Translated by Jing M. Wang
Chu Wenjuan (1907–1), also known under the pen name Xiao
Yu, was a native of Zhejiang, China. She moved to Taiwan
before 1949. Collections of her writings include Female Juror
(Nü pei shen yuan, 1929), Filial Gratitude (Cun cao xin,
1947), and Spring Remains When Petals Have Fallen
(Hua luo chun you zai, 1977).
Lost times have gradually evaporated from my memory like a thin cloud and a light fog. Yet the sadness and joy remain. The leftover traces weave into the fabric of my current thoughts like delicate threads, making a blurred and misty picture. If I spread out this picture and take a look at it, I may not necessarily find it beautiful. On the contrary, part of it still bleeds.
In the northeast of Zhejiang province, there was a misty lake named Mandarin Duck Lake. By the lake lived an extended family of literary and official renown. One clear autumn evening in the late Qing dynasty, the seventh daughter was born into this family. The father held her little head and asked angrily: “Why did you come here?” The little head could not answer him. The infant was not received with love but with disappointment and disgust. The mother could barely tolerate the infant at her breast.
As people teased me with the story of my birth much later in life, I always remember it. It planted the root of skepticism in my young mind.