◎ Guo Moruo
The cuckoo, the spirit of my native place Sichuan, is probably holding a higher place in Chinese literature than any other bird.
The mere mention of this bird will arouse in our hearts a great deal of poetic feeling.
To begin with, she is the incarnation of the legendary king of ancient Sichuan named Wang Di. She has come to be known sometimes as an ill-fated beauty and sometimes as a patriot concerned over the fate of the nation. Her call is full of longings for home; she loiters about the mountains crying and spitting up blood⑩. She is pathetic, sad, pure and sincere … She is in the eyes of all a symbol of love, which seems to have become a national feeling.
And this feeling has gone beyond the national boundary to affect most of the eastern countries. In Japan, for example, the cuckoo is holding a position in literature by no means lower than in China.
Nevertheless, all that is a typical instance of undeserved reputation.
The cuckoo is a grayish-brown bird with none too beautiful feathers. She is characteristically domineering and cruel.
She doesn’t build her own nest, nor does she hatch or feed her young. During the breeding season, she deposits her eggs in the nests of orioles for them to hatch and rear. A baby cuckoo is bigger in size than a baby oriol, and, when full grown, bigger even than the mother oriol. After she is hatched, she often pushes the baby oriol out of the nest, leaving the poor chick to cry and die of hunger and cold so that she may have the mother oriol’s care all to herself. The mother bird, however, being treated unfairly without her knowledge, continues laboriously to feed the baby cuckoo who is bigger than herself. The tragic spectacle is such as to arouse great indignation and draw tears of sympathy!
Hence I believe that the cuckoo can best serve as a model of those who win popularity by dishonest means. But the cuckoo is not to blame. A cuckoo is a cuckoo. She has never asked people to call her a beauty or a patriot.
Man is no wiser than the oriol. Many act on their own personal imagination regardless of the reality of things.
Therefore, we do see, both in history and at present, numerous cuckoo-like men sponging off their compatriots. What about in the future? The oriol can’t give an answer, but man should and can.
①“敝同乡的魂”如按字面直译为the spirit of my fellow provincials意思不够确切。现按“故乡四川之魂”译为the spirit of my native place Sichuan。
②“我们一提起杜鹃，心头眼底便好像有说不尽的诗意”译为The mere mention of this bird will arouse in our hearts a great deal of the poet，其中the poet表达一个抽象概念，相当于the poetic sentiment（或feeling）。
③“望帝”是我国古代传说中的蜀国国王，故译the legendary king of ancient Sichuan named Wang Di，略有增益，属释义性翻译。
④“血是遍山踯躅”意即“在山上游荡，啼至血出”，译为she loiters about the mountains crying and spitting up blood，其中spitting up意同vomiting。可参阅白居易诗《琵琶行》中的名句：“其间旦暮闻何物？杜鹃啼血猿哀鸣。”
⑦“它自己独霸着母莺的哺育”译为she may have the mother oriol’s care all to herself，其中to have … all to herself意即“独享”或“独占”，和to monopolize意同，但后者是大字，不如前者可取。“哺育”在此未译to feed and raise，而以care表达，是为切合句法。
⑧“人的智慧和莺也相差不远”意即“人和莺同样不明智”，故译Man is no wiser than the oriol，等于Man is as unwise as the oriol或Man and the oriol are equally unwise。
⑨“无数的人面杜鹃被人哺育着”意即“无数像杜鹃一样的人寄生于他人身上”，故译numerous cuckoo-like men sponging on their compatriots，其中to sponge on（或off）和to live off同义，作“依赖……生活”、“寄生于……”解。
⑩ According to Chinese folklore, the cuckoo keeps crying cuckoo plaintively until it spits up blood.