Translation:The Story of the Stone/Comment on Chapter 1

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Translation:The Story of the Stone by Cao Xueqin, translated from Chinese by Wikisource
Comment on Chapter 1
This part is perhaps written by Rouge Inkstone.

This is the first chapter of the book. As a result of visions of a dream which he had, on a previous occasion, experienced, the writer hence concealed the true circumstances and borrowed the attributes of perception and spirituality to tell this Story of the Stone. For this purpose, he used designations such as Chen Shih-yin (truth in the guise of fiction) and others.

What, however, are the events recorded in this work? Who are the drama characters? The author went on speaking for himself:

"With all the drudgery experienced in the world without any success, I suddenly thought of the women of ages past. Going through careful scrutiny one by one, I felt that in practical skills and in-depth knowledge, everyone was way above me; that in spite of the majesty of my virility, I could not, indeed, compare with these characteristics of the gentle sex. And my shame knew no bounds then; while regret, on the other hand, was of no use, what a helpless moment it was!

"It was on that day that I wanted to compile a record, to let everyone in the world knows my regret - by the sustenance of the benevolence of heaven, and the virtue of my ancestors, my clothes were rich and beautiful, and at the days when my foods were tasty and lavish; but I neglected the bounty of education and nurture of father and mother, and paid no attention to the virtue of precept and injunction of teachers and friends, resulting in guilty of absence from any accomplishment; I the reckless wasted half of my life - despite my repent, there are countless talented female in the inner chambers, who shall not try to cover up their own short-comings and commit self-destruction as I have done.

"Although the thatched roof shed, with bamboo mat windows, the tow bed and the brick stove, are the reality of my life, the morning breeze, the evening moon, the willows by the steps and the flowers in the courtyard, would not deter words in my mind. What harm is it, however, in using fiction and simple language to tell a story to entertain the readers, disregard of the fact that I am not a scholar? Therefore, the title of the First Chapter is about a man missing a girl. A love affair to start this book is to let the readers know that the author meant to recall the feeling between him and his female friends in the past, not to complain about the existence or to attack the establishment. To tell the story vividly, social reality is sometimes unavoidably involved - reader please always remember: that is not my main concern."

As this poem reads:

Roaming and struggling?
The grand banquet will come to the end.
The joys and sorrows are all but an illusion,
The modern dreams are as absurd as ancient ones.
Not only there is much tear drops on the Red Sleeves,
But also the endless remorse of her lover.
Every word seems to be blood,
Ten years of hard work is unusual!