何为贤妻 (To Be A Virtuous Wife)

Cover of TBVW

Author’s summary of “A Virtuous Wife”:


As a virtuous wife, does it include tolerating his cousin, enduring his concubines, bearing his mother?


If you will not let me live freely, why would I let you live in satisfaction?


Did fate let women time-travel so she could learn the three morals and four virtues? [1]


Rather than act like a coward and live, it would be better to live in satisfaction and die.

[1] 三从四德: Three morals: obey the father in childhood, obey the husband in marriage and obey the son in widowhood. Four virtues: be moral, be proper in speech, have physical charm and skill in needlework.

Translator Warnings: Mentions of physical punishment and violence. Some non-explicit sex scenes.

Author Info: 月下蝶影 (Yue Xia Die Ying). The author’s name is very poetic – the shadow of the butterfly under the moon. She has actually physically published one novel, 妃嫔这职业.(A loose meaning of the title would be “This Profession – A Consort”. )

The Title: This novel is 何为贤妻 and this title can be very subject to interpretation. 何 is what/how/why/which. 为 is for or to. 贤妻 is virtuous wife. So the title could mean “What is a virtuous wife?”, “Why be a virtuous wife?”, or “How to be a virtuous wife?”. And really, the title describes this novel very well. From the summary, “Why be a virtuous wife?” may be the most appropriate translation but all the questions are examined in some way so the title is “To Be A Virtuous Wife”.

Glossary (Definitions for the entire translation)
Historical Information (culture and background for this book)
Table of Contents
My Review

32 thoughts on “何为贤妻 (To Be A Virtuous Wife)

  1. Hello! Thank you so much for translating “Just One Smile”; the book was so much fun! The H was a perfect mix of black belly and devoted boyfriend, and hurray for a h that wasn’t completely ditzy! Gu Man’s book are love.
    Regarding your next project… Would you consider helping with the translation of Gu Man’s “Blazing Sunshine”? The translator, Peanuts, is great, but she’s very busy and she can only do a chapter or so every month. The wait is killing me… 😦 I’m sorry of it’s a bad idea; I only thought of it because you seem to like Gu Man, too. Obviously. 🙂
    Or if not, would you consider translating a popular Ding Mo book? From what I’ve read on shusheng bar, she seems to be a well-loved writer, and unfortunately, no one is translating her anymore.
    Thank you, again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Blazing Sunshine … … I think only part one is complete so I haven’t read it yet. The wait apparently is agonizing for online GuMan fans.

      Since Peanuts is already translating BS, I won’t take it over. One chapter a month isn’t very bad, it’s actually a good way to moderate so you don’t burn yourself out (I read fanfiction and I’ve seen many authors burn themselves out writing ~100,000 a week for a few months and then never writing again). I’m not sure about Peanut’s schedule. I only appear to be translating fast, WWYXHQC took me a year, this new translation is seven months in the making and I’m not close to being done.

      Ding MO… … she did the mystery novels. I didn’t read the snail one (如果蜗牛有爱情) but I read one of her other ones with a translator (他来了,请闭眼,–> He has come, please close your eyes) and I have to admit that the crime scenes freaked me out. I love the sedate calm tone when she writes about their interactions but just the sheer amount of horror/fear I feel (because she’s a really good writer) when I read about the crimes in her novels makes her novels a really hard one for me to translate. Her novels are thrilling to read, but it will just be so hard for me to translate at this point with my skills (I’m unable to divide myself from the text sometimes. Happy things happen in the novel and I’m cheerful, then I get in a bad mood if conflict happens)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ooh, so you haven’t read Blazing Sunlight yet… I admire your restraint; wish I had resisted the temptation as well until book 2 is published. :(( Peanuts is honestly doing a great job with the translation; I’m just such a greedy fangirl who’d like to gobble the entire novel right up. 🙂 I’ll just have to exercise patience…
        Re: Ding Mo. Thank you for explaining; I completely understand. Good thing, there’s plenty of other authors with cheerful novels that you can pick and choose from, and now that I’ve found your site, I’ll support whatever you decide to translate. 🙂
        I have one huge favor to ask (and I apologize if I’m being too bold)… but could you please help me out with some links where I can find Ding Mo’s books online to read with a translator? I’m Chinese illiterate, and shusheng bar links to forum posts with no clear chapter separation are too hard for me to navigate. If you could shoot me an email (by clicking on my name above and using the contact form on my wordpress blog), I’d be so, so grateful. Thank you.


  2. Are you looking for suggestions? If so, how about Alluring Poisonous Consort: Overwhelms the Demonic King? Or are ancient romance novels not an interest!


  3. Pingback: Recently Added to Reading List | drealicious123

  4. I used to read previous novel of this author:“This Profession – A Consort”. (Some generous Thai translator have post it.)
    I am so sure want to read this too!! Thanks in advance for translating this!!!


  5. Pingback: Reading List Chinese Romance | drealicious123

  6. Could I maybe suggest a novel too? It’s A mistaken marriage match: Record of washed grievances by Qian Lu. 😀 pretty great novel and very interesting story! It’s a HE too xD clover nook was translating it but it’s on a hiatus due to personal reasons. 😮 she said that if anyone was willing to take over it she would welcome them. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you very much for your hard work..it’s a very beautiful story..can’t wait for your next project…if you don’t mind, how about “The Bastard Daughter Is Poisonius” aka “Princess Weiyoung”…


  8. Hello, I love this story and want to thank you for spending your time translating it for us! I do have a question that I puzzle over while reading To Be A Virtuous Wife (not limited to just this story but it is mentioned a lot within it) and that is: why do the noble ladies always have a maid supporting them when they walk? My friend thinks it’s a reference to bound feet but I was wondering if it was to show a noble woman’s status – to always have a retainer nearby. Did noble ladies just have terrible shoes? Having a woman retainer holding the hand of noble females while out walking is also mentioned in Chu Wang Fei. Do you know why?


    • There’s no bound feet at this story so that’s not the case here, but it might be in other novels. It’s a matter of status and also for personal comfort. For example, the servants are usually mentioned when their mistress is climbing into a carriage or stepping over a doorway. Those are places easy to trip up, especially if they are wearing finery.


  9. Wtf?
    Look, i understand that translating is hard work but there are 36 chinese words in the first chapter. I couldnt understand any of them, sure, you explained what the mean but do you expect me to learn and remember what they mean? Translations are supossed to translate something to make it understandable in a different language but i cant understand this!!!
    This looked like an interesting novel but how am i supossed to read it with all those chinese words? I would need to spend at least an hour to memorize all these words and that was only the first chapter!!!!
    I hope the other novels that youve translated arent like this… i can understand there being 1-3 chinese words per chapter because they sound good or just to give the chapter a better feel but 36 is to much.


  10. Thank you for the hard work as it is not easy to translate Chinese novel. Love the some information in chinese character as It has helped me a lot as a newbie who just started to learn about Chinese language and wish one day I can read Chinese novel as raw .. Thank you


  11. “Did fate let women time-travel so she could learn the three morals and four virtues?”

    The usage of the word women here confused me a little, because it denotes women as a group of people not a singular woman, I had to reread to make sure that it wasn’t talking about fate allowing all women to travel through time, not sure if you find this nitpicky but just thought I’d let you know.


    • It’s a sarcastic reference to the common cliche of time-travelling for women in Chinese novels. In those cases, most women end up being “perfect” by making money, supporting their husbands and their families.


      • Thanks, I was on that sentence for a good 5 minutes trying to figure it out. I guess it’s because I usually read male mc stories I didn’t get the connotation.


  12. Pingback: 何为贤妻 A Virtuous Wife | Istri yang Saleh/Kebajikan – sihnBlog

  13. Hello, I am wonder if you would allow me to post your translation on another site namely, Wattpad. I did not find any copyright information on your website so I have not done anything. If you were to allow me to post your translation, I would give all credits to you and the author of the original book and post a link to your website. If you don’t want me to just tell and I will drop the idea because it is your hard work and I respect that. Thank you for your time.


  14. I read it in one go! The novel was very interesting) you have a good taste! Thank you for your wonderful translation! The extra information on culture is very appreciated, helped to be more immersed in the story!


  15. What a Lucky FIND! Am so glad i ran into ur site for (Love O2O)”A smile is very Alluring”. The way you write the novel AND the explanation made me want continue reading your posts! Just started this one and already on chapter 4… am an avid reader… love books… but u just turned me into an avid reader reading your posts! xD


  16. Pingback: Historical Chinese Novel Vocabulary and Terminology – Frankly Speaking

  17. Pingback: List/Review: Chinese/Japanese Online Novels | That Other Site

Tell Me Something... ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s