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安徒生童话-丑小鸭

来源:英语阅读 编辑:英语学习 时间:2016-10-06

  T was lovely summer weather in the country, and the golden corn, the GREen oats, and the haystacks piled up in the meadows looked beautiful. The stork walking about on his long red legs chattered in the Egyptian language, which he had learnt from his mother. The corn-fields and meadows were surrounded by large forests, in the midst of which were deep pools. It was, indeed, delightful to walk about in the country. In a sunny spot stood a pleasant old farm-house close by a deep river, and from the house down to the water side GREw GREat burdock leaves, so high, that under the tallest of them a little child could stand upright. The spot was as wild as the centre of a thick wood. In this snug retreat sat a duck on her nest, watching for her young brood to hatch; she was beginning to get tired of her task, for the little ones were a long time coming out of their shells, and she seldom had any visitors. The other ducks liked much better to swim about in the river than to climb the slippery banks, and sit under a burdock leaf, to have a gossip with her. At length one shell cracked, and then another, and from each egg came a living creature that lifted its head and cried, “Peep, peep.” “Quack, quack,” said the mother, and then they all quacked as well as they could, and looked about them on every side at the large GREen leaves. Their mother allowed them to look as much as they liked, because GREen is good for the eyes. “How large the world is,” said the young ducks, when they found how much more room they now had than while they were inside the egg-shell. “Do you imagine this is the whole world?” asked the mother; “Wait till you have seen the garden; it stretches far beyond that to the parson’s field, but I have never ventured to such a distance. Are you all out?” she continued, rising; “No, I declare, the largest egg lies there still. I wonder how long this is to last, I am quite tired of it;” and she seated herself again on the nest. 
  “Well, how are you getting on?” asked an old duck, who paid her a visit.
  “One egg is not hatched yet,” said the duck, “it will not break. But just look at all the others, are they not the prettiest little ducklings you ever saw? They are the image of their father, who is so unkind, he never comes to see.”
  “Let me see the egg that will not break,” said the duck; “I have no doubt it is a turkey’s egg. I was persuaded to hatch some once, and after all my care and trouble with the young ones, they were afraid of the water. I quacked and clucked, but all to no purpose. I could not get them to venture in. Let me look at the egg. Yes, that is a turkey’s egg; take my advice, leave it where it is and teach the other children to swim.”
  “I think I will sit on it a little while longer,” said the duck; “as I have sat so long already, a few days will be nothing.” 
  “Please yourself,” said the old duck, and she went away.
  At last the large egg broke, and a young one crept forth crying, “Peep, peep.” It was very large and ugly. The duck stared at it and exclaimed, “It is very large and not at all like the others. I wonder if it really is a turkey. We shall soon find it out, however when we go to the water. It must go in, if I have to push it myself.”
  On the next day the weather was delightful, and the sun shone brightly on the GREen burdock leaves, so the mother duck took her young brood down to the water, and jumped in with a splash. “Quack, quack,” cried she, and one after another the little ducklings jumped in. The water closed over their heads, but they came up again in an instant, and swam about quite prettily with their legs paddling under them as easily as possible, and the ugly duckling was also in the water swimming with them. 
  “Oh,” said the mother, “that is not a turkey; how well he uses his legs, and how upright he holds himself! He is my own child, and he is not so very ugly after all if you look at him properly. Quack, quack! come with me now, I will take you into grand society, and introduce you to the farmyard, but you must keep close to me or you may be trodden upon; and, above all, beware of the cat.” 
  When they reached the farmyard, there was a GREat disturbance, two families were fighting for an eel’s head, which, after all, was carried off by the cat. “See, children, that is the way of the world,” said the mother duck, whetting her beak, for she would have liked the eel’s head herself. “Come, now, use your legs, and let me see how well you can behave. You must bow your heads prettily to that old duck yonder; she is the highest born of them all, and has Spanish blood, therefore, she is well off. Don’t you see she has a red flag tied to her leg, which is something very grand, and a GREat honor for a duck; it shows that every one is anxious not to lose her, as she can be recognized both by man and beast. Come, now, don’t turn your toes, a well-bred duckling spreads his feet wide apart, just like his father and mother, in this way; now bend your neck, and say ‘quack.’”
  The ducklings did as they were bid, but the other duck stared, and said, “Look, here comes another brood, as if there were not enough of us already! and what a queer looking object one of them is; we don’t want him here,” and then one flew out and bit him in the neck. 
  “Let him alone,” said the mother; “he is not doing any harm.”
  “Yes, but he is so big and ugly,” said the spiteful duck “and therefore he must be turned out.” 
  “The others are very pretty children,” said the old duck, with the rag on her leg, “all but that one; I wish his mother could improve him a little.”
  “That is impossible, your grace,” replied the mother; “he is not pretty; but he has a very good disposition, and swims as well or even better than the others. I think he will grow up pretty, and perhaps be smaller; he has remained too long in the egg, and therefore his figure is not properly formed;” and then she stroked his neck and smoothed the feathers, saying, “It is a drake, and therefore not of so much consequence. I think he will grow up strong, and able to take care of himself.”

  “The other ducklings are graceful enough,” said the old duck. “Now make yourself at home, and if you can find an eel’s head, you can bring it to me.”
And so they made themselves comfortable; but the poor duckling, who had crept out of his shell last of all, and looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and made fun of, not only by the ducks, but by all the poultry. “He is too big,” they all said, and the turkey cock, who had been born into the world with spurs, and fancied himself really an emperor, puffed himself out like a vessel in full sail, and flew at the duckling, and became quite red in the head with passion, so that the poor little thing did not know where to go, and was quite miserable because he was so ugly and laughed at by the whole farmyard. So it went on from day to day till it got worse and worse. The poor duckling was driven about by every one; even his brothers and sisters were unkind to him, and would say, “Ah, you ugly creature, I wish the cat would get you,” and his mother said she wished he had never been born. The ducks pecked him, the chickens beat him, and the girl who fed the poultry kicked him with her feet. So at last he ran away, frightening the little birds in the hedge as he flew over the palings.
  “They are afraid of me because I am ugly,” he said. So he closed his eyes, and flew still farther, until he came out on a large moor, inhabited by wild ducks. Here he remained the whole night, feeling very tired and sorrowful.
  In the morning, when the wild ducks rose in the air, they stared at their new comrade. “What sort of a duck are you?” they all said, coming round him.
  He bowed to them, and was as polite as he could be, but he did not reply to their question. “You are exceedingly ugly,” said the wild ducks, “but that will not matter if you do not want to marry one of our family.” 
  Poor thing! he had no thoughts of marriage; all he wanted was permission to lie among the rushes, and drink some of the water on the moor. After he had been on the moor two days, there came two wild geese, or rather goslings, for they had not been out of the egg long, and were very saucy. “Listen, friend,” said one of them to the duckling, “you are so ugly, that we like you very well. Will you go with us, and become a bird of passage? Not far from here is another moor, in which there are some pretty wild geese, all unmarried. It is a chance for you to get a wife; you may be lucky, ugly as you are.”
  “Pop, pop,” sounded in the air, and the two wild geese fell dead among the rushes, and the water was tinged with blood. “Pop, pop,” echoed far and wide in the distance, and whole flocks of wild geese rose up from the rushes. The sound continued from every direction, for the sportsmen surrounded the moor, and some were even seated on branches of trees, overlooking the rushes. The blue smoke from the guns rose like clouds over the dark trees, and as it floated away across the water, a number of sporting dogs bounded in among the rushes, which bent beneath them wherever they went. How they terrified the poor duckling! He turned away his head to hide it under his wing, and at the same moment a large terrible dog passed quite near him. His jaws were open, his tongue hung from his mouth, and his eyes glared fearfully. He thrust his nose close to the duckling, showing his sharp teeth, and then, “splash, splash,” he went into the water without touching him, “Oh,” sighed the duckling, “how thankful I am for being so ugly; even a dog will not bite me.” And so he lay quite still, while the shot rattled through the rushes, and gun after gun was fired over him. It was late in the day before all became quiet, but even then the poor young thing did not dare to move. He waited quietly for several hours, and then, after looking carefully around him, hastened away from the moor as fast as he could. He ran over field and meadow till a storm arose, and he could hardly struggle against it. Towards evening, he reached a poor little cottage that seemed ready to fall, and only remained standing because it could not decide on which side to fall first. The storm continued so violent, that the duckling could go no farther; he sat down by the cottage, and then he noticed that the door was not quite closed in consequence of one of the hinges having given way. There was therefore a narrow opening near the bottom large enough for him to slip through, which he did very quietly, and got a shelter for the night. A woman, a tom cat, and a hen lived in this cottage. The tom cat, whom the mistress called, “My little son,” was a GREat favorite; he could raise his back, and purr, and could even throw out sparks from his fur if it were stroked the wrong way. The hen had very short legs, so she was called “Chickie short legs.” She laid good eggs, and her mistress loved her as if she had been her own child. In the morning, the strange visitor was discovered, and the tom cat began to purr, and the hen to cluck. 
  “What is that noise about?” said the old woman, looking round the room, but her sight was not very good; therefore, when she saw the duckling she thought it must be a fat duck, that had strayed from home. “Oh what a prize!” she exclaimed, “I hope it is not a drake, for then I shall have some duck’s eggs. I must wait and see.” So the duckling was allowed to remain on trial for three weeks, but there were no eggs. Now the tom cat was the master of the house, and the hen was mistress, and they always said, “We and the world,” for they believed themselves to be half the world, and the better half too. The duckling thought that others might hold a different opinion on the subject, but the hen would not listen to such doubts. “Can you lay eggs?” she asked. “No.” “Then have the goodness to hold your tongue.” “Can you raise your back, or purr, or throw out sparks?” said the tom cat. “No.” “Then you have no right to express an opinion when sensible people are speaking.” So the duckling sat in a corner, feeling very low spirited, till the sunshine and the fresh air came into the room through the open door, and then he began to feel such a GREat longing for a swim on the water, that he could not help telling the hen. 
  “What an absurd idea,” said the hen. “You have nothing else to do, therefore you have foolish fancies. If you could purr or lay eggs, they would pass away.”
  “But it is so delightful to swim about on the water,” said the duckling, “and so refreshing to feel it close over your head, while you dive down to the bottom.”
  “Delightful, indeed!” said the hen, “why you must be crazy! Ask the cat, he is the cleverest animal I know, ask him how he would like to swim about on the water, or to dive under it, for I will not speak of my own opinion; ask our mistress, the old woman—there is no one in the world more clever than she is. Do you think she would like to swim, or to let the water close over her head?” 
  “You don’t understand me,” said the duckling.
  “We don’t understand you? Who can understand you, I wonder? Do you consider yourself more clever than the cat, or the old woman? I will say nothing of myself. Don’t imagine such nonsense, child, and thank your good fortune that you have been received here. Are you not in a warm room, and in society from which you may learn something. But you are a chatterer, and your company is not very aGREeable. Believe me, I speak only for your own good. I may tell you unpleasant truths, but that is a proof of my friendship. I advise you, therefore, to lay eggs, and learn to purr as quickly as possible.”
  “I believe I must go out into the world again,” said the duckling.

  “Yes, do,” said the hen. So the duckling left the cottage, and soon found water on which it could swim and dive, but was avoided by all other animals, because of its ugly appearance. Autumn came, and the leaves in the forest turned to orange and gold. then, as winter approached, the wind caught them as they fell and whirled them in the cold air. The clouds, heavy with hail and snow-flakes, hung low in the sky, and the raven stood on the ferns crying, “Croak, croak.” It made one shiver with cold to look at him. All this was very sad for the poor little duckling. One evening, just as the sun set amid radiant clouds, there came a large flock of beautiful birds out of the bushes. The duckling had never seen any like them before. They were swans, and they curved their graceful necks, while their soft plumage shown with dazzling whiteness. They uttered a singular cry, as they spread their glorious wings and flew away from those cold regions to warmer countries across the sea. As they mounted higher and higher in the air, the ugly little duckling felt quite a strange sensation as he watched them. He whirled himself in the water like a wheel, stretched out his neck towards them, and uttered a cry so strange that it frightened himself. Could he ever forget those beautiful, happy birds; and when at last they were out of his sight, he dived under the water, and rose again almost beside himself with excitement. He knew not the names of these birds, nor where they had flown, but he felt towards them as he had never felt for any other bird in the world. He was not envious of these beautiful creatures, but wished to be as lovely as they. Poor ugly creature, how gladly he would have lived even with the ducks had they only given him encouragement. The winter GREw colder and colder; he was obliged to swim about on the water to keep it from freezing, but every night the space on which he swam became smaller and smaller. At length it froze so hard that the ice in the water crackled as he moved, and the duckling had to paddle with his legs as well as he could, to keep the space from closing up. He became exhausted at last, and lay still and helpless, frozen fast in the ice.
  Early in the morning, a peasant, who was passing by, saw what had happened. He broke the ice in pieces with his wooden shoe, and carried the duckling home to his wife. The warmth revived the poor little creature; but when the children wanted to play with him, the duckling thought they would do him some harm; so he started up in terror, fluttered into the milk-pan, and splashed the milk about the room. Then the woman clapped her hands, which frightened him still more. He flew first into the butter-cask, then into the meal-tub, and out again. What a condition he was in! The woman screamed, and struck at him with the tongs; the children laughed and screamed, and tumbled over each other, in their efforts to catch him; but luckily he escaped. The door stood open; the poor creature could just manage to slip out among the bushes, and lie down quite exhausted in the newly fallen snow.
  It would be very sad, were I to relate all the misery and privations which the poor little duckling endured during the hard winter; but when it had passed, he found himself lying one morning in a moor, amongst the rushes. He felt the warm sun shining, and heard the lark singing, and saw that all around was beautiful spring. Then the young bird felt that his wings were strong, as he flapped them against his sides, and rose high into the air. They bore him onwards, until he found himself in a large garden, before he well knew how it had happened. The apple-trees were in full blossom, and the fragrant elders bent their long GREen branches down to the stream which wound round a smooth lawn. Everything looked beautiful, in the freshness of early spring. From a thicket close by came three beautiful white swans, rustling their feathers, and swimming lightly over the smooth water. The duckling remembered the lovely birds, and felt more strangely unhappy than ever.
  “I will fly to those royal birds,” he exclaimed, “and they will kill me, because I am so ugly, and dare to approach them; but it does not matter: better be killed by them than pecked by the ducks, beaten by the hens, pushed about by the maiden who feeds the poultry, or starved with hunger in the winter.”
  Then he flew to the water, and swam towards the beautiful swans. The moment they espied the stranger, they rushed to meet him with outstretched wings.
  “Kill me,” said the poor bird; and he bent his head down to the surface of the water, and awaited death. 
  But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disaGREeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan. To be born in a duck’s nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan’s egg. He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him; for the GREat swans swam round the new-comer, and stroked his neck with their beaks, as a welcome. 
  Into the garden presently came some little children, and threw bread and cake into the water. 
  “See,” cried the youngest, “there is a new one;” and the rest were delighted, and ran to their father and mother, dancing and clapping their hands, and shouting joyously, “There is another swan come; a new one has arrived.”
  Then they threw more bread and cake into the water, and said, “The new one is the most beautiful of all; he is so young and pretty.” And the old swans bowed their heads before him. Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wing; for he did not know what to do, he was so happy, and yet not at all proud. He had been persecuted and despised for his ugliness, and now he heard them say he was the most beautiful of all the birds. Even the elder-tree bent down its bows into the water before him, and the sun shone warm and bright. Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, “I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling.”

  乡下真是非常美丽。这正是夏天!小麦是金黄的,燕麦是绿油油的。干草在绿色的牧场上堆成垛,鹳鸟用它又长又红的腿子在散着步,噜嗦地讲着埃及话。(注:因为据丹麦的民间传说,鹳鸟是从埃及飞来的。)这是它从妈妈那儿学到的一种语言。田野和牧场的周围有些大森林,森林里有些很深的池塘。的确,乡间是非常美丽的,太阳光正照着一幢老式的房子,它周围流着几条很深的小溪。从墙角那儿一直到水里,全盖满了牛蒡的大叶子。最大的叶子长得非常高,小孩子简直可以直着腰站在下面。像在最浓密的森林里一样,这儿也是很荒凉的。这儿有一只母鸭坐在窠里,她得把她的几个小鸭都孵出来。不过这时她已经累坏了。很少有客人来看她。别的鸭子都愿意在溪流里游来游去,而不愿意跑到牛蒡下面来和她聊天。
  最后,那些鸭蛋一个接着一个地崩开了。“噼!噼!”蛋壳响起来。所有的蛋黄现在都变成了小动物。他们把小头都伸出来。
  “嘎!嘎!”母鸭说。他们也就跟着嘎嘎地大声叫起来。他们在绿叶子下面向四周看。妈妈让他们尽量地东张西望,因为绿色对他们的眼睛是有好处的。
  “这个世界真够大!”这些年轻的小家伙说。的确,比起他们在蛋壳里的时候,他们现在的天地真是大不相同了。
  “你们以为这就是整个世界!”妈妈说。“这地方伸展到花园的另一边,一直伸展到牧师的田里去,才远呢!连我自己都没有去过!我想你们都在这儿吧?”她站起来。“没有,我还没有把你们都生出来呢!这只顶大的蛋还躺着没有动静。它还得躺多久呢?我真是有些烦了。”于是她又坐下来。
  “唔,情形怎样?”一只来拜访她的老鸭子问。
  “这个蛋费的时间真久!”坐着的母鸭说。“它老是不裂开。请你看看别的吧。他们真是一些最逗人爱的小鸭儿!都像他们的爸爸——这个坏东西从来没有来看过我一次!”
  “让我瞧瞧这个老是不裂开的蛋吧,”这位年老的客人说,“请相信我,这是一只吐绶鸡的蛋。有一次我也同样受过骗,你知道,那些小家伙不知道给了我多少麻烦和苦恼,因为他们都不敢下水。我简直没有办法叫他们在水里试一试。我说好说歹,一点用也没有!——让我来瞧瞧这只蛋吧。哎呀!这是一只吐绶鸡的蛋!让他躺着吧,你尽管叫别的孩子去游泳好了。”
  “我还是在它上面多坐一会儿吧,”鸭妈妈说,“我已经坐了这么久,就是再坐它一个星期也没有关系。”
  “那么就请便吧,”老鸭子说。于是她就告辞了。
  最后这只大蛋裂开了。“噼!噼!”新生的这个小家伙叫着向外面爬。他是又大又丑。鸭妈妈把他瞧了一眼。“这个小鸭子大得怕人,”她说,“别的没有一个像他;但是他一点也不像小吐绶鸡!好吧,我们马上就来试试看吧。他得到水里去,我踢也要把他踢下水去。”
  第二天的天气是又晴和,又美丽。太阳照在绿牛蒡上。鸭妈妈带着她所有的孩子走到溪边来。普通!她跳进水里去了。“呱!呱!”她叫着,于是小鸭子就一个接着一个跳下去。水淹到他们头上,但是他们马上又冒出来了,游得非常漂亮。他们的小腿很灵活地划着。他们全都在水里,连那个丑陋的灰色小家伙也跟他们在一起游。
  “唔,他不是一个吐绶鸡,”她说,“你看他的腿划得多灵活,他浮得多么稳!他是我亲生的孩子!如果你把他仔细看一看,他还算长得蛮漂亮呢。嘎!嘎!跟我一块儿来吧,我把你们带到广大的世界上去,把那个养鸡场介绍给你们看看。不过,你们得紧贴着我,免得别人踩着你们。你们还得当心猫儿呢!”
  这样,他们就到养鸡场里来了。场里响起了一阵可怕的喧闹声,因为有两个家族正在争夺一个鳝鱼头,而结果猫儿却把它抢走了。
  “你们瞧,世界就是这个样子!”鸭妈妈说。她的嘴流了一点涎水,因为她也想吃那个鳝鱼头。“现在使用你们的腿吧!”她说。“你们拿出精神来。你们如果看到那儿的一个老母鸭,你们就得把头低下来,因为她是这儿最有声望的人物。她有西班牙的血统——因为她长得非常胖。你们看,她的腿上有一块红布条。这是一件非常出色的东西,也是一个鸭子可能得到的最大光荣:它的意义很大,说明人们不愿意失去她,动物和人统统都得认识她。打起精神来吧——不要把腿子缩进去。一个有很好教养的鸭子总是把腿摆开的,像爸爸和妈妈一样。好吧,低下头来,说:‘嘎’呀!”
  他们这样做了。别的鸭子站在旁边看着,同时用相当大的声音说:
  “瞧!现在又来了一批找东西吃的客人,好像我们的人数还不够多似的!呸!瞧那只小鸭的一副丑相!我们真看不惯!”
  于是马上有一只鸭子飞过去,在他的脖颈上啄了一下。
  “请你们不要管他吧,”妈妈说,“他并不伤害谁呀!”
  “对,不过他长得太大、太特别了,”啄过他的那只鸭子说,“因此他必须挨打!”
  “那个母鸭的孩子都很漂亮,”腿上有一条红布的那个母鸭说,“他们都很漂亮,只有一只是例外。这真是可惜。我希望能把他再孵一次。”
  “那可不能,太太,”鸭妈妈回答说,“他不好看,但是他的脾气非常好。他游起水来也不比别人差——我还可以说,游得比别人好呢。我想他会慢慢长得漂亮的,或者到适当的时候,他也可能缩小一点。他在蛋里躺得太久了,因此他的模样有点不太自然。”她说着,同时在他的脖颈上啄了一下,把他的羽毛理了一理。“此外,他还是一只公鸭呢,”她说,
  “所以关系也不太大。我想他的身体很结实,将来总会自己找到出路的。”
  “别的小鸭倒很可爱,”老母鸭说,“你在这儿不要客气。如果你找到鳝鱼头,请把它送给我好了。”
  他们现在在这儿,就像在自己家里一样。不过从蛋壳里爬出的那只小鸭太丑了,到处挨打,被排挤,被讥笑,不仅在鸭群中是这样,连在鸡群中也是这样。

  “他真是又粗又大!”大家都说。有一只雄吐绶鸡生下来脚上就有距,因此他自以为是一个皇帝。他把自己吹得像一条鼓满了风的帆船,来势汹汹地向他走来,瞪着一双大眼睛,脸上涨得通红。这只可怜的小鸭不知道站在什么地方,或者走到什么地方去好。他觉得非常悲哀,因为自己长得那么丑陋,而且成了全体鸡鸭的一个嘲笑对象。
  这是头一天的情形。后来一天比一天糟。大家都要赶走这只可怜的小鸭;连他自己的兄弟姊妹也对他生气起来。他们老是说:“你这个丑妖怪,希望猫儿把你抓去才好!”于是妈妈也说起来:“我希望你走远些!”鸭儿们啄他。小鸡打他,喂鸡鸭的那个女佣人用脚来踢他。
  于是他飞过篱笆逃走了;灌木林里的小鸟一见到他,就惊慌地向空中飞去。“这是因为我太丑了!”小鸭想。于是他闭起眼睛,继续往前跑。他一口气跑到一块住着野鸭的沼泽地里。他在这儿躺了一整夜,因为他太累了,太丧气了。
  天亮的时候,野鸭都飞起来了。他们瞧了瞧这位新来的朋友。
  “你是谁呀?”他们问。小鸭一下转向这边,一下转向那边,尽量对大家恭恭敬敬地行礼。
  你真是丑得厉害,”野鸭们说,“不过只要你不跟我们族里任何鸭子结婚,对我们倒也没有什么大的关系。”可怜的小东西!他根本没有想到什么结婚;他只希望人家准许他躺在芦苇里,喝点沼泽的水就够了。
  他在那儿躺了两个整天。后来有两只雁——严格地讲,应该说是两只公雁,因为他们是两个男的——飞来了。他们从娘的蛋壳里爬出来还没有多久,因此非常顽皮。
  “听着,朋友,”他们说,“你丑得可爱,连我(注:这儿的“我”(jeg)是单数,跟前面的“他们说”不一致,但原文如此。)都禁不住要喜欢你了。你做一个候鸟,跟我们一块儿飞走好吗?另外有一块沼泽地离这儿很近,那里有好几只活泼可爱的雁儿。她们都是小姐,都会说:‘嘎!’你是那么丑,可以在她们那儿碰碰你的运气!”
  “噼!啪!”天空中发出一阵响声。这两只公雁落到芦苇里,死了,把水染得鲜红。“噼!啪!”又是一阵响声。整群的雁儿都从芦苇里飞起来,于是又是一阵枪声响起来了。原来有人在大规模地打猎。猎人都埋伏在这沼泽地的周围,有几个人甚至坐在伸到芦苇上空的树枝上。蓝色的烟雾像云块似地笼罩着这些黑树,慢慢地在水面上向远方漂去。这时,猎狗都普通普通地在泥泞里跑过来,灯芯草和芦苇向两边倒去。这对于可怜的小鸭说来真是可怕的事情!他把头掉过来,藏在翅膀里。不过,正在这时候,一只骇人的大猎狗紧紧地站在小鸭的身边。的舌头从嘴里伸出很长,眼睛发出丑恶和可怕的光。它把鼻子顶到这小鸭的身上,露出了尖牙齿,可是——普通!普通!——它跑开了,没有把他抓走。
  “啊,谢谢老天爷!”小鸭叹了一口气,“我丑得连猎狗也不要咬我了!”
  他安静地躺下来。枪声还在芦苇里响着,枪弹一发接着一发地射出来。
  天快要暗的时候,四周才静下来。可是这只可怜的小鸭还不敢站起来。他等了好几个钟头,才敢向四周望一眼,于是他急忙跑出这块沼泽地,拼命地跑,向田野上跑,向牧场上跑。这时吹起一阵狂风,他跑起来非常困难。
  到天黑的时候,他来到一个简陋的农家小屋。它是那么残破,甚至不知道应该向哪一边倒才好——因此它也就没有倒。狂风在小鸭身边号叫得非常厉害,他只好面对着它坐下来。它越吹越凶。于是他看到那门上的铰链有一个已经松了,门也歪了,他可以从空隙钻进屋子里去,他便钻进去了。
  屋子里有一个老太婆和她的猫儿,还有一只母鸡住在一起。她把这只猫儿叫“小儿子”。他能把背拱得很高,发出咪咪的叫声来;他的身上还能迸出火花,不过要他这样做,你就得倒摸他的毛。母鸡的腿又短又小,因此她叫“短腿鸡儿”。她生下的蛋很好,所以老太婆把她爱得像自己的亲生孩子一样。
  第二天早晨,人们马上注意到了这只来历不明的小鸭。那只猫儿开始咪咪地叫,那只母鸡也咯咯地喊起来。
  “这是怎么一回事儿?”老太婆说,同时朝四周看。不过她的眼睛有点花,所以她以为小鸭是一只肥鸭,走错了路,才跑到这儿来了。“这真是少有的运气!”她说,“现在我可以有鸭蛋了。我只希望他不是一只公鸭才好!我们得弄个清楚!”
  这样,小鸭就在这里受了三个星期的考验,可是他什么蛋也没有生下来。那只猫儿是这家的绅士,那只母鸡是这家的太太,所以他们一开口就说:“我们和这世界!”因为他们以为他们就是半个世界,而且还是最好的那一半呢。小鸭觉得自己可以有不同的看法,但是他的这种态度,母鸡却忍受不了。
  “你能够生蛋吗?”她问。
  “不能!”
  “那么就请你不要发表意见。”
  于是雄猫说:“你能拱起背,发出咪咪的叫声和迸出火花吗?”
  “不能!”
  “那么,当有理智的人在讲话的时候,你就没有发表意见的必要!”
  小鸭坐在一个墙角里,心情非常不好。这时他想起了新鲜空气和太阳光。他觉得有一种奇怪的渴望:他想到水里去游泳。最后他实在忍不住了,就不得不把心事对母鸡说出来。
  “你在起什么念头?”母鸡问。“你没有事情可干,所以你才有这些怪想头。你只要生几个蛋,或者咪咪地叫几声,那么你这些怪想头也就会没有了。”
  “不过,在水里游泳是多么痛快呀!”小鸭说。“让水淹在你的头上,往水底一钻,那是多么痛快呀!”

  “是的,那一定很痛快!”母鸡说,“你简直在发疯。你去问问猫儿吧——在我所认识的一切朋友当中,他是最聪明的——你去问问他喜欢不喜欢在水里游泳,或者钻进水里去。我先不讲我自己。你去问问你的主人——那个老太婆——吧,世界上再也没有比她更聪明的人了!你以为她想去游泳,让水淹在她的头顶上吗?”
  “你们不了解我,”小鸭说。
  “我们不了解你?那么请问谁了解你呢?你决不会比猫儿和女主人更聪明吧——我先不提我自己。孩子,你不要自以为了不起吧!你现在得到这些照顾,你应该感谢上帝。你现在到一个温暖的屋子里来,有了一些朋友,而且还可以向他们学习很多的东西,不是吗?不过你是一个废物,跟你在一起真不痛快。你可以相信我,我对你说这些不好听的话,完全是为了帮助你呀。只有这样,你才知道谁是你的真正朋友!请你注意学习生蛋,或者咪咪地叫,或者迸出火花吧!”
  “我想我还是走到广大的世界上去好,”小鸭说。
  “好吧,你去吧!”母鸡说。
  于是小鸭就走了。他一会儿在水上游,一会儿钻进水里去;不过,因为他的样子丑,所有的动物都瞧不其他。秋天到来了。树林里的叶子变成了黄色和棕色。风卷起它们,把它们带到空中飞舞,而空中是很冷的。云块沉重地载着冰雹和雪花,低低地悬着。乌鸦站在篱笆上,冻得只管叫:“呱!呱!”是的,你只要想想这情景,就会觉得冷了。这只可怜的小鸭的确没有一个舒服的时候。
  一天晚上,当太阳正在美丽地落下去的时候,有一群漂亮的大鸟从灌木林里飞出来,小鸭从来没有看到过这样美丽的东西。他们白得发亮,颈项又长又柔软。这就是天鹅。他们发出一种奇异的叫声,展开美丽的长翅膀,从寒冷的地带飞向温暖的国度,飞向不结冰的湖上去。
  他们飞得很高——那么高,丑小鸭不禁感到一种说不出的兴奋。他在水上像一个车轮似地不停地旋转着,同时,把自己的颈项高高地向他们伸着,发出一种响亮的怪叫声,连他自己也害怕起来。啊!他再也忘记不了这些美丽的鸟儿,这些幸福的鸟儿。当他看不见他们的时候,就沉入水底;但是当他再冒到水面上来的时候,却感到非常空虚。他不知道这些鸟儿的名字,也不知道他们要向什么地方飞去。不过他爱他们,好像他从来还没有爱过什么东西似的。他并不嫉妒他们。他怎能梦想有他们那样美丽呢?只要别的鸭儿准许他跟他们生活在一起,他就已经很满意了——可怜的丑东西。
  冬天变得很冷,非常的冷!小鸭不得不在水上游来游去,免得水面完全冻结成冰。不过他游动的这个小范围,一晚比一晚缩小。水冻得厉害,人们可以听到冰块的碎裂声。小鸭只好用他的一双腿不停地游动,免得水完全被冰封闭。最后,他终于昏倒了,躺着动也不动,跟冰块结在一起。
  大清早,有一个农民在这儿经过。他看到了这只小鸭,就走过去用木屐把冰块踏破,然后把他抱回来,送给他的女人。他这时才渐渐地恢复了知觉。
  小孩子们都想要跟他玩,不过小鸭以为他们想要伤害他。他一害怕就跳到牛奶盘里去了,把牛奶溅得满屋子都是。女人惊叫起来,拍着双手。这么一来,小鸭就飞到黄油盆里去了,然后就飞进面粉桶里去了,最后才爬出来。这时他的样子才好看呢!女人尖声地叫起来,拿着火钳要他。小孩们挤做一团,想抓住这小鸭。他们又是笑,又是叫!——幸好大门是开着的。他钻进灌木林中新下的雪里面去。他躺在那里,几乎像昏倒了一样。
  要是只讲他在这严冬所受到困苦和灾难,那么这个故事也就太悲惨了。当太阳又开始温暖地照着的时候,他正躺在沼泽地的芦苇里。百灵鸟唱起歌来了——这是一个美丽的春天。
  忽然间他举起翅膀:翅膀拍起来比以前有力得多,马上就把他托起来飞走了。他不知不觉地已经飞进了一座大花园。这儿苹果树正开着花;紫丁香在散发着香气,它又长又绿的枝条垂到弯弯曲曲的溪流上。啊,这儿美丽极了,充满了春天的气息!三只美丽的白天鹅从树荫里一直游到他面前来。他们轻飘飘地浮在水上,羽毛发出飕飕的响声。小鸭认出这些美丽的动物,于是心里感到一种说不出的难过。
  “我要飞向他们,飞向这些高贵的鸟儿!可是他们会把我弄死的,因为我是这样丑,居然敢接近他们。不过这没有什么关系!被他们杀死,要比被鸭子咬、被鸡群啄,被看管养鸡场的那个女佣人踢和在冬天受苦好得多!”于是他飞到水里,向这些美丽的天鹅游去:这些动物看到他,马上就竖起羽毛向他游来。“请你们弄死我吧!”这只可怜的动物说。他把头低低地垂到水上,只等待着死。但是他在这清澈的水上看到了什么呢?他看到了自己的倒影。但那不再是一只粗笨的、深灰色的、又丑又令人讨厌的鸭子,而却是——一只天鹅!
  只要你曾经在一只天鹅蛋里待过,就算你是生在养鸭场里也没有什么关系。
  对于他过去所受的不幸和苦恼,他现在感到非常高兴。他现在清楚地认识到幸福和美正在向他招手。——许多大天鹅在他周围游泳,用嘴来亲他。
  花园里来了几个小孩子。他们向水上抛来许多面包片和麦粒。最小的那个孩子喊道:
  “你们看那只新天鹅!”别的孩子也兴高采烈地叫起来:“是的,又来了一只新的天鹅!”于是他们拍着手,跳起舞来,向他们的爸爸和妈妈跑去。他们抛了更多的面包和糕饼到水里,同时大家都说:“这新来的一只最美!那么年轻,那么好看!”那些老天鹅不禁在他面前低下头来。
  他感到非常难为情。他把头藏到翅膀里面去,不知道怎么办才好。他感到太幸福了,但他一点也不骄傲,因为一颗好的心是永远不会骄傲的。他想其他曾经怎样被人迫害和讥笑过,而他现在却听到大家说他是美丽的鸟中最美丽的一只鸟儿。紫丁香在他面前把枝条垂到水里去。太阳照得很温暖,很愉快。他扇动翅膀,伸直细长的颈项,从内心里发出一个快乐的声音:
  “当我还是一只丑小鸭的时候,我做梦也没有想到会有这么多的幸福!” (1844年)
  这篇童话也收集在《新的童话》里。它是在安徒生心情不太好的时候写的。那时他有一个剧本《梨树上的雀子》在上演,像他当时写的许多其他的作品一样,它受到了不公正的批评。他在日记上说:“写这个故事多少可以使我的心情好转一点。”这个故事的主人公是一只“丑小鸭”——事实上是一只美丽的天鹅,但因为他生在一个鸭场里,鸭子觉得它与自己不同,就认为他很“丑”。其他的动物,如鸡、狗、猫也随声附和,都鄙视他。它们都根据自己的人生哲学来对他评头论足,说:“你真丑得厉害,不过只要你不跟我们族里任何鸭子结婚,对我们倒也没有什么大的关系。”它们都认为自己门第高贵,了不起,其实庸俗不堪。相反,“丑小鸭”却是非常谦虚,“根本没有想到什么结婚”。他觉得“我还是走到广大的世界上去好。”就在“广大的世界”里有天晚上他看见了“一群漂亮的大鸟从灌木林里飞出来……他们飞得很高——那么高,丑小鸭不禁感到说不出的兴奋。”这就是天鹅,后来天鹅发现“丑小鸭”是他们的同类,就“向他游来……用嘴来亲他。”原来“丑小鸭”自己也是一只美丽的天鹅,即使他“生在养鸭场里也没有什么关系。”这篇童话一般都认为是安徒生的一起自传,描写他童年和青年时代所遭受的苦难,他对美的追求和向往,以及他通过重重苦难后所得到的艺术创作上的成就和精神上的安慰。

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