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第6篇:THE LEAP-FROG跳高者

2013-01-06    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

THE LEAP-FROG

A Flea, a Grasshopper, and a Leap-frog once wanted to see which could jump highest; and they invited the whole world, and everybody else besides who chose to come to see the festival. Three famous jumpers were they, as everyone would say, when they all met together in the room.

"I will give my daughter to him who jumps highest," exclaimed the King; "for it is not so amusing where there is no prize to jump for."

The Flea was the first to step forward. He had exquisite manners, and bowed to the company on all sides; for he had noble blood, and was, moreover, accustomed to the society of man alone; and that makes a great difference.

Then came the Grasshopper. He was considerably heavier, but he was well-mannered, and wore a green uniform, which he had by right of birth; he said, moreover, that he belonged to a very ancient Egyptian family, and that in the house where he then was, he was thought much of. The fact was, he had been just brought out of the fields, and put in a pasteboard house, three stories high, all made of court-cards, with the colored side inwards; and doors and windows cut out of the body of the Queen of Hearts. "I sing so well," said he, "that sixteen native grasshoppers who have chirped from infancy, and yet got no house built of cards to live in, grew thinner than they were before for sheer vexation when they heard me."

It was thus that the Flea and the Grasshopper gave an account of themselves, and thought they were quite good enough to marry a Princess.

The Leap-frog said nothing; but people gave it as their opinion, that he therefore thought the more; and when the housedog snuffed at him with his nose, he confessed the Leap-frog was of good family. The old councilor, who had had three orders given him to make him hold his tongue, asserted that the Leap-frog was a prophet; for that one could see on his back, if there would be a severe or mild winter, and that was what one could not see even on the back of the man who writes the almanac.

"I say nothing, it is true," exclaimed the King; "but I have my own opinion, notwithstanding."

Now the trial was to take place. The Flea jumped so high that nobody could see where he went to; so they all asserted he had not jumped at all; and that was dishonorable.

The Grasshopper jumped only half as high; but he leaped into the King's face, who said that was ill-mannered.

The Leap-frog stood still for a long time lost in thought; it was believed at last he would not jump at all.

"I only hope he is not unwell," said the house-dog; when, pop! he made a jump all on one side into the lap of the Princess, who was sitting on a little golden stool close by.

Hereupon the King said, "There is nothing above my daughter; therefore to bound up to her is the highest jump that can be made; but for this, one must possess understanding, and the Leap-frog has shown that he has understanding. He is brave and intellectual."

And so he won the Princess.

"It's all the same to me," said the Flea. "She may have the old Leap-frog, for all I care. I jumped the highest; but in this world merit seldom meets its reward. A fine exterior is what people look at now-a-days."

The Flea then went into foreign service, where, it is said, he was killed.

The Grasshopper sat without on a green bank, and reflected on worldly things; and he said too, "Yes, a fine exterior is everything--a fine exterior is what people care about." And then he began chirping his peculiar melancholy song, from which we have taken this history; and which may, very possibly, be all untrue, although it does stand here printed in black and white.

跳高者

有一次,跳蚤、蚱蜢和跳鹅①想要知道它们之中谁跳得最高。它们把所有的人和任何愿意来的人都请来参观这个伟大的场面。它们这三位著名的跳高者就在一个房间里集合起来。

①这是丹麦一种旧式的玩具,它是用一根鹅的胸骨做成的;加上一根木栓和一根线,再擦上一点蜡油,就可以使它跳跃。

“对啦,谁跳得最高,我就把我的女儿嫁给谁!”国王说,“因为,假如让这些朋友白白地跳一阵子,那就未免太不像话了!”

跳蚤第一个出场。它的态度非常可爱:它向四周的人敬礼,因为它身体中流着年轻小姐的血液,习惯于跟人类混在一起,而这一点是非常重要的。

接着蚱蜢就出场了,它的确很粗笨,但它的身体很好看。它穿着它那套天生的绿制服。此外,它的整个外表说明它是出身于埃及的一个古老的家庭,因此它在这儿非常受到人们的尊敬。人们把它从田野里弄过来,放在一个用纸牌做的三层楼的房子里——这些纸牌有画的一面都朝里。这房子有门也有窗,而且它们是从“美人”身中剪出来的。

“我唱得非常好,”它说,“甚至十六个本地产的蟋蟀从小时候开始唱起,到现在还没有获得一间纸屋哩。它们听到我的情形就嫉妒得要命,把身体弄得比以前还要瘦了。”

跳蚤和蚱蜢这两位毫不含糊地说明了它们是怎样的人物。它们认为它们有资格和一位公主结婚。

跳鹅一句话也不说。不过据说它自己更觉得了不起。宫里的狗儿把它嗅了一下,很有把握地说,跳鹅是来自一个上等的家庭。那位因为从来不讲话而获得了三个勋章的老顾问官说,他知道跳鹅有预见的天才:人们只须看看它的背脊骨就能预知冬天是温和还是寒冷。这一点人们是没有办法从写历书的人的背脊骨上看出来的。

“好,我什么也不再讲了!”老国王说,“我只须在旁看看,我自己心中有数!”

现在它们要跳了。跳蚤跳得非常高,谁也看不见它,因此大家就说它完全没有跳。这种说法太不讲道理。

蚱蜢跳得没有跳蚤一半高。不过它是向国王的脸上跳过来,因此国王就说,这简直是可恶之至。

跳鹅站着沉思了好一会儿;最后大家就认为它完全不能跳。

“我希望它没有生病!”宫里的狗儿说,然后它又在跳鹅身上嗅了一下。

“嘘!”它笨拙地一跳,就跳到公主的膝上去了。她坐在一个矮矮的金凳子上。

国王说:“谁跳到我的女儿身上去,谁就要算是跳得最高的了,因为这就是跳高的目的。不过能想到这一点,倒是需要有点头脑呢——跳鹅已经显示出它有头脑。它的腿长到额上去了!”

所以它就得到了公主。

“不过我跳得最高!”跳蚤说。“但是这一点用处也没有!不过尽管她得到一架带木栓和蜡油的鹅骨,我仍然要算跳得最高。但是在这个世界里,一个人如果想要使人看见的话,必须有身材才成。”

跳蚤于是便投效一个外国兵团。据说它在当兵时牺牲了。

那只蚱蜢坐在田沟里,把这世界上的事情仔细思索了一番,不禁也说:“身材是需要的!身材是需要的!”

于是它便唱起了它自己的哀歌。我们从它的歌中得到了这个故事——这个故事可能不是真的,虽然它已经被印出来了。

(1845年)

这是一个有风趣的小故事,发表于1845年,这里面包含着一些似是而非的“真理”,事实上是对人间某些世态的讽刺。“跳蚤跳得非常高,谁也看不见它,因此大家就说它完全没有跳。”但是在这个世界里,一个人如果想要使人看见的话,必须有身材才成。“谁跳到我的女儿身上去,谁就要算跳得最高的了……不过能想到这一点,倒是需要有点头脑呢——跳鹅已经显示出它有头脑。”事实上跳鹅跳得最低,但是它得到了公主!安徒生在他的手记中说:“当几个孩子要求给他们讲一个故事的时候,我灵机一动就写出了这个《跳高者》。”



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