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A Brief Sketch of Peng Dehuai by Ding Ling ~ 丁玲 《彭德怀速写》 with English Translations


丁玲 《彭德怀速写》

穿的是最普通的红军装束,但在灰色布的表面上,簿薄浮着一层黄的泥灰和黑色的油,显得很旧,而且不大合身,不过他似乎从来都没有感觉到。脸色是看不清的,因为常常有许多 被寒风所摧裂的小口布满着,但在这不算漂亮的脸上有两个黑的、活泼的眼珠转动,看得见有在成人的脸上找不到的天真和天真的顽皮。还有一张颇大的嘴,充分表示着顽强,这是属于革命的无产阶级的顽强的神情。每一遇到一些青年干部或是什么下级同志的时候,看得出那些昂奋的心都在他那种最自然诚恳的握手里显得温柔起来。他有时也同这些人开玩笑,说着一些粗鲁无伤的笑话,但更多的时候是耐烦地向他们解释许多政治上工作上的问题,恳切地显着对一个同志的勉励。这些听着的人便望着他,心在沉静了,然而同时又更奋起了。但一当他不说话沉思着什么的时候,周围便安静了,谁也惟恐惊扰了他。有些时候他的确使人怕的,因为他对工作是严格的,虽说在生活上是马马虎虎;不过这些受了严厉批评的同志却会更爱他的。




A Brief Sketch of Peng Dehuai
Ding Ling

“Once on the battlefield, we begin to trust only one man. Scores of us will focus our attention on him and none dare to slack off. Even newcomers to the battlefront will throw aside all fears so long as he is present. When he gives orders, all will charge ahead unhesitatingly to defy the invisible presence of certain death. Yes we fear him, but we love him more.”
That’s what I heard from a 24-year-old young political commissar. While making these remarks, he flushed with excitement. Whom did he refer to? It’s Comrade Peng Dehuai, of whom I’m now making a brief sketch. At this moment he is our front-line Deputy Commander-in-Chief.
He is attired in the common grey uniform of a Red Army man, which, covered with a thin layer of yellowish dust and black greasy dirt, looks very shabby and, moreover, very unbecoming to him. But he doesn’t seem to care. His facial features are somewhat blurry because they are often chapped all over by the cold wind. From the pair of lively black eyes rolling about on a face short on handsomeness, one detects naivety and mischief seldom seen on the face of an adult. And his big mouth is fully expressively of tenacity—the tenacity of a proletarian revolutionary. Whenever young cadres or junior comrades meet him, they will have their militant hearts mollified by his most natural and sincere handshakes. Sometimes he also enjoys bantering with them, cracking jokes that are coarse but harmless. Much more often he will patiently explain to them various problems concerning politics or work, offering comradely encouragement in all sincerity. His listeners will have their hearts calmed down by his words and meanwhile feel pepped up. When he is silently absorbed in thought, everybody around him will keep quiet lest they should disturb him. Sometimes he is really stern and forbidding because, though lax about things in his own personal life, he is very strict with work. Those who have been harshly criticized by him will nevertheless love him all the more.
He often engages in small talk with villagers while holding them by the shoulder or stroking their backs. He will give the thumbs-up to the simple and honest peasants, saying, “Hi, you buddies are real nice guys…” They will in turn pat him on the shoulder or try to put their long-stemmed Chinese pipes to his mouth which he always declines with a smile. When he leaves them, he will always leave behind a permanent impression on the simple and honest country folks.

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