林海音《冬阳·童年·骆驼队》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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冬阳·童年·骆驼队

◎ 林海音

骆驼队来了,停在我家门前。

它们排列成一长串,沉默的站着,等候人们的安排[1]。天气又干又冷。拉骆驼的摘下了他的毡帽,秃瓢儿上冒着热气,是一股白色的烟,融入干冷的大气中。

爸爸在和他讲价钱。双峰的驼背上,每匹都驮着两麻袋煤。我在想,麻袋里面是“南山高末”呢?还是“乌金墨玉”?我常常看见顺城街煤栈的白墙上,写着这样几个大黑字[2]。但是拉骆驼的说,他们从门头沟来,他们和骆驼,是一步一步走来的。

另外一个拉骆驼的,在招呼骆驼们吃草料。它们把前脚一屈,屁股一撅,就跪了下来。

爸爸已经和他们讲好价钱了。人在卸煤,骆驼在吃草。我站在骆驼的面前,看它们吃草料咀嚼的样子[3]:那样丑的脸,那样长的牙,那样安静的态度。它们咀嚼的时候,上牙和下牙交错的磨来磨去,大鼻孔里冒着热气,白沫子沾满在胡须上。我看得呆了,自己的牙齿也动起来[4]。

老师教给我,要学骆驼,沉得住气的动物。看它从不肯急,慢慢的走,慢慢的嚼;总会走到的,总会吃饱的。也许它天生是该慢慢的,偶然躲避车子跑两步[5],姿势很难看。

骆驼队伍过来时,你会知道,打头儿的那一匹,长脖子底下总会系着一个铃铛,走起来,“铛、铛、铛”的响。

“为什么要一个铃铛?”我不懂的事就要问一问。

爸爸告诉我,骆驼很怕狼,因为狼会咬它们,所以人类给他们带上了铃铛,狼听见铃铛的声音,知道那是有人类在保护着,就不敢侵犯了。

我的幼稚心灵中却充满了和大人不同的想法,我对爸爸说:

“不是的,爸!它们软软的脚掌走在软软的沙漠上,没有一点点声音,你不是说,它们走上三天三夜都不喝一口水,只是不声不响的咀嚼着从胃里倒出来的食物吗?一定是拉骆驼的人类,耐不住那长途寂寞的旅程,所以才给骆驼带上了铃铛,增加一些行路的情趣。”

爸爸想了想,笑笑说:

“也许,你的想法更美些。”

冬天快过完了,春天就要来,太阳特别的暖和,暖得让人想把棉袄脱下来。可不是么?骆驼也脱掉它的旧驼绒袍子啦!它的毛皮一大块一大块的从身上掉下来,垂在肚皮底下。我真想拿把剪刀替它们剪一剪,因为太不整齐了。拉骆驼的人也一样,他们身上那件反穿大羊皮[6],也都脱下来了,搭在骆驼背的小峰上,麻袋空了,“乌金墨玉”都卖了,铃铛在轻松的步伐里响得更清脆。

夏天来了,再不见骆驼的影子,我又问妈:

“夏天它们到哪里去?”

“谁?”

“骆驼呀!”

妈妈回答不上来了,她说:

“总是问,总是问[7],你这孩子!”

夏天过去,秋天过去,冬天又来了,骆驼队又来了,但是童年却一去不还。冬阳底下学骆驼咀嚼的傻事,我也不会再做了。

可是,我是多么想念童年住在北京城南的那些景色和人物啊,我对自己说,把它们写下来吧,让实际的童年过去,心灵的童年永存下来[8]。

就这样,我写了一本《城南旧事》[9]。

我默默的想,慢慢的写。看见冬阳下的骆驼队走过来,听见缓慢悦耳的铃声,童年重临于我的心头。

本文作者林海音(1918—2001),女,台湾苗栗人,生于日本大阪,1923年随父母回国,在北京度过了童年与青年时期,大学毕业后任北京《世界日报》记者。1948年到台湾,1955年主编《联合报》副刊,1967年创办和主编《纯文学》月刊。回顾北京城南的历历往事所写的《城南旧事》,是她最受读者喜爱的一本书,后已改编成电影。她的作品洋溢着浓郁的乡愁,具有典雅柔美的风格。

[1]“等候人们的安排”意即“等候主人的命令(吩咐)”,未按字面直译为awaited people’s arrangements,现译awaited their master’s bidding或waited to do the bidding of their master。

[2]“我常常看见顺城街煤栈的白墙上,写着这样几个大黑字”译为as I often saw in ads splashed in large black Chinese characters over the white wall of the coal storehouse close to the city wall,其中把“顺城街煤栈”译为the coal storehouse close to the city wall,未译 the coal storehouse on Shun Cheng Street;又ads(广告)是译文中的添加词,原文虽无其词而有其意;又“写着”未译为written on,改译splashed over(显眼地展示),更为达意;又“大黑字”译为large black Chinese characters,比large black words精确。

[3]“看它们吃草料咀嚼的样子”译为lost in watching the way they were chewing the fodder,其中lost in作“专注于”解,此句也可译为absorbed in watching how they were chewing the fodder。

[4]“自己的牙齿也动起来”可按“也不由自主地磨起牙齿”译为and involuntarily started grinding my teeth, too。

[5]“偶然躲避车子跑两步”译为Occasionally it will take a few quickened steps to dodge a car或Occasionally it will move a bit more quickly to make way for a car。

[6]“那件反穿大羊皮”译为the sheepskin overcoats they had been wearing inside out,其中“大羊皮”指“羊皮大衣”,故译sheepskin overcoat;又inside out作“里面朝外”解,是惯用语。

[7]“总是问,总是问”语带嗔怪口气,故用always加动词进行式表达:You’re always asking questions …。

[8]“让实际的童年过去,心灵的童年永存下来”译为so that the childhood of my heart will last forever when the childhood of my life is gone,其中“实际的童年”与“心灵的童年”不宜按字面分别直译为my actual childhood与my mental childhood。

[9]“《城南旧事》”译为Old Stories from the South End,其中End作“地区”解,常用来指大城市的边沿地区。

Winter Sun? Childhood? Caravan

◎ Lin Haiyin

The caravan of camels arrived and stopped in front of our home.

Standing in a long string, they silently awaited their master’s bidding. It was dry and cold. The camel driver took off his felt cap, his sweaty bald pate giving off puffs of whitish steam to blend into the dry and cold air.

Father was haggling over prices with him. The camels had each two sacks of coal on their two-humped backs. I was curious about the sacks of“top-grade coal dust from Southern Mountain”or“black gold and inky jade”, as I often saw in ads splashed in large black Chinese characters over the white wall of the coal storehouse near the city wall. But the camel driver said he had trekked with the camels all the way from Mentougou[1], step by step.

The camels knelt down by bending their front legs and sticking up their bottoms while another camel driver was giving out fodder to them.

After father had finished bargaining, the camel drivers began unloading the coal while the camels were eating. I stood in front of the camels, lost in watching the way they were chewing the fodder as well as their ugly faces, long teeth and composure. They were busy grinding their upper and lower teeth together with steam let out of their nostrils and foam forming all over their beards. I looked blankly and involuntarily started grinding my teeth, too.

As my teacher told me, I should learn from the camel — an animal so calm and steady and so patient. It moves slowly, but never fails to reach the destination of its journey; it chews its food slowly, but never fails to get its fill. Maybe it is slow by nature. Occasionally it will take a few quickened steps to dodge a car, but in a very awkward manner though.

When a caravan was approaching, people would hear the ding-dong of a bell tied under the long neck of the leading animal.

“What’s the use of the bell?”I asked out of childish curiosity.

Father explained that since camels were in danger of being attacked by wolves, a bell was hung on them to clang a warning to the latter that the former were under human protection.

However, as a naïve little child, I had a lot of ideas of my own, all different from those of grown-ups. I said,

“No, dad! Camels walk noiselessly with the soft soles of their feet on soft sand. Didn’t you tell me that they can keep walking three days and three nights without drinking a single drop of water, and all they do is chew their cud quietly? Camel drivers must be bored with the dull job. So they hang bells on their animals to make the journey more cheerful.”

Father pondered for a moment and said smilingly,

“Your explanation sounds more picturesque.”

As winter was drawing to an end and spring coming nearer, the sun became so warm that people felt like taking off their cotton-padded jackets. The camels, too, started to cast off their old hairy robes! Their hair was coming off in tufts and left dangling scruffily from under their bellies. How I wanted to shear it off! The camel drivers, too, took off the sheepskin over coats they had been wearing inside out and had them draped over the camels’ backs. Now that the sacks had been emptied and the“black gold and inky jade”sold out, the caravan resumed its journey with brisk steps, the clanking bell sounding even more crisp and pleasing.

Summer came, but the camels were nowhere to be found. I again asked mother,

“Where are they gone in summer?”

“Who?”

“The camels.”

Mother was at a loss for words, then said,

“You’re always asking questions …, my child!”

Summer went, autumn went, and winter came again with the caravan. But my childhood was gone never to return. And never again would I commit the folly of mimicking the way a camel would chew under the winter sun.

I always cherish memories of the scenery and persons I saw in my childhood when I lived in the South End of Peking.

“Why not write about them so that the childhood of my heart will last forever when the childhood of my life is gone?”said I to myself.

Hence my book Old Stories from the South End.

As I wrote contemplatively and slowly, I visualized the caravan approaching in the winter sun and heard the pleasant ding-dong of the camel bell. My childhood days returned to my mind.

[1]A coal-mining area to the west of erstwhile Beijing.

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