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The Three Snake-leaves

2006-02-28 00:00

  英汉对照

  Once upon a time there was a poor man who could no longer afford to keep his only son. So his son said:“ Dear father, you have fallen on very hard times and I'm a burden to you; it will be better if I go away and try to earn my living.” His father gave him his blessing and took leave of him with great sadness. At this time the king of a powerful kingdom was engaged in a war; the young man took service with him and joined the fighting. And when they met the enemy a battle took place, and there was great peril and a great hail of bullets, with his comrades falling all round him. And when even the commander was killed the rest wanted to take to their heels, but the young man stepped forward and rallied them, crying:“ We must not let our fatherland perish.” At this the others followed him, and he pressed forward and defeated the enemy. When the king heard that he owed the victory to him alone, he raised him above all the others, gave him great wealth and made him the first man in his kingdom.

  The king had a daughter who was very beautiful, but there was also something very strange about her. She had made a vow to take no man for her lord and husband unless he promised to let himself be buried alive with her if she died before him. “If he truly loves me,” she said, “why would he want to go on living?” In return she was prepared to do the same for him and go down into the grave with him if he died first. This strange vow had hitherto deterred all suitors, but the young man was so entranced by her beauty that he was heedless of everything, and asked her father for her hand. “But do you know what promise you will have to make?” said the king. “I shall have to go to her grave with her if I outlive her,” he replied, “but my love is so great that I care not for this danger.” Then the king consented and the marriage was celebrated with great magnificence.

  They now lived happily and contentedly for a time, and then it happened that the young queen fell seriously ill and no doctor could help her. And when she lay there dead, the young king remembered what he had had to promise, and he was filled with horror at the thought of being buried alive, but there was no help for it: the king had ordered all the gates to be watched, and there was no way of escaping his fate. When the day came for the queen's dead body to be laid to rest in the royal vault, he was taken down into it with her, and then the door was locked and bolted.

  Beside the coffin stood a table on which there were four candles, four loaves of bread and four bottles of wine. As soon as these provisions gave out he would have to die of hunger. So there he sat full of grief and sorrow, eating only a morsel of bread each day and drinking only a mouthful of wine, and yet he realized that his death was coming closer and closer. Now as he sat there staring in front of him, he saw a snake crawl out of one corner of the vault and approach the coffin. Thinking it was going to gnaw at the dead body, he drew his sword and exclaimed:“ You shan't touch her so long as I am alive!” And he hacked the snake into three pieces. A few moments later a second snake came crawling out of the corner, but when it saw the other one lying dead and dismembered it turned back, and presently approached again carrying three green leaves in its mouth. Then it took the three pieces of the snake, put them together the way they belonged, and laid one of the leaves on each of the wounds. At once the dismembered parts joined, the snake stirred and came to life again, and both snakes crawled quickly away leaving the leaves behind them.

  The unfortunate prince had watched all this, and he now began to wonder whether the miraculous power of the leaves which had restored the snake to life might also help a human being. So he picked up the leaves and laid one of them on the dead woman's mouth and the other two on her eyes. and scarcely had he done so when her blood stirred in her veins, rose into her pallid countenance and gave it the flush of life again. She drew breath, opened her eyes and said:“ Alas, where am I?” “You are with me, my dear wife,” he answered and told her all that had happened and how he had revived her. Then he gave her some wine and bread and when she had recovered her strength she stood up, and they went to the door and knocked on it and shouted so loudly that the guards heard them and reported it to the king. The king himself came down and opened the door; he found both of them in full health and vigor, and rejoiced with them that now all their troubles were over. But the young king took the three snake-leaves with him, gave them to a servant and said:“ Keep them carefully for me, and carry them on you wherever you go; who knows what trouble they may yet help us out of.”

  But since being brought back to life his wife had undergone a change: it was as if all her love for husband had been drained out of her heart. Some time later he decided to make a voyage across the sea to visit his old father, and after they had boarded the ship she forgot the great love and grace he had shown her and how he had saved her from death, and conceived a guilty passion for the ship's captain. One day when the young king was lying there asleep, she called the captain and seized her sleeping husband by the head and made the captain take him by the feet, and thus they threw him into the sea. When this shameful deed had been done she said to the captain:“ Now let's go home, and we'll say he died at sea. You can leave it to me to keep singing your praises to my father till he marries me to you and makes you heir to his crown.” But the faithful servant, who had witnessed the whole thing, secretly lowered a small boat from the ship and set out in it, following his master and letting the traitors sail away. He fished up the drowned man, and by putting the three snake-leaves, which he had with him, on the young king's eyes and mouth, he successfully restored him to life.

  Then they both rowed day and night with might and main, and their boat sped along so quickly that they got home to the old king before the others. He was astonished to see them arriving alone, and asked what had happened to them. When he heard of his daughter's wickedness he said:“ I can't believe that she did so evil a thing, but the truth will soon come to light.” He told them both to go into a secret room and let no one know of their presence. Soon after this the big ship came sailing in, and the prince's godless wife appeared before her father with a sorrowful air. He said:“ Why have you returned alone? Where is your husband?” “Oh, dear father,” she replied, “I have come home in great grief: during the voyage my husband suddenly fell sick and died, and if the kind ship's captain had not helped me it would have gone ill with me. But he was present at my husband's death and can tell you all that happened.” The king said:“ I will bring this dead man back to life.” And he opened the door of the room and told the two men to come out. When the woman saw her husband she stood as if thunderstruck, then fell to her knees and begged for mercy. The king said:“ There can be no mercy for you: he was ready to die with you, and he gave you your life back again, but you murdered him in his sleep and you shall have your just reward.” Then she and her accomplice were put on board a ship full of holes and sent out to sea, where they soon perished in the waves.

  I. Reference Version (参考译文)

  蛇的三片叶子

  从前,有个穷人。他穷得连自己的独生儿子都养不起。于是他儿子说:“爸爸,您的处境太困难了,我也是您的负担。这样倒不如让我出去闯一闯,挣口饭吃。”父亲为儿子祈祷祝福,非常难过地和儿子分手了。恰在这个时候,有个强国的国王正在作战,这个年轻人就跟随着国王上了战场。他们遇到敌人,开始战斗了。在枪林弹雨中,身边的战友都倒下了,甚至有的军官也战死了,活着的都想逃跑。这时候年轻人走上前来为大家鼓气,他大声喊道:“不能让我们的祖国灭亡!”于是,人们都跟随他向前冲,打垮了敌军。国王听说多亏了这个年轻人才取得胜利的消息,就把他提升到很高的位置,并给了他很多财宝。他在王宫里是一人之下,万人之上。

  国王有个公主,非常美丽,只是性情有些古怪。她选择丈夫的条件是:如果公主先死,活着的丈夫必须和她一起埋葬,否则,就不能成为她的丈夫。公主说:“如果他真心爱我,我死了,他为什么还要活着呢?”同样,如果丈夫先死了,她也准备跟着一起进坟墓。这个古怪的誓约,吓退了所有的求婚人。可是,公主的美貌,让这个年轻人陶醉。他义无返顾地向国王要求娶公主为妻。国王说:“你知道应该答应她些什么吗?”“如果公主死了,而我还活着,我就会和她一起进坟墓。”年轻人回答说:“我爱她爱得那么强烈,深沉,就顾不得什么危险了。”于是国王同意了。他们举行了非常隆重的婚礼。

  他们一起幸福,快乐地过了一些日子。突然,年轻的王后患了重病,医生们都认为不可救药了。王后死了,年轻的国王回想起从前的誓约,想到就要被活埋,不由得直打哆嗦。老国王派了卫兵,看住了所有的城门。看来,这悲惨的命运是不能逃避了。在年轻的王后遗体装进王家墓穴的那一天,那年轻的国王也被一同带进墓穴。墓穴的门关上了,还上了锁。

  在棺材的旁边放着一张桌子,上面有四支蜡烛,四个面包和四瓶葡萄酒。这些东西用完了,他也就要饿死了。他在无限痛苦和悲伤中,每天只吃一点面包,喝一小口酒。可是他依然意识到死期越来越近了。正当他一动不动向前看着的时候,突然见到墓穴的一角爬出一条蛇,直向棺材爬去。他想,蛇是来咬公主尸体的。于是,他拔出宝剑说:“只要我还活着,你就别想碰她。”他把这条蛇砍成四段。不一会儿,又一条蛇爬了过来,看见这条蛇死了并被分了尸,就立刻退回去了。随后那条蛇叼着三张绿叶又出现了。然后,那条蛇把死去的蛇按原样摆好,在每个伤口处放上一张绿叶。不大一会,那断开的地方,又接到了一起。死了的蛇,又复活了,动弹了。接着,两条蛇很快地爬走了。可绿叶还留在那儿。这不幸的国王,看到这一切,开始考虑:这绿色的叶子具有能使死蛇复活的神奇效力,不知会不会让死人复活。于是他拣起三片叶子,一片放在妻子的嘴上,另两片放在眼睛上。刚放好,王后的血就在血管里流动起来。她苍白的脸上出现了红润。她吸了一口气,睁开了眼睛,说:“哎呀,我这是在哪里呀?”他回答道:“你在我的身边,我亲爱的妻子!”他又把发生的一切和她复活的经过讲给她听。然后,他给王后喝了点酒,吃了点面包。她有了力气,站了起来。于是,他们到墓穴口,敲打着大门,大声呼喊起来。卫兵听到后,急忙报告了国王。国王亲自来了,打开了大门,看到他们既健壮,又精神,自然是十分惊喜。年轻的国王带回来了三片蛇的叶子,把它们交给了仆人说:“好好保存着,要随身携带,说不定以后遇到什么危难,它会帮助我们的!”

  可是,自从王后复活后,变化很大,好象对丈夫的爱,一下子全都消失了似的。过了一些日子,年轻的国王想要越海航行去看望他年老的父亲。他们上船后,王后完全忘记了丈夫对她的一片真情和救命之恩,竟对船长产生了不该产生的爱情。一天,当年轻的国王正在睡觉的时候,她喊来船长,自己揪住丈夫的头,让船长抱着丈夫的两只脚,把丈夫扔到大海里去了。干完这卑鄙的勾当,她对船长说:“现在咱们就可以回家了。就说他半道上死了。我在父王面前好好夸夸你,让他准许我们结婚,那时你就是他的王冠继承人!”可是,那个忠实的仆人,把他们那些卑鄙的勾当全看在眼里。他偷偷地从大船上下来,放下一只小船,向主人的方向追去,让那些坏人驾着大船先走了。仆人把死了的国王捞上船,把带在身边蛇的三片绿叶放在他眼睛上,嘴上。国王竟真的复活了。

  他们两人使出了全身的力气,白天黑夜地划船,小船像箭似的飞奔,竟比大船提早到了老国王那儿。国王见到只是他们两个人回来,非常惊讶,问发生了什么事。当他一听说女儿干了那样的坏事以后,就说:“我还不相信她那么坏,真相会很快弄清楚的!”然后,吩咐他们到一个密室里藏起来,不让任何人知道他俩回来了。不久,大船到了。那无法无天的妻子带着悲伤的面容,走到父亲面前。国王问:“你怎么一个人回来了?你的丈夫呢?”“啊,爸爸!”她回答说,“真是难过死了。丈夫在航海中死了。要是没有这好心的船长帮助的话,我也会遭受不幸的命运的。我丈夫死的时候他就在跟前,他能告诉你发生的一切。”国王说:“我要让死人复活。”国王打开了密室的门,把那两个人叫了出来。妻子一看见丈夫,犹如遭到了雷击,马上跪下请求饶命。国王说:“不能宽容你!他愿意和你一起死,救你复活。而你呢,竟在他睡觉的时候害死他,你应该得到报应!”然后,她和船长一起被装进一个凿了孔的船上,船被推到海里去了,不一会儿,就沉进了浪涛里。

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