Book 3 Unit 2中英对照

Why the Tortoise's Shell Is Not Smooth

为什么乌龟的背壳凹凸不平

Chinua Achebe

[1] The distant sound of low voices, broken now and again by singing, reached Okonkwo from his wives' huts as each woman and her children told folk stories. Ekwefi and her daughter, Ezinma, sat on a mat on the floor. It was Ekwefi's turn to tell a story. Suddenly the murmuring stopped and all eyes turned to their favorite and most skillful storyteller. 从远处他妻子们的那些小木屋里传来的低声细语,时不时地被歌声打断,但是奥康瓦还是听到了,知道这是妻子同各自的孩子在讲民间故事。爱克蔚菲和她的女儿爱金玛坐在一块小地毯上。现在,轮到爱克蔚菲讲故事了。霎时,低声细语静了下来,所有的眼睛都转向她们最喜欢的讲故事能手。
[2] "Once upon a time," she began, "all the birds were invited to a feast in the sky. They were very happy and began to prepare themselves for the great day. They painted their bodies deep red and drew beautiful patterns on them with dye. “很久以前,”她开始讲道,“所有的鸟儿都被邀请到天上赴宴。它们非常高兴,开始为这盛大的日子做准备。它们用颜料把自己的身体涂成深红色并画上漂亮的图案。
[3] "Tortoise saw all these preparations and soon discovered what it all meant. Nothing that happened in the world of the animals ever escaped his notice; he was full of cunning. As soon as he heard of the great feast in the sky his throat began to itch at the very thought. There was a famine in those days and Tortoise had not eaten a good meal for two moons. His body rattled like a dry stick in his empty shell. Slowly but surely he began to plan how he would go to the sky." 乌龟看到了所有这些准备活动,并很快了解了事情的来龙去脉。动物界里发生的任何事都逃不过他的眼睛,(因为)他狡黠无比,诡计多端。他一听说这天上的盛宴,不禁垂涎三尺。那些日子正在闹饥荒,乌龟已经有两个月没好好吃一顿饭了。他的身体就像一段枯柴棍在空荡荡的躯壳里咔咔作响。于是他稳扎稳打地开始计划如何能到天上去。”
[4] "But he had no wings," said Ezinma. “但是他没有翅膀呀,”爱金玛说。
[5] "Be patient," replied her mother. "That is the story. Tortoise had no wings, but he went to the birds and asked to be allowed to go with them. “别性急,”她母亲回答道。“故事(的关键)就在这里。乌龟没有翅膀,但他去找鸟儿们,请求能跟他们一起去。”
[6] " 'We know you too well,' said the birds when they had heard him. 'You are full of cunning and you are ungrateful. If we allow you to come with us you will soon begin your mischief. We know you of old.' “‘我们太了解你了,’鸟儿们听了他的请求后说道。‘你诡计多端并且忘恩负义。如果我们答应你,你马上就会施展诡计。我们老早就把你看透了。’
[7] "'You do not know me,' said Tortoise. 'I am a changed man. I am not the mischievous man you once knew. On the contrary, I am thoughtful and well-meaning. I have learned that a man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself. Rest assured, I promise I will not cause you any trouble.' ‘你们不了解我,’乌龟说。‘我已经脱胎换骨了,不再是你们以前所知道的那个捣蛋鬼了。相反,我现在既体贴又善良。我已经认识到,给别人制造麻烦就是在给自己制造麻烦。放心吧,我保证不给你们增添任何麻烦。’
[8] "Tortoise had a sweet tongue, and within a short time all the birds agreed that he was a changed man, and they all gave him a feather, with which he made two splendidly colorful wings. 乌龟巧舌如簧,没过多久,所有的鸟儿都一致认为,他确实已经脱胎换骨了。于是每只鸟儿都给了他一根羽毛,用这些羽毛,乌龟做了两只色彩绚丽的翅膀。
[9] "At last the great day came and Tortoise was the first to arrive at the meeting place. When all the birds had gathered together, they all set off together. Tortoise was very happy as he flew among the birds, and he was soon chosen as the man to speak for the party because he was a great orator. 最后,这盛大的日子终于来到了,乌龟第一个到达了集合地点。等所有的鸟儿都来齐了,他们就一块儿动身。乌龟飞在鸟儿们中间,非常高兴,而且由于他擅长演说,很快就被推选为大伙儿的发言人。
[10] "'There is one important thing which we must not forget,' he said as they flew on their way. 'When people are invited to a great feast like this, they take new names for the occasion. Our hosts in the sky will expect us to honor this age-old custom.' ‘有件重要的事我们绝不能忘记,’他在飞行途中说道。‘当人们被邀请参加类似这样的盛宴时,要特意给自己取个新名字。天上的主人们一定也希望我们能遵循这一古老习俗。’
[11] "None of the birds had heard of this custom but they knew that Tortoise, in spite of his failings in other areas, was a widely traveled man who knew the customs of different peoples. And so they each took a new name. When they had all taken a new name, Tortoise also took one. He was to be called All of You. 鸟儿们谁也没听说过这一习俗,但他们知道,尽管乌龟在其他方面不怎么样,却到过许多地方,知晓不同民族的风俗习惯。于是他们每人都给自己取了一个新名字。等他们全都取好了,乌龟也取了一个。他的新名字叫‘你们大家’。
[12] "At last the party arrived in the sky and their hosts were very happy to see them. Tortoise stood up in his many-colored plumage and thanked them for their invitation. His speech was so eloquent that all the birds were glad they had brought him, and nodded their heads in approval of all he said. Their hosts took him as the king of the birds, especially as he looked somewhat different from the others. 最后群鸟飞到了天上,那儿的主人们见到他们非常高兴。乌龟穿着他那五彩的羽衣,起身对主人们的邀请深表谢意。他的讲话如此得体,所有的鸟儿都很庆幸把他带来了,对他所说的一切都点头赞同。主人们把他当成了鸟儿们的国王,尤其是因为他看起来有那么点儿与众不同。
[13] "After a selection of nuts had been presented and eaten, the people of the sky set before their guests the most delectable dishes Tortoise had ever seen or dreamed of. The soup was brought out hot from the fire and in the very pot in which it had been cooked. It was full of meat and fish. Tortoise began to sniff aloud. There was pounded yam and also yam soup cooked with palm oil and fresh fish. There were also pots of palm wine. When everything had been set before the guests, one of the people of the sky came forward and tasted a little from each pot. He then invited the birds to eat. But Tortoise jumped to his feet and asked: 'For whom have you prepared this feast?' 精选出来的各种果仁呈上来吃完之后,天上的人们在客人们面前摆上了乌龟从未见过或梦到过的美味佳肴。“汤刚从炉子上烧好就连着罐子热气腾腾地端上来了,里面全是肉和鱼。乌龟开始很响地吸气。有甜薯泥以及用棕榈油和鲜鱼一起煮成的甜薯汤,还有一坛坛棕榈酒。等所有的菜肴在客人们面前摆好后,有一位天上的人走上前来,把每样菜肴都尝了一口。然后他请鸟儿们进餐。但这时乌龟一跃而起,问道:‘你们是为谁准备的这个宴会?’
[14] " 'For all of you,' replied the man. ‘为你们大家啊,’那个人回答道。
[15] "Tortoise turned to the birds and said: 'You remember that my name is All of You. The custom here is to serve the spokesman first and the others later. They will serve you when I have eaten.' 乌龟转向鸟儿们说:‘你们该记得,我的名字就是“你们大家”。这儿的习俗是先请发言人吃,然后才轮到其他人。我吃完以后,他们会请你们吃的。’
[16] "He began to eat and the birds grumbled angrily among themselves. The people of the sky thought it must be their custom to leave all the food for their king. And so Tortoise ate the best part of the food and then drank two pots of palm wine, so that he was full of food and drink and his body grew fat enough to fill out his shell. 他开始大吃起来,鸟儿们则私下里生气地抱怨着。天上的人还以为把所有的食物让国王吃是鸟儿们的习俗。就这样,乌龟吃掉了最好的食物,还喝了两坛棕榈酒。酒足饭饱后,他的身体涨得胖鼓鼓的,把整个龟壳都撑圆了。
[17] "The birds gathered round to eat what was left and to peck at the bones he had thrown on the floor. Some of them were too angry to eat. They chose to fly home on an empty stomach. But before they left each took back the feather he had lent to Tortoise. And there he stood in his hard shell full of food and wine but without any wings to fly home. He asked the birds to take a message for his wife, but they all refused. In the end Parrot, who had felt more angry than the others, suddenly changed his mind and agreed to take the message. 鸟儿们围拢来吃些残羹剩饭,啄着他扔在地上的骨头。有一些鸟儿气得什么都没吃,他们宁可空着肚子飞回去。但是离开前,每只鸟儿都向乌龟要回了各自借给他的那根羽毛。乌龟站在那儿,身上只剩了一个硬壳,里面满是佳肴美酒,却没了可飞回家的翅膀。他请求鸟儿们捎个口信给他的妻子,但被大家拒绝了。最后,最生乌龟气的鹦鹉,突然改变了主意,同意替他带个口信。
[18] " 'Tell my wife,' said Tortoise, 'to bring out all the soft things in my house and cover the ground with them so that I can jump down from the sky without hurting myself. ' ‘告诉我的妻子,’乌龟说道,‘把家里所有软的东西都拿出来,铺在地上,这样我就可以从天上跳下去,而不至于摔伤了。’
[19] "Parrot promised faithfully to deliver the message, and then flew away smiling to himself. However when he reached Tortoise's house he told his wife to bring out all the hard and sharp things in the house. And so Tortoise's wife dutifully brought out her husband's hoes, knives, spears, guns, and even his cannon. Tortoise looked down from the sky and saw his wife bringing things out, but it was too far to see what they were. When all seemed ready he let himself go. He fell and fell and fell until he began to fear that he would never stop falling. And then like the sound of his cannon he crashed to the ground." 鹦鹉满口答应一定把这个口信带到,然后窃笑着飞走了。然而,当他飞到乌龟家时,却告诉乌龟的妻子把家里所有硬的、尖的家伙都拿出来。于是乌龟的妻子就尽心尽责地把丈夫的锄头、刀子、长矛、枪甚至他的大炮都搬了出来。乌龟从天上往下看,看到他的妻子正往外搬东西,但相距太远了,看不清是些什么。当一切似乎都已准备妥当时,他就纵身一跳。他掉啊,掉啊,掉,直到他开始担心自己会这样一直不停地掉下去。然后,他重重地摔到了地上,那声响就跟他的大炮轰鸣一样。
[20] "Did he die?" asked Ezinma. “他死了吗?”爱金玛问道。
[21] "No," replied Ekwefi. "His shell broke into hundreds of pieces. But there was a great medicine man in the neighborhood. Tortoise's wife sent for him and he gathered all the bits of shell and stuck them together. That is why the Tortoise's shell is not smooth." ( 1,160 words) 不过,那附近有一个医术高明的行医者。乌龟的妻子就派人把他请来。这位行医者把所有的碎片捡拢来,粘在了一起。这就是乌龟的背壳凹凸不平的原因了。

 

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