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王士菁《幼年鲁迅》英译

2014-05-09    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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幼年鲁迅

王士菁

在家里,领着幼年鲁迅的是保姆长妈妈。她是一个淳朴的农村妇女。最初大约是一个生活在农村里的年轻的孤孀,死掉了丈夫和丧失了土地之后,就从农村来到城里谋生。她的姓名,当时是没有人知道的,鲁迅的祖母叫她“阿长”,因此人们也就跟着叫她“阿长”,但孩子们却叫她“长妈妈”。她懂得很多莫名其妙的道理,还有许多规矩,这一切都是孩子们所不理解的。譬如说,人死了,不说死掉,而说“老掉了”;死了人或生了孩子的屋里,是不应该走进去的;饭粒子落在地上,必须捡起来,最好是吃下去;晒裤子用的竹竿底下,是万不可钻过去的,等等。平时她不许孩子们乱走动,拔一株草,翻一块石头,就说是顽皮,要去告诉母亲去。起初,孩子们并不怎么喜欢她。尤其是当她不留心踩死了鲁迅所心爱的隐鼠,这更使鲁迅十分生气。但是,有一件事,出乎意料之外,使鲁迅对她发生了敬意,因为,她对孩子们能够讲述一些“长毛”(关于太平天国)的故事;又一件事,更使鲁迅对她发生了很大的敬意,那就是,她不知从什么地方替鲁迅找到了一部他日夜所渴望的绘图《山海经》。

鲁迅对于绘图《山海经》的渴望已不止一天了。这事是由和他家同住在这个台门里的远房叔祖玉田老人惹起来的。他是一个胖胖的和蔼的老人,爱种一点珠兰、茉莉之类的花木。他在家里无人可以攀谈,所以就很喜欢和孩子们来往,有时简直称呼他们为“小友”。他的藏书很丰富,其中有一本叫《花镜》,上面印着许多好看的花草和树木,是一部孩子们最心爱的书。但老人却说还有一部更好看的哩,那是绘图的《山海经》。人面的兽,九头的蛇,三脚的鸟,生着翅膀的人,没有头的拿两乳当作眼睛的怪物,……这本书上都有。可惜,老人一时找不到,不知被放到哪里去了。孩子们怀着十分迫切的心情,都急于想看这本充满奇异图画的书,但又不好意思逼着老人去寻找。问别人呢,很少有人知道。想买吧,不知到哪里去买,大街离得很远,只有正月间才能够去玩一趟,那时书铺的门却又是关着的。玩得热闹的时候倒也不觉得有什么,一到静下来,可就想起了那绘图的《山海经》。也许是鲁迅过于念念不忘这本书吧,连长妈妈也知道了,来问是怎么一回事,鲁迅就把这事对她说了。

过了十多天,也许是一个月吧,长妈妈在她请假回家转来的时候,一见面,就将一包书递给了鲁迅。她高兴地说道:“哥儿,有画的《三哼经》,我给你找来了!”这是一个怎样出人意外的消息啊,它比逢年过节还使鲁迅兴奋。他赶紧接过来,打开纸包一看,是四本小小的书。啊!人面兽,九头蛇,……果然都在里面了。虽然这是一部纸张很黄,图像很坏,连动物的眼睛也都是长方形的,刻工印工都是很粗糙的书,但它正是鲁迅所日夜盼望的书。后来,鲁迅把这一位贫农妇女和自己对她的深厚感情,写在一篇充满激情的散文里。

这确是四本小小的不平凡的书,鲁迅从长妈妈的手里,连带着她的那一份无比深厚的情意接受了过来。这是幼年的鲁迅第一次读到的比一切别的书更加使他感动的书。

在家庭里,祖母特别喜爱鲁迅。夏夜,鲁迅躺在一株大桂花树下的小板桌上乘凉,祖母摇着芭蕉扇坐在桌旁,一面摇着扇子,一面讲故事给他听,或是叫他猜谜语。祖母对于民间故事是很熟悉的。她会讲关于猫的故事,据说:猫是老虎的师父。老虎本来是什么也不会的,就投到猫的门下。猫教给它扑的方法,捉的方法,像自己捉老鼠一样。这一些学完了,老虎想:本领都学到了,谁也比不过自己了,只有做过它的老师的猫还比自己强,要是把猫杀掉,自己便是最强的脚色了。它打定了主意,便往猫身上扑过去。猫是早知道它的心思的,一跳,便上了树。老虎却只有眼睁睁地在树下蹲着。猫没有将一切本领传授完,还没有教它上树哩。祖母还会讲“水漫金山”的故事,——有个叫作许仙的,他救了两条蛇:一青一白,后来白蛇就化作女人来报恩,嫁给了许仙;青蛇化作了丫环,也跟着。有个和尚叫作法海禅师,他看见许仙脸上有“妖气”,于是就把许仙藏在金山寺的法座后面。白蛇娘娘前来寻夫,于是就“水漫金山”,后来,白蛇娘娘中了法海禅师的计策,被骗装在一个小小的钵盂里了。这钵盂被埋在地下,上面造起一座塔来镇压她,这塔就是竖立在西湖边上的雷峰塔。幼年的鲁迅听了这个故事,心理很不舒服,他深为白蛇娘娘抱不平。当时,他唯一的希望,就是这座镇压白蛇娘娘反抗的雷峰塔快些倒掉。后来,他把这个民间故事写在一篇反对黑暗反动统治的杂文里。


When Lu Xun Was a Child

Wang Shijing

As a child, Lu Xun was in the charge of a nurse called Mama Chang. She was an honest country woman. At first she must have been a young widow in the countryside, who went to town to seek a living for herself after her husband died and she lost her land. Nobody knew what her name was. As Lu Xun’s grandmother called her “A Chang”, other people also called her by the same name. but the children usually called her “Mama Chang”. She was so full of mysterious lore and had so many rules of behaviour that the children sometimes found her quite puzzling. For instance, if someone died, you not say he was dead but “he has passed away”. You should not enter a room where someone had died or a child had been born. If a grain of rice fell to the ground, you should pick it up, and the best thing was to eat it. On no account must you walk under the bamboo pole on which trousers or pants were hanging out to dry. She would not let the children get up to mischief. If they pulled up a weed or turned over a stone, she would say they were naughty and threaten to tell their mother. In the beginning, the children did not think much of her. Lu Xun was especially angry with her when she inadvertently stepped on and killed his favourite little mouse. However, one thing which unexpectedly made Lu Xun feel respect for her was that she often told the children stories of the “Long Hairs” (the Taiping Rebellion) another thing which inspired Lu Xun with a still greater respect for her was that she was able to produce from nobody knew where an illustrated edition of the Book of Hills and Seas(1), which Lu Xun had been longing for day and night.

Lu Xun had been longing for an illustrated copy of the Book of Hills and Seas for sometime. The whole business started with a distant great-uncle named Yutian, who was living in the same compound. A fat and kindly old man, he liked to grow flowers such as chloranthus and jasmine. The old man was a lonely soul with no one to talk to, so he like the children’s company and often even called them his “young friends”. He owned a big collection of books, one of which was called The Mirror of Flowers(2) with many beautiful illustrations of flowers and trees. The children found this book most attractive. But the old man told them that the illustrated edition of the Book of Hills and Seas even more attractive, with pictures of man-faced beasts, nine-headed snakes, three-footed birds, winged men and headless monsters who used their teats as eyes… Unfortunately, he happened to have mislaid it. Eager as they were to look at the book with such strange pictures, the children did not like to press him to find it. None of the people the children asked knew where to get it, and the children had no idea where they could buy it them- selves. The main street was a long way from their home, and the New Year holiday was the only time in the year when they were able to go there to look around, but during that period the bookshops were closed. As long as the children were playing, it was not so bad, but the moment they sat down they would think of the Book of Hills and Seas. Probably because Lu Xun harped on the subject somuch, even A Chang got wind of it and started asking what this Book of Hills and Seas was. Lu Xun then told her about it.

About a fortnight or a month later, Mama Chang came back after some leave at home and the moment she saw Lu Xun, she handed him a package. “Here, son!” she said cheerfully. “I’ve bought you that Book of Holy Seas with pictures.” What an unexpected piece of news! To young Lu Xun it was even more thrilling than the New Year holiday or a festival. He hastened to take the package and unwrap the paper. There were four small volumes and, sure enough, the man-faced beast, the nine-headed snake… all of them were there. Although the paper was yellow and the drawings very poor—so much so that even the animals’ eyes were oblong, and both the engraving and printing were very crude, nevertheless, it was Lu Xun’s most treasured book. Later, in a highly impassioned essay Lu Xun paid tribute to this country woman of peasant origin and described his own deep affection for her.

The book was indeed something extraordinary. Lu Xun received it from Mama Chang’s hands along with her incomparably deep affection for him. It touched the young Lu Xun more deeply than any other book he had read.

Of all the children at home, his grandmother loved Lu Xun most. On summer evenings when Lu Xun was lying on a small wooden table under an osmanthus tree to enjoy the evening cool, she would sit by the table with a palm-leaf fan in her hand. Waving the fan, she would tell him stories or ask him riddles. She was very familiar with folk tales. The cat, she said, was the tiger’s teacher. Originally the tiger couldn’t do any thing, so he turned to the cat for help. The cat taught him how to pounce and catch his prey the way that he caught rats. After these lessons the tiger said to himself, “Now that I’ve mastered all the skills no other creatures is a match for me except my master the cat. If I kill the cat I shall be king of the beasts.” He made up his mind to do this, and was about to pounce on the cat. But the cat knew what he was up to and he leaped up onto a tree. The tiger was left squatting below and glaring upwards. The cat had not taught all his skills: he had not taught the tiger to climb trees. His grandmother also told Lu Xun the story “Flooding Jinshan Monastery”. A man named Xu Xian rescued two snakes, one white and one green. The white snake changed into a woman to repay Xu’s kindness and married him, while the green snake changed into her maid and accompanied her. A Buddhist monk by the name of Fa Hai saw from Xu’s face that he had been bewitched by an evil spirit, so he hid Xu behind the shrine in Jinshan Monastery, and when Lady White Snake came to look for her husband the whole place was flooded. In the end Fa Hai trapped Lady White Snake, and put her in a small alms-bowl. He buried this bowl in the ground, and built a pagoda over it to prevent her getting out. This was Leifeng Pagoda by West Lake. The story made young Lu Xun uncomfortable. He was deeply concerned at the injustice done to Lady White Snake, and his one wish at that time was for the pagoda imprisoning Lady White Snake underneath it soon to collapse. Later, Lu Xun used this folktale in an essay opposing the reactionary rule of the forces of darkness.

(张培基 译)



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