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瓦尔登湖:The Ponds5

2006-07-29 01:01

  Some have been puzzled to tell how the shore became so regularly paved.  My townsmen have all heard the tradition —— the oldest people tell me that they heard it in their youth —— that anciently the Indians were holding a pow-wow upon a hill here, which rose as high into the heavens as the pond now sinks deep into the earth, and they used much profanity, as the story goes, though this vice is one of which the Indians were never guilty, and while they were thus engaged the hill shook and suddenly sank, and only one old squaw,named Walden, escaped, and from her the pond was named.  It has been conjectured that when the hill shook these stones rolled down its side and became the present shore.  It is very certain, at any rate,that once there was no pond here, and now there is one; and this Indian fable does not in any respect conflict with the account of that ancient settler whom I have mentioned, who remembers so well when he first came here with his divining-rod, saw a thin vapor rising from the sward, and the hazel pointed steadily downward, and he concluded to dig a well here.  As for the stones, many still think that they are hardly to be accounted for by the action of the waves on these hills; but I observe that the surrounding hills are remarkably full of the same kind of stones, so that they have been obliged to pile them up in walls on both sides of the railroad cut nearest the pond; and, moreover, there are most stones where the shore is most abrupt; so that, unfortunately, it is no longer a mystery to me.  I detect the paver.  If the name was not derived from that of some English locality —— Saffron Walden, for instance—— one might suppose that it was called originally Walled-in Pond.

  The pond was my well ready dug.  For four months in the year its water is as cold as it is pure at all times; and I think that it is then as good as any, if not the best, in the town.  In the winter,all water which is exposed to the air is colder than springs and wells which are protected from it.  The temperature of the pond water which had stood in the room where I sat from five o'clock in the afternoon till noon the next day, the sixth of March, 1846, the thermometer having been up to 65x or 70x some of the time, owing partly to the sun on the roof, was 42x, or one degree colder than the water of one of the coldest wells in the village just drawn. The temperature of the Boiling Spring the same day was 45x, or the warmest of any water tried, though it is the coldest that I know of in summer, when, beside, shallow and stagnant surface water is not mingled with it.  Moreover, in summer, Walden never becomes so warm as most water which is exposed to the sun, on account of its depth. In the warmest weather I usually placed a pailful in my cellar,where it became cool in the night, and remained so during the day;though I also resorted to a spring in the neighborhood.  It was as good when a week old as the day it was dipped, and had no taste of the pump.  Whoever camps for a week in summer by the shore of a pond, needs only bury a pail of water a few feet deep in the shade of his camp to be independent of the luxury of ice.

  There have been caught in Walden pickerel, one weighing seven pounds —— to say nothing of another which carried off a reel with great velocity, which the fisherman safely set down at eight pounds because he did not see him —— perch and pouts, some of each weighing over two pounds, shiners, chivins or roach (Leuciscus pulchellus), a very few breams, and a couple of eels, one weighing four pounds —— I am thus particular because the weight of a fish is commonly its only title to fame, and these are the only eels I have heard of here; ——also, I have a faint recollection of a little fish some five inches long, with silvery sides and a greenish back, somewhat dace-like in its character, which I mention here chiefly to link my facts to fable.  Nevertheless, this pond is not very fertile in fish.  Its pickerel, though not abundant, are its chief boast.  I have seen at one time lying on the ice pickerel of at least three different kinds: a long and shallow one, steel-colored, most like those caught in the river; a bright golden kind, with greenish reflections and remarkably deep, which is the most common here; and another,golden-colored, and shaped like the last, but peppered on the sides with small dark brown or black spots, intermixed with a few faint blood-red ones, very much like a trout.  The specific name reticulatus would not apply to this; it should be guttatus rather. These are all very firm fish, and weigh more than their size promises.  The shiners, pouts, and perch also, and indeed all the fishes which inhabit this pond, are much cleaner, handsomer, and firmer-fleshed than those in the river and most other ponds, as the water is purer, and they can easily be distinguished from them. Probably many ichthyologists would make new varieties of some of them.  There are also a clean race of frogs and tortoises, and a few mussels in it; muskrats and minks leave their traces about it, and occasionally a travelling mud-turtle visits it.  Sometimes, when I pushed off my boat in the morning, I disturbed a great mud-turtle which had secreted himself under the boat in the night.  Ducks and geese frequent it in the spring and fall, the white-bellied swallows(Hirundo bicolor) skim over it, and the peetweets (Totanus macularius) "teeter" along its stony shores all summer.  I have sometimes disturbed a fish hawk sitting on a white pine over the water; but I doubt if it is ever profaned by the wind of a gull,like Fair Haven.  At most, it tolerates one annual loon.  These are all the animals of consequence which frequent it now.

  湖岸怎么会铺砌得这样整齐,有人百思不得其解,乡镇上的人都听到过传说,最年老的人告诉我说,他们是在青年时代听来的——在古时候,正当印第安人在一个小山上举行狂欢庆典,小山忽然高高升到天上,就像湖现在这样深深降人地下,据说他们做了许多不敬神的行为,其实印第安人从没有犯过这种罪,正当他们这样亵读神明的时候,山岳震撼,大地突然间沉下去,只留下了一个印第安女子,名叫瓦尔登,她逃掉了性命,从此这湖沿用了她的名字。据揣想是在山岳震撼时,这些圆石滚了下来,铺成了现在的湖岸。无论如何,这一点可以确定,以前这里没有湖,现在却有了一个;这一个印第安神话跟我前面说起过的那一位古代的居民是毫无抵触的,他清清楚楚地记得他初来时,带来一根魔杖,他看到草地上升起了一种稀薄的雾气,那根榛木杖就一直指向下面,直到后来他决定挖一口井。至于那些石子呢,很多人认为它们不可能起固于山的波动;据我观察,四周的山上有很多这样的石子,因此人们不能不在铁路经过的最靠近那湖的地方在两边筑起墙垣;而且湖岸愈是陡削的地方,石子愈是多;所以,不幸的是,这对于我不再有什么神秘了。我猜出了铺砌的人来了。如果这个湖名不是由当地一个叫萨福隆。瓦尔登的英国人的名字化出来的后,——那末,我想瓦尔登湖原来的名字可能是围而得湖。

  湖对于我,是一口挖好的现成的井。一年有四个月水是冰冷的,正如它一年四季的水是纯净的;我想,这时候它就算不是乡镇上最好的水,至少比得上任何地方的水。在冬天里,暴露在空气中的水,总比那些保暖的泉水和井水来得更冷。从下午五点直到第二天,一八四六年三月六日正午,在我静坐的房间内,寒暑表温度时而是华氏六十五度,时而是七十度,一部分是因为太阳曾照在我的屋脊上,而从湖中汲取的水,放在这房子里,温度只四十二度,比起村中最冷的一口井里当场汲取的井水还低了一度。同一天内,沸泉温度是四十五度,那是经我测量的各种水中最最温暖的了,虽然到了夏天,它又是最最寒冷的水,那是指浮在上面的浅浅一层停滞的水并没有混杂在内。在夏天里,瓦尔登湖因为很深,所以也不同于一般暴露在阳光底下的水。它没有它们那么热。在最热的气候里,我时常汲一桶水,放在地窖里面。它夜间一冷却下来,就整天都冷,有时我也到附近一个泉水里去汲水。过了一个星期,水还像汲出来的当天一样好,并且没有抽水机的味道。谁要在夏天,到湖边去露营,只要在营帐的阴处,把一桶水埋下几英尺深,他就可以不用奢侈的藏冰了。

  在瓦尔登湖中,捉到过梭鱼,有一条重七磅,且不去说那另外的一条,用非常的速度把一卷钓丝拉走了,渔夫因为没有看到它,估计它稳稳当当有八磅的重量,此外,还捉到过鲈鱼,鳘鱼,有些重两磅,还有银鱼,鳊鱼(学名Leueiscus Pulchellus),极少量的鲤鱼,两条鳗鱼,有一条有四磅重,——我对于鱼的重量写得这样详细,因为它们的价值一般是根据重量来决定的,至于鳗鱼,除了这两条我就没有听说过另外的,——此外,我还隐约记得一条五英寸长的小鱼,两侧是银色的,背脊却呈青色,性质上近于鲦鱼,我提起这条鱼,主要是为了把事实和寓言连接起来。总之是,这个湖里,鱼并不多。梭鱼也不很多,但它夸耀的是梭鱼。有一次我躺卧在冰上面,至少看到了三种不同的梭鱼,一种扁而长的,钢灰色,像一般从河里捉起来的一样;一种是金晃晃的,有绿色的闪光,在很深的深水中;最后一种金色的,形态跟上一种相近,但身体两侧有棕黑色或黑色斑点,中间还夹着一些淡淡的血红色斑点,很像鲑鱼。但学名reticulatus(网形)用不上,被称为guttatus (斑斓)才对。这些都是很结实的鱼,重量比外貌上看来要重得多。银鱼、鳘鱼,还有鲈鱼,所有在这个湖中的水族,确实都比一般的河流和多数的别的湖沼中的鱼类,来得更清洁,更漂亮,更结实,因为这里的湖水更纯洁,你可以很容易地把它们区别出来。也许有许多鱼学家可以用它们来培育出一些新品种。

  此外还有清洁的青蛙和乌龟,少数的淡菜;麝香鼠和貂鼠也留下过它们的足迹;偶尔还有从烂泥中钻出来旅行经过的甲鱼。有一次,当我在黎明中把我的船推离湖岸时,有一只夜里躲在船底下的大甲鱼给我惊拢得不安了。春秋两季,鸭和天鹅常来,白肚皮的燕子(学名Hirundo bicolor)在水波上掠过,还有些身有斑点的田凫(学名Totanus mac ularius)整个夏天摇摇摆摆地走在石头湖岸上。我有时还惊起了湖水上面、坐在白松枝头的一只鱼鹰;我却不知道有没有海鸥飞到这里来过,像它们曾飞到过美港去那样。至多每年还有一次潜水鸟要来。常到这里来的飞禽,已全部包罗在内了。

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