沈从文《沅陵的人》中英双语 -《湘西散记:汉英对照》

朗读这篇文章

沅陵的人

由常德到沅陵,一个旅行者在车上的感触,可以想象得到,第一是公路上并无苗人,第二是公路上很少听说发现土匪。

公路在山上与山谷中盘旋转折虽多,路面却修理得异常良好,不问晴雨都无妨车行。公路上行车安全的设计,可看出负责者的最大努力。旅行的很容易忘了车行的危险,乐于赞叹自然风物的美秀。在自然景致中见出宋院画的神采奕奕处,是太平铺过河时入目的光景。溪流萦回,水清而浅,在大石细沙间漱流。群峰竞秀,积翠凝蓝,在细雨中或阳光下看来,颜色真无可形容。山脚下一带树林,一些俨如有意为之布局恰到好处的小小房子,绕河洲树林边一湾溪水,一道长桥,一片烟。香草山花,随手可以掇拾。《楚辞》中的山鬼、云中君,如在眼前。上官庄的长山头时,一个山接一个山,转折频繁处,神经质的妇女与懦弱无能的男子,不免会觉得头目晕眩。一个常态的男子,便必然对于自然的雄伟表示赞叹,对于数年前裹粮负水来在这高山峻岭修路的壮丁表示敬仰和感谢。这是一群默默无闻沉默不语的真正的战士!每一寸路都是他们流汗筑成的。他们有的从百里以外小乡村赶来,沉沉默默的在派定地方担土,打石头,三五十人躬着腰肩共同拉着个大石滚子碾压路面,淋雨,挨饿,忍受各式各样虐待,完成了分派到头上的工作。把路修好了,眼看许多各色各样稀奇古怪的物件吼着叫着走过了,这些可爱的乡下人,知道事情业已办完,笑笑的,各自又回转到那个想象不到的小乡村里过日子去了。中国几年来一点点建设基础,就是这种无名英雄作成的。他们什么都不知道,可是所完成的工作却十分伟大。

单从这条公路的坚实和危险工程看来,就可知道湘西的民众,是可以为国家完成任何伟大理想的。只要领导有人,交付他们更困难的工做,也可望办得很好。

看看沿路山坡桐茶树木那么多,桐茶山整理得那么完美,我们且会明白这个地方的人民,即或无人领导,关于求生技术,各凭经验在不断努力中,也可望把地面征服,使生产增加。

只要在上的不过分苛索他们,鱼肉他们,这种勤俭耐劳的人民,就不至于铤而走险发生问题。可是若到任何一个停车处,试同附近乡民谈谈,我们就知道那个“过去”是种什么情形了。任何捐税,乡下人都有一份,保甲在糟蹋乡下人这方面的努力,“成绩”真极可观!然而促成他们努力的动机,却是照习惯把所得缴一半,留一半。然而负责的注意到这个问题时,就说“这是保甲的罪过”,从不认为是“当政的耻辱”。负责者既不知如何负责,因此使地方进步永远成为一种空洞的理想。

然而这一切都不妨说已经成为过去了。

车到了官庄交车处,一列等候过山的车辆,静静的停在那路旁空阔处,说明这公路行车秩序上的不苟。虽在军事状态中,军用车依然受公路规程辖制,不能占先通过,此来彼往,秩序井然。这条公路的修造与管理统由一个姓周的工程师负责。

车到了沅陵,引起我们注意处,是车站边挑的,抬的,负荷的,推挽的,全是女子。凡其他地方男子所能做的劳役,在这地方统由女子来做。公民劳动服务也还是这种女人。公路车站的修成,就有不少女子参加。工作既敏捷,又能干。女权运动者在中国二十年来的运动,到如今在社会上露面时,还是得用“夫人”名义来号召,并不以为可羞。而且大家都集中在大都市,过着一种腐败生活。比较起这种女劳动者把流汗和吃饭打成一片的情形,不由得我们不对这种人充满尊敬与同情。

这种人并不因为终日劳作就忘记自己是个妇女,女子爱美的天性依然还好好保存。胸口前的扣花装饰,裤脚边的扣花装饰,是劳动得闲在茶油灯光下做成的。(围裙扣花工作之精和设计之巧,外路人一见无有不交口称赞。)这种妇女日常工作虽不轻松,衣衫却整齐清洁。有的年纪已过了四十岁,还与同伴竞争兜揽生意。两角钱就为客人把行李背到河边渡船上,跟随过渡,到达彼岸,再为背到落脚处。外来人到河码头渡船边时,不免十分惊讶,好一片水!好一座小小山城!尤其是那一排渡船,船上的水手,一眼看去,几乎又全是女子。过了河,进得城门,向长街走走,就可见到卖菜的,卖米的,开铺子的,做银匠的,无一不是女子。再没有另一个地方女子对于参加各种事业,各种生活,做得那么普遍,那么自然了。看到这种情形,真不免令人发生疑问:一切事几乎都由女子来办,如《镜花缘》一书上的女儿国现象了。本地的男子,是出去打仗,还是在家纳福看孩子?

不过一个旅行者自觉已经来到辰州时,兴味或不在这些平常问题上。辰州地方是以辰州符闻名的,辰州符的传说奇迹中又以赶尸著闻。公路在沅水南岸,过北岸城里去,自然盼望有机会弄明白一下这种老玩意儿。

可是旅行者这点儿好奇心会受打击,多数当地人对于辰州符都莫名其妙,且毫无兴趣,也不怎么相信。或许无意中会碰着一个“大”人物,体魄大,声音大,气派也好像很大。他不是姓张,就是姓李(他应当姓李!一个典型市侩,在商会任职,以善于吹拍混入行署任名誉参议),会告你,辰州符的灵迹,就是用刀把一只鸡颈脖扎断,把它重新接上,噀一口符水,向地上抛去,这只鸡即刻就会跑去,撒一把米到地上,这只鸡居然还赶回来吃米!你问他:“这事曾亲眼见过吗?”他一定说:“当真是眼见的事。”或许慢慢的想一想,你便也会觉得同样是在什么地方亲眼见过这件事了。原来五十年前的什么书上,就这么说过的。这个大人物是当地著名会说大话的。世界上的事什么都好像知道得清清楚楚,只不大知道自己说话是假的还是真的?是书上有的,还是自己造作的?多数本地人对于“辰州符”是个什么东西,照例都不大明白的。

对于赶尸传说呢?说来实在动人。凡受了点儿新教育,血里骨里还浸透原人迷信的外来新绅士,想满足自己的荒唐幻想,到这个地方来时,总有机会温习一下这种传说。绅士,学生,旅馆中人,俨然因为生在当地,便负了一种不可避免的义务,又如为一种天赋幽默同情心所激发,总要把它的神奇处重述一番。或说朋友亲戚曾亲眼见过这种事情,或说曾有谁被赶回来。其实他依然和客人一样,并不明白,也不相信,客人不提起,他是从不注意这个问题的。客人想“研究”它(我们想得出有许多人是乐于研究它的),最好还是看《奇门遁甲》,这部书或者对他有一点儿帮助,本地人可不会给他多少帮助。本地人虽乐于答复这一类傻不可言的问题,却不能说明这事情的真实性。就中有个“有道之士”,姓阙,当地人统称之为阙五老,年纪将近六十岁,谈天时精神犹如一个小孩子。据说十五岁时就远走云贵,跟名师学习过这门法术。作法时口诀并不稀奇,不过是念文天祥的《正气歌》罢了。死人能走动便受这种歌词的影响。辰州符主要的工具是一碗水,这个有道之士家中神主前便陈列了那么一碗水,据说已经有三十五年了,碗里水减少时就加添一点儿。一切病痛统由这一碗水解决。一个死尸的行动,也得用水迎面的一噀。这水且能由浑浊与沸腾表示预兆,有人需要帮忙或卜家事吉凶的预兆。登门造访者若是一个读书人,一个假洋人教授,他把这一碗水的妙用形容得将更惊心动魄。使他舌底翻莲的原因,或者是他自己十分寂寞,或者是对于客人具有天赋同情,所以常常把书上没有的也说到了。客人要老老实实发问:“五老,那你看过这种事了?”他必装作很认真神气说:“当然的。我还亲自赶过!那是我一个亲戚,在云南做官,死在任上,赶回湖南,每天为死者换新草鞋一双,到得湖南时,死人脚趾头全走脱了。只是功夫不练就不灵,早丢下了。”至于为什么把它丢下,可不说明。客人目的在“表演”,主人用意在“故神其说”,末后自然不免使客人失望。不过知道了这玩意儿是读《正气歌》作口诀,同儒家居然大有关系时,也不无所得。关于赶尸的传说,这位有道之士可谓集其大成,所以值得找方便去拜访一次,他的住处在上西关,一问即可知道。可是一个读书人也许从那有道之士伏尔泰风格的微笑,伏尔泰风格的言谈,会看出另外一种无声音的调笑,“你外来的书呆子,世界上的事你知道许多,可是书本不说,另外还有许多就不知道了。用《正气歌》赶走了死尸,你充满好奇的关心,你这个活人,是被什么邪气歌赶到我这里来?”那时他也许正坐在他的杂货铺里面(他是隐于医与商的),忽然用手指着街上一个长头发的男子说:“看,疯子!”那真是个疯子,沅陵地方唯一的疯子。可是他的语气也许指的是你拜访者。你自己试想想看,为了一种流行多年的荒唐传说,充满了好奇心来拜访一个透熟人生的人,问他死了的人用什么方法赶上路,你用意说不定还想拜老师,学来好去外国赚钱出名,至少也弄得个哲学博士回国,再用它来骗中国学生,在他饱经世故的眼中,你和疯子的行径有多少不同!

这个人的言谈,倒真是一种杰作,三十年来当地的历史,在他记忆中保存得完完全全,说来时庄谐杂陈,实在值得一听。尤其是对于当地人事所下批评,尖锐透入,令人不由得不想起法国那个伏尔泰。

至于辰砂的出处,出产于离辰州地还远得很,远在三百里外凤凰县的苗乡猴子坪。

凡到过沅陵的人,在好奇心失望后,依然可从自然风物的秀美上得到补偿。由沅陵南岸看北岸山城,房屋接瓦连椽,较高处露出雉堞,沿山围绕;丛树点缀其间,风光入眼,实不俗气。由北岸向南望,则河边小山间,竹园、树木、庙宇、高塔、民居,仿佛各个位置都在最适当处。山后较远处群峰罗列,如屏如障,烟云变幻,颜色积翠堆蓝。早晚相对,令人想象其中必有帝子天神,驾螭乘蜺,驰骤其间。绕城长河,每年三四月春水发后,洪江油船颜色鲜明,在摇橹歌呼中连翩下驶。长方形大木筏,数十精壮汉子,各据筏上一角,举桡激水,乘流而下。就中最令人感动处,是小船半渡,游目四瞩,俨然四围是山,山外重山,一切如画。水深流速,弄船女子,腰腿劲健,胆大心平,危立船头,视若无事。同一渡船,大多数都是妇人,划船的是妇女,过渡的也是妇女较多,有些卖柴卖炭的,来回跑五六十里路,上城卖一担柴,换两斤盐,或带回一点儿红绿纸张同竹篾作成的简陋船只,小小香烛。问她时,就会笑笑的回答:“拿回家去做土地会。”你或许不明白土地会的意义,事实上就是酬谢《楚辞》中提到的那种云中君——山鬼。这些女子一看都那么和善,那么朴素,年纪四十以下的,无一不在胸前土蓝布或葱绿布围裙上绣上一片花,且差不多每个人都是别出心裁,把它处置得十分美观,不拘写实或抽象的花朵,总那么妥帖而雅相。在轻烟细雨里,一个外来人眼见到这种情形,必不免在赞美中轻轻叹息,天时常常是那么把山和水和人都笼罩在一种似雨似雾使人微感凄凉的情调里,然而却无处不可以见出“生命”在这个地方有光辉的那一面。

外来客自然会有个疑问发生:这地方一切事业女人都有份,而且像只有“两截穿衣”的女子有份,男子到哪里去了呢?

在长街上,我们固然时常可以见到一对少年夫妻,女的眉毛俊秀,鼻准完美,穿浅蓝布衣,用手指粗银链系扣花围裙,背小竹笼。男的身长而瘦,英武爽朗,肩上扛了各种野兽皮向商人兜卖。令人一见十分感动。可是这种男子是特殊的。是出了钱,得到免役的瑶族。

男子大部分都当兵去了。因兵役法的缺陷,和执行兵役法的中间层保甲制度人选不完善,逃避兵役的也多,这些壮丁抛下他的耕牛,向山中走,就去当匪。匪多的原因,外来官吏苛索实为主因。乡下人照例都愿意好好活下去,官吏的老式方法居多是不让他们那么好好活下去。乡下人照例一入兵营就成为一个好战士,可是办兵役的却觉得如果人人都乐于应兵役,就毫无利益可图。土匪多时,当局另外派大部队来“维持治安”,守在几个城区,别的不再过问。乡下土匪得了相当武器后,在报复情绪下就是对公务员特别不客气,凡搜刮过多的外来人,一落到他们手里时,必然是先将所有的得到,再来取那个“命”。许多人对于湘西民或匪都留下一个特别蛮悍嗜杀的印象,就由这种教训而来。许多人说湘西有匪,许多人在湘西虽遇匪,却从不曾遭遇过一次抢劫,就是这个原因。

一个旅行者若想起公路就是这种蛮悍不驯的山民或土匪,在烈日和风雪中努力作成的,乘了新式公共汽车由这条公路经过时,既感觉公路工程的伟大结实,到得沅陵时,更随处可见妇人如何认真称职,用劳力讨生活,而对于自然所给的印象,又如此秀美,不免感慨系之。这地方神秘处原来在此而不在彼。人民如此可用,景物如此美好,三十年来牧民者来来去去,新陈代谢,不知多少,除认为“蛮悍”外,竟别无发现。外来为官作宦的,回籍时至多也只有把当地久已消灭无余的各种画符捉鬼荒唐不经的传说,在茶余酒后向陌生者一谈。地方真正好处不会欣赏,坏处不能明白。这岂不是湘西的另一种神秘?

沅陵算是个湘西受外来影响较久较大的地方,城区教会的势力,造成一批吃教饭的人物,蛮悍性情因之消失无余,代替而来的或许是一点儿青年会办事人的习气。沅陵又是沅水几个支流货物转口处,商人势力较大,以利为归的习惯,也自然很影响到一些人的打算行为。沅陵位置在沅水流域中部,就地形而言,自为内战时代必争之地。因此麻阳县的水手,一部分登陆以后,便成为当地有势力的小贩,凤凰县屯垦子弟兵官佐,留下住家的,便成为当地有产业的客居者。慷慨好义,负气任侠,楚人中这类古典的热诚,若从当地人寻觅无着时,还可从这两个地方的男子中发现。一个外来人,在那山城中石板作成的一道长街上,会为一个矮小瘦弱,眼睛又不明,听觉又不聪,走路时匆匆忙忙,说话时结结巴巴那么一个平常人引起好奇心。说不定他那时正在大街头为人排难解纷,说不定他的行为正需要旁人排难解纷!他那样子就古怪,神气也古怪。一切像个乡下人,像个官能为嗜好与毒物所毁坏,心灵又十分平凡的人。可是应当找机会去同他熟一点儿,谈谈天。应当想办法更熟一点儿,跟他向家里走(他的家在一个山上。那房子是沅陵住房地位最好,花木最多的)。如此一来,结果你会接触一点儿很新奇的东西,一种混合古典热诚与近代理性在一个特殊环境特殊生活里培养成的心灵。你自然会“同情”他,可是最好倒是“信托”他。他需要的不是同情,因为他成天在同情他人,为他人设想帮忙尽义务,来不及接收他人的同情。他需要人“信托”,因为他那种古典的作人的态度,值得信托。同时他的性情充满了一种天真的爱好,他需要信托,为的是他值得信托。他的视觉同听觉都毁坏了,心和脑可极健全。凤凰屯垦兵子弟中出壮士,体力胆气两方面都不弱于人。这个矮小瘦弱的人物,虽出身世代武人的家庭中,因无力量征服他人,失去了作军人的资格。可是那点儿有遗传性的军人气概,却征服了他自己,统治自己,改造自己,成为沅陵县一个顶可爱的人。他的名字叫做“大老爷”,或“大大”,一个古怪到家的称呼。商人、妓女、屠户、教会中的牧师和医生,都这样称呼他。到沅陵去的人,应当认识认识这位大老爷。

沅陵县沿河下游四里路远近,河中心有个洲岛,周围高山四合,名“合掌洲”,名目与情景相称。洲上有座庙宇,名“和尚洲”,也还说得去。但本地的传说却以为是“和涨洲”,因为水涨河面宽,淹不着,为的是洲随河水起落!合掌洲有个白塔,由顶到根雷劈了一小片,本地人以为奇,并不足奇。河南岸村名黄草尾,人家多在橘柚林里,橘子树白华朱实,宜有小腰白齿出于其间。一个种菜园的周家,生了四个女儿,最小的一个四妹,人都呼为夭妹,年纪十七岁,许了个成衣店学徒,尚未圆亲。成衣店学徒积蓄了整年工钱,打了一副金耳环给夭妹,女孩子就戴了这副金耳环,每天挑菜进东城门卖菜。因为性格好繁华,人长得风流俊俏,一个东门大街的人都知道卖菜的周家夭妹。

因此县里的机关中办事员,保安司令部的小军佐,和商店中小开,下黄草尾玩耍的就多起来了。但不成,肥水不落外人田,有了主子。可是“人怕出名猪怕壮”,夭夭的名声传出去了,水上划船人全都知道周家夭夭。去年(一九三七年)冬天一个夜里,忽然来了四百武装喽啰攻打沅陵县城,在城边响了一夜枪,到天明以前,无从进城,这一伙人依然退走了。这些人本来目的也许就只是在城外打一夜枪。其中一个带队的称团长,却带了兄弟伙到夭妹家里去拍门。进屋后别的不要,只把这女孩子带走。

女孩子虽又惊又怕,还是从容的说:“你抢我,把我箱子也抢去,我才有衣服换!”

带到山里去时那团长问:“夭夭,你要死,要活?”

女孩子想了想,轻声的说:“要死,你不会让我死。”

团长笑了:“那你意思是要活了!要活就嫁我,跟我走。我把你当官太太,为你杀猪杀羊请客,我不负你。”

女孩子看看团长,人物实在英俊标致,比成衣店学徒强多了,就说:“人到什么地方都是吃饭,我跟你走。”

于是当天就杀了两只猪,十二只羊,一百对鸡鸭,大吃大喝大热闹,团长和夭妹结婚。女孩子问她的衣箱在什么地方,待把衣箱取来打开一看,原来全是预备陪嫁的!英雄美人,可谓美满姻缘。三天后,那团长就派人送信给黄草尾种菜的周老夫妇,称岳父岳母,报告夭妹安好,不用挂念。信还是用红帖子写的,词句华而典,师爷的手笔。还同时送来一批礼物!老夫妇无话可说,只苦了成衣店那个学徒,坐在东门大街一家铺子里,一面裁布条子做纽襻,一面垂泪。

这也可说是沅陵县人物之一型。

至于住城中的几个年高有德的老绅士,那倒正像湘西许多县城里的正经绅士一样,在当地是很闻名的,庙宇里照例有这种名人写的屏条,名胜地方照例有他们题的诗词。儿女多受过良好教育,在外做事。家中种植花木,蓄养金鱼和雀鸟,门庭规矩也很好。与地方关系,却多如显克微支在他《炭画》那本书里所说的贵族,凡事取“不干涉主义”。因为名气大,许多不相干的捐款,不相干的公事,不相干的麻烦,不会上门。乐得在家纳福,不求闻达,所以也不用有什么表现。对于生活劳苦认真,既不如车站边负重妇女,生命活跃,也不如卖菜的周家夭妹,然而日子还是过得很好,这就够了。

由沅水下行百十里到沅陵属边境地名柳林岔——就是湘西出产金子,风景又极美丽的柳林岔。那地方过去一时也有个人,很有意思。这个人据说母亲貌美而守寡,住在柳林岔镇上。对河高山上有个庙,庙中住下一个青年和尚,诚心苦修。寡妇因爱慕和尚,每天必借烧香为名去看看和尚,二十年如一日。和尚诚心苦修,不作理会,也同样二十年如一日。儿子长大后,慢慢的知道了这件事。儿子知道后,不敢规劝母亲,也不能责怪和尚,唯恐母亲年老眼花,一不小心,就会堕入深水中淹死。又见庙宇在一个圆形峰顶,攀援实在不容易。因此特意雇定一百石工,在临河悬岩上开辟一条小路,仅可容足,更找一百铁工,制就一条粗而长的铁链索,固定在上面,作为援手工具。又在两山间造一拱石头桥,上山顶庙里时就可省一大半路。这些工作进行时自己还参加,直到完成。各事完成以后,这男子就出远门走了,一去再也不回来了。

这座庙,这个桥,濒河的黛色悬崖上这条人工凿就的古怪道路,路旁的粗大铁链,都好好的保存在那里,可以为过路人见到。凡上行船的纤手,还必需从这条路把船拉上滩。船上人都知道这个故事。故事虽还有另一种说法,以为一切是寡妇所修的,为的是这寡妇……总之,这是一个平常人为满足他的某种心愿而完成的伟大工程。这个人早已死了,却活在所有水上人的记忆里。传说和当地景色极和谐,美丽而微带忧郁。

沅水由沅陵下行三十里后即滩水连接,白溶、九溪、横石、青浪[7]……就中以青浪滩最长,石头最多,水流最猛。顺流而下时,四十里水路不过二十分钟可完事,上行船有时得一整天。

青浪滩滩脚有个大庙,名伏波宫,敬奉的是汉老将马援。行船人到此必在庙里烧纸献牲。庙宇无特点,不出奇。庙中屋角树梢栖息的红嘴红脚小小乌鸦,成千累万,遇下行船必飞往接船送船,船上人把饭食糕饼向空中抛去,这些小黑鸟就在空中接着,把它吃了。上行船可照例不光顾。虽上下船只极多,这小东西知道向什么船可发利市,什么船不打抽丰。船夫传说这是马援的神兵,为迎接船只的神兵,照老规矩,凡伤害的必赔一大小相等银乌鸦,因此从不会有人敢伤害它。

几件事都是人的事情。与人生活不可分,却又杂糅神性和魔性。湘西的传说与神话,无不古艳动人。同这样差不多的还很多。湘西的神秘,和民族性的特殊大有关系。历史上楚人的幻想情绪,必然孕育在这种环境中,方能滋长成为动人的诗歌。想保存它,同样需要这种环境。

The People of Yuanling

Anyone taking a bus from Changde to Yuanling is likely to be struck by the absence of Miao on the road and, secondly, by hearing very little talk of bandits.

Although the road twists and turns many times through the hills and valleys, it is kept in such good condition that buses run in wet weather as well as fine. Obviously this road’s designer made every effort to ensure the safety of traffic on it.And travellers tend to forget the dangers of the journey as they admire the beauty of the landscape. When they cross the river at Taipingpu, the scenery calls to mind the splendid paintings of the Song Imperial Academy. Winding streams, clear and shallow,flow over fine sand between boulders. The peaks vie in splendour,emerald green or deep blue, while in light rain or sunlight their colours defy description. In the woods below the hills are cottages, as if deliberately set in the best possible positions, and over the brook skirting the woods is a long bridge wreathed in mist. You have only to reach out a hand to pick fragrant herbs and wild flowers. The place seems haunted by the mountain spirits and Lord of the Clouds of the Songs of the South. When one reaches the peak at Guanzhuang, the undulating mountains, range after range, are a dizzying sight for women with weak nerves or men who are useless cowards. But any normal man is bound to admire the magnificent scenery and express his grateful respect for the conscripts who came years ago, carrying grain and water,to build this road through the mountains. Completely unknown,their voices never heard, they were true fighters! They sweated to build each inch of this road, some coming from villages a hundred li away. Silently they carried earth or quarried stone in the places assigned them or strained forward, dozens together, to level the surface of the road with big stone rollers. Drenched by rain or famished, they put up with all manner of cruel treatment to complete the task given them. When the road was built, many strange outlandish figures flocked over shouting and cheering,and knowing that the job was done these lovable countryfolk went back, laughing, to their homes in unimaginable villages. For years China’s construction work, the little there was of it, has been done by these nameless heroes. They may be completely ignorant, but they accomplish great feats.

Judging simply by the danger involved in building this solid road, the people of west Hunan are capable of working wonders for the country. As long as they have leadership, even if given more difficult tasks they can be counted on to carry them out excellently.

All the tong-oil trees on the slopes by the road and the beautifully cultivated orchards there enable us to undestand the people of these parts. Even if given no leadership, by unremitting endeavour they learn from experience how to make a living. They can be counted on to subdue the soil and increase production.

If only the authorities are not too grasping, not too hard on them, these hard-working people will not revolt or make trouble.But from talking to the villagers near each bus stop we discovered what their previous conditions had been. They had to pay their share of all duties and taxes. The ward chiefs truly excelled in their attempts to ruin the countryfolk! And what spurred them on was the rule that they themselves could keep half the amount exacted while making over the other half to the state. Yet when this problem came to the attention of those above they laid all the blame on the ward chiefs, not on their own disgraceful government. Because those in charge had no idea how to take charge, the hope of improving conditions here remained an empty dream.

Still, all this now seems to belong to the past.

When our bus reached the Guanzhuang junction, we found a row of vehicles drawn up quietly in the parking space by the road, waiting to cross the mountain, showing the orderliness of the traffic here. Even army trucks obeyed traffic regulations and could not jump the queue. Each driver waited in an orderly way for his turn. The man responsible for this was named Zhou, the engineer in charge of the road’s construction.

When our bus reached Yuanling what struck us most was that all the work by the bus station—carrying loads on shoulders,backs or poles or pushing carts—was being done by women. The heavy work done in other places by men was here undertaken by women, who transacted official business too. Not a few of them formed a maintenance crew for the road and bus station.They were handy and efficient. In China, the movement for women’s rights has been active for twenty years, yet in public its members are still not ashamed to address each other as “Madam”.Moreover they all congregate in the cities, living a pampered life.By comparison these working women, who equate eating with sweating, compel our admiration and sympathy.

Although working all day they remember they are women,and retain the natural feminine love of beauty. The embroidery over their breasts and the borders of their trousers is done beside an oil lamp after work.(This exquisite embroidery with its ingenious designs arouses the admiration of outsiders.) Although these women’s daily tasks are so heavy, their clothes are neat and clean. Some, over forty, still compete as porters. For twenty cents they will carry a traveller’s luggage on their backs to the ferryboat, then cross the river with him and carry it up the bank to his destination. When people from other parts reach the ferry wharf, they exclaim in astonishment at the fine river, the fine little town in the hills. Especially as the crews of the ferryboats appear to consist entirely of women. Having crossed the river and entered the city gate, strangers walking down the main street see that all the venders of vegetables and rice, all the shopkeepers and silversmiths too are women. Nowhere else do women join so generally, so naturally, in every profession and calling. One cannot help marvelling: Practically everything is done by women,just as in the Kingdom of Women in the novel Flowers in a Mirror. What has become of the men? Have they gone off as soldiers, or are they taking it easy at home minding the children?

But a traveller aware that he has now reached Chenzhou may not be interested in such mundane matters. Chenzhou is famed for its magic, and one of its bestknown legends concerns how to make the dead walk. The bus route is on the south bank of the Yuan.Travellers who cross to the north bank and go into town naturally hope for a chance to get to the bottom of this old mystery.

But curious travellers may be disappointed. Most of the local people have lost all interest and faith in this weird Chenzhou magic. You may, however, run into a “big shot”, a big man with a big voice and big ideas evidently. His surname will be either Zhang or Li. (Most likely Li! A typical philistine, a functionary in the chamber of commerce, he is a boastful sycophant who has wormed his way into the local administration as an advisor.) He may tell you that Chenzhou sorcerers cut off a chicken’s head then fix it on again, spit a mouthful of magic water over it and drop it on the ground, whereupon the chicken immediately runs away.If you scatter rice on the ground, it will run back to eat it! If you ask, “Have you yourself seen this?” he will answer,“Certainly.”Or if you think it over, you may feel you too have seen this somewhere yourself. There was an account like this in a book fifty years ago. This big shot is notorious there as a braggart. He appears to know the last word on everything. Only one cannot be sure whether he is telling the truth or not, quoting from a book or spinning a yarn. Most of the local people are still not too clear what Chenzhou magic is.

The legend about making the dead walk is really stirring.All the new-style gentlemen from other parts, who have had some modern education, yet have primitive superstitions in their veins and are eager to satisfy their fanciful notions, always have a chance here to review this legend. The local gentry, students or inn attendants feel in duty bound—or may be induced by an innate sense of humour or sympathy—to relate this strange tale again. They may claim that some friend or relative witnessed such a happening, or that some corpse was driven back to its home.In fact, just like the guest, they neither understand nor believe this, and would never give it any thought were the question not raised by outsiders. Visitors wanting to “study” it (we can imagine many such cases) had better read The Manual of Magic.This may help them a little; the local people cannot help them much. For although they like to answer idiotic questions of this sort, they cannot vouch for the truth of their accounts. There is a certain Que, a “venerable man” known locally as Fifth Master Que. Although nearly sixty, he rattles away like a child. He is said to have gone at fifteen all the way to Yunnan and Guizhou where he learned magic from a famous teacher. He uses no strange incantations to work his spells, just recites Wen Tianxiang’s Song of Righteousness. That enables the dead to walk. The main prop in Chenzhou magic is a bowl of water; and this venerable man is said to have kept such a bowl in front of the family’s spirit tablet for thirty-five years. When the water evaporates it is replenished.All ailments can be cured with this bowl of water. A dead man can be made to walk if his face is spattered with it. And if it turns turgid or bubbles that is a sign that someone needs help, or foretells good luck or disaster. If visited by a scholar or a bogus foreign professor, Que gives even more thrilling descriptions of the efficacy of this bowl of water. He exaggerates either because he feels so lonely or because of his innate sympathy for the guest.So he often speaks of things not found in books. The visitor will ask frankly, “Have you seen such things, Fifth Master?” With a great show of earnestness he will reply, “Of course. I’ve made a dead man walk myself! He was a relative of mine who died at his official post in Yunnan. I drove him back to Hunan, giving him a new pair of straw sandals every day. But by the time he got here his toes had dropped off. The trouble is, if you don’t keep your hand in you lose the knack, and that’s what happened to me.” He will not explain why he has given up this practice. As the visitor wanted a “demonstration”, he is naturally disappointed when his host fobs him off with tall stories. He simply learns that the Song of Righteousness is used as an incantation in this magic, but that at least is something since this is so closely linked with Confucianism. As for the legend about making the dead walk, this venerable man can be said to know all about it,so he is worth a visit. He lives near the upper West Gate; anyone can direct you there. But from this venerable man’s smile and speech, so reminiscent of Voltaire, a scholar may detect another unspoken taunt: “You bookworm from outside know a lot about world affairs, but there are many other things not to be found in books which you don’t know. You’re so nosey about the use of the Song of Righteousness to drive the dead, I’d like to know what song of evil drove you, a living creature, here to me?” While sitting in his store (this recluse is a physician and a tradesman) he may suddenly point at a long-haired man in the street, saying,“Look, a lunatic!” It is indeed a lunatic, the only one in Yuanling.But this remark may be aimed at the visitor. Just think: Because of a fantastic old legend, you call nosily on a man who knows all about life to ask him how to drive a dead man along. You may want him to teach you so that you can go abroad to earn money and make a name, or at least come back with a doctorate in philosophy with which to cheat Chinese students. To one so experienced in the ways of the world, what difference is there between you and a lunatic?

This man is really a brilliant conversationalist. He remembers the whole history of this place for the last thirty years, and relates it now seriously now whimsically so that it is really worth hearing. His strictures on events there are particularly sharp,irresistibly reminding hearers of Voltaire.

As for the Chenzhou cinnabar, that is produced three hundred li away in Monkey Flat, Fenghuang County, Miao territory.

All travellers to Yuanling, even if their curiosity is frustrated,find compensation in the lovely landscape. The view from the south bank of the hill town on the north bank shows a network of tiles and rafters skirting the hills, with parts of the city wall visible in the higher places. With trees in between this is a striking sight, in no way vulgar. Looking south from the north bank at the riverside hills one sees bamboo groves, woods,temples, pagodas and cottages, all in the most appropriate position. Beyond these hills rise peaks like screens, with shifting mist and clouds, jade-green or sapphire-blue. People watching them at dawn or dusk feel convinced that deities are riding dragons there. The river which winds past the town rises every spring, and then garish oil boats from Hongjiang row in succession downstream, the oarsmen singing. Big oblong rafts manned by dozens of sturdy rowers speed down too with the current. When your little craft is in midstream what is most moving is to gaze around at the surrounding hills and all the ranges beyond like a landscape painting. The water, deep here,flows fast. The sturdily-built women rowers, fearless and level headed, stand in the prow heedless of danger. Most of the crews of the ferryboats are women, as are most of the passengers too,some of whom sell firewood or charcoal. They will travel fifty to sixty li to town and back to exchange a load of firewood for two catties of salt, or sell it to buy sheets of red and green paper and bamboo with which to make toy boats, as well as a few little candles. If asked what these are for, they tell you with a smile,“I’m taking them back for the sacrifice to the Earth God.” In fact they will sacrifice them to the Lord of the Clouds, the mountain spirit in the Songs of the South. All these, you can see at a glance,are very good, simple women. All those under forty embroider the front of their blue homespun tunics or green aprons, and virtually each has her own design, very original it is too, neither realistic nor abstract but always well proportioned and tasteful. In mist or light rain a visitor from outside while admiring this beautiful sight will sigh faintly too. Heaven often cloaks hills, river and people here with a sort of mizzle or mist, inducing a faint sense of melancholy; yet everywhere you can see how glorious life is here.

Visitors from outside will naturally wonder: Women do all the work here, and it seems as if they are the only ones to do it. So where have the men gone?

In the main street, actually, we often come across a young married couple. The woman with arched eyebrows and a shape nose will be dressed in pale blue with a silver girdle-chain as thick as a finger and an embroidered apron, on her back a small bamboo crate. Her tall, lean husband, a dashing figure, will have slung over his shoulder the pelts of different wild beasts to sell to some merchant. They make a striking pair. But such men are exceptional cases who have paid to be exempted from conscript labour. They belong to the Yao nationality.

Most men have been conscripted for the army. But many others abscond to avoid this, because of the faults in the conscription system and the unfair selection made by the ward chiefs who handle it. So these able-bodied men abandon their oxen and take to the hills as bandits. The main reason really for banditry being so rife is exorbitant taxation. The villagers naturally want to live in peace, but the authorities will never allow this. When the villagers get conscripted they make good soldiers, but the conscription officers feel that if everyone enlisted willingly they would be deprived of their rake-off. When banditry is rife, the authorities send in more regular troops to “keep order”.These are stationed in various towns, and no further questions are asked. Once the bandits scattered through the countryside have acquired enough weapons, they crack down on functionaries to get their own back, and when outsiders who have fleeced them fall into their hands they first take all their property and then their lives. These reprisals have created the general impression that the people of west Hunan or the bandits there are a savage bloodthirsty lot. But this also explains why, though west Hunan swarms with bandits, many travellers who meet them are never molested.

A traveller who bears in mind that the highway was built by such savage, intractable hill people or bandits, toiling away in the blazing sun or in snowstorms, if he journeys along it by one of the new buses will be impressed by the soundness of its construction, while at Yuanling the sight of the women working so hard for a living amid that enchanting scenery will distress him. This is the mystery of the locality. Such competent people,such lovely scenery, where for the last thirty years so many rulers have come and gone, the new replacing the old so many times, yet the sole discovery made was that they were “savages”. Officials posted here from outside, on their return home at most take back ludicrous legends of magic to catch ghosts, legends long forgotten in that locality. With these they regale strangers after tea or wine.They cannot appreciate the true good points of the place, cannot understand its bad points. Is this not another of west Hunan’s mysteries?

Yuanling has been more influenced from outside than the rest of west Hunan, and for a longer period. The power of the Church there produced a set of people who depended on it for a living, and as a result their savagery was replaced by habits like those of YMCA organizers. And as several tributaries of the Yuan converge here, Yuanling is a centre of commerce whose powerful merchants’ goal in life is profit, which has also naturally influenced some people’s behaviour. Situated in the middle reaches of the Yuan, the city is inevitably contested in times of civil war. Thus after some boatmen from Mayang County settled here, they became influential tradesmen. Officers of the military cadet training school in Fenghuang County may leave their families here and become men of property. If you search in vain in other localities for the generosity, justice, self reliance and chivalry which were the traditional qualities of the old state of Chu, you can still find them in the men in these two places. An outsider in this hill town, walking down a street paved with flagstones, may be intrigued by an ordinary fellow,short, lean, half blind and deaf, who hurries along stuttering. He may be trying to settle a dispute, or may need others to help him settle it! An odd-looking fellow he is, and he behaves oddly. He appears just like a villager whose faculties have been destroyed by drug addiction and whose mind is mediocre. But you should find a chance to get to know him better and talk to him, a way to get to know him better and go home with him. (His home is on a hill in the best location in Yuanling, with the best garden.) If you do, you will come up against a most strange phenomenon:a mind combining traditional ardour with modern rationalism, formed in a distinctive life in distinctive surroundings. You will naturally “sympathize” with him, but it would be better to“trust” him. Sympathy is not what he needs, as he spends all his time sympathizing with others and devising ways to help them,regarding this as his duty; so he has no time for the sympathy of others. He needs trust because his conduct, like that of a man of old, is trustworthy. At the same time he is filled with an innocent desire to be trusted because he is trustworthy. His eyesight and hearing have failed, but his heart and mind are completely sound.The men trained in the Fenghuang Cadet Corps stationed there are as strong and fearless as you can find anywhere. This short lean fellow, although generations of his forbears were soldiers, was not qualified to join the army himself, being too weak to get the better of others. But the militant spirit he inherited got the better of him and controlled him, turning him into one of the most lovable characters in Yuanling County. He is known as “Big Master” or“Uncle”—a weird name to call him. This is how he is addressed by merchants, whores, butchers, church pastors and doctors alike.Anyone going to Yuanling should make the acquaintance of this Big Master.

Four li downstream from Yuanling, in the middle of the river, there is an island. Enclosed on all sides by mountains it is aptly called “Closed Palms Islet”. Because of the temple on it, it is also called “Monks’ Islet”. But according to a local tradition its name should be “Mount Islet”, because even when the river rises it is not flooded, being able to mount up or subside with the water! The white pagoda on this island has been cracked from its summit to its base by lightning, and the local people consider this a marvel, not that it is anything extraordinary. In Huangcaowei,the village on the south bank, most people live in orange orchards which bear white flowers and red fruit, a fine setting for slim, pretty girls. A certain Zhou, a market-gardener, had four daughters, the youngest of whom was nicknamed Youngest Sister.At seventeen she was betrothed to a tailor’s apprentice. After saving up a year’s wages he bought her a pair of gold earrings,which she wore to go to town through the East Gate every day to sell vegetables. Because she was luxury-loving and so attractive,everyone in East Gate Street knew this fourth daughter of the market-gardener.

So the local civil servants, the junior officers in the Security Headquarters, as well as young shop managers took to making pleasure jaunts to Huangcaowei. But it was no use, the pretty girl was bespoken. However, “Men fear fame, pigs fear fattening.”Youngest Sister’s reputation spread till all the river’s boatmen knew about her. In 1937, one winter night, a force of four hundred armed men attacked Yuanling. There was shooting all night outside the city wall. Before daylight this force withdrew,having failed to enter the town. Perhaps they had never intended to capture it. For the commander led his men to Youngest Sister’s home and pounded on the gate. On being admitted they made no other demands—all they wanted was the girl.

In spite of her shock and fright, the girl kept her head. She said,“If you carry me off, take my chest as well, or I’ll have no change of clothes!”

When they reached the mountains the commander asked her,“Do you want to live or die, Youngest Sister?”

She thought a moment, then answered quietly, “If I want to die, you won’t let me.”

The commander chuckled,“That means you want to live! In that case you must marry me and follow me. I’ll treat you like an officer’s wife and give a grand wedding feast. I won’t let you down.”

She saw that he was a fine handsome man, far better than the tailor’s apprentice. “Folk can make shift anywhere,” she replied.“I’ll go with you.”

So that same day they killed two pigs, twelve sheep and two hundred chickens and ducks, and all the wedding guests ate, drank and made merry. The girl asked for her chest, and when it was brought and opened, it had her trousseau in it! So this hero and his beauty made a fine couple. Three days later the commander sent a messenger with a letter to the market-gardener Zhou and his wife in Huangcaowei. He addressed them as his in-laws, reported that the girl was well and begged them not to worry. This letter,on red stationery, was couched in flowery language written by his secretary. And with it went rich gifts! The girl’s parents raised no objections. Only the tailor’s apprentice wept as he sat in the shop on East Gate Street cutting strips of cloth to make buttons.

This is one type of character in Yuanling County.

As for the elderly and virtuous gentlemen in the county town, they are like many other worthy gentlemen there who enjoy a fine reputation locally, write scrolls of calligraphy for the temples or inscribe poems in places of historic interest. Most of their children receive a good education, then leave home to work elsewhere. They cultivate their gardens, keep goldfish and birds, and their households are well regulated. Like the aristocrats described in Sienkiewicz’s Charcoal Sketch, they refrain from interfering in local affairs. Their good reputation exempts them from many extraneous taxes, official businesses and troubles.Enjoying themselves at home, with no desire for fame, they need not put up any show. They do not work as hard or shoulder such heavy burdens as the women by the bus stops, neither do they live as exciting a life as Youngest Sister, the daughter of the market gardener Zhou; but they enjoy life and that is enough.

A hundred and ten li or so down the Yuan is Willow Glade Fork on the border of Yuanling County, the gold-producing area of west Hunan, known also for its beautiful scenery. It has produced an interesting character too. His mother, so it is said, was a beautiful widow who lived in the market town. On the mountain on the other side of the river there is a temple in which lived a young monk,a genuine votary. The widow, admiring him, would go every day to that temple on the pretext of burning incense. She did this for twenty years. The monk, his mind set on mortifying the flesh, paid no attention to her all that time. When the son grew up he came to understand the situation. Not venturing to take his mother to task and unable to blame the monk, he worried because now that his old mother’s sight was failing she might inadvertently fall into the river and drown. For the temple was on a circular peak, really difficult of access. So he hired a hundred masons to make a road from the river bank to the summit, then got a hundred blacksmiths to make a long thick iron cable and fix it up as a handrail. He also had a stone bridge built between two hills to provide a shorter way up. And he took part in all this work himself. As soon as it was finished, he left home and travelled far away, never to return.

They are still there in good condition for all passersby to see: the temple, the bridge, the road up the black cliff and the thick iron cable beside it. All the towmen tugging boats upstream have to pass this road. All the passengers on board know this tale. Another version has it that the widow was responsible for all this … At any rate, this ambitious project was carried out to satisfy the wishes of an ordinary individual. Mother and son are long since dead, yet they live on in the memories of the boatmen.This beautiful legend, according so well with the local scenery, is tinged with sadness.

Thirty li downstream from Yuanling, the Yuan runs through a series of rapids. The longest, Qinglang, has the most reefs and strongest current. Boats may speed forty li downstream here in twenty minutes, whereas coming upstream this stretch often takes a whole day.

Below Qinglang Rapid stands Fubo Temple, built in honour of the Han general Ma Yuan. All who pass this way by boat burn paper coins and offer sacrifice here. The temple itself has no distinctive features; but in the treetops in the corners of its courtyard nest countless small crows with red beaks and red claws. They fly to meet or farewell the boats going downstream,and the boatmen fling up cakes or other food which they catch in mid air and eat. They usually ignore the boats going upstream.Although so many boats ply to and fro, these little creatures know which will give them alms, which will not. The boatmen call them Ma Yuan’s spirit soldiers, and anyone who hurts one meeting a boat must donate a silver crow of the same size by way of compensation. So no one ever dares to injure them.

These ways the people have are bound up with their lives,yet intermingled with magic and elements of the supernatural.All these old myths and legends of west Hunan have a strange fascination. There are many, many others of much the same kind.The mystery of west Hunan is closely related to its national characteristics. It took surroundings such as these to produce the imaginative people of the ancient kingdom of Chu and enable them to write such evocative songs. To retain this gift, the same surroundings are needed.

未经允许不得转载:帕布莉卡 » 沈从文《沅陵的人》中英双语 -《湘西散记:汉英对照》

赞 (0)