I have never been to the depths of remote mountains to see a lively fierce tiger, but I have heard quite a few stories about it.
Of all animals, I like the tiger best. And of all the stories about it, the following is my favourite:
There was deep in a mountain an ancient temple where several pious Buddhist monks lived a monotonous life. They had for company only a number of tigers apart from a few country folks who occasionally came up the mountain for a visit. Instead of harassing the monks, the tigers voluntarily stood guard at the gate of the temple. As a reward for it, the monks would place some edibles in front of the gate for the tigers to eat. Towards evening, when the setting sun had dyed half of the sky red, the tigers would come up to the gate in groups to eat their fill and then left skipping and jumping. The monks usually left the gate wide open while peacefully engaged in their daily routine of chanting Buddhist scripture inside the temple. Normally none of them came out to watch the tigers eat. Sometimes, however, one or two monks did appear standing at the gate, but the tigers would remain unalarmed and, taking the monks for their friends, did nothing to harm them. They just kept on eating unhurriedly until they finished and left. Sometimes, when they found no monks at the gate, they would whisk away like the wind after uttering several thunderous roars.
It's a pity that I'm unable to go to the mountain to make friends with the fierce tigers. I can only see the lovely animal in my dreams once in a while. As to the tiger we see in a zoo, it is nothing but a wretched tame animal confined to a cage.
Nevertheless, it is improper to call such a tiger "tame animal" because caged as it is, the roar it raises on waking up from a nap is still such as to make monkeys tremble with terror. One can visualize in the caged animal the power of the erstwhile king of beasts. Set it free, and it will go right back to the remote mountains to lord it over the forest again.
Thirty-one years ago, I remember, when my father was magistrate of Guangyuan County a local hunter suddenly visited him one evening to present him with a dead tiger. He told my father nervously that he had killed the king of beasts by mistake for he had been to the mountains exclusively to hunt wolves, foxes, jackals and dogs. He added that he had by no means killed the tiger on purpose, that he was afraid that the mighty tiger would retaliate against him for his serious offence and that since the dead animal could not be revived, he had brought it as a gift to my father the magistrate in order to have his own crime mitigated. My father accepted it and gave him some money in return. The dead tiger lay in the yamen for a day until it was skinned and dismembered. From then on, my father had a new acquisition in his room — namely, the tiger-skin chair cushion, and people often came to our home to ask for some tiger-bone powder, with which they were to make a medicinal drink by steeping it in liquor.
Later, when my family moved back to Chengdu, we brought the tiger's skull with us. Sometimes I would gaze at the skull on the table until it blurred before my eyes and conjured up in me visions of a live tiger's head. But we always had it locked up in a cupboard. My father would not have it taken out to have part of it ground into powder unless when someone who needed it as medicine came to ask for it. Consequently the whole tiger skull was given away in the form of powder.
Things that happened some thirty years ago are apt to be forgotten. But even to this day I still remember the appearance of the tiger's skull and the apprehension in the hunter's face while he addressed my father. I should say that his facial expression boiled down to this: he looked as if he had blasphemed the gods. And I would also like to add in passing that while he was talking to my father he didn't even dare to take a glance at the dead tiger. He would turn pale the moment his eye accidentally fell on it.
A fierce animal like the tiger, which continues to inspire us with reverent awe even after death, really deserves our warm love.
①“几个和尚在那里过着单调的修行生活”可译为where several monks lived the monotonous life of practising Buddhism，但不如where several pious Buddhist monks lived a monotonous life简洁灵活，其中pious已可涵盖“修行生活”。
②“同他们做朋友的……”意即“陪伴他们的……”，故译They had for company...即可。
③“僧人安然在庙内做他们的日课”可按“僧人安然在庙内念经”译为while peacefully engaged in their daily routine of chanting Buddhist scripture inside the temple或while chanting Buddhist scripture undisturbed inside the temple，其中“安然”意即“不受干扰”，故译peacefully或undisturbed。
④“虎们也视为平常的事情”意即“虎们没有为此感到惊恐”，故译The tigers would remain unalarmed。
⑤“却斯斯文文地吃……”意即“却不慌不忙地吃……”，故译They just kept on eating unhurriedly...。
⑥“随着几阵风飞腾而去”可按“一阵风似的跑掉了”译为they would whisk away like the wind，其中like the wind是习语，作“快速”解。此句也可译为they would be gone with the wind in a flash（或in the twinkling of an eye）。
⑦“它仍会奔回深山，重做山林的霸主”可译为it will quickly return to the remote mountains to reign over the forest again（或to resume its domination over the forest）。现译it will go right back to the remote mountains to lord it over the forest，其中to lord it over是习语，作“称霸”解。
⑧“父母官”是旧时民间对县官的称呼，在此可按上下文译为my father the magistrate。
⑩“后来父亲房内多了一张虎皮椅垫”译为From then on, my father had a new acquisition in his room — namely, the tiger-skin chair cushion，其中a new acquisition比something new确切，因前者的意思是“新增添的东西”，与后者略有不同。
?“虎骨”应指“虎的头骨”，因此未译为the tiger bones。
?“如果叫我把那个猎人的面容描写一下，我想用一句话：他好像做过了什么亵渎神明的事情似的”译为I should say that his facial expression boiled down to this: he looked as if he had blasphemed the gods，其中boiled down是习语，作“可归纳为”（may be summarized as）解。译文简练，不妨比较如下直译：If I should be called upon to describe his facial expression, I would sum it up in one single sentence: he looked as if he had blasphemed the gods。
?“我还要补充说……”译为And l will also like to add in passing...，其中in passing是习语，作“顺便地”解，是增益成分，在译文中有承上启下的作用。
?“使人害怕，使人尊敬”译为inspire us with reverent awe，其中“害怕”与“尊敬”合成reverent awe。把汉语两个并列形容词转变为英语“定语＋抽象名词”的形式，内容不变，是文学翻译的一个常用方法。打赏