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安徒生童话-皇帝的新装

来源:英语阅读 编辑:英语学习 时间:2016-10-06

  Many many years ago lived an emperor, who thought so much of new clothes that he spent all his money in order to obtain them; his only ambition was to be always well dressed. He did not care for his soldiers, and the theatre did not amuse him; the only thing, in fact, he thought anything of was to drive out and show a new suit of clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day; and as one would say of a king “He is in his cabinet,” so one could say of him, “The emperor is in his dressing-room.” 
  The GREat city where he resided was very gay; every day many strangers from all parts of the globe arrived. One day two swindlers came to this city; they made people believe that they were weavers, and declared they could manufacture the finest cloth to be imagined. Their colours and patterns, they said, were not only exceptionally beautiful, but the clothes made of their material possessed the wonderful quality of being invisible to any man who was unfit for his office or unpardonably stupid. 
  “That must be wonderful cloth,” thought the emperor. “If I were to be dressed in a suit made of this cloth I should be able to find out which men in my empire were unfit for their places, and I could distinguish the clever from the stupid. I must have this cloth woven for me without delay.” And he gave a large sum of money to the swindlers, in advance, that they should set to work without any loss of time. They set up two looms, and pretended to be very hard at work, but they did nothing whatever on the looms. They asked for the finest silk and the most precious gold-cloth; all they got they did away with, and worked at the empty looms till late at night. 
  “I should very much like to know how they are getting on with the cloth,” thought the emperor. But he felt rather uneasy when he remembered that he who was not fit for his office could not see it. Personally, he was of opinion that he had nothing to fear, yet he thought it advisable to send somebody else first to see how matters stood. Everybody in the town knew what a remarkable quality the stuff possessed, and all were anxious to see how bad or stupid their neighbours were. 
  “I shall send my honest old minister to the weavers,” thought the emperor. “He can judge best how the stuff looks, for he is intelligent, and nobody understands his office better than he.” 
  The good old minister went into the room where the swindlers sat before the empty looms. “Heaven preserve us!” he thought, and opened his eyes wide, “I cannot see anything at all,” but he did not say so. Both swindlers requested him to come near, and asked him if he did not admire the exquisite pattern and the beautiful colours, pointing to the empty looms. The poor old minister tried his very best, but he could see nothing, for there was nothing to be seen. “Oh dear,” he thought, “can I be so stupid? I should never have thought so, and nobody must know it! Is it possible that I am not fit for my office? No, no, I cannot say that I was unable to see the cloth.”
  “Now, have you got nothing to say?” said one of the swindlers, while he pretended to be busily weaving. 
  “Oh, it is very pretty, exceedingly beautiful,” replied the old minister looking through his glasses. “What a beautiful pattern, what brilliant colours! I shall tell the emperor that I like the cloth very much.” 
  “We are pleased to hear that,” said the two weavers, and described to him the colours and explained the curious pattern. The old minister listened attentively, that he might relate to the emperor what they said; and so he did.
  Now the swindlers asked for more money, silk and gold-cloth, which they required for weaving. They kept everything for themselves, and not a thread came near the loom, but they continued, as hitherto, to work at the empty looms.
  Soon afterwards the emperor sent another honest courtier to the weavers to see how they were getting on, and if the cloth was nearly finished. Like the old minister, he looked and looked but could see nothing, as there was nothing to be seen.
  “Is it not a beautiful piece of cloth?” asked the two swindlers, showing and explaining the magnificent pattern, which, however, did not exist.
  “I am not stupid,” said the man. “It is therefore my good appointment for which I am not fit. It is very strange, but I must not let any one know it;” and he praised the cloth, which he did not see, and expressed his joy at the beautiful colours and the fine pattern. “It is very excellent,” he said to the emperor.
  Everybody in the whole town talked about the precious cloth. At last the emperor wished to see it himself, while it was still on the loom. With a number of courtiers, including the two who had already been there, he went to the two clever swindlers, who now worked as hard as they could, but without using any thread.
  “Is it not magnificent?” said the two old statesmen who had been there before. “Your Majesty must admire the colours and the pattern.” And then they pointed to the empty looms, for they imagined the others could see the cloth.
  “What is this?” thought the emperor, “I do not see anything at all. That is terrible! Am I stupid? Am I unfit to be emperor? That would indeed be the most dreadful thing that could happen to me.” 
  “Really,” he said, turning to the weavers, “your cloth has our most gracious approval;” and nodding contentedly he looked at the empty loom, for he did not like to say that he saw nothing. All his attendants, who were with him, looked and looked, and although they could not see anything more than the others, they said, like the emperor, “It is very beautiful.” And all advised him to wear the new magnificent clothes at a GREat procession which was soon to take place. “It is magnificent, beautiful, excellent,” one heard them say; everybody seemed to be delighted, and the emperor appointed the two swindlers “Imperial Court weavers.” 
  The whole night previous to the day on which the procession was to take place, the swindlers pretended to work, and burned more than sixteen candles. People should see that they were busy to finish the emperor’s new suit. They pretended to take the cloth from the loom, and worked about in the air with big scissors, and sewed with needles without thread, and said at last: “The emperor’s new suit is ready now.”
  The emperor and all his barons then came to the hall; the swindlers held their arms up as if they held something in their hands and said: “These are the trousers!” “This is the coat!” and “Here is the cloak!” and so on. “They are all as light as a cobweb, and one must feel as if one had nothing at all upon the body; but that is just the beauty of them.”
  “Indeed!” said all the courtiers; but they could not see anything, for there was nothing to be seen.  
  “Does it please your Majesty now to graciously undress,” said the swindlers, “that we may assist your Majesty in putting on the new suit before the large looking-glass?”
  The emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put the new suit upon him, one piece after another; and the emperor looked at himself in the glass from every side.
  “How well they look! How well they fit!” said all. “What a beautiful pattern! What fine colours! That is a magnificent suit of clothes!”
  The master of the ceremonies announced that the bearers of the canopy, which was to be carried in the procession, were ready. 
  “I am ready,” said the emperor. “Does not my suit fit me marvellously?” Then he turned once more to the looking-glass, that people should think he admired his garments.
  The chamberlains, who were to carry the train, stretched their hands to the ground as if they lifted up a train, and pretended to hold something in their hands; they did not like people to know that they could not see anything.
  The emperor marched in the procession under the beautiful canopy, and all who saw him in the street and out of the windows exclaimed: “Indeed, the emperor’s new suit is incomparable! What a long train he has! How well it fits him!” Nobody wished to let others know he saw nothing, for then he would have been unfit for his office or too stupid. Never emperor’s clothes were more admired.
  “But he has nothing on at all,” said a little child at last. “good heavens! listen to the voice of an innocent child,” said the father, and one whispered to the other what the child had said. “But he has nothing on at all,” cried at last the whole people. That made a deep impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought to himself, “Now I must bear up to the end.” And the chamberlains walked with still GREater dignity, as if they carried the train which did not exist.

  许多年以前有一位皇帝,他非常喜欢穿好看的新衣服。他为了要穿得漂亮,把所有的钱都花到衣服上去了,他一点也不关心他的军队,也不喜欢去看戏。除非是为了炫耀一下新衣服,他也不喜欢乘着马车逛公园。他每天每个钟头要换一套新衣服。人们提到皇帝时总是说:“皇上在会议室里。”但是人们一提到他时,总是说:“皇上在更衣室里。”
  在他住的那个大城市里,生活很轻松,很愉快。每天有许多外国人到来。有一天来了两个骗子。他们说他们是织工。他们说,他们能织出谁也想象不到的最美丽的布。这种布的色彩和图案不仅是非常好看,而且用它缝出来的衣服还有一种奇异的作用,那就是凡是不称职的人或者愚蠢的人,都看不见这衣服。
  “那正是我最喜欢的衣服!”皇帝心里想。“我穿了这样的衣服,就可以看出我的王国里哪些人不称职;我就可以辨别出哪些人是聪明人,哪些人是傻子。是的,我要叫他们马上织出这样的布来!”他付了许多现款给这两个骗子,叫他们马上开始工作。
  他们摆出两架织机来,装做是在工作的样子,可是他们的织机上什么东西也没有。他们接二连三地请求皇帝发一些最好的生丝和金子给他们。他们把这些东西都装进自己的腰包,却假装在那两架空空的织机上忙碌地工作,一直忙到深夜。
  “我很想知道他们织布究竟织得怎样了,”皇帝想。不过,他立刻就想起了愚蠢的人或不称职的人是看不见这布的。他心里的确感到有些不大自在。他相信他自己是用不着害怕的。虽然如此,他还是觉得先派一个人去看看比较妥当。全城的人都听说过这种布料有一种奇异的力量,所以大家都很想趁这机会来测验一下,看看他们的邻人究竟有多笨,有多傻。
  “我要派诚实的老部长到织工那儿去看看,”皇帝想。“只有他能看出这布料是个什么样子,因为他这个人很有头脑,而且谁也不像他那样称职。”
  因此这位善良的老部长就到那两个骗子的工作地点去。他们正在空空的织机上忙忙碌碌地工作着。
  “这是怎么一回事儿?”老部长想,把眼睛睁得有碗口那么大。
  “我什么东西也没有看见!”但是他不敢把这句话说出来。
  那两个骗子请求他走近一点,同时问他,布的花纹是不是很美丽,色彩是不是很漂亮。他们指着那两架空空的织机。
  这位可怜的老大臣的眼睛越睁越大,可是他还是看不见什么东西,因为的确没有什么东西可看。
  “我的老天爷!”他想。“难道我是一个愚蠢的人吗?我从来没有怀疑过我自己。我决不能让人知道这件事。难道我不称职吗?——不成;我决不能让人知道我看不见布料。”
  “哎,您一点意见也没有吗?”一个正在织布的织工说 。
  “啊,美极了!真是美妙极了!”老大臣说。他戴着眼镜仔细地看。“多么美的花纹!多么美的色彩!是的,我将要呈报皇上说我对于这布感到非常满意。”
  “嗯,我们听到您的话真高兴,”两个织工一起说。他们把这些稀有的色彩和花纹描述了一番,还加上些名词儿。这位老大臣注意地听着,以便回到皇帝那里去时,可以照样背得出来。事实上他也就这样办了。
  这两个骗子又要了很多的钱,更多的丝和金子,他们说这是为了织布的需要。他们把这些东西全装进腰包里,连一根线也没有放到织机上去。不过他们还是继续在空空的机架上工作。
  过了不久,皇帝派了另一位诚实的官员去看看,布是不是很快就可以织好。他的运气并不比头一位大臣的好:他看了又看,但是那两架空空的织机上什么也没有,他什么东西也看不出来。
  “您看这段布美不美?”两个骗子问。他们指着一些美丽的花纹,并且作了一些解释。事实上什么花纹也没有。
  “我并不愚蠢!”这位官员想。“这大概是因为我不配担当现在这样好的官职吧?这也真够滑稽,但是我决不能让人看出来!”因此他就把他完全没有看见的布称赞了一番,同时对他们说,他非常喜欢这些美丽的颜色和巧妙的花纹。“是的,那真是太美了,”他回去对皇帝说。
  城里所有的人都在谈论这美丽的布料。
  当这布还在织的时候,皇帝就很想亲自去看一次。他选了一群特别圈定的随员——其中包括已经去看过的那两位诚实的大臣。这样,他就到那两个狡猾的骗子住的地方去。这两个家伙正以全副精神织布,但是一根线的影子也看不见。“您看这不漂亮吗?”那两位诚实的官员说。“陛下请看,多么美丽的花纹!多么美丽的色彩!”他们指着那架空空的织机,因为他们以为别人一定会看得见布料的。
  “这是怎么一回事儿呢?”皇帝心里想。“我什么也没有看见!这真是荒唐!难道我是一个愚蠢的人吗?难道我不配做皇帝吗?这真是我从来没有碰见过的一件最可怕的事情。”“啊,它真是美极了!”皇帝说。“我表示十二分地满意!”
  于是他点头表示满意。他装做很仔细地看着织机的样子,因为他不愿意说出他什么也没有看见。跟他来的全体随员也仔细地看了又看,可是他们也没有看出更多的东西。不过,他们也照着皇帝的话说:“啊,真是美极了!”他们建议皇帝用这种新奇的、美丽的布料做成衣服,穿上这衣服亲自去参加快要举行的游行大典。“真美丽!真精致!真是好极了!”每人都随声附和着。每人都有说不出的快乐。皇帝赐给骗子每人一个爵士的头衔和一枚可以挂在纽扣洞上的勋章;并且还封他们为“御聘织师”。
  第二天早晨游行大典就要举行了。在头天晚上,这两个骗子整夜不睡,点起16支蜡烛。你可以看到他们是在赶夜工,要完成皇帝的新衣。他们装做把布料从织机上取下来。他们用两把大剪刀在空中裁了一阵子,同时又用没有穿线的针缝了一通。最后,他们齐声说:“请看!新衣服缝好了!”
  皇帝带着他的一群最高贵的骑士们亲自到来了。这两个骗子每人举起一只手,好像他们拿着一件什么东西似的。他们说:“请看吧,这是裤子,这是袍子!这是外衣!”等等。“这衣服轻柔得像蜘蛛网一样:穿着它的人会觉得好像身上没有什么东西似的——这也正是这衣服的妙处。”
  “一点也不错,”所有的骑士们都说。可是他们什么也没有看见,因为实际上什么东西也没有。
  “现在请皇上脱下衣服,”两个骗子说,“我们要在这个大镜子面前为陛下换上新衣。
  皇帝把身上的衣服统统都脱光了。这两个骗子装做把他们刚才缝好的新衣服一件一件地交给他。他们在他的腰围那儿弄了一阵子,好像是系上一件什么东西似的:这就是后裾(注:后裾(Slaebet)就是拖在礼服后面的很长的一块布;它是封建时代欧洲贵族的一种装束。)。皇帝在镜子面前转了转身子,扭了扭腰肢。
  “上帝,这衣服多么合身啊!式样裁得多么好看啊!”大家都说。“多么美的花纹!多么美的色彩!这真是一套贵重的衣服!”
  “大家已经在外面把华盖准备好了,只等陛下一出去,就可撑起来去游行!”典礼官说。
  “对,我已经穿好了,”皇帝说,“这衣服合我的身么?”于是他又在镜子面前把身子转动了一下,因为他要叫大家看出他在认真地欣赏他美丽的服装。那些将要托着后裾的内臣们,都把手在地上东摸西摸,好像他们真的在拾其后裾似的。他们开步走,手中托着空气——他们不敢让人瞧出他们实在什么东西也没有看见。
  这么着,皇帝就在那个富丽的华盖下游行起来了。站在街上和窗子里的人都说:“乖乖,皇上的新装真是漂亮!他上衣下面的后裾是多么美丽!衣服多么合身!”谁也不愿意让人知道自己看不见什么东西,因为这样就会暴露自己不称职,或是太愚蠢。皇帝所有的衣服从来没有得到这样普遍的称赞。
  “可是他什么衣服也没有穿呀!”一个小孩子最后叫出声来。
  “上帝哟,你听这个天真的声音!”爸爸说。于是大家把这孩子讲的话私自低声地传播开来。
  “他并没有穿什么衣服!有一个小孩子说他并没有穿什么衣服呀!”
  “他实在是没有穿什么衣服呀!”最后所有的老百姓都说。
  皇帝有点儿发抖,因为他似乎觉得老百姓所讲的话是对的。不过他自己心里却这样想:“我必须把这游行大典举行完毕。”因此他摆出一副更骄傲的神气,他的内臣们跟在他后面走,手中托着一个并不存在的后裾。(1837年)
  这篇故事写于1837年,和同年写的另一起童话《海的女儿》合成一本小集子出版。这时安徒生只有32岁,也就是他开始创作童话后的第三年(他30岁时才开始写童话)。但从这篇童话中可以看出,安徒生对社会的观察是多么深刻。他在这里揭露了以皇帝为首的统治阶级是何等虚荣、铺张浪费,而且最重要的是,何等愚蠢。骗子们看出了他们的特点,就提出“凡是不称职的人或者愚蠢的人,都看不见这衣服。”他们当然看不见,因为根本就没有什么衣服。但是他们心虚,都怕人们发现他们既不称职,而又愚蠢,就异口同声地称赞那不存在的衣服是如何美丽,穿在身上是如何漂亮,还要举行一个游行大典,赤身露体,招摇过市,让百姓都来欣赏和诵赞。不幸这个可笑的骗局,一到老百姓面前就被揭穿了。“皇帝”下不了台,仍然要装腔作势,“必须把这游行大典举行完毕”,而且“因此他还要摆出一副更骄傲的神气”。这种弄虚作假但极愚蠢的统治者,大概在任何时代都会存在。因此这篇童话在任何时候也都具有现实意义。

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