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睡谷传奇

2006-03-01 00:00

  THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

  作者简介:

  华盛顿.欧文(Washington Irving)一七八三年生于纽约城,卒于一八五九年。在家里,他是十一个孩子中的老么。厄文自幼聪颖,十九岁攻读法律。一八○四年至一八○六年间游历欧洲,返国后取得律师资格。但是他对当律师不感兴趣,而且他身体也不好,因此,改变兴趣,以写作谋生,并进入仕途,曾任驻西班牙公使,旅居欧洲共十七年;他的杰作见闻录(The Sketch Book)就在这期间完成的,其中的「吕伯大梦」(Rip Van Winkle)已成为妇孺皆知的故事。华盛顿.欧文是美国一位享誉国际的文学家,也是十九世纪最伟大的美国散文家之一。

  On the eastern side of the Hudson River in New York, there is a small market town called Tarrytown. About two miles from Tarrytown is a little valley. People call it "Sleepy Hollow." The ancestors of the people there are the original Dutch settlers of New York. These Sleepy Hollow people tend to be highly imaginative and often claim to have seen ghosts.

  The major ghost of the region is the spirit of a horseman without a head. This spirit, so people say, rides every night to find his companions. And it is said that as he goes to churchyard where he is buried, he rides as fast as the wind.

  Soon after the end of the U.S. Revolutionary War(1775-6), a man named Ichabod Crane came to Sleepy Hollow to be the teacher in the area. Ichabod was tall and thin. His head was small and flat at the top. He had big ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long thin nose.

  Ichabod taught in a one-room school house where he used a small tree branch to strike misbehaving students. He punished the Dutch children most. But he was careful to get along with the students whose mothers were good cooks, because his salary was low and he had meals at different families.

  Ichabod made himself useful in many ways. He helped the farmers with their daily works. He also passed gossip around to their wives. Besides, he was the unoffical chorus director for the area. In the winter evening, he listened to and accepted all the ghost stories the old Dutch wives told. As he walked home at night, every bush looked to him like a ghost covered in a sheet.

  Soon Ichabod Crane became interested in Katrina Van Tassel, the only child of Baltus Van Tassel. Mr. Van Tassel had a big farm. From the time Ichabod met Van Tassel and had a look at his farm, Ichabod's main purpose in life was to make Katrina his wife.

  However, Ichabod did have a rival, Abraham Van Brunt, whose nickname was Brom Bones. Brom was very strong and very naughty. Although he did not really do any evil thing, he liked to play jokes on others. He also wanted Katrina to be his girlfriend. Katrina was not really interested in him, but she certainly did not discourage him. Ichabod did not want to compete publicly with Brom. Ichabod just made use of every opportunity he had to see Katrina. But Brom tried very hard to play jokes on Ichabod at his schoolhouse and during his singing classes.

  One autumn day Ichabod was invited to a party that evening at Mynheer Van Tassel's. In the afternoon, Ichabod spent an extra thirty minutes brushing his old and only suit. Ichabod then borrowed a horse named Gunpower from Hans Van Ripper, a bad tempered farmer he lived with. Gunpower was a thin and old plowhorse. In fact, Ichabod was really a strange-looking creature on the horse.

  All the important people of the area came to Heer Van Tassel's castle that evening, including Brom Bones. Ichabod was happy that he was invited. As he enjoyed the delicious food, he smiles to himself that he might become the owner of the farm one day.

  When the music began, Ichabod danced with Katrina. Then he went to join a group of older folks and exchanged stories about the war and the Hollow's ghosts. These included the story of the tree where Major Andre was killed, and of course, the story of the headless horseman.

  Soon the party broke up; Ichabod, however, stayed on to talk with Katrina for a little while. When he left her he felt somewhat disappointed, without knowing exactly how she felt about him. He rode off on the old horse he had borrowed.

  It was the middle of the night when Ichabod approached Major Andre's tree. This was the place where so many of the ghost story scenes supposedly took place. He heard a groan and saw something white, but he passed by. Two hundred yards ahead there was a bridge over a river. This was in an area known as Wiley's Swamp. Here the road looked dark because of the shadows from the oaks and chestnut trees.

  Ichabod's horse, Gunpowder, suddenly stopped before the bridge. And just then Ichabod saw something huge climbing upward in the shadow of the grove. Ichabod was terrified. He asked in unsteady voice: "Who are you?" There was no response. And the unknown thing moved to the center of the road. This thing appeared to be a large horseman, on a powerful black horse!

  Ichabod quickened his horse, and the stranger kept up with him. When Ichabod's horse slowed down, the other horse did too. Ichabod's heartbeat quickened. As he turned around, he was shocked to see that the horseman did not have a head! The head was carried beside the saddle.

  Ichabod tried to get away from the monster, but all he did was in vain. The monster came closer and closer. As they reached the churchyard, the monster hit Ichabod with its own head. Ichabod fell off and tumbled headlong into the dust.

  Next morning the old horse was found. But no one could find Ichabod. What they did find was a shattered pumpkin on the ground.

  The people in the area came to the conclusion that Ichabod had been carried off by the galloping horseman. But an old farmer, who had been to New York City, learned that Ichabod was still alive and became a judge in the city. Brom Bones, in the meantime, had married Katrina. Whenever he heard anyone tell this story, he always smiled. He laughed especially heartily when anyone mentioned the pumpkin. The old country wives, however, still believe that Ichabod was carried away by some supernatural spirits.

  注解:

  imaginative 富于幻想的

  companions 同伴,伙伴

  glassy 无光采的,不神气的

  misbehaving 行为不端的

  rival 敌手,对手

  nickname 绰号

  naughty 淘气的

  bad tempered 坏脾气的

  creature 人物

  exchange 交谈,交换

  break up 停止,结束

  approach 接近

  groan 呻吟声

  oaks 橡树

  chestnut 胡桃树

  quicken 加速,加快

  shocked 吃惊的

  saddle 鞍座

  in vain 徒劳无功

  tumble 摔倒,跌倒

  headlong 倒栽葱

  shattered 摔破的

  galloping 飞跑中的

  pumpkin 南瓜

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