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  • Julia Min

洗儿戏作 A Joke for the Baptism of my Newborn


原作: 苏轼(字子瞻, 号东坡居士; 11世纪北宋)

英译: 闵晓红(2024.04)






A Joke for the Baptism of my Newborn

Chinese original: Su Shi (11th AC, social name 'Zizhan', art name 'Dongpo')

English translation: Julia Min (Apr. 2024)


All parents want their kids to be clever;

Yet my cleverness had my life all screwed.

I hope this son to stay simple and stupid; -

Good fortune favours dummies and fools.


The Chinese Baby Baptism is a traditional ceremony where a newborn is bathed for the first time three days after birth. While most parents and relatives express their best wishes for the child to become handsome, intelligent, and wealthy, Dongpo just wanted him to be stupid and simple-minded for a smooth life. This is just a reflection of how he felt after his 103 days in prison followed by the banishment to Huangzhou where his fourth son was born in 1083. He understood that a clever person may become the victim of his own ingenuity. The sense of humor reminds me of the story Forrest Gump, and also the famous quote there -- Mama says, “Stupid is as stupid does.”


1. Picture from Google search


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