Part of a Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms translation project at fruitydeer.com.
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Source: 三生三世十里桃花 by Tang Qi // Translated By: fruitydeer
Here’s a cute little epilogue from Peach Blossoms featuring A’Li with a sprinkle of domestic Ye Hua and Bai Qian. Enjoy!
T/N: A’Li’s nickname, Tuan Zi, has been translated in many forms, including riceball, sticky rice ball, dumpling, etc. All of these capture the essence of Bai Qian’s nickname for him in the book, which references his chubby and childlike figure. Tuan Zi is a shortened version of 糯米糰子 (Nuo Mi Tuan Zi), which is a dessert similar to Japanese dango. I’ll refer to him here by the pinyin spelling of his name.
Tuan Zi has been rather melancholic as of late.
His mother is carrying another baby in her belly and often spends her time wholeheartedly tending to the pregnancy. When he visits his mother’s chambers, she’s always sleeping. His father is no longer like before, always pushing him towards his studies and lecturing him these days. After all, he’ll soon be an older brother and must set a good example for his younger siblings.
Even the sweet and considerate Cheng Yu has been dragged by his third grandpa down to Fang Hu Mountain (方壺仙山 // Fang Hu Xian Shan)1 in the lower realms to lecture to the immortals on Earth on Daoism, so now he doesn’t even have a confidant to speak to.
Tuan Zi thought his life as the little heavenly grandson was so very dull. After mulling it over for a long time, he decided to run away from home.
So he packed himself a little bag, which appropriately, included two little outfits along with three peaches freshly picked from the Peach Garden (蟠桃園 // Pan Tao Yuan)2) to serve as travel sustenance.
Tuan Zi carried his little pack all the way to Heaven’s Southern Gate before suddenly realizing that, with this trip, it will be hard predict when he will be able to come home again. He should see his mother once before leaving.
He meandered his way over to his mother’s chambers, but just his luck, several young maids were standing by before the main gate.
An event like running away from home should be a quiet occasion that causes no disturbances…
With a hand to his heart, he contemplated for a moment, then turned back around and walked towards the ledge of the window. He’d climb up surreptitiously and sneak a peek at his mother.
Just as he approached, his little ear twitched and he overheard people conversing from inside the house. The low voice was his father’s, the languid one was his mother’s.
“Ah, ah, this little one shifted around again just now,” his mother said. “Do you want to feel it?”
His father affirmed and said, “It has only been seven months, it shouldn’t even be fully grown. How can it be tossing around like this? Was A’Li like this when he was in your belly?”
“Tuan Zi was so well-behaved, nothing like this one here. I remember he didn’t start moving around until the third year. The first two years felt like a sleeping egg in my belly, I was so relaxed,” his mother said. “Speaking of, it’s been a few days since I’ve seen Tuan Zi. I have some good news to share with him, he’ll be overjoyed to hear it.”
Tuan Zi’s heart rippled and he nearly bounced into the house, but he held himself back.
“Good news?” his father puzzled.
“Good news, infinitely good news,” his mother promptly replied. “Tuan Zi only has A’Li of a pet name. He’s still young, so calling him this doesn’t feel odd. However, once he gets older, it’ll be too unseemly. I spent a few days looking through some books of poetry and finally have a formal name3 for him.”
Tuan Zi’s heart burst with excitement and he nearly gave himself away, but he held himself back once more.
“There’s a mortal called Li He who wrote two rather grandiose strings of poetry that I quite fancy,” his mother said. “It says,
hēi yún yā chéng chéng yù cuī
Dark clouds over the town threaten to crush it down
jiǎ guāng xiàng rì jīn lín kāi
Like golden scales the armor glistens in sunlight
(Li He’s Song of the Swan Gate / Translation from holoong.com)
“The ‘hei‘ in these two lines is used rather brilliantly. Plus, those mortals love adding a ‘zi‘4 at the end of names to signify respect. I think this tradition is rather nice.”
“And so?” his father asked.
“And so, I’m giving Tuan Zi the formal name of Hei Zi5,” his mother replied.
Hei Zi fell to the ground with a thunk.
His father pondered, “This name…”
Anxiously, his mother asked, “I thought about it for the past two days. Do you think…do you think it’s not good?”
“Tell her it’s not good,” Tuan Zi cried in his heart. “Hurry and tell her it’s not good! otherwise I’ll really run away. I’ll really, really, run away!”
His father pondered once more and said, “So if in the future A’Li takes the throne, his title will be Hei Zi-jun6?”
This led his mother pondering in return, “Hei Zi-jun…”
His father then declared, “This is a very fine name.”
Hei Zi couldn’t pull himself off the ground.
The next day, the Nine Heavens erupted into chaos. Young immortals and maids rushed about, murmuring, “The little heavenly grandson has disappeared, it’s said he ran away from home!”
As the missing Hei Zi himself sat inside the Fox Den, his fourth uncle, Bai Zhen, chewed on the end of a piece of dog’s tail grass and asked, “But really, why did you suddenly run over here to Qing Qiu? Did your parents abuse you?”
Eyes brimming with tears, Hei Zi cried miserably, “It’s because mother wants to name me Hei Zi!”
Translator’s Note: Honestly, this was so fun to translate. The alternative title should probably be would be, in which A’Li gets a ridiculous name because his Ye Hua loves Bai Qian too much to risk hurting her feelings.
- Fang Hu Xian Shan: Fang Hu Immortal Mountain. Said to be one of the five sacred island mountains that served as a mythical home to immortals. Has also been referred to as 方丈 (Fan Zhang) in some literary texts.
- Pan Tao Yuan: Heaven’s famed garden of immortal peaches and also the one that the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, famously stole from in Journey to the West.
- A “formal name” // 大名 is a name used official occasions or as one’s full name, as A’Li is more of a “pet name” // 小名 or “milk name” 乳名. The “A” // 啊 character in A’Li is often used informally in Chinese dialects as part of a pet name. Hence, the need to give him a respectable name to use when he reaches adulthood. Historically, people of status have many variations of their names, which includes formal names, pet names, milk names, school names, pseudonyms, etc).
- 子 // zi: Often used as a part of an honorific title for revered philosophers in Chinese history. For instance, Kong Fu Zi / Confucious, Lao Zi / Lao Tzu, Meng Zi / Mencius, the list goes on and on…
- 黑 // Hei: In the poem, hei is translated as dark, but the most literal meaning of the word is the color black. 黑子 // Hei Zi essentially sounds like calling someone Little Black or Blackie, definitely not as grand or commanding as Bai Qian is thinking.
- 君 // Jun: Often used throughout the novel as a title for men, i.e. tian jun (天君 // heavenly lord), fu jun [父君 // father], fujun (夫君 // husband, different ‘fu’ character here], Ye Hua-jun (more formal, similar to calling one sir/gentleman; it’s what Bai Qian calls Ye Hua before becoming familiar with him and how others refer to him in passing), and jun-shang (君上 // lord).