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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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象帅屠迈(三)  

2016-08-13 09:48:17|  分类: 译著 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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象帅屠迈(三)

【英】鲁迪亚德·吉卜林 著

熊良銋 译

 

大屠迈用刺棒恶狠狠地戳了戳卡拉·那戈,因为他很生气,可小屠迈却高兴得说不出话来。彼特森老爷已经注意到他了,还给了他赏钱,他那种感觉,就象是一个列兵被喊出列,受到了司令官的表扬一样。

“彼特森老爷说的大象跳舞是什么意思呀?”他终于忍不住了,就轻柔地试问他妈妈。

大屠迈听见了他说的话,就咕咕哝哝地说道:“你永远成不了追捕野象的山地水牛。他就是这个意思。哎,你们前面的,什么东西挡住路了?”

一个阿萨姆赶象人走在两三头大象前面,这时转过身来,气呼呼地喊叫道:“快把卡拉·那戈带上来,教训教训我这头小象崽子,让他规矩点。彼特森老爷为什么偏偏要选中我跟你们这些稻田蠢驴一起下山?屠迈,把你的牲口赶过来,让他用长尖牙狠狠戳。凭所有的山神起誓,这些新来的大象全都着了魔,要不然,他们可能闻到丛林中他们同伙的气味了。”

卡拉·那戈撞了撞那头野象的肋骨,杀掉了他的威风,这时,大屠迈说道:“上一次围捕时,我们扫荡了野象出没的所有山林。怪只怪你自己赶象不小心。难道要我一路上来维持整个队伍的秩序吗?”

“听他说的!”另一个赶象人说道。“是我们扫荡了这片山林!嚯!嚯!你们平原人可真聪明呀。除了你们这些从未见过林莽、满脑子泥浆的家伙,所有人都清楚,野象们都知道围猎季节结束了。因此,今晚所有的野象都要——不过,我为什么要为一只土鳖子伤脑筋呢?”

“他们都要干什么?”小屠迈大声喊道。

“哦嗬,小家伙。那是你吗?好啦,我来告诉你吧,因为你头脑冷静。他们要跳舞了,你那扫荡了所有山林里所有野象的爸爸,今夜就应该给他的尖木桩系双道锁链了。”

“这是什么话?”大屠迈说道。“我们父子照料大象四十个年头了,我们从来就没有听说过大象跳舞之类的混账话。”

“那倒也是;而住在茅屋里的平原人,当然只知道他茅屋里的四面墙罢了。好吧,今晚把你们大象的锁链解开,看看会出什么事;至于大象跳舞,我倒是见过那种地方,哎呀呀!狄航河到底有多少道弯呀?这儿又是一个浅水河滩,我们一定要使小象崽子趟过去。停步勿动,你们后面的。”

就这样,他们说着,吵着,溅着水花淌过了一条又一条小河,他们的头一段跋涉是到一种为新捕获来的大象而设的接管营地去;可是还远远没有到达那里之前,那些新来的大象就大发脾气了。

于是大象们的后腿都被铁链锁着,拴在大木桩上,那些新捕获来的大象还多绑了几道绳子,饲料堆放在他们面前,山地赶象人要顶着午后的阳光回到彼特森老爷那儿去,吩咐平原赶象人当夜要格外小心,而当平原赶象人问为什么时,他们却哈哈大笑起来。

小屠迈照料卡拉·那戈吃了晚饭,夜幕降临时,他在营地里到处游逛,想寻找一面手鼓,心里有说不出的高兴。当一个印度小孩心潮澎湃时,他是不会到处乱跑,乱喊怪闹的。他会坐下来,自寻欢乐的。彼特森老爷跟小屠迈谈话了!如果他找不到自己想要的东西,我想他肯定会气炸的。幸好营地卖糖果的小贩借给他一个小手鼓,这是一种用手掌拍击的鼓,于是,当星星开始露脸时,他就在卡拉·那戈跟前盘腿坐下,把手鼓放在腿上,拍了起来,他拍呀,击呀,越想起那赐给他的荣誉,就越起劲地拍击着,一个人在大象饲料堆上完全陶醉了。尽管没有曲调,没有歌词,可那欢快的拍击声就足以让他开心了。

新捕获来的大象使劲地拽拴他们的绳索,时时发出尖叫和怒吼,这时他还能听见他妈妈在营棚里哄小弟弟睡觉,一边哼着一首歌颂伟大的曦父神的古老歌谣,曦父神曾告知世上所有的生灵应该吃什么。这是一首非常甜美的摇篮曲,它的第一节是这样的:

 

很久以前有一天曦父坐在门口,

他让惠风吹拂,他滋润了丰收,

为人人把衣食劳作和命运安排,

从宝座上的国王到路边的乞丐。

曦父是保护神,他创造了万物。

伟哉!主神!把一切生灵养护——

给骆驼以荆条,给牲口以饲料,

给娃娃以温暖安睡的妈妈怀抱!

 

小屠迈渐渐听得入了迷,就在每一节结尾时以欢快的咚-咚击鼓声应和着曲子,直到他感到困倦了,才在卡拉·那戈身边的饲料堆上舒展开身子躺下了。

最后,大象们一头头地相继躺下,这是他们的习惯,只剩下卡拉·那戈独自在队伍的右侧站着;他慢悠悠地左右晃动着,耳朵向前伸,倾听着习习晚风吹拂过群山。空中充满了夜间的各种声响,合拢来便组成了一大片寂静:有竹竿互相碰撞的咔哒声,灌木丛下生物活动的瑟索声,半醒半睡的小鸟呱咯声,鸟儿在夜间惊醒的次数常常超过我们的想象,还有远处的滴水声。小屠迈睡了一会儿,醒来时遍地是皎洁的月光,卡拉·那戈依然在站着,双耳直竖起。小屠迈在饲料堆里翻了个身,弄得窸窸窣窣直响,瞅着卡拉·那戈那遮住半个星空的弯弯的宽阔的脊背,这时,他听到了远处一头野象发出的呜嘟声,那声音非常遥远,听上去比一片寂静中穿针眼儿的噪音还小。

象栏里的大象们全都跳了起来,仿佛是挨上了枪击,他们的咕噜声终于把睡梦中的驭象人吵醒了,于是他们跑出来,用大木槌把拴象的尖木桩捶了进去,把这根绳子捆绑紧,给那根绳子打好结,直到一切都安静下来。有一头新捕获来的大象差点儿拽起了拴他的尖木桩,大屠迈赶紧卸下卡拉·那戈的腿链,把那头大象的前脚和后脚连在了一起,而把一圈草绳拴在卡拉·那戈的一条腿上,并且告诫他,要记住自己被拴得严严实实的了。他明白,以前他爷爷,他爸爸和他本人把这同样的一件事做过几百次了。卡拉·那戈这次没有象往常那样以咯咯声回应表示听从命令。他只是一动不动地站着,透过月光朝外看,稍稍抬起头,耳朵张得象把大蒲扇,眺望着远处层层叠叠的加洛山脉。

“小心看着他,警惕他夜间是否会变得烦躁不安起来,”大屠迈对小屠迈叮嘱道,说罢就进营棚睡觉去了。小屠迈正要入睡时,突然听到那椰壳纤维绳子轻轻地嘡的一声绷断了,卡拉·那戈就象一片云彩飘出峡谷口那样,缓慢地悄无声息地挣脱了尖木桩走开了。小屠迈光着脚紧跟在他后面,踏着月光一路小跑,一边压低声音喊道:“卡拉·那戈!卡拉·那戈!哦,卡拉·那戈,带上我!”那头大象不出一声地转过身来,往回跨了三大步,来到了月光下的那个男孩跟前,放下鼻子,把他卷到了自己的脖子上,小屠迈还没有来得及把双膝夹紧,就溜进了森林。

从象营里传来了一阵狂怒的吼叫声,接着是万籁俱寂,卡拉·那戈可是行动了。有时一簇高高的青草拍打着他的两侧,就象波浪拍打着船舷,有时一串野胡椒藤擦过他的脊背,或是他的肩膀碰触到竹子发出咯吱的声响;但是除了这些时候,他的行动绝对没有一丝响动,好象那茂密的加洛森林是一片烟雾,他是从中飘游而过的。他一直在往山上走,虽然小屠迈透过树缝望见了星星,他却辨别不出行走的方向。

这时,卡拉·那戈到达了坡顶,停歇了一会儿,小屠迈可以看到月光下的树梢斑斑点点,融成一片,无边无际,深谷里河面上笼罩着青灰色的薄雾。小屠迈探身细看,觉得自己下面的森林醒来了,苏醒着,涌动着,生机勃勃。一只吃水果的棕色大蝙蝠掠过他的耳边;豪猪的硬刺在灌木丛中发出咔嗒咔嗒声;他还听到在树干间的阴暗处,一只野熊在使劲掏着温暖潮湿的泥土,他一边掏,一边嗅着鼻子。

接着,头顶上的树枝又浓密起来,卡拉·那戈开始往下面的溪谷冲去,这一次他不再是静悄悄的了,而是象失去控制的大炮,一口气冲到了陡峭的溪岸边。他那粗大的四肢移动起来就象活塞一样稳当,一步跨八英呎,肘关节的皱皮沙沙作响。他两旁的矮树丛被划开,非常撕裂帆布似的声音,而他用肩膀左顶右扛倒向两边的小树又反弹了回来,猛烈地撞击着他的两侧,当他的头左摆右甩为自己开路时,大串大串的藤蔓缠结在一起,悬挂在他的长牙上。于是小屠迈紧紧地趴在他的粗脖子上,以防摇曳的枝条把他扫落到地上,他这时真希望自己重回到象营去。

草地开始变得又湿又软,卡拉·那戈的脚一踩,就往下一陷,发出扑哧扑哧的响声,谷底的夜雾使小屠迈感到冷飕飕的。有水花溅起的哗啦声,有脚步踩踏的扑通声,还有水流湍急的轰隆声,卡拉·那戈举步穿越河床时,更是步步小心,摸索前行。流水绕着大象的腿打旋,激起一片哗啦声,这时小屠迈还能听到从上游下游传来更多的溅水声和阵阵吼叫声,那是巨大的呼噜声和愤怒的喷鼻声,就连他四周的薄雾似乎都充满了上下起伏和来回飘荡的影子。

“哎!”他差点儿喊出声来了,牙齿咯咯直打颤。“象群今夜全出动了。看来,这是去赶舞会的!”

卡拉·那戈哗的一声从河里冲了出来,把鼻子里的水喷干净,又开始了登攀;不过这一次他不是孤身一人,也用不着自己开路。路已经开出来了,有六英呎宽,就在他的眼面前,那些弯下去的荒林野草在挣扎着复原挺直。几分钟之前肯定有许多大象才从这条路上经过。小屠迈回头一看,只见他身后有一头庞大的野象,刚从雾蒙蒙的河水里出来,一对小猪眼睛象火红的煤球,烨烨发光。这时树木又密集起来,他们继续往前走向上攀爬,吼叫声、撞击声、树枝折断声,充斥着他们的四面八方。

 

附录:原文

 

Toomai of the ElephantsIII

Written by Rudyard Kipling

Translated by William Xiong

 

Big Toomai prodded Kala Nag spitefully, for he was very angry, but Little Toomai was too happy to speak. Petersen Sahib had noticed him, and given him money, so he felt as a private soldier would feel if he had been called out of the ranks and praised by his commander-inchief.

“What did Petersen Sahib mean by the elephant dance?” he said, at last, softly to his mother.

Big Toomai heard him and grunted. “That thou shouldst never be one of these hill buffaloes of trackers. That was what he meant. Oh, you in front, what is blocking the way?”

An Assamese driver, two or three elephants ahead, turned round angrily, crying: “Bring up Kala Nag, and knock this youngster of mine into good behavior. Why should Petersen Sahib have chosen me to go down with you donkeys of the rice fields? Lay your beast alongside, Toomai, and let him prod with his tusks. By all the Gods of the Hills, these new elephants are possessed, or else they can smell their companions in the jungle.”

Kala Nag hit the new elephant in the ribs and knocked the wind out of him, as Big Toomai said, “We have swept the hills of wild elephants at the last catch. It is only your carelessness in driving. Must I keep order along the whole line?”

“Hear him!” said the other driver. “We have swept the hills! Ho! Ho! You are very wise, you plains people. Anyone but a mud-head who never saw the jungle would know that they know that the drives are ended for the season. Therefore all the wild elephants to-night will — but why should I waste wisdom on a river-turtle?”

“What will they do?” Little Toomai called out.

Ohe, little one. Art thou there? Well, I will tell thee, for thou hast a cool head. They will dance, and it behooves thy father, who has swept all the hills of all the elephants, to double-chain his pickets to-night.”

“What talk is this?” said Big Toomai. “For forty years, father and son, we have tended elephants, and we have never heard such moonshine about dances.”

“Yes; but a plainsman who lives in a hut knows only the four walls of his hut. Well, leave thy elephants unshackled tonight and see what comes. As for their dancing, I have seen the place where — Bapree-bap! How many windings has the Dihang River? Here is another ford, and we must swim the calves. Stop still, you behind there.”

And in this way, talking and wrangling and splashing through the rivers, they made their first march to a sort of receiving camp for the new elephants. But they lost their tempers long before they got there.

Then the elephants were chained by their hind legs to their big stumps of pickets, and extra ropes were fitted to the new elephants, and the fodder was piled before them, and the hill drivers went back to Petersen Sahib through the afternoon light, telling the plains drivers to be extra careful that night, and laughing when the plains drivers asked the reason.

Little Toomai attended to Kala Nag’s supper, and as evening fell, wandered through the camp, unspeakably happy, in search of a tom-tom. When an Indian child’s heart is full, he does not run about and make a noise in an irregular fashion. He sits down to a sort of revel all by himself. And Little Toomai had been spoken to by Petersen Sahib! If he had not found what he wanted, I believe he would have been ill. But the sweetmeat seller in the camp lent him a little tom-tom — a drum beaten with the flat of the hand — and he sat down, cross-legged, before Kala Nag as the stars began to come out, the tom-tom in his lap, and he thumped and he thumped and he thumped, and the more he thought of the great honor that had been done to him, the more he thumped, all alone among the elephant fodder. There was no tune and no words, but the thumping made him happy.

The new elephants strained at their ropes, and squealed and trumpeted from time to time, and he could hear his mother in the camp hut putting his small brother to sleep with an old, old song about the great God Shiv, who once told all the animals what they should eat. It is a very soothing lullaby, and the first verse says——

 

Shiv, who poured the harvest and made the winds to blow,

Sitting at the doorways of a day of long ago,

Gave to each his portion, food and toil and fate,

From the King upon the guddee to the Beggar at the gate.

All things made he — Shiv’s the Preserver.

Mahadeo! Mahadeo! He made all —

Thorn for the camel, fodder for the kine,

And mother’s heart for sleepy head, O little son of mine!

 

Little Toomai came in with a joyous tunk-a-tunk at the end of each verse, till he felt sleepy and stretched himself on the fodder at Kala Nag’s side.

At last the elephants began to lie down one after another as is their custom, till only Kala Nag at the right of the line was left standing up; and he rocked slowly from side to side, his ears put forward to listen to the night wind as it blew very slowly across the hills. The air was full of all the night noises that, taken together, make one big silence — the click of one bamboo stem against the other, the rustle of something alive in the undergrowth, the scratch and squawk of a half-waked bird (birds are awake in the night much more often than we imagine), and the fall of water ever so far away. Little Toomai slept for some time, and when he waked it was brilliant moonlight, and Kala Nag was still standing up with his ears cocked. Little Toomai turned, rustling in the fodder, and watched the curve of his big back against half the stars in heaven, and while he watched he heard, so far away that it sounded no more than a pinhole of noise pricked through the stillness, the “hoot-toot” of a wild elephant.

All the elephants in the lines jumped up as if they had been shot, and their grunts at last waked the sleeping mahouts, and they came out and drove in the picket pegs with big mallets, and tightened this rope and knotted that till all was quiet. One new elephant had nearly grubbed up his picket, and Big Toomai took off Kala Nag’s leg chain and shackled that elephant fore-foot to hind-foot, but slipped a loop of grass string round Kala Nag’s leg, and told him to remember that he was tied fast. He knew that he and his father and his grandfather had done the very same thing hundreds of times before. Kala Nag did not answer to the order by gurgling, as he usually did. He stood still, looking out across the moonlight, his head a little raised and his ears spread like fans, up to the great folds of the Garo hills.

“Tend to him if he grows restless in the night,” said Big Toomai to Little Toomai, and he went into the hut and slept. Little Toomai was just going to sleep, too, when he heard the coir string snap with a little “tang,” and Kala Nag rolled out of his pickets as slowly and as silently as a cloud rolls out of the mouth of a valley. Little Toomai pattered after him, barefooted, down the road in the moonlight, calling under his breath, “Kala Nag! Kala Nag! Take me with you, O Kala Nag!” The elephant turned, without a sound, took three strides back to the boy in the moonlight, put down his trunk, swung him up to his neck, and almost before Little Toomai had settled his knees, slipped into the forest.

There was one blast of furious trumpeting from the lines, and then the silence shut down on everything, and Kala Nag began to move. Sometimes a tuft of high grass washed along his sides as a wave washes along the sides of a ship, and sometimes a cluster of wild-pepper vines would scrape along his back, or a bamboo would creak where his shoulder touched it. But between those times he moved absolutely without any sound, drifting through the thick Garo forest as though it had been smoke. He was going uphill, but though Little Toomai watched the stars in the rifts of the trees, he could not tell in what direction.

Then Kala Nag reached the crest of the ascent and stopped for a minute, and Little Toomai could see the tops of the trees lying all speckled and furry under the moonlight for miles and miles, and the blue-white mist over the river in the hollow. Toomai leaned forward and looked, and he felt that the forest was awake below him — awake and alive and crowded. A big brown fruit-eating bat brushed past his ear; a porcupine’s quills rattled in the thicket; and in the darkness between the tree stems he heard a hog-bear digging hard in the moist warm earth, and snuffing as it digged.

Then the branches closed over his head again, and Kala Nag began to go down into the valley — not quietly this time, but as a runaway gun goes down a steep bank — in one rush. The huge limbs moved as steadily as pistons, eight feet to each stride, and the wrinkled skin of the elbow points rustled. The undergrowth on either side of him ripped with a noise like torn canvas, and the saplings that he heaved away right and left with his shoulders sprang back again and banged him on the flank, and great trails of creepers, all matted together, hung from his tusks as he threw his head from side to side and plowed out his pathway. Then Little Toomai laid himself down close to the great neck lest a swinging bough should sweep him to the ground, and he wished that he were back in the lines again.

The grass began to get squashy, and Kala Nag’s feet sucked and squelched as he put them down, and the night mist at the bottom of the valley chilled Little Toomai. There was a splash and a trample, and the rush of running water, and Kala Nag strode through the bed of a river, feeling his way at each step. Above the noise of the water, as it swirled round the elephant’s legs, Little Toomai could hear more splashing and some trumpeting both upstream and down — great grunts and angry snortings, and all the mist about him seemed to be full of rolling, wavy shadows.

“Ai!” he said, half aloud, his teeth chattering. “The elephant-folk are out tonight. It is the dance, then!”

Kala Nag swashed out of the water, blew his trunk clear, and began another climb. But this time he was not alone, and he had not to make his path. That was made already, six feet wide, in front of him, where the bent jungle-grass was trying to recover itself and stand up. Many elephants must have gone that way only a few minutes before. Little Toomai looked back, and behind him a great wild tusker with his little pig’s eyes glowing like hot coals was just lifting himself out of the misty river. Then the trees closed up again, and they went on and up, with trumpetings and crashings, and the sound of breaking branches on every side of them.

 

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