*The Doctor and the Monkey, 大夫和猴子

Eeps – bad medicine! In this story, the mischievous Monkey – always a trickster figure in Chinese stories – pulls the wool over Little Bear’s eyes. If Little Bear was American, he’d sue the hospital for negligence and rake in millions of baskets of peaches. Though the majority of this text is very basic reading, there are three phrases which jump out at me as being difficult, or words I couldn’t find in basic dictionaries.理所应当 – lǐ suǒ yīng dāng This phrase means to feel something is well-deserved, that something has been earned through hard work, usually when it actually hasn’t. So I guess that roughly translates to ‘taking a reward for granted’? In this story, Monkey feels that his payment is well-earned or well-deserved. But as readers, we know Monkey doesn’t deserve anything at all – he’s taking that payment for granted when he didn’t really earn it. Consider this phrase in another context:

别人帮助你那是义气,你不能当作是理所应当的。 – “When other people help you it’s in the spirit of self-sacrifice, you shouldn’t consider this something you deserve as a matter of course.”

甜 头 – Though this looks like two words, the first meaning “sweet” and the second meaning “head” or “brain”, it’s actually a colloquialism that just means “sweet flavor” or “pleasant taste”.

贪念 – These two characters also seem separate, they don’t appear together in my dictionary, but they’re actually one word. According to Baidu Bai Ke, the Baidu dictionary (a Chinese-language resource for word meanings and derivations), 贪念 tān niàn just means “greedy” (I presume the “念” probably adds the meaning “idea” or “thoughts” here, so 贪念 could be read as “greedy thoughts”).

You can read the original here.

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玩耍 – wán shuǎ – Enjoy oneself, mess around
白大褂子 – bái dà guà zi – White lab coat [lit: Large white unlined upper garment]
看病 – kàn bìng – See a doctor
酬金 – chóu jīn – monetary remuneration, payment
贪念 – tān niàn – Greedy
装模作样 – zhuāng mó zuò yàng – To put on an act
不得而知 – bù dé ér zhī – Can’t be known, unknowable
潜入 – qián rù – To sneak into
干脆 – gān cuì – Simply, straightbforward


猴子去医院玩耍,进了大夫的房间。正好大夫不在,衣服也落在了房间内。

猴子觉得好玩,穿上大夫衣服,也就是我们常见那种褂子时候医院看病第一次医院,并不了解医院情况。知道的,就是大夫穿着褂子。

桃子(准备送给大夫酬金)来到医院,正好走进猴子所在房间。认识猴子,但是认识褂子,于是猴子看病。

猴子本来只是玩耍,并不看病,但是篮子后,于是猴子便装模作样病,并且当地桃子。至于是否猴子好了,一点不得而知

但是猴子到了甜头,以后常常潜入医院,大夫不在时候,穿上大夫衣服,病人看病。后来,猴子干脆自己一身那样褂子。

唉!我们知道多少猴子那里啊!

English

Monkey went to the hospital on a lark, and entered the doctor’s room. At that moment, the doctor wasn’t in, and he’d left his [doctor’s] clothes in the room.

Monkey thought this would be fun, so he put on the doctor’s clothes, that white lab coat we see so often. Just then a little bear came to the hospital to see the doctor. This was the little bear’s first time at the hospital, and he didn’t know what hospitals were like [lit: didn’t know the hospital situation]. All he knew was that doctors wear white lab coats.

The little bear had shown up at the hospital carrying a basket of peaches (this was the payment he had prepared to give to the doctor), and he happened to walk into the room where Monkey was. Little Bear didn’t know Monkey, but he recognized the white lab coat, so he asked Monkey to examine him.

Monkey originally just [intended to] have a bit of fun, but when he saw Little Bear’s basket, he coveted it fiercely. So Monkey put on a big show of examining Little Bear, and accepted his well-earned basket of peaches. As to whether or not Monkey actually cured Little Bear, we will never know.

However, after Monkey tasted that sweetness, he often stole into the hospital, taking advantage of the doctor’s absence, and examined patients. Later, Monkey simply made himself one of those kind of white lab coats.

Ai! We don’t know how many people were examined by Monkey!

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