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Chinese New Year story: the monster Nian

monster Nian, nian shou, Chinese New Year, learning Chinese

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a man-eating monster called "Nian (年兽, nián shòu)". This beast lived deep in the ocean. It would sleep every day of the year, except on the last day of the Lunar Year, when the cold winter months would turn into Spring.

从前,很久很久以前,有一个吃人怪兽叫做"年兽"。这怪兽住在深海里。它在一年里的每一天都在睡觉,除了农历年的最后一天,当寒冷的冬天岁月转变成春天的时候。

Nian would come on land to attack, and eat whatever it could find and whatever lay in its path. This was the night everyone lived in terror!

年兽会上岸来攻击,且吃掉它能找到及路上碰到的任何东西。就是这一夜,每个人都活在恐惧之中。

Year after year Nian returned, as this was a beast that was far too powerful for anyone to take on or defeat. Many had tried and all had perished. On New Year's eve, all the villagers would take their loved ones, old and young, deep into the mountains to take shelter from the beast.

年兽年年回来,因为牠超级强大,任何人都无法对抗或击败牠。很多人试过,而他们都死了。在除夕夜,所有的村民会带上所爱的人,老老少少,到深山里去躲避怪兽。

One year on that night, a traveler came to town, looking for food and shelter. Everyone, with the exception of an old lady, was far too busy packing to pay him any kindness or offer him a simple plate of dumplings or a place to sleep. After his meal, the passerby was touched by the old lady's generosity and decided to bestow a long hidden secret of how to be rid of the New Year beast.

有一年的那晚,一个旅行者来到了镇上,寻找食物和栖身之处。除了一位老太太,每个人都太忙于打包而无法施予善意,或是给他仅仅一盘水饺或睡觉的地方。饭后,这路人被老太太的慷慨所感动,决定送给她一个长年藏于心中、怎么除掉年兽的秘密。

That evening when Nian arrived at their village, all the houses were dark, except the one in which the old woman lived. As Nian saw the light, it licked its lips with anticipation and approached the house.

那晚当年兽到达他们的村庄时,除了老太太的房子以外,所有的房子都是暗黝黝的。当年兽看到亮光,它满怀企望的舔了舔唇并走近房子。

Suddenly, it was greeted with deafening noises of firecrackers sounding endlessly. The monster was frightened and startled! Next, the beast saw that the house was covered in red paper. That scared Nian even more, and it took off running back into the ocean.

突然,接待它的是绵绵不断、震耳欲聋的爆竹声。这怪兽给吓坏了。接下来,怪兽看到房子贴满了红纸。那使年兽更害怕,落荒而逃回海里。

When the villagers returned, they saw that the old woman was unharmed! Everyone was eager to learn what she did to survive Nian. The old woman told the villagers that Nian was afraid of loud noises and the color red.

当村民们回来,看到老太太毫发无伤!每个人都很想知道她做了什么,而在年兽口下存活下来。老太太告诉村民们年兽很怕大声的噪音和红色。

The next year, the villagers stayed up all night, lit firecrackers, lit red lanterns all around their houses, pasted red paper on their walls and doors, wore red clothing, danced to loud music, and banged loud gongs and drums.

第二年,村民们整晚不睡,点爆竹,在他们房屋周围点上红灯笼,在墙壁、门上贴满红纸,穿红衣,伴着大声音乐跳舞,并且大声的敲锣打鼓。

That year and every year since, Nian has never returned. This eventually became a tradition and the way to celebrate Chinese New Year.

从那年起,年兽再也不回来了。这最后变成一个传统及庆祝中国年的方式。

Sit down and watch this cartoon video talking about the story of "年兽":


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2016-06-21

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