我爱花，所以也爱养花 〔9〕 。我可还没成为养花专家，因为没有工夫去作研究与试验。我只把养花当作生活中的一种乐趣，花开得大小好坏都不计较，只要开花，我就高兴。在我的小院中，到夏天，满是花草，小猫儿们只好上房去玩耍 〔10〕 ，地上没有它们的运动场。
花虽多，但无奇花异草。珍贵的花草不易养活，看着一棵好花生病欲死是件难过的事。我不愿时时落泪。北京的气候，对养花来说，不算很好。冬天冷，春天多风，夏天不是干旱就是大雨倾盆；秋天最好，可是忽然会闹霜冻。在这种气候里，想把南方的好花养活，我还没有那么大的本事。因此，我只养些好种易活、自己会奋斗的花草 〔11〕 。
不过，尽管花草自己会奋斗 〔12〕 ，我若置之不理，任其自生自灭 〔13〕 ，它们多数还是会死了的。我得天天照管它们，像好朋友似的关切它们。一来二去 〔14〕 ，我摸着一些门道：有的喜阴，就别放在太阳地里，有的喜干，就别多浇水。这是个乐趣，摸住门道，花草养活了，而且三年五载 〔15〕 老活着、开花，多么有意思呀！不是乱吹，这就是知识呀！多得些知识，一定不是坏事。
我不是有腿病吗，不但不利于行，也不利于久坐。我不知道花草们受我的照顾，感谢我不感谢；我可得感谢它们。在我工作的时候，我总是写了几十个字，就到院中去看看，浇浇这棵，搬搬那盆，然后回到屋中再写一点，然后再出去，如此循环 〔16〕 ，把脑力劳动与体力劳动结合到一起，有益身心 〔17〕 ，胜于吃药。要是赶上狂风暴雨或天气突变哪，就得全家动员 〔18〕 ，抢救花草，十分紧张 〔19〕 。几百盆花，都要很快地抢到屋里去，使人腰酸腿疼，热汗直流。第二天，天气好转，又得把花儿都搬出去，就又一次腰酸腿疼，热汗直流。可是，这多么有意思呀！不劳动，连棵花儿也养不活，这难道不是真理么？
送牛奶的同志，进门就夸“好香”！这使我们全家都感到骄傲。赶到昙花开放的时候，约几位朋友来看看，更有秉烛夜游的神气 〔20〕 ——昙花总在夜里放蕊。花儿分根了，一棵分为数棵，就赠给朋友们一些；看着友人拿走自己的劳动果实，心里自然特别喜欢。
On Growing Flowers
◎ Lao She
I love flowers and hence have taken to growing them. But, short of time to do research and experiment in flower cultivation, I am no gardener at all. I merely take flower cultivation as a pleasure of life. I really don’t care whether or not the blooms put forth by my flowers are plump and nice-looking. I’ll be delighted as long as they can bloom. In summer, flowers and plants growing in luxuriance in my small courtyard will leave little open space as a playground for the little cats, so they have to sport about in our rooms instead.
I grow many flowers, but none of them are exotic or rare ones. It is difficult to grow a precious flower species. And I feel bad to see a good flower dying of illness. I don’t want often to shed tears over that. But Beijing’s climate is more or less unfit for the growing of flowers. Freezing in winter, windy in spring, and either too dry or too often visited by rainstorms in summer. While autumn is the best of all, it is often plagued by a sudden frost. In a climate like this, it is far beyond my capacity to grow precious flowers of southern breed. Therefore, I only grow flowers and plants that are hardy and enjoy a high survival rate.
Although such flowers are able to weather through by themselves, I, however, never ignore them or abandon them to their own fate, for otherwise most of them will probably end up dead. I have to care for them every day as if they were my close friends. Thus, in the course of time, I’ve somehow got the hang of flower cultivation. Some flowers which are accustomed to growing in the shade should not be too much exposed to the sun. Those which prefer dryness should not be watered too often. It gives me much pleasure to know the right way of handling them. How interesting it is to be able to keep my flowers and plants alive and watch them thrive and bloom year in year out! It is no exaggeration to say that there is much knowledge involved in this! And the more knowledge one acquires, the better it is of course.
As I have some trouble with my leg, I can’t move around easily, nor can I sit too long. I don’t know if the flowers under my care are grateful to me or not. However, I wish for my part to acknowledge my thanks to them. I often leave off sedentary work after writing a few dozen words and go to the courtyard to take a look at the flowers, watering them and moving about the potted ones. Then I’ll return to my room to write a bit more. I’ll go through the same back-and-forth process again and again, thus combining mental with manual labour. This is a better way to keep me fit in mind and body than taking medicine. In case of a violent storm or a sudden change of weather, however, the whole family will have to turn out to salvage the flowers and plants. Everybody will then feel keyed up. By the time when we have managed to move the several hundred potted flowers to the rooms in a hurry, we will be dog-tired and wet with perspiration. The next day, when the weather is fine, we will have another round of being dog-tired and wet with perspiration in taking all the flowers out to the courtyard again. How interesting it is! Isn’t it true that without doing manual labour, we couldn’t even keep a single flower alive?
It filled the whole family with pride whenever the milkman exclaims on entering our gate, “What a sweet smell!” When the night-blooming cereuses are about to be in flower, we will invite some friends to visit us in the evening to feast their eyes on them — in an atmosphere smacking of nocturnal merry-making under candle lights. When the cereuses have branched out, we will pick some of the flowers and give them as a present to our friends. We are of course especially happy to see them take away our fruits of labour.
Of course, there is a time to feel sad too. Last summer, a rainstorm hit us when 300 chrysanthemum seedlings in the courtyard were about to be transplanted to pots. Suddenly, the wall of our neighbour collapsed and crushed more than 100 seedlings of 30 varieties. The whole family were sad-faced for quite a few days!
Joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, flowers and fruit, fragrance and colour, manual labour and increased knowledge — all these make up the charm of flower cultivation.
〔9〕 “所以也爱养花”译为hence have taken to growing them，其中动词短语to take to的意思是“开始喜欢”。此句也可译为are therefore fond of growing flowers。
〔10〕 “只好上房去玩耍”译为they have to sport about in our rooms instead，其中动词短语to sport about的意思是“嬉戏”（to play and jump about happily）。
〔11〕 “我只养些好种易活、自己会奋斗的花草”译时稍作灵活处理：I only grow flowers and plants that are hardy and enjoy a high survival rate，其中用enjoy a high survival rate（成活率高）表达“好种易活”；用hardy（耐寒、耐劳、能吃苦）表达“会奋斗的”。
〔12〕 “自己会奋斗”译为able to weather through by themselves，其中动词短语to weather through的意思是“对付困难”、“度过风暴”等。此句也可译为able to carry on the struggle for existence by themselves，但用字太大、太多。
〔13〕 “任其自生自灭”不宜按字面直译，现意译为abandon them to their own fate。
〔14〕 “一来二去”的意思是“经过一定的时间”，故译为in the course of time。
〔15〕 “三年五载”以灵活的办法译为year in year out。
〔16〕 “然后再出去，如此循环”不宜按字面直译，现以灵活的办法译为I’ll go through the same back-and-forth process again and again，其中定语back-and-forth作“来来往往的”解；go through the same process作“重复同一过程”解。
〔17〕 “有益身心”可有两种译法：to keep me fit in mind and body或to keep me mentally and physically fit。
〔18〕 “就得全家动员”译为the whole family will have to turn out，其中动词短语to turn out的意思是“出动”或“出来参加”。
〔19〕 “十分紧张”译为feel keyed up，其中动词短语to key up的意思是“使紧张”，因此keyed up和excited、tense等同义。
〔20〕 “更有秉烛夜游的神气”中的“秉烛夜游”是成语，比喻“及时行乐”，今结合上下文按“夜间秉烛作乐”的意思译为nocturnal merry-making under candle lights。又，“更有……的神气”意即“带有……的味道”，故全句译为in an atmosphere smacking of nocturnal merry-making under candle lights。