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国王的象叉(二)  

2016-10-09 07:22:45|  分类: 译著 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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国王的象叉(二)

【英】鲁迪亚德·吉卜林 著

熊良銋 译


    


附录:原文

 

The King’s AnkusII

Written by Rudyard Kipling

Translated by William Xiong

 

“A safe lair,” said Mowgli, rising to his firm feet, “but over-far to visit daily. And now what do we see?”

“Am I nothing?” said a voice in the middle of the vault; and Mowgli saw something white move till, little by little, there stood up the hugest cobra he had ever set eyes on — a creature nearly eight feet long, and bleached by being in darkness to an old ivory-white. Even the spectacle-marks of his spread hood had faded to faint yellow. His eyes were as red as rubies, and altogether he was most wonderful.

“Good hunting!” said Mowgli, who carried his manners with his knife, and that never left him.

“What of the city?” said the White Cobra, without answering the greeting. “What of the great, the walled city — the city of a hundred elephants and twenty thousand horses, and cattle past counting — the city of the King of Twenty Kings? I grow deaf here, and it is long since I heard their war-gongs.”

“The Jungle is above our heads,” said Mowgli. “I know only Hathi and his sons among elephants. Bagheera has slain all the horses in one village, and — what is a King?”

“I told thee,” said Kaa softly to the Cobra — “I told thee, four moons ago, that thy city was not.”

“The city — the great city of the forest whose gates are guarded by the King’s towers — can never pass. They builded it before my father’s father came from the egg, and it shall endure when my son’s sons are as white as I! Salomdhi, son of Chandrabija, son of Viyeja, son of Yegasuri, made it in the days of Bappa Rawal. Whose cattle are YE?”

“It is a lost trail,” said Mowgli, turning to Kaa. “I know not his talk.”

“Nor I. He is very old. Father of Cobras, there is only the Jungle here, as it has been since the beginning.”

“Then who is HE,” said the White Cobra, “sitting down before me, unafraid, knowing not the name of the King, talking our talk through a man’s lips? Who is he with the knife and the snake’s tongue?”

“Mowgli they call me,” was the answer. “I am of the Jungle. The wolves are my people, and Kaa here is my brother. Father of Cobras, who art thou?”

“I am the Warden of the King’s Treasure. Kurrun Raja builded the stone above me, in the days when my skin was dark, that I might teach death to those who came to steal. Then they let down the treasure through the stone, and I heard the song of the Brahmins my masters.”

“Umm!” said Mowgli to himself. “I have dealt with one Brahmin already, in the Man–Pack, and — I know what I know. Evil comes here in a little.”

“Five times since I came here has the stone been lifted, but always to let down more, and never to take away. There are no riches like these riches — the treasures of a hundred kings. But it is long and long since the stone was last moved, and I think that my city has forgotten.”

“There is no city. Look up. Yonder are roots of the great trees tearing the stones apart. Trees and men do not grow together,” Kaa insisted.

“Twice and thrice have men found their way here,” the White Cobra answered savagely; “but they never spoke till I came upon them groping in the dark, and then they cried only a little time. But ye come with lies, Man and Snake both, and would have me believe the city is not, and that my wardship ends. Little do men change in the years. But I change never! Till the stone is lifted, and the Brahmins come down singing the songs that I know, and feed me with warm milk, and take me to the light again, I— I— I, and no other, am the Warden of the King’s Treasure! The city is dead, ye say, and here are the roots of the trees? Stoop down, then, and take what ye will. Earth has no treasure like to these. Man with the snake’s tongue, if thou canst go alive by the way that thou hast entered it, the lesser Kings will be thy servants!”

“Again the trail is lost,” said Mowgli coolly. “Can any jackal have burrowed so deep and bitten this great White Hood? He is surely mad. Father of Cobras, I see nothing here to take away.”

“By the Gods of the Sun and Moon, it is the madness of death upon the boy!” hissed the Cobra. “Before thine eyes close I will allow thee this favour. Look thou, and see what man has never seen before!”

“They do not well in the Jungle who speak to Mowgli of favours,” said the boy, between his teeth; “but the dark changes all, as I know. I will look, if that please thee.”

He stared with puckered-up eyes round the vault, and then lifted up from the floor a handful of something that glittered.

“Oho!” said he, “this is like the stuff they play with in the Man–Pack: only this is yellow and the other was brown.”

He let the gold pieces fall, and move forward. The floor of the vault was buried some five or six feet deep in coined gold and silver that had burst from the sacks it had been originally stored in, and, in the long years, the metal had packed and settled as sand packs at low tide. On it and in it and rising through it, as wrecks lift through the sand, were jewelled elephant-howdahs of embossed silver, studded with plates of hammered gold, and adorned with carbuncles and turquoises. There were palanquins and litters for carrying queens, framed and braced with silver and enamel, with jade-handled poles and amber curtain-rings; there were golden candlesticks hung with pierced emeralds that quivered on the branches; there were studded images, five feet high, of forgotten gods, silver with jewelled eyes; there were coats of mail, gold inlaid on steel, and fringed with rotted and blackened seed-pearls; there were helmets, crested and beaded with pigeon’s-blood rubies; there were shields of lacquer, of tortoise-shell and rhinoceros-hide, strapped and bossed with red gold and set with emeralds at the edge; there were sheaves of diamond-hilted swords, daggers, and hunting-knives; there were golden sacrificial bowls and ladles, and portable altars of a shape that never sees the light of day; there were jade cups and bracelets; there were incense-burners, combs, and pots for perfume, henna, and eye-powder, all in embossed gold; there were nose-rings, armlets, head-bands, finger-rings, and girdles past any counting; there were belts, seven fingers broad, of square-cut diamonds and rubies, and wooden boxes, trebly clamped with iron, from which the wood had fallen away in powder, showing the pile of uncut star-sapphires, opals, cat’s-eyes, sapphires, rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and garnets within.

The White Cobra was right. No mere money would begin to pay the value of this treasure, the sifted pickings of centuries of war, plunder, trade, and taxation. The coins alone were priceless, leaving out of count all the precious stones; and the dead weight of the gold and silver alone might be two or three hundred tons. Every native ruler in India today, however poor, has a hoard to which he is always adding; and though, once in a long while, some enlightened prince may send off forty or fifty bullock-cart loads of silver to be exchanged for Government securities, the bulk of them keep their treasure and the knowledge of it very closely to themselves.

But Mowgli naturally did not understand what these things meant. The knives interested him a little, but they did not balance so well as his own, and so he dropped them. At last he found something really fascinating laid on the front of a howdah half buried in the coins. It was a three-foot ankus, or elephant-goad — something like a small boat-hook. The top was one round, shining ruby, and eight inches of the handle below it were studded with rough turquoises close together, giving a most satisfactory grip. Below them was a rim of jade with a flower-pattern running round it — only the leaves were emeralds, and the blossoms were rubies sunk in the cool, green stone. The rest of the handle was a shaft of pure ivory, while the point — the spike and hook — was gold-inlaid steel with pictures of elephant-catching; and the pictures attracted Mowgli, who saw that they had something to do with his friend Hathi the Silent.

The White Cobra had been following him closely.

“Is this not worth dying to behold?” he said. “Have I not done thee a great favour?”

“I do not understand,” said Mowgli. “The things are hard and cold, and by no means good to eat. But this”— he lifted the ankus —“I desire to take away, that I may see it in the sun. Thou sayest they are all thine? Wilt thou give it to me, and I will bring thee frogs to eat?”

The White Cobra fairly shook with evil delight. “Assuredly I will give it,” he said. “All that is here I will give thee — till thou goest away.”

“But I go now. This place is dark and cold, and I wish to take the thorn-pointed thing to the Jungle.”

“Look by thy foot! What is that there?” Mowgli picked up something white and smooth. “It is the bone of a man’s head,” he said quietly. “And here are two more.”

“They came to take the treasure away many years ago. I spoke to them in the dark, and they lay still.”

“But what do I need of this that is called treasure? If thou wilt give me the ankus to take away, it is good hunting. If not, it is good hunting none the less. I do not fight with the Poison People, and I was also taught the Master-word of thy tribe.”

“There is but one Master-word here. It is mine!”

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