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鸟鸣溪谷柳鸣春,万类和融释醉痕。骚客登楼临曲水,金威雅集胜兰亭。

 
 
 

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犰狳的起源(中)  

2015-11-18 14:52:41|  分类: 译著 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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犰狳的起源(中)

 

 【英】鲁迪亚德·吉卜林著

原作者 插图

熊威廉 译

 

 “阿哈!”花斑小捷豹得意地说,“现在我知道了,你就是乌龟。你以为我不会知道!可我知道了。”剑尖儿刺猬正要卷缩身体时,小捷豹迅速伸出前爪,可正巧扎在剑刺上。更为糟糕的是,他把剑尖儿碰进灌木丛林里,那里面黑古隆冬的,找不到了。然后他舔了舔刺伤的前爪,疼得更厉害了。等他觉得疼痛减轻些时,他说道,“现在我可知道了,那家伙根本不是乌龟,可是,”他用那只没受刺伤的爪子搔了搔脑袋,“我怎么知道那另一个就是乌龟呢?”

“可我正是乌龟啊,”慢蛮子乌龟说道,“你妈妈说得很对。她说你必须用爪子把我从乌龟壳里掏出去。那你就开始掏吧。”

“可是你刚才还说她不是那样说的。”花斑小捷豹说,舔了舔受刺伤的前爪,“你说的话与她说的话截然不同。”

“哦。就算是你说我刚才说了与她说的截然不同,可我看不出那又有什么区别;因为如果她对你说的就是我说她说的,那么我说她说的和她对说的完全一样嘛。另一方面,如果你认为她说了你必须用爪子展开我的肢体,而不是用乌龟壳把我抓进水里,我也没办法,是吗?”

“可你刚才说你想要被我用爪子从乌龟壳里逃出来,”花斑小捷豹说道。

“如果你再想想你就会发现我并没说过那种话。我是说了你妈妈说你必须用爪子把我从乌龟里掏出来,”慢蛮子说道。

“如果无那样做了又会怎样呢?”小捷豹说,显得非常自负而又十分小心。

“那我可不知道,因为我以前还从来没有被掏出过乌龟壳;可我实话告诉你吧,你如果想看我游水离开,你就只有把我扔到水里。”

“我才不相信你的话呢,”花斑小捷豹说道,“你们一开始就问我敢不敢肯定我妈妈说过的话,搞得我把我妈妈告诉我的话全都弄混了。现在你又来说一些我无法理解的话,使我比以前更糊涂了。我妈妈告诉我一定要把你们当中的一个扔到水里,你似乎很想被扔进水里,所以我认为你并不是当真那么想,那好吧,你就自己往浑浊的亚马逊河跳去吧,赶快点。”

“我可警告你呀,你妈妈知道了会不高兴的。到时候别怪我没有提醒你。”慢蛮子说道。

“要是你再提起我妈妈说过的话——”花斑回答道,但是他一句话还没有说完,慢蛮子就已跳进了浑浊的亚马逊河,在水下潜游了很长一段距离,直到很远的河岸才出来,剑尖儿还在那里等着他哩。

“这可真是逃过一劫啊,”剑尖儿说道。“我真的很讨厌花斑小捷豹。你当真告诉他你是谁了吗?”

“我实话告诉他我确实是乌龟,可他不相信,他让我跳入水中,看看我是不是乌龟。看见我真的是乌龟,他大为吃惊。现在他回去找他妈妈了。我们去听听他说些什么吧!”

他们可以听见花斑小捷豹在浑浊的亚马逊河边的丛林里来回咆哮着,直到他的妈妈来了。

“儿啊!乖乖!”他妈妈每次总是和颜悦色地摇着尾巴对他说,“你又在做什么你不该做的事吗?”

“我设法去掏那个想被我的爪子掏出乌龟壳的家伙,结果我的前爪被刺伤了,”花斑小捷豹说道。

“儿啊!乖乖!”他妈妈每次总是和颜悦色地摇着尾巴对他说,“根据你被刺伤的前爪,我看那家伙肯定是刺猬。你本该把他扔进水里去的。”

“我把另一个家伙扔进水里去了。他说他就是乌龟,我当然不会轻信他,可他确实是乌龟。他飞快潜入浑浊的亚马逊河,就再也没有起来过了。我好久没吃东西了,我想我们最好另外找个地方住。住在浑浊的亚马逊河畔的那些家伙太聪明了,我真的受不了。”

“儿啊!乖乖!”他妈妈每次总是和颜悦色地摇着尾巴对他说,“现在你要注意听我讲,而且要记住我的话,刺猬会把身体卷成一个圆球,并且立即向四面八方伸出剑刺。你一眼就可以看出那是刺猬。”

“我一点也不喜欢那个老婆子,”剑尖儿躲在一大片叶树荫下说道,“我真不知道她还知道些什么?”

“乌龟是不能卷起身子的,”他妈妈每次总是和颜悦色地摇着尾巴对他说,“他只能把脑袋和四只脚缩进乌龟壳里。你一眼就可以看出那是乌龟的。”

“我可是顶顶不喜欢那个老婆子了,”慢蛮子乌龟说道,“这下子花斑小捷豹一定能记住那些教导了。哎呀,剑尖儿,真遗憾你不会游泳。”

“请你不要说我了,”剑尖儿说道,“想想看,你要是能卷起来岂不更妙。真是倒霉透了!听,那只花班小捷豹又在说些什么!”

这时,花斑小捷豹在坐在浑浊的亚马逊河边,舔着受伤的前爪,自言自语地念叨着——


       
不会卷体会游水——

他定是慢蛮子!

不会游水会卷体,——

他定是剑尖儿!

 

“完了!这下子他整整一个月都不会忘记了,”剑尖儿说道,“托起我的下巴,慢蛮子,我要向你学游泳了,这招可能会有用。”
   
“好极了!”慢蛮子说着,托起了剑尖儿的下巴,剑尖儿就在浑浊的亚马逊河的水里踢跳了起来。

“你会成为一个游泳健儿的,”慢蛮子说道,“现在,请你把我的后背甲松一松,我要看看卷体是怎么回事。这招也许会有用的。”

剑尖儿帮乌龟松了松后背甲,于是,慢蛮子就扭呀,绞呀,拉呀,绷呀,最后还真的设法稍稍卷起了一点点。
   
“好极了!”剑尖儿说道,“可我不能让你再像刚才那样练下去了。瞧,你的脸色在发青了。烦请你再引领我下水吧,我要练习侧泳,你说过侧泳挺简单的。”于是剑尖儿开始练侧泳,慢蛮子在一旁陪着。

“好极了!”慢蛮子说道,“但是注意要更沉住气一点,你就一定能成为浑浊的亚马逊河上的游泳健儿了。现在再麻烦你松松我的后背甲,我要试试你说过那种奇妙舒适的仰泳。就是花斑小捷豹见了也会大吃一惊的!”

“好极了!”剑尖儿说道,“可是你的后背甲绷得紧了一点。它们现在都重叠起来了,而不是一块挨一块地平放着的。”

“哦,那是训练的结果,”慢蛮子说道,“我也注意到你的剑刺似乎在软化了,你的身子正在变得越来越象一个松球,而不是你以前那样象个刺毛栗。”

“我吗?”剑尖儿说道,“那正是我在水里浸泡的缘故。哦,就是花斑小捷豹见了也会大吃一惊的!”

他们俩就这样继续练,互相帮助,一直练到第二天早晨。当太阳高高升起时,他们就上岸休息,晒干身体。这时,他们俩对视着,发现对方的摸样都完全变了。

“喂,剑尖儿,”吃完早饭后乌龟说道,“你瞧,今日之我已经不是昨日之我了,可我认为这样可以逗逗花斑小捷豹玩了。”

“那正是我刚才也在考虑的事,”剑尖儿说道,“我认为,由刺变成鳞是一种伟大的大的改进,更不要说我现在已经会游泳了。哦,这一定会使花斑小捷豹大吃一惊的!找们现在就找他去。”

不多一会儿,他们找到了花斑小捷豹,只见他还在照料他在昨天傍晚被刺伤的前爪。一见他们俩,花斑小捷豹惊讶得接连向后倒退三次,跌落在他的花尾巴上。

“早上好!”剑尖儿说道,“你敬爱的妈妈今儿早上还好吗?”

“她很好,谢谢。”花斑小捷豹说道,“可是你们一定要原谅我,我真的在这紧要时刻一时想不起你们的名字。”

“你可真是无情无义了,”剑尖儿说道,“你竟忘了昨天的这个时候,你试图用爪子把我从乌龟壳里掏出来的事了。”

“可是你根本就没有乌龟壳。你浑身都是刺,”花斑小捷豹说道,“我现在算是知道了。你看看我的前爪吧!”

“你昨天还要我跳进浑浊的亚马逊河里淹死,”慢蛮子说道,“今天你为什么又那么粗暴无礼而且健忘呢?”
   
“难道你不记得你妈妈的话了?”剑尖儿学这小捷豹的样子念道——


       
不会卷体会游水——

他定是慢蛮子!

不会游水会卷体,——

他定是剑尖儿!

 

念罢,他们俩都卷起了身子,在岸上滚来滚去。花斑小捷豹直看得目瞪口呆,头顶上的两只眼睛睁得简直象两个车轱辘。

 

附录:原文

 

The Beginning of the Armadillos(II)

Written by Rudyard Kipling

Illustrated by the Author

Translated by William Xiong

 

‘You are making my spots ache,’ said Painted Jaguar; ‘and besides, I didn’t want your advice at all. I only wanted to know which of you is Hedgehog and which is Tortoise.’

‘I shan’t tell you,’ said Stickly–Prickly, ‘but you can scoop me out of my shell if you like.’

‘Aha!’ said Painted Jaguar. ‘Now I know you’re Tortoise. You thought I wouldn’t! Now I will.’ Painted Jaguar darted out his paddy-paw just as Stickly–Prickly curled himself up, and of course Jaguar’s paddy-paw was just filled with prickles. Worse than that, he knocked Stickly–Prickly away and away into the woods and the bushes, where it was too dark to find him. Then he put his paddy-paw into his mouth, and of course the prickles hurt him worse than ever. As soon as he could speak he said, ‘Now I know he isn’t Tortoise at all. But’— and then he scratched his head with his unprickly paw —‘how do I know that this other is Tortoise?’

‘But I am Tortoise,’ said Slow-and-Solid. Your mother was quite right. She said that you were to scoop me out of my shell with your paw. Begin.’

‘You didn’t say she said that a minute ago, said Painted Jaguar, sucking the prickles out of his paddy-paw. ‘You said she said something quite different.’

‘Well, suppose you say that I said that she said something quite different, I don’t see that it makes any difference; because if she said what you said I said she said, it’s just the same as if I said what she said she said. On the other hand, if you think she said that you were to uncoil me with a scoop, instead of pawing me into drops with a shell, I can’t help that, can I?’

‘But you said you wanted to be scooped out of your shell with my paw,’ said Painted Jaguar.

‘If you’ll think again you’ll find that I didn’t say anything of the kind. I said that your mother said that you were to scoop me out of my shell,’ said Slow-and-Solid.

‘What will happen if I do?’ said the Jaguar most sniffily and most cautious.

I don’t know, because I’ve never been scooped out of my shell before; but I tell you truly, if you want to see me swim away you’ve only got to drop me into the water.

‘I don’t believe it,’ said Painted Jaguar. ‘You’ve mixed up all the things my mother told me to do with the things that you asked me whether I was sure that she didn’t say, till I don’t know whether I’m on my head or my painted tail; and now you come and tell me something I can understand, and it makes me more mixy than before. My mother told me that I was to drop one of you two into the water, and as you seem so anxious to be dropped I think you don’t want to be dropped. So jump into the turbid Amazon and be quick about it.’

‘I warn you that your Mummy won’t be pleased. Don’t tell her I didn’t tell you,’ said Slow–Solid.

‘If you say another word about what my mother said —’ the Jaguar answered, but he had not finished the sentence before Slow-and-Solid quietly dived into the turbid Amazon, swam under water for a long way, and came out on the bank where Stickly–Prickly was waiting for him.

‘That was a very narrow escape,’ said Stickly–Prickly. ‘I don’t rib Painted Jaguar. What did you tell him that you were?’

‘I told him truthfully that I was a truthful Tortoise, but he wouldn’t believe it, and he made me jump into the river to see if I was, and I was, and he is surprised. Now he’s gone to tell his Mummy. Listen to him!’

They could hear Painted Jaguar roaring up and down among the trees and the bushes by the side of the turbid Amazon, till his Mummy came.

‘Son, son!’ said his mother ever so many times, graciously waving her tail, ‘what have you been doing that you shouldn’t have done?’

‘I tried to scoop something that said it wanted to be scooped out of its shell with my paw, and my paw is full of per-ickles,’ said Painted Jaguar.

‘Son, son!’ said his mother ever so many times, graciously waving her tail, ‘by the prickles in your paddy-paw I see that that must have been a Hedgehog. You should have dropped him into the water.

‘I did that to the other thing; and he said he was a Tortoise, and I didn’t believe him, and it was quite true, and he has dived under the turbid Amazon, and he won’t come up again, and I haven’t anything at all to eat, and I think we had better find lodgings somewhere else. They are too clever on the turbid Amazon for poor me!’

‘Son, son!’ said his mother ever so many times, graciously waving her tail, ‘now attend to me and remember what I say. A Hedgehog curls himself up into a ball and his prickles stick out every which way at once. By this you may know the Hedgehog.’

‘I don’t like this old lady one little bit,’ said Stickly–Prickly, under the shadow of a large leaf. ‘I wonder what else she knows?’

‘A Tortoise can’t curl himself up,’ Mother Jaguar went on, ever so many times, graciously waving her tail. ‘He only draws his head and legs into his shell. By this you may know the tortoise.’

‘I don’t like this old lady at all — at all,’ said Slow-and-Solid Tortoise. ‘Even Painted Jaguar can’t forget those directions. It’s a great pity that you can’t swim, Stickly–Prickly.’

‘Don’t talk to me,’ said Stickly–Prickly. ‘Just think how much better it would be if you could curl up. This is a mess! Listen to Painted Jaguar.’

Painted Jaguar was sitting on the banks of the turbid Amazon sucking prickles out of his Paws and saying to himself—

 

‘Can’t curl, but can swim —

Slow–Solid, that’s him!

Curls up, but can’t swim —

Stickly–Prickly, that’s him!’

 

‘He’ll never forget that this month of Sundays,’ said Stickly–Prickly. ‘Hold up my chin, Slow-and-Solid. I’m going to try to learn to swim. It may be useful.’

‘Excellent!’ said Slow-and-Solid; and he held up Stickly–Prickly’s chin, while Stickly–Prickly kicked in the waters of the turbid Amazon.

‘You’ll make a fine swimmer yet,’ said Slow-and-Solid. ‘Now, if you can unlace my back-plates a little, I’ll see what I can do towards curling up. It may be useful.’

Stickly–Prickly helped to unlace Tortoise’s back-plates, so that by twisting and straining Slow-and-Solid actually managed to curl up a tiddy wee bit.

‘Excellent!’ said Stickly–Prickly; ‘but I shouldn’t do any more just now. It’s making you black in the face. Kindly lead me into the water once again and I’ll practice that side-stroke which you say is so easy.’ And so Stickly–Prickly practiced, and Slow–Solid swam alongside.

‘Excellent!’ said Slow-and-Solid. ‘A little more practice will make you a regular whale. Now, if I may trouble you to unlace my back and front plates two holes more, I’ll try that fascinating bend that you say is so easy. Won’t Painted Jaguar be surprised!’

‘Excellent!’ said Stickly–Prickly, all wet from the turbid Amazon. ‘I declare, I shouldn’t know you from one of my own family. Two holes, I think, you said? A little more expression, please, and don’t grunt quite so much, or Painted Jaguar may hear us. When you’ve finished, I want to try that long dive which you say is so easy. Won’t Painted Jaguar be surprised!’

And so Stickly–Prickly dived, and Slow-and-Solid dived alongside.

‘Excellent!’ said Slow-and-Solid. ‘A leetle more attention to holding your breath and you will be able to keep house at the bottom of the turbid Amazon. Now I’ll try that exercise of putting my hind legs round my ears which you say is so peculiarly comfortable. Won’t Painted Jaguar be surprised!’

‘Excellent!’ said Stickly–Prickly. ‘But it’s straining your back-plates a little. They are all overlapping now, instead of lying side by side.’

‘Oh, that’s the result of exercise,’ said Slow-and-Solid. ‘I’ve noticed that your prickles seem to be melting into one another, and that you’re growing to look rather more like a pinecone, and less like a chestnut-burr, than you used to.’

‘Am I?’ said Stickly–Prickly. ‘That comes from my soaking in the water. Oh, won’t Painted Jaguar be surprised!’

They went on with their exercises, each helping the other, till morning came; and when the sun was high they rested and dried themselves. Then they saw that they were both of them quite different from what they had been.

‘Stickly–Prickly,’ said Tortoise after breakfast, ‘I am not what I was yesterday; but I think that I may yet amuse Painted Jaguar.

‘That was the very thing I was thinking just now,’ said Stickly–Prickly. ‘I think scales are a tremendous improvement on prickles — to say nothing of being able to swim. Oh, won’t Painted Jaguar be surprised! Let’s go and find him.’

By and by they found Painted Jaguar, still nursing his paddy-paw that had been hurt the night before. He was so astonished that he fell three times backward over his own painted tail without stopping.

‘Good morning!’ said Stickly–Prickly. ‘And how is your dear gracious Mummy this morning?’

‘She is quite well, thank you,’ said Painted Jaguar; ‘but you must forgive me if I do not at this precise moment recall your name.’

‘That’s unkind of you,’ said Stickly–Prickly, ‘seeing that this time yesterday you tried to scoop me out of my shell with your paw.’

‘But you hadn’t any shell. It was all prickles,’ said Painted Jaguar. ‘I know it was. Just look at my paw!’

‘You told me to drop into the turbid Amazon and be drowned,’ said Slow–Solid.

‘Why are you so rude and forgetful today?’

‘Don’t you remember what your mother told you?’ said Stickly–Prickly —

 

‘Can’t curl, but can swim —

Stickly–Prickly, that’s him!

Curls up, but can’t swim —

Slow–Solid, that’s him!’

 

Then they both curled themselves up and rolled round and round Painted Jaguar till his eyes turned truly cart-wheels in his head.

 
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