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Chapter 17 Uncle

When they pulled into the Fair Grounds, they could hear music and see the Ferris wheel turning in the sky. They could smell the dust of the race track where the sprinkling cart had moistened it; and they could smell hamburgers frying and see balloons aloft. They could hear sheep blatting in their pens. An enormous voice over the loudspeaker said:"Attention, please! Will the owner of a Pontiac car, license number H-2439, please move your car away from the fireworks shed!""Can I have some money?" asked Fern.

  "Can I, too?" asked Avery.

  "I'm going to win a doll by spinning a wheel and it will stop at the right number," said Fern.

  "I'm going to steer a jet plane and make it bump into another one.""Can I have a balloon?" asked Fern.

  "Can I have a frozen custard and a cheeseburger and some raspberry soda pop?" asked Avery.

  "You children be quiet till we get the pig unloaded," said Mrs. Arable.

  "Let's let the children go off by themselves," suggested Mr. Arable. "The Fair only comes once a year." Mr. Arable gave Fern two quarters and tow dimes. He gave Avery five dimes and four nickels. "Now run along1" he said. "And remember, the money has to last all day. Don't spend it all the first few minutes. And be back here at the truck at noontime so we can all have lunch together. And don't eat a lot of stuff that's going to make you sick to your stomachs.""And if you go in those swings," said Mrs. Arable,"you hang on tight! You hang on very tight. Hear me?""And don't get lost!" said Mrs. Zuckerman.

  "And don't get dirty!""Don't get overheated!" said their mother.

  "Watch out for pickpockets!" cautioned their father.

  "And don't cross the race track when the horses are coming!" cried Mrs. Zuckerman.

  The children grabbed each other by the hand and danced off in the direction of the merry-go-round, toward the wonderful music and the wonderful adventure and the wonderful excitement, into the wonderful midway where there would be no parents to guard them and guide them, and where they could be happy and free and do as they pleased. Mrs. arable stood quietly and watched them go. Then she sighed. Then she blew her nose.

  "Do you really think it's all right?" she asked.

  "Well, they've got to grow up some time," said Mr. Arable. "And a fair is a good place to start, I guess."While Wilbur was being unloaded and taken out of his crate and into his new pigpen, crowds gathered to watch. They stared at the sign ZUCKERMAN'S FAMOUS PIG. Wilbur stared back and tried to look extra good. He was pleased with his new home. The pen was grassy, and it was shaded from the sun by a shed roof.

  Charlotte, watching her chance, scrambled out of the crate and climbed a post to the under side of the roof. Nobody noticed her.

  Templeton, not wishing to come out in broad daylight, stayed quietly under the straw at the bottom of the crate. Mr. Zuckerman poured some skim milk into Wilbur's trough, pitched clean straw into his pen, and then he and Mrs. Zuckerman and the Arables walked away toward the cattle barn to look at purebred cows and to see the sights. Mr. Zuckerman particularly wanted to look at tractors. Mrs. Zuckerman wanted to see a deep freeze. Lurvy wandered off by  himself, hoping to meet friends and have some fun on the midway.

  As soon as the people were gone, Charlotte spoke to Wilbur.

  "It's a good thing you can't see what I see," she said.

  "What do you see?" asked Wilbur.

  "There's a pig in the next pen and he's enormous. I'm afraid he's much bigger than you are.""Maybe he's older than I am, and has had more time to grow," suggested Wilbur. Tears began to come to his eyes.

  "I'll drop down and have a closer look," Charlotte said. Then she crawled along a beam till she was directly over the next pen. She let herself down on a dragline until she hung in the air just in front of the big pig's snout.

  "May I have your name?" she asked, politely.

  The pig stared at her. "No name," he said in a big, hearty voice. "Just call me uncle.""Very well, Uncle," replied Charlotte. "What is the date of your birth? Are you a spring pig?""Sure I'm a spring pig," replied Uncle. "What did you think I was, a spring chicken? Haw, haw--that's a good one, eh, Sister?""Mildly funny," said Charlotte. "I've heard funnier ones, though. Glad to have met you, and now I must be going."She ascended slowly and returned to Wilbur's pen.

  "He claims he's a spring pig," reported Charlotte," and perhaps he is. One thing is certain, he has a most unattractive personality. He is too familiar, too noisy, and he cracks weak jokes. Also, he's not anywhere near as clean as you are, nor as pleasant. I took quite a dislike to him in our brief interview. He's going to be a hard pig to beat, though, Wilbur, on account of his size and weight. But with me helping you, it can be done.""When are you going to spin a web?" asked Wilbur.

  "This afternoon, late, if I'm not too tired," said Charlotte. "The least thing tires me these days. I don't seem to have the energy I once had. My age, I guess."Wilbur looked at his friend. She looked rather swollen and she seemed listless.

  "I'm awfully sorry to hear that you're feeling poorly, Charlotte," he said." Perhaps if you spin a web and catch a couple of flies you'll feel better.""Perhaps," she said, wearily. "But I feel like the end of a long day." Clinging upside down to the ceiling, she settled down for a nap, leaving Wilbur very much worried.

  All morning people wandered past Wilbur's pen. Dozens and dozens of strangers stopped to star at him and to admire his silky white coat, his curly tail, his kind and radiant expression. Then they would move on to the next pen where the bigger pig lay. Wilbur heard several people make favorable remarks about uncle's great size. He couldn't help worrying. "And now, with Charlotte not feeling well..." he thought. "Oh, dear!"All morning Templeton slept quietly under the straw. The day grew fiercely hot. At noon the Zuckermans and the Arables returned to the pigpen. Then, a few minutes later, Fern and Avery showed up. Fern had a monkey doll in her arms and was eating Cracker-jack. Avery had a balloon tied to his ear and was chewing a candied apple. The children were hot and dirty.

  "Isn't it hot?" said Mrs. Zuckerman.

  "It's terribly hot," said Mrs. Arable, fanning herself with an advertisement of a deep freeze.

  One by one they climbed into the truck and opened lunch boxes. The sun beat down on everything. Nobody seemed hungry.

  "When are the judges going to decide about Wilbur?" asked Mrs. Zuckerman.

  "Not till tomorrow," said Mr. Zuckerman.

  Lurvy appeared, carrying an Indian blanket that he had won.

  "That's just what we need," said Avery. "A blanket.""Of course it is," replied Lurvy. And he spread the blanket across the sideboards of the truck so that it was like a little tent. The children sat in the shade, under the blanket, and felt better.

  After lunch, they stretched out and fell asleep.























































  注释① 此处的原文是 two quarters and two dimes。这美国钱是什么模样我哪里知道?中国钱我都没见全呢。只好请教新语丝的朋友。虎子,筋斗云,亦歌等朋友告诉我说,Quarters,是美国最常用的硬币,是镍币,面值为二十五美分,是日常生活中使用最频繁的硬币,搭车洗衣服打公用电话都少不了它。如果到过LASVAGAS就会知道二十五美分的老虎机支撑了一半的赌城。Dime,是十美分的硬币。据说也是美国硬币中唯一含银的。


  Cracker-Jack是用一种特别的,红罂粟般颜色的玉米加工而成的,这种玉米最早由美国印地安人在公元800年左右杂交而成。某些新英格兰的部族曾把这种玉米涂上一层枫糖浆,制成蜜饯。第一种具有独特口味的Cracker-Jack,是F.W. Rueckheim在芝加哥举办的第一届世界工业博览会发明的。F.W. Rueckheim 与其兄弟Louis Rueckheim组建了一家F.W. Rueckheim兄弟公司。

  Louis Rueckheim 发现了防止蜜糖粘到爆米花上的办法。这个秘方今天还在使用,而且至今仍是个秘密。Louis Rueckheim在1896年对推销员推销这产品时,推销员喊道:"那是Cracker Jack!”这就给他的产品说出了一个不朽的商标。

  Cracker-Jack这个商标,被1908年的一首叫"带我去参加棒球赛"流行歌唱成了不朽,因为那歌里曾反复唱道:"给我买点儿花生和Cracker-Jack"。”每盒都有奖品"的口号在1912年被提出,当时每件玩具的包装盒里都装着Cracker-Jack。1918年,动画明星大力水手杰克和他的叫BINGO的狗的形象第一次出现在Cracker-Jack包装盒上,只是杰克的脸被换成了F.W. Rueckheim的小孙子Robert的。

  总部在美国俄亥俄州首府的哥伦布的一家公司购买了Cracker Jack公司,使它在1964年成了一家分公司。Frito-Lay在1997年购买了Cracker-Jack的商标权。


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