Reading contemporary Chinese literature gives us the impression that while Hemingway, Fitzgerald and the rest of the Lost Generation were romping it up in Paris, Chinese intellectuals were locked in a competition to produce the most depressing fiction possible, with bonus points for bankrupting a publisher in the process.

As far as short stories go, "A Little Incident" is not really light reading. But the surprisingly uplifting ending and sheer skill in its exposition puts the story in a class of its own, and demonstrates why Lu Xun is considered one of the best writers in 20th century China. We hope you enjoy it.
 said on
September 8, 2008
I remember reading this in 3rd year class, along with the Story of Ah-Q. It's funny to see the annotated version here and go through it, because it took us something like three weeks to cover the whole story in class. What a waste of time when we could have been practicing oral communication.

Fully agree about the state of Chinese literature, at least back then. I haven't read contemporary Chinese literature, but the novellas I *have* read from the 1920s are morbid enough to induce severe depression in pretty much anyone. Ah-Q especially. China needs more comedic writers, IMHO.
 said on
September 8, 2008
I like the story with the option to review it in mp3, pdf, and text. Really good stuff.
 said on
September 9, 2008
That's what I am missing! Really great stuff!
 said on
September 9, 2008
@beijingboy & quatroclik -- glad you like it. :) we're slowly compiling an anthology of these sorts of stories. Mostly Chinese pieces, but some foreign ones as well (assuming we can find good translations). If you have any suggestions on pieces you'd like covered, let us know.
 said on
September 22, 2008
Awesome! This is what I want.
 said on
November 13, 2008
Marvellous the combination of MP3+text+pingying+vocabulary !!!

I think it's very nice to add such Chinese short stories of talented writers. A French classic short stories writer is Guy de Maupassant. For English, I suggest Edgar Allan Poe.
 said on
December 16, 2008
Can anyone explain "S门"? Gate S??
 said on
December 16, 2008
@barnaby.low,

Hi, it means Gate S, and the writer here doesn't want to write down the real/specific name of the place, so he used S instead. This capital letter can be the first pinyin letter of the real name of this place, but we are not sure. In that period of time, writers always did that in their works. They used one single capital letter referred to a place name or someone's name.

--Echo

echo@popupchinese.com
 said on
July 14, 2009
its my assignment. thank u very much..........

h! yoshio and my friends in school
 said on
July 14, 2009
where can i get a little incident story?

 said on
July 14, 2009
@devilsrage16 - Click on the text tab at the top of this page (just below the giant Lessons link) and youll be taken to a page with a mouseover annotated version of the text. Just move your mouse over any of the words for custom annotated popups containing the exact pronunciation and contextual definition of that word.

Its a good story. Hope having the annotated version helps. :)
 said on
November 24, 2010
hi...is this story same as a little incident???

- - - -

An Incident by Lu Hsun

Six years have slipped by since I came from the country to the capital. During that time I have seen and heard quite enough of so-called affairs of state; but none of them made much impression on me. If asked to define their influence, I can only say they aggravated my ill temper and made me, frankly speaking, more and more cynical.

One incident, however, struck me as significant, and aroused me from my ill temper, so that even now I cannot forget it.

It happened during the winter of 1917. A bitter north wind was blowing, but, to make a living, I had to be up and out early. I met scarcely a soul on the road, and had great difficulty in hiring a ricksaw to take me to the South Gate. Presently the wind dropped a little. By now the loose dust had all been blown away, leaving the roadway clean, and the rickshaw man quickened his pace. We were just approaching the South Gate when someone crossing the road was entangled in our rickshaw and fell slowly to the ground.

It was a woman, with streaks of white in her hair, wearing ragged clothes. She had left the pavement without warning to cut across in front of us, and although the rickshaw man had made way, her tattered jacket, unbuttoned and fluttering in the wind, had caught on the shaft. Luckily the rickshaw man pulled up quickly, otherwise she would certainly have had a bad fall and been seriously injured.

She lay there on the ground, and the rickshaw man immediately went to her aid. I did not think the old woman was hurt, and there had been no witnesses to what had happened, so I resented this over-eagerness of the rickshaw man which might land him in trouble and hold me up.

"It's alright," I said. "Go on."

However, he paid no attention - perhaps he had not heard - for he set down the shafts, and gently helped the old woman to get up. Supporting her by one arm, he asked:

"Are you all right?"

"I'm hurt."

I had seen how slowly she fell, and was sure she could not be hurt. I thought she must be

pretending, which was disgusting. The rickshaw man had asked for trouble, and now he had it. He would have to find his own way out.

But the rickshaw man did not hesitate for a minute after the old woman said she was injured. Still holding her arm, he helped her slowly forward. I was surprised. When I looked ahead, I saw a police station. Because of the high wind, there was no one outside, so the rickshaw man helped the old woman towards the gate.

Suddenly I had a strange feeling. His dusty, retreating figure seemed larger at that instant. Indeed, the further he walked the larger he appeared, until I had to look up to him. At the same time he seemed gradually to be exerting a pressure on me, which threatened to overpower the small self under my fur-lined gown.

My strength seemed to be draining away as I sat there motionless, my mind a blank, until a policeman came out. Then I got down from the rickshaw.

The policeman came up to me and said, "Get another rickshaw. He can't pull you anymore."

Without thinking, I pulled a handful of coppers from my coat pocket and handed them to the policeman. "Please give him these," I said.

The wind had dropped completely, but the road was still quiet. I walked along thinking, but I was almost afraid to turn my thoughts on myself. Setting aside what had happened earlier, what had I meant by that handful of coppers? Was it a reward? Who was I to judge the rickshaw man? I could not answer myself.

Even now, this remains fresh in my memory. It often causes me distress, and makes me think about myself. The military and political affairs of those years I have forgotten as completely as the classics I read in my childhood. Yet this incident keeps coming back to me, often more clearly than in actual life, teaching me shame, urging me to reform, and giving me fresh courage and hope.

_____________________________________________________________________

http://ganchau.blogspot.com/2006/01/incident-by-lu-hsun_113777076823530012.html
 said on
November 24, 2010
leighvy7,

Yes, its exactly this one.

--david
 said on
June 26, 2011
I have seen a translation of S Men as South Gate but what Echo says is right. They did leave things open. I think some European writers also would say something like in the year 19- and not always specify either. Thomas Mann with Death in Venice may have done that but don't have a copy in front of me so not sure.
 said on
December 19, 2011
would you help me by giving a critical analysis of this story? we have a report. what questions can i asked? except the usual questions like what is the theme of the story,plot,blah blah.......what important things we should consider in this fiction?
 said on
March 20, 2013
So in the following paragraph... 风全住了,路上还很静。我走着,一面想,几乎怕敢想到自己。以前的事姑且搁起,这一大把铜元又是什么意思?奖他么?我还能裁判车夫么?我不能回答自己

... is he reflecting on his motivation for wanting to pay the driver? Saying, "who am I to judge?"

Also, what was the likely punishment for rickshaw-related RTAs in the early years of the republic?!
 said on
October 12, 2013
Paul, I was also confused at ' Who am I to judge the driver?' In English, this is said when you are harshly judging someone generally speaking. Yet the author is not. There must be a cultural difference or philosophy that dictates a different us of 'judge'.
 said on
December 4, 2013
Sure, although if I said "Who am I to judge you?" it would imply I don't think I'm in a position to judge, I'm just as bad etc.

Interestingly, a modern-day 一件小事 occurred in Beijing today: http://cctv.cntv.cn/special/cctvjzdc/wgxhzez/index.shtml
 said on
September 1, 2014
please help me. what is the plot and the implication of the story? i need these for my report. thank you.

 said on
September 2, 2014
@anjenettevillacastel,

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=lu+xun+a+little+incident

Good luck with your report!

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