外语教育网
您的位置:外语教育网 > 英语文化视窗 > 文学与艺术 > 散文 正文
  • 站内搜索:

The Dog Next Door

2006-07-23 14:56

  When I was about thirteen years old, back home in Indiana, Pennsylvania, I had a dog named Bounce. He was just a street dog of indeterminate parentage who had followed me home from school one day. Kind of Airedaleish but of an orange color, Bounce became my close companion. He'd frolic1 alongside me when I'd go into the woods to hunt arrowheads2 and snore3 at my feet when I'd build a model airplane. I loved that dog.

  Late one summer I had been away to a Boy Scout camp at Two Lick Creek4, and when I got home Bounce wasn't there to greet me. When I asked Mother about him, she gently took me inside. " I'm so sorry, Jim, but Bounce is gone." " Did he run away?" " No, son, he's dead." I couldn't believe it. " What happened?" I choked. " He was killed." " How?" Mom looked over to my father. He cleared his throat." Well, Jim," he said, " Bogy broke his chain, came over and killed Bounce." I was aghast. Bogy was the next door neighbors' English bulldog. Normally he was linked by a chain to a wire that stretched about 100 feet across their backyard.

  I was grief-stricken5 and angry. That night I tossed and turned. The next morning I stepped out to look at the bulldog, hoping to see at least a gash6 in its speckled7 hide. But no, there on a heavier chain stood the barrel-chested villain. Every time I saw poor Bounce's empty house, his forlorn8 blanket, his food dish, I seethed9 with hatred for the animal that had taken my best friend.

  Finally one morning I reached into my closet and pulled out the Remington .22 rifle Dad had given me the past Christmas. I stepped out into our backyard and climbed up into the apple tree. Perched10 in its upper limbs, I could see the bulldog as he traipsed11 up and down the length of his wire. With the rifle I followed him in the sights. But every time I got a bead on12 him, tree foliage13 got in the way.

  Suddenly a gasp sounded from below." Jim, what are you doing up there?" Mom didn't wait for an answer. Our screen door14 slammed and I could tell she was on the phone with my father at his hardware store. In a few minutes our Ford chattered into the driveway. Dad climbed out and came over to the apple tree. " C'mon down, Jim," he said gently. Reluctantly, I put the safety on and let myself down onto the summer-seared grass.

  The next morning, Dad, who knew me better than I knew myself, said, " Jim, after you finish school today, I want you to come to the store."

  That afternoon I trudged15 downtown to Dad's hardware store, figuring he wanted the windows washed or something. He stepped out from behind the counter and led me back to the stockroom. We edged past kegs16 of nails, coils of garden hose and rolls of screen wire over to a corner. There squatted17 my hated nemesis18, Bogy, tied to a post. " Now here's the bulldog," Dad said. " This is the easy way to kill him if you still feel that way." He handed me a short-barreled .22-caliber19 rifle. I glanced at him questioningly. He nodded.

  I took the gun, lifted it to my shoulder and sighted down the black barrel. Bogy, brown eyes regarding me, panted happily, pink tongue peeking from tusked20 jaws. As I began to squeeze the trigger, a thousand thoughts flashed through my mind while Dad stood silently by. But my mind wasn't silent; all of Dad's teaching about our responsibility to defenseless creatures, fair play, right and wrong, welled within me. I thought of Mom loving me after I broke her favorite china serving bowl. There were other voices——our preacher leading us in prayer, asking God to forgive us as we forgave others.

  Suddenly the rifle weighed a ton and the sight wavered in my vision. I lowered it and looked up at Dad helplessly. A quiet smile crossed his face and he clasped my shoulder. " I know, son," he said gently. I realized then: He had never expected me to pull that trigger. In his wise, deep way he let me face my decision on my own. I never did learn how Dad managed to arrange Bogy's presence that afternoon, but I know he had trusted me to make the right choice.

  A tremendous relief overwhelmed me as I put down the gun. I knelt down with Dad and helped untie Bogy, who wriggled against us happily, his stub tail wiggling furiously.

  That night I slept well for the first time in days. The next morning as I leaped down the back steps, I saw Bogy next door and stopped. Dad ruffled my hair. " Seems you've forgiven him, son."

  I raced off to school. Forgiveness, I found, could be exhilarating21.

  邻居的狗

  大约13岁时,在宾夕法尼亚州印第安纳老家,我有只名叫鲍恩斯的狗。它是条身分不明的野狗,有一天我放学,它就跟我回了家。鲍恩斯像是那硬毛杂种猎犬,只是皮毛显桔黄色。我们成了亲密的伙伴,我进林子找慈菇,它在我身旁嬉戏;我做飞机模型,它就倒在我脚边打呼噜。我真是太爱这狗了。

  有一年暮夏,我去双舔溪参加童子军营。等我回家时,鲍恩斯却没有来迎我。我问母亲怎么回事,她温柔地领着我进了屋,"我十分抱歉,吉姆,鲍恩斯不在了。""它跑了吗?""不是,儿子,它死了。"我简直无法相信。我哽咽着问,"出了什么事?""它给咬死了。""怎么给咬死的?"妈妈目光转向父亲。他清了清嗓子说,"吉姆,博吉弄断了链子,跑过来咬死了鲍恩斯。"我惊得目瞪口呆。博吉是隔壁邻居的英国叭喇狗,平常总是套着链子,拴在他们家后院的铁丝围栏上,那围栏大约100英尺长。

  我既伤心又愤怒。那天晚上我辗转反侧。第二天早上,我跑去察看那头叭喇狗,期望从它那布满斑点的身上至少能发现一个深长的伤口。可是什么也没有,只见那只墩实的恶犬被拴在一条比原先更粗的链子上。每当我看见可怜的鲍恩斯空荡荡的狗屋,它那再也用不上的毯子,它的食盆,我就禁不住怒火中烧,恨透了那畜生,因为它夺走了我最要好的朋友的生命。

  终于有一天早上,我从壁橱里拿出爸爸在上个圣诞节送我的口径。22英寸的雷明顿猎枪。我走进我们家后院,爬上苹果树,俯在高处的树干上,我能看见博吉沿着铁丝围栏来回闲逛。我举枪透过瞄准器盯着它,可是每次瞄准准备射击时,树叶就挡住了我的视线。

  突然间,树下传来一声轻微短促的惊叫,"吉姆,你在树上干什么呢?"妈妈没有等我回答。纱门"砰"的一声关上了,我知道她准是给在五金店的爸爸打电话。过了几分钟,我们家的福特汽车开进了车道。爸爸从车里出来,径直朝苹果树走来。"吉姆,下来,"他轻声说道。我很不情愿地合上了保险栓,跳在被炎夏毒日晒得发焦的草地上。

  第二天早上,爸爸对我说,"吉姆,今天放了学,我要你到铺子来一趟。"他比我还了解我自己。

  那天下午我拖着懒懒的脚步进了市区,到我爸爸的五金店去,心想他准是要我擦玻璃或是干别的什么活。他从柜台后面出来,领着我进了储藏室。我们慢慢地绕过一桶桶钉子,一捆捆浇花水管,和丝网,来到一个角落。我的死敌博吉蜷缩在那儿,被拴在一根柱子上。"那叭喇狗在这儿,"我爸爸说道,"如果你还想干掉它的话,这是最容易的办法。"他递给我一把口径。22英寸的短筒猎枪。我疑虑地瞥了他一眼。他点了点头。

  我拿起枪,举上肩,黑色枪筒向下瞄准。博吉那双棕色眼睛看着我,高兴地喘着粗气,张开长着獠牙的嘴,吐出粉红的舌头。就在我扣动扳机的一刹那,千思万绪闪过脑海。爸爸静静地站在一旁,可我的心情却无法平静。涌上心头的是平时爸爸对我的教诲——我们对无助的生命的责任,做人要光明磊落,是非标准。我想起我打碎妈妈最心爱的上菜用的瓷碗后,她还是一如既往地爱我;我还听到别的声音——教区的牧师领着我们做祷告时,祈求上帝宽恕我们如同我们宽容他人那样。

  突然间,猎枪变得沉甸甸的,眼前的目标模糊起来。我放下手中的枪,抬头无奈地看着爸爸。他脸上绽出一丝笑容,然后抓住我的肩膀,缓缓地说道,"我理解你,儿子。"这时我才明白,他从未想过我会扣扳机。他用明智、深刻的方式让我自己做出决定。我始终没弄清爸爸那天下午是怎么安排博吉出现在五金店的,但是我知道他相信我能够做出正确的选择。

  我放下枪,感到无比轻松。我跟爸爸跪在地上,帮忙解开博吉。博吉欣喜地蹭着我俩,短尾巴使劲地晃动。

  那天晚上我睡了几天来的头一个好觉。第二天早上,我跳下后院的台阶时,看见隔壁的博吉就停了下来。爸爸摩挲着我的头发说道,"儿子,看来你已宽恕了它。"

  我跑向学校。我发现宽恕令人振奋。

  注释:

  1.frolic vi.嬉戏,作乐

  2.arrowhead n.[植]慈菇

  3.snore vi.打鼾

  4.creek n.(美)小河,溪

  5.grief-stricken adj.充满悲伤的,极度悲痛的

  6.gash n.深长的切口

  7.speckled adj.有斑点的

  8.forlorn adj.被遗弃的

  9.seethe vi.(内心中)发怒

  10.perch vi.稍坐,暂歇

  11.traipse vi.闲荡,游荡

  12.get a bead on 瞄准

  13.foliage n.叶子

  14.screen door 纱门,铁丝网门

  15.trudge vi.疲累(或费力)地走

  16.keg n.小桶,桶

  17.squat vi.蜷伏

  18.nemesis n.给以报应者,死敌

  19.caliber n.(枪)口径

  20.tusked adj.长牙的,尖牙的

  21.exhilarating adj.令人高兴的

相关热词:散文
栏目相关课程表
科目名称 主讲老师 课时 免费试听 优惠价 购买课程
英语零起点 郭俊霞 30课时 试听 150元/门 购买
综艺乐园 ------ 15课时 试听 100元/门 购买
边玩边学 ------ 10课时 试听 60元/门 购买
情景喜剧 ------ 15课时 试听 100元/门 购买
欢乐课堂 ------ 35课时 试听 150元/门 购买
趣味英语速成 钟 平 18课时 试听 179元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语预备级 (Pre-Starters) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语一级 (Starters) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语二级 (Movers) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语三级 (Flyers) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
初级英语口语 ------ 55课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
中级英语口语 ------ 83课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
高级英语口语 ------ 122课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
基础英语辅导课程
郭俊霞 北京语言大学毕业,国内某知名中学英语教研组长,教学标兵……详情>>
郭俊霞:零基础英语网上辅导名师
钟平 北大才俊,英语辅导专家,累计从事英语教学八年,机械化翻译公式发明人……详情>>
钟平:趣味英语速成网上辅导名师

  1、凡本网注明 “来源:外语教育网”的所有作品,版权均属外语教育网所有,未经本网授权不得转载、链接、转贴或以其他方式使用;已经本网授权的,应在授权范围内使用,且必须注明“来源:外语教育网”。违反上述声明者,本网将追究其法律责任。
  2、本网部分资料为网上搜集转载,均尽力标明作者和出处。对于本网刊载作品涉及版权等问题的,请作者与本网站联系,本网站核实确认后会尽快予以处理。本网转载之作品,并不意味着认同该作品的观点或真实性。如其他媒体、网站或个人转载使用,请与著作权人联系,并自负法律责任。
  3、联系方式
  编辑信箱:for68@chinaacc.com
  电话:010-82319999-2371