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Learn Chinese Online Short Story – 我身后的眼睛 The Eyes Behind Me [1] (Elementary)

Posted by Grace Feng on November 20, 2012

I’ve been thinking about writing a colloquial Chinese short story on Beginner level for a while, but it turns out that it’ll be much easier to tell a complete story on Elementary level instead of Beginner’s. To check out how reading levels are rated, please click here.  My dear readers, I’ll also need your feedback to help me understand the difficulty level of my writing.

I’ve always been thinking that Chinese language could be more approachable to the world if enough reading materials on different levels could be available for learners to read, especially for adult learners. That is also the main goal I’m trying to reach in this “Learn Chinese Online Short Stories” session.

Before you begin to read this 4500-character Elementary level short story, I’d suggest that you run through the vocab table first to get familiar with the new words. That way your actual reading process might be much smoother. At the end of each part, there will be a short quiz to test your comprehension.

Learn Chinese online mini novel - 我身后的眼睛 The Eyes Behind Me [1] (Elementary)

 

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download mp3 here: eye01-new.mp3

(music credit: Free background music from JewelBeat.com)

 

我身后的眼睛 [1]

 

有一双眼睛, 在我的身后注视着我.

它让我感到不安.

从那天下班开始, 我就感觉到它的存在.

那晚回到家, 我把我的感觉告诉了老公.

“你没转过身看看是谁吗?”

老公问.

“看了,可路上那么多人. 我不知道它是谁.”

我不安地回答.

老公接着问:

“你的背后没有眼睛,你怎么会知道有人在盯着你?”

“不仅是盯着我, 而且还跟着我.”

我更加不安地回答.

“可是你转过身又不知道是谁?”

老公帮我把话说完.

我点点头,说,”是这样.”

这时, 女儿扑到老公的怀里, 要抱抱.

“要不要我明天送你上班?” 老公抱着女儿, 笑着问我.

“不用了, 我上下班路上都有很多人, 我尽量跟着人群走就是了… 也许, 这只是我的幻觉.”

我开始觉得自己真有点可笑.

老公摸着女儿的脑袋, 继续问道:”最近工作太累了吧?”

“是有点儿累! 幻觉都累出来了.” 我似乎为自己找到了解释.

 

[vocab table]

Simplified Chinese Traditional Chinese Mandarin Pinyin English Definition
注视 注視 zhu4 shi4 to watch attentively; to gaze;
不安 不安 bu4 an1 uneasy; worried;
感觉 感覺 gan3 jue2 to feel; to become aware of;
存在 存在 cun2 zai4 to exist; existence;
老公 老公 lao3 gong1 (informal) husband;
背后 背後 bei4 hou4 behind
ding1 to fix attention on; to stare
更加 更加 geng4 jia1 even more
点点头 點點頭 dian3 dian3 tou2 nod
尽量 盡量 jin4 liang4 as much as possible
人群 人群 ren2 qun2 crowd
幻觉 幻覺 huan4 jue2 illusion; hallucination
可笑 可笑 ke3 xiao4 funny; ridiculous;
继续 繼續 ji4 xu4 to continue; to proceed with
lei2 tired
解释 解釋 jie3 shi4 explanation

[pinyin]

wǒ shēnhòu de yǎnjing [1]

 

yǒu yī shuāng yǎnjing, zài wǒ de shēnhòu zhùshì zhe wǒ.

tā ràng wǒ gǎndào bù’ān.

cóng nàtiān xiàbān kāishǐ, wǒ jiù gǎnjuédào tā de cúnzài.

nà wǎn huídào jiā, wǒ bǎ wǒ de gǎnjué gàosu le lǎogong.

“ nǐ méi zhuàn guò shēn kànkan shì shéi ma?”

lǎogong wèn.

“ kàn le, kě lùshang nàme duō rén. wǒ bù zhīdào tā shì shéi.”

wǒ bù’ān de huídá.

lǎogong jiēzhe wèn:

“ nǐ de bèihòu méiyǒu yǎnjing, nǐ zěnme huì zhīdào yǒurén zài dīng zhe nǐ?”

“ bùjǐn shì dīng zhe wǒ, érqiě hái gēnzhe wǒ.”

wǒ gèngjiā bù’ān de huídá.

“ kěshì nǐ zhuàn guò shēn yòu bù zhīdào shì shéi?”

lǎogong bāng wǒ bǎ huàshuō wán.

wǒ diǎn diǎntóu, shuō,” shì zhèyàng.”

zhèshí, nǚ’ér pū dào lǎogong de huái lǐ, yào bàobào.

“ yào bu2 yào wǒ míngtiān sòng nǐ shàngbān?” lǎogong bào zhe nǚ’ér, xiào zhe wèn wǒ.

“ bu2 yòng le, wǒ shàngxiàbān lùshang dōu yǒu hěn duō rén, wǒ jìnliàng gēnzhe rénqún zǒu jiùshì le… yěxǔ, zhè zhǐshì wǒ de huànjué.”

wǒ kāishǐ juéde zìjǐ zhēn yǒudiǎn kěxiào.

lǎogong mō zhe nǚ’ér de nǎodài, jìxù wèndào:” zuìjìn gōngzuò tài lèi le ba?”

“ shì yǒudiǎnr lèi! huànjué dōu lèi chūlái le.” wǒ sìhū wéi zìjǐ zhǎodào le jiě shì.

[traditional Chinese]

我身後的眼睛[1]

 

有一雙眼睛, 在我的身後注視著我.

它讓我感到不安.

從那天下班開始, 我就感覺到它的存在.

那晚回到家, 我把我的感覺告訴了老公.

“你沒轉過身看看是誰嗎?”

老公問.

“看了,可路上那麼多人. 我不知道它是誰.”

我不安地回答.

老公接著問:

“你的背後沒有眼睛,你怎麼會知道有人在盯著你?”

“不僅是盯著我, 而且還跟著我.”

我更加不安地回答.

“可是你轉過身又不知道是誰?”

老公幫我把話說完.

我點點頭,說,”是這樣.”

這時, 女兒撲到老公的懷裏, 要抱抱.

“要不要我明天送你上班?” 老公抱著女兒, 笑著問我.

“不用了, 我上下班路上都有很多人, 我盡量跟著人群走就是了… 也許, 這只是我的幻覺.”

我開始覺得自己真有點可笑.

老公摸著女兒的腦袋, 繼續問道:”最近工作太累了吧?”

“是有點兒累! 幻覺都累出來了.” 我似乎為自己找到了解釋.

 

[English Translation]

Special thanks to John Collett for diligently proofreading my English translation!!

The Eyes Behind Me

A pair of eyes were watching me from behind.

They made me feel uneasy.

It all started when I was on my way back from work that day.

I told my husband about the feeling that evening.

“Didn’t you turn around to see who it was?”, he asked.

“I did. But there were so many people on the road, I didn’t know who it was.”, I answered uneasily.

He continued “You don’t have eyes in the back of your head. How could you know someone was watching you from behind?”

“Not just watching me, but also following me.”

I answered more uneasily.

“But once you looked back you couldn’t figure out who it was?”, my husband completed my sentence.

I nodded. “Exactly.”

At that time, our daughter ran into his arms, begging for a hug.

“Do you need my company on your way to work tomorrow?”, he asked with a smile while holding the girl.

“No thanks. There are lots of people on my way to work. I can walk with the crowd. Maybe it’s just my imagination.

I started to realize that how ridiculous I was.

He put his hand on the girl’s head and continued talking to me, “Tired of your work lately?”

“I guess so. I’ve even started seeing things.” It looks like I just found out the reason.

 

[questions]

<<我身后的眼睛>>阅读理解 - Reading Comprehension [1]

Congratulations - you have completed <<我身后的眼睛>>阅读理解 - Reading Comprehension [1]. You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
What do you know about "我"?
A

married with a daughter

B

single

C

living with friends

Question 2
What is the thing that bothers "我"?
A

being followed by someone

B

having a headache

C

hate her job

Question 3
What did "老公" offered to help "我"?
A

go to work together with her

B

take care of their daugher

C

send her to see a doctor

Question 4
Did "我" think that she found the reason for her hallucination?
A

yes

B

no

Question 5
In “不仅是盯着我, 而且还跟着我.”, what sentence pattern was used?
A

不仅..., 而且... : Not only ..., but also ...

B

不仅..., 而且... : Due to ..., therefore ...

C

不仅..., 而且... : Even though ..., still ...

Question 6
Which of the following word could replace "继续"?
A

接着

B

关心

C

不停

Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 6 questions to complete.

 

to be continued …

 

To navigate other chapters of short story “我身后的眼睛”, click here:

 

 

Related posts:

Learn Chinese Online Short Story – 我身后的眼睛 The Eyes Behind Me [3] (Elementary)
Chinese online short story 罪恶有痕 Traces of Sin 40 (Intermediate to Advanced)
Chinese online short story 罪恶有痕 Traces of Sin 50 (Intermediate to Advanced)

 

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18 Responses to “Learn Chinese Online Short Story – 我身后的眼睛 The Eyes Behind Me [1] (Elementary)”

  1. nothing

    白睿:

    11-21-2012 10:55 am

    Hi Grace. I think this story qualifies as elementary, maybe upper-elementary. I also learned a new verb: 扑= ‘to rush’.

    I also think it clearly illustrates a difference in the way Chinese/Westerners say things, ie, in English we will say “the eyes behind me” and “I turned around”, without having to explicitly state: “the eyes behind my body” and “I turned my body around” like the Chinese phrases 我身后的眼睛 and 我转过身…..Even after six years of learning Chinese this is still to me a very noticeable difference.

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      11-21-2012 9:38 pm

      Hehe … that’s true. I even didn’t notice this before you point out. I agree, to describe certain things, sometimes English is briefer than Chinese, sometimes vice versa.

      Reply

  2. nothing

    Michael:

    11-23-2012 12:18 am

    Hi Grace,

    I just wanted to drop a line and tell you this website is fantastic! Well organized, well written, and it has been an absolute joy to learn Chinese here.

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      11-23-2012 2:57 am

      Hi Michael, thanks for your visit!

      It’s such a pleasure to know that you like this site and enjoy learning Chinese here. Feel free to drop me questions if you encounter any. :-)

      Grace

      Reply

  3. nothing

    Steve:

    11-30-2012 7:05 am

    Very interesting story! The ‘test’ questions at the end are also helpful.

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      11-30-2012 1:12 pm

      Hi Steve, good to know you can follow through the reading and find the quiz helpful :-)

      Grace

      Reply

  4. nothing

    Matt Sikora:

    01-04-2013 3:24 am

    Great story Grace! I rarely get to read this kind of thing so it’s really interesting to me to see how you transition from the dialogue to the narration. This was a little difficult for me to grasp the first time through without the translations. Obviously, once I read the English I had no problem. I did learn plenty of new words though. I’m sure this took you a long time to create but I hope you have time to do more of this kind of thing in the future. Thanks for all your work on this and helping me with my Chinese!

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      01-04-2013 4:15 am

      Thanks for your feedback Matt!

      “transition from the dialogue to the narration” – Hmn… that usually comes natural for a native. But might be a bit challenging otherwise. I did encounter difficulties when I translated my own writing into English. Thanks for John’s gracious help to proofread my translation and corrected those awkward errors.

      It’s really nice to know that you find it’s helpful. Yes, writing stuff like this is time consuming. On the other side, it’s also quite rewarding to know that readers are slowly gaining confidence in their language learning by reading your story. :-)

      Reply

  5. nothing

    nameIna:

    02-12-2013 2:43 pm

    Hi Grace,
    this is the first time I read this, I find it really helpful. I was very glad when all my answers were correct. I hope you’ll continue writing such stories, I think it will help students- learning- the -Chinese- language tremendously. We are truly grateful to you.
    Ina

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      02-12-2013 5:30 pm

      Hi Ina,

      I’m very glad to know that you find it really helpful. I love writing and I’ll definitely continue to write for Chinese learners.

      Thanks for your warm encouragement, stay tuned, there will be more stories coming! :-)

      Grace

      Reply

  6. nothing

    Youngbin:

    03-02-2013 9:38 am

    Hi, I’d like to thank you to put together awesome reading materials for beginners like myself. I have been searching for good materials for quite some time, but usually they are either too difficult or too boring. But I’ve noticed some of pinyin that might be incorrectly generated by the tool. I may be wrong. Please be generous if I am. :-)

    wǒ bù’ān dì huídá. -> wo buan de huida
    wǒ gèngjiā bù’ān dì huídá. -> same… :)
    “ yào bùyào wǒ míngtiān -> yao bu2 yao
    bùyòng le -> bu2 yong
    wǒ jìnliàng gēnzhe rénqún -> jin3liang4?
    zhǎodào liǎojiě shì. -> zhaodao le jieshi

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      03-02-2013 2:53 pm

      Hi Youngbin, you’re welcome :-)

      As for the pinyin error you pointed out, they are very good findings! Please see my explanation below:

      wǒ bù’ān dì huídá. -> wo buan de huida (you’re right, “地” while following adverb, should be pronounced as “de”)

      wǒ gèngjiā bù’ān dì huídá. -> same… :) (“de” too)

      “ yào bùyào wǒ míngtiān -> yao bu2 yao (officially “不” only has one prounciation: bu4. However, when it is placed before a fourth tone character, it is always pronounced as bu2 in oral mandarin.)

      bùyòng le -> bu2 yong (ditto)

      wǒ jìnliàng gēnzhe rénqún -> jin3liang4? (No, “jìnliàng” is right.)

      zhǎodào liǎojiě shì. -> zhaodao le jieshi (you’re right for this one!)

      I’ve corrected the above points in the pinyin section, your help is very much appreciated!

      If you find any other errors, feel free to comment, I’ll respond as soon as I can. :-)

      Grace

      Reply

  7. nothing

    josepha87:

    11-03-2013 1:08 pm

    I can regularly borrow an Ipad, and I have to say that usually, till now, concerning optimization of resources, Ipads have been giving me the best ergonomics of user interfaces with a minimum effort.
    If you are a lucky Ipad tablet user but you don’t know how to get the same result, just ask me. No coding.
    See, the screen is split into three windows here : text, sound player, sketchpad ( or dictionary ).

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/3bartwhzk7ok172/2013-11-03%2013.13.41.png

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/64go1tw2mv62g7e/2013-11-03%2013.09.46.png

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/nrfjhb3ofj7bkqj/2013-11-03%2013.56.49.png

    Reply

  8. nothing

    TotoroLover:

    03-13-2014 5:23 pm

    Hello Grace,

    Since I’ve started learning Chinese, my ultimate goal has been to read a book in Chinese. I feel like I’m getting a little bit closer thanks to you. I’ve read a lot of your texts already, and I find them really helpful. Keep it up!

    TotoroLover

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      03-14-2014 1:50 am

      Hi TotoroLover,

      I promise I’ll keep it up and try to make them more interesting and helpful. Also, instructive suggestions are welcomed anytime.

      Being able to read a book in a new language, even better, to read with joy and excitement was also my ultimate goal when I started learning English. I feel so lucky that I reached that goal many many years ago and my life has been changed since then.

      Hope you can stick to it and one day it probably will change your life too. :-)

      Thanks for your message,

      Grace

      Reply

  9. nothing

    millard waltz:

    11-20-2014 11:18 am

    I’ve become quite addicted to reading and rereading your wonderful text. I think that I’ve learned quite a bit and gained a feeling for modern Chinese from my reading.

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      11-20-2014 6:48 pm

      Such a pleasure to hear that, Millard!

      Hope you can persist on reading Chinese everyday, especially modern Chinese. :-)

      I always believe that reading is the most important practice for learning a language. While we’re reading a story, our brain is constantly connecting the appearance, sound and meaning of each word and eventually bring it to life. If I learned about a new word or expression in a story that I like, it sticks to my mind much longer.

      Grace

      Reply

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