My good friend Michael
did his own translation of this piece on his blog. Since I haven't really tackled fiction before, I decided to do my own.
Source text: Wolf Totem (狼图腾) by Jiang Rong (姜戎)
Having Bilgee beside him was comforting. Chen rubbed his eyes to clear away the mist and blinked calmly at Bilgee, then raised his telescope again to watch the gazelles and the wolves.
Since his earlier encounter with the wolves, he had come to understand that the inhabitants of the grassland, the nomads, were never far from being surrounded by wolves. Nearly every night he spotted ghostly wolf outlines, especially during the frigid winter; two or three, perhaps five or six, and as many as ten pairs of glittering green eyes moving around the perimeter of the grazing land, as far as a hundred li or more distant. One night he and Bilgee’s daughter-in-law Gasmai, aided by flashlights, counted twenty-five of them.
Like guerrilla fighters, nomads strive for simplicity. During the winter, sheep pens are semicircles formed by wagons and mobile fencing, with large felt rugs that serve as a windbreak but cannot keep out the wolves. The wide southern openings are guarded by packs of dogs and women on watch shifts. From time to time, wolves break into the pens and fight the dogs. Bodies often thud into yurt walls, waking people on the other side; twice that had happened to Chen Zhen, and all that had kept a wolf from landing beside him was that wall. Frequently, nomads are separated from wolves by no more than a couple of felt rugs.