Zhōngchéng de wèishì
The Loyal Guards
1. Cóngqián yǒu gè guówáng, zuì pà biérén ànhài tā, chéngtiān tíxīndiàodǎn.
Once upon a time, there was a king whose greatest fear was that someone would assassinate him. Every day, he lived in fear.
2. Guówáng shuìjiào shí, mén wài zhàn liǎo bù shǎo wèishì, kě tā yòu dānxīn: Zhèxiē wèishì huì bù huì hài wǒ?
When he sleeps, there are many guards outside his door, but still he worries: "Will these guards harm me?"
3. Tā zuì zhōngchéng de dàchén shuō:“Huángshàng, rúruò nǐ bù fàngxīn zhèxiē wèishì, jiù ràng wǒ érzi lái bǎohù nǐ.”
His most loyal minister told him, "Majesty, if you don't trust these guards, let my son protect you."
4. Dàchén de érzi lái dāng guówáng de wèishì, kě tā yòu huáiyí: Zhè huì bù huì shì dàchén de guǐjì?
The minister's son came to be a royal guard, but the king began to suspect, "Could this be a part of the minister's evil plan?"
5. Guówáng pà dàchén pài érzi lái hài sǐ tā, cuànduó wángwèi, xiàlìng jiāng tā fùzǐ liǎ gǎn chū wánggōng.
The king feared the minister sent his son to assassinate him and usurp the crown, so he ordered the father and son to be exiled from the palace.
6. Yītiān, guówáng dào sēnlín dǎliè, jiàn yīqún hóuzi zài shùlín lǐ tiào lái cuàn qù, dòngzuò mǐnjié.
One day, the king went hunting in the forest. He saw a group of monkeys in the trees leaping about, swift and agile.
That poor minister and his kid. All he wanted was to help the king feel safe. Oh well.
The thing that the king fears here is interesting. It's never so crudely and bluntly stated that he fears being killed, but rather to be "harmed", "harmed from shadows", or "harmed unto death". The vagueness here is fairly typical of this sort of thing, almost like hedging one's bets when speaking with fae, who are renowned for finding loopholes.
The minister's address of the king is also funny because he literally calls him "Emperor" even though it's very explicitly stated that he's a king. I suppose there's no good way of differentiating the various levels of "your majesty" either. After all, I did just read a book that addressed the Emperor and Empress as "Your Majesty".
I wonder how the monkeys will fit into his paranoia? Tune in next time?!