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叶圣陶作品及英译

已有 3681 次阅读 2012-12-10 23:20 |个人分类:翻译教学与实践 Translation Practice & Teaching|系统分类:科研笔记| 叶圣陶, 文学作品英译

今天在线浏览叶圣陶老先生的作品《牛》,碰巧也看到了英文版本(不知道确切的出处)。先录下来,供研究参考用。

《牛》
叶圣陶

    在乡下住的几年里,天天看见牛。可是直到现在还显现在眼前的,只有牛的大眼睛。
  我们院子里有好些小孩,活泼,天真,当然也顽皮。有好几回,我见牛被他们惹得发了脾气。它绕着拴住它的木桩子,一圈儿一圈儿地转。低着头,斜起角,眼睛打角底下瞪出来,就好像这一撞要把整个天地翻个身似的。
  孩子们是这样玩的:他们一个个远远地站着,捡些石子,朝牛扔去。起先,石子不怎么大,扔在牛身上,那一搭皮肤马上轻轻地抖一下,像我们的嘴角动一下似的。渐渐地,捡来的石子大起来了,扔到牛身上,牛会掉过头来瞪着你。要是有个孩子特别胆大,特别机灵,他会到竹园里找来一根毛竹,伸得远远地去撩牛的尾巴,戳牛的屁股,把牛惹起火来。可是,我从未见过他们撩过牛的头。我想,即使是小孩,也从那双大眼睛里看出使人不自在的意味了。玩到最后,牛站起来了,于是孩子们轰的一声,四处跑散。这种把戏,我看得很熟很熟了。
  有一回,正巧一个长工从院子里出来,他三十光景了,还像孩子似的爱闹着玩。他一把捉住个孩子,“莫跑,”他说,“见了牛都要跑,改天还想吃庄稼饭?”他朝我笑笑说,“真的,牛不消怕的,你看它有那么大吗?它不会撞人的。牛的眼睛有点儿不同。”以下是长工告诉我的话。“比方说,我们看见这根木头桩子,牛眼睛看来就像一根擎天柱。比方说,一块田十多亩,牛眼睛看来就没有边,没有沿。牛眼睛看出来的东西,都比原来大,大许多许多。看我们人,就有四金刚那么高,那么大。站到我们跟前它就害怕了,它不敢倔强,随便拿它怎么样都不敢倔强。它当我们只要两个指头就能捻死它,抬一抬脚趾就能踢它到半天云里,我们哈气就像下雨一样。那它就只有听我们使唤,天好,落雨,生田,熟田,我们要耕,它就只有耕,没得话说的。先生你说对不对,幸好牛有那么一双眼睛。不然的话,还让你使唤啊,那么大的一个力气又蛮,踩到一脚就要痛上好几天。对了,我们跟牛,五个抵一个都抵不住。好在牛眼睛看出来,我们一个抵它十几个。”
  以后,我进出院子的时候,总特意留心看牛的眼睛,我明白了另一种使人看着不自在的意味。那黄色的浑浊的瞳仁,那老是直视前方的眼光,都带着恐惧的神情,这使眼睛里的恨转成了哀怨。站在牛的立场上说,如果能去掉这双眼睛,成了瞎子也值得,因为得到自由了。 
 

Ox
By Ye Shengtao

I used to see oxen every day when I lived in the country for a few years. And yet even now what stands out most clearly in my memory are their large eyes. In the winter an ox would be tethered by the gate to catch the sun. It would lie there, incessantly chewing its cud, and its eyes seemed to be even larger than during the busy season. There is a great deal of white in an ox's eye which gives it an awful pallor. When I say "awful pallor," perhaps it is because of the overlying network of bloodshot veins. I believe the only possible comparison for this combination of colours is a scene such as when the silence of a corpse is combined with a mourner's cries. An ox's eyes are too big and they bulge too much, so much so that they frighten me. Whenever I entered the courtyard and passed the ox I was always very heedful of its two large bulging eyes staring at me. The way it stared and stared could not but make me think that it could suddenly get up and charge me. I truly felt there was hate in those eyes. I could understand why it stared at me and always kept my distance as I skirted around it. Now and then I would glance warily at it to see if it would make a move, but I only ever saw it stare dumbly. Yet I still felt as if there were something in those eyes to make people uncomfortable on seeing them.

There were many children in our courtyard -- lively, artless and of course full of mischief. In the spring they caught butterflies. In summer they hooked frogs. When the millet was ripe there were fat grasshoppers everywhere which they would grab and roast on the range to eat. In the winter when there are no small creatures to be found they play with the oxen instead.

I have seen an ox teased into anger by them on many occasions. It will circle the wooden post to which it is tethered, going round and round. With its head lowered, horns at an angle and eyes staring out beneath, it looks ready to turn heaven and earth upside down with its charge.

This is how the children play: they stand at a distance, pick up stones and throw them at the ox. At first the stones are not all that big and when they hit, the ox's hide immediately gives a shiver all over much as when the corners of our mouths tremble. Gradually however the stones get bigger and the ox turns its head to stare at you on being hit. If there is one kid who is particularly brave and smart he will go off to the bamboo grove to fetch a stick. Then, stretching out as far as he can, he will tease the ox's tail and poke at its hindquarters to incite it into a fury. However, I have never seen any of them jab at an ox's head. To my way of thinking, even though they are just kids, they are also made to feel uncomfortable by the look in that big pair of eyes.

The end of the game comes when the ox stands up and the kids let out a shout and scatter in all directions. I have seen scenes like that countless times.

On one occasion a hired-hand came out to work in the courtyard. He was around thirty but still as fond as a kid of playing around. He grabbed one of the children and said, "Don't run away. If you all run away when you see an ox what'll happen when you want to be a farmer one day?" He looked at me and said with a smile, "Really, you don't need to be scared of an ox. See how big he is? But he won't charge you -- an ox's eyes are different."

This is what the hired-hand told me: "For instance, we just see this wooden stake, but from an ox's point of view it looks like a pillar holding up heaven. Or take a couple of acres of land, from an ox's point of view they just go on and on. The things an ox sees are all much bigger than they really are, much bigger. As for us, we look as tall and as big as the four Heavenly Guardians to him. He gets scared when he stands in front of us and doesn't dare resist. However you might grab him he still won't resist. He thinks we can kill him with just a flick of our fingers, or just lift our little toe and kick him into the clouds; when we breathe out it's like rain. All he can do is obey our orders for, come rain or shine, whatever the season, we must plough and so he must plough and that's all there is to it. Don't you think it's lucky, sir, that an ox should have eyes like that? Otherwise, he'd never take orders from you. A big one like that with such strength could give you a kick that would hurt for many a day. Five of us couldn't hold out against one ox, that's for sure, but luckily for us, in his eyes only one of us could stand up a dozen of them."

After that, whenever I went in or out of the courtyard I always made a point of looking at the ox's eyes for now I understood what it was that made people uncomfortable. Those muddy yellow pupils and that constant forward-looking gaze both hold a fear which transforms the hate in their eyes to pathos. From an ox's point of view it would be worthwhile losing those eyes and going blind, for then it would be free.

December 21, 1946
Translated by Alison Bailey



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