“等候人们的安排”意即“等候主人的命令（吩咐）”，未按字面直译为awaited people’s arrangements，现译awaited their master’s bidding或waited to do the bidding of their master。
“我常常看见顺城街煤栈的白墙上，写着这样几个大黑字”译为as I often saw in ads splashed in large black Chinese characters over the white wall of the coal storehouse close to the city wall，其中把“顺城街煤栈”译为the coal storehouse close to the city wall，未译 the coal storehouse on Shun Cheng Street;又ads（广告）是译文中的添加词，原文虽无其词而有其意；又“写着”未译为written on，改译splashed over（显眼地展示），更为达意；又“大黑字”译为large black Chinese characters，比large black words精确。
“看它们吃草料咀嚼的样子”译为lost in watching the way they were chewing the fodder，其中lost in作“专注于”解，此句也可译为absorbed in watching how they were chewing the fodder。
“自己的牙齿也动起来”可按“也不由自主地磨起牙齿”译为and involuntarily started grinding my teeth, too。
“偶然躲避车子跑两步”译为Occasionally it will take a few quickened steps to dodge a car或Occasionally it will move a bit more quickly to make way for a car。
“那件反穿大羊皮”译为the sheepskin overcoats they had been wearing inside out，其中“大羊皮”指“羊皮大衣”，故译sheepskin overcoat；又inside out作“里面朝外”解，是惯用语。
“总是问，总是问”语带嗔怪口气，故用always加动词进行式表达：You’re always asking questions …。
“让实际的童年过去，心灵的童年永存下来”译为so that the childhood of my heart will last forever when the childhood of my life is gone，其中“实际的童年”与“心灵的童年”不宜按字面分别直译为my actual childhood与my mental childhood。
“《城南旧事》”译为Old Stories from the South End，其中End作“地区”解，常用来指大城市的边沿地区。
Winter Sun? Childhood? Caravan
◎ Lin Haiyin
The caravan of camels arrived and stopped in front of our home.
Standing in a long string, they silently awaited their master’s bidding. It was dry and cold. The camel driver took off his felt cap, his sweaty bald pate giving off puffs of whitish steam to blend into the dry and cold air.
Father was haggling over prices with him. The camels had each two sacks of coal on their two-humped backs. I was curious about the sacks of“top-grade coal dust from Southern Mountain”or“black gold and inky jade”, as I often saw in ads splashed in large black Chinese characters over the white wall of the coal storehouse near the city wall. But the camel driver said he had trekked with the camels all the way from Mentougou, step by step.
The camels knelt down by bending their front legs and sticking up their bottoms while another camel driver was giving out fodder to them.
After father had finished bargaining, the camel drivers began unloading the coal while the camels were eating. I stood in front of the camels, lost in watching the way they were chewing the fodder as well as their ugly faces, long teeth and composure. They were busy grinding their upper and lower teeth together with steam let out of their nostrils and foam forming all over their beards. I looked blankly and involuntarily started grinding my teeth, too.
As my teacher told me, I should learn from the camel — an animal so calm and steady and so patient. It moves slowly, but never fails to reach the destination of its journey; it chews its food slowly, but never fails to get its fill. Maybe it is slow by nature. Occasionally it will take a few quickened steps to dodge a car, but in a very awkward manner though.
When a caravan was approaching, people would hear the ding-dong of a bell tied under the long neck of the leading animal.
“What’s the use of the bell?”I asked out of childish curiosity.
Father explained that since camels were in danger of being attacked by wolves, a bell was hung on them to clang a warning to the latter that the former were under human protection.
However, as a naïve little child, I had a lot of ideas of my own, all different from those of grown-ups. I said,
“No, dad! Camels walk noiselessly with the soft soles of their feet on soft sand. Didn’t you tell me that they can keep walking three days and three nights without drinking a single drop of water, and all they do is chew their cud quietly? Camel drivers must be bored with the dull job. So they hang bells on their animals to make the journey more cheerful.”
Father pondered for a moment and said smilingly,
“Your explanation sounds more picturesque.”
As winter was drawing to an end and spring coming nearer, the sun became so warm that people felt like taking off their cotton-padded jackets. The camels, too, started to cast off their old hairy robes! Their hair was coming off in tufts and left dangling scruffily from under their bellies. How I wanted to shear it off! The camel drivers, too, took off the sheepskin over coats they had been wearing inside out and had them draped over the camels’ backs. Now that the sacks had been emptied and the“black gold and inky jade”sold out, the caravan resumed its journey with brisk steps, the clanking bell sounding even more crisp and pleasing.
Summer came, but the camels were nowhere to be found. I again asked mother,
“Where are they gone in summer?”
Mother was at a loss for words, then said,
“You’re always asking questions …, my child!”
Summer went, autumn went, and winter came again with the caravan. But my childhood was gone never to return. And never again would I commit the folly of mimicking the way a camel would chew under the winter sun.
I always cherish memories of the scenery and persons I saw in my childhood when I lived in the South End of Peking.
“Why not write about them so that the childhood of my heart will last forever when the childhood of my life is gone?”said I to myself.
Hence my book Old Stories from the South End.
As I wrote contemplatively and slowly, I visualized the caravan approaching in the winter sun and heard the pleasant ding-dong of the camel bell. My childhood days returned to my mind.
A coal-mining area to the west of erstwhile Beijing.