Sunday, April 10, 2011

神农尝百草 Shen Nong Tastes Hundreds of Plants



Literally, Shen Nong means " the farmer of magic power". He lived at a time after Fu Xi. (Refer to the story about Fu Xi), approximately 7000 years ago according to some experts. He is always painted with horns on his head like deer and cattle to show his close relationship to the plants. He is considered the inventor of farming and medicine. As the legend goes, Shen Nong was born with a transparent tummy, also called the Crystal Tummy.
 He can see from the outside how food is digested inside his body from the stomach to the intestines. That is why he can tell if the plant he tasted is poisonous or not. When he ate some leaves of a kind of evergreen shrub, he found it going up and down in his intestines as if it is checking for something. So he named the shrub "Cha", meaning "checking". The mysterious "Cha" that saved his life many times turns out to be "tea" (Cha2). (Does this story suggests that tea is good at intoxicating our body? ) As he ate the deadly plant in the end, his intestines could be seen broken into pieces. The plant is the legendary "Intestine-breaking-grass"(断肠草)that has no antidotes.


The book Shen Nong wrote is the first book of herbal medicine in Chinese history. (神农本草)


神农是中国古代另一个有名的大英雄,

shen2nong2 shi4 zhong1guo2 gu3dai4 ling4yi2ge4 you3ming2de da4ying1xiong2.


他发明了农业和医药。

ta1 fa1ming2le nong2ye4 he2 yi1yao4.


那时候,人们学会了捕鱼打猎,

na4shi2hou4, ren2men xue2hui4le b3yu2 da3lie4,


但是人越来越多,动物越来越少,

dan4shi4 ren2 yue4lai2yue4duo1, dong4wu4 yue4lai2yue4shao3,


很多人没有吃的都饿死了。

hen3duo2ren2 mei2you3 chi1de dou1 e4si3le.


还有很多人乱吃东西,也生病死了。

hai2you3 hen3duo1ren2 luan4chi1 dong1xi, ye3 shen1bing4 si3le.


有一天,一个红色的小鸟从神农头上飞过,

you3yi4tian1, yi2ge4 hong2se4de xiao3niao3 cong2 shen2nong2 tou2shang4 fei1guo4,


掉下几颗彩色的种子。

diao4xia4 ji3ke1 cai3se4de zhong3zi.


神农把种子埋在土里,

shen2nong2 ba3 zhong3zi mai2zai4 tu3li3,


没想到长成了一大片谷子。

mei2xiang3dao4 zhang3cheng2le yi2da4pian4 gu3zi.


他吃了一颗谷子,感到很好吃,

ta1 chi1le yi4ke1 gu3zi , gan3dao4 hen3hao3chi1.


于是,就教大家种谷子。

yu2shi4, jiu4 jiao1 da4jia1 zhong4 gu3zi.


后来,神农决定到很远的西北去,

hou4lai2, shen2nong2 jue2ding4 dao4 hen3yuan3de xi1bei3 qu4.


那里没有人,但是有很多大山。

na4li3 mei2you3 ren2, dan4shi4 you3 hen3duo1 da4shan1.


他走了七七四十九天,终于走到了。

ta1 zou3le qi1qi1si4shi2jiu3tian1, zhong1yu2 zou3dao4le.


每天,他都上山去。

mei3tian1, ta1 dou1 shang4shan1 qu4.


找到一种没见过的草,

zhao3dao4 yi4zhong3 mei2jian4guo4de cao3,


就把它放在嘴里尝一尝看有没有毒。

jiu4 ba3 ta1 fang4zai4 zui3li3 chang2yi4chang2 kan4 you3mei2you3 du2.


如果没有毒,就把它放在左边的口袋里,

ru2guo3 mei2you3 du2, jiu4 ba3 ta1 fang4zai4 zuo3bian1de kou3dai4li3,


如果有毒,就把它放在右边的口袋里。

ru2guo3 you3du2, jiu4 ba2 ta1 fang4zai4 you4bian1de kou3kai4li.


就这样,神农挑选出五谷让大家种,

jiu4zhe4yang4, shen2nong2 tiao1xuan3chu1 wu3gu3 rang4 da1jia1 zhong4,


又挑选出很多草可以治病,

you4 tiao1xuan3chu1 hen3duo1 cao3 ke3yi3 zhi4bing4,


他把这些草都写在一本书里,

ta1 ba3 zhe4xie1cao3 dou1 xie3zai4 yi1ben3 shu1li3,


让大家知道哪些草可以治哪些病,

rang4 da4jia1 zhi1dao4 na3xie1 cao3 ke3yi3 zhi4 na3xie1 bing4,


哪些草有毒不能吃。

na3xie1 cao3 you3du2 bu4neng2chi1.


传说有一次,神农看见一种开白花的小树,

chuan2shuo1 you3yi2ci4, shen2nong2 kan4jian4 yi1zhong3 kai1bai2hua1de xiao3shu4,


吃了它的树叶后,感到肚子里非常舒服,就叫它“茶”。

chi1le ta1de shu4ye4 hou4, gan3dao4 du4zili3 fei1chang2 shu1fu2, jiu4 jiao4 ta1 "cha2".


神农经常中毒,每次中毒以后,

shen2nong2 jing1chang2 zhong4du2, mei3ci4 zhong4du2 yi3hou4,


他就吃一些“茶”,然后他就没事了。

ta1 jiu4 chi1 yi4xie1 cha2, ran2hou4 ta1 jiu4 mei2shi4le.


有一天, 神农看见一种开黄色小花的草,

you3 yi4tian1, shen2nong2 kan4jian4 yi1zhong3 kai1 huang2se4 xiao3hua1de cao3,


他吃了以后,肚子非常难受,来不及吃茶叶,就中毒死了。

ta1 chi1le yi3hou4, du4zi fei1chang2 nan2sou4, lai2bu4ji2 chi1 cha2ye4, jiu4 zhong4du2 si3le.




Translation:


Shen Nong is another famous great hero in ancient China. He invented farming and medicine. At that time, people had learned how to fish and hunt. However, there were more and more people, while there were fewer and fewer animals. Many people had nothing to eat and died of hunger。Some other people monkeyed on everything, got sick and died. One day, a little red bird flew over Shen Nong's head, and dropped several colorful seeds. Shen Nong buried the seeds in the ground. To his surprise, the seeds grew into a large stretch of rice. He ate a grain, and thought tasty. So he taught everybody to grow the rice. Later, Shen Nong decided to go to the Northwest far away. There were no people there, but many big mountains. He walked for forty-nine days, and finally got there.




Every day, he would go up the mountains. When he found a plant that he hadn't seen before, he would try it in his mouth to see if it was poisonous. If it was not poisonous, he put it in his pocket on the left side. If it was poisonous, he put it in his pocket on the right side. This way, Shen Nong picked out five grains for people to grow, and also picked many plants for treating diseases. He wrote all these down in a book, so that people will know what plants can treat what kind of diseases, and which plants are poisonous and inedible. In the legend, Shen Nong once saw a little tree with white Flowers. After he ate some of its leaves, he felt very good in his stomach. He called the tree "Cha". Shen Nong often got poisoned. Every time he got poisoned, he would take some leaves of "Cha", and then he would be OK. One day, Shen Nong saw a plant with little yellow flowers. After he ate its leaves, he felt very sick inside. He didn't have time to eat some leaves of "Cha" before he was poisoned to death.

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