The Wind in the Willows  柳林风声

There was the noise of a bolt shot back, and the door opened a few inches, enough to show a long snout and a pair of sleepy blinking eyes.

里面响起了拉门栓的声音,门开了几吋宽的一条缝,刚够露出一只长长的嘴,一双睡意惺松并眨巴着的眼睛。’

‘Now, the VERY next time this happens,’ said a gruff and suspicious voice, ‘I shall be exceedingly angry. Who is it THIS time, disturbing people on such a night? Speak up!’

“哼,下回要是再碰上这事,”一个沙哑的怀疑的声音说,“我可真要生气了。这是谁呀?深更半夜,这种天气,吵醒别人的觉?说话呀!”

‘Oh, Badger,’ cried the Rat, ‘let us in, please. It’s me, Rat, and my friend Mole, and we’ve lost our way in the snow.’

“獾呀,”河鼠喊道,“求求你,让我们进去吧。是我呀,河鼠,还有我的朋友鼹鼠,我们两个在雪地里迷了路。”

‘What, Ratty, my dear little man!’ exclaimed the Badger, in quite a different voice. 

“怎么,鼠儿,亲爱的小伙子!”獾喊道,整个换了个声调。

‘Come along in, both of you, at once. Why, you must be perished. Well I never! Lost in the snow! And in the Wild Wood, too, and at this time of night! But come in with you.’

“快进来,你们俩。哎呀,你们一定是冻坏了。真糟糕!在雪地里迷了路!而且是在深更半夜的野林里!快请进来吧。”

The two animals tumbled over each other in their eagerness to get inside, and heard the door shut behind them with great joy and relief.

两只动物急着要挤进门去,互相绊倒了,听到背后大门关上的声音,都感到无比快慰。

The Badger, who wore a long dressing-gown, and whose slippers were indeed very down at heel, carried a flat candlestick in his paw and had probably been on his way to bed when their summons sounded. He looked kindly down on them and patted both their heads. ‘This is not the sort of night for small animals to be out,’ he said paternally. ‘I’m afraid you’ve been up to some of your pranks again, Ratty. But come along; come into the kitchen. There’s a first-rate fire there, and supper and everything.’

獾穿着一件长长的晨衣,脚上趿的拖鞋,果然十分破旧。他爪子里擎着一个扁平的烛台,大概在他们敲门时,正要回卧室睡觉。他亲切地低头看着他们,拍拍他俩的脑袋。“这样的夜晚,不是小动物们该出门的时候,”他慈爱地说,“鼠儿,恐怕你又在玩什么鬼把戏了吧。跟我来,上厨房。那儿有一炉好火,还有晚餐,应有尽有。”

He shuffled on in front of them, carrying the light, and they followed him, nudging each other in an anticipating sort of way, down a long, gloomy, and, to tell the truth, decidedly shabby passage, into a sort of a central hall; out of which they could dimly see other long tunnel-like passages branching, passages mysterious and without apparent end. But there were doors in the hall as well—stout oaken comfortable-looking doors. One of these the Badger flung open, and at once they found themselves in all the glow and warmth of a large fire-lit kitchen.

獾举着蜡烛,踢里趿拉走在前面,他俩紧随在后,互相会心地触触胳臂肘,表示有好事将临,走进了一条长长的幽暗的破败不堪的过道,来到一间中央大厅模样的房间。从这里,可以看到另一些隧道,是树枝状分岔出去,显得幽深神秘,望不到尽头。不过大厅里也有许多门——厚重的橡木门,看起来很安逸。獾推开了其中的一扇门,霎时间,他们发现自己来到了一间炉火通红暖意融融的大厨房。

The floor was well-worn red brick, and on the wide hearth burnt a fire of logs, between two attractive chimney-corners tucked away in the wall, well out of any suspicion of draught. A couple of high-backed settles, facing each other on either side of the fire, gave further sitting accommodations for the sociably disposed. In the middle of the room stood a long table of plain boards placed on trestles, with benches down each side. At one end of it, where an arm-chair stood pushed back, were spread the remains of the Badger’s plain but ample supper. Rows of spotless plates winked from the shelves of the dresser at the far end of the room, and from the rafters overhead hung hams, bundles of dried herbs, nets of onions, and baskets of eggs. It seemed a place where heroes could fitly feast after victory, where weary harvesters could line up in scores along the table and keep their Harvest Home with mirth and song, or where two or three friends of simple tastes could sit about as they pleased and eat and smoke and talk in comfort and contentment. The ruddy brick floor smiled up at the smoky ceiling; the oaken settles, shiny with long wear, exchanged cheerful glances with each other; plates on the dresser grinned at pots on the shelf, and the merry firelight flickered and played over everything without distinction.

地板是红砖铺的,已经踩得很旧,宽大的壁炉里,燃着木柴,两副很可爱的炉边,深深固定在墙里,冷风绝不会倒刮进来。壁炉两边,面对面摆着一对高背长凳,是专为喜好围炉长谈的客人准备的。厨房正中,立着一张架在支架上不曾上漆的木板长桌,两边摆着长凳。餐桌的一端,一张扶手椅已推回原位,桌上还摊着獾先生吃剩的晚餐,饭菜平常,但很丰盛。厨房的一端,柜橱上摆着一摞摞一尘不染的盘碟,冲人眨着眼;头上的椽子上面,吊挂着一只只火腿,一捆捆干菜,一兜兜葱头,一筐筐鸡蛋。这地方,很适合凯旋归来的英雄们欢聚饮宴;疲劳的庄稼汉好几十人围坐桌旁,开怀畅饮,放声高歌,来欢庆丰收;而富有雅兴的二三好友也可以随便坐坐,舒心惬意地吃喝、抽烟、聊天。赭红的砖地,朝着烟雾缭绕的天花板微笑;使用日久磨得锃亮的橡木长凳,愉快地互相对视;食橱上的盘碟,冲着碗架上的锅盆咧嘴大笑;而那炉欢畅的柴火,闪烁跳跃,把自己的光一视同仁地照亮了屋里所有的东西。

The kindly Badger thrust them down on a settle to toast themselves at the fire, and bade them remove their wet coats and boots. Then he fetched them dressing-gowns and slippers, and himself bathed the Mole’s shin with warm water and mended the cut with sticking-plaster till the whole thing was just as good as new, if not better. In the embracing light and warmth, warm and dry at last, with weary legs propped up in front of them, and a suggestive clink of plates being arranged on the table behind, it seemed to the storm-driven animals, now in safe anchorage, that the cold and trackless Wild Wood just left outside was miles and miles away, and all that they had suffered in it a half-forgotten dream.

和善的獾把他俩推到一张高背长凳上坐下,让他们向火,又叫他们脱下湿衣湿靴。他给他们拿来晨衣和拖鞋,并且亲自用温水给鼹鼠洗小腿,用胶布贴住伤口,直到小腿变得完好如初。在光和热的怀抱里,他们终于感到干爽暖和了。他们把疲乏的腿高高伸在前面,听着背后的餐桌上杯盘诱人的丁当声,这两只饱受暴风雪袭击的动物,现在稳坐在安全的避风港。他们刚刚摆脱的又冷又没出路的野林,仿佛已经离他们老远老远,他们遭受的种种磨难,似乎都成了一个几乎忘掉的梦。

When at last they were thoroughly toasted, the Badger summoned them to the table, where he had been busy laying a repast. They had felt pretty hungry before, but when they actually saw at last the supper that was spread for them, really it seemed only a question of what they should attack first where all was so attractive, and whether the other things would obligingly wait for them till they had time to give them attention. Conversation was impossible for a long time; and when it was slowly resumed, it was that regrettable sort of conversation that results from talking with your mouth full. The Badger did not mind that sort of thing at all, nor did he take any notice of elbows on the table, or everybody speaking at once. As he did not go into Society himself, he had got an idea that these things belonged to the things that didn’t really matter. (We know of course that he was wrong, and took too narrow a view; because they do matter very much, though it would take too long to explain why.) He sat in his arm-chair at the head of the table, and nodded gravely at intervals as the animals told their story; and he did not seem surprised or shocked at anything, and he never said, ‘I told you so,’ or, ‘Just what I always said,’ or remarked that they ought to have done so-and-so, or ought not to have done something else. The Mole began to feel very friendly towards him.

等他们完全烘干了,獾就请他们去餐桌吃饭,他已为他们备好了一顿美餐。他们早就饥肠辘辘了,可是看到晚饭真的摆在面前时,却不知从哪下手,因为样样食物都叫人馋涎欲滴,吃了这样,不知别样会不会乖乖地等着他们去光顾。好半晌,谈话是根本顾不上了。等到谈话慢慢开始时,又因为嘴里塞满了食物,说起话来也怪为难的。好在獾对这类事毫不介意,也不注意他们是否把胳臂肘撑在桌上,或者是不是几张嘴同时说话。他自己既不参与社交生活,也就形成了一个观念,认为这类事无足轻重。(当然,我们知道他的看法不对,太狭隘了;因为这类事还是必要的,不过要解释清楚为什么重要,太费时间了。)他坐在桌首一张扶手椅上,听两只动物谈他们的遭遇,不时严肃地点点头。不管他们讲什么,他都不露出诧异或震惊的神色,也从不说“我关照过你们”,或者“我一直都这么说的”,或者指出他们本该干什么,不该干什么。鼹鼠对他很抱好感。

When supper was really finished at last, and each animal felt that his skin was now as tight as was decently safe, and that by this time he didn’t care a hang for anybody or anything, they gathered round the glowing embers of the great wood fire, and thought how jolly it was to be sitting up SO late, and SO independent, and SO full; and after they had chatted for a time about things in general, the Badger said heartily, ‘Now then! tell us the news from your part of the world. How’s old Toad going on?’

晚饭终于吃完了,每只动物现在都感到肚子饱饱的,又十分安全,不必惧怕任何人或任何事,于是他们围坐在红光熠熠的一大炉柴火余烬旁,心想,这么晚的时光,吃得这么饱,这么无拘无束地坐着,多么开心啊。他们泛泛地闲聊了一阵以后,獾便亲切地说:“好吧,给我说说你们那边的新闻吧。老蟾怎样啦?”

‘Oh, from bad to worse,’ said the Rat gravely, while the Mole, cocked up on a settle and basking in the firelight, his heels higher than his head, tried to look properly mournful. ‘Another smash-up only last week, and a bad one. You see, he will insist on driving himself, and he’s hopelessly incapable. If he’d only employ a decent, steady, well-trained animal, pay him good wages, and leave everything to him, he’d get on all right. But no; he’s convinced he’s a heaven-born driver, and nobody can teach him anything; and all the rest follows.’

“唉,越来越糟啦,”河鼠心情沉重地说。鼹鼠这时蜷缩在高背凳上,烤着火,把脚后跟翘得比头还高,也竭力做出悲伤的样子。“就在上星期,又出了一次车祸,而且撞得很重。你瞧,他硬要亲自开车,可他又特无能。要是雇一个正经、稳重、训练有素的动物为他开车,付给高薪,把一切交给他,那就什么问题也没有了。可他偏不,他自以为是个天生的、无师自通的好驾驶员,这么一来,车祸就接连不断了。”

‘How many has he had?’ inquired the Badger gloomily.

“有多少回?”獾阴郁地问。

‘Smashes, or machines?’ asked the Rat. ‘Oh, well, after all, it’s the same thing—with Toad. This is the seventh. As for the others—you know that coach-house of his? Well, it’s piled up—literally piled up to the roof—with fragments of motor-cars, none of them bigger than your hat! That accounts for the other six—so far as they can be accounted for.’

“你是说——出的车祸,还是买的车?”河鼠问。“噢,对蟾蜍来说,反正都是一回事。这已是第七回了。至于另外的——你见过他那间车库吧?哼,全堆满了——半点也不夸张,一直堆到天花板——全是汽车碎片,没有一块有你的帽子大!这就是另外那六次的归宿——如果算得上是归宿。”

‘He’s been in hospital three times,’ put in the Mole; ‘and as for the fines he’s had to pay, it’s simply awful to think of.’

“他住医院就住过三次,”鼹鼠插嘴说;“至于他不得不付的罚款嘛,想起来都叫人害怕。”

‘Yes, and that’s part of the trouble,’ continued the Rat. ‘Toad’s rich, we all know; but he’s not a millionaire. And he’s a hopelessly bad driver, and quite regardless of law and order. Killed or ruined— it’s got to be one of the two things, sooner or later. Badger! we’re his friends—oughtn’t we to do something?’

“是啊,这是麻烦的一个方面,”河鼠接着说。“蟾蜍有钱,这我们都知道;可他并不是百万富翁呀。说到驾驶汽车的技术,他简直蹩脚透了,开起车来根本不顾法律和规则。他早晚不是送命就是破产——二者必居其一。獾呀!咱们是他的朋友,该不该拉他一把?”

The Badger went through a bit of hard thinking. ‘Now look here!’ he said at last, rather severely; ‘of course you know I can’t do anything NOW?’

獾苦苦思索了一阵,最后他严肃地说:“是这样,你们当然知道,目前,我是爱莫能助呀!”

His two friends assented, quite understanding his point. No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter. All are sleepy—some actually asleep. All are weather-bound, more or less; and all are resting from arduous days and nights, during which every muscle in them has been severely tested, and every energy kept at full stretch.

两位朋友都同意他的话,因为他们理解他的苦衷。按照动物界的规矩,在冬闲季节,不能指望任何动物去做任何费劲的或者英勇的举动,哪怕只是比较活跃的举动。所有的动物都昏昏欲睡,有的真的在睡。所有的动物,多多少少都由于气候的关系,呆在家里,闭门不出。在前一段时间,所有的动物全身的肌肉都绷得紧紧的,体力都耗费到极度。所以,经过前一段日日夜夜的辛勤劳动后,所有的动物都歇了下来。

‘Very well then!’ continued the Badger. ‘BUT, when once the year has really turned, and the nights are shorter, and halfway through them one rouses and feels fidgety and wanting to be up and doing by sunrise, if not before—YOU know!----‘

“就这样吧!”獾说。“不过,等到新的一年开始,黑夜变短的时候,人到半夜就躺不住了,盼望天一亮就起来活动,到那时就可以——你们明白的!——”

Both animals nodded gravely. THEY knew!

两只动物严肃地点点头。他们明白!

‘Well, THEN,’ went on the Badger, ‘we—that is, you and me and our friend the Mole here—we’ll take Toad seriously in hand. We’ll stand no nonsense whatever. We’ll bring him back to reason, by force if need be. We’ll MAKE him be a sensible Toad. We’ll—you’re asleep, Rat!’

“好,到那时候,”獾接着说,“咱们——就是说,你和我,还有我们的朋友鼹鼠——咱们要对蟾蜍严加管束。不许他胡闹。要让他恢复理性,必要的话,要对他施行强制。咱们要使他变成一只明智的蟾蜍。咱们要——喂,河鼠,你睡着了!”

‘Not me!’ said the Rat, waking up with a jerk.

“没有的事!”河鼠猛地打了个哆嗦,醒来了。

‘He’s been asleep two or three times since supper,’ said the Mole, laughing. He himself was feeling quite wakeful and even lively, though he didn’t know why. The reason was, of course, that he being naturally an underground animal by birth and breeding, the situation of Badger’s house exactly suited him and made him feel at home; while the Rat, who slept every night in a bedroom the windows of which opened on a breezy river, naturally felt the atmosphere still and oppressive.

“打吃过晚饭,他都睡过两三次啦,”鼹鼠笑着说。他自己却挺清醒,甚至挺精神,虽然他也不明白为什么会这样。当然,这是因为,他原本就是一只地下生地下长的动物,獾的住宅的位置正合他心意,所以他感到舒适自在。而河鼠呢,他夜夜都睡在敞开窗户的卧室里,窗外就是一条微风习习的河,自然会觉得这里的空气静止而憋闷啰。

‘Well, it’s time we were all in bed,’ said the Badger, getting up and fetching flat candlesticks. ‘Come along, you two, and I’ll show you your quarters. And take your time tomorrow morning—breakfast at any hour you please!’

“好吧,是该上床睡觉的时候了,”獾说,起身拿起平底烛台。“你们二位跟我来,我领你们去你们的房间。明天早上不必急着起床——早餐时间任凭自便。”

He conducted the two animals to a long room that seemed half bedchamber and half loft. The Badger’s winter stores, which indeed were visible everywhere, took up half the room—piles of apples, turnips, and potatoes, baskets full of nuts, and jars of honey; but the two little white beds on the remainder of the floor looked soft and inviting, and the linen on them, though coarse, was clean and smelt beautifully of lavender; and the Mole and the Water Rat, shaking off their garments in some thirty seconds, tumbled in between the sheets in great joy and contentment.

他领着两只动物来到一间长长的房间,一半像卧室,一半像贮藏室。獾的过冬贮备,确实随处可见,占据了半间屋——一堆堆的苹果、萝卜、土豆,一筐筐的干果,一罐罐的蜂蜜;可是另半间地板上,摆着两张洁白的小床,看上去很柔软很招人喜欢。床上铺着的被褥虽然粗糙,却很干净,闻着有股可爱的熏衣草香味。只用半分钟,鼹鼠和河鼠就甩掉身上的衣服,一骨碌钻进被子,感到无比快乐和满意。

In accordance with the kindly Badger’s injunctions, the two tired animals came down to breakfast very late next morning, and found a bright fire burning in the kitchen, and two young hedgehogs sitting on a bench at the table, eating oatmeal porridge out of wooden bowls. The hedgehogs dropped their spoons, rose to their feet, and ducked their heads respectfully as the two entered.

遵照关怀备至的獾的嘱咐,两只困乏的动物第二天很晚才下楼去吃早饭。他们看到,炉里已经升起明灿灿的火,有两只小刺猬正坐在餐桌旁的板凳上,就着木碗吃麦片粥。一见他们进来,刺猬立刻放下匙子,站起来,恭恭敬敬向他们深鞠一躬。

‘There, sit down, sit down,’ said the Rat pleasantly, ‘and go on with your porridge. Where have you youngsters come from? Lost your way in the snow, I suppose?’

“行啦,坐下,坐下,”河鼠高兴地说,“接着吃你们的粥吧。你们两位小家伙是打哪来的?雪地里迷了路,是不是?”

‘Yes, please, sir,’ said the elder of the two hedgehogs respectfully. ‘Me and little Billy here, we was trying to find our way to school— mother WOULD have us go, was the weather ever so—and of course we lost ourselves, sir, and Billy he got frightened and took and cried, being young and faint-hearted. And at last we happened up against Mr. Badger’s back door, and made so bold as to knock, sir, for Mr. Badger he’s a kind-hearted gentleman, as everyone knows----‘

“是的,先生,”年纪大些的那只刺猬恭敬地说。“俺和这个小比利,正寻路去上学——妈非要我们去上学,说天气向来是这样——自然,我们迷了路,先生。比利他年纪小,胆儿小,他害怕,哭了。末末了,我们碰巧来到獾先生家的后门,就壮着胆子敲门,先生,因为谁都知道,獾先生他是一位好心肠的先生——”

‘I understand,’ said the Rat, cutting himself some rashers from a side of bacon, while the Mole dropped some eggs into a saucepan. ‘And what’s the weather like outside? You needn’t “sir” me quite so much?’ he added.

“这我明白,”河鼠边说边给自己切下几片咸肉,同时,鼹鼠往平底锅里打下几只鸡蛋。“外面天气怎么样了?你不用老管我叫‘先生’‘先生’的。”河鼠又说。

‘O, terrible bad, sir, terrible deep the snow is,’ said the hedgehog. ‘No getting out for the likes of you gentlemen to-day.’

“噢,糟透了,先生,雪深得要命,”刺猬说。“像你们这样的大人先生,今儿个可出不了门儿。”

‘Where’s Mr. Badger?’ inquired the Mole, as he warmed the coffee-pot before the fire.

“獾先生上哪去了?”鼹鼠问,他正在炉火上温咖啡。

‘The master’s gone into his study, sir,’ replied the hedgehog, ‘and he said as how he was going to be particular busy this morning, and on no account was he to be disturbed.’

“老爷他上书房去了,先生,”刺猬回答说,“他说他今儿上午特忙,不要人打搅他。”

This explanation, of course, was thoroughly understood by every one present. The fact is, as already set forth, when you live a life of intense activity for six months in the year, and of comparative or actual somnolence for the other six, during the latter period you cannot be continually pleading sleepiness when there are people about or things to be done. The excuse gets monotonous. The animals well knew that Badger, having eaten a hearty breakfast, had retired to his study and settled himself in an arm-chair with his legs up on another and a red cotton handkerchief over his face, and was being ‘busy’ in the usual way at this time of the year.

这个解释,在场的每一位自然都心领神会。事实上,就像我们前面提到过的,一年当中你有半年过着极度紧张活跃的生活,而另外半年处在半睡或全睡的状态,在后一段时间里,如果家里来了客人,或者有事需要办理,你总不好老是推说自己犯困吧。这样的解释说多了,会叫人厌烦。几只动物都明白,獾饱饱地吃过一顿早饭以后,回到书房,就会倒在一张扶手椅上,双腿架在另一张扶手椅上,脸上盖着条红手帕,忙他在这个季节照例要“忙”的事去了。

The front-door bell clanged loudly, and the Rat, who was very greasy with buttered toast, sent Billy, the smaller hedgehog, to see who it might be. There was a sound of much stamping in the hall, and presently Billy returned in front of the Otter, who threw himself on the Rat with an embrace and a shout of affectionate greeting.

前门的门铃大响,河鼠正嚼着抹黄油的烤面包片,满嘴流油,就派那个小一点的刺猬比利去看是谁来了。厅里一阵跺脚声,比利回来了,后面跟着水獭。水獭扑到河鼠身上,搂住他,大声向他问好。

‘Get off!’ spluttered the Rat, with his mouth full.

“走开!”河鼠嘴里塞得满满的,忙不迭地乱喊。

‘Thought I should find you here all right,’ said the Otter cheerfully. ‘They were all in a great state of alarm along River Bank when I arrived this morning. Rat never been home all night—nor Mole either—something dreadful must have happened, they said; and the snow had covered up all your tracks, of course. But I knew that when people were in any fix they mostly went to Badger, or else Badger got to know of it somehow, so I came straight off here, through the Wild Wood and the snow! My! it was fine, coming through the snow as the red sun was rising and showing against the black tree-trunks! As you went along in the stillness, every now and then masses of snow slid off the branches suddenly with a flop! making you jump and run for cover. Snow-castles and snow-caverns had sprung up out of nowhere in the night—and snow bridges, terraces, ramparts—I could have stayed and played with them for hours. Here and there great branches had been torn away by the sheer weight of the snow, and robins perched and hopped on them in their perky conceited way, just as if they had done it themselves. A ragged string of wild geese passed overhead, high on the grey sky, and a few rooks whirled over the trees, inspected, and flapped off homewards with a disgusted expression; but I met no sensible being to ask the news of. About halfway across I came on a rabbit sitting on a stump, cleaning his silly face with his paws. He was a pretty scared animal when I crept up behind him and placed a heavy forepaw on his shoulder. I had to cuff his head once or twice to get any sense out of it at all. At last I managed to extract from him that Mole had been seen in the Wild Wood last night by one of them. It was the talk of the burrows, he said, how Mole, Mr. Rat’s particular friend, was in a bad fix; how he had lost his way, and “They” were up and out hunting, and were chivvying him round and round. “Then why didn’t any of you DO something?” I asked. “You mayn’t be blest with brains, but there are hundreds and hundreds of you, big, stout fellows, as fat as butter, and your burrows running in all directions, and you could have taken him in and made him safe and comfortable, or tried to, at all events.” “What, US?” he merely said: “DO something? us rabbits?” So I cuffed him again and left him. There was nothing else to be done. At any rate, I had learnt something; and if I had had the luck to meet any of “Them” I’d have learnt something more—or THEY would.’

“我就知道,准能在这儿找到你们的,”水獭兴高采烈地说。“今天我一早去河边,那儿的人正惊慌万状哩。他们说,河鼠整宿没在家,鼹鼠也是——准是发生了什么可怕的事。自然,大雪把你们的脚印全盖上了。可我知道,人们遇到麻烦时,十有八九要来找獾,或者,獾也总会了解些情况,所以我就穿过野林,穿过雪地,直奔这儿来了。哎呀呀,天气可好啦!过雪地时,红太阳刚刚升起,照在黑黝黝的树干上。我在静悄悄的林子里走着,时不时,一大团雪从树枝上滑落下来,噗的一声,吓我一跳,赶忙跳开,找个地方躲起来。一夜之间,忽然冒出那么多的雪城、雪洞,还有雪桥、雪台和雪墙——要依我,真想跟它们一连玩上几个钟头。许多地方,粗大的树枝被积雪压断了,知更鸟在上面蹦蹦跳跳,神气活现,好像那是他们干的。一行大雁,串成一条零乱的线,在高高的灰色天空里掠过头顶。几只乌鸦在树梢上盘旋,巡视了一遭,又带着不屑一顾的神情,拍着翅膀飞回家去了。可我就是没遇上一只头脑清醒的动物。好向他打听消息。大约走过林子的一半时,我遇上一只兔子,坐在树桩上,正用爪子洗他那张傻里傻气的脸。我悄悄溜到他背后,把一只前爪重重地搭在他肩上,这下可把他吓掉了魂。我只好在他脑瓜上拍打两下,才使他稍稍清醒过来。我终于从他嘴里掏出话来,他说,他们有人昨夜在野林里瞅见鼹鼠来着。他说,兔子洞里,大伙儿都七嘴八舌议论,说河鼠的好朋友鼹鼠遇上麻烦啦。说他迷了路,他们全都出来追逐他,撵得他团团转。‘那他们干吗不帮他一手?’我问。‘老天爷也许没赏你们一副好脑子,可你们有成百成千,个个长得膘肥体壮,肥得像奶油,你们的洞穴四通八达,满可以领他进洞,让他安全舒适地住下,至少可以试一试嘛。’‘什么,我们?’他只是说,‘帮助他?我们这群兔子?’我只好又给了他一记耳光,扔下他走了。没有别的办法。不过我好歹还是从他那儿得到了一点消息。要是我当时再遇上一只兔子,说不定还能多打听到什么——起码还能多给他们一点教训。”

‘Weren’t you at all—er—nervous?’ asked the Mole, some of yesterday’s terror coming back to him at the mention of the Wild Wood.

“那你一丁点儿也不——呃——不紧张吗?”鼹鼠问。提起野林,昨天的恐怖又袭上心头。

‘Nervous?’ The Otter showed a gleaming set of strong white teeth as he laughed. ‘I’d give ‘em nerves if any of them tried anything on with me. Here, Mole, fry me some slices of ham, like the good little chap you are. I’m frightfully hungry, and I’ve got any amount to say to Ratty here. Haven’t seen him for an age.’

“紧张?”水獭大笑,露出一口闪亮坚实的白牙。“他们哪个敢碰我一碰,我就叫他吃不了兜着走!鼹鼠,好小伙,给我煎几片火腿吧,我可饿坏了。我还有许多话要跟河鼠讲。好久好久没见到他了。”

So the good-natured Mole, having cut some slices of ham, set the hedgehogs to fry it, and returned to his own breakfast, while the Otter and the Rat, their heads together, eagerly talked river-shop, which is long shop and talk that is endless, running on like the babbling river itself.

和气的鼹鼠切了几片火腿,吩咐刺猬去煎,自己又回来光顾他的早饭。水獭和河鼠两只脑袋凑在一堆,卿卿喳喳,起劲地谈着他们那条河上的老话,谈起来就像那滔滔不绝的河水,没有个尽头。

A plate of fried ham had just been cleared and sent back for more, when the Badger entered, yawning and rubbing his eyes, and greeted them all in his quiet, simple way, with kind enquiries for every one. ‘It must be getting on for luncheon time,’ he remarked to the Otter. ‘Better stop and have it with us. You must be hungry, this cold morning.’

一盘煎火腿刚扫荡一空,盘子又送回去再添。这时獾进来了,打着呵欠,揉着眼睛,简单地向每个人问好。“到吃午饭的时候了,留下和我们一道吃吧。早晨这么冷,你准是饿了吧。”

‘Rather!’ replied the Otter, winking at the Mole. ‘The sight of these greedy young hedgehogs stuffing themselves with fried ham makes me feel positively famished.’

“可不!”水獭回答,冲鼹鼠挤了挤眼。“看到两只馋嘴的小刺猬一个劲往肚里填煎火腿,真叫我饿得慌。”

The hedgehogs, who were just beginning to feel hungry again after their porridge, and after working so hard at their frying, looked timidly up at Mr. Badger, but were too shy to say anything.

两只刺猬,早上吃过麦片粥,就忙着煎炸,现在又觉得饿了。他们怯生生地抬头望着獾先生,不好意思开口。

‘Here, you two youngsters be off home to your mother,’ said the Badger kindly. ‘I’ll send some one with you to show you the way. You won’t want any dinner to-day, I’ll be bound.’

“得啦,你们两个小家伙回去找妈妈吧,”獾慈祥地说。“我派人送送你们,给你们带路。我敢说,你们今天用不着吃午饭了。”

He gave them sixpence apiece and a pat on the head, and they went off with much respectful swinging of caps and touching of forelocks.

他给了他们每人一枚六便士铜钱,拍了拍他们的脑袋。他们必恭必敬挥着帽子,行着军礼,走了。

Presently they all sat down to luncheon together. The Mole found himself placed next to Mr. Badger, and, as the other two were still deep in river-gossip from which nothing could divert them, he took the opportunity to tell Badger how comfortable and home-like it all felt to him. ‘Once well underground,’ he said, ‘you know exactly where you are. Nothing can happen to you, and nothing can get at you. You’re entirely your own master, and you don’t have to consult anybody or mind what they say. Things go on all the same overhead, and you let ‘em, and don’t bother about ‘em. When you want to, up you go, and there the things are, waiting for you.’

跟着,他们都坐下来吃午饭。鼹鼠发现,他被安排挨着獾先生坐,而那两位还在一门心思聊他们的河边闲话,于是乘机对獾表示,他在这儿感到多么舒适,多么自在。“一旦回到地下,”他说,“你心里就踏实了,什么事也不会落在你头上,什么东西也不会扑到你身上。你完完全全成了自己的主人,不必跟什么人商量合计,也不必管他们说些什么。地面上一切照常,只管由它去,不必替它们操心。要是你乐意,你就上去,它们都在那儿等着你哪。”

The Badger simply beamed on him. ‘That’s exactly what I say,’ he replied. ‘There’s no security, or peace and tranquillity, except underground. And then, if your ideas get larger and you want to expand—why, a dig and a scrape, and there you are! If you feel your house is a bit too big, you stop up a hole or two, and there you are again! No builders, no tradesmen, no remarks passed on you by fellows looking over your wall, and, above all, no WEATHER. Look at Rat, now. A couple of feet of flood water, and he’s got to move into hired lodgings; uncomfortable, inconveniently situated, and horribly expensive. Take Toad. I say nothing against Toad Hall; quite the best house in these parts, AS a house. But supposing a fire breaks out—where’s Toad? Supposing tiles are blown off, or walls sink or crack, or windows get broken—where’s Toad? Supposing the rooms are draughty—I HATE a draught myself—where’s Toad? No, up and out of doors is good enough to roam about and get one’s living in; but underground to come back to at last—that’s my idea of HOME’

獾只冲他愉快地微微一笑。“这正是我要说的,”他回答。“除了在地下,哪儿也不会有安全,不会有太平和清静。再说,要是你的想法变了,需要扩充一下地盘,那么,只消挖一挖,掘一掘,就全齐啦!要是你嫌房子太大,就堵上一两眼洞,又都齐啦!没有建筑工人,没有小贩的吵闹,没有人爬在墙头窥探你的动静,指指点点,说三道四,尤其是,不会受天气的于扰。瞧瞧河鼠吧,河水上涨一两呎,他就得搬家,另租房子住,既不舒服,又不方便,租金还贵得吓人。再说蟾蜍吧。蟾官嘛,我倒没得说的,就房子来说,它在这一带是数一数二的,可万一起了火——蟾蜍上哪去?万一屋瓦给大风刮掉了,或者屋墙倒塌了,裂了缝,或者窗玻璃打破了——蟾蜍上哪去?要是屋里灌冷风——我是最讨厌冷风的——蟾蜍怎么办?不。上地面,到外面去游游逛逛,弄回些过日子的东西,固然不错,可最终还得回到地下来——这就是我对家的观念!”

The Mole assented heartily; and the Badger in consequence got very friendly with him. ‘When lunch is over,’ he said, ‘I’ll take you all round this little place of mine. I can see you’ll appreciate it. You understand what domestic architecture ought to be, you do.’

鼹鼠打心眼儿里赞同他的看法,因此獾对他很有好感。“吃过午饭,”他说,“我领你各处转转,参观参观寒舍。你一定会喜欢这地方的。你懂得住宅建筑应该是个啥样子,你懂。”

After luncheon, accordingly, when the other two had settled themselves into the chimney-corner and had started a heated argument on the subject of EELS, the Badger lighted a lantern and bade the Mole follow him. Crossing the hall, they passed down one of the principal tunnels, and the wavering light of the lantern gave glimpses on either side of rooms both large and small, some mere cupboards, others nearly as broad and imposing as Toad’s dining-hall. A narrow passage at right angles led them into another corridor, and here the same thing was repeated. The Mole was staggered at the size, the extent, the ramifications of it all; at the length of the dim passages, the solid vaultings of the crammed store-chambers, the masonry everywhere, the pillars, the arches, the pavements. ‘How on earth, Badger,’ he said at last, ‘did you ever find time and strength to do all this? It’s astonishing!’

午饭过后,当那两位坐到炉前,就鳝鱼这个话题激烈地争论起来时,獾便点起一盏灯笼,叫鼹鼠跟随他走。穿过大厅,他们来到一条主隧道。灯笼摇曳的光,隐隐照出两边大大小小的房间,有的只是些小储藏间,有的则宽大气派,有如蟾宫的宴会厅。一条垂直交叉的狭窄通道,把他们引向另一条长廊,这里,同样的情况重又出现。整个建筑规模庞大,枝杈纷繁,幽暗的通路很长很长,储藏室的穹顶很坚实,存满了各种东西。处处是泥水结构、廊柱、拱门、路面——一切一切,看得鼹鼠眼花缭乱。“我的天!”最后他说,“你怎么有时间精力干这许多事?实在令人惊讶!”

‘It WOULD be astonishing indeed,’ said the Badger simply, ‘if I HAD done it. But as a matter of fact I did none of it—only cleaned out the passages and chambers, as far as I had need of them. There’s lots more of it, all round about. I see you don’t understand, and I must explain it to you. Well, very long ago, on the spot where the Wild Wood waves now, before ever it had planted itself and grown up to what it now is, there was a city—a city of people, you know. Here, where we are standing, they lived, and walked, and talked, and slept, and carried on their business. Here they stabled their horses and feasted, from here they rode out to fight or drove out to trade. They were a powerful people, and rich, and great builders. They built to last, for they thought their city would last for ever.’

“如果这都是我干的,”獾淡淡地说,“那倒真是令人惊讶。可事实上,我什么也没干——我只不过依我的需要,清扫了通道和居室罢了。这类洞穴,周围一带还有多处。我知道,你听不明白,让我给你解释。事情是这样的:很久以前,就在这片野林覆盖的地面上,有过一座城池——人类的城池。他们就在我们站着的这地方居住,走路,睡觉,办事。他们在这里设马厩,摆宴席,从这里骑马出发去打仗,或者赶车去做生意。他们是个强大的民族,很富有,很善长建筑。他们盖的房屋经久耐用,因为他们以为,他们的城市是永存不灭的。

‘But what has become of them all?’ asked the Mole.

“那后来,他们全都怎么样了?”鼹鼠问。

‘Who can tell?’ said the Badger. ‘People come—they stay for a while, they flourish, they build—and they go. It is their way. But we remain. There were badgers here, I’ve been told, long before that same city ever came to be. And now there are badgers here again. We are an enduring lot, and we may move out for a time, but we wait, and are patient, and back we come. And so it will ever be.’

“谁知道呢?”獾说。“人们来了,繁荣兴旺了一阵子,大兴土木——过后又离开了。他们照例总是这样来来去去。可我们始终留下不走。听说,在那座城池出现很久很久以前,这儿就有獾。如今呢,这儿还是有獾。我们是一批长住的动物。我们也许会迁出一段时间,可我们总是耐心等待,过后又迁回来了。永远是这样。”

‘Well, and when they went at last, those people?’ said the Mole.

“晤,那些人类终于离开以后又怎样呢?”鼹鼠问。

‘When they went,’ continued the Badger, ‘the strong winds and persistent rains took the matter in hand, patiently, ceaselessly, year after year. Perhaps we badgers too, in our small way, helped a little—who knows? It was all down, down, down, gradually—ruin and levelling and disappearance. Then it was all up, up, up, gradually, as seeds grew to saplings, and saplings to forest trees, and bramble and fern came creeping in to help. Leaf-mould rose and obliterated, streams in their winter freshets brought sand and soil to clog and to cover, and in course of time our home was ready for us again, and we moved in. Up above us, on the surface, the same thing happened. Animals arrived, liked the look of the place, took up their quarters, settled down, spread, and flourished. They didn’t bother themselves about the past—they never do; they’re too busy. The place was a bit humpy and hillocky, naturally, and full of holes; but that was rather an advantage. And they don’t bother about the future, either—the future when perhaps the people will move in again—for a time—as may very well be. The Wild Wood is pretty well populated by now; with all the usual lot, good, bad, and indifferent—I name no names. It takes all sorts to make a world. But I fancy you know something about them yourself by this time.’

“他们离开以后,”獾接着说,“一年又一年,狂风暴雨不停地侵蚀这地方,我们獾说不定也推波助澜,谁知道呢?于是这城池就往下陷,陷,陷,一点一点地坍塌了,夷平了,消失了。然后,又一点一点往上长,长,长,种子长成树苗,树苗长成大树,荆棘和羊齿植物也来凑热闹。腐植土积厚了又流失了;冬天涨潮时溪流裹带着泥沙,淤积起来,覆盖了地面。久而久之,我们的家园又一次准备好了,于是我们搬了进来。在我们头上的地面上,同样的情况也在发生。各种动物来了,看上了这块地方,也安居下来,繁衍兴旺。动物们从不为过去的事操心,他们太忙了。这地方丘陵起伏,布满了洞穴;这倒也有好处。将来,说不定人类又会搬进来,住一段时间,这是很可能的事,不过动物们也不为将来的事操心。野林现在已经住满了动物,他们照例总是有好有坏,也有不好不坏的——我不提他们的名。世界原是由各色各样的生灵构成的嘛。我想,你现在对他们多少也有些了解吧。”

‘I do indeed,’ said the Mole, with a slight shiver.

“正是,”鼹鼠说,微微打了个寒颤。

‘Well, well,’ said the Badger, patting him on the shoulder, ‘it was your first experience of them, you see. They’re not so bad really; and we must all live and let live. But I’ll pass the word around to-morrow, and I think you’ll have no further trouble. Any friend of MINE walks where he likes in this country, or I’ll know the reason why!’

“得啦,得啦,”獾拍拍他的肩头说,“你这是头回接触他们。其实,他们也并不真那么坏;咱们活,也让别人活嘛。不过,我明天要给他们打个招呼,那样,你以后就不会再遇到麻烦了。在这个地区,但凡是我的朋友,都可以畅行无阻,要不然,我就要查明原因何在!”

When they got back to the kitchen again, they found the Rat walking up and down, very restless. The underground atmosphere was oppressing him and getting on his nerves, and he seemed really to be afraid that the river would run away if he wasn’t there to look after it. So he had his overcoat on, and his pistols thrust into his belt again. ‘Come along, Mole,’ he said anxiously, as soon as he caught sight of them. ‘We must get off while it’s daylight. Don’t want to spend another night in the Wild Wood again.’

他们又回到厨房时,只见河鼠正焦躁不安地来回踱步。地下的空气压迫他,使他神经紧张,他像是真的担心,要是再不回去照看那条河,河就会跑掉似的。他穿上外套,把一排手枪插在腰带上。“来吧,鼹鼠,”他一见鼹鼠和獾,就急切地说,“咱们得趁白天的时光回去。不能在野林里再过一夜了。”

‘It’ll be all right, my fine fellow,’ said the Otter. ‘I’m coming along with you, and I know every path blindfold; and if there’s a head that needs to be punched, you can confidently rely upon me to punch it.’

“这不成问题,亲爱的朋友,“水獭说。“我陪你们一道走。我就是蒙上眼睛,也认得出每一条路。要是有哪个家伙欠揍,看我不好好揍他一顿。”

‘You really needn’t fret, Ratty,’ added the Badger placidly. ‘My passages run further than you think, and I’ve bolt-holes to the edge of the wood in several directions, though I don’t care for everybody to know about them. When you really have to go, you shall leave by one of my short cuts. Meantime, make yourself easy, and sit down again.’

“河鼠,你不必烦恼,”獾平静地说。“我的通道比你想象的要长得多。我还有许多避难孔,从几个方向通往树林的边缘,只是我不愿让外人知道就是了。你真要走的话,你们可以抄一条近道。眼下,尽管安下心来,再坐一会儿。”

The Rat was nevertheless still anxious to be off and attend to his river, so the Badger, taking up his lantern again, led the way along a damp and airless tunnel that wound and dipped, part vaulted, part hewn through solid rock, for a weary distance that seemed to be miles. At last daylight began to show itself confusedly through tangled growth overhanging the mouth of the passage; and the Badger, bidding them a hasty good-bye, pushed them hurriedly through the opening, made everything look as natural as possible again, with creepers, brushwood, and dead leaves, and retreated.

然而,河鼠还是急着要回去照看他的河,于是獾又打起灯笼,在前面领路,穿过一条曲曲弯弯的隧道,洞里潮湿气闷,滴着水,一部分有穹顶,一部分是从坚硬的岩石里凿开的。走了很累人的一段长路,似乎有好几里长,末了,透过悬在隧道出口处杂乱的草木,终于看到了零碎的天光。獾向他们匆匆道了别,快快地把他们推出洞口,然后用藤蔓、断枝、枯叶把洞口隐蔽好,尽可能不露痕迹,就转身回去了。

They found themselves standing on the very edge of the Wild Wood. Rocks and brambles and tree-roots behind them, confusedly heaped and tangled; in front, a great space of quiet fields, hemmed by lines of hedges black on the snow, and, far ahead, a glint of the familiar old river, while the wintry sun hung red and low on the horizon. The Otter, as knowing all the paths, took charge of the party, and they trailed out on a bee-line for a distant stile. Pausing there a moment and looking back, they saw the whole mass of the Wild Wood, dense, menacing, compact, grimly set in vast white surroundings; simultaneously they turned and made swiftly for home, for firelight and the familiar things it played on, for the voice, sounding cheerily outside their window, of the river that they knew and trusted in all its moods, that never made them afraid with any amazement.

他们发现自己已站在野林的边边上。后面,岩石、荆棘、树根,杂乱无章地互相堆砌缠绕,前面,是一望无际的宁静的田野,被雪地衬得黑黝黝的一行行树篱,镶着田野的边。再往前,就见那条老河在闪闪发光,冬天的太阳红彤彤的,低悬在天边。水獭熟悉所有的小道,他负责带领他们走一条直线,来到远处的一个栅栏门。他们在那儿歇了歇脚,回头眺望,只见那座庞然大物的野林,密密层层,严严实实,阴阴森森,嵌在一望无际的白色原野当中,显得好怕人。他们不约而同掉转身来,急忙赶路回家,奔向炉火和火光映照下熟悉的东西,奔向窗外那条欢唱的河。他们熟悉那条河的种种脾性,他们信赖它,因为它绝不会做出使他们惊恐的怪异行径。

As he hurried along, eagerly anticipating the moment when he would be at home again among the things he knew and liked, the Mole saw clearly that he was an animal of tilled field and hedge-row, linked to the ploughed furrow, the frequented pasture, the lane of evening lingerings, the cultivated garden-plot. For others the asperities, the stubborn endurance, or the clash of actual conflict, that went with Nature in the rough; he must be wise, must keep to the pleasant places in which his lines were laid and which held adventure enough, in their way, to last for a lifetime.

鼹鼠匆匆赶路,急切巴望着到家,回到他熟悉和喜爱的事物中去。这时,他才清楚地看到,他原是一只属于耕地和树篱的动物,与他息息相关的是犁沟,是他常来常往的牧场,是他在暮色留连忘返的树夹道,是人们培植的花园草坪。至于严酷的环境,顽强的忍受,或者同狂暴的大自然进行的货真价实的冲突较量,让别的动物去承受吧。他必须放聪明些,老老实实厮守着他的乐土。那是他祖祖辈辈繁衍生息的所在,那里也自有它的种种探险奇遇,足够他消遣解闷一辈子的了。