The Gift of the Magi Story in Chinese

Christmas Present

Christmas Present 圣誕禮物

What gifts will you be placing under the Christmas tree for your loved ones this coming holiday? It is no small feat choosing an appropriate gift for everyone on your list. Do you think you will get exactly what you have been wishing for? Will you be pleasantly surprised? Or, will you say, “Oh, no!” like Jim and Della in the short story “The Gift of the Magi” written by O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)? Following is my version of the story retold in Chinese.

吉姆和德拉是一对贫穷的年轻夫妻.
Jímǔ hé Déla shì yīduì pínqióng de niánqīng fūqī.
Jim and Della were a young married couple who were struggling financially.

吉姆有只祖传的缺了表链的怀表.
Jímǔ yǒu yī zhī zǔchuan de quē le biǎo liàn de huáibiǎo.
Jim owned an heirloom pocket watch that lacked a watch chain.

那是他最珍爱的物品.
Nà shì tā zuì zhēn’ài de wùpǐn.
It was his most treasured possession.

德拉最引以为傲的则是她美丽的长头发.
Déla zuì yǐn yǐ wéi ào de zé shì tā měilì de cháng tóufa.
As for Della, her pride and joy was her beautiful long hair.

圣诞节就要到了.
Shèngdànjié jiùyào dàole.
Christmas was approaching.

两人没有钱为心愛的人买圣诞礼物,
Liǎng rén méiyǒu qián wèi xīn’ài de rén mǎi shèngdàn lǐwù,
Not having money to buy Christmas presents for their beloved,

心中非常着急.
xīnzhōng fēicháng zháojí.
the two felt frustrated.

圣诞夜吉姆下班回家时, 吃了一惊.
Shèngdànyè Jímǔ xiàbān huíjiā shí, chī le yī jīng.
On Christmas Eve Jim was shocked when he came home from work.

“德拉, 你的头发怎么剪掉了?”
“Déla, nǐ de tóufa zěnme jiǎn diào le?”
“Della, how come you’ve cut off your hair?”

德拉取出一条白金表链給吉姆看.
Déla qǔchū yī tiáo báijīn biǎo liàn gěi Jímǔ kàn.
Della showed Jim a watch chain made of platinum.

她说: “我卖了头发, 买了這個送给你.”
Tā shuō: “Wǒ mài le tóufa, mǎi le zhègè sòng gěi nǐ.”
She said, “I sold my hair and bought this for you.”

吉姆缓缓地拿出他要送给德拉的礼物.
Jímǔ huǎnhuǎn de ná chū tā yào sòng gěi Déla de lǐwù.
JIm slowly produced the present he was giving to Della.

原来, 他把怀表当了,
Yuánlái, tā bǎ huáibiǎo dàng le,
It turned out that he had pawned his pocket watch

为德拉买了一套精美的发饰.
wèi Déla mǎi le yī tào jīngměi de fà shì.
and bought a set of elegant decorative combs for Della.

两人含情脈脈, 投入了對方的懷抱.
Liǎng rén hánqíngmòmò, tóurù le duìfāng de huáibào.
With tenderness in their eyes, the two threw themselves into each other’s embrace.

圣诞快乐!
Shèngdàn kuàilè!
Merry Christmas!

** The links for a few of my books are listed below:

Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes on amazon.com

Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes on books.apple.com

Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes on kobo.com

English Edition of The Little Monk

Traditional Chinese Edition of The Little Monk on amazon.com

Simplified Chinese Edition of The Little Monk on kobo.com

Simplified Chinese Edition of The Little Monk on books.apple

My Fatima

Tame Migraine the Delicious Way

If you enjoyed reading the ebook, please post a book review at amazon.com for it. Thanks much!

Speaking of book reviews, if you would like to read some of the book reviews I’ve written, please click on this link: “Book Reviews I’ve Written“.

Happy 2020!

 

Some things are meant to be in Chinese

The Chinese often talk about a predestined relationship, which they call (yuán). This character looks somewhat similar to 绿 (lǜ green). Make sure you do not confuse these two characters.

Notice the “silk” radical on the left side of (yuán)? People come and go in your life. Perhaps there is an invisible silk thread that ties you to those who stay around most of the time, such as your family members, your friends, your classmates, your colleagues, and so on.

In the same sense, many things that happen are linked to a reason or a cause, i.e. 缘故 (yuángù) or 缘由 (yuányóu).

不知什么缘故, 我就是迷恋他.
Bùzhī shénme yuángù, wǒ jiùshì míliàn tā.
Not sure why, but I’m simply infatuated with him.

她无缘无故哭了起来.
Tā wúyuánwúgù kū le qǐlái.
For no reason, she started to cry.

(yuán) also menas the edge, the brink, or to move along such a boundary, or 边缘 (biānyuán).

缘木求鱼 (yuánmùqiúyú) means to climb a tree to catch fish, or to take a useless approach.

缘分 (yuánfèn) is the element of destiny that associates a person with other people or things.

结缘 (jiéyuán) means to form a tie with or become associated with someone or something. On the other hand, 绝缘 (juéyuán) means to sever tie with someone. This word also means insulation or to insulate. 无缘 (wúyuán) means having no chance for, or no possibility of, connecting with someone or something.

我和政治无缘.
Wǒ hé zhèngzhì wúyuán.
I’m not into politics.

By substituting 金钱 (jīnqián money) for 政治 (zhèngzhì) in the above sentence, you’ll have a more interesting way of saying, “I’m never going to get rich.”

In “The Butterfly Lovers”, reference is made to the popular Chinese saying:

有缘千里来相会;
Yǒuyuán qiānlǐ lái xiàng huì,
If predestined, people will come from afar to meet each other;

无缘对面不相识.
Wúyuán duìmiàn bù xiāngshí.
If not meant to be, they won’t get acquainted even when placed together face to face.

注定 (zhùdìng) means destined.

有些事是天注定的.
Yǒuxiē shì shì tiān zhùdìng de.
Some things are meant to be.
(Some things are predetermined by the heavens.)

The fate that brings lovers together into a marriage is called 姻缘 (yīnyuán). It is pronounced the same as 因缘 (yīnyuán), which is the cause or reason that predetermines a certain outcome.

血缘 (xuèyuán) is blood relationship.

他和我没有血缘关系.
Tā hé wǒ méiyǒu xuèyuán guānxi.
He and I are not related by blood.

A sociable person attracts other people like a magnet. He or she is said to have 人缘 (rényuán), i.e. the ability to connect with other people.

露露的人缘很好.
Lùlù de rényuán hěn hǎo.
Lulu is very sociable (popular).

If you would like to meet someone, will you wait for fate to make the connection, or will you take a step forward yourself? A date is called 约会 (yuēhui) in Chinese.

我约了她周末一同去看电影.
Wǒ yuē le tā zhōumò yītóng qù kàn diànyǐng.
I asked her out to watch a movie with me this weekend.

The fact that you are learning Chinese probably indicates that you have some 缘分 (yuánfèn) with the Chinese language. However, it was you who made up your mind to study Chinese, and it is your own determination that will drive you through the process to achieve your goal step by step.

Money talks?

Louisa May Alcott, the author of “Little Women” once said, “Money is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it any more than we can without potatoes.” This sentiment is reflected in the following modern Chinese saying:

爱情不能当面包.
Āiqíng bùnéng dāng miànbāo.
Love cannot serve as bread.

(qián) is money. (yǒu) means “to have”. 有钱 (yǒuqián) means “to be rich”.

他有钱.
Tā yǒuqián.
He is rich.)

有钱人住大房子.
Yǒuqián rén zhù dà fángzi.
Rich people live in large houses.

有钱能使鬼推磨.
Yǒuqián néng shǐ guǐ tuī mò.
If you’re rich, you could make the devil turn your millstones. (Money talks.)

Following is a way to ask for confirmation of a statement.

VI. c) Statement + “Yes or no?” or “Correct or not?” = Question

他有很多钱,是不是?
Tā yǒu hěn duō qián, shìbùshì?
He has a lot of money; yes or no?

你是美国人, 对不对?
Nĭ shì Měiguórén, duì bùduì?
You are an American, right or not?

Some people drop the last word from the above question format. For example:

你是中国人, 对不?
Nĭ shì Zhōngguórén, duì bù?
You are a Chinese, correct?

If someone is not rich, then you would say:

他没有钱.
Tā méiyǒu qián.

没有 (méiyǒu not to have) is the negation of (yǒu). These two words also serve as auxiliary verbs to help form the past or perfect tense of other verbs. 没有 is oftened abbreviated as (méi).

Generally, to form the negation of an adjective or other verbs, you would add the word (bù no, not). For example:

他不高興. (Tā bù gāoxìng.) He is not pleased.
他不是. (Tā bùshì.) He is not.
他不喜欢. (Tā bù xǐhuān.) He does not like.
他不去. (Tā bù qù.) He won’t go.

Now, what does the following sentence mean?
他没有去. (Tā méiyǒu qù.)

It means: “He did not go.” Here, 没有 (méiyǒu have not) is used as an auxiliary verb to indicate that the action did not take place, or has not taken place.

Try and apply (bù no, not) and (méi have not) to the following action words, and make sure you fully understand the difference between these two terms.

(zǒu go, walk), 回家 (huíjiā go home), (zuò do), 打球 (dǎqiú hit/play ball), (gǎi change).

We are now ready to talk about another method you could use for forming a question.

VI. d) Add negation to a verb or an adjective to change a statement into a question.

The Chinese convey the uncertainty expressed through the use of “whether or not” by pairing the verb or adjective with its negation. For example,

他有没有钱?
Tā yǒu méiyǒu qián?
Is he rich?

你是不是美国人?
Nĭ shì bù shì Měiguórénì?
Are you an American?

他高興不高興?
Tā gāoxìng bù gāoxìng?
Is he pleased?

You may add the interrogative particle (ne) at the end of this type of questions. Also, in such a question format, the first occurrence of a polysyllable word will often be represented by just the first character in the word. For example:

他高不高興?
Tā gāo bù gāoxìng?
Is he pleased?

他知不知道呢?
Tā zhī bù zhīdào ne?
Does he know?

If an auxiliary verb is used, then the negation is applied to the auxiliary verb rather than the main verb. For example:

他会不会生气?
Tā huìbùhuì shēngqì?
Will he get angry?

你要不要打球?
Nĭ yào bù yào dǎqiú?
Would you like to play ball?

他有没有去?
Tā yǒu méiyǒu qù?
Did he go?

有没有下雨?
Yǒu méiyǒu xiàyǔ?
Did it rain?

Questions in the perfect tense can also be phrased as follows. In this case, do not add any interrogative particle at the end.

他去了没?
Tā qù le mé?
Has he gone?

下雨了没?
Xiàyǔ le méi?
Has it begun to rain?

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