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哩叽·嘀叽·塔韦(三)  

2016-07-30 10:45:25|  分类: 译著 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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哩叽·嘀叽·塔韦(三)

【英】鲁迪亚德·吉卜林 著

熊良銋 译

 

纳格在那里摇来晃去的,过了一会儿,哩叽·嘀叽听见他在那个给浴缸加水用的最大的水罐里喝水。“真好喝吔,”那条蛇说道。“啊,卡莱特被杀死的时候,那个大男人拿着一根木棒。他可能还会随身带着那根木棒,但在早上来洗澡时,他是不会手拿木棒的。我就在这儿等候着他来。纳格娜,你听见我说话了吗?我就在这阴凉处候着,等到天亮。”

外面没有回应,所以,哩叽·嘀叽知道纳格娜已经走了。纳格蜷下身子,绕着那个大水罐底部的鼓胀处,盘了一圈又一圈,哩叽·嘀叽守在那里,象死了似的一动也不动。一个小时以后,他才屏住呼吸,开始一点一点地向水罐那边移动。纳格睡着了,哩叽·嘀叽瞅瞅他那肥大的后背,琢磨着哪儿是下口的最佳位置。“如果我头一扑咬不断他的背脊,”哩叽想道。“他就还能反抗,而如果他反抗——哦,哩叽呀!”他又瞧瞧那头兜下面粗大的颈项,可那对他来说实在是太难了;而在尾巴附近咬一口,只会使纳格更加凶蛮。

“必须咬中头部,”他最后决定道。“就在兜帽上面的头部;而且,一旦咬住了,我就决不能松口。”

就在这时他猛地一跃。蛇的头部就在离水罐很近的地方,在弯曲的罐颈下面;当哩叽一口咬下去以后,他就用背抵住红色陶罐隆起的地方,使劲地压住蛇脑袋。这使他赢得了一秒钟,并充分利用了这一秒钟。后来,他就象一只被狗叼着摇来晃去的耗子,被蛇不断地来回甩击——在地板上,前前后后,上上下下,被甩了一大圈又一大圈;可是,他的眼睛变红了,他紧咬着不松口,而蛇的身子象赶车鞭抽打着地板,打翻了长柄锡勺、肥皂盒和浴刷,又重重地撞击在浴缸的洋铁皮边上。他仍然咬住不放,而且牙关越咬越紧,因为他认定自己就要被撞死了,而且,为了家族的荣誉,他情愿自己的尸体被发现时,牙关依然紧锁着。他晕眩了,疼痛极了,感觉被摇晃得快要粉身碎骨了,这时在他身后突然象是打了个霹雳,一股热浪冲得他失去了知觉,那灼红的火焰燎焦了他的皮毛。原来是那个大男人被喧闹声吵醒,拿起双管猎枪,对准纳格头兜的后面放了一枪。

哩叽·嘀叽仍然死死咬住,双眼紧闭着,因为他现在确信自己已经死了;但是蛇脑袋不动了,而那个大男人把他抱了起来,说道:“艾丽丝呀,于是这只獴;小伙子这次救了我们全家人的性命。”这时,泰迪的妈妈跑了进来,看到了纳格的残骸,吓得脸色煞白,哩叽·嘀叽这才拖着沉重的身子回到了泰迪的卧室,他花了下半夜一半的时间在轻晃着自己,想弄清楚自己是否真如想象的那样,已经被摔打成四十瓣了。

到了清晨,他仍觉得浑身僵硬,但他非常满意自己的举动。“现在我要干掉纳格娜了,可她比五个纳格还要凶悍,而且还不知道她提及的蛇蛋何时能孵化出来天哪!我该去看看达齐了。”他说道。

哩叽·嘀叽不等到吃早饭,就急忙跑到荆棘林,只听得达齐在那里扯起嗓门高唱着凯歌。纳格身亡的消息已经传遍了花园,因为清道夫把他的尸体扔到垃圾堆里了。

“哦,你真是个蠢笨的毛毛蛋!”哩叽·嘀叽怒冲冲地说道。“这是唱凯歌的时候吗?”

“纳格已完蛋,已完蛋,已完蛋!”达齐唱道。“勇敢无畏的哩叽·嘀叽,击中了他的脑袋紧咬不放。高大的男子汉举起了大木棒,纳格倒地他尸分两段!他再也不能来吃我们的宝宝啦。”

“这倒是大实话;可纳格娜在哪里?”哩叽·嘀叽问道,眼睛却在仔细察看着四周。

“纳格娜跑到浴室的下水道旁边,呼唤着纳格,”达齐继续唱道。“纳格出来了,却在木棒尖儿上,清道夫把他挑在木棒尖儿上,扔进了垃圾堆。让我们歌唱伟大的红眼睛哩叽·嘀叽吧!”达齐深深地吸了一口气,又唱了起来。

“如果我能爬上你的窝里去,我定会把你的娃娃全都扔出来!”哩叽·嘀叽说道。“你老是不明白怎样在恰当的时候做恰当的事情。你呆在自己的窝里当然很安全啦,可我在下面还有一场恶战呢。达齐,那就暂时别唱了吧。”

“看在伟大英武的哩叽·嘀叽的面子上,我这就停下来,”达齐说道。“噢,杀死恶棍纳格的勇士,你有何吩咐呀?”

“我第三次问你,纳格娜现在去哪里了?”

“还在马厩旁边的垃圾堆上哀悼纳格呢。伟大的的哩叽·嘀叽,牙齿洁白又漂亮。”

“就别管我的白牙了!你有没有听说她把蛇蛋藏在哪儿了?”

“藏在瓜地里,在最靠近墙的那头,那儿几乎全天都可以晒到太阳。好几个星期以前,她就把蛋藏在那里了。”

“而你就从没想过应该通知我?你刚才是说在最靠近墙的那头吗?”

“哩叽·嘀叽,你该不是想去把她的蛋吃掉吧?”

“确切地说不是吃掉;不是的。达齐,你要是有一点灵动的话,那就会飞走到马厩那边去,假装脑袋一只翅膀折断了,诱引纳格娜来追赶你,要一直追到荆棘林这边来。我必须到瓜地去,而如果我现在就去,她准会发现我的。”

达齐是个毛头羽脑的小伙子,脑子里从来是一次只容得下一个念头的;比如说,就因为他知道,纳格娜的孩子跟他自己的孩子一样,都是从蛋里孵出来的,他一贯认为,杀死他们是不公平的。然而,他的妻子却是一只头脑清醒的鸟儿,她明白眼镜蛇的蛋就意味着日后的小眼镜蛇,所以她立即从窝里飞了出去,让达齐留下温暖宝宝们,继续歌唱纳格之死。在某些方面,达齐确实很象一个男人。

她飞到垃圾堆旁边的纳格娜面前,一个劲儿地扑扇着翅膀,哭喊道:“啊哟,我的翅膀断了!是屋子里的那个男孩朝我扔了一块石头砸断的。”接着,她更加拼命地扑扇起了翅膀。

纳格娜抬起头,咝咝说道:“你预先给哩叽·嘀叽报了信,要不然我本可以杀死他的。实打实地说吧,你也真是倒霉,挑这么一个地方瘸了翅膀。”她朝着达齐的妻子,在尘土上一直滑了过来。

“那个男孩用石头砸断了我的翅膀!”达齐的妻子又尖叫了起来。

“很好!让你临死前知道,我是要找那个男孩算账的,这也许对你是一点安慰。我的丈夫今天早晨躺在垃圾堆上了,可在天黑前屋子里的那个男孩也会乖乖躺下的。逃跑有什么用?我肯定会抓住你的。小傻瓜,看着我!”

达齐的妻子十分清楚,她决不能那样做,因为鸟儿盯眼看蛇的眼睛时,就会大受惊吓,动弹不得的。达齐的妻子继续扑腾着翅膀,悲哀的尖叫着,决不离开地面,而纳格娜就加快了追赶的步子。

哩叽·嘀叽听见他们离开了马厩,走上了小路,他就赶紧向靠近墙那头的瓜地跑去。在那里,就在香瓜四周温暖的枯草凹里,他发现了二十五个蛇蛋被狡猾地掩藏着,个个都有矮脚鸡的蛋那么大,但是没有蛋壳,只是裹着一层白皮。

“我来的不早也不晚,”他说道;因为他已经能看见蜷曲在白皮里的眼镜蛇娃娃了,他知道一旦他们孵化出来,每一只都能把一个人或一只獴咬死。他尽快地咬破蛇蛋的顶端,煞费苦心地把里面的幼蛇砸个稀烂,还要不时翻动枯草凹,看看有没有漏掉的。最后,只剩下三个蛇蛋了,哩叽·嘀叽开始窃笑起来,这时他突然听见达齐妻子的尖叫声:

“哩叽·嘀叽,我把纳格娜引到那幢房子了,她已经进了走廊,而且,啊,快来吧,她要杀人啦!”

哩叽·嘀叽捣碎了两个蛇蛋,嘴里又叼起了第三个,接着一个后滚翻就出了瓜地,迈开大步,奋力向走廊一溜烟地冲去。泰迪和他爸爸妈妈都在那里吃早饭;可是哩叽·嘀叽看见,他们并没有开始吃。他们象石块一样呆呆坐着,面色惨白。纳格娜盘坐在泰迪椅子旁边的垫子上,在这样的近距离,她可以轻而易举地攻击泰迪那赤裸裸的大腿,而她还在来回摇晃着,唱起了胜利之歌。

“杀我纳格的大男人的娃儿,”她咝咝唱道。“乖乖呆着不许动。我还没有准备好。稍待片刻。你们三个都要老老实实呆着不许动!你们一动,我就出击,你们不动,我也要出击。啊,你们这些杀我纳格的蠢人!”

泰迪的眼睛紧盯着他的爸爸,他爸爸也没有良策,只能低声说道:“坐着别动,泰迪。你千万别动。泰迪,要保持沉默。”

 

附录:原文

 

Rikki-Tikki-TaviIII

Written by Rudyard Kipling

Translated by William Xiong

 

Nag waved to and fro, and then Rikki-tikki heard him drinking from the biggest water-jar that was used to fill the bath. “That is good,” said the snake. “Now, when Karait was killed, the big man had a stick. He may have that stick still, but when he comes in to bathe in the morning he will not have a stick. I shall wait here till he comes. Nagaina— do you hear me? — I shall wait here in the cool till daytime.”

There was no answer from outside, so Rikki-tikki knew Nagaina had gone away. Nag coiled himself down, coil by coil, round the bulge at the bottom of the water jar, and Rikki-tikki stayed still as death. After an hour he began to move, muscle by muscle, toward the jar. Nag was asleep, and Rikki-tikki looked at his big back, wondering which would be the best place for a good hold. “If I don’t break his back at the first jump,” said Rikki, “he can still fight. And if he fights — O Rikki!” He looked at the thickness of the neck below the hood, but that was too much for him; and a bite near the tail would only make Nag savage.

“It must be the head,” he said at last; “the head above the hood. And, when I am once there, I must not let go.”

Then he jumped. The head was lying a little clear of the water jar, under the curve of it; and, as his teeth met, Rikki braced his back against the bulge of the red earthenware to hold down the head. This gave him just one second’s purchase, and he made the most of it. Then he was battered to and fro as a rat is shaken by a dog — to and fro on the floor, up and down, and around in great circles, but his eyes were red and he held on as the body cart-whipped over the floor, upsetting the tin dipper and the soap dish and the flesh brush, and banged against the tin side of the bath. As he held he closed his jaws tighter and tighter, for he made sure he would be banged to death, and, for the honor of his family, he preferred to be found with his teeth locked. He was dizzy, aching, and felt shaken to pieces when something went off like a thunderclap just behind him. A hot wind knocked him senseless and red fire singed his fur. The big man had been wakened by the noise, and had fired both barrels of a shotgun into Nag just behind the hood.

Rikki-tikki held on with his eyes shut, for now he was quite sure he was dead. But the head did not move, and the big man picked him up and said, “It’s the mongoose again, Alice. The little chap has saved our lives now.”

Then Teddy’s mother came in with a very white face, and saw what was left of Nag, and Rikki-tikki dragged himself to Teddy’s bedroom and spent half the rest of the night shaking himself tenderly to find out whether he really was broken into forty pieces, as he fancied.

When morning came he was very stiff, but well pleased with his doings. “Now I have Nagaina to settle with, and she will be worse than five Nags, and there’s no knowing when the eggs she spoke of will hatch. Goodness! I must go and see Darzee,” he said.

Without waiting for breakfast, Rikki-tikki ran to the thornbush where Darzee was singing a song of triumph at the top of his voice. The news of Nag’s death was all over the garden, for the sweeper had thrown the body on the rubbish-heap.

“Oh, you stupid tuft of feathers!” said Rikki-tikki angrily. “Is this the time to sing?”

“Nag is dead — is dead — is dead!” sang Darzee. “The valiant Rikki-tikki caught him by the head and held fast. The big man brought the bang-stick, and Nag fell in two pieces! He will never eat my babies again.”

“All that’s true enough. But where’s Nagaina?” said Rikki-tikki, looking carefully round him.

“Nagaina came to the bathroom sluice and called for Nag,” Darzee went on, “and Nag came out on the end of a stick —the sweeper picked him up on the end of a stick and threw him upon the rubbish heap. Let us sing about the great, the red-eyed Rikki-tikki!” And Darzee filled his throat and sang.

“If I could get up to your nest, I’d roll your babies out!” said Rikki-tikki. “You don’t know when to do the right thing at the right time. You’re safe enough in your nest there, but it’s war for me down here. Stop singing a minute, Darzee.”

“For the great, the beautiful Rikki-tikki’s sake I will stop,” said Darzee. “What is it, O Killer of the terrible Nag?”

“Where is Nagaina, for the third time?”

“On the rubbish heap by the stables, mourning for Nag. Great is Rikki-tikki with the white teeth.”

“Bother my white teeth! Have you ever heard where she keeps her eggs?”

“In the melon bed, on the end nearest the wall, where the sun strikes nearly all day. She hid them there weeks ago.”

“And you never thought it worth while to tell me? The end nearest the wall, you said?”

“Rikki-tikki, you are not going to eat her eggs?”

“Not eat exactly; no. Darzee, if you have a grain of sense you will fly off to the stables and pretend that your wing is broken, and let Nagaina chase you away to this bush. I must get to the melon-bed, and if I went there now she’d see me.”

Darzee was a feather-brained little fellow who could never hold more than one idea at a time in his head. And just because he knew that Nagaina’s children were born in eggs like his own, he didn’t think at first that it was fair to kill them. But his wife was a sensible bird, and she knew that cobra’s eggs meant young cobras later on. So she flew off from the nest, and left Darzee to keep the babies warm, and continue his song about the death of Nag. Darzee was very like a man in some ways.

She fluttered in front of Nagaina by the rubbish heap and cried out, “Oh, my wing is broken! The boy in the house threw a stone at me and broke it.” Then she fluttered more desperately than ever.

Nagaina lifted up her head and hissed, “You warned Rikki-tikki when I would have killed him. Indeed and truly, you’ve chosen a bad place to be lame in.” And she moved toward Darzee’s wife, slipping along over the dust.

“The boy broke it with a stone!” shrieked Darzee’s wife.

“Well! It may be some consolation to you when you’re dead to know that I shall settle accounts with the boy. My husband lies on the rubbish heap this morning, but before night the boy in the house will lie very still. What is the use of running away? I am sure to catch you. Little fool, look at me!”

Darzee’s wife knew better than to do that, for a bird who looks at a snake’s eyes gets so frightened that she cannot move. Darzee’s wife fluttered on, piping sorrowfully, and never leaving the ground, and Nagaina quickened her pace.

Rikki-tikki heard them going up the path from the stables, and he raced for the end of the melon patch near the wall. There, in the warm litter above the melons, very cunningly hidden, he found twenty-five eggs, about the size of a bantam’s eggs, but with whitish skin instead of shell.

“I was not a day too soon,” he said, for he could see the baby cobras curled up inside the skin, and he knew that the minute they were hatched they could each kill a man or a mongoose. He bit off the tops of the eggs as fast as he could, taking care to crush the young cobras, and turned over the litter from time to time to see whether he had missed any. At last there were only three eggs left, and Rikki-tikki began to chuckle to himself, when he heard Darzee’s wife screaming:

“Rikki-tikki, I led Nagaina toward the house, and she has gone into the veranda, and — oh, come quickly — she means killing!”

Rikki-tikki smashed two eggs, and tumbled backward down the melon-bed with the third egg in his mouth, and scuttled to the veranda as hard as he could put foot to the ground. Teddy and his mother and father were there at early breakfast, but Rikki-tikki saw that they were not eating anything. They sat stone-still, and their faces were white. Nagaina was coiled up on the matting by Teddy’s chair, within easy striking distance of Teddy’s bare leg, and she was swaying to and fro, singing a song of triumph.

“Son of the big man that killed Nag,” she hissed, “stay still. I am not ready yet. Wait a little. Keep very still, all you three! If you move I strike, and if you do not move I strike. Oh, foolish people, who killed my Nag!”

Teddy’s eyes were fixed on his father, and all his father could do was to whisper, “Sit still, Teddy. You mustn’t move. Teddy, keep still.”

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