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丑小鴨(E-C)對照


THE UGLY DUCKLING
IT was lovely summer weather in the country, and the
golden corn, the green oats, and the haystacks piled up in the
meadows looked beautiful. The stork walking about on his long
red legs chattered in the Egyptian language, which he had
learnt from his mother. The corn-fields and meadows were
surrounded by large forests, in the midst of which were deep
pools. It was, indeed, delightful to walk about in the
country. In a sunny spot stood a pleasant old farm-house close
by a deep river, and from the house down to the water side
grew great burdock leaves, so high, that under the tallest of
them a little child could stand upright. The spot was as wild
as the centre of a thick wood. In this snug retreat sat a duck
on her nest, watching for her young brood to hatch; she was
beginning to get tired of her task, for the little ones were a
long time coming out of their shells, and she seldom had any
visitors. The other ducks liked much better to swim about in
the river than to climb the slippery banks, and sit under a
burdock leaf, to have a gossip with her. At length one shell
cracked, and then another, and from each egg came a living
creature that lifted its head and cried, "Peep, peep." "Quack,
quack," said the mother, and then they all quacked as well as
they could, and looked about them on every side at the large
green leaves. Their mother allowed them to look as much as
they liked, because green is good for the eyes. "How large the
world is," said the young ducks, when they found how much more
room they now had than while they were inside the egg-shell.
"Do you imagine this is the whole world?" asked the mother;
"Wait till you have seen the garden; it stretches far beyond
that to the parson's field, but I have never ventured to such
a distance. Are you all out?" she continued, rising; "No, I
declare, the largest egg lies there still. I wonder how long
this is to last, I am quite tired of it;" and she seated
herself again on the nest.

"Well, how are you getting on?" asked an old duck, who
paid her a visit.

"One egg is not hatched yet," said the duck, "it will not
break. But just look at all the others, are they not the
prettiest little ducklings you ever saw? They are the image of
their father, who is so unkind, he never comes to see."

"Let me see the egg that will not break," said the duck;
"I have no doubt it is a turkey's egg. I was persuaded to
hatch some once, and after all my care and trouble with the
young ones, they were afraid of the water. I quacked and
clucked, but all to no purpose. I could not get them to
venture in. Let me look at the egg. Yes, that is a turkey's
egg; take my advice, leave it where it is and teach the other
children to swim."

"I think I will sit on it a little while longer," said the
duck; "as I have sat so long already, a few days will be
nothing."

"Please yourself," said the old duck, and she went away.

At last the large egg broke, and a young one crept forth
crying, "Peep, peep." It was very large and ugly. The duck
stared at it and exclaimed, "It is very large and not at all
like the others. I wonder if it really is a turkey. We shall
soon find it out, however when we go to the water. It must go
in, if I have to push it myself."

On the next day the weather was delightful, and the sun
shone brightly on the green burdock leaves, so the mother duck
took her young brood down to the water, and jumped in with a
splash. "Quack, quack," cried she, and one after another the
little ducklings jumped in. The water closed over their heads,
but they came up again in an instant, and swam about quite
prettily with their legs paddling under them as easily as
possible, and the ugly duckling was also in the water swimming
with them.

"Oh," said the mother, "that is not a turkey; how well he
uses his legs, and how upright he holds himself! He is my own
child, and he is not so very ugly after all if you look at him
properly. Quack, quack! come with me now, I will take you into
grand society, and introduce you to the farmyard, but you must
keep close to me or you may be trodden upon; and, above all,
beware of the cat."

When they reached the farmyard, there was a great
disturbance, two families were fighting for an eel's head,
which, after all, was carried off by the cat. "See, children,
that is the way of the world," said the mother duck, whetting
her beak, for she would have liked the eel's head herself.
"Come, now, use your legs, and let me see how well you can
behave. You must bow your heads prettily to that old duck
yonder; she is the highest born of them all, and has Spanish
blood, therefore, she is well off. Don't you see she has a red
flag tied to her leg, which is something very grand, and a
great honor for a duck; it shows that every one is anxious not
to lose her, as she can be recognized both by man and beast.
Come, now, don't turn your toes, a well-bred duckling spreads
his feet wide apart, just like his father and mother, in this
way; now bend your neck, and say 'quack.'"

The ducklings did as they were bid, but the other duck
stared, and said, "Look, here comes another brood, as if there
were not enough of us already! and what a queer looking object
one of them is; we don't want him here," and then one flew out
and bit him in the neck.

"Let him alone," said the mother; "he is not doing any
harm."

"Yes, but he is so big and ugly," said the spiteful duck
"and therefore he must be turned out."

"The others are very pretty children," said the old duck,
with the rag on her leg, "all but that one; I wish his mother
could improve him a little."

"That is impossible, your grace," replied the mother; "he
is not pretty; but he has a very good disposition, and swims
as well or even better than the others. I think he will grow
up pretty, and perhaps be smaller; he has remained too long in
the egg, and therefore his figure is not properly formed;" and
then she stroked his neck and smoothed the feathers, saying,
"It is a drake, and therefore not of so much consequence. I
think he will grow up strong, and able to take care of
himself."

"The other ducklings are graceful enough," said the old
duck. "Now make yourself at home, and if you can find an eel's
head, you can bring it to me."

And so they made themselves comfortable; but the poor
duckling, who had crept out of his shell last of all, and
looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and made fun of, not
only by the ducks, but by all the poultry. "He is too big,"
they all said, and the turkey cock, who had been born into the
world with spurs, and fancied himself really an emperor,
puffed himself out like a vessel in full sail, and flew at the
duckling, and became quite red in the head with passion, so
that the poor little thing did not know where to go, and was
quite miserable because he was so ugly and laughed at by the
whole farmyard. So it went on from day to day till it got
worse and worse. The poor duckling was driven about by every
one; even his brothers and sisters were unkind to him, and
would say, "Ah, you ugly creature, I wish the cat would get
you," and his mother said she wished he had never been born.
The ducks pecked him, the chickens beat him, and the girl who
fed the poultry kicked him with her feet. So at last he ran
away, frightening the little birds in the hedge as he flew
over the palings.

"They are afraid of me because I am ugly," he said. So he
closed his eyes, and flew still farther, until he came out on
a large moor, inhabited by wild ducks. Here he remained the
whole night, feeling very tired and sorrowful.

In the morning, when the wild ducks rose in the air, they
stared at their new comrade. "What sort of a duck are you?"
they all said, coming round him.

He bowed to them, and was as polite as he could be, but he
did not reply to their question. "You are exceedingly ugly,"
said the wild ducks, "but that will not matter if you do not
want to marry one of our family."

Poor thing! he had no thoughts of marriage; all he wanted
was permission to lie among the rushes, and drink some of the
water on the moor. After he had been on the moor two days,
there came two wild geese, or rather goslings, for they had
not been out of the egg long, and were very saucy. "Listen,
friend," said one of them to the duckling, "you are so ugly,
that we like you very well. Will you go with us, and become a
bird of passage? Not far from here is another moor, in which
there are some pretty wild geese, all unmarried. It is a
chance for you to get a wife; you may be lucky, ugly as you
are."

"Pop, pop," sounded in the air, and the two wild geese
fell dead among the rushes, and the water was tinged with
blood. "Pop, pop," echoed far and wide in the distance, and
whole flocks of wild geese rose up from the rushes. The sound
continued from every direction, for the sportsmen surrounded
the moor, and some were even seated on branches of trees,
overlooking the rushes. The blue smoke from the guns rose like
clouds over the dark trees, and as it floated away across the
water, a number of sporting dogs bounded in among the rushes,
which bent beneath them wherever they went. How they terrified
the poor duckling! He turned away his head to hide it under
his wing, and at the same moment a large terrible dog passed
quite near him. His jaws were open, his tongue hung from his
mouth, and his eyes glared fearfully. He thrust his nose close
to the duckling, showing his sharp teeth, and then, "splash,
splash," he went into the water without touching him, "Oh,"
sighed the duckling, "how thankful I am for being so ugly;
even a dog will not bite me." And so he lay quite still, while
the shot rattled through the rushes, and gun after gun was
fired over him. It was late in the day before all became
quiet, but even then the poor young thing did not dare to
move. He waited quietly for several hours, and then, after
looking carefully around him, hastened away from the moor as
fast as he could. He ran over field and meadow till a storm
arose, and he could hardly struggle against it. Towards
evening, he reached a poor little cottage that seemed ready to
fall, and only remained standing because it could not decide
on which side to fall first. The storm continued so violent,
that the duckling could go no farther; he sat down by the
cottage, and then he noticed that the door was not quite
closed in consequence of one of the hinges having given way.
There was therefore a narrow opening near the bottom large
enough for him to slip through, which he did very quietly, and
got a shelter for the night. A woman, a tom cat, and a hen
lived in this cottage. The tom cat, whom the mistress called,
"My little son," was a great favorite; he could raise his
back, and purr, and could even throw out sparks from his fur
if it were stroked the wrong way. The hen had very short legs,
so she was called "Chickie short legs." She laid good eggs,
and her mistress loved her as if she had been her own child.
In the morning, the strange visitor was discovered, and the
tom cat began to purr, and the hen to cluck.

"What is that noise about?" said the old woman, looking
round the room, but her sight was not very good; therefore,
when she saw the duckling she thought it must be a fat duck,
that had strayed from home. "Oh what a prize!" she exclaimed,
"I hope it is not a drake, for then I shall have some duck's
eggs. I must wait and see." So the duckling was allowed to
remain on trial for three weeks, but there were no eggs. Now
the tom cat was the master of the house, and the hen was
mistress, and they always said, "We and the world," for they
believed themselves to be half the world, and the better half
too. The duckling thought that others might hold a different
opinion on the subject, but the hen would not listen to such
doubts. "Can you lay eggs?" she asked. "No." "Then have the
goodness to hold your tongue." "Can you raise your back, or
purr, or throw out sparks?" said the tom cat. "No." "Then you
have no right to express an opinion when sensible people are
speaking." So the duckling sat in a corner, feeling very low
spirited, till the sunshine and the fresh air came into the
room through the open door, and then he began to feel such a
great longing for a swim on the water, that he could not help
telling the hen.

"What an absurd idea," said the hen. "You have nothing
else to do, therefore you have foolish fancies. If you could
purr or lay eggs, they would pass away."

"But it is so delightful to swim about on the water," said
the duckling, "and so refreshing to feel it close over your
head, while you dive down to the bottom."

"Delightful, indeed!" said the hen, "why you must be
crazy! Ask the cat, he is the cleverest animal I know, ask him
how he would like to swim about on the water, or to dive under
it, for I will not speak of my own opinion; ask our mistress,
the old woman- there is no one in the world more clever than
she is. Do you think she would like to swim, or to let the
water close over her head?"

"You don't understand me," said the duckling.

"We don't understand you? Who can understand you, I
wonder? Do you consider yourself more clever than the cat, or
the old woman? I will say nothing of myself. Don't imagine
such nonsense, child, and thank your good fortune that you
have been received here. Are you not in a warm room, and in
society from which you may learn something. But you are a
chatterer, and your company is not very agreeable. Believe me,
I speak only for your own good. I may tell you unpleasant
truths, but that is a proof of my friendship. I advise you,
therefore, to lay eggs, and learn to purr as quickly as
possible."

"I believe I must go out into the world again," said the
duckling.

"Yes, do," said the hen. So the duckling left the cottage,
and soon found water on which it could swim and dive, but was
avoided by all other animals, because of its ugly appearance.
Autumn came, and the leaves in the forest turned to orange and
gold. then, as winter approached, the wind caught them as they
fell and whirled them in the cold air. The clouds, heavy with
hail and snow-flakes, hung low in the sky, and the raven stood
on the ferns crying, "Croak, croak." It made one shiver with
cold to look at him. All this was very sad for the poor little
duckling. One evening, just as the sun set amid radiant
clouds, there came a large flock of beautiful birds out of the
bushes. The duckling had never seen any like them before. They
were swans, and they curved their graceful necks, while their
soft plumage shown with dazzling whiteness. They uttered a
singular cry, as they spread their glorious wings and flew
away from those cold regions to warmer countries across the
sea. As they mounted higher and higher in the air, the ugly
little duckling felt quite a strange sensation as he watched
them. He whirled himself in the water like a wheel, stretched
out his neck towards them, and uttered a cry so strange that
it frightened himself. Could he ever forget those beautiful,
happy birds; and when at last they were out of his sight, he
dived under the water, and rose again almost beside himself
with excitement. He knew not the names of these birds, nor
where they had flown, but he felt towards them as he had never
felt for any other bird in the world. He was not envious of
these beautiful creatures, but wished to be as lovely as they.
Poor ugly creature, how gladly he would have lived even with
the ducks had they only given him encouragement. The winter
grew colder and colder; he was obliged to swim about on the
water to keep it from freezing, but every night the space on
which he swam became smaller and smaller. At length it froze
so hard that the ice in the water crackled as he moved, and
the duckling had to paddle with his legs as well as he could,
to keep the space from closing up. He became exhausted at
last, and lay still and helpless, frozen fast in the ice.

Early in the morning, a peasant, who was passing by, saw
what had happened. He broke the ice in pieces with his wooden
shoe, and carried the duckling home to his wife. The warmth
revived the poor little creature; but when the children wanted
to play with him, the duckling thought they would do him some
harm; so he started up in terror, fluttered into the milk-pan,
and splashed the milk about the room. Then the woman clapped
her hands, which frightened him still more. He flew first into
the butter-cask, then into the meal-tub, and out again. What a
condition he was in! The woman screamed, and struck at him
with the tongs; the children laughed and screamed, and tumbled
over each other, in their efforts to catch him; but luckily he
escaped. The door stood open; the poor creature could just
manage to slip out among the bushes, and lie down quite
exhausted in the newly fallen snow.

It would be very sad, were I to relate all the misery and
privations which the poor little duckling endured during the
hard winter; but when it had passed, he found himself lying
one morning in a moor, amongst the rushes. He felt the warm
sun shining, and heard the lark singing, and saw that all
around was beautiful spring. Then the young bird felt that his
wings were strong, as he flapped them against his sides, and
rose high into the air. They bore him onwards, until he found
himself in a large garden, before he well knew how it had
happened. The apple-trees were in full blossom, and the
fragrant elders bent their long green branches down to the
stream which wound round a smooth lawn. Everything looked
beautiful, in the freshness of early spring. From a thicket
close by came three beautiful white swans, rustling their
feathers, and swimming lightly over the smooth water. The
duckling remembered the lovely birds, and felt more strangely
unhappy than ever.

"I will fly to those royal birds," he exclaimed, "and they
will kill me, because I am so ugly, and dare to approach them;
but it does not matter: better be killed by them than pecked
by the ducks, beaten by the hens, pushed about by the maiden
who feeds the poultry, or starved with hunger in the winter."

Then he flew to the water, and swam towards the beautiful
swans. The moment they espied the stranger, they rushed to
meet him with outstretched wings.

"Kill me," said the poor bird; and he bent his head down
to the surface of the water, and awaited death.

But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own
image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to
look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan. To be born in a
duck's nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if
it is hatched from a swan's egg. He now felt glad at having
suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy
so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him; for
the great swans swam round the new-comer, and stroked his neck
with their beaks, as a welcome.

Into the garden presently came some little children, and
threw bread and cake into the water.

"See," cried the youngest, "there is a new one;" and the
rest were delighted, and ran to their father and mother,
dancing and clapping their hands, and shouting joyously,
"There is another swan come; a new one has arrived."

Then they threw more bread and cake into the water, and
said, "The new one is the most beautiful of all; he is so
young and pretty." And the old swans bowed their heads before
him.

Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his
wing; for he did not know what to do, he was so happy, and yet
not at all proud. He had been persecuted and despised for his
ugliness, and now he heard them say he was the most beautiful
of all the birds. Even the elder-tree bent down its bows into
the water before him, and the sun shone warm and bright. Then
he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried
joyfully, from the depths of his heart, "I never dreamed of
such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling."

鄉下真是非常美麗。這正是夏天!小麥是金黃的,燕麥是綠油油的。干草在綠色的牧場上堆成垛,鸛鳥用它又長又紅的腿子在散著步,嚕嗦地講著埃及話。(注:因為據丹麥的民間傳說,鸛鳥是從埃及飛來的。)這是它從媽媽那兒學到的一種語言。田野和牧場的周圍有些大森林,森林里有些很深的池塘。的確,鄉間是非常美麗的,太陽光正照著一幢老式的房子,它周圍流著幾條很深的小溪。從墻角那兒一直到水里,全蓋滿了牛蒡的大葉子。最大的葉子長得非常高,小孩子簡直可以直著腰站在下面。像在最濃密的森林里一樣,這兒也是很荒涼的。這兒有一只母鴨坐在窠里,她得把她的幾個小鴨都孵出來。不過這時她已經累壞了。很少有客人來看她。別的鴨子都愿意在溪流里游來游去,而不愿意跑到牛蒡下面來和她聊天。
  最后,那些鴨蛋一個接著一個地崩開了。“噼!噼!”蛋殼響起來。所有的蛋黃現在都變成了小動物。他們把小頭都伸出來。
  “嘎!嘎!”母鴨說。他們也就跟著嘎嘎地大聲叫起來。他們在綠葉子下面向四周看。媽媽讓他們盡量地東張西望,因為綠色對他們的眼睛是有好處的。
  “這個世界真夠大!”這些年輕的小家伙說。的確,比起他們在蛋殼里的時候,他們現在的天地真是大不相同了。
  “你們以為這就是整個世界!”媽媽說。“這地方伸展到花園的另一邊,一直伸展到牧師的田里去,才遠呢!連我自己都沒有去過!我想你們都在這兒吧?”她站起來。“沒有,我還沒有把你們都生出來呢!這只頂大的蛋還躺著沒有動靜。它還得躺多久呢?我真是有些煩了。”于是她又坐下來。
  “唔,情形怎樣?”一只來拜訪她的老鴨子問。
  “這個蛋費的時間真久!”坐著的母鴨說。“它老是不裂開。請你看看別的吧。他們真是一些最逗人愛的小鴨兒!都像他們的爸爸——這個壞東西從來沒有來看過我一次!”
  “讓我瞧瞧這個老是不裂開的蛋吧,”這位年老的客人說,“請相信我,這是一只吐綬雞的蛋。有一次我也同樣受過騙,你知道,那些小家伙不知道給了我多少麻煩和苦惱,因為他們都不敢下水。我簡直沒有辦法叫他們在水里試一試。我說好說歹,一點用也沒有!——讓我來瞧瞧這只蛋吧。哎呀!這是一只吐綬雞的蛋!讓他躺著吧,你盡管叫別的孩子去游泳好了。”
  “我還是在它上面多坐一會兒吧,”鴨媽媽說,“我已經坐了這么久,就是再坐它一個星期也沒有關系。”
  “那么就請便吧,”老鴨子說。于是她就告辭了。
  最后這只大蛋裂開了。“噼!噼!”新生的這個小家伙叫著向外面爬。他是又大又丑。鴨媽媽把他瞧了一眼。“這個小鴨子大得怕人,”她說,“別的沒有一個像他;但是他一點也不像小吐綬雞!好吧,我們馬上就來試試看吧。他得到水里去,我踢也要把他踢下水去。”
  第二天的天氣是又晴和,又美麗。太陽照在綠牛蒡上。鴨媽媽帶著她所有的孩子走到溪邊來。普通!她跳進水里去了。“呱!呱!”她叫著,于是小鴨子就一個接著一個跳下去。水淹到他們頭上,但是他們馬上又冒出來了,游得非常漂亮。他們的小腿很靈活地劃著。他們全都在水里,連那個丑陋的灰色小家伙也跟他們在一起游。
  “唔,他不是一個吐綬雞,”她說,“你看他的腿劃得多靈活,他浮得多么穩!他是我親生的孩子!如果你把他仔細看一看,他還算長得蠻漂亮呢。嘎!嘎!跟我一塊兒來吧,我把你們帶到廣大的世界上去,把那個養雞場介紹給你們看看。不過,你們得緊貼著我,免得別人踩著你們。你們還得當心貓兒呢!”
  這樣,他們就到養雞場里來了。場里響起了一陣可怕的喧鬧聲,因為有兩個家族正在爭奪一個鱔魚頭,而結果貓兒卻把它搶走了。
  “你們瞧,世界就是這個樣子!”鴨媽媽說。她的嘴流了一點涎水,因為她也想吃那個鱔魚頭。“現在使用你們的腿吧!”她說。“你們拿出精神來。你們如果看到那兒的一個老母鴨,你們就得把頭低下來,因為她是這兒最有聲望的人物。她有西班牙的血統——因為她長得非常胖。你們看,她的腿上有一塊紅布條。這是一件非常出色的東西,也是一個鴨子可能得到的最大光榮:它的意義很大,說明人們不愿意失去她,動物和人統統都得認識她。打起精神來吧——不要把腿子縮進去。一個有很好教養的鴨子總是把腿擺開的,像爸爸和媽媽一樣。好吧,低下頭來,說:‘嘎’呀!”
  他們這樣做了。別的鴨子站在旁邊看著,同時用相當大的聲音說:
  “瞧!現在又來了一批找東西吃的客人,好像我們的人數還不夠多似的!呸!瞧那只小鴨的一副丑相!我們真看不慣!”
  于是馬上有一只鴨子飛過去,在他的脖頸上啄了一下。
  “請你們不要管他吧,”媽媽說,“他并不傷害誰呀!”
  “對,不過他長得太大、太特別了,”啄過他的那只鴨子說,“因此他必須挨打!”
  “那個母鴨的孩子都很漂亮,”腿上有一條紅布的那個母鴨說,“他們都很漂亮,只有一只是例外。這真是可惜。我希望能把他再孵一次。”
  “那可不能,太太,”鴨媽媽回答說,“他不好看,但是他的脾氣非常好。他游起水來也不比別人差——我還可以說,游得比別人好呢。我想他會慢慢長得漂亮的,或者到適當的時候,他也可能縮小一點。他在蛋里躺得太久了,因此他的模樣有點不太自然。”她說著,同時在他的脖頸上啄了一下,把他的羽毛理了一理。“此外,他還是一只公鴨呢,”她說,“所以關系也不太大。我想他的身體很結實,將來總會自己找到出路的。”
  “別的小鴨倒很可愛,”老母鴨說,“你在這兒不要客氣。如果你找到鱔魚頭,請把它送給我好了。”
  他們現在在這兒,就像在自己家里一樣。
  不過從蛋殼里爬出的那只小鴨太丑了,到處挨打,被排擠,被譏笑,不僅在鴨群中是這樣,連在雞群中也是這樣。
  “他真是又粗又大!”大家都說。有一只雄吐綬雞生下來腳上就有距,因此他自以為是一個皇帝。他把自己吹得像一條鼓滿了風的帆船,來勢洶洶地向他走來,瞪著一雙大眼睛,臉上漲得通紅。這只可憐的小鴨不知道站在什么地方,或者走到什么地方去好。他覺得非常悲哀,因為自己長得那么丑陋,而且成了全體雞鴨的一個嘲笑對象。
  這是頭一天的情形。后來一天比一天糟。大家都要趕走這只可憐的小鴨;連他自己的兄弟姊妹也對他生氣起來。他們老是說:“你這個丑妖怪,希望貓兒把你抓去才好!”于是媽媽也說起來:“我希望你走遠些!”鴨兒們啄他。小雞打他,喂雞鴨的那個女傭人用腳來踢他。
  于是他飛過籬笆逃走了;灌木林里的小鳥一見到他,就驚慌地向空中飛去。“這是因為我太丑了!”小鴨想。于是他閉起眼睛,繼續往前跑。他一口氣跑到一塊住著野鴨的沼澤地里。他在這兒躺了一整夜,因為他太累了,太喪氣了。
  天亮的時候,野鴨都飛起來了。他們瞧了瞧這位新來的朋友。
  “你是誰呀?”他們問。小鴨一下轉向這邊,一下轉向那邊,盡量對大家恭恭敬敬地行禮。
  “你真是丑得厲害,”野鴨們說,“不過只要你不跟我們族里任何鴨子結婚,對我們倒也沒有什么大的關系。”可憐的小東西!他根本沒有想到什么結婚;他只希望人家準許他躺在蘆葦里,喝點沼澤的水就夠了。
  他在那兒躺了兩個整天。后來有兩只雁——嚴格地講,應該說是兩只公雁,因為他們是兩個男的——飛來了。他們從娘的蛋殼里爬出來還沒有多久,因此非常頑皮。
  “聽著,朋友,”他們說,“你丑得可愛,連我(注:這兒的“我”(jeg)是單數,跟前面的“他們說”不一致,但原文如此。)都禁不住要喜歡你了。你做一個候鳥,跟我們一塊兒飛走好嗎?另外有一塊沼澤地離這兒很近,那里有好幾只活潑可愛的雁兒。她們都是小姐,都會說:‘嘎!’你是那么丑,可以在她們那兒碰碰你的運氣!”
  “噼!啪!”天空中發出一陣響聲。這兩只公雁落到蘆葦里,死了,把水染得鮮紅。“噼!啪!”又是一陣響聲。整群的雁兒都從蘆葦里飛起來,于是又是一陣槍聲響起來了。原來有人在大規模地打獵。獵人都埋伏在這沼澤地的周圍,有幾個人甚至坐在伸到蘆葦上空的樹枝上。藍色的煙霧像云塊似地籠罩著這些黑樹,慢慢地在水面上向遠方漂去。這時,獵狗都普通普通地在泥濘里跑過來,燈芯草和蘆葦向兩邊倒去。這對于可憐的小鴨說來真是可怕的事情!他把頭掉過來,藏在翅膀里。不過,正在這時候,一只駭人的大獵狗緊緊地站在小鴨的身邊。它的舌頭從嘴里伸出很長,眼睛發出丑惡和可怕的光。它把鼻子頂到這小鴨的身上,露出了尖牙齒,可是——普通!普通!——它跑開了,沒有把他抓走。
  “啊,謝謝老天爺!”小鴨嘆了一口氣,“我丑得連獵狗也不要咬我了!”
  他安靜地躺下來。槍聲還在蘆葦里響著,槍彈一發接著一發地射出來。
  天快要暗的時候,四周才靜下來。可是這只可憐的小鴨還不敢站起來。他等了好幾個鐘頭,才敢向四周望一眼,于是他急忙跑出這塊沼澤地,拼命地跑,向田野上跑,向牧場上跑。這時吹起一陣狂風,他跑起來非常困難。
  到天黑的時候,他來到一個簡陋的農家小屋。它是那么殘破,甚至不知道應該向哪一邊倒才好——因此它也就沒有倒。狂風在小鴨身邊號叫得非常厲害,他只好面對著它坐下來。它越吹越兇。于是他看到那門上的鉸鏈有一個已經松了,門也歪了,他可以從空隙鉆進屋子里去,他便鉆進去了。
  屋子里有一個老太婆和她的貓兒,還有一只母雞住在一起。她把這只貓兒叫“小兒子”。他能把背拱得很高,發出咪咪的叫聲來;他的身上還能迸出火花,不過要他這樣做,你就得倒摸他的毛。母雞的腿又短又小,因此她叫“短腿雞兒”。她生下的蛋很好,所以老太婆把她愛得像自己的親生孩子一樣。
  第二天早晨,人們馬上注意到了這只來歷不明的小鴨。那只貓兒開始咪咪地叫,那只母雞也咯咯地喊起來。
  “這是怎么一回事兒?”老太婆說,同時朝四周看。不過她的眼睛有點花,所以她以為小鴨是一只肥鴨,走錯了路,才跑到這兒來了。“這真是少有的運氣!”她說,“現在我可以有鴨蛋了。我只希望他不是一只公鴨才好!我們得弄個清楚!”
  這樣,小鴨就在這里受了三個星期的考驗,可是他什么蛋也沒有生下來。那只貓兒是這家的紳士,那只母雞是這家的太太,所以他們一開口就說:“我們和這世界!”因為他們以為他們就是半個世界,而且還是最好的那一半呢。小鴨覺得自己可以有不同的看法,但是他的這種態度,母雞卻忍受不了。
  “你能夠生蛋嗎?”她問。
  “不能!”
  “那么就請你不要發表意見。”
  于是雄貓說:“你能拱起背,發出咪咪的叫聲和迸出火花嗎?”
  “不能!”
  “那么,當有理智的人在講話的時候,你就沒有發表意見的必要!”
  小鴨坐在一個墻角里,心情非常不好。這時他想起了新鮮空氣和太陽光。他覺得有一種奇怪的渴望:他想到水里去游泳。最后他實在忍不住了,就不得不把心事對母雞說出來。
  “你在起什么念頭?”母雞問。“你沒有事情可干,所以你才有這些怪想頭。你只要生幾個蛋,或者咪咪地叫幾聲,那么你這些怪想頭也就會沒有了。”
  “不過,在水里游泳是多么痛快呀!”小鴨說。“讓水淹在你的頭上,往水底一鉆,那是多么痛快呀!”
  “是的,那一定很痛快!”母雞說,“你簡直在發瘋。你去問問貓兒吧——在我所認識的一切朋友當中,他是最聰明的——你去問問他喜歡不喜歡在水里游泳,或者鉆進水里去。我先不講我自己。你去問問你的主人——那個老太婆——吧,世界上再也沒有比她更聰明的人了!你以為她想去游泳,讓水淹在她的頭頂上嗎?”
  “你們不了解我,”小鴨說。
  “我們不了解你?那么請問誰了解你呢?你決不會比貓兒和女主人更聰明吧——我先不提我自己。孩子,你不要自以為了不起吧!你現在得到這些照顧,你應該感謝上帝。你現在到一個溫暖的屋子里來,有了一些朋友,而且還可以向他們學習很多的東西,不是嗎?不過你是一個廢物,跟你在一起真不痛快。你可以相信我,我對你說這些不好聽的話,完全是為了幫助你呀。只有這樣,你才知道誰是你的真正朋友!請你注意學習生蛋,或者咪咪地叫,或者迸出火花吧!”
  “我想我還是走到廣大的世界上去好,”小鴨說。
  “好吧,你去吧!”母雞說。
  于是小鴨就走了。他一會兒在水上游,一會兒鉆進水里去;不過,因為他的樣子丑,所有的動物都瞧不其他。秋天到來了。樹林里的葉子變成了黃色和棕色。風卷起它們,把它們帶到空中飛舞,而空中是很冷的。云塊沉重地載著冰雹和雪花,低低地懸著。烏鴉站在籬笆上,凍得只管叫:“呱!呱!”是的,你只要想想這情景,就會覺得冷了。這只可憐的小鴨的確沒有一個舒服的時候。
  一天晚上,當太陽正在美麗地落下去的時候,有一群漂亮的大鳥從灌木林里飛出來,小鴨從來沒有看到過這樣美麗的東西。他們白得發亮,頸項又長又柔軟。這就是天鵝。他們發出一種奇異的叫聲,展開美麗的長翅膀,從寒冷的地帶飛向溫暖的國度,飛向不結冰的湖上去。
  他們飛得很高——那么高,丑小鴨不禁感到一種說不出的興奮。他在水上像一個車輪似地不停地旋轉著,同時,把自己的頸項高高地向他們伸著,發出一種響亮的怪叫聲,連他自己也害怕起來。啊!他再也忘記不了這些美麗的鳥兒,這些幸福的鳥兒。當他看不見他們的時候,就沉入水底;但是當他再冒到水面上來的時候,卻感到非常空虛。他不知道這些鳥兒的名字,也不知道他們要向什么地方飛去。不過他愛他們,好像他從來還沒有愛過什么東西似的。他并不嫉妒他們。他怎能夢想有他們那樣美麗呢?只要別的鴨兒準許他跟他們生活在一起,他就已經很滿意了——可憐的丑東西。
  冬天變得很冷,非常的冷!小鴨不得不在水上游來游去,免得水面完全凍結成冰。不過他游動的這個小范圍,一晚比一晚縮小。水凍得厲害,人們可以聽到冰塊的碎裂聲。小鴨只好用他的一雙腿不停地游動,免得水完全被冰封閉。最后,他終于昏倒了,躺著動也不動,跟冰塊結在一起。
  大清早,有一個農民在這兒經過。他看到了這只小鴨,就走過去用木屐把冰塊踏破,然后把他抱回來,送給他的女人。他這時才漸漸地恢復了知覺。
  小孩子們都想要跟他玩,不過小鴨以為他們想要傷害他。他一害怕就跳到牛奶盤里去了,把牛奶濺得滿屋子都是。女人驚叫起來,拍著雙手。這么一來,小鴨就飛到黃油盆里去了,然后就飛進面粉桶里去了,最后才爬出來。這時他的樣子才好看呢!女人尖聲地叫起來,拿著火鉗要打他。小孩們擠做一團,想抓住這小鴨。他們又是笑,又是叫!——幸好大門是開著的。他鉆進灌木林中新下的雪里面去。他躺在那里,幾乎像昏倒了一樣。
  要是只講他在這嚴冬所受到困苦和災難,那么這個故事也就太悲慘了。當太陽又開始溫暖地照著的時候,他正躺在沼澤地的蘆葦里。百靈鳥唱起歌來了——這是一個美麗的春天。
  忽然間他舉起翅膀:翅膀拍起來比以前有力得多,馬上就把他托起來飛走了。他不知不覺地已經飛進了一座大花園。這兒蘋果樹正開著花;紫丁香在散發著香氣,它又長又綠的枝條垂到彎彎曲曲的溪流上。啊,這兒美麗極了,充滿了春天的氣息!三只美麗的白天鵝從樹蔭里一直游到他面前來。他們輕飄飄地浮在水上,羽毛發出颼颼的響聲。小鴨認出這些美麗的動物,于是心里感到一種說不出的難過。
  “我要飛向他們,飛向這些高貴的鳥兒!可是他們會把我弄死的,因為我是這樣丑,居然敢接近他們。不過這沒有什么關系!被他們殺死,要比被鴨子咬、被雞群啄,被看管養雞場的那個女傭人踢和在冬天受苦好得多!”于是他飛到水里,向這些美麗的天鵝游去:這些動物看到他,馬上就豎起羽毛向他游來。“請你們弄死我吧!”這只可憐的動物說。他把頭低低地垂到水上,只等待著死。但是他在這清澈的水上看到了什么呢?他看到了自己的倒影。但那不再是一只粗笨的、深灰色的、又丑又令人討厭的鴨子,而卻是——一只天鵝!
  只要你曾經在一只天鵝蛋里待過,就算你是生在養鴨場里也沒有什么關系。
  對于他過去所受的不幸和苦惱,他現在感到非常高興。他現在清楚地認識到幸福和美正在向他招手。——許多大天鵝在他周圍游泳,用嘴來親他。
  花園里來了幾個小孩子。他們向水上拋來許多面包片和麥粒。最小的那個孩子喊道:
  “你們看那只新天鵝!”別的孩子也興高采烈地叫起來:“是的,又來了一只新的天鵝!”于是他們拍著手,跳起舞來,向他們的爸爸和媽媽跑去。他們拋了更多的面包和糕餅到水里,同時大家都說:“這新來的一只最美!那么年輕,那么好看!”那些老天鵝不禁在他面前低下頭來。
  他感到非常難為情。他把頭藏到翅膀里面去,不知道怎么辦才好。他感到太幸福了,但他一點也不驕傲,因為一顆好的心是永遠不會驕傲的。他想其他曾經怎樣被人迫害和譏笑過,而他現在卻聽到大家說他是美麗的鳥中最美麗的一只鳥兒。紫丁香在他面前把枝條垂到水里去。太陽照得很溫暖,很愉快。他扇動翅膀,伸直細長的頸項,從內心里發出一個快樂的聲音:
  “當我還是一只丑小鴨的時候,我做夢也沒有想到會有這么多的幸福!”

 


 

 

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