The Chinese text below was taken from the book published by Kang Shuan 康軒文教事業.
The red characters are the vocabulary words for that lesson. The grammar/enrichment section following each story/essay/poem has not been included here, because translating those sections into English wouldn't be very meaningful.
一 One: 再春天許願 The Promise of Spring
In the early morning light,
A little bean sprout emerges,
Drops down its shaking head,
And dreams of growing up quickly.
In the breeze,
The old tree extends forth a sturdy branch,
Tender new leaves sprout forth,
Making a green world.
In the forest,
Little birds build a nest,
Singing songs together on a twig,
Praying that their newly born young will be active and strong.
In the sunlight,
The azaleas stretch to the heavens,
Opening scented petals,
Wanting to make the land colorful and pleasing to the eye.
The brilliant spring,
Lights up my heart,
I open the wings of my dreams,
Hoping that I can fly even farther in the new year.*
二 Two: 平溪放天燈 Releasing Sky Lanterns in Pingxi
"放天燈了!" "Release the sky lanterns!"
"放天燈了!" "Release the sky lanterns!"
每年元宵節, 爸爸都會帶我們回到 "天燈的故鄉" 平溪, 和家族的親人聚在一起放天燈. Every year during Lantern Festival father takes us to Pingxi, "The Sky Lantern's Hometown," to release the sky lanterns with [our extended] family.
今天, 我們和往常一樣, 搭小火車回家. 火車才駛出山洞, 妹妹就指著天空, 大喊: "放天燈了!" 我抬頭一看, 果然有幾盞天燈, 好像等不及天黑似的已, 經在昏黃的暮色裡, 慢慢的往上飄. Today as usual we rode the little train "back home." As the train came out of a tunnel, my little sister pointed to sky lanterns and exclaimed, "[They've] released the sky lanterns!" I lifted up my head to see, and saw several sky lanterns slowly rising up in the dusk, as if impatient for night to arrive.
一回到老家, 大家都立刻圍過來, 相互問候. 爺爺興高采烈的說: "今年我們要彩繪天燈, 用圖畫向上天祈願." 在院子裡, 除了天燈以外, 我還看到許多畫筆和顏料. Our family surrounded us with greetings as we arrived "home."* Grandfather happily said: "This year we will decorate the sky lanterns. We will use pictures to send our wishes up to heaven." Aside from the sky lanterns, I saw many markers and things for coloring in the courtyard.
爺爺首先拿起筆, 在天燈上畫了一顆大大的心, 又在裡面畫上一個象徵吉利的橘紅色柿子, 他希望子子孫孫都能 "心想事成". 伯伯也用筆在天燈上畫了一張從永康到保安的火車票, 他希望爺爺和奶奶能 "永保安康". 我在天燈上畫了很多成雙成對的月亮, 希望未來的一年, 能結交更多的 "良朋好友". Grandfather took up a pen first, and drew a big heart on a sky lantern. He also drew an auspicious persimmon on the inside of it. [With this act] he hoped that his sons and grandsons would all "make their dreams reality." Uncle also took up a pen, and on a sky lantern drew a train ticket from Yong Kang to Bao An stations. He hoped that grandfather and grandmother would be "healthy and happy." On [my] sky lantern I drew a pair of "moons," hoping that I would make many new friends in the coming year.***
我們小心翼翼的扶著天燈, 好像護著自己的心願一樣, 然後把油紙點燃, 讓它們慢慢的升起來. 一個天燈, 兩個天燈... 緩緩的飄上天空, 仰頭看著它們越飄越遠, 感覺自己的心願也跟著升了起來, 像天燈一樣發出光彩. We carried our sky lanterns very carefully, as if we were protecting our own wishes. Afterward we lit the oil paper [that the lanterns are made of], and allowed them to float upward. One sky lantern, two sky lanterns... gently floating up into the sky. Watching them float farther and farther away, I felt like my own hopes were illuminated along with the sky lanterns.
這時, 滿天星火點點 -- 在夜空中飄浮的天燈, 就像一個個點燃的希望, 散發出耀眼的光芒. At this time - with the sky full of burning points - the sky lanterns are like floating wishes that give off a dazzling light.
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*Gotta say, the last stanza of this poem made me feel somewhat nauseous.
**Home in this context means their family's ancestral home. People often speak of "going home" this way during Chinese New Year.
***Much of this paragraph (like many holiday traditions), plays upon homonyms and radicals. Words like "persimmon," and the "two moons" (月 (moon) + 月 (moon) = 朋 (the "peng" in "pengyo" [friend]). The train stations mentioned, Yong Kang (永康 or "endless health") and Bao An (保安 or "security/peace") imply that the grandparents would go from "health" to "safety."