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瓦尔登湖:经济篇29

2006-07-28 23:42

  I would observe, by the way, that it costs me nothing for curtains, for I have no gazers to shut out but the sun and moon, and I am willing that they should look in.  The moon will not sour milk nor taint meat of mine, nor will the sun injure my furniture or fade my carpet; and if he is sometimes too warm a friend, I find it still better economy to retreat behind some curtain which nature has provided, than to add a single item to the details of housekeeping. A lady once offered me a mat, but as I had no room to spare within the house, nor time to spare within or without to shake it, I declined it, preferring to wipe my feet on the sod before my door. It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil.

  Not long since I was present at the auction of a deacon's effects, for his life had not been ineffectual:——

  "The evil that men do lives after them."

  As usual, a great proportion was trumpery which had begun to accumulate in his father's day.  Among the rest was a dried tapeworm.  And now, after lying half a century in his garret and other dust holes, these things were not burned; instead of a bonfire, or purifying destruction of them, there was an auction, or increasing of them.  The neighbors eagerly collected to view them,bought them all, and carefully transported them to their garrets and dust holes, to lie there till their estates are settled, when they will start again.  When a man dies he kicks the dust.

  The customs of some savage nations might, perchance, be profitably imitated by us, for they at least go through the semblance of casting their slough annually; they have the idea of the thing, whether they have the reality or not.  Would it not be well if we were to celebrate such a "busk," or "feast of first fruits," as Bartram describes to have been the custom of the Mucclasse Indians?  "When a town celebrates the busk," says he,"having previously provided themselves with new clothes, new pots,pans, and other household utensils and furniture, they collect all their worn out clothes and other despicable things, sweep and cleanse their houses, squares, and the whole town of their filth,which with all the remaining grain and other old provisions they cast together into one common heap, and consume it with fire.  After having taken medicine, and fasted for three days, all the fire in the town is extinguished.  During this fast they abstain from the gratification of every appetite and passion whatever.  A general amnesty is proclaimed; all malefactors may return to their town."

  "On the fourth morning, the high priest, by rubbing dry wood together, produces new fire in the public square, from whence every habitation in the town is supplied with the new and pure flame."

  我顺便说一下,我也不花什么钱去买窗帘,因为除了太阳月亮,没有别的偷窥的人需要关在外面,我也愿意它们来看看我。月亮不会使我的牛奶发酸,或使我的肉发臭,太阳也不会损害我的家具,或使我的地毡褪色;如果我有时发现这位朋友太热情了,我觉得退避到那些大自然所提供的窗帘后面去,在经济上更加划得来,何必在我的家政之中,又添上一项窗帘呢。有一位夫人,有一次要送我一张地席,可是我屋内找不到地位给它,也没有时间在屋内屋外打扫它,我没有接受,我宁可在我门前的草地上揩拭我的脚底。真应该在罪恶开始时就避免它。

  此后不久,我参观过一个教会执事的动产的拍卖,他的一生并不是没有成绩的,而:——“人作的恶,死后还流传。”

  照常,大部分的东西是华而不实的,还是他父亲手里就开始积藏了。其中,还有着一条干绦虫。现在,这些东西,躺在他家的阁楼和别些尘封的洞窟中已经半个世纪之久,还没有被烧掉呢;非但不是一把火烧了它们,或者说火化消毒,反而拍卖了,要延长它们的寿命了。邻居成群地集合,热心观摩,全部买下之后,小心翼翼地搬进他们的阁楼和别的尘封的洞窟中,躺在那里,直到这一份家产又需要清理,到那时它们又得出一次门。一个人死后,他的脚踢到灰尘。

  也许有些野蛮国家的风俗,值得我们学一学,大有益处,因为他们至少还仿佛每年要蜕一次皮;虽然这实际上做不到,他们却有意象征性地做一做。像巴尔特拉姆描写摩克拉斯族印第安人的风俗,我们要是也这样举行庆祝,也举行收获第一批果实的圣礼,这难道不是很好吗?“当一个部落举行庆祝圣礼的时候,”他说,“他们先给自己预备了新衣服,新坛新罐,新盘子,新器具和新家具,然后集中了所有的穿破了的衣服和别的可以抛弃的旧东西,打扫了他们的房子,广场和全部落,把垃圾连带存下来的坏谷物和别的陈旧粮食,一起倒在一个公共的堆上,用火烧掉了它。又吃了药,绝食三天,全部落都熄了火。绝食之时,他们禁绝了食欲和其他欲愿的满足。大赦令宣布了;一切罪人都可以回部落来。”

  “在第四天的早晨,大祭司就摩擦着干燥的木头,在广场上生起了新的火焰。每一户居民都从这里得到了这新生的纯洁的火焰了。”

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