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Chapter 1

- we are introduced to the narrator, a pilot, and his ideas about grown-ups
Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent1 picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. Here is a copy of the drawing.
In the book it said: "Boa constrictors swallow their prey2 whole, without chewing it. After that they are not able to move, and they sleep through the six months that they need for digestion3."
I pondered4 deeply, then, over the adventures of the jungle. And after some work with a colored pencil I succeeded in making my first drawing. My Drawing Number One. It looked like this:
I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups, and asked them whether the drawing frightened them.
But they answered: "Frighten? Why should any one be frightened by a hat?"
My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But since the grown-ups were not able to understand it, I made another drawing: I drew the inside of the boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained. My Drawing Number Two looked like this:
The grown-ups' response, this time, was to advise me to lay aside my drawings of boa constrictors, whether from the inside or the outside, and devote myself instead to geography, history, arithmetic and grammar. That is why, at the age of six, I gave up what might have been a magnificent career as a painter. I had been disheartened by the failure of my Drawing Number One and my Drawing Number Two. Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome5 for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
So then I chose another profession, and learned6 to pilot airplanes. I have flown a little over all parts of the world; and it is true that geography has been very useful to me. At a glance I can distinguish7 China from Arizona. If one gets lost in the night, such knowledge is valuable.
In the course of this life I have had a great many encounters8 with a great many people who have been concerned with matters of consequence. I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately9, close at hand. And that hasn't much improved my opinion of them.
Whenever I met one of them who seemed to me at all clear-sighted, I tried the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always kept. I would try to find out, so, if this was a person of true understanding. But, whoever it was, he, or she, would always say:
"That is a hat."
Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars. I would bring myself down to his level. I would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties. And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible10 man.



1 magnificent 4AXxD     
  • The museum that we visited is very magnificent.我们参观的博物馆是很宏伟的。
  • That's a magnificent task.这是一项宏伟的任务。
2 prey g1czH     
  • Stronger animals prey on weaker ones.弱肉强食。
  • The lion was hunting for its prey.狮子在寻找猎物。
3 digestion il6zj     
  • This kind of tea acts as an aid to digestion.这种茶可助消化。
  • This food is easy of digestion.这食物容易消化。
4 pondered 1a6c48627cecaa2388b702fa33d751ff     
考虑( ponder的过去式和过去分词 ); 深思熟虑; 沉思; 琢磨
  • She pondered over his words. 她反复琢磨他的话。
  • She pondered his marriage proposal for weeks. 几个星期以来她认真地考虑着他的求婚。
5 tiresome Kgty9     
  • His doubts and hesitations were tiresome.他的疑惑和犹豫令人厌烦。
  • He was tiresome in contending for the value of his own labors.他老为他自己劳动的价值而争强斗胜,令人生厌。
6 learned m1oxn     
  • He went into a rage when he learned about it.他听到这事后勃然大怒。
  • In this little village,he passed for a learned man.在这个小村子里,他被视为有学问的人。
7 distinguish GlWzV     
  • It is not easy to distinguish cultured pearls from genuine pearls.辨别真正的珍珠与养殖的珍珠不容易。
  • Some people find it difficult to distinguish right from wrong.一些人认为很难辨对与错。
8 encounters 11d091fe28b9a60560735f660bbed080     
遭遇战( encounter的名词复数 ); [天文学](向着某一天体的)接近; 突然遇到
  • Encounters of like charges act to diminish the coagulation rate. 同性带电粒子间的碰撞作用减少凝聚率。
  • At each stage of development the trematode encounters formidable hazards. 吸虫在发育的每一个阶段,都可能遭遇到极大的风险。
9 intimately UqqzKs     
  • He knew the town intimately.那个城市他非常熟悉。
  • He was--what is the phrase I'm looking for--not intimately acquainted with his subject.他--我该怎么说呢--对自己的课程很不熟悉。
10 sensible 9zAwg     
  • Are you sensible of the dangers of your position? 你觉察到你处境中的危险了吗?
  • He was sensible enough to mind his own business.他颇有见识,不去管闲事。


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