Viewing the Snow Scene from the Mid-Lake Pavilion
In the twelfth month of the fifth year of the Chongzhen Reign (1632), while staying by the West Lake, I saw snow falling continuously for three days. After that, there were no signs of human beings nor sounds of birds on the lake.
In the dead of night when all was quiet, I towed a small boat. Wearing fur clothes and carrying a burning stove, I went alone to the Mid-Lake Pavilion to see snow. Over the lake, the curling mist and fogs mixed with the fluttering flakes made the sky, the clouds, the hills and the waters all white, high and low. The only shadows I could see in the lake were that of the long causeway which was reflected in the shape of a belt, that of the Mid-Lake Pavilion in the shape of a dot, my boat – a leaf and the men in the boat – a couple of rice grains.
Walking into the pavilion, I saw two men sitting face to face on a felt carpet. A boy servant was heating wine on a stove over a roaring fire. The two men were overjoyed to see me and said merrily: “Good heavens! How could we expect to see someone else on the lake!” They invited me to drink together. I forced myself to drink three cups of wine and then said good-bye to them. While asking their names, I was told that they were natives of Jinling and had come here for a visit.
As soon as I came back to the boat, I heard the boatman murmuring: “Don’t say you are crazy. There are people even crazier than you.”