The Sixty-Year Dream

The Sixty-Year Dream

based on Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving

LEVEL 1 (300 unique characters)

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Zhou Xuefa (Rip Van Winkle) is well loved by everyone in his town, everyone except his nagging wife. With his faithful dog Blackie, Zhou Xuefa spends his time playing with kids, helping neighbors, and discussing politics in the teahouse. One day after a bad scolding from his wife, he goes for a walk into the mountains and meets a mysterious old man who appears to be from an ancient time. The man invites him into his mountain home for a meal and after drinking some wine, Zhou Xuefa falls into a deep sleep. He awakes to a time very different than what he once knew.

Adaptation Notes

This story is an adaptation of American author Washington Irving’s 1819 classic story, Rip Van Winkle. This Mandarin Companion graded reader has been adapted into a fully localized Chinese version of the original story. Although the English language classic has an official translation in Chinese, we’ve converted all character names to natural Chinese names. Therefore it was not possible to preserve the original story’s title since it uses the main character’s name.

The story of Rip Van Winkle is an interesting case for adaptation because Chinese folklore has a similar story called 烂柯人 (Làn Kē Rén), in which the main character is named 王质 (Wáng Zhì). In that story, the main character was away for over 100 years, while Rip Van Winkle slept for 20 years in the American story. This adaptation settled on the period of 60 years in order to span a specific time period in 20th century China for maximum dramatic effect.

The following is a list of the characters from this Chinese story followed by their corresponding English names from Irving’s original story. There are, of course, other characters in the story besides these, but many do not have exact correspondences to the original. 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.

  • 周学发 (Zhōu Xuéfā) – Rip Van Winkle
  • 王小花 (Wáng Xiǎohuā) – Dame Van Winkle
  • 小黑 (Xiǎo Hēi) – Wolf
  • 周国平 (Zhōu Guópíng) – Rip Van Winkle, Jr.
  • 周国英 (Zhōu Guóyīng) – Judith Gardenier

Study Resources

Sample of “The Sixty-Year Dream”








  1. 一直 (yīzhí) adv. continuously, all along
  2. 发现 (fāxiàn) v. to discover
  3. 跟…不一样 (gēn…bù yīyàng) phrase not the same as…
  4. 看起来 (kànqilai) v. to appear, to look (a certain way)
  5. 奇怪 (qíguài) adj. weird, strange
  6. 生气 (shēngqì) v. to get angry
  7. 可怕 (kěpà) adj. frightening, scary
  8. 看到过 (kàndàoguò) vc. have seen (before)
  9. 胡子 (húzi) n. beard
  10. 头发 (tóufà) n. hair
  11. (pò) adj. worn out
  12. 过分 (guòfèn) adj. going too far
  13. 可能 (kěnéng) adv. possibly, maybe
  14. 老婆 (lǎopo) n. wife (informal)
  15. 出现 (chūxiàn) v. to appear

I love the way this is put together. It is the best practice book I’ve seen. When they introduce new words, you can just click on it and immediately see the meaning and the pronunciation. Later if you need a reminder, they continue to give the opportunity to look it up again instantly and effortlessly. I hope they make MANY more of these. I’ll buy all of them.

– Bless Clemons

I absolutely love this series of graded readers. I really struggled to find reading material set at an appropriate level for me, which wasn’t dull or from a text book. These are ideal as they allow you to almost forget you are reading Chinese and you learn to read naturally and fluently.

– Carrie

I managed to read it!!!

It is so motivating to be able to read a story in Chinese. Grades readers are such a great way to help us develop our reading abilities and practice our character recognition.

– S. Vlondie

This story takes the old tale of rip van winkle and updates it into a modern Chinese tale about a man who slept for 60 years only to awake in the 1990’s. I bought all the books in this series and can’t wait for them to publish more. It is a great way to keep up on my Chinese reading.

– WR McKenzie

Amazingly written for my level. Fun read!

– Catalin Bulai.

This book and the entire series are well done and easy to read. Perfect if you want to start practicing reading interesting material but aren’t able to comfortably read native texts.

– Scott Young