Silver Fish Stolen by Rats
A Poem To Show Grass-Coat After Silver Fish Were Stolen by Rats
Kim Chong-hui 1786-1856
Some fifty silvery strips, like flowers on the hook,
Came from the fisher's hut that's standing by the brook.
The man did not consume the shiny fish he'd caught,
And wrapped them up with care, to this outcast he brought.
My scrawny lungs came back alive with the luscious spice;
My mouth was drooling now, I wiped it more than twice.
The cook who had no food at hand was quickly thrilled
With dainties on his bill of fare about to be grilled.
But hearty rats, through gaping cracks, came in the night
And plundered through and through, left nothing, not a bite.
The rats, I did not know, had the same taste as mine,
They knew the fish were good, feasted on all but the spine.
Whoever should put them away, the fish had had their day,
It was a fair deal, for we were equal in that way.
The aged monk, Grass-Coat, who was at my side,
A Buddhist vegan he was, had no views to provide.
Jīn Zhèngxī 1786-1856
Wǔshí yíntiǎo zhēn shēng huā,
Láizì jiāngyíng yúzǐ jiā.
Yúzǐ de yú bù zì shí,
Bāoguǒ zhēnzhōng jì yuǎnkè.
Chá yá kū fèi yīn má līng,
Kǒujué lǚ shì cǎi jīn līng.
Lěngluò chúrén xī dòng sè,
jiāng jiàn shídān dēng zhēn cuò.
Yelái xuéxì zhuàngzái shǔ,
Tōu jìnle wúyí cùn xǔ.
Bù zhī shǔ shì yǔ rén sì,
Tuō cháng néng jiě yǔ zhī měi.
Shǔ shí rén shí jiāng wú tóng,
Píngděng guān lǎi lǐzé gōng.
Cǎoyī lǎshī shì zài bàng,
Bǐ zìrúsù kàn xúncháng.
Jīn Zhengxī 1786-1856
Translated by Hyong Rhew, professor of Chinese literature at Reed College, Portland, Oregon.