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Deer And His Friends(1)

2006-08-11 13:19

  The deer had been struck and killed by a car. A passing motorist on the narrow mountain road saw a slight movement and stopped. Huddled beside the dead deer was a fawn with the umbilical cord still attached. “I don't suppose you have a chance," the motorist told the tiny creature as he tied off the cord, ”but at least I'll take you where it's warm.“

  The nearest place was the powerhouse of New Jersey's Glen Gardner Center for Geriatrics, a state institution. Maintenance men there quickly produced rags to make a bed behind the boiler for the fawn. Then they took a rubber glove, pricked pinholes in a finger, diluted some milk and offered it to the fawn, who drank eagerly.

  With the men taking turns feeding the fawn, the little deer's wobbly legs and curiosity soon grew strong enough to bring it out from its bed behind the boiler. On their breaks, the men petted and played with the baby. "If it's a female, we'll call her Jane Doe,“ they laughed. But it was a male, so they taught him to answer to "Frankie," short for Frank Buck.

  Frankie became especially attached to one of the men, an electrician named Jean. On nice days, Frankie stepped outside with his new friend, enjoying the fresh air and scratches behind the ears. Sometimes other deer came out of the woods to graze. When Frankie caught their scent, his head came up.

  "You'd better tie him or we'll lose him,“ someone commented. Jean shook his head. "He'll know when it's time to go," he said. Frankie began following Jean on his rounds, and the slight, white-haired man followed by the delicate golden fawn soon became a familiar sight.

  One day a resident, noticing Frankie waiting by a door for Jean, invited the deer in. Glen Gardner housed old people who had been in state mental hospitals and needed special care. When Frankie was discovered inside, the staff rushed to put him outside. But when they saw how eagerly one resident after another reached out to touch him, they let him stay. When Frankie appeared, smiles spread and people who seldom spoke asked the deer's name.

  Discovering a line in front of the payroll's clerk's window one day, Frankie companionably joined it. When his turn came, the clerk peered out at him. "Well, Frankie," she said, "I wouldn’t mind giving you a paycheck. You're our best social worker!"

  The deer had the run of Glen Gardner until late fall, when the superintendent noticed he was growing antlers. Fearful he might accidentally injure a resident, the supervisor decreed banishment. Frankie continued to frequent the grounds, but as the months passed he explored farther afield. When he was a year old, the evening came when he didn't return to the powerhouse; now he was on his own.

  那鹿被车撞死了。一个在狭窄山路上开车经过的人看见有东西微微一动,就停下了车。蜷缩在死鹿旁的是头脐带未断的初生幼鹿。“我想你活的希望不大,”开车人一边扯断脐带一边对这个小生灵说道,“但至少我要把你带到一个暖和的地方。”

  最近的地方是新泽西州州立格伦加德纳老年医学中心的电工室。那里的工作人员立即拿出碎布,在锅炉后面给小鹿铺了张床。然后,他们找来一只橡胶手套,在一个指头上扎了几个洞眼,灌上稀释的牛奶喂小鹿。它急不可耐地喝着。

  工作人员轮流喂奶,小鹿晃晃悠悠的腿很快长得有劲,好奇心也随之增长,开始从锅炉后面的床出来。工作人员一休息,就摸摸它,逗它玩。他们笑着说,“它要是母的,就叫它简·多伊。”但是,它是头公鹿。他们教它熟悉“弗兰基”这个名字,这是雄鹿弗兰克的简称。

  弗兰基尤其喜欢他们当中一个叫琼的电工。天气好的时候,弗兰基和它的新朋友一起出来,享受清新的空气并搔搔耳背。有时,别的鹿从树林里出来吃草,弗兰基闻见它们的气味时,就抬起头来。

  有人建议说,“最好控上它,要不然会丢的。”

  琼摇头表示不同意。他说,“到该走的时候,他会知道的。”

  弗兰基开始尾随琼巡视。不久,瘦小、白发的电工后面跟着纤弱、金黄色的小鹿就成了人们熟悉的景象。

  有一天,格伦加德纳疗养中心的一位老人看见弗兰基在门旁等琼,就请小鹿进去。中心住着在州立精神病院接受过治疗、需要特别照顾的老年人。工作人员一发现小鹿,就急忙要把它轰走。但是当他们看到人们都迫切地伸出手去摸它,就让小鹿留下了。从此每当弗兰基一出现,到处可见到微笑,连那些平常极少说话的老人也打听小鹿叫什么名字。

  一天,弗兰基发现发工资的窗口前面有人排着队,它也跟着人们排队。轮到它时,负责发工资的工作人员盯着它说道,“是啊,弗兰基,我真想给你张支票,你是我们最好的社会工作者!”

  暮秋前,弗兰基在疗养中心一直行动自由。直到有一天,中心的主管注意到它开始长角了。中心负责人担心它会意外伤着住宿的老人,决定禁止它出入。弗兰基仍常去附近的场地。随着时光流逝,它去更远的田野探索。年满1岁后的一天傍晚,它没有回到老年中心的电工室,它开始独立生活了。

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