The Country of the Blind
LEVEL 1 (300 unique characters)
“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.
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
- 决定 (juédìng) v.; n. to decide; decision
- 草地 (cǎodì) n. grassland, grassy field
- 睡觉 (shuìjiào vo. to sleep
- 力气 (lìqi) n. strength, energy
- 过去 (guòqu) vc. to pass, to pass through
- 大声 (dàshēng) adv. loudly (lit. “(in a) loud voice”)
- 生气 (shēngqì) adj.; v. angry; to get angry
- 看不见 (kànbujiàn) vc. to be unable to see
- 盲人 (mángrén) n. blind person
- 没用 (méiyòng) adj. to be of no use
- 眼睛 (yǎnjing) n. eyes
- 耳朵 (ěrduo) n. ear
- 奇怪 (qíguài) adj. strange
- 难看 (nánkàn) adj. bad-looking, ugly
- 另外 (lìngwài) pron. another, other
- 自信 (zìxìn) dj.; n. self-confident; self-confidence
- 生活 (shēnghuó) v.; n. to live; life
- 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!
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.
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!
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)
Very good book, and enjoyed being able to read in Chinese. Am glad a traditional Chinese version was available.