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安徒生童话:母亲的故事 THE STORY OF A MOTHER

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发表于 2010-4-9 11:46 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

THE STORY OF A MOTHER


A mother sat there with her little child. She was so downcast, so afraid thatit should die! It was so pale, the small eyes had closed themselves, and itdrew its breath so softly, now and then, with a deep respiration, as if itsighed; and the mother looked still more sorrowfully on the little creature.


Then a knocking was heard at the door, and in came a poor old man wrapped upas in a large horse-cloth, for it warms one, and he needed it, as it was thecold winter season! Everything out-of-doors was covered with ice and snow, andthe wind blew so that it cut the face.


As the old man trembled with cold, and the little child slept a moment, themother went and poured some ale into a pot and set it on the stove, that itmight be warm for him; the old man sat and rocked the cradle, and the mothersat down on a chair close by him, and looked at her little sick child thatdrew its breath so deep, and raised its little hand.


"Do you not think that I shall save him?" said she. "Our Lord will not takehim from me!"And the old man--it was Death himself--he nodded so strangely, it could justas well signify yes as no. And the mother looked down in her lap, and thetears ran down over her cheeks; her head became so heavy--she had not closedher eyes for three days and nights; and now she slept, but only for a minute,when she started up and trembled with cold.


"What is that?" said she, and looked on all sides; but the old man was gone,and her little child was gone--he had taken it with him; and the old clock inthe corner burred, and burred, the great leaden weight ran down to the floor,bump! and then the clock also stood still.


But the poor mother ran out of the house and cried aloud for her child.


Out there, in the midst of the snow, there sat a woman in long, black clothes;and she said, "Death has been in thy chamber, and I saw him hasten away withthy little child; he goes faster than the wind, and he never brings back whathe takes!""Oh, only tell me which way he went!" said the mother. "Tell me the way, and Ishall find him!""I know it!" said the woman in the black clothes. "But before I tell it, thoumust first sing for me all the songs thou hast sung for thy child! I am fondof them. I have heard them before; I am Night; I saw thy tears whilst thousang'st them!""I will sing them all, all!" said the mother. "But do not stop me now--I mayovertake him--I may find my child!"But Night stood still and mute. Then the mother wrung her hands, sang andwept, and there were many songs, but yet many more tears; and then Night said,"Go to the right, into the dark pine forest; thither I saw Death take his waywith thy little child!"The roads crossed each other in the depths of the forest, and she no longerknew whither she should go! then there stood a thorn-bush; there was neitherleaf nor flower on it, it was also in the cold winter season, and ice-flakeshung on the branches.


"Hast thou not seen Death go past with my little child?" said the mother.


"Yes," said the thorn-bush; "but I will not tell thee which way he took,unless thou wilt first warm me up at thy heart. I am freezing to death; Ishall become a lump of ice!"And she pressed the thorn-bush to her breast, so firmly, that it might bethoroughly warmed, and the thorns went right into her flesh, and her bloodflowed in large drops, but the thornbush shot forth fresh green leaves, andthere came flowers on it in the cold winter night, the heart of the afflictedmother was so warm; and the thorn-bush told her the way she should go.


She then came to a large lake, where there was neither ship nor boat. The lakewas not frozen sufficiently to bear her; neither was it open, nor low enoughthat she could wade through it; and across it she must go if she would findher child! Then she lay down to drink up the lake, and that was animpossibility for a human being, but the afflicted mother thought that amiracle might happen nevertheless.


"Oh, what would I not give to come to my child!" said the weeping mother; andshe wept still more, and her eyes sunk down in the depths of the waters, andbecame two precious pearls; but the water bore her up, as if she sat in aswing, and she flew in the rocking waves to the shore on the opposite side,where there stood a mile-broad, strange house, one knew not if it were amountain with forests and caverns, or if it were built up; but the poor mothercould not see it; she had wept her eyes out.


"Where shall I find Death, who took away my little child?" said she.


"He has not come here yet!" said the old grave woman, who was appointed tolook after Death's great greenhouse! "How have you been able to find the wayhither? And who has helped you?""OUR LORD has helped me," said she. "He is merciful, and you will also be so!


Where shall I find my little child?""Nay, I know not," said the woman, "and you cannot see! Many flowers and treeshave withered this night; Death will soon come and plant them over again!


You certainly know that every person has his or her life's tree or flower,just as everyone happens to be settled; they look like other plants, but theyhave pulsations of the heart. Children's hearts can also beat; go after yours,perhaps you may know your child's; but what will you give me if I tell youwhat you shall do more?""I have nothing to give," said the afflicted mother, "but I will go to theworld's end for you!""Nay, I have nothing to do there!" said the woman. "But you can give me yourlong black hair; you know yourself that it is fine, and that I like! You shallhave my white hair instead, and that's always something!""Do you demand nothing else?" said she. "That I will gladly give you!" And shegave her her fine black hair, and got the old woman's snow-white hair instead.

So they went into Death's great greenhouse, where flowers and trees grewstrangely into one another. There stood fine hyacinths under glass bells, andthere stood strong-stemmed peonies; there grew water plants, some so fresh,others half sick, the water-snakes lay down on them, and black crabs pinchedtheir stalks. There stood beautiful palm-trees, oaks, and plantains; therestood parsley and flowering thyme: every tree and every flower had its name;each of them was a human life, the human frame still lived--one in China, andanother in Greenland--round about in the world. There were large trees insmall pots, so that they stood so stunted in growth, and ready to burst thepots; in other places, there was a little dull flower in rich mould, with mossround about it, and it was so petted and nursed. But the distressed motherbent down over all the smallest plants, and heard within them how the humanheart beat; and amongst millions she knew her child's.


"There it is!" cried she, and stretched her hands out over a little bluecrocus, that hung quite sickly on one side.


"Don't touch the flower!" said the old woman. "But place yourself here, andwhen Death comes--I expect him every moment--do not let him pluck the flowerup, but threaten him that you will do the same with the others. Then he willbe afraid! He is responsible for them to OUR LORD, and no one dares to pluckthem up before HE gives leave."All at once an icy cold rushed through the great hall, and the blind mothercould feel that it was Death that came.


"How hast thou been able to find thy way hither?" he asked. "How couldst thoucome quicker than I?""I am a mother," said she.


And Death stretched out his long hand towards the fine little flower, but sheheld her hands fast around his, so tight, and yet afraid that she should touchone of the leaves. Then Death blew on her hands, and she felt that it wascolder than the cold wind, and her hands fell down powerless.


"Thou canst not do anything against me!" said Death.


"But OUR LORD can!" said she.


"I only do His bidding!" said Death. "I am His gardener, I take all Hisflowers and trees, and plant them out in the great garden of Paradise, in theunknown land; but how they grow there, and how it is there I dare not tellthee.""Give me back my child!" said the mother, and she wept and prayed. At once sheseized hold of two beautiful flowers close by, with each hand, and cried outto Death, "I will tear all thy flowers off, for I am in despair.""Touch them not!" said Death. "Thou say'st that thou art so unhappy, and nowthou wilt make another mother equally unhappy.""Another mother!" said the poor woman, and directly let go her hold of boththe flowers.


"There, thou hast thine eyes," said Death; "I fished them up from the lake,they shone so bright; I knew not they were thine. Take them again, they arenow brighter than before; now look down into the deep well close by; I shalltell thee the names of the two flowers thou wouldst have torn up, and thouwilt see their whole future life--their whole human existence: and see whatthou wast about to disturb and destroy."And she looked down into the well; and it was a happiness to see how the onebecame a blessing to the world, to see how much happiness and joy were felteverywhere. And she saw the other's life, and it was sorrow and distress,horror, and wretchedness.


"Both of them are God's will!" said Death.


"Which of them is Misfortune's flower and which is that of Happiness?" askedshe.


"That I will not tell thee," said Death; "but this thou shalt know from me,that the one flower was thy own child! it was thy child's fate thousaw'st--thy own child's future life!"Then the mother screamed with terror, "Which of them was my child? Tell it me!


Save the innocent! Save my child from all that misery! Rather take it away!


Take it into God's kingdom! Forget my tears, forget my prayers, and all that Ihave done!""I do not understand thee!" said Death. "Wilt thou have thy child again, orshall I go with it there, where thou dost not know!"Then the mother wrung her hands, fell on her knees, and prayed to our Lord:


"Oh, hear me not when I pray against Thy will, which is the best! hear me not!


hear me not!"And she bowed her head down in her lap, and Death took her child and went withit into the unknown land.

 

母亲的故事


一个母亲坐在她孩子的身旁,非常焦虑,因为她害怕孩子会死去。他的小脸蛋已经没有血色了,他的眼睛闭起来了。他的呼吸很困难,只偶尔深深地吸一口气,好像在叹息。母亲望着这个小小的生物,样子比以前更愁苦。有人在敲门。一个穷苦的老头儿走进来了。他裹着一件宽大得像马毡一样的衣服,因为这使人感到更温暖,而且他也有这个需要。外面是寒冷的冬天,一切都被雪和冰覆盖了,风吹得厉害,刺人的面孔。


当老头儿正冻得发抖、这孩子暂时睡着了的时候,母亲就走过去,在火炉上的一个小罐子里倒进一点啤酒,为的是让这老人喝了暖一下。老人坐下来,摇着摇篮。母亲也在他旁边的一张椅子上坐下来,望着她那个呼吸很困难的病孩子,握着他的一只小手。


"你以为我要把他拉住,是不是?"她问。"我们的上帝不会把他从我手中夺去的!"这个老头儿——他就是死神——用一种奇怪的姿势点了点头,他的意思好像是说"是",又像"不是"。母亲低下头来望着地面,眼泪沿着双颊向下流。她的头非常沉重,因为她三天三夜没有合过眼睛。现在她是睡着了,不过只睡着了片刻;于是她惊醒起来,打着寒颤。


"这是怎么一回事?"她说,同时向四周望望。不过那个老头儿已经不见了;她的孩子也不见了——他已经把他带走了。墙角那儿的一座老钟在发出咝咝的声音,"扑通!"那个铅做的老钟摆落到地上来了。钟也停止了活动。


但是这个可怜的母亲跑到门外来,喊着她的孩子。


在外面的雪地上坐着一个穿黑长袍的女人。她说:"死神刚才和你一道坐在你的房间里;我看到他抱着你的孩子急急忙忙地跑走了。他跑起路来比风还快。凡是他所拿走的东西,他永远也不会再送回来的!""请告诉我,他朝哪个方向走了?"母亲说。"请把方向告诉我,我要去找他!""我知道!"穿黑衣服的女人说。"不过在我告诉你以前,你必须把你对你的孩子唱过的歌都唱给我听一次。我非常喜欢那些歌;我从前听过。我就是'夜之神'。你唱的时候,我看到你流出眼泪来。""我将把这些歌唱给你听,都唱给你听!"母亲说。"不过请不要留住我,因为我得赶上他,把我的孩子找回来。"不过夜之神坐着一声不响。母亲只有痛苦地扭着双手,唱着歌,流着眼泪。她唱的歌很多,但她流的眼泪更多,于是夜之神说:"你可以向右边的那个黑枞树林走去;我看到死神抱着你的孩子走到那条路上去了。"路在树林深处和另一条路交叉起来;她不知道走哪条路好。这儿有一丛荆棘,既没有一起叶子,也没有一朵花。这时正是严寒的冬天,那些小枝上只挂着冰柱。


"你看到死神抱着我的孩子走过去没有?""看到过。"荆棘丛说,"不过我不愿告诉你他所去的方向,除非你把我抱在你的胸脯上温暖一下。我在这儿冻得要死,我快要变成冰了。"于是她就把荆棘丛抱在自行的胸脯上,抱得很紧,好使它能够感到温暖。荆棘刺进她的肌肉;她的血一滴一滴地流出来。但是荆棘丛长出了新鲜的绿叶,而且在这寒冷的冬夜开出了花,因为这位愁苦的母亲的心是那么地温暖!于是荆棘丛就告诉她应该朝哪个方向走。


她来到了一个大湖边。湖上既没有大船,也没有小舟。湖上还没有足够的厚冰可以托住她,但是水又不够浅,她不能涉水走过去。不过,假如她要找到她的孩子的话,她必须走过这个湖。于是她就蹲下来喝这湖的水;但是谁也喝不完这水的。这个愁苦的母亲只是在幻想一个什么奇迹发生。


"不成,这是一件永远不可能的事情!"湖说。"我们还是来谈谈条件吧!我喜欢收集珠子,而你的眼睛是我从来没有见到过的两颗最明亮的珠子。如果你能够把它们哭出来交给我的话,我就可以把你送到那个大的温室里去。死神就住在那儿种植着花和树。每一棵花或树就是一个人的生命!""啊,为了我的孩子,我什么都可以牺牲!"哭着的母亲说。于是她哭得更厉害,结果她的眼睛坠到湖里去了,成了两颗最贵重的珍珠。湖把她托起来,就像她是坐在一个秋千架上似的。这样,她就浮到对面的岸上去了——这儿有一幢十多里路宽的奇怪的房子。人们不知道这究竟是一座有许多树林和洞口的大山呢,还是一幢用木头建筑起来的房子。不过这个可怜的母亲看不见它,因为她已经把她的两颗眼珠都哭出来了。


"我到什么地方去找那个把我的孩子抱走了的死神呢?"她问。


"他还没有到这儿来!"一个守坟墓的老太婆说。她专门看守死神的温室。"你怎样找到这儿来的?谁帮助你的?""我们的上帝帮助我的!"她说。"他是很仁慈的,所以你应该也很仁慈。我在什么地方可以找到我亲爱的孩子呢?""我不知道,"老太婆说,"你也看不见!这天晚上有许多花和树都凋谢了,死神马上就会到来,重新移植它们!你知道得很清楚,每个人有他自己的生命之树,或生命之花,完全看他的安排是怎样。它们跟别的植物完全一样,不过它们有一颗跳动的心。小孩子的心也会跳的。你去找吧,也许你能听出你的孩子的心的搏动。不过,假如我把你下一步应该做的事情告诉你,你打算给我什么酬劳呢?""我没有什么东西可以给你了,"这个悲哀的母亲说。"但是我可以为你走到世界的尽头去。""我没有什么事情要你到那儿去办,"老太婆说。"不过你可以把你又长又黑的头发给我。你自己知道,那是很美丽的,我很喜欢!作为交换,你可以把我的白头发拿去——那总比没有好。""如果你不再要求什么别的东西的话,"她说,"那么我愿意把它送给你!"于是她把她美丽的黑头发交给了老太婆,同时作为交换,得到了她的雪白的头发。


这样,她们就走进死神的大温室里去。这儿花和树奇形怪状地繁生在一起。玻璃钟底下培养着美丽的风信子;大朵的、耐寒的牡丹花在盛开。在种种不同的水生植物中,有许多还很新鲜,有许多已经半枯萎了,水蛇在它们上面盘绕着,黑螃蟹紧紧地钳着它们的梗子。那儿还有许多美丽的棕榈树、栎树和梧桐树;那儿还有芹菜花和盛开的麝香草。每一棵树和每一种花都有一个名字,它们每一棵都代表一个人的生命;这些人还是活着的,有的在中国,有的在格林兰,散布在全世界。有些大树栽在小花盆里,因此都显得很挤,几乎把花盆都要胀破了。在肥沃的土地上有好几块地方还种着许多娇弱的小花,它们周围长着一些青苔;人们在仔细地培养和照管它们。不过这个悲哀的母亲在那些最小的植物上弯下腰来,静听它们的心跳。在这些无数的花中,她能听出她的孩子的心跳。

"我找到了!"她叫着,同时把双手向一朵蓝色的早春花伸过来。这朵花正在把头垂向一边,有些病了。


"请不要动这朵花!"那个老太婆说:"不过请你等在这儿。当死神到来的时候——我想他随时可以到来——请不要让他拔掉这棵花。你可以威胁他说,你要把所有的植物都拔掉;那么他就会害怕的。他得为这些植物对上帝负责;在他没有得到上帝的许可以前,谁也不能拔掉它们。"这时忽然有一阵冷风吹进房间里来了。这个没有眼睛的母亲看不出,这就是死神的来临。


"你怎么找到这块地方的?"他说。"你怎么比我还来得早?""因为我是一个母亲呀!"她说。


死神向这朵娇柔的小花伸出长手来;可是她用双手紧紧抱着它不放。同时她又非常焦急,生怕弄坏了它的一起花瓣。于是死神就朝着她的手吹。她觉得这比寒风还冷;于是她的手垂下来了,一点气力也没有。


"你怎样也反抗不了我的!"死神说。


"不过我们的上帝可以的!"她说。


"我只是执行他的命令!"死神说。"我是他的园丁。我把他所有的花和树移植到天国,到那个神秘国土里的乐园中去。不过它们怎样在那儿生长,怎样在那儿生活,我可不敢告诉给你听!""请把我的孩子还给我吧!"母亲说。她一面说,一面哀求着。忽然她用双手抓住近旁两朵美丽的花,大声对死神说:"我要把你的花都拔掉,因为我现在没有路走!""不准动它们!"死神说。"你说你很痛苦;但是你现在却要让一个别的母亲也感到同样地痛苦!""一个别的母亲?"这个可怜的母亲说。她马上松开了那两棵花。


"这是你的眼珠,"死神说。"我已经把它们从湖里捞出来了;它们非常明亮。我不知道这原来就是你的。收回去吧;它们现在比以前更加明亮,请你朝你旁边的那个井底望一下吧。我要把你想要拔掉的这两棵花的名字告诉你;那么你就会知道它们的整个的未来,整个的人间生活;那么你就会知道,你所要摧毁的究竟是什么东西。"她向井底下望。她真感到莫大的愉快,看见一个生命是多么幸福,看见它的周围是一起多么愉快和欢乐的气象。她又看那另一个生命:它是忧愁和平困、苦难和悲哀的化身。


"这两种命运都是上帝的意志!"死神说。


"它们之中哪一朵是受难之花,哪一朵是幸福之花呢?"她问。


"我不能告诉你。"死神回答说。"不过有一点你可以知道:"这两朵花之中有一朵是你自己的孩子。你刚才所看到的就是你的孩子的命运——你亲生孩子的未来。"母亲惊恐得叫起来。


"它们哪一朵是我的孩子呢?请您告诉我吧!请您救救天真的孩子吧!请把我的孩子从苦难中救出来吧!还是请您把他带走吧!把他带到上帝的国度里去!请忘记我的眼泪,我的祈求,原谅我刚才所说的和做的一切事情吧!""我不懂你的意思!"死神说。"你想要把你的孩子抱回去呢,还是让我把他带到一个你所不知道的地方去呢?"这时母亲扭着双手,双膝跪下来,向我们的上帝祈祷:


"您的意志永远是好的。请不要理我所作的违反您的意志的祈祷!请不要理我!请不要理我!"于是她把头低低地垂下来。


死神带着她的孩子飞到那个不知名的国度里去了。


(1844年)这个故事最先发表在《新的童话》里。写的是母亲对自己的孩子的爱。"啊,为了我的孩子,我什么都可以牺牲!"死神把母亲的孩子抢走了,但她追到天边也要找到他。她终于找到了死神。死神让她看了看孩子的"整个未来,整个的人间生活。"有的是"愉快"和"幸福",但有的则是"忧愁和贫困、苦难和悲哀的化身。"仍然是为了爱,母亲最后只有放下自己的孩子,向死神祈求:"请把我的孩子从苦难中救出来吧!还是请您把他带走吧!把他带到上帝的国度里去!"安徒生在他的手记中说:"写《母亲的故事》时我没有任何特殊的动机。我只是在街上行走的时候,有关它的思想,忽然在我的心里酝酿起来了。"

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