The Dog by Lao She ~ 老舍 《狗》 with English Translations


老舍 《狗》





The Dog
Lao She

Of all dogs in the world, those in China are perhaps the most pitiful and ugly-looking. But it is their wretched life rather than their breed that is to blame for their ugliness. All dogs, if well-fed, will be plump and nice-looking irrespective of their bodily form. In poverty-striken China, people don’t even have enough to feed themselves, let alone dogs. Chinese dogs are ugly-looking not because they are born like that, but because they’ve been reduced to skin and bones by hunger, with tails between their legs all the year round.
I always feel like crying whenever I see a homeless little dog roaming about the street in search of human excrement. It doesn’t mean that I’m a sentimental, lachrymose sort. It’s because I associate the misery if the little dog with the poverty of our people. Our cats and dogs will never get nice fat unless our people are well-off.
We are apt to declare that ours is a big country with rich natural resources, meaning that there is no feed for us to worry because we have plenty of everything to last us forever and ever. Well, why not take a look at our dogs!
Dogs always remain man’s faithful servants though they are underfed and kicked and beaten without any reason. A dog continues to perform with loyal devotion the duty of guarding the door and keeping watch at night though he has been starved to a skeleton and kicked at by his master. He never minds how poor his master is. Such an animal deserves our high praise. We should attribute to them such laudatory epithets as “devotion”, “loyalty”, “content with poverty”, “courage”, etc. But I wonder why we have been undiscriminatingly calling traitors and villains “running dogs”, as if dogs were disloyal and unfaithful animals. I should voice grievances for them!
Cats, however, are greedy and lazy. They come to you when you have meat to offer,but otherwise leave you. Flunkeys of imperialism and mean persons should have been called “running cats”.
Perhaps the reason why we prefer to say “running dogs” rather than “running cats” is that dogs are good-tempered while cats are supercilious. If so, I would think that people are perhaps inclined to bully the weak and fear the strong.
Maybe there is a kind of dog whose scientific name is “running dog”. I’m not quite sure.

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