The Wind in the Willows  柳林风声

Sitting up, he rubbed his eyes first and his complaining toes next, wondered for a moment where he was, looking round for familiar stone wall and little barred window; then, with a leap of the heart, remembered everything—his escape, his flight, his pursuit; remembered, first and best thing of all, that he was free!

他坐起来,揉了揉眼睛,又揉了揉那双冻得直叫苦的脚尖,闹不清自己究竟在哪。他四下里张望,寻找他熟悉的石头墙和装了铁条的小窗;然后,他的心蓦地一跳,什么都想起来了——他越狱逃亡,被人追撵,而最大的好事是,他自由了!

Free! The word and the thought alone were worth fifty blankets. He was warm from end to end as he thought of the jolly world outside, waiting eagerly for him to make his triumphal entrance, ready to serve him and play up to him, anxious to help him and to keep him company, as it always had been in days of old before misfortune fell upon him. He shook himself and combed the dry leaves out of his hair with his fingers; and, his toilet complete, marched forth into the comfortable morning sun, cold but confident, hungry but hopeful, all nervous terrors of yesterday dispelled by rest and sleep and frank and heartening sunshine.

自由!单是这个字眼和这个念头,就值五十条毛毯。外面那个欢乐的世界,正热切地等待他的胜利归来,准备为他效劳,向他讨好,急着给他帮助,给他作伴,就像他遭到不幸前的那些老时光一样。想到这,他感到通身热乎乎的。他抖了抖身子,用爪子梳理掉毛发里的枯树叶。梳洗完毕,他大步走进舒适的早晨的阳光,虽然冷,但充满信心,虽然饿,但充满希望。昨天的紧张恐惧,全都被一夜的休息睡眠和诚恳热情的阳光一扫而光。

He had the world all to himself, that early summer morning. The dewy woodland, as he threaded it, was solitary and still: the green fields that succeeded the trees were his own to do as he liked with; the road itself, when he reached it, in that loneliness that was everywhere, seemed, like a stray dog, to be looking anxiously for company. Toad, however, was looking for something that could talk, and tell him clearly which way he ought to go. It is all very well, when you have a light heart, and a clear conscience, and money in your pocket, and nobody scouring the country for you to drag you off to prison again, to follow where the road beckons and points, not caring whither. The practical Toad cared very much indeed, and he could have kicked the road for its helpless silence when every minute was of importance to him.

在这个夏天的早晨,周围整个世界都属于他一人。他穿过带露的树林时,林中静悄悄。走出树林,绿色的田野也都属他一人,随他想干什么。来到路上,到处是冷冷清清.那条路像一只迷途的狗,正急着要寻个伴儿。蟾蜍呢,他却在寻找一个会说话的东西,能指点他该往哪去。是啊,要是一个人轻松自在,心里没鬼,兜里有钱,又没人四处搜捕你,要抓你回监狱,那么你信步走来,随便走哪条路,上哪里去,都一个样。可讲实际的蟾蜍却忧心忡忡,每分钟对他来说都事关重要,而那条路却硬是不开口,你拿它毫无办法,恨不得喘它几脚才解气。

The reserved rustic road was presently joined by a shy little brother in the shape of a canal, which took its hand and ambled along by its side in perfect confidence, but with the same tongue-tied, uncommunicative attitude towards strangers. ‘Bother them!’ said Toad to himself. ‘But, anyhow, one thing’s clear. They must both be coming FROM somewhere, and going TO somewhere. You can’t get over that. Toad, my boy!’ So he marched on patiently by the water’s edge.

这个沉默不语的乡间道路,不一会就有了一个怯生生的小兄弟,一条小渠。它和道路手拉手,肩并肩慢慢往前走,它对道路绝对信赖,可对陌生人都同样闭紧了嘴,一声不吭。“真讨厌!”蟾蜍自言自语说。“不过有一点是清楚的,它俩一定是从什么地方来,到什么地方去的。这一点,蟾蜍,小伙子,你总没法否认吧。”于是他耐着性子沿着小渠大步朝前走去。

Round a bend in the canal came plodding a solitary horse, stooping forward as if in anxious thought. From rope traces attached to his collar stretched a long line, taut, but dipping with his stride, the further part of it dripping pearly drops. Toad let the horse pass, and stood waiting for what the fates were sending him.

绕过一个河湾,只见走过来一匹孤零零的马,那马向前佝偻着身子,像在焦虑地思考什么。一根长绳连着他的轭具,拽得紧紧的,马往前走时,绳子不住地滴水,较远的一端更是掉着珍珠般的水滴。蟾蜍让过马,站着等候,看命运会给他送来什么。

With a pleasant swirl of quiet water at its blunt bow the barge slid up alongside of him, its gaily painted gunwale level with the towing-path, its sole occupant a big stout woman wearing a linen sun-bonnet, one brawny arm laid along the tiller.

一只平底船滑了过来,和他并排行进。船尾在平静的水面搅起一个可爱的旋锅。船舷漆成鲜艳的颜色,和纤绳齐高。船上唯一的乘客,是一位胖大的女人。头戴一顶麻布遮阳帽,粗壮有力的胳臂倚在舵柄上。

‘A nice morning, ma’am!’ she remarked to Toad, as she drew up level with him.

“早晨天气真好呀,太太!”她把船驾到蟾蜍身旁时,跟他打招呼。

‘I dare say it is, ma’am!’ responded Toad politely, as he walked along the tow-path abreast of her. ‘I dare it IS a nice morning to them that’s not in sore trouble, like what I am. Here’s my married daughter, she sends off to me post-haste to come to her at once; so off I comes, not knowing what may be happening or going to happen, but fearing the worst, as you will understand, ma’am, if you’re a mother, too. And I’ve left my business to look after itself—I’m in the washing and laundering line, you must know, ma’am—and I’ve left my young children to look after themselves, and a more mischievous and troublesome set of young imps doesn’t exist, ma’am; and I’ve lost all my money, and lost my way, and as for what may be happening to my married daughter, why, I don’t like to think of it, ma’am!’

“是的,太太,”蟾蜍沿着纤路和她并肩往前走,彬彬有礼地回答。“我想,对那些不像我这样遇到麻烦的人,确实是一个美好的早晨。你瞧,我那个出了嫁的女儿给我寄来一封十万火急的信,要我马上去她那儿,所以我就赶紧出来了。也不知道她那里出了什么事儿,或者要出什么事儿,就怕事情不妙,太太。你要也是做母亲的,一定懂得我的心情。我丢下自家的活计——我是干洗衣这行的——丢下几个小不点儿的孩子,让他们自己照料自己,这帮小鬼头,世上再没有比他们更淘气捣乱的了。而且,我丢了所有的钱,又迷了路。我那个出了嫁的女儿会出什么事儿,太太,我连想也不愿想!”

‘Where might your married daughter be living, ma’am?’ asked the barge-woman.

“你那个出了嫁的女儿家住哪儿,太太?”船娘问。

‘She lives near to the river, ma’am,’ replied Toad. ‘Close to a fine house called Toad Hall, that’s somewheres hereabouts in these parts. Perhaps you may have heard of it.’

“住在大河附近,”蟾蜍说,“挨着那座叫蟾宫的漂亮房子,就在这一带什么地方。你大概听说过吧?”

‘Toad Hall? Why, I’m going that way myself,’ replied the barge-woman. ‘This canal joins the river some miles further on, a little above Toad Hall; and then it’s an easy walk. You come along in the barge with me, and I’ll give you a lift.’

“蟾宫?噢,我正往那个方向去,”船娘说。“这条水渠再有几哩路就通向大河,离蟾宫不远了。上船吧,我捎带你一程。”

She steered the barge close to the bank, and Toad, with many humble and grateful acknowledgments, stepped lightly on board and sat down with great satisfaction. ‘Toad’s luck again!’ thought he. ‘I always come out on top!’

她把船驾到岸边,蟾蜍千恩万谢,轻快地跨进船,心满意足地坐下。“蟾蜍又交上好运啦!”他心想,“我总能化险为夷。马到成功!”

‘So you’re in the washing business, ma’am?’ said the barge-woman politely, as they glided along. ‘And a very good business you’ve got too, I dare say, if I’m not making too free in saying so.’

“这么说,太太,你是开洗衣行业的?”船在水面滑行着,船娘很有礼貌地说。“我说,你有个颇好的职业,我这样说不太冒失吧?”

‘Finest business in the whole country,’ said Toad airily. ‘All the gentry come to me—wouldn’t go to any one else if they were paid, they know me so well. You see, I understand my work thoroughly, and attend to it all myself. Washing, ironing, clear-starching, making up gents’ fine shirts for evening wear—everything’s done under my own eye!’

“全国最好的职业!”蟾蜍飘飘然地说。“所有的上等人都来我这儿洗衣——不肯去别家,哪怕倒贴他钱也不去,就认我一家。你瞧,我特精通业务,所有的活我都亲自参加。洗;熨,浆,修整绅士们赴晚宴穿的讲究衬衫——一切都是由我亲自监督完成的!”

‘But surely you don’t DO all that work yourself, ma’am?’ asked the barge-woman respectfully.

“不过,太太,你当然不必亲自动手去干所有这些活计啰?”船娘恭恭敬敬地问。

‘O, I have girls,’ said Toad lightly: ‘twenty girls or thereabouts, always at work. But you know what GIRLS are, ma’am! Nasty little hussies, that’s what I call ‘em!’

“噢,我手下有许多姑娘,”蟾蜍随便地说。“经常干活的有二十来个。可是太太,你知道姑娘们都是些什么玩意儿!邋遢的小贱货。我就管她们叫这个!”

‘So do I, too,’ said the barge-woman with great heartiness. ‘But I dare say you set yours to rights, the idle trollops! And are you very fond of washing?’

“我也一样,”船娘打心眼里赞同说。“一帮懒虫!不过我想,你一定把你的姑娘们调教得规规矩矩的,是吧。你非常喜欢洗衣吗?”

‘I love it,’ said Toad. ‘I simply dote on it. Never so happy as when I’ve got both arms in the wash-tub. But, then, it comes so easy to me! No trouble at all! A real pleasure, I assure you, ma’am!’

“我爱洗衣,”蟾蜍说。“简直爱得着了迷。两手一泡在洗衣盆里,我就快活得了不得。我洗起衣裳来大轻松了,一点不费劲!我跟你说,太太,那真是一种享受!”

‘What a bit of luck, meeting you!’ observed the barge-woman, thoughtfully. ‘A regular piece of good fortune for both of us!’

“遇上你,真幸运啊!”船娘若有所思地说。“咱俩确实都交上好运啦!”

‘Why, what do you mean?’ asked Toad, nervously.

“唔?这话怎么讲?”蟾蜍紧张地问。

‘Well, look at me, now,’ replied the barge-woman. ‘_I_ like washing, too, just the same as you do; and for that matter, whether I like it or not I have got to do all my own, naturally, moving about as I do. Now my husband, he’s such a fellow for shirking his work and leaving the barge to me, that never a moment do I get for seeing to my own affairs. By rights he ought to be here now, either steering or attending to the horse, though luckily the horse has sense enough to attend to himself. Instead of which, he’s gone off with the dog, to see if they can’t pick up a rabbit for dinner somewhere. Says he’ll catch me up at the next lock. Well, that’s as may be—I don’t trust him, once he gets off with that dog, who’s worse than he is. But meantime, how am I to get on with my washing?’

“嗯,是这样,你瞧,”船娘说。“我跟你一样,也喜欢洗衣。其实,不管喜欢不喜欢,自家的衣裳,自然我都得自己洗,尽管我来来去去转游。我丈夫呢,是那样一种人,老是偷懒,他把船交给我来管,所以,我哪有时间料理自家的事。按理。这会儿他该来这儿,要么掌舵。要么牵马——幸亏那马还算听话,懂得自个儿管自个儿。可我丈夫他没来,他带上狗打猎去啦,看能不能打上只兔子做午饭。说他在下道水闸那边援我碰头。也许吧——可我信不过他。他只要带上狗出去,就说不好了——那狗比他还要坏……可这么一来,我又怎么洗我的衣裳呢?”

‘O, never mind about the washing,’ said Toad, not liking the subject. ‘Try and fix your mind on that rabbit. A nice fat young rabbit, I’ll be bound. Got any onions?’

“噢,别管洗衣的事啦,”蟾蜍说,这个话题他不喜欢。“你只管一心想着那只兔子就行啦。我敢说,准是只肥肥美美的兔子。有葱头吗?”

‘I can’t fix my mind on anything but my washing,’ said the barge-woman, ‘and I wonder you can be talking of rabbits, with such a joyful prospect before you. There’s a heap of things of mine that you’ll find in a corner of the cabin. If you’ll just take one or two of the most necessary sort—I won’t venture to describe them to a lady like you, but you’ll recognise them at a glance—and put them through the wash-tub as we go along, why, it’ll be a pleasure to you, as you rightly say, and a real help to me. You’ll find a tub handy, and soap, and a kettle on the stove, and a bucket to haul up water from the canal with. Then I shall know you’re enjoying yourself, instead of sitting here idle, looking at the scenery and yawning your head off.’

“除了洗衣,我什么也不能想,”船娘说。“真不明白,眼前就有一件美差在等着你,你怎么还有闲情谈兔子。船舱的一角,有我一大堆脏衣裳。你只消捡出几件急需先洗的东西——那是什么,我不好跟你这样一位太太直说,可你一眼就瞅得出来——把它们浸在盆里。你说过,那对你是一种愉快,对我是一种实际帮助。洗衣盆是现成的,还有肥皂,炉子上有水壶,还有一只桶,可以从渠里打水。那样。你就会过得很快活,免得像现在这样呆坐着,闲得无聊,只好看风景,打呵欠。”

‘Here, you let me steer!’ said Toad, now thoroughly frightened, ‘and then you can get on with your washing your own way. I might spoil your things, or not do ‘em as you like. I’m more used to gentlemen’s things myself. It’s my special line.’

“这样吧,你让我来掌舵!”蟾蜍说,他着实慌了。“那样你就可以依你自己的办法洗你的衣裳。让我来洗,说不定会把你的衣裳洗坏的,或者不对你的路子。我习惯洗男服,那是我的专长。”

‘Let you steer?’ replied the barge-woman, laughing. ‘It takes some practice to steer a barge properly. Besides, it’s dull work, and I want you to be happy. No, you shall do the washing you are so fond of, and I’ll stick to the steering that I understand. Don’t try and deprive me of the pleasure of giving you a treat!’

“让你掌舵?”船娘大笑着说。“给一条拖船掌舵,得有经验。再说,这活很没趣味,我想让你高兴。不不,还是你干你喜欢的洗衣活,我干我熟悉的掌舵好。我要好好款待你一番,别辜负我的好意!”

Toad was fairly cornered. He looked for escape this way and that, saw that he was too far from the bank for a flying leap, and sullenly resigned himself to his fate. ‘If it comes to that,’ he thought in desperation, ‘I suppose any fool can WASH!’

蟾蜍这下给逼进了死胡同。他东张西望,想夺路逃走,但是离岸太远,飞跃过去是不可能的,只好闷闷不乐地屈从命运的安排。“既然被逼到了这一步,”他无可奈何地想,“我相信,洗衣这种活哪个笨蛋也能干!”

He fetched tub, soap, and other necessaries from the cabin, selected a few garments at random, tried to recollect what he had seen in casual glances through laundry windows, and set to.

他把洗衣盆、肥皂和其他需用什物搬出船舱,胡乱挑了几件脏衣物,努力回忆他偶尔从洗衣房窗口瞥见的情形,动手洗了起来。

A long half-hour passed, and every minute of it saw Toad getting crosser and crosser. Nothing that he could do to the things seemed to please them or do them good. He tried coaxing, he tried slapping, he tried punching; they smiled back at him out of the tub unconverted, happy in their original sin. Once or twice he looked nervously over his shoulder at the barge-woman, but she appeared to be gazing out in front of her, absorbed in her steering. His back ached badly, and he noticed with dismay that his paws were beginning to get all crinkly. Now Toad was very proud of his paws. He muttered under his breath words that should never pass the lips of either washerwomen or Toads; and lost the soap, for the fiftieth time.

好长好长的半个钟头过去了,每过一分钟,蟾蜍就变得更加恼火。不管他怎样努力,总讨不到那些衣物的欢心,和它们搞不好关系。他把它们又哄,又拧,又搧耳光,可它们只是从盆里冲他嬉皮笑脸。心安理得地守住它们的原罪,毫无悔改之意。有一两次,他紧张地回头望了望那船娘,可她似乎只顾凝望前方,一门心思在掌舵。他的腰背酸痛得厉害;两只爪子给泡得皱巴巴的。而这双爪子是他一向特别珍爱的。他低声嘟囔了几句既不该洗衣妇也不该蟾蜍说的话,第五十次掉了肥皂。

A burst of laughter made him straighten himself and look round. The barge-woman was leaning back and laughing unrestrainedly, till the tears ran down her cheeks.

一阵笑声,惊得他直起了身子,回过头来看。那船娘正仰头放声大笑,笑得眼泪都从腮帮子上滚下来了。

‘I’ve been watching you all the time,’ she gasped. ‘I thought you must be a humbug all along, from the conceited way you talked. Pretty washerwoman you are! Never washed so much as a dish-clout in your life, I’ll lay!’

我一直在注意观察你,”她喘着气说、“从你那个吹牛劲儿。我早就看出你是个骗子。好家伙,还说是个洗衣妇哩!我敢打赌,你这辈子连块擦碗布也没选过!”

Toad’s temper which had been simmering viciously for some time, now fairly boiled over, and he lost all control of himself.

“蟾蜍的脾气本来就咝咝冒气了,这一下竟开了锅,完全失控了。

‘You common, low, FAT barge-woman!’ he shouted; ‘don’t you dare to talk to your betters like that! Washerwoman indeed! I would have you to know that I am a Toad, a very well-known, respected, distinguished Toad! I may be under a bit of a cloud at present, but I will NOT be laughed at by a bargewoman!’

“你这个粗俗、下贱、肥胖的船婆子!”他吼道。“你怎么敢这样对你老爷说话!什么洗衣妇!我要叫你认得我是谁。我是大名鼎鼎、受人敬重、高贵。显赫的蟾蜍!眼下我或许有点掉份儿,可我绝不允许一个船娘嘲笑我!”

The woman moved nearer to him and peered under his bonnet keenly and closely. ‘Why, so you are!’ she cried. ‘Well, I never! A horrid, nasty, crawly Toad! And in my nice clean barge, too! Now that is a thing that I will NOT have.’

那女人凑到他跟前,朝他帽子底下仔细地敏锐地端详。“哎呀呀,果然是只蟾蜍!”她喊道,“太不像话!一只丑恶的脏兮兮的、叫人恶心的癞蛤蟆居然上了我这条干净漂亮的船,我绝不允许!”

She relinquished the tiller for a moment. One big mottled arm shot out and caught Toad by a fore-leg, while the other-gripped him fast by a hind-leg. Then the world turned suddenly upside down, the barge seemed to flit lightly across the sky, the wind whistled in his ears, and Toad found himself flying through the air, revolving rapidly as he went.

她放下舵柄。一只粗大的满是斑点的胳臂闪电般地伸过来。抓住蟾蜍的一条前腿,另一只胳臂牢牢地抓住他的一条后腿,就势一抡。霎时间,蟾蜍只觉天旋地转,拖船仿佛轻轻地掠过天空,耳边风声呼啸,他感到自己腾空飞起,边飞边迅速地折跟斗。

The water, when he eventually reached it with a loud splash, proved quite cold enough for his taste, though its chill was not sufficient to quell his proud spirit, or slake the heat of his furious temper. He rose to the surface spluttering, and when he had wiped the duck-weed out of his eyes the first thing he saw was the fat barge-woman looking back at him over the stern of the retreating barge and laughing; and he vowed, as he coughed and choked, to be even with her.

最后,只听得扑通一声,他终于落到了水里。水相当凉,还算合他的胃口,不过凉得还不够,浇不灭他的那股傲气,熄不了他的满腔怒火。他胡乱打水、浮到了水面。他抹掉眼睛上的浮萍,头一眼看到的就是那肥胖的船娘,她正从渐渐远去的拖船船艄探出身来,回头望他,哈哈大笑。他又咳又呛,发誓要好好报复她。

He struck out for the shore, but the cotton gown greatly impeded his efforts, and when at length he touched land he found it hard to climb up the steep bank unassisted. He had to take a minute or two’s rest to recover his breath; then, gathering his wet skirts well over his arms, he started to run after the barge as fast as his legs would carry him, wild with indignation, thirsting for revenge.

他划着水向岸边游去,可是身上的那件棉布衫碍手碍脚。等到他终于够到陆地时,又发现没人帮忙,爬上那陡峭的岸是多么费力。他歇了一两分钟,才喘过气来;跟着,他搂起湿裙子,捧在手上,提起脚来拼命追赶那条拖船。他气得发疯,一心巴望着进行报复。

The barge-woman was still laughing when he drew up level with her. ‘Put yourself through your mangle, washerwoman,’ she called out, ‘and iron your face and crimp it, and you’ll pass for quite a decent-looking Toad!’

当他跑到和船并排时,那船娘还在笑。她喊道:“把你自己放进轧衣机里轧一轧,洗衣婆,拿烙铁熨熨你的脸,熨出些褶子,你就将就像个体面的癞蛤蟆啦!”

Toad never paused to reply. Solid revenge was what he wanted, not cheap, windy, verbal triumphs, though he had a thing or two in his mind that he would have liked to say. He saw what he wanted ahead of him. Running swiftly on he overtook the horse, unfastened the towrope and cast off, jumped lightly on the horse’s back, and urged it to a gallop by kicking it vigorously in the sides. He steered for the open country, abandoning the tow-path, and swinging his steed down a rutty lane. Once he looked back, and saw that the barge had run aground on the other side of the canal, and the barge-woman was gesticulating wildly and shouting, ‘Stop, stop, stop!’ ‘I’ve heard that song before,’ said Toad, laughing, as he continued to spur his steed onward in its wild career.

蟾蜍不屑于停下来和她斗嘴。他要的是货真价实的报复,而不是不值钱的空洞洞的口头胜利,虽说他想好了几句回敬她的话。他打算干什么、心里有数。他飞快地跑,追上了那匹拖船的马,解开纤绳,扔在一边,轻轻纵身跃上马背,猛踢马肚子,催马奔跑。他策马离开纤路,直奔开阔的旷野,然后把马驱进一条布满车辙的树夹道。有一次他回头望去,只见那拖船在河中打了横,漂到了对岸。船娘正发狂似地挥臂跳脚,一迭声喊。“站住,站住,站住!”“这调调儿我以前听到过,”蟾蜍大笑着说,继续驱马朝前狂奔。

The barge-horse was not capable of any very sustained effort, and its gallop soon subsided into a trot, and its trot into an easy walk; but Toad was quite contented with this, knowing that he, at any rate, was moving, and the barge was not. He had quite recovered his temper, now that he had done something he thought really clever; and he was satisfied to jog along quietly in the sun, steering his horse along by-ways and bridle-paths, and trying to forget how very long it was since he had had a square meal, till the canal had been left very far behind him.

拖船的马缺乏耐力,不能长时间奔跑,很快就由奔驰降为小跑,小跑又降为缓行。不过蟾蜍还是挺满意的,因为他知道,好歹他是在前进,而拖船却静止不动。现在他心平气和了,因为他觉得自己做了件实在聪明的事。他心满意足地在阳光下慢慢行走,专捡那些偏僻的小径和马道,想法忘掉他已经很久没吃一顿饱饭了,直到他把水渠远远甩在后面。

He had travelled some miles, his horse and he, and he was feeling drowsy in the hot sunshine, when the horse stopped, lowered his head, and began to nibble the grass; and Toad, waking up, just saved himself from falling off by an effort. He looked about him and found he was on a wide common, dotted with patches of gorse and bramble as far as he could see. Near him stood a dingy gipsy caravan, and beside it a man was sitting on a bucket turned upside down, very busy smoking and staring into the wide world. A fire of sticks was burning near by, and over the fire hung an iron pot, and out of that pot came forth bubblings and gurglings, and a vague suggestive steaminess. Also smells—warm, rich, and varied smells—that twined and twisted and wreathed themselves at last into one complete, voluptuous, perfect smell that seemed like the very soul of Nature taking form and appearing to her children, a true Goddess, a mother of solace and comfort. Toad now knew well that he had not been really hungry before. What he had felt earlier in the day had been a mere trifling qualm. This was the real thing at last, and no mistake; and it would have to be dealt with speedily, too, or there would be trouble for somebody or something. He looked the gipsy over carefully, wondering vaguely whether it would be easier to fight him or cajole him. So there he sat, and sniffed and sniffed, and looked at the gipsy; and the gipsy sat and smoked, and looked at him.

他和马已经走了好几哩路。炙热的太阳晒得他昏昏欲睡。那马忽然停下来,低头啃吃青草。蟾蜍惊醒过来,险些儿掉下马背。他举目四顾,只见自己是在一片宽阔的公地上,一眼望去,地上星星点点缀满了金雀花和黑麦子。离他不远的地方,停着一辆破烂的吉卜赛大篷车,一个男人坐在车旁一只倒扣着的桶上,一个劲抽烟,眺望着广阔的天地。附近燃着一堆树枝生起的火,火上吊着一只铁罐,里面发生咕嘟嘟的冒泡声,一股淡淡的蒸汽,令人不禁想入非非。还有气味——暖暖的、浓浓的、杂七杂八的气味——互相掺合、交织,整个儿融成一股无比诱人的香味,就像大自然女神——一位给孩子们慰安和鼓舞的母亲——的灵魂显了形,召唤着她的儿女们。蟾蜍现在才明自,他原先并不知道什么叫真正的饿。上半天感到的饥饿,只不过是一阵微不足道的眩晕罢了。现在,真正的饥饿终于来了,没错;而且得赶紧认真对待才行,要不然,就会给什么人或什么东西带来麻烦。他仔细打量那个吉卜赛人、心里举棋不定,不知道是跟他死打硬拼好,还是甜言蜜语哄骗好。所以他就坐在马背上,用鼻子嗅了又嗅,盯着吉卜赛人。吉卜赛人也坐着,抽烟,拿眼盯着他。

Presently the gipsy took his pipe out of his mouth and remarked in a careless way, ‘Want to sell that there horse of yours?’

过了一会,吉卜赛人从嘴里拿掉烟斗漫不经心地说。“你那匹马是要卖吗?”

Toad was completely taken aback. He did not know that gipsies were very fond of horse-dealing, and never missed an opportunity, and he had not reflected that caravans were always on the move and took a deal of drawing. It had not occurred to him to turn the horse into cash, but the gipsy’s suggestion seemed to smooth the way towards the two things he wanted so badly—ready money, and a solid breakfast.

蟾蜍着实吃了一惊。他没想到过,吉卜赛人喜欢买马。从不放过一次机会。他也没想到过,大篷车总在四处走动,需要马拉。他没考虑过,把那匹马换成现钱。吉卜赛人的提议,似乎为他取得急需的两样东西铺平了道路——现钱和一顿丰盛的早餐。

‘What?’ he said, ‘me sell this beautiful young horse of mine? O, no; it’s out of the question. Who’s going to take the washing home to my customers every week? Besides, I’m too fond of him, and he simply dotes on me.’

“什么?”他说,“卖掉这匹漂亮的小马驹?不,不,绝对不行。卖了马,谁替我驮给雇主洗的衣裳?再说,我特喜欢这马,他跟我也特亲。”

‘Try and love a donkey,’ suggested the gipsy. ‘Some people do.’

“那就去爱一匹驴吧,”吉卜赛人提议说。“有些人就喜欢驴。”

‘You don’t seem to see,’ continued Toad, ‘that this fine horse of mine is a cut above you altogether. He’s a blood horse, he is, partly; not the part you see, of course—another part. And he’s been a Prize Hackney, too, in his time—that was the time before you knew him, but you can still tell it on him at a glance, if you understand anything about horses. No, it’s not to be thought of for a moment. All the same, how much might you be disposed to offer me for this beautiful young horse of mine?’

“你难道看不出,”蟾蜍又说,“我这匹优良的马给你是太好了吗?他是匹纯种马,一部分是;当然不是你看到的那一部分。他当年还得奖来着——那是在你看到他以前的事,不过要是你多少识马的话,你一眼就能看出的。不,不,卖马,这绝对办不到。可话又说回来,要是你真的想买我这匹漂亮的小马,你到底打算出什么价?”

The gipsy looked the horse over, and then he looked Toad over with equal care, and looked at the horse again. ‘Shillin’ a leg,’ he said briefly, and turned away, continuing to smoke and try to stare the wide world out of countenance.

吉卜赛人把马上上下下打量了一番,又同样仔细地把蟾蜍上上下下打量了一番,然后回头望着那马。“一先令一条腿,”他干脆地说,说完就转过身去,继续抽烟,一心一意眺望着广阔的天地,像要把它看得睑红起来似的。

‘A shilling a leg?’ cried Toad. ‘If you please, I must take a little time to work that out, and see just what it comes to.’

“一先令一条腿?”蟾蜍喊道。”等一等,让我合计合计,看看总共是多少。”

He climbed down off his horse, and left it to graze, and sat down by the gipsy, and did sums on his fingers, and at last he said, ‘A shilling a leg? Why, that comes to exactly four shillings, and no more. O, no; I could not think of accepting four shillings for this beautiful young horse of mine.’

他爬下马背,由他去吃草,自己坐在吉卜赛人身旁,扳着手指算起了。末了他说:“一先令一条腿,怎么,总共才四先令,一个子儿也不多?那不行,我这匹漂亮的小马才卖四先令。我不干——”

‘Well,’ said the gipsy, ‘I’ll tell you what I will do. I’ll make it five shillings, and that’s three-and-sixpence more than the animal’s worth. And that’s my last word.’

“那好,”吉卜赛人说,“这么着吧,我给你加到五先令,这可比这牲口的价值高出三先令六便士。这是我最后的出价。”

Then Toad sat and pondered long and deeply. For he was hungry and quite penniless, and still some way—he knew not how far—from home, and enemies might still be looking for him. To one in such a situation, five shillings may very well appear a large sum of money. On the other hand, it did not seem very much to get for a horse. But then, again, the horse hadn’t cost him anything; so whatever he got was all clear profit. At last he said firmly, ‘Look here, gipsy! I tell you what we will do; and this is MY last word. You shall hand me over six shillings and sixpence, cash down; and further, in addition thereto, you shall give me as much breakfast as I can possibly eat, at one sitting of course, out of that iron pot of yours that keeps sending forth such delicious and exciting smells. In return, I will make over to you my spirited young horse, with all the beautiful harness and trappings that are on him, freely thrown in. If that’s not good enough for you, say so, and I’ll be getting on. I know a man near here who’s wanted this horse of mine for years.’

蟾蜍坐着,反反复复想了好一阵。他肚子饿了。身无分文,离家又远——谁知道有多远,一个人在这样的处境下,五先令也显得是很可观的一笔钱了。可另一方面,五先令卖一匹马,似乎太亏点。不过,话又说回来,这匹马并没有花他一个子儿,所以不管得到多少,都是净赚。最后,他斩钉截铁地说:“这样吧,吉卜赛!告诉你我的想法,也是我最后的要价。你给我六先令六便士,要现钱;另外,你还得供我一顿早饭,就是你那只香喷喷的铁罐里的东西,要管饱,当然只管一顿。我呢,就把我这匹欢蹦乱跳的小马交给你,外加马身上所有漂亮的马具,免费赠送。你要是觉得吃亏,就直说,我走我的路。我知道附近有个人,他想要我这匹马,都想了好几年啦。”

The gipsy grumbled frightfully, and declared if he did a few more deals of that sort he’d be ruined. But in the end he lugged a dirty canvas bag out of the depths of his trouser pocket, and counted out six shillings and sixpence into Toad’s paw. Then he disappeared into the caravan for an instant, and returned with a large iron plate and a knife, fork, and spoon. He tilted up the pot, and a glorious stream of hot rich stew gurgled into the plate. It was, indeed, the most beautiful stew in the world, being made of partridges, and pheasants, and chickens, and hares, and rabbits, and pea-hens, and guinea-fowls, and one or two other things. Toad took the plate on his lap, almost crying, and stuffed, and stuffed, and stuffed, and kept asking for more, and the gipsy never grudged it him. He thought that he had never eaten so good a breakfast in all his life.

吉卜赛人大发牢骚,抱怨说,这样的买卖要是再做几宗,他就要倾家荡产啦。不过最终他还是从裤兜深处掏出一只脏兮兮的小帆布包,数出六枚先令六枚便士,放在蟾蜍掌心里。然后他钻进大篷车,拿出一只大铁盘,一副刀、叉、勺子。他歪倒铁锅,于是一大股热腾腾、油汪汪的杂烩汤就流进了铁盘。那果真是世上最最美味的杂烩汤,是用松鸡、野鸡、家鸡、野兔、家兔、雌孔雀、珍珠鸡,还有一两样别的东西烩在一起熬成的。蟾蜍接过盘子,放在膝上,差点儿没哭出来。他一个劲往肚里填呀。填呀,填呀,吃完又要,吃完又要;而吉卜赛人也不吝啬。蟾蜍觉得,他这辈子从没吃过这么美味的一顿早餐。

When Toad had taken as much stew on board as he thought he could possibly hold, he got up and said good-bye to the gipsy, and took an affectionate farewell of the horse; and the gipsy, who knew the riverside well, gave him directions which way to go, and he set forth on his travels again in the best possible spirits. He was, indeed, a very different Toad from the animal of an hour ago. The sun was shining brightly, his wet clothes were quite dry again, he had money in his pocket once more, he was nearing home and friends and safety, and, most and best of all, he had had a substantial meal, hot and nourishing, and felt big, and strong, and careless, and self-confident.

蟾蜍饱餐了一顿,肚子能装下多少就装多少,然后就起身向吉卜赛人道了再见,又依依不舍地告别了马。吉卜赛人很熟悉河边地形,给他指点该走哪条路。他又一次踏上行程,情绪好到无以复加。和一小时前相比,他成了全然不同的另一只蟾蜍。阳光明亮,身上的湿衣差不多干透了,现在兜里又有了钱,离家和朋友越来越近,也越来越安全,尤其是,吃过一顿丰盛的饭食,热热的,营养充足,他感到浑身有劲,无忧无虑,信心百倍。

As he tramped along gaily, he thought of his adventures and escapes, and how when things seemed at their worst he had always managed to find a way out; and his pride and conceit began to swell within him. ‘Ho, ho!’ he said to himself as he marched along with his chin in the air, ‘what a clever Toad I am! There is surely no animal equal to me for cleverness in the whole world! My enemies shut me up in prison, encircled by sentries, watched night and day by warders; I walk out through them all, by sheer ability coupled with courage. They pursue me with engines, and policemen, and revolvers; I snap my fingers at them, and vanish, laughing, into space. I am, unfortunately, thrown into a canal by a woman fat of body and very evil-minded. What of it? I swim ashore, I seize her horse, I ride off in triumph, and I sell the horse for a whole pocketful of money and an excellent breakfast! Ho, ho! I am The Toad, the handsome, the popular, the successful Toad!’ He got so puffed up with conceit that he made up a song as he walked in praise of himself, and sang it at the top of his voice, though there was no one to hear it but him. It was perhaps the most conceited song that any animal ever composed.

他兴冲冲地大步朝前走,想着自己多次遇险,又都安然脱身,每逢绝境,总能化险为夷,转危为安。想到这,他不由得骄傲自满狂妄自大起来。“嗬,嗬!”他把下巴翘得老高,说道:“我蟾蜍多聪明呀!全世界没有一只动物比得上我!敌人把我关进大牢,布下重重岗哨,派狱卒日夜看守,可我居然在他们眼皮底下扬长而过,闯了出来,纯粹是靠我的才智加勇气。他们开动机车,出动警察。举着手枪追捕我,我呢,冲他们打了个响榧,哈哈大笑,一转眼就跑得没了影儿。我不幸被一个又胖又坏的女人扔进河里。那又算什么?我游上了岸,夺了她的马,大摇大摆地骑走了。我用马换来满满一口袋银钱,还美美地吃了一顿早饭!嗬,嗬!我是蟾蜍,英俊的、有名的、无往不利的蟾蜍!”他把自己吹得那么响,不由得做起歌来,一路走,一路扯着嗓门给自己大唱赞歌,虽说除了他自己,没有人听见。这恐怕是一只动物所创作的最最狂妄自大的歌了。

‘The world has held great Heroes, As history-books have showed; But never a name to go down to fame Compared with that of Toad!

“世上有过许多伟大英雄,历史书上载过他们的丰功伟绩;但没有一个公认的赫赫有名,能和蟾蜍相比!

‘The clever men at Oxford Know all that there is to be knowed. But they none of them know one half as much As intelligent Mr. Toad!

牛津大学聪明人成堆,肚里的学问包罗万象,但没有一个懂得的事情,赶得上聪明的蟾蜍一半!

‘The animals sat in the Ark and cried, Their tears in torrents flowed. Who was it said, “There’s land ahead?” Encouraging Mr. Toad!

方舟里动物痛哭流涕,眼泪如潮水般涌出。是谁高呼“陆地就在眼前”?是鼓舞众生的蟾蜍!

‘The army all saluted As they marched along the road. Was it the King? Or Kitchener? No. It was Mr. Toad.

军队在大路上迈步前进,他们齐声欢呼致敬。是为国王,还是基陈纳将军?不,是向着蟾蜍先生!

‘The Queen and her Ladies-in-waiting Sat at the window and sewed. She cried, “Look! who’s that HANDSOME man?” They answered, “Mr. Toad.”’

王后和她的待从女官,窗前坐着把衣来缝。王后喊道:‘那位英俊男子是谁?’女官们回答:‘是蟾蜍先生。’”

There was a great deal more of the same sort, but too dreadfully conceited to be written down. These are some of the milder verses.

诸如此类的歌还多得很,但都狂妄得吓人,不便写在纸上。以上只是其中较为温和的几首。

He sang as he walked, and he walked as he sang, and got more inflated every minute. But his pride was shortly to have a severe fall.

他边唱边走,边走边唱,越来越得意忘形、不过没过多久,他的傲气就一落千丈了。

After some miles of country lanes he reached the high road, and as he turned into it and glanced along its white length, he saw approaching him a speck that turned into a dot and then into a blob, and then into something very familiar; and a double note of warning, only too well known, fell on his delighted ear.

他在乡间小道上走了几哩之后。就上了公路。他顺着那条白色路面极目远眺时,忽见迎面过来一个小黑点,随后变成了一个大黑点,又变成了一个小块块,最后变成了一个他十分熟悉的东西。接着,两声警告的鸣笛,愉快地钻进他的耳朵,这声音太熟悉了!

‘This is something like!’ said the excited Toad. ‘This is real life again, this is once more the great world from which I have been missed so long! I will hail them, my brothers of the wheel, and pitch them a yarn, of the sort that has been so successful hitherto; and they will give me a lift, of course, and then I will talk to them some more; and, perhaps, with luck, it may even end in my driving up to Toad Hall in a motor-car! That will be one in the eye for Badger!’

“这就对了!”兴奋的蟾蜍喊道。“这才是真正的生活,这才是我失去好久的伟大世界!我要叫住他们,我的轮上的哥们儿,我要给他们编一段故事,就像曾经使我一帆风顺的那种故事,他们自然会捎带我一程,然后我再给他们讲更多的故事。走运的话,说不定最后我还能乘上汽车长驱直入回到蟾宫!叫獾看看,那才叫绝了!”

He stepped confidently out into the road to hail the motor-car, which came along at an easy pace, slowing down as it neared the lane; when suddenly he became very pale, his heart turned to water, his knees shook and yielded under him, and he doubled up and collapsed with a sickening pain in his interior. And well he might, the unhappy animal; for the approaching car was the very one he had stolen out of the yard of the Red Lion Hotel on that fatal day when all his troubles began! And the people in it were the very same people he had sat and watched at luncheon in the coffee-room!

他信心十足地站到马路当中,招呼汽车停下来。汽车从容地驶过来,在小路附近放慢了速度。就在这时,蟾蜍的脸一下子变得煞白。心沉了下去,双膝打颤发软,身子弯曲起来,瘫成一团,五脏六腑恶心作痛。不幸的蟾蜍,难怪他会吓成这样,因为驶过来的汽车,正好是那倒霉的一天他从红狮旅店场院里偷出来的那辆——他所有的灾难都是打那天开始的!车上的人,恰恰是他在旅店咖啡厅里看到的那伙人!

He sank down in a shabby, miserable heap in the road, murmuring to himself in his despair, ‘It’s all up! It’s all over now! Chains and policemen again! Prison again! Dry bread and water again! O, what a fool I have been! What did I want to go strutting about the country for, singing conceited songs, and hailing people in broad day on the high road, instead of hiding till nightfall and slipping home quietly by back ways! O hapless Toad! O ill-fated animal!’

他瘫倒在路上,成了惨兮兮的一堆破烂.他绝望地喃喃自语说:“全完啦!彻底完蛋啦!又要落到警察手里,带上镣铐,又要蹲大狱,啃面包,喝白水!咳,我是个十足的大傻瓜!我本该藏起来,等天黑以后,再捡僻静小路偷偷溜回家去!可我偏要大模大样在野地里乱窜,大唱自吹自擂的歌子,还要在大白天在公路上瞎拦车!倒霉的蟾蜍啊!不幸的动物啊!”

The terrible motor-car drew slowly nearer and nearer, till at last he heard it stop just short of him. Two gentlemen got out and walked round the trembling heap of crumpled misery lying in the road, and one of them said, ‘O dear! this is very sad! Here is a poor old thing—a washerwoman apparently—who has fainted in the road! Perhaps she is overcome by the heat, poor creature; or possibly she has not had any food to-day. Let us lift her into the car and take her to the nearest village, where doubtless she has friends.’

那辆可怕的汽车慢慢驶近了,最后,他听到它就在身边停了下来。两位绅士走下车,绕着路上这堆皱皱巴巴哆哆嗦嗦的破烂儿转。一个人说:“天哪!真够惨的哟!这是一位老太太——看来是个洗衣婆——她晕倒在路上了!说不定她是中了暑。可怜人。说不定她今天还没吃过东西哩。咱们把她抬上车,送到附近的村子里。那儿想必有她的亲友。”

They tenderly lifted Toad into the motor-car and propped him up with soft cushions, and proceeded on their way.

他们把蟾蜍轻轻抬上车,让他靠坐在柔软的椅垫上,又继续上路。

When Toad heard them talk in so kind and sympathetic a way, and knew that he was not recognised, his courage began to revive, and he cautiously opened first one eye and then the other.

他们说话的语调很和蔼,并且充满同情,蟾蜍知道他们没把他认出来,于是渐渐恢复了勇气。他小心翼翼地先睁开一只眼,再睁开另一只眼。

‘Look!’ said one of the gentlemen, ‘she is better already. The fresh air is doing her good. How do you feel now, ma’am?’

“瞧,”一位绅士说,“她好些啦。新鲜空气对她有好处。你觉得怎么样,太太?”

‘Thank you kindly, Sir,’ said Toad in a feeble voice, ‘I’m feeling a great deal better!’ 

“大谢谢你们了,先生,”蟾蜍声音微弱地说,“我觉得好多了!”

‘That’s right,’ said the gentleman. ‘Now keep quite still, and, above all, don’t try to talk.’

“那就好,”那绅士说,“现在,要保持安静,主要是别说话。”

‘I won’t,’ said Toad. ‘I was only thinking, if I might sit on the front seat there, beside the driver, where I could get the fresh air full in my face, I should soon be all right again.’

“我不说话,”蟾蜍说。“我只是在想,要是我能坐在前座,在司机身边,让新鲜空气直接吹在我脸上,我很快就会好的。”

‘What a very sensible woman!’ said the gentleman. ‘Of course you shall.’ So they carefully helped Toad into the front seat beside the driver, and on they went again.

“这女人头脑真清楚!”那绅士说。“你当然可以坐在前座。”于是他们小心地把蟾蜍扶到前座,坐在司机旁边,又继续开车上路。

Toad was almost himself again by now. He sat up, looked about him, and tried to beat down the tremors, the yearnings, the old cravings that rose up and beset him and took possession of him entirely.

这时,蟾蜍差不多已恢复常态了。他坐直了身子,向四周看看,努力要抑制激动的情绪。他对汽车的渴求和热望,正在他心头汹涌,整个儿控制了他,弄得他躁动不宁。

‘It is fate!’ he said to himself. ‘Why strive? why struggle?’ and he turned to the driver at his side.

“这是命中注定呀!”他对自己说。“何必抗拒?何必挣扎?”于是他朝身边的司机说:

‘Please, Sir,’ he said, ‘I wish you would kindly let me try and drive the car for a little. I’ve been watching you carefully, and it looks so easy and so interesting, and I should like to be able to tell my friends that once I had driven a motor-car!’

“先生,求你行个好,让我开一会儿车吧。我一直在仔细看你开车,像是不太难,挺有意思的。我特想让朋友们知道,我开过一次车”

The driver laughed at the proposal, so heartily that the gentleman inquired what the matter was. When he heard, he said, to Toad’s delight, ‘Bravo, ma’am! I like your spirit. Let her have a try, and look after her. She won’t do any harm.’

听到这个请求,司机不禁哈哈大笑,笑得那么开心,引得后面那位绅士忙追问是怎么回事。听了司机的解释,他说道:“好啊,太太!我欣赏你这种精神。让她试一试,你在一旁关照。她不会出岔子的。”

Toad eagerly scrambled into the seat vacated by the driver, took the steering-wheel in his hands, listened with affected humility to the instructions given him, and set the car in motion, but very slowly and carefully at first, for he was determined to be prudent. The gentlemen behind clapped their hands and applauded, and Toad heard them saying, ‘How well she does it! Fancy a washerwoman driving a car as well as that, the first time!’

这话使蟾蜍大喜过望。他急不可耐地爬进司机让出来的座位,双手握住方向盘,佯作谦逊地听从司机的指点,开动了汽车,起初开得很慢很小心,因为他决心要谨慎行事。后座的绅士们拍手称赞说:“她开得多好啊!想不到一个洗衣妇开车能开得这么棒,从没见过!”

Toad went a little faster; then faster still, and faster.

蟾蜍把车开得快了些,又快了些。越开越快。

He heard the gentlemen call out warningly, ‘Be careful, washerwoman!’ And this annoyed him, and he began to lose his head.

后面的绅士大声警告说:“小心,洗衣婆!”这话激恼了他,他开始头脑发热,失去了理智。

The driver tried to interfere, but he pinned him down in his seat with one elbow, and put on full speed. The rush of air in his face, the hum of the engines, and the light jump of the car beneath him intoxicated his weak brain. ‘Washerwoman, indeed!’ he shouted recklessly. ‘Ho! ho! I am the Toad, the motor-car snatcher, the prison-breaker, the Toad who always escapes! Sit still, and you shall know what driving really is, for you are in the hands of the famous, the skilful, the entirely fearless Toad!’

司机想动手制止,可蟾蜍用一只胳臂把他按牢在坐位上,动不得。车全速行驶起来。气流冲激着他的脸,马达嗡嗡地响,身下的车厢轻轻弹跳,这一切都陶醉了他那愚钝的头脑。他肆无忌惮地喊道:“什么洗衣婆!嗬嗬!我是蟾蜍,抢车能手,越狱要犯,是身经百难总能逃脱的蟾蜍!你们给我好好呆着,我要叫你们懂得什么才是真正的驾驶。你们现在是落在鼎鼎大名、技艺超群、无所畏惧的蟾蜍手里!”

With a cry of horror the whole party rose and flung themselves on him. ‘Seize him!’ they cried, ‘seize the Toad, the wicked animal who stole our motor-car! Bind him, chain him, drag him to the nearest police-station! Down with the desperate and dangerous Toad!’

车上的人全都惊恐万分地大叫,站起来,扑到蟾蜍身上。“抓住他!”他们喊道,“抓住蟾蜍,这个偷车的坏家伙!把他捆起来,戴上手铐,拖到附近的警察局去!打倒万恶的、危险的蟾蜍!”

Alas! they should have thought, they ought to have been more prudent, they should have remembered to stop the motor-car somehow before playing any pranks of that sort. With a half-turn of the wheel the Toad sent the car crashing through the low hedge that ran along the roadside. One mighty bound, a violent shock, and the wheels of the car were churning up the thick mud of a horse-pond.

唉!他们本该想到,应当审慎行事,先想法把车子停下来,再采取行动就好了。蟾蜍把方向盘猛地转了半圈,汽车一下子冲进了路旁的矮树篱。只见它高高跳起,剧烈地颠簸,四只轮子陷进一只饮马塘,搅得泥水四溅。

Toad found himself flying through the air with the strong upward rush and delicate curve of a swallow. He liked the motion, and was just beginning to wonder whether it would go on until he developed wings and turned into a Toad-bird, when he landed on his back with a thump, in the soft rich grass of a meadow. Sitting up, he could just see the motor-car in the pond, nearly submerged; the gentlemen and the driver, encumbered by their long coats, were floundering helplessly in the water.

蟾蜍觉得自己突然往上一窜,像只燕子在空中划了一道优美的弧线。他颇喜欢这动作,心里正纳闷,不知会不会继续这样飞下去,直到长出翅膀,变成一只蟾蜍鸟。就在这一刹,砰地一声,他仰面朝天着了陆,落在丰茂松软的草地上。他坐起来,一眼看到水塘里那辆汽车,快要沉下去了;绅士们和司机被他们身上的长外套拖累着,正无可奈何地在水里扑腾挣扎。

He picked himself up rapidly, and set off running across country as hard as he could, scrambling through hedges, jumping ditches, pounding across fields, till he was breathless and weary, and had to settle down into an easy walk. When he had recovered his breath somewhat, and was able to think calmly, he began to giggle, and from giggling he took to laughing, and he laughed till he had to sit down under a hedge. ‘Ho, ho!’ he cried, in ecstasies of self-admiration, ‘Toad again! Toad, as usual, comes out on the top! Who was it got them to give him a lift? Who managed to get on the front seat for the sake of fresh air? Who persuaded them into letting him see if he could drive? Who landed them all in a horse-pond? Who escaped, flying gaily and unscathed through the air, leaving the narrow-minded, grudging, timid excursionists in the mud where they should rightly be? Why, Toad, of course; clever Toad, great Toad, GOOD Toad!’

他火速跳起来,撒腿就跑,朝着荒野拼命跑,钻过树篱,跳过沟渠,奔过田地,直跑得上气不接下气,累得只好放慢速度,缓步而行。等到稍稍喘过气来,可以平静地想事了,他就格格笑开了,先是轻笑,然后大笑.笑得前仰后合,不得不在树篱旁坐下。“哈哈!”他自我欣赏、得意洋洋地高声喊道,“蟾蜍又成功啦!毫无例外,蟾蜍又大获全胜!是谁,哄着他们让他搭车的?是谁,想出招来坐到前座,呼吸新鲜空气的?是谁,怂恿他们让他试试开车的?是谁,把他们一股脑抛进水塘的?是谁,腾空飞起,纹丝没伤着,逃之夭夭,把那帮心胸狭窄、小里小气、胆小怕事的游客丢在他们该呆的泥水里?当然是蟾蜍,聪明的蟾蜍,伟大的蟾蜍,善良的蟾蜍!”

Then he burst into song again, and chanted with uplifted voice—

接着,他又放开嗓门儿唱起来——

‘The motor-car went Poop-poop-poop, As it raced along the road. Who was it steered it into a pond? Ingenious Mr. Toad!

“小汽车,噗噗噗,顺着大路往前奔。是谁驱车进水塘?足智多谋的蟾蜍君!

O, how clever I am! How clever, how clever, how very clev----‘

瞧我多聪明!多聪明,多聪明,多聪——”

A slight noise at a distance behind him made him turn his head and look. O horror! O misery! O despair!

这时从身后远处,传来一阵轻微的喧闹声,他回头一看。哎呀呀,要命呀!倒霉呀!全完啦!

About two fields off, a chauffeur in his leather gaiters and two large rural policemen were visible, running towards him as hard as they could go!

大约隔着两块田地,一个扎着皮绑腿的司机和两名乡村警察,正飞快地朝他奔来。

Poor Toad sprang to his feet and pelted away again, his heart in his mouth. O, my!’ he gasped, as he panted along, ‘what an ASS I am! What a CONCEITED and heedless ass! Swaggering again! Shouting and singing songs again! Sitting still and gassing again! O my! O my! O my!’

可怜的蟾蜍一跃而起,又嗖地蹦开,他的心都跳到嗓子眼里了。他气喘吁吁地跑着。气喘吁吁地说:“我真是头蠢驴!一头又狂妄又粗心的蠢驴!我又吹牛了!又大喊大叫大唱起来了!又坐着不动大夸海口了!天哪!天哪!天哪!”

He glanced back, and saw to his dismay that they were gaining on him. On he ran desperately, but kept looking back, and saw that they still gained steadily. He did his best, but he was a fat animal, and his legs were short, and still they gained. He could hear them close behind him now. Ceasing to heed where he was going, he struggled on blindly and wildly, looking back over his shoulder at the now triumphant enemy, when suddenly the earth failed under his feet, he grasped at the air, and, splash! he found himself head over ears in deep water, rapid water, water that bore him along with a force he could not contend with; and he knew that in his blind panic he had run straight into the river!

他回头瞄了一眼,看到那伙人追上来了。他心慌意乱,拼命狂奔,不住地回头望,只见他们越来越近了。他使出最大的力气跑,可他身体肥胖,腿又短,跑不过他们。现在,他能听到他们就在身后了。他顾不得辨方向,只管发狂似的瞎跑,还不时回过头去看他的那些就要成功的敌人。突然间,他一脚踩空了,四脚在空中乱抓,扑通一声,他没头没脑地掉进了深深的湍急的流水。他被河水的强大力量冲着走,无能为力。他这才知道,原来他在慌乱中瞎跑时,竟一头栽进了大河!

He rose to the surface and tried to grasp the reeds and the rushes that grew along the water’s edge close under the bank, but the stream was so strong that it tore them out of his hands. ‘O my!’ gasped poor Toad, ‘if ever I steal a motor-car again! If ever I sing another conceited song’—then down he went, and came up breathless and spluttering. Presently he saw that he was approaching a big dark hole in the bank, just above his head, and as the stream bore him past he reached up with a paw and caught hold of the edge and held on. Then slowly and with difficulty he drew himself up out of the water, till at last he was able to rest his elbows on the edge of the hole. There he remained for some minutes, puffing and panting, for he was quite exhausted.

他冒出水面,想抓住岸边垂下的芦苇和灯芯草,可是水流太急,抓到手的草又滑脱了。“老天爷!”可怜的蟾蜍气喘吁吁地说,“我再也不敢偷车了!再也不敢唱吹牛歌了!”说完又沉了下去,过后又冒出水面,喘着粗气胡乱打水。忽地,他发现自己正流向岸边的一个大黑洞,那洞恰好就在他头顶上。当流水冲着他经过洞边时,他伸出一只爪子、够着了岸边,抓牢了。然后他吃力地把身子慢慢拖出水面,两肘支撑在洞沿上。他在那儿呆了几分钟,喘着气,因为他实在是累垮了。

As he sighed and blew and stared before him into the dark hole, some bright small thing shone and twinkled in its depths, moving towards him. As it approached, a face grew up gradually around it, and it was a familiar face!

正当他叹气,喘息,往黑洞里瞪眼瞧时,只见洞穴深处有两个小光点。闪亮眨巴,朝他移过来。那光点凑到他跟前时,显出了一张脸,一张熟悉的脸!

Brown and small, with whiskers.

一张黄褐色的、小小的、长了胡髭的脸。

Grave and round, with neat ears and silky hair.

一张严肃的、圆圆的脸。一对纤巧的小耳朵和丝一般发亮的毛发。

It was the Water Rat!

原来是河鼠!