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首页 » 经典英文小说 » 纳尼亚传奇:能言马与男孩The Horse and His Boy » Chapter 3
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Chapter 3

AT THE GATES OF TASHBAAN

"Mr name," said the girl at once, "is Aravis Tarkheena and I am the only daughter of Kidrash Tarkaan, the son of Rishti Tarkaan, the son of Kidrash Tarkaan, the son of Ilsombreh Tisroc, the son of Ardeeb Tisroc who was descended in a right line from the god Tash. My father is the lord of the province of Calavar and is one who has the right of standing on his feet in his shoes before the face of Tisroc himself (may he live for ever). My mother (on whom be the peace of the gods) is dead and my father has married another wife. One of my brothers has fallen in battle against the rebels in the far west and the other is a child. Now it came to pass that my father's wife, my step-mother, hated me, and the sun appeared dark in her eyes as long as I lived in my father's house. And so she persuaded my father to promise me in marriage to Ahoshta Tarkaan. Now this Ahoshta is of base birth, though in these latter years he has won the favour of the Tisroc (may he live for ever) by flattery and evil counsels, and is now made a Tarkaan and the lord of many cities and is likely to be chosen as the Grand Vizier when the present Grand Vizier dies. Moreover he is at least sixty years old and has a hump on his back and his face resembles that of an ape. Nevertheless my father, because of the wealth and power of this Ahoshta, and being persuaded by his wife, sent messengers offering me in marriage, and the offer was favourably accepted and Ahoshta sent word that he would marry me this very year at the time of high summer.

"When this news was brought to me the sun appeared dark in my eyes and I laid myself on my bed and wept for a day. But on the second day I rose up and washed my face and caused my mare Hwin to be saddled and took with me a sharp dagger which my brother had carried in the western wars and rode out alone. And when my father's house was out of sight and I was come to a green open place in a certain wood where there were no dwellings of men, I dismounted from Hwin my mare and took out the dagger. Then I parted my clothes where I thought the readiest way lay to my heart and I prayed to all the gods that as soon as I was dead I might find myself with my brother. After that I shut my eyes and my teeth and prepared to drive the dagger into my heart. But before I had done so, this mare spoke with the voice of one of the daughters of men and said, "O my mistress, do not by any means destroy yourself, for if you live you may yet have good fortune but all the dead are dead alike."

"I didn't say it half so well as that," muttered the mare.

"Hush, Ma'am, hush," said Bree, who was thoroughly enjoying the story. "She's telling it in the grand Calormene manner and no story-teller in a Tisroc's court could do it better. Pray go on, Tarkheena."

"When I heard the language of men uttered by my mare," continued Aravis, "I said to myself, the fear of death has disordered my reason and subjected me to delusions. And I became full of shame for none of my lineage ought to fear death more than the biting of a gnat. Therefore I addressed myself a second time to the stabbing, but Hwin came near to me and put her head in between me and the dagger and discoursed to me most excellent reasons and rebuked me as a mother rebukes her daughter. And now my wonder was so great that I forgot about killing myself and about Ahoshta and said, `O my mare, how have you learned to speak like one of the daughters of men?' And Hwin told me what is known to all this company, that in Narnia there are beasts that talk, and how she herself was stolen from thence when she was a little foal. She told me also of the woods and waters of Narnia and the castles and the great ships, till I said, `In the name of Tash and Azaroth and Zardeenah Lady of the Night, I have a great wish to be in that country of Narnia.' `O my mistress,' answered the mare, `if you were in Narnia you would be happy, for in that land no maiden is forced to marry against her will.'

"And when we had talked together for a great time hope returned to me and I rejoiced that I had not killed myself. Moreover it was agreed between Hwin and me that we should steal ourselves away together and we planned it in this fashion. We returned to my father's house and I put on my gayest clothes and sang and danced before my father and pretended to be delighted with the marriage which he had prepared for me. Also I said to him, `O my father and O the delight of my eyes, give me your licence and permission to go with one of my maidens alone for three days into the woods to do secret sacrifices to Zardeenah, Lady of the Night and of Maidens, as is proper and customary for damsels when they must bid farewell to the service of Zardeenah and prepare themselves for marriage.' And he answered, `O my daughter and O the delight of my eyes, so shall it be.'

"But when I came out from the presence of my father I went immediately to the oldest of his slaves, his secretary, who had dandled me on his knees when I was a baby and loved me more than the air and the light. And I swore him to be secret and begged him to write a certain letter for me. And he wept and implored me to change my resolution but in the end he said, `To hear is to obey,' and did all my will. And I sealed the letter and hid it in my bosom."

"But what was in the letter?" asked Shasta.

"Be quiet, youngster," said Bree. "You're spoiling the story. She'll tell us all about the letter in the right place. Go on, Tarkheena."

"Then I called the maid who was to go with me to the woods and perform the rites of Zardeenah and told her to wake me very early in the morning. And I became merry with her and gave her wine to drink; but I had mixed such things in her cup that I knew she must sleep for a night and a day. As soon as the household of my father had committed themselves to sleep I arose and put on an armour of my brother's which I always kept in my chamber in his memory. I put into my girdle all the money I had and certain choice jewels and provided myself also with food, and saddled the mare with my own hands and rode away in the second watch of the night. I directed my course not to the woods where my father supposed that I would go but north and east to Tashbaan.

"Now for three days and more I knew that my father would not seek me, being deceived by the words I had said to him. And on the fourth day we arrived at the city of Azim Balda. Now Azim Balda stands at the meeting of many roads and from it the posts of the Tisroc (may he live for ever) ride on swift horses to every part of the empire: and it is one of the rights and privileges of the greater Tarkaans to send messages by them. I therefore went to the Chief of the Messengers in the House of Imperial Posts in Azim Balda and said, `O dispatcher of messages, here is a letter from my uncle Ahoshta Tarkaan to Kidrash Tarkaan lord of Calavar. Take now these five crescents and cause it to be sent to him.' And the Chief of the Messengers said, `To hear is to obey.'

"This letter was feigned to be written by Ahoshta and this was the signification of the writing: `Ahoshta Tarkaan to Kidrash Tarkaan, salutation and peace. In the name of Tash the irresistible, the inexorable. Be it known to you that as I made my journey towards your house to perform the contract of marriage between me and your daughter Aravis Tarkheena, it pleased fortune and the gods that I fell in with her in the forest when she had ended the rites and sacrifices of Zardeenah according to the custom of maidens. And when I learned who she was, being delighted with her beauty and discretion, I became inflamed with love and it appeared to me that the sun would be dark to me if I did not marry her at once. Accordingly I prepared the necessary sacrifices and married your daughter the same hour that I met her and have returned with her to my own house. And we both pray and charge you to come hither as speedily as you may that we may be delighted with your face and speech; and also that you may bring with you the dowry of my wife, which, by reason of my great charges and expenses, I require without delay. And because thou and I are brothers I assure myself that you will not be angered by the haste of my marriage which is wholly occasioned by the great love I bear your daughter. And I commit you to the care of all the gods.'

"As soon as I had done this I rode on in all haste from Azim Balda, fearing no pursuit and expecting that my father, having received such a letter, would send messages to Ahoshta or go to him himself, and that before the matter was discovered I should be beyond Tashbaan. And that is the pith of my story until this very night when I was chased by lions and met you at the swimming of the salt water."

"And what happened to the girl - the one you drugged?" asked Shasta.

"Doubtless she was beaten for sleeping late," said Aravis coolly. "But she was a tool and spy of my stepmother's. I am very glad they should beat her."

"I say, that was hardly fair," said Shasta.

"I did not do any of these things for the sake of pleasing you," said Aravis.

"And there's another thing I don't understand about that story," said Shasta. "You're not grown up, I don't believe you're any older than I am. I don't believe you're as old. How could you be getting married at your age?"

Aravis said nothing, but Bree at once said, "Shasta, don't display your ignorance. They're always married at that age in the great Tarkaan families."

Shasta turned very red (though it was hardly light enough for the others to see this) and felt snubbed. Aravis asked Bree for his story. Bree told it, and Shasta thought that he put in a great deal more than he needed about the falls and the bad riding. Bree obviously thought it very funny, but Aravis did not laugh. When Bree had finished they all went to sleep.

Next day all four of them, two horses and two humans, continued their journey together. Shasta thought it had been much pleasanter when he and Bree were on their own. For now it was Bree and Aravis who did nearly all the talking. Bree had lived a long time in Calormen and had always been among Tarkaans and Tarkaans' horses, and so of course he knew a great many of the same people and places that Aravis knew. She would always be saying things like, "But if you were at the fight of Zulindreh you would have seen my cousin Alimash," and Bree would answer, "Oh, yes, Alimash, he was only captain of the chariots, you know. I don't quite hold with chariots or the kind of horses who draw chariots. That's not real cavalry. But he is a worthy nobleman. He filled my nosebag with sugar after the taking of Teebeth." Or else Bree would say, "I was down at the lake of Mezreel that summer," and Aravis would say, "Oh, Mezreel! I had a friend there, Lasaraleen Tarkheena. What a delightful place it is. Those gardens, and the Valley of the Thousand Perfumes!" Bree was not in the least trying to leave Shasta out of things, though Shasta sometimes nearly thought he was. People who know a lot of the same things can hardly help talking about them, and if you're there you can hardly help feeling that you're out of it.

Hwin the mare was rather shy before a great war-horse like Bree and said very little. And Aravis never spoke to Shasta at all if she could help it.

Soon, however, they had more important things to think of. They were getting near Tashbaan. There were more, and larger, villages, and more people on the roads. They now did nearly all their travelling by night and hid as best they could during the day. And at every halt they argued and argued about what they were to do when they reached Tashbaan. Everyone had been putting off this difficulty, but now it could be put off no longer. During these discussions Aravis became a little, a very little, less unfriendly to Shasta; one usually gets on better with people when one is making plans than when one is talking about nothing in particular.

Bree said the first thing now to do was to fix a place where they would all promise to meet on the far side of Tashbaan even if, by any ill luck, they got separated in passing the city. He said the best place would be the Tombs of the Ancient Kings on the very edge of the desert. "Things like great stone bee-hives," he said, "you can't possibly miss them. And the best of it is that none of the Calormenes will go near them because they think the place is haunted by ghouls and are afraid of it." Aravis asked if it wasn't really haunted by ghouls. But Bree said he was a free Narnian horse and didn't believe in these Calormene tales. And then Shasta said he wasn't a Calormene either and didn't care a straw about these old stories of ghouls. This wasn't quite true. But it rather impressed Aravis (though at the moment it annoyed her too) and of course she said she didn't mind any number of ghouls either. So it was settled that the Tombs should be their assembly place on the other side of Tashbaan, and everyone felt they were getting on very well till Hwin humbly pointed out that the real problem was not where they should go when they had got through Tashbaan but how they were to get through it.

"We'll settle that tomorrow, Ma'am," said Bree. "Time for a little sleep now."

But it wasn't easy to settle. Aravis's first suggestion was that they should swim across the river below the city during the night and not go into Tashbaan at all. But Bree had two reasons against this. One was that the river-mouth was very wide and it would be far too long a swim for Hwin to do, especially with a rider on her back. (He thought it would be too long for himself too, but he said much less about that). The other was that it would be full of shipping and of course anyone on the deck of a ship who saw two horses swimming past would be almost certain to be inquisitive.

Shasta thought they should go up the river above Tashbaan and cross it where it was narrower. But Bree explained that there were gardens and pleasure houses on both banks of the river for miles and that there would be Tarkaans and Tarkheenas living in them and riding about the roads and having water parties on the river. In fact it would be the most likely place in the world for meeting someone who would recognize Aravis or even himself.

"We'll have to have a disguise," said Shasta.

Hwin said it looked to her as if the safest thing was to go right through the city itself from gate to gate because one was less likely to be noticed in the crowd. But she approved of the idea of disguise as well. She said, "Both the human will have to dress in rags and look like peasants or slaves And all Aravis's armour and our saddles and things must be made into bundles and put on our backs, and the children must pretend to drive us and people will think we're on pack-horses."

"My dear Hwin!" said Aravis rather scornfully. "As anyone could mistake Bree for anything but a war-hors however you disguised him!"

"I should think not, indeed," said Bree, snorting an letting his ears go ever so little back.

"I know it's not a very good plan," said Hwin. "But I think it's our only chance. And we haven't been groomed for ages and we're not looking quite ourselves (at least, I'm sure I'm not). I do think if we get well plastered with mud and go along with our heads down as if we're tired and lazy -and don't lift our hooves hardly at all - we might not be noticed. And our tails ought to be cut shorter: not neatly, you know, but all ragged."

"My dear Madam," said Bree. "Have you pictured to yourself how very disagreeable it would be to arrive in Narnia in that condition?"

"Well," said Hwin humbly (she was a very sensible mare), "the main thing is to get there."

Though nobody much liked it, it was Hwin's plan which had to be adopted in the end. It was a troublesome one and involved a certain amount of what Shasta called stealing, and Bree called "raiding". One farm lost a few sacks that evening and another lost a coil of rope the next: but some tattered old boy's clothes for Aravis to wear had to be fairly bought and paid for in a village. Shasta returned with them in triumph just as evening was closing in. The others were waiting for him among the trees at the foot of a low range of wooded hills which lay right across their path. Everyone was feeling excited because this was the last hill; when they reached the ridge at the top they would be looking down on Tashbaan. "I do wish we were safely past it," muttered Shasta to Hwin. "Oh I do, I do," said Hwin fervently.

That night they wound their way through the woods up to the ridge by a wood-cutter's track. And when they came out of the woods at the top they could see thousands of lights in the valley down below them. Shasta had had no notion of what a great city would be like and it frightened him. They had their supper and the children got some sleep. But the horses woke them very early in the morning.

The stars were still out and the grass was terribly cold and wet, but daybreak was just beginning, far to their right across the sea. Aravis went a few steps away into the wood and came back looking odd in her new, ragged clothes and carrying her real ones in a bundle. These, and her armour and shield and scimitar and the two saddles and the rest of the horses' fine furnishings were put into the sacks. Bree and Hwin had already got themselves as dirty and bedraggled as they could and it remained to shorten their tails. As the only tool for doing this was Aravis's scimitar, one of the packs had to be undone again in order to get it out. It was a longish job and rather hurt the horses.

"My word!" said Bree, "if I wasn't a Talking Horse what a lovely kick in the face I could give you! I thought you were going to cut it, not pull it out. That's what it feels like."

But in spite of semi-darkness and cold fingers all was done in the end, the big packs bound on the horses, the rope halters (which they were now wearing instead of bridles and reins) in the children's hands, and the journey began.

"Remember," said Bree. "Keep together if we possibly can. If not, meet at the Tombs of the Ancient Kings, and whoever gets there first must wait for the others."

"And remember," said Shasta. "Don't you two horses forget yourselves and start talking, whatever happens."

      三、在塔什班城门口
      “我是泰克希娜阿拉维斯,”小姑娘立刻说道,”我是泰坎基特拉什的独生女儿。基特扣什是泰坎里什蒂的儿子,里什蒂是泰坎老基特拉什的儿子,老基特拉什是蒂斯罗克伊尔松布勒的儿子,伊尔松布勒是蒂斯罗克阿尔地布的儿子,都是从塔什神一脉相承地繁衍下来的。我的父亲是卡拉瓦尔省的省长,是个有权利穿着靴子站在蒂斯罗克(愿他万寿无疆)本人面前的官儿。被的母亲死了(愿众神赐给她平安),我的父亲娶了另一个妻子。我的哥哥存遥远的两方讨伐叛乱的战争中牺牲了,我的弟弟还是个小娃娃。却说我父亲的妻子,我那位后母,憎恶我,只要我住在我父亲的家里,她就觉得太阳也变得黑暗了。所以她就劝我的父亲把我许给泰坎阿霍什塔为妻。而这位阿霍什塔出身贫贱,这几年他凭着谄媚阿谀和出坏主意,赢得了蒂斯罗克(愿他万寿无疆)的宠爱,现在被封为泰坎,做了好几个城市的父母官,将来现任大臣死了,他就很可能被选中为大臣。而且,他至少已有六十岁了,还是个驼背,胎长得像无尾猿。尽管如此,一则由于这位阿霍什塔有财有势,二则我后母竭力劝说,我的父亲便派媒人去说亲。一说即合,阿霍什塔叫人捎信来,说今年盛夏就要娶亲成婚。
      “这个消息传到我耳朵里时,我心目中的太阳变得漆黑了,我躺在床上,哭了一天。但第二天我起了床,洗了脸,关照人给母马赫温上了鞍子,我随身带了把锋利的匕首(我哥哥在西部战争中带在身边的),便独自骑马出去了。走得已经看不见我父亲的府邸时,我来到一个森林中的片绿色空地上,那儿没有人住家。我从母马赫温身上跨将下来,抽出匕首。我解开衣服,露出我认为最便于刺中心脐的地方,我向众砷祷告,但求我一死便可同我哥哥聚会。这之后,我就闭上眼睛,咬紧牙齿,准备把匕首剌进心脏。但我还没有刺下去,这马儿就用人类的女孩儿声音说道:”我的女主人啊,无论如何不要毁灭你自己,因为如果你活着,你还会有好运气,但死人同样都是死人。”
      “我说得还没有这话一半巧妙啊。”母马喃喃自语。
      “莫作声,女士,莫作声。”布里说道,它正在全身心地欣赏着这故事。”她正用卡乐门崇高的风格讲故事,蒂斯罗克宫廷早没有人能讲得比她更好的了。请你讲下去吧,泰克希娜。”
      “当我听到我的母马口出人言,”阿拉维斯继续讲道,”我对我自己说:死的恐具已经使我理智混乱,受幻觉支配了。我变得十分羞愧,因为我的家族里没有一个人应该怕死超过怕被虫子咬的。于是我再一次举手要自杀,但赫温胞进来了,把它的脑袋挡在我和匕首之间,用最最透彻的道理同我谈话,像个母亲训斥她的女儿般训斥我。却说我心里奇怪极了,我忘了自杀,忘了阿霍什塔,问道我的母马啊,你怎样学会像人类的女儿样说话的々赫温恒把在座各位都知道的情况告诉我:在纳尼亚王国里有的是会说人话的野兽,而它自己还是匹小驹子时便被人从纳尼亚盗走了。已也跟我讲起纳尼亚王国的森林和河流、堡垒和大船,直讲得我这样起誓道:‘我以塔什神和阿扎罗斯神之名,以黑夜女神扎迪娜之名起誓,我有一个最大的愿望,就是要生活在纳尼亚王国里。’‘我的女主人啊,’母马答道,‘如果你生活在纳尼亚王国里,你就会十分幸福,因为存那个王国里,决不会强迫哪一个姑娘违背自己的心愿出嫁成亲的。
      “我们起谈了好久,我重新看到了希望,我为没有自杀而庆幸。此外,我和赫温还秘密约定,我们要起偷偷逃跑,而且如此这般地定下了计划。我们回到我父亲的府邸里,我穿上我鲜艳的衣服,在我父亲面前唱歌跳舞,假装对他为我安排的婚姻很是乐意。我还跟父亲说:‘我的父亲啊,我心目中的快乐啊,给我发个许可证,允许我带上个姑娘独自到森林里去,向黑夜和处女之神扎迪娜做秘密献祭,当少女们必须告别对扎迪娜的侍奉、准备出嫁成亲时,做这样的献祭足恰当的,符合习俗的。’于是父亲答道,‘我的女儿,我心目中的快乐啊,你可以这么办。’
      “我从父亲那儿出来以后,立刻就去找他的最老的奴隶,也就是他的秘书,在我足个婴儿的时候,他曾在他膝头上播弄我逗我,他爱我甚于爱空气和阳光。我叫他起誓保守秘密,并且求他替我写了封信。他哭泣,求我改变主意,但他最后终于说道,‘听到下令,就遵命照办。’并且按照我的一切愿望把事情办了。我封好了信,藏在怀中。”
      “信里说些什么呢”沙斯塔问。
      “别插嘴,小家伙,”布里说,”你打断了故事。她会在恰当的地方把信上的切都告诉我们的。讲下去吧,泰克希娜。”
      “于是我叫唤那跟我起到森林里去献祭扎迪娜的丫头,关照她大清早就要叫醒我。我跟她谈得很开心,我给她酒唱但我在她的酒杯里掺了点儿东西,我知道她必定要睡上一夜再加一天。我父亲府邸里的人都上床睡觉后,我穿上了我哥哥的盔甲,那是我一直留在房间里做纪念的。我把我所有的钱和一些珠宝精品都放进我的腰带里,也给自己准备好了食物,我亲手给母马上了鞍子,二更时分,我就骑马出奔了。我走的路不是我父亲所料想的向森林而去,而是朝塔什班的东北方而去。
      “我知道,父亲被我跟他所说的话欺骗了,三四天内是不会寻找我的。我在第四天到达了阿齐姆;巴尔达城。却说阿齐姆;巴尔达城坐落在许多道路的交汇处,蒂斯罗克(愿他万寿无疆)的邮差骑着快马奔向王国的四面八方,高级泰坎们有权利和特许,可以叫邮差们送信。所以我就到阿齐姆;巴尔达城的帝国邮政大慢去找邮政局长,说道:‘传递讯息的官儿啊,这儿是封信,是我伯父泰坎阿霍什塔寄给卡拉瓦尔省长泰坎是特拉什的。拿着这五个克利申,把这信给他送去吧。’邮政局长说道‘听到命令就遵命照办。’
      “这封信冒充是阿霍什塔写的,它的大意是:泰坎阿霍什塔向泰坎基特拉什致敬问安。以不可抗拒的、不屈不挠的塔什神的名义,敬启者,我在去府上订定我和令嫒泰克希娜阿拉维斯的婚约的途中,托众神和命运的福,在森林里与她不期而遇,那时她已按照少女的习俗,完成了向扎迪娜献祭的仪式。当我获悉她是什么人时,由于欣赏她的美貌和慎重周到,我变得热情如焚,心里觉得如果我不立刻同她结婚成亲,太阳就会漆黑一团了。我相应地准备了必要的祭品,就在我遇到你女儿的时刻同她结了婚,而且带她回到我自己的家里来了。我俩都祈求和要求你尽可能赶紧到这儿来,让我们可以开心地见到你,听到你的谈笑,也指望你会带来我妻子的嫁妆,由于我巨大的开销花费,我要毫不耽误地得到嫁妆。因为你和我像兄弟一样,我确信你不会因我的匆促结婚而生气,我之所以如此,完全是由于我对你女儿的巨大爱情造成的。我求众神保佑你。
      “我办完了这件事就急急忙忙骑马从阿齐姆;巴尔达赶出来了,我倒小怕被人追逐,而是希望我父亲接到这封佶,便会寄信给阿霍什塔,或者亲自到他那儿去,这样一来,及至事情被拆穿,我早已过了塔什班城了。在我被狮子追逐、在海水里游泳而遇到你们的那一夜之前,那一段便是我故事里最精彩的了。”
      “那个丫头后来如何呢——你给她吃了蒙汗药的那个?”沙斯塔问。
      “毫无疑问,她因为醒得太晚便挨打了。”阿拉维斯冷冷地答道,”不过,她是我后母的一个工具,一个密探。他们要是打了她,我才高兴哩。”
      “我说,那可不大公平。”沙斯塔说。
      “我做的这些事情,哪一件也不是为了取悦于你才做的。”阿拉维斯道。
      “故事里还有件事情我不太明白,’沙斯塔说,”你还没有长大成人,我不相信你的年龄会比我大。我不相信你有我一般大。以你这种年龄,你怎么能结婚呢?”
      阿拉维斯啥也不说,但布里立刻回答道,”沙斯塔,别卖弄你的愚蠢了。在大泰坎家族里,他们总是在这种年龄结婚的。”
      沙斯塔脸变得通红通红(尽管光线太暗淡了,其他的人看不大见),觉得自己被怠慢了。阿拉维斯请布里讲它的故事,布里讲了。沙斯塔认为它无需在跌跤和骑术拙劣方面添油加醋地说上一大堆。布里显然觉得这很有趣,但阿拉维斯并没有哈哈大笑。布里讲完故事,他们大家都去睡觉了。
      第二天,他们四位,两匹马和两个人,一起继续赶路。沙斯塔认为光是他和布里一起走时要愉快得多,因为现在是布里和阿拉维斯几乎包揽了全部谈话。布里在卡乐门生活了好长段时间,而且总是同泰坎及他们的马儿在起,所以它当然知道阿拉维斯所知道的人和地方。她总是提起类似这样的事情:”如果你参加过齐尤林德雷之战,你就会看见过我的堂兄阿里马什了。”于是布里答道:”噢,是的,阿里马什,他是战车队惟一的上尉,不是吗?我不大赞成战车或是拉战车的那种马儿。那可不是真正的骑兵。不过阿里马什是一位可尊敬的贵族。攻克蒂贝思之后,他在我草料袋里放满了糖。”此外布里还会说”那年夏天我到了米兹里尔湖。”于是阿拉维斯便接口道,”噢,米兹里尔湖我在那儿有个朋友,泰克希娜拉沙扣里恩。好个赏心悦目的地方。那些花园,还有那千香幽谷!”布里决不想把沙斯塔丢在一边,尽管沙斯塔有时差不多认为自己是被丢在一边了。见识过许许多多同样的事物的人们,情不自禁地要讲起这些事物,如果你也在场,你就不由得感到自己被丢在一边了。
      母马赫温在布里这样一匹了不得的战马面前怯生生的,它很少说话。而阿拉维斯呢,如果她能避免的话,她就压根儿不跟沙斯塔说话。
      然而,不久他们就有更加重大的事情要考虑了。他们正在走近塔什班城,路上有更多更大的村庄,和为数更多的人们。如今他们差不多都是在夜间赶路,到了白天就尽可能地躲藏起来。每次暂时歇脚,他们总是再三讨论,到达塔什班时他们该怎么办?大家都把这个困难问题往下拖延,如今不能再拖下去了。在这些讨论中,阿拉维斯对待沙斯塔的不友好态度,倒是点儿点儿地减少了,人在商量计划时往往比闲谈聊天时相处得好些。
      布里说,第一桩要办的事情就是先确定一个地方,要是运气不好,穿过城市时走散了,大家也要约定在塔什班城另一边集合起来。它说最好的地方是古代国王的坟场,就在大沙漠的边缘。”就像巨大的石头蜂房似的东西,”它说,”你不可能错过的。最大的优点是,没有一个卡乐门人会走近这古坟场,因为他们认为那个地方是食尸鬼出没之处,他们害怕它。”阿拉维斯问,是否真的有食尸鬼出没?布里说,它是匹自由的纳尼亚马儿,不相信这些卡乐门的传说。接着,沙斯塔说,他也不是个卡乐门人,对于这些个老掉了牙的食尸鬼传说,他可丝毫不怕。这话可并不十分确实,但这话给阿拉维斯的印象倒很深(虽然当时电很叫她恼火)。当然啦,她说,有多少食尸鬼她也不怕。所以,事情就这么决定下来了,古坟场应是他们在塔什班城那边集合的地点,大家都觉得他们的讨论进步很大,后来对由赫温谦逊地指出,真正的问题不在于他们穿过了塔什班城应该到什么地方去集合,而在于如何穿过塔什班城。
      “女士,我们明天会安排好的,”布里说,”现在该睡一会儿了。”
      然而,要安排好并不容易。阿拉维斯第一个建议是:他们应该在夜间游泳横渡城外的河流,而根本不进入塔什班城。但布里反对,理由有两条。一是河口很阔,赫温要游过去的话,路程可太长了,特别是它背上还骑着一个人。(它认为,对它自己说来,路程也太长,但对此它说得很少。)另一条理由是河上往来船只繁多,当然啰,坐在甲板上的任何人,看到两匹马儿游泳渡河,定会问长问短的。
      沙斯塔主张到塔什班以北的上游去,那儿的河流比较狭窄,容易横渡。但布里解释道,那儿好几里长的河流两岸,都有花园和游乐场所,泰坎和泰克希娜们很可能就住在那儿的屋子里面,并且在大路上骑马,在河上举行社交聚会。事实上,这很可能是世界上最容易遇到熟人,把阿拉维斯或布里认出来的地方。
      “我们只好乔装改扮了。”沙斯塔说。
      赫温说,据它看来,最安全的办法是干脆从城门到城门直接穿过这个城市,因为在人群之中是比较不容易被人注意的。不过,它同时也赞成乔装改扮的办法。它说:”两个人都得穿上破烂衣衫,看上去像农民或奴隶。阿拉维斯的全部盔甲、我们的马鞋子以及其他东西,必须卷成捆,放在我们的背卜,孩子们必须假装鞭打我们,人们就会认为我们不过是两匹驮马罢了。”
      “我亲爱的赫温”阿拉维斯鄙夷地说道,”不论你怎样把布里乔装改扮,别人也未必看不出它是匹战马啊。”
      “确确实实,我也这么想。”布里说道,它喷着鼻息,让双耳稍稍往后靠拢。
      “我知道这不是个很好的计划,”赫温说,”但我想这是我们惟一的机会了。而且我们已经好久好久没梳理修饰了,看上去不大像原来的样子了(至少,我确信我是不像从前的模样了)。我真的认为,如果我们身上恰到好处地涂上烂混,耷拉着脑袋一路走去,仿佛又疲倦又懒惰——压根儿难得抬起我们的马蹄来人家就可能不注意我们了。还有,我们的尾巴应该割得短一点儿:不足整洁光滑,而是毛发蓬乱。”
      “我亲爱的女士啊,”布里说道,”你自己可曾设想过,弄成这副模样,我们回到纳尼亚时,将是多么别扭啊,”
      “晤,”赫温谦和地说(它是一匹十分敏感的母马),”可主要的问题是要到得了纳尼亚啊。”
      虽然没有人喜欢赫温的计划,可来了儿大家不得不接受的,还是这个计划。这是个很麻烦的计划,而且包括一定数量的沙斯塔称之为”偷窃”、布里称之为”袭击”的事情。那天晚上,有个农场丢失了几只麻袋,第二大晚上另一个农场又丢失了一圈绳子;不过一些给阿拉维斯穿的、破破烂烂的男孩旧衣服,倒是在个村庄里用现金规规矩矩地买来的。暮色四合时,沙斯塔拿着旧衣服凯旋归来了。其他的人马正在小山脚下的树木之间等着他哩。小山坐落在他们要走的道路上。大家感到心情激动,因为这是最后的小山了;当他们到达山顶上时,他们就可以俯瞰塔什班城。”我但愿我们安全通过山脊。”沙斯塔对赫温说。”啊,我也但愿如此,但愿如此。”赫温热情地答道。
      那天夜里他们经由伐木者的小径,曲曲折折穿过森林,到达山脊。当他们从山顶上森林里钻出来时,他们能望见下面山谷里千万点灯光。沙斯塔对大城市的风光毫无概念,眼前的光景叫他吓了一跳。他们吃了夜餐,孩子们睡了一些时候。但马儿们大清早就把孩子们叫醒了。-
      繁星还没有隐去,青草冷得可怕,也湿得可怕,曙光刚开始出现向他们右边儿远远伸展开去,越过了大海。阿拉维斯走开几步,进人树林,回来时看上去挺古怪她穿着新买的破烂衣衫,还挟了卷她本来穿的衣服。这一卷衣服,再加上她的盔甲、盾牌、短弯刀,以及前副马鞍子和马儿的其余精美设备,都装在几只麻袋里。布里和赫温已经把它们自己弄脏,浑身都是污泥,只剩下尾巴尚待割短。要干这事,惟一的工具便是阿拉维斯的短弯刀。为了把刀取出来,其中一只麻袋只得重新打开。割尾巴的时间相当长久,对马儿伤害甚大。
      “好家伙!”布里说,”如果我不是一匹说话的马,我会狠狠地踢你脸上脚我原以为你要割断它,而不是把它拔掉。我当时的感觉就是在硬拔。”
      尽管天色昏暗、手指冰冷,终于一切都办妥了,大包大袋缚在马身上。缰绳(现在它们不用辔头和皮带,只用绳子)拿在孩子们手里,他们便开始踏上征程。
      “记住了,”布里嘱咐道,”如果办得到,我们就要经常待在起。如果办不到,就在古代国王的坟场里集合,谁先到,必须等候其他的人马。”
      “还要记住,”沙靳塔说,”不论发生什么事情,你们两个可别忘了自己的身份,说起人话来了。”



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