Foreword to the Chinese Fables

This book contains six ancient Chinese fables. Among them, two stories— “One Rice Thousand Gold” and “Cup Bow Snake Reflection”— are based on alleged events. “Draw Dragon Dot Eyes” is a narrative written in an exaggerated way by an ancient writer. The other three— “Dung-Shi 1  Copies Eyebrows,” “Yay-Gung Loves Dragons,” and “Morning Three Night Four”— are creations of pure imagination.

All six fables originate from Chinese classics. “Dung-Shi Copies Eyebrows” and “Morning Three Night Four” come from Zhuangzi of the warring period (4th century B.C.E.). “One Rice Thousand Gold” can be traced to The Records of Histories written in the Han period. “Yay Gung Loves Dragons” is taken from the New Preface. “Cup Bow Snake Reflection” is from Meanings of Customs. The narrative of “Draw Dragon Dot Eyes” is borrowed directly from Famous Paintings through the Ages published in the Tang Period.

Choosing Chinese fables as the subject for a book intended to teach elementary English readers the process of reading is fresh and innovative. The ancient fables adapted for this collection are highly interesting and are sure to stimulate readers’ interest and motivation. The interpretations are faithful to the original works. Though simplified, the vivid illustrations and concise text elegantly communicate the philosophical idea of the ancient originals. In this way, young children will learn to read, and increase their awareness of the ancient Chinese culture at the same time. It is certain that this book will be greeted with applause.

Prof. Zhang Fan
Department of History,
Peking University
Beijing, China
October, 2006


中国寓言的前言

这本书一共收集了六个中国古代寓言。其中,《一饭千金》和《杯弓蛇影》这两个寓言取材于真实发生的故事。《画龙点睛》是一位古代的作家以十分夸张的手笔叙述的一个故事。其他三个寓言–《东施效颦》,《叶公好龙》和《朝三幕四》都是基于纯粹想象力的佳作。

所有六个寓言都是由中国起源的经典故事。《东施效颦》和《朝三幕四》来自战国时期(公元前4世纪)的庄子。《一饭千金》可以追溯到有史书纪载的东汉时期。《叶公好龙》取自新的序言。《杯弓蛇影》来自于名间的传说。而《画龙点睛》的故事是直接借鉴于唐朝的历代名画。

选择中国寓言作为一本书的主题,旨在教育初级英语阅读者英语阅读的过程,这本身就是一个独特的创新。这本书搜集和改编的古代寓言都是非常有趣的,相信它一定会激发读者的兴趣和阅读的欲望。此书的翻译忠实于原著,虽然简单,但生动的插图和简练的文字愉悦的接受了原创的哲学思想。这样一来,年轻的孩子们在学着阅读的同时又提高了他们对中国古代文化的认识。有一点是可以肯定的,这本书一定会受到大家的欢迎。

张方教授,北京大学历史系,北京,中国,二00六年十月

 1  Editor’s Note: The Chinese use Pinyin spelling to translate Chinese characters to the English alphabet. This does not correspond exactly to the conventional English phonetic spellings used in these stories. In the Pinyin system, “Dung-Shi” would be spelled “Dong-Shi,” “Shi-Shi” would be “Xi-Shi,” “Sung-Yow” would be “Seng-Yao,” “Yay-Gung” would be “Ye-Gong,” and “Han-Shin” would be “Han-Xin.”

编者按:中国人用拼音把中文人物翻译成英文字母。但在这些故事中,中文人物的翻译并不与传统英语语音拼写一致。按照拼音拼写系统,"Dung-Shi"将被拼写为"Dong-Shi","Shi-Shi"将被拼写为"Xi-Shi","Sung-Yow"将被拼写为"Seng-Yao","Yay-Gung"将被拼写为"Ye-Gong",而"Han-Shin"将被拼写为"Han-Xin"。