The Country of the Blind

The Country of the Blind
盲人国

based on The Country of the Blind by H.G. Wells

LEVEL 1 (300 unique characters)

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“In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king” repeats in Chen Fangyuan’s mind after he finds himself trapped in a valley holding a community of people for whom a disease eliminated their vision many generations before and no longer have a concept of sight. Chen Fangyuan quickly finds that these people have developed their other senses to compensate for their lack of sight. His insistence that he can see causes the entire community to believe he is crazy. With no way out, Chen Fangyuan begins to accept his fate until one day the village doctors believe they now understand what is the cause of his insanity: those useless round objects in his eye sockets.

Adaptation Notes

This story is an adaptation of English sci-fi author H.G. Wells’ 1904 classic story, The Country of the Blind. This Mandarin Companion graded reader has been adapted into a fully localized Chinese version of the original story. The characters have been given authentic Chinese names as opposed to transliterations of English names, and the locations have been adapted to well-known places in China. Some details have been changed to better fit a Chinese setting.

The time period of this adaptation is left up to the reader’s imagination, but clearly modern technology does not play a role in the story. The original 1904 story and a revised version published in 1939 actually have different endings. We have made an unusual choice in this case and decided to follow neither original ending exactly, rather giving the story our own twist. We hope you enjoy it.

The following is a list of the characters from The Country of the Blind in Chinese followed by their corresponding English names from Wells’ original story. The names below aren’t translations; they’re new Chinese names used for the Chinese versions of the original characters. Think of them as all-new characters in a Chinese story.

  • 陈方远 (Chén Fāngyuǎn) – Nuñez
  • 江天雨 (Jiāng Tiānyǔ) – Yacob
  • 江雪 (Jiāng Xuě) – Medina-Saroté

Study Resources

Sample of The Country of the Blind.

陈方远决定1去房子里面看看。他往前走了不长时间,又看到了几个女人和孩子,他们好像在草地2睡觉3。前面有三个男人,他们一个跟着一个往前走,看起来都没有力气4。好像现在是晚上,他们很想睡觉。

陈方远马上跑过去5,他一边跑一边大声6叫:“你们好!你们好…”。听到有人在大声叫,那三个男人马上不走了。他们的头一会儿向东,一会儿向西,好像在找陈方远。

陈方远生气7地想:“他们看不见8我吗?这些人都是盲人9吗?”陈方远又叫他们,那三个人才知道他在哪里。然后,陈方远跑到了那三个盲人前面。看到那三个人的时候,陈方远才知道他们真的都是盲人。他马上开心地对自己说:“这里可能真的是盲人国!”

那三个人好像有点怕陈方远,他们站在一起,没用10眼睛11看他,只用耳朵12听。陈方远觉得他们的眼睛很奇怪13,有点难看14。他们的眼睛那么小,好像在睡觉。还有,他们的眼睛都是白色的。

“不是我们的人!”一个盲人对另外15两个盲人说。

这个时候,陈方远自信16地走过去。他觉得自己马上就会有新的生活17了,一边走,一边开心地想:“在盲人国里,有眼睛的人就是国王18。”

  1. 决定 (juédìng) v.; n. to decide; decision
  2. 草地 (cǎodì) n. grassland, grassy field
  3. 睡觉 (shuìjiào vo. to sleep
  4. 力气 (lìqi) n. strength, energy
  5. 过去 (guòqu) vc. to pass, to pass through
  6. 大声 (dàshēng) adv. loudly (lit. “(in a) loud voice”)
  7. 生气 (shēngqì) adj.; v. angry; to get angry
  8. 看不见 (kànbujiàn) vc. to be unable to see
  9. 盲人 (mángrén) n. blind person
  10. 没用 (méiyòng) adj. to be of no use
  11. 眼睛 (yǎnjing) n. eyes
  12. 耳朵 (ěrduo) n. ear
  13. 奇怪 (qíguài) adj. strange
  14. 难看 (nánkàn) adj. bad-looking, ugly
  15. 另外 (lìngwài) pron. another, other
  16. 自信 (zìxìn) dj.; n. self-confident; self-confidence
  17. 生活 (shēnghuó) v.; n. to live; life
  18. 国王 (guówáng) n. king

This story deserves 7/5 stars: its clean, easy to understand, difficult, and hyperlinked all over the place, which makes looking up hard words easy.

The text is not only easy to understand, but the content is rich, entertaining, and gripping. I found myself laughing at most times, and being sweaty palmed during the end. I got hooked on the characters.

This text is a must have for ALL intermediate learners of Chinese. Wonderful tale!

– Matt Kloosterman

Learning to read hanzi is tough and can be monotonous and boring. Having them in a story keeps your interest going and the repetition throughout the story provides a great way of learning.
I found the story itself genuinely interesting to read.

– Stephen McNulty

I’ve been studying Chinese off and on for about 2 years now and I found this book to be fantastic. I hope to see more complicated books come out as I level up my Chinese abilities!

– Seth Conger

Although I bought the traditional character book by mistake I learned nearly all the traditional characters in the book just from reading it! (I’ve only studied simplified)

– Ada Minga

Very good book, and enjoyed being able to read in Chinese. Am glad a traditional Chinese version was available.

-Mason D Wev