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首页 » 双语小说 » 夏洛的网 Charlotte's Web » Chapter 13 Good Progress
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Chapter 13 Good Progress

Far into the night, while the other creatures slept, Charlotte worked on her web. First she ripped out a few of the orb lines near the center. She left the radial lines alone, as they were needed for support. As she worked, her eight legs were a great help to her. So were her teeth. She loved to weave and she was an expert at it. When she was finished ripping things out, her web looked something like this:

  A spider can produce several kinds of thread. She uses a dry, tough thread for foundation lines, and she uses a sticky thread for snare lines--the ones that catch and hold insects. Charlotte decided to use her dry thread for writing the new message.

  "If I write the word 'Terrific' with sticky thread," she thought, "every bug that comes along will get stuck in it and spoil the effect.""Now let's see, the first letter is T."Charlotte climbed to a point at the top of the left hand side of the web. Swinging her spinnerets into position, she attached her thread and then dropped down. As she dropped, her spinning tubes went into action and she let out thread. At the bottom, she attached the thread. This formed the upright part of the letter T. Charlotte was not satisfied, however. She climbed up and made another attachment, right next to the first. Then she carried the line down, so that she had a double line instead of a single line. "It will show up better if I make the whole thing with double lines."She climbed back up, moved over about an inch to the left, touched her spinnerets to the web, and then carried a line across to the right, forming the top of the T. She repeated this, making it double. Her eight legs were very busy helping.

  "Now for the E!"Charlotte got so interested in her work, she began to talk to herself, as though to cheer herself on. If you had been sitting quietly in the barn cellar that evening, you would have heard something like this:

  "Now for the R! Up we go! Attach! Descend! Pay out line! Whoa! Attach! Good! Up you go! Repeat! Attach! Descend! Pay out line. Whoa, girl! Steady now1 Attach! Climb! Attach! Over to the right! Pay out line! Attach! Climb! Attach! Over to the right! Pay loop and around and around! Now in to the left! Attach! Climb! Repeat! O.K.! Easy, keep those lines together! Now, then, out and down for the leg of the R! Pay out line! Whoa! Attach! Ascend! Repeat! Good girl!"And so, talking to herself, the spider worked at her difficult task. When it was completed, she felt hungry. She are a small bug that she had been saving. Then she slept.

  Next morning, Wilbur arose and stood beneath the web. He breathed the morning air into his lungs. Drops of dew, catching the sun, made the web stand out clearly. When Lurvy arrived with breakfast, there was the handsome pig, and over him, woven neatly in block letters, was the word TERRIFIC. Another miracle.

  Lurvy rushed and called Mr. Zuckerman. Mr. Zuckerman rushed and called Mrs. Zuckerman. Mrs. Zuckerman ran to the phone and called the Arables. The Arables climbed into their truck and hurried over.

  Everybody stood at the pigpen and stared at the web and read the word, over and over, while Wilbur, who really felt terrific, stood quietly swelling out his chest and swinging his snout from side to side.

  "Terrific!" breathed Zuckerman, in joyful admiration. "Edith, you better phone the reporter on the Weekly Chronicle and tell him what has happened. He will want to know about this. He may want to bring a photographer. There isn't a pig in the whole state that is as terrific as our pig."The news spread. People who had journeyed to see Wilbur when he was "some pig" came back again to see him now that he was "terrific."That afternoon, when Mr. Zuckerman went to milk the cows and clean out the tie-ups, he was still thinking about what a wondrous pig he owned.

  "Lurvy!" he called. "There is to be no more cow manure thrown down into that pigpen. I have a terrific pig. I want that pig to have clean, bright straw every day for his bedding. Understand?

  "Yes, sir," said Lurvy.

  "Furthermore," said Mr. Zuckerman, "I want you to start building a crate for Wilbur. I have decided to take the pig to the County Fair on September sixth. Make the crate large and paint it green with gold letters!""What will the letters say?" asked Lurvy.

  "They should say Zuckerman's Famous Pig."Lurvy picked up a pitchfork and walked away to get some clean straw. having such an important pig was going to mean plenty of extra work, he could see that.

  Below the apple orchard, at the end of a path, was the dump where Mr. Zuckerman threw all sorts of trash and stuff that nobody wanted any more. here, in a small clearing hidden by young alders and wild raspberry bushes, was an astonishing pile of old bottles and empty tin cans and dirty rags and bits of metal and broken bottles and broken hinges and broken springs and dead batteries and last month's magazines and old discarded dishmops and tattered overalls and rusty spikes and leaky pails and forgotten stoppers and useless junk of all kinds, including a wrong-size crank for a broken ice-cream freezer.

  Templeton knew the dump and liked it. There were good hiding places there--excellent cover for a rat. And there was usually a tin can with food still clinging to the inside.

  Templeton was down there now, rummaging around. When he returned to the barn, he carried in his mouth an advertisement he had torn from a crumpled magazine.

  "How's this?" he asked, showing the ad to Charlotte. "It says 'Crunchy.' 'Crunchy' would be a good word to write in your web.""Just the wrong idea," replied Charlotte. "Couldn't be worse. We don't want Zuckerman to think Wilbur is crunchy. He might start thinking about crisp, crunchy bacon and tasty ham. That would put ideas into his head. We must advertise Wilbur's noble qualities, not his tastiness. Go get another word, please, Templeton!"The rat looked disgusted. But he sneaked away to the dump and was back in a while with a strip of cotton cloth. "How's this?" he asked. "It's a label off an old shirt."Charlotte examined the label. It said PRE-SHRUNK.

  "I'm sorry, Templeton," she said, "but 'Pre-shrunk' is out of the question. We want Zuckerman to think Wilbur is nicely filled out, not all shrunk up. I'll have to ask you to try again.""What do you think I am, a messenger boy?" grumbled the rat. "I'm not going to spend all my time chasing down to the dump after advertising material.""Just once more--please!" said Charlotte.

  "I'll tell you what I'll do," said Templeton. "I know where there's a package of soap flakes in the woodshed. It has writing on it. I'll bring you a piece of the package."He climbed the rope that hung on the wall and disappeared through a hole in the ceiling. When he came back he had a strip of blue-and-white cardboard in his teeth.

  "There!" he said, triumphantly. "How's that?"Charlotte read the words: "With New Radiant Action.""What does it mean?" asked Charlotte, who had never used any soap flakes in her life.

  "How should I know?" said Templeton. "You asked for words and I brought them. I suppose the next thing you'll want me to fetch is a dictionary."Together they studied the soap ad. "'With new radiant action,'" repeated Charlotte, slowly. "Wilbur!" she called.

  Wilbur, who was asleep in the straw, jumped up.

  "Run around!" commanded Charlotte. "I want to see you in action, to see if you are radiant."Wilbur raced to the end of his yard.

  "Now back again, faster!" said Charlotte.

  Wilbur galloped back. His skin shone. His tail had a fine, tight curl in it.

  "Jump into the air!" cried Charlotte.

  Wilbur jumped as high as he could.

  "Keep your knees straight and touch the ground with your ears!" called Charlotte.

  Wilbur obeyed.

  "Do a back flip with a half twist in it!" cried Charlotte.

  Wilbur went over backwards, writhing and twisting as he went.

  "O. K., Wilbur," said Charlotte. "You can go back to sleep. O.K., Templeton, the soap ad will do, I guess. I'm not sure Wilbur's action is exactly radiant, but it's interesting.""Actually," said Wilbur, "I feel radiant.""Do you?" said Charlotte, looking at him with affection. "Well, you're a good little pig, and radiant you shall be. I'm in this thing pretty deep now--I might as well go the limit."Tired from his romp, Wilbur lay down in the clean straw. He closed his eyes. The straw seemed scratchy--not as comfortable as the cow manure, which was always delightfully soft to lie in. So he pushed the straw to one side and stretched out in the manure. Wilbur sighed. It had been a busy day--his first day of being terrific. Dozens of people had visited his yard during the afternoon, and he had had to stand and pose, looking as terrific as he could. Now he was tired. Fern had arrived and seated herself quietly on her stool in the corner.

  "Tell me a story, Charlotte!" said Wilbur, as he lay waiting for sleep to come. "Tell me a story!"So Charlotte, although she, too, was tired, did what Wilbur wanted.

  "Once upon a time," she began, "I had a beautiful cousin who managed to build her web across a small stream. One day a tiny fish leaped into the air and got tangled in the web. My cousin was very much surprised, of course. The fish was thrashing wildly. My cousin hardly dared tackle it. But she did. She swooped down and threw great masses of wrapping material around the fish and fought bravely to capture it.""Did she succeed?" asked Wilbur.

  "It was a never-to-be-forgotten battle," said Charlotte. "There was the fish, caught only by one fin, and its tail wildly thrashing and shining in the sun. There was the web, sagging dangerously under the weight of the fish.""How much did the fish weigh?" asked Wilbur eagerly.

  "I don't know," said Charlotte. "There was my cousin, slipping in, dodging out, beaten mercilessly over the head by the wildly thrashing fish, dancing in, dancing out, throwing her threads and fighting hard. First she threw a left around the tail. The fish lashed back. Then a left to the tail and a right to the mid-back. Then a left to the tail and a right to the mid-section. The fish lashed back. Then she dodged to one side and threw a right, and another right to the fin. Then a hard left to the head, while the web swayed and stretched.""Then what happened?" asked Wilbur.

  "Nothing," said Charlotte. "My cousin kept the fish for a while, and then, when she got good and ready, she ate it.""Tell me another story!" begged Wilbur.

  So Charlotte told him about another cousin of hers who was an aeronaut.

  "What is an aeronaut?" asked Wilbur.

  "A balloonist," said Charlotte. "My cousin used to stand on her head and let out enough thread to form balloon. then she'd let go and be lifted into the air and carried upward on the warm wind.""Is that true?" asked Wilbur. "Or are you just making it up?""It's true," replied Charlotte. "I have some very remarkable cousins. And now, Wilbur, it's time you went to sleep.""Sing something!" begged Wilbur, closing his eyes.

  So Charlotte sang a lullaby, while crickets chirped in the grass and the barn grew dark. This was the song she sang.

  "Sleep, sleep, my love, my only,Deep, deep, in the dung and the dark;Be not afraid and be not lonely!

  This is the hour when frogs and thrushesPraise the world from the woods and the woods and rushes.

  Rest form care, my one and only,Deep in the dung and the dark!"But Wilbur was already asleep. When the song ended, Fern got up and went home.

 

  深夜,其他的动物都睡了,夏洛还在织他的网。她把网中央附近的一些圆线拉掉,只留下一些支撑住整张网的放射状线。在她工作时,她的八条腿起了很大的作用,她的牙也是。她喜欢织网,对这工作也很胜任。当她把多余的线都拆除以后,她的网看起来就像这样一个圆环:(原文下有图)

  一只蜘蛛能吐出很多种丝线。她用一种干的粗线作主线,用另一种黏的丝线作陷阱线——这些线是用来抓和粘昆虫的。夏洛决定用她的干丝线来织这新的预言。

  “如果我用黏线来织'很棒'这个单词,”她想,“每个撞上去的虫子都能破坏字的效果的。”

  “现在让我想想,第一个字母应该是T。”

  夏洛爬到网左边的高处,把她的丝囊摆到正确的位置,横着拉了一条线,然后才开始下落。当她下落时,她的织网管开始运作起来,从中释放出丝线。荡到网底时,她收住了线。现在“T”这个字母的横线织成了。可是夏洛觉得它看上去并不理想。她又爬上去,在那道横线的右下方另外拉出了一条线,这样她就织好两道线了。“如果我把所有的字母都用双线织,看起来效果一定更完美。”

  想着,她便往上爬回去,挪到左边织出的第一道横线下面约一英寸的地方,拍拍丝囊,向右平行地又拉出一道丝线,织成了由双线构成的字母“T”的上半部。接着她又同样的开始去织那两道竖线。她的八条腿不停地忙碌着,一会儿就把这个字母全织成了。

  “现在该织字母E了!”

  夏洛对她这工作的兴趣越来越浓了,她一边干一边自语起来,好像这样能令她更兴奋。如果那天夜里你正静坐在谷仓地窖里,你就会听到下面的话:

  “现在开始织字母R!我们往上去!系住!下降!抽丝!停!系住!好的!你往上去!再来!系住!下降!抽丝。停,小姑娘!预备!系住!爬!系住!往右拽!拉线!现在往右往下转个圈儿转圈转圈儿!现在往左边来!系住!爬!再来!OK!小意思,把那些线连起来!现在,往下织R的一条腿儿!放线!停!系住!下降!再来!好姑娘!”

  夏洛就这样一面自语着,一面做着她艰难的工作。这一切都弄完之后,她感到饿极了。她吃了一只事先储存的小虫子,便睡着了。

  第二天一早,威伯醒来后,便来到了网跟前。他的肺尽情呼吸着早晨的空气。网上的露珠,把阳光返照到网里,使那张网看起来格外清晰。当鲁维来送早餐时,一眼就看到了那头漂亮的猪,和猪的头顶上的那些织得整整齐齐的大写字母,那些字母拼成了一个单词“很棒”。这又是一个神迹。

  鲁维冲出去喊祖克曼先生。祖克曼先生冲出去喊祖克曼太太。祖克曼太太跑向电话给阿拉贝尔家打电话,阿拉贝尔一家钻进他们的卡车急忙赶了过来。

  每个人都站到猪圈里盯着蜘蛛网,把那单词反复读了又读。这时威伯也觉得自己很棒了,他骄傲地挺着胸脯站在那里,快活的把鼻子不停地晃来晃去。

  “很棒!”祖克曼以带着羡慕的骄傲说,“伊迪丝,你最好给《时代周刊》的记者打个电话,告诉他们这里出了什么事儿。他们会对这个感兴趣的,没准儿还会派个摄影记者来呢。我们整个州都没有我们这么棒的猪。”

  消息传开了。当威伯是“好猪”时,那些曾从远方来看的人,现在又回来看他是多么的“很棒”了。

  那天下午,在祖克曼先生去给母牛挤奶并清理牛粪时,他还在想着他拥有了一头多么奇异的猪。

  “鲁维!”他喊,“不要再把牛粪倒进猪圈了。我有了一头很棒的猪。我想让那头猪保持清洁,每天用稻草给他铺床。明白了吗?”

  “是的,先生。”鲁维说。

  “另外,祖克曼先生说,“我要你给威伯造一个板条箱,我决定把这头猪带到九月十六日的郡农业展览会(County Fair)①上去。把这箱子造大些,漆成绿色,上面写上金字儿!”

  “写什么字呢?”鲁维问。

  “上面应该写‘祖克曼家的名猪’。”

  鲁维拾起长柄叉去弄干净的稻草了。有了这样一头重要的猪,就意味着要有大量的额外工作,他能明白这一点。

  苹果园下的小路尽头,是祖克曼先生扔各种垃圾和废物的地方,没人愿意到那里去。那儿,在一丛小桦树与野覆盆子的遮掩下,有一小块开阔地,里面堆满了多得惊人的垃圾:有旧瓶子,空罐头盒,破链条,坏弹簧,废电池,上月的杂志,用旧的破碗刷,褴褛的工作服,生锈的钉子,漏了的桶,被遗忘的塞子,还有各种别的无用的垃圾,甚至包括从一个破冰激凌机上掉下来的,不能用的曲柄。

  坦普尔曼熟悉这个垃圾堆,也喜欢这里。这是个藏身的好地方——对一个老鼠特别合适。那里还通常有可口的,吃剩的罐头。

  坦普尔曼此刻正在那里搜寻。当他回到谷仓时,他的嘴里咬着从一本皱巴巴的杂志里撕下来的一条广告词。

  “这个怎么样?”他把这广告递给夏洛问,“这上面写着‘脆生生’,‘脆生生’是你可以织到网里的一个好词儿。”

  “这是个糟糕的词,”夏洛回答,“不能再糟了。我们不想让祖克曼以为威伯是脆生生的,这样他就会联想起脆的、嚼起来嘎嘎带响儿的腌肉和美味的火腿来的。这个词绝对能给他这种印象。我们要宣扬的是威伯的贵族气质,而不是他的滋味。请找个别的词来吧,坦普尔曼!”

  老鼠有些不太高兴了。但他还是又偷偷爬回垃圾堆,带了一块布回来。“这个如何?”他问,“这是一件破衬衣上的商标。”

  夏洛检查着这标签。上面写着“事先缩过水。”

  “抱歉,坦普尔曼,”她说,“‘事先缩过水’这个词太离谱了。我们想要祖克曼觉得威伯很丰满,而不是缩了水的。我不得不请你再试一次了。”

  “你以为我是谁,一个小搬运工吗?”老鼠抱怨,“我可不想把我的时间浪费在去垃圾堆翻广告词上面。”

  “就再去一次——求你了!”夏洛说。

  “我告诉你我这次给你带什么来,”坦普尔曼说,“我知道柴棚里有一个肥皂包装盒,那上面也写着广告。我给你撕一小块带回来吧。”

  他顺着悬在墙上的绳子爬进天花板上的一个小洞里去了。当他再回来时,嘴里咬着一片蓝白相间的硬纸板。

  “这个!”他胜利地说,“怎么样?”

  夏洛读着上面的字:“带着闪光的新行动②。”

  “那是什么意思?”一生中从没用过肥皂的夏洛问。

  “我怎么知道?”坦普尔曼说,“你是在问我带来的这些字是什么意思吗?我想你马上要让我替你找本字典来吧。”

  他们一起研究着这条肥皂广告。“带着闪光的新行动。”夏洛慢慢地重念着。“威伯!”她喊道。

  正在稻草堆里睡觉的威伯跳了起来。

  “转圈跑!”夏洛命令,“我想看你动起来的样子是不是闪光。”

  威伯跑到了院子的尽头。

  “现在跑回来,快点!”夏洛说。

  威伯飞奔过来。他的皮肤很光滑。他的尾巴很好看,上面还打着一个漂亮的卷儿。

  “往天上跳!”夏洛喊道。

  威伯跳得尽可能的高。

  “伸直腿,耳朵挨到地面!”夏洛道。

  威伯照做不误。

  “在空中转个半圈儿。”夏洛喊。

  威伯扭过身子,转着圈子跳了起来。

  “OK,威伯,”夏洛说,“你可以回去睡觉了。OK,坦普尔曼,这条肥皂广告还可以,我猜。我只是不能确定威伯跑时是否闪着光,不过那却很有意思。”

  “实际上,”威伯说,“我感觉我在闪光。”

  “是吗?”夏洛说着,深情地看着他。“是的,你是一头可爱的小猪,你也会闪光的。我在这件事儿上花的时间够多了——我想还是到此为止吧。”

  乱蹦了半天的威伯也累了,便躺进干净的稻草堆,闭上了眼睛。这稻草好像有点儿痒——不像牛粪那么令人舒服。软软的躺在牛粪堆里的感觉才舒服呢。因此他把稻草拱到一边,扒进了牛粪堆里。威伯叹了一口气。他在变得很棒后的第一天可真够忙的。下午有数不清的人到他的院子里参观,所以他不得不一直装模作样地傻站在那里,好使自己看起来显得确实很棒。现在他累极了。芬已经来了,就在角落里的那张小凳子上静静地坐着。

  “给我讲一个故事吧,夏洛!”威伯睡前说,“给我讲个故事!”

  虽然夏洛也很疲倦,可还是满足了威伯的请求。

  “从前,”她开始讲,“我有一个美丽的表妹,在一条特别小的小溪上空织了一张网。一天,一条跳出水的小鱼蹦到了她的网里。当然,我的表妹很吃惊。那条鱼发疯地在里面跳着。我表妹吓得开始都不敢去抓它。但她镇静了一下,就勇敢地爬过来,往鱼身上缠了大量的丝线,准备抓住它。”

  “她成功了吗?”威伯问。

  “那是一场永远-不-会-忘-记的战斗,”夏洛说,“那只一条鳍被缠住的鱼,尾巴摆动得那么粗野,还在太阳下闪着银光呢。那张网,也危险地随着鱼的重量往下陷。”

  “那条鱼有多重?”威伯急切地问。

  “我不知道,”夏洛说,“我只知道我的表妹在不停地闪躲、进攻着,虽然她的脑袋被那条拼命蹦的鱼残忍地揍了很多下,也还是在和鱼做着殊死的搏斗。她先往鱼尾的左边抛了一道丝,于是鱼就往右蹦;接着她往鱼尾左边抛了一道丝,又往中间偏右的地方抛了一道,鱼便往回跳。然后她溜到另一边,往鱼的右边缠线,去捆右边的那条鳍。等她的线缠到左边的鱼头时,网开始剧烈地摇晃起来。”

  “接着怎么样了?”威伯问。

  “没什么,”夏洛说,“鱼失去了战斗力。我表妹把它紧紧捆得不能动了。”

  “完了呢?”威伯问。

  “完了就完了呗,”夏洛说,“我表妹让鱼在那里呆了一会儿,等她恢复了精力后,就把它吃了。”

  “再给我讲个别的故事!”威伯央求。

  夏洛就又给威伯讲了她的另一个当飞艇驾驶员的表妹的故事。

  “什么是飞艇驾驶员?”威伯问。

  “就是热汽球驾驶员,”夏洛说,“我的表妹常把脚站在头上,抛出很多游丝,把它们缠成一个大汽球。然后她就把这汽球放向空中,自己也随之乘着暖暖的风往上飘。”

  “那是真的吗?”威伯说,“或者你是在胡编?”

  “那是真的,”夏洛回答,“我有好几个本领高强的表妹呢。现在,威伯,你该去睡觉了。”

  “唱个歌儿吧!”威伯闭上眼,求着夏洛。

  伴随着草丛和渐暗的谷仓里传出的蟋蟀的低吟,夏洛轻轻地唱了一支催眠曲。她是这么唱的:


  睡吧,睡吧,我的爱,我唯一的宝贝,

  深深地,深深地,在粪堆和静夜里安睡;

  不知道恐惧也不知道孤单的滋味!

  此刻只有那些青蛙和画眉

  在树林和灯心草间将世界赞美。

  安心地休息吧,我唯一的唯一的宝贝,

  深深地,深深地,在粪堆和静夜里安睡!


  威伯还没有听完就睡着了。当这支歌唱完,芬才站起身回了往家。

 

  注释① 郡农业展览会(County Fair):我在这里笼统的翻译为展览会。根据我的朋友螳螂,亦歌,洪立等的说法,这一词直译就是"郡市集"或者"郡露天集会",指县、郡即农村的展览会,在会上大家来比谁种的瓜大、谁家的猪肥。或者是指一种大圩(集),一般一年一次,集游乐农贸于一体。

  注释② "带着闪光的新行动"(With New Radiant Action):这个词一看就感觉很明白,一翻译我就觉得说不清楚,只好四处请教朋友。朋友们的说法很多,但基本相似。如我的朋友筋斗云认为,可以翻译成"新的亮丽表现",因为radiant这个词在字典跟"bright"类似意义,smile和brightsmile差不多意思。本来就有指物体表面与精神状态两意。所以一起或者译为"新的亮丽表现"。而"bright"这个词,接受了朋友们的指点后,我又想了半天,还是把它翻译成"闪光"这个普通的词,因为我想不出更好的了。



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