu si gou peng” (兔死狗烹) literally here, too. This is a saying that has its origins in the Records of the Grand Historian or “Shiji” 《史記》 by Sima Qian (司馬遷) in the chapter recounting the history of the House of King Goujian of Yue (越王句踐世家). To explain this phrase, a summary of Goujian’s life has to first be provided. Goujian was the king of the state of Yue (越) during the Spring and Autumn period. War between Yue and Wu (吳) had broken out because of a failed marriage alliance involving a Yue princess. Yue was defeated by Wu, leaving Goujian captured and turned into a personal servant of Wu palace. However, the victorious King Helü (闔閭) had also been mortally wounded. Though Helü left deathbed instructions to his son Fuchai who had succeeded him to never forget about the Yue (i.e. keep your eyes on Goujian), Goujian still succeeded in making Fuchai think Yue had completely submitted to Wu’s authority by serving him for 3 years before Goujian was allowed to return back to Yue as a vassal king. Goujian was then able to rebuild his kingdom back up with the help of talented advisors like Wen Zhong (文種) and Fan Li (范蠡) and after 10 years of plotting and scheming, Goujian succeeded in avenging his previous defeat and years of humiliation by forcing Fuchai to suicide and engineering the total destruction of Wu. Because of this monumental achievement, Goujian is always the example that is cited whenever loyalists of previous overthrown dynasties try to take back their past glory. Anyway, the idiom has its origin with Fan Li’s abrupt disappearance from the banquet that feted Yue’s victory. Fan Li’s outer clothing were later found by the river so he was assumed to be dead by suicide. However, Wen Zhong later received a letter from Fan Li that advised Wen Zhong to leave Goujian’s service, revealing Fan Li had faked his death and hidden himself away. One of the analogy Fan Li gives for their situation is that the wild rabbits had all been caught so now, the hunting dogs will all be killed in order to be cooked and eaten. Basically, Fan Li said Goujian was the type to kill them both due to their talents now that he had gained success in order to ensure that his power would never be undermined since Fan Li and Wen Zhong were two of the key architects who helped Goujian in his plan to weaken Wu’s power before it was ultimately overthrown. Despite Fan Li’s astute advice, Wen Zhong still chose to stay behind though he faked being deathly ill to semi-retire from court and show his submission to Goujian. However, Goujian still forced Wen Zhong to suicide. So this is an idiom that specifically refers to rulers who kill off meritorious vassals. The founding emperor of the Han dynasty, Liu Bang (劉邦), has also been historically criticized with this expression because of his treatment of Han Xin (韓信) who was ultimately killed by Liu Bang’s wife, the Empress Lü Zhi (呂雉). ↩
I also translated “niao jin gong cang” (鳥盡弓藏). It is from the same letter that “the dogs are cooked after the rabbits’ deaths” is from, which Fan Li wrote to Wen Zhong. It evokes an image of putting the bow away in storage as all the birds had been hunted and were gone. So it has the same meaning since it is the other one of the two analogies that Fan Li uses to describe Goujian and his attitude to his two vassals, Fan Li and Wen Zhong. ↩
Di/滴 is a deliberate typo/mispronunciation of the Chinese possessive particle, de/的, which is rather ubiquitous in the Chinese language. For the sake of comparison, no/の in Japanese plays a similar role as de/的 does in Chinese. The deliberate mistake adds a comedic tone and shows the joking or playful tone Xiaobao is probably speaking in. ↩
“Dian xin” (點心) can be used in different situations in Chinese. They are basically like the Chinese version of hors d’oeuvres so they can translated as “pastries, desserts, refreshments, snacks, etc.” Obviously, “dian xin” (點心) could be little pastries served to guests as snacks or refreshment like tea biscuits or be served as desserts after a meal or be treated as appetizers. They didn’t need to be pastries either but were generally made to be bite-sized or snack-sized dishes. Dim sum is a style of Chinese cuisine that mostly involves dining on these types of dishes whose English name is based off of the Cantonese pronunciation of this term. ↩
The Chinese used here of “sheng qi” (生氣) usually means “angry” but in this case, it actually is meant literally since it breaks down to “life” or sheng/生 and “breath, energy” or qi/氣. Anger as a word in Chinese is arrived at by if you think of it as giving birth to breath since people tend to speed up in breathing rate when angry. ↩
Zi/子 is a shorthand reference to Confucius who could be addressed as Kongzi/孔子 (since his surname was Kong/孔), which itself was an abbreviation of the title of “Kong Fuzi” (孔夫子) or “Teacher/Master Kong.” Thus, a tradition of appending zi/子 to the surnames of great teachers as a sign of respect for their mastery evolved and why you can get Mencius (Mengzi/孟子), Zhuangzi (莊子), Xunzi (荀子), and others. ↩
Yue/曰 is an archaic way of saying “said” in Chinese so ziyue/子曰 is commonly translated as “Master said” and refers to Confucius. It specifically comes up a lot in the Analects to the point that it might as well have been an ancient Chinese meme. I personally chose to translate yue/曰 as “spake” to try to retain the archaic tone. ↩
“Zhi bian zhi shi” (執鞭之士) works out to mean “gentleman holding the whip,” which I chose to translate as simply “whip hand” as it is brief and still somewhat retains the meaning. ↩
The sentence Xiaobao is quoting comes from the Analects or “Lun Yu” (論語). The language is very dense and archaic so I tried my best here to try to convey the meaning while keeping it as brief as possible. If you wish to see the original Chinese sentence in full, it is: “子曰富而可求也，雖執鞭之士，吾亦為之，如不可求，從吾所好.” The Analects are written in Old Chinese, explaining the excessive footnotes I have here. ↩
“Ya yan” (雅言) literally translates to “elegant speech” and refers to a prestige dialect that existed before Mandarin speech came into being. Technically, Mandarin was based on the speech spoken by court officials which was made necessary to ensure the government could keep running by allowing communication between officials who came from all regions of China and then evolved to become “putonghua” (普通話) or “common speech.” Needless to say, communication in ancient pre-Qin China could be really confusing, motivating the Qin dynasty’s drive to force the adoption of universal standards, which included reform of the written Chinese character scripts into the Small Seal Script as well as the laws, roads, weights, etc. in order to standardize ancient China for the purposes of ruling it though spoken standard Chinese still had a ways to go before it could mature into its own. ↩
I also translated this myself due to how this sentence is broken down within the story. Again, it is very compact in structure and archaic in tone since it is in Old Chinese so I chose to try to preserve that ancient feeling. Here is the original Chinese: “子所雅言: 詩, 書, 執禮，皆雅言也.” ↩
“Wei Fu” (為父) literally means “being father” and is one of those self-referential third person pronouns that a speaker uses to emphasize their relationship to the listener. In this case, I have translated this as “your father.” It is normally not as arrogant sounding as other possible third person pronouns that speakers can address themselves by as wei/為 is softer in tone than ben/本 because the relationship it is normally prefixed to is one dependent on the listener and not on the speaker. I will try to illustrate this with a side by side comparison example. Take “ben fu” (本夫) vs “wei fu” (為夫) for instance. Though there is only a difference of one character, their meanings and tone are wildly different in Chinese. “Ben fu” (本夫) basically translates to “this gentleman, I” because the fu/夫 in this case is referring to “Da Fu” (大夫), which used to be a court title of the Han dynasty before it became a possible euphemism for members of the scholar class in general. On the other hand, “wei fu” (為夫) means “your husband, I” because fu/夫 can also refer to “fu jun” (夫君) or “lord husband” but it is much more conciliatory in tone. So “wei fu” (為夫) just doesn’t have the same arrogant tone as “ben fu” (本夫) does because of the different relationship dynamic and how the speaker is relating to the listener. Hopefully, this explanation isn’t further confusing to readers… ↩
“Guan yan” (官言) or “official speech” basically refers to the Chinese that court officials and bureaucrats spoke that was the ancestor of the dialect that became known as Mandarin, so named in English because of the mandarin officials. ↩
“Zhou Chao” (周朝) is the Zhou dynasty, which is the dynasty that preceded the Qin dynasty. It is one of the longest lasting dynasties in Chinese history and its origins are shrouded in myth and legend. It is significant for the form of feudalism (fengjian/封建) it practiced which backfired on the rulers of Zhou as their authority collapsed since they granted fiefdoms to vassals that later blocked Zhou’s expansion but gave free rein to the vassal states to continue expanding territorially. This gradual breakdown of the Chinese feudal system led to the kings of Zhou becoming mostly ceremonial figureheads as their “subordinate” states grew more and more powerful during the Spring and Autumn period before finally degenerating into the hegemonic free for all that was the Warring States period. ↩
“Shi Shu Li” (詩書禮) is a reference to the first three Chinese classic texts that are part of the Five Classics (五經), so labelled because it served as an acronym of sorts with each character referring to one of the books that contained the respective character. ↩
“Shang Shu” (尚書) means “esteemed book,” which is usually translated as either “Book of Documents” or “Classic of History,” was a collection of prose by pre-Zhou rulers and officials whose compilation was typically attributed to Confucius. It can also be referred to as simply “Book” or Shu/書 and “Shu Jing” (書經), which roughly translates to “Classic of Books.” ↩
Xiaobao lists “Yi Li” (儀禮), which is usually translated as the “Book of Etiquette and Ceremony” though I have chosen to translate it as “Ceremonial Etiquette.” This book describes the ceremonies and rites that made up Spring and Autumn period etiquette. Other titles this text is known by are “Gentlemanly Rites” (Shili/士禮), “Classic of Rites” (Lijing/禮經), or simply “Rites” (Li/禮). Because of the Qin dynasty’s Burning of the Books, this text has several editions with questionable veracity that are a source of contention. However, the Five Classics tends to lists the Book of Rites (Liji/禮記) in its place instead. This discrepancy reflects the time period since Xiaobao is currently in the Tang dynasty, whose state-approved curriculum did not have to match up with the texts that were set for the Five Classics as the curriculum for later dynasties. So you can just assume that the Tang dynasty’s set curriculum for the civil exams are the Six Classics instead of the Five Classics as used in later dynasties. ↩
“Yue Jing” (樂經) translates to “Classic of Music” and is usually the sixth entry to the Five Classics except that it was lost by the time of the Han dynasty due to the failure to reproduce it in full due to its loss in the Qin dynasty’s Burning of the Books. ↩
“Zhou Yi” (周易) means “Changes of Zhou” and is a divination text of Western Zhou that formed the core that the I Ching (易經) was later based on. You can tell the relationship between the two as both titles retain Yi/易 or “Changes” in their names. By the way, I Ching is actually an erroneous transcription since it should be transcribed as “Yi Jing,” which translates to “Classic of Changes.” However, because “I Ching” is how it was first known to the West, that is the most common name the text is known by. ↩
“Chun Qiu” (春秋) just means “spring (and) autumn,” which by itself can refer to the time period or the book title, which is translated as the Spring and Autumn Annals. It officially chronicled the history of the state of Lu (魯). Spring and Autumn as a name for the time period and text was arrived at because the historians who wrote the Annals only noted down significant events by the season so “spring and autumn” became an abbreviated euphemism for referring to the whole year. ↩
Zhong/鍾 normally means “clock” in Chinese. However, in this case, zhong/鍾 refers to an antiquated traditional measurement unit for volume that was used by the state of Qi (齊) during the Warring States period. It was initially set as 6 hu/斛 and 4 dou/斗 (~350 liters or ~90 gallons) before being set to be around 8 to 10 hu/斛 (~415-515 liters or ~110-135 gallons). 1 zhong/鍾 could also be divided into 10 fu/釜, another ancient unit of measure. Zhong/鍾 could also refer to ancient drinking vessels that were used as goblets. ↩
Juan-Juan is quoting the “Quan Xue Shi” 《勸學詩》 , the title of which could be roughly translated as “Learning Encouragement Poem.” This was a poem composed by Emperor Zhenzong of Song (宋真宗) in order to encourage men to take the civil exams to fulfill their dreams and ambitions. He issued this poem officially to the entire country to promote the government as a meritocracy. The most famous idiom to come out of the poem is likely the one that states that there is a “golden house within the books.” The full text in Chinese is here:
Juan-Juan only quotes the first two lines along with the last line, which she modifies into referring to the Six Classics instead of the Five Classics that the poem originally mentions. Yes, this means she is kinda taking advantage of the fact that she is in the past before the Song dynasty has been established and plagiarizing one of its emperors…