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名人轶事:国王阿尔弗雷德和蛋糕

2006-08-09 15:16

  Many years ago there lived in England a wise and good kingwhose name was Alfred.No other man ever did so much for hiscountry as he;and people now,all over the world,speak of himas Alfred the Great.

  A fierce ,rude people,called the Danes ,had come fromover the sea,and were fighting the English.There were so manyof them,and they were so bold  and strong,that for a long timethey gained every battle.If they kept on,they would soon be themasters  of the whole country.

  At last,after a great battle the Englisn army was broken upand scattered .Every man had to save himself in the best way hecould.King Alfred fled alone,in great haste ,through the woodsand swamps .

  Late in the day the king came to the hut of a woodcutter .Hewas very tired and hungry,and he begged the woodcutter's wife togive him something to eat and a place to sleep in her hut.

  The woman was baking some cakes upon the hearth ,andshe looked with pity upon the poor,ragged  fellow who seemedso hungry.She had no thought  he was the king.

  “Yes,”she said,“I will give you some supper if you willwatch these cakes.I want to go out and milk the cow ;and youmust see that they do not burn while I am gone.”

  King Alfred was very willing  to watch the cakes,but hehad far greater things to think about.How was he going to drivethe fierce Danes out of the land?He forgot his hunger;he forgotthe cakes;he forgot he was in the woodcutter's hut.His mind was busy making plans for tomorrow.

  In a little while the woman came back.The cakes weresmoking on the hearth.They were burned to a crisp .Ah,howangry she was!

  “You lazy fellow!”she cried.“See what you have done!You want something to eat,but you do not want to work!”

  She even struck the king with a stick;but I can hardly believethat she was so ill-natured .

  The king must have laughed to himself at the thought of beingscolded in this way;and he was so hungry that he did not mind thewoman's angry words half so much as the loss of the caks.

  We do not know whether he had anything to eat that night,orwhether he had to go to bed without his supper.But it was notmany days until he had gathered his men together again,and hadbeaten the Danes in a great battle.

  很多年前,英格兰有一个聪明、善良的国王,他的名字叫阿尔弗雷德。从来没有一个人像他那样,为自己的国家做过那么多的贡献。现在世人一谈起他,就把他称为阿尔弗雷德大帝。

  凶恶、粗鲁的丹麦人远渡重洋到英国作战。他们人数众多而且勇敢强壮,很长一段时间他们都是战无不胜。如果照此继续下去,他们很快将成为这个国家的主人。

  终于,在一场恶仗之后,英国军队被击败而四处溃散。人们必须尽可能地自保性命。阿尔弗雷德国王独自奔逃,急匆匆地穿过树林和沼泽地带。

  天色已晚,国王来到一个樵夫的小屋。他又累又饿,乞求樵夫的妻子给他点儿吃的东西,并留他在小屋里过夜。

  那个女人正在炉子上烤蛋糕。她用怜悯的目光审视着这个可怜的衣衫褴褛的家伙。他好象已经饿得饥肠辘辘了,她万万没有想到他就是国王。

  “好吧,”她答应道,“如果你照看这些蛋糕,我就给你吃顿晚饭。我要出去挤牛奶,我不在的时候,你一定要留神,别把这些蛋糕烤糊了。”

  阿尔弗雷德国王非常愿意照看这些蛋糕。他有更重要的事情要考虑。怎样把他的军队再集合起来?如何把凶恶的丹麦人赶出这块国土?他忘记了饥饿,忘记了蛋糕,忘记了他正置身于樵夫的小屋里。他心里正忙于为明天做计划。

  过了一会儿,女主人回来了。蛋糕正在炉子上冒烟。它们已经烤成了脆饼。唉,她是多么生气呀!

  “你这个懒鬼!”她大声喊道。“看看你干的好事!你想吃点儿东西,但却不想干活!”

  没想到她的脾气是如此暴躁,她甚至用棍子打了国王。

  国王一想到她用这种方法训斥自己,一定会暗自发笑。他太饿了,他对女主人的气话远没有对损失蛋糕那么在意。

  我们不知道国王那天晚上是否吃东西了,也不知道他是否没吃晚饭就只好睡了。然而没过几天,他再次把部下召集在一起,在一次大战中打败了丹麦人。

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