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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Full Moon Crescent Saber: Prologue

Tonight was a night of a beautiful full moon, so I thought it would be the perfect time for me to start this translation project, something I've wanted to do for a long time. :)

Full Moon Crescent Saber is a book started by Gu Long and finished by Sima Ziyan. Because of that, it is also the most controversial book of Gu Long. I like this book because of the unique artistic conception and atmosphere described in the book, which really made it stand out from all other Gu Long books.

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Full Moon Crescent Saber
-- Written by Gu Long, Translated by Lanny Lin


Prologue

Full Moon

The moon may be wax or wane. The story we are telling here is about the full moon, because it happened at a night of the full moon. At that night, the moon was more beautiful than any other night, with a magnificence so mysterious, so bleak, and so heart-breaking.

Same goes with the story we are telling, a story filled with charms so mysterious yet beautiful and fantasies so mystifying yet stunning. As told in the ancient mythical tale, when the moon rises in the dark nights, there are always fairies dancing in the moonlight – fairies of the flowers, fairies of the gems and sapphires. Even dark souls and fairy foxes living deep underground would come out to worship the full moon and to draw in the vigor of the bright moonlight.

Sometimes they will even transform into human forms, live in the human world as many different characters, and do things no one would ever imagine.

These things are sometimes startling, sometimes heartwarming, sometimes frightening, sometimes exhilarating, and some other times beyond imagination. They could rescue someone from the deepest abyss; they could also shove someone off the steepest cliff.

They could give you all the fame and fortune in the entire world; they could also make you lose everything you’ve ever own.

No one has ever seen their true faces, but no one could deny their existence either.

Crescent Saber

A saber may be straight or crescent. What we want to talk about here is a crescent saber, as curvy as Qing-Qing’s eyebrows.

The crescent saber belonged to Qing-Qing. Qing-Qing is a beautiful and mystic girl, just like the full moon of that night.

Sabers are weapons made to kill.

Same goes with Qing-Qing’s crescent saber. When the crescent reflection flashes by, calamity befalls; no one can escape the calamity, because no one can get away from the crescent shine of the saber.

The shine of the saber is not hasty; it is as smooth as the moonlight, but as soon as you see the moonlight, it has already befallen upon you.

There is only one moon in the sky; there is also only one crescent saber on earth.

It doesn’t always bring calamity when it appears in the mundane world. Sometimes it also brings people righteousness and happiness.

So when it appears in the world once again, what will it bring to this world this time?

No one knows.

Qing-Qing’s crescent saber is also emerald green[1], as green as the verdant distant mountain, as green as the spring trees, and as green as tears in young lovers’ eyes.

On the emerald green and crescent-shaped blade is a line of tiny words, “All night in the attic I hear the spring sprinkle[2].”

Fortunes may be as unpredictable as the winds and clouds in the sky. The moon may be dim or bright, wax or wane. Perfection in life was never easy to come by.

May we all be blessed with longevity. Though miles apart, our hearts still cross through the beautiful moon high in the sky.[3]



[1] In Chinese, “Qing” means emerald green.

[2] A verse from a poem of Lu You (1125-1210 AD), a poet from the Song Dynasty. I will not attempt to translate the entire poem here.

[3] The last few verses are excerpts of a very famous Mid-Autumn Festival poem by Su Shi (1037-1101 AD), a poet from the Song Dynasty. Here’s my poor attempt at translating the poem:

Prelude to the Melody of Water

When did the bright moon first ever appear?

Raising my wine cup I ask the blue sky.

High above in the moon palaces,

Wonder what year it is tonight.

I want to ride the wind and fly to the moon,

But I fear the jade terrace is too cold and high.

I’d rather stay in the human world,

And dance with my shadow in the moonlight.

As the moon rounds the red pavilion and slants through the silk-pad windows,

It shines upon every wakeful eye.

Moon, are you bearing any grudges.

Why always the full moon when loved ones are not nearby?

People may have joy and sorrow, parting and reunion,

The moon may be dim or bright, wax or wane.

Perfection in life was never easy to come by.

May we all be blessed with longevity, though miles apart,

Our hearts still cross through the beautiful moon high in the sky.


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Videos of the Day:


The beautiful poem referenced above was turned into the lyrics of a beautiful song sang by Teresa Teng, a huge pop icon in the 70s and 80s in the last century. Enjoy!




While searching for Teresa Teng's video, I ran into the video below on YouTube and was very impressed by the talent shown. A girl used her own music composition for the same poem and showed her beautiful voice. Even if you don't understand a word of hers, you'd still enjoy it (someone left a comment saying exactly that)!