(mao2 gu2 song3 ran2)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
have one’s hair stand on end
有趣的是，我們可以觀察到洪邁的故事元素和他使用的一些文學手法，特別是夢的場景接續，在現代仍常用於故事的鋪陳；他所描述的恐懼感也是人類普遍的經驗，放諸任何時代或文化皆然。在英文中用來描述恐懼襲來的感覺，可以說chill/shiver running up/down the spine（令人背脊發涼），或是說one’s hair standing on end（令人頭髮豎立）。
(The very thought of how close that was, and how it almost landed on me: It was like the Grim Reaper was standing over me. That really makes my hair stand on end.)
(If something sends a chill down your spine, it probably means you don’t understand it properly: It’s just fear born of ignorance.)
send a chill up/down one's spine
have one's hair stand on end
The biji xiaoshuo (notebook fiction) literary format, generally eclectic stories and musings in a concise writing style, first emerged during the Wei and Jin dynasties. The format would later be divided into two categories, the zhiren xiaoshuo (writings on people), describing anecdotes and sayings of people of note, and the zhiguai xiaoshuo (tales of the miraculous), relating supernatural and mystery stories.
The Records of Yi Jian by the Song Dynasty writer Hong Mai (1123-1202) is a zhiguai xiaoshuo that was popular during the Song. One of the stories in this book, the da hun wang, tells of how a man named Xing Zu has a dream in which he is visited by a man he recognizes as a close friend who had died some time before. The man takes Xing Zu to an official’s building, and tells him that in a few days’ time this is the office from which Xing Zu will be carrying out his official duties. A little boy enters and tugs on Xing Zu’s official robes, and Xing Zu recognizes the boy as his own son, who had died several years previously. The friend then asked Xing Zu to return home, telling him that he would be summoned again in a few days. At this point Xing Zu wakes up, and realizes it was all a dream.
Soon after, however, Xing Zu goes out on official business and, as he is passing the house of the friend who had appeared to him in the dream, he feels a rush of cold fear shoot through him, from the hair on his body down to the marrow of his bones, as Hong Mai has it. Xing Zu falls ill, and is dead within days. From Hong Mai’s original phrase 毛骨凜然俱竦 we get the idiom 毛骨悚然, which is now used to express a feeling of utter dread.
The idiom has been used in several major Chinese literary works, not least in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and the Journey to the West. In Chapter 22 of the former, the warlord Cao Cao receives a summons to war and, on reading it, feels a chill run down his spine, and he breaks out in a cold sweat. In Chapter 10 of the latter, the Sea King is angered by news, and sets about beating the messenger with a wooden door beam. When he realizes the implications of the message, however, and the danger he is in, he is stricken with fear, and drops the beam, collecting himself and offering apologies to the messenger.
The idiom has several other variants, including 毛骨竦然, 毛骨聳然 and 毛髮悚然.
It is interesting how elements of Hong Mai’s story, and some of the literary devices he uses, notably the dream sequence, are still used in modern storytelling, and the feeling of dread he describes is a universal part of the human experience, irrespective of time or culture. In English, we can describe the feeling of the moment at which dread hits as a chill – or shiver – running up/down one’s spine, or one’s hair standing on end.
(Translated by Paul Cooper)
♦ Dave's driving is atrocious. I feared for my life. I spent the whole journey with my hair standing on end.
♦ It's a great story, with a really creepy ending. It sent a chill running down my spine.
Chinese automobile manufacturer Zotye Auto is a household name in China. The company is famous for manufacturing copies of car models by luxury international brands including Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini. After a long delay, on June 22, Zotye Auto finally released its 2019 year end financial results. The report revealed that last year, the automaker suffered losses of 11.2 billion yuan (approximately NT$46.6 billion), or an average of 30 million yuan per day. The company’s market value also shrank from 30 billion yuan to a mere 3.6 billion yuan. Even worse, because the company is unable to guarantee the authenticity,
Onions, with their sweet aroma, are a popular cooking ingredient, used in both Western and Eastern cuisines. Today, however, information is appearing online suggesting that onions should not be eaten with fish, shrimp, seaweed or honey, as these combinations cause kidney stones. But is there any truth to this? The Taiwan FactCheck Center asked dieticians and experts and confirmed that this information was false. Onion loving foodies everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief. According to information on certain social media platforms, onions should not be eaten together with fish, as the fish has a high protein content, and the oxalic
Segway Inc. announced last week that it will end production of its iconic two-wheeled personal vehicle starting July 15. When the company launched the product nearly two decades ago, it boldly claimed that its namesake two-wheeler would revolutionize the way people move, but it only sold 140,000 units across the world. The Segway was criticized for the high price tag of US$4,950 (about NT$147,000). It was also challenging to ride, because riders must maintain a balance at a specific angle for the vehicle to move forward, and can easily be thrown off if they lose control. Several months after buying the
North and South Korea on June 25 marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War with largely subdued commemorations amid the coronavirus pandemic, a day after the North abruptly halted a pressure campaign against the South. As well as pitting North against South, the Korean War embroiled each side’s communist and Western allies — with the Soviet Union and China backing Pyongyang, and a US-led coalition under a UN banner supporting Seoul. The conflict broke out on June 25, 1950, caused the deaths of up to three million Koreans (the vast majority of them civilians) and ended with