The Magic Pencil

This short story is about a magic pencil – whatever it draws comes to life. This story features beginner sentence structure and a heavy smattering of intermediate vocabulary.

The sentence structure here is completely beginner – very basic stuff. But there are quite a few vocabulary words that beginners probably won’t know, so I’m placing this in the Intermediate category. Still, to save everyone’s sanity, I took out one phrase from the original due to its difficulty.

See the original on Tom 61



老鼠跑到铅笔面前,说: “我肚子饿得要命,快给我东西吃!” 铅笔画了一个面包。面包香喷喷的,老鼠一下子就把它吃掉了。吃完面包,老鼠又跑到铅笔面前,说: “面包不甜,我要吃大蛋糕!” 铅笔又给它画了一块大蛋糕。这蛋糕又松又软,甜甜的,上面有厚的一层奶油,奶油上还有花生仁和瓜于仁。

老鼠眯着眼睛,吃得津津有味,把一整块蛋糕全吃了,肚子吃得饱饱的。可它还想吃,就说: “蛋糕太甜,我要吃咸的!” 铅笔画了一根香肠,老鼠又把香肠全吃光了。老鼠的肚子圆鼓鼓的,像个大球,没法再装什么东西了。它又对铅笔说: ”我饱了,可我没地方住,你要给我房子!”

铅笔画了一个很大的老鼠,里面有好几条地道,有睡觉的地方,还有仓库。老鼠跑到洞里到处看了看,说: “仓库里还应该有粮食呀。” 铅笔又在仓库里画上了谷子、花生、玉米…… 老鼠点点头说: “房子还可以,可惜没有床铺。” 铅笔又画了一堆稻草,稻草上还铺了许多棉絮一一这是老鼠最舒服的床铺。

老鼠跳到床上,打了几个滚,满意地说:“还不错!”接着,它跑过来,对着铅笔就狠狠地唆。铅笔叫了起来: “哎哟!把我的皮都咬破了!” 老鼠说: “嘿嘿,现在我什么都有了,可牙根痒痒的,没地方磨牙。你的身子又长又瘦,正好给我磨牙。” 铅笔说: “等等,我给你画一样东西,你可以在上面磨牙。”


Show English translation »

There was an old grandfather who gave Xiao Feng a pencil. This was no ordinary pencil, it was a magic pencil. At night, Xiao Feng went to sleep. The pencil stood up on its own, and draw a mouse on a piece of paper. As soon as it had finished drawing, the mouse yawned, stretched, and came to life.

The mouse ran up to the pencil and said: “I’m starving, give me something to eat quick!” The pencil drew some bread. The bread was deliciously savory, and the little mouse gobbled it right up. After it finished the bread, the mouse ran back to the pencil and said: “Bread isn’t sweet, I want to eat a big cake!” The pencil drew a big cake. This cake was light, soft and sweet, and on the top it had a thick layer of cream, and on top of the cream there were peanut and melon seeds.

The mouse squinted his eyes and ate with gusto, and when he’d eaten an entire piece of cake, his stomach was very full. However, he still wanted to eat, so he said: “The cake was too sweet, I want to eat something salty!” The pencil drew him a sausage, and the mouse ate the sausage right up. The mouse’s stomach was round as a drum, or a big ball, and there was no way he could cram anything else in there. To the pencil he said, “I’m full, but I have no place to live, you must give me a house!”

The pencil drew a big mouse hole, inside there were several tunnels, a place to sleep, and also a storehouse. The mouse ran into the hole, looked all around, and said: “There should be some foodstuffs in the storehouse.” In the storehouse, the pencil drew millet, peanuts, corn… the mouse nodded and said: “The house is pretty good, but it’s a pity there’s no bed.” The pencil drew a pile of straw, and on top of the straw he spread cotton wadding – this is a mouse’s most comfortable [type of] bed.

The mouse jumped onto the bed, rolled around a bit, and said, satisfied: “Not bad!” Then, the mouse ran over to the pencil and began to ferociously suck on it. The pencil cried out: “Aiyo! Are you cheating me? You’re nibbling all my skin off!” The mouse said: “Hey hey, I have everything I want now, but my teeth itch, and I have no place to grind them. Your body is long and thin, it’s a perfect place for me to grind my teeth.” The pencil said: “Wait a second, I’ll draw you something similar, and you can grind your teeth on that.”

Saying this, the pencil began to draw. When it had finished drawing a mewing cat jumped up [from the paper] and swallowed the mouse.

8 replies on “The Magic Pencil”

In the 2nd last paragraph, is there an extra sentence that’s slipped into the English?

The pencil cried out: “Aiyo! Are you cheating me? You’re nibbling all my skin off!”

I don’t think the “Are you cheating me?” should be there.

Once again, thanks for all the stories and the translations – I continue to find them very helpful.

Once again, a beautiful little story, well presented and translated. You are doing a wonderful service for native English-speaking Chinese learners.

One question. I found the character 嗍 also suo (first tone) to be the word for “suck.” My dictionary only has 唆 as “instigate.” Can you clarify?

A charming story! This is great practice. Children’s stories have a lot of repetition which reinforces learning. This is incidentally also good practice for using the 把 structure. Thank you.

its like i have not sat in a chinese class before. i tried to read but could not identify most of the tones am using. i can write characters,how do i get to perfect my hearing and responses?

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