安徒生童话:风暴把招牌换了

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所属分类:民间故事

很久以前,外祖父还是一个很小的孩子,他那时穿着一条红裤子和一件红上衣,腰间缠着一条带子,帽子上插着一根羽毛——因为在他小时候,如果孩子们要想穿得挺漂亮,他们就得有这种打扮,跟现在完全不同。街上常常有人游行——这种游行我们现在看不到了,因为它们太旧,已经被废除了。虽然如此,听听外祖父讲讲有关游行的故事,还是蛮有趣的。

在那个时候,当鞋匠们转到另一个同业公会去而要迁移他们的招牌的时候,那的确是值得一看的一个场面。他们的绸旗子在空中飘荡,旗子上绘着一只大鞋子和一个双头鹰。顶小的伙计们捧着那个“欢迎杯”和公会的箱子,他们的衬衫上飘着红的和白的缎带。年长的伙计们则拿着剑,剑头上插着一个柠檬。此外还有一个完整的乐队。他们最漂亮的一件乐器是那件叫做“鸟”的东西。外祖父把它叫做“顶上有一个新月、上面挂着各种叮叮当当的东西的棍子”——全套的土耳其噪乐。这个棍子被高高地擎在空中,前后摇晃着,发出叮叮当当的响声来。当太阳照在它上面那些金、银和黄铜做的东西的时候,你的眼睛就会花起来。

行列的前面是一个丑角。他穿着一件用各种不同颜色的补钉缝的衣服,脸上抹得漆黑,头上戴着许多铃,像一匹拉雪橇的马。他把他的棒子捅到人群中去,弄出一片嘈杂的声音而不伤人。大家你推我挤,有的要向后退,有的要向前涌。男孩和女孩站不稳,倒到沟里去了;老太太们用手肘乱推,板起面孔,还要骂人。这个人大笑,那个人闲扯。台阶上是人,窗子上也是人,连屋顶上都是人。太阳在照着,虽然下了一点小雨——这对于农人说来是很好的。如果说大家全身打得透湿,那么乡下人倒要认为这是一件喜事呢。

外祖父多么会讲故事啊!他小的时候,曾经兴高采烈地亲眼看过这种伟大的场面。同业公会最老的会员总要到台上演讲一番。台上挂着招牌,而且演讲辞照例是韵文,好像是由诗人做的诗似的——事实上,也确是诗,因为它们是三个人的集体创作,而他们为了要把这篇文章写好,事先还喝了一大碗混合酒呢。大家对这番演讲大大地喝彩了一番。不过,那位五角爬上台、模仿这位演说专家的时候,大家的喝彩声就变得更大了。丑角把一个傻瓜的角色表演得非常精彩。他用烧酒的杯子喝蜜酒①。然后他就把杯子向群众中扔去,让众人把它接住。外祖父曾经有过这样一个杯子。它是由一个泥水匠抢到手然后送给他的。这样的场面真有趣。这样,新同业公会就挂起了饰满花朵和绿色花圈的新会徽。

“一个人不管到了多大年纪,总不会忘记这种场面的,”外祖父说。他的确忘记不了,虽然他在一生中见过许多大世面,而且还可以讲出来。不过最好玩的是听他讲京城里迁移招牌的故事。

外祖父小时候,同爸爸妈妈到那儿去过一次。他以前从来没有到这国家的首都去过。街上挤满了那么多人,他真以为大家正在举行迁移招牌的仪式呢,而这儿有那么多的招牌要迁移!如果把它们挂在屋里而不挂在屋外的话,恐怕要一百个房间才装得下。裁缝店门口挂着种种衣服的图样,表示能把人改装成为粗人或细人。烟草店的招牌上画着可爱的小孩在抽着雪茄烟,好像真有其事似的。有的招牌上画着牛油、咸鱼、牧师的衣领和棺材;此外还有许多只写着说明和预告的招牌。一个人可以在这些街上跑一整天,把这些图画看个够。这样他就可以知道住在这些屋子里的是什么人,因为他们都把自己的招牌挂出来了。外祖父说,能够知道一个大城市里面的居民是些什么人,这本身就有教育意义。

当外祖父亲到城里的时候,招牌的情况就是这样。这是他亲口告诉我的,而且他“耳朵后面并没有一个骗子”——当他想骗我们的时候,妈妈常常说这一句话。他现在的样子看起来很值得相信。

他到京城去的头一天晚上,起了一阵可怕的风暴。像这样的风暴,人们在报纸上过去还不曾读到过,人们在自己的经验中也从来没有碰到过。瓦片在天空中乱飞;所有的木栅栏都吹倒了;是的,有一把手车为了要救自己的命,就在街上自由行动起来。空中充满了呼啸声,摇撼声。这真是一场可怕的大风暴。运河里的水跑到岸上来了,因为它不知道应该跑到什么地方去才好。风暴在扫过城市的上空,把许多烟囱都带走了;不少古老的、雄伟的教堂尖塔必须弯下腰来,而从那时起就再也没有直起来过。

在那位年高德功的消防队长的门口有一个哨房——这位队长总是跟着最后的那架救火机一起出勤的。风暴对于这座小哨房也不留情;它把它连根拔起,吹在街上乱滚。说来也奇怪,它稳稳地站着,立在一个卑微的木匠门口。这个木匠在上次大火时曾经救出三条命,但是这个哨房却没有考虑这件事情。

一位剃头师傅的招牌——一个大黄铜盆——也被吹走了。它直接落到司法顾问官的窗洞里。邻近所有的人都说,这几乎可算作恶作剧,因为他们像顾问官的最亲密的朋友一样,都把顾问官的夫人叫“剃刀”。她是那么锐利,她知道别人的事情比别人自己知道的多。

一块画着于鳍鱼的招牌,飞到一位在报纸上写文章的人的门口。这是风儿开的一个不高明的玩笑;它忘记了,它不应该跟一个在报纸上写文章的人开玩笑,因为他是他自己报纸的大王——他自己的意见也是这样。

一只风信鸡飞到对面的屋顶上去,在那儿停下来,像一件最糟糕的恶作剧——邻人们都这样说。

一个箍桶匠的桶死钉在“仕女服装店”的招牌底下。

一个饭馆的菜单,原来是镶在一个粗架子里,挂在门上的,现在被暴风吹到一个谁也不去的戏院门口。这真是一个可笑的节目单——“萝卜汤和包馅子的白菜”。但是这却招引人们走进戏院去。

一个皮毛商人的一张狐狸皮——这是他的一个诚实的招牌——被吹到一个年轻人的门铃绳上。这个年轻人的样子像一把收着的伞;他老是去做晨祷,不停地在追求真理。他是一个“模范人物”——他的姑妈说。

“高等教育研究所”这几个字被搬到一个弹子俱乐部的门上,而研究所的门上却挂起了“这里用奶瓶养孩子”这个招牌。这一点也不文雅,只是顽皮。不过这是风暴做出来的事儿,谁也无法控制它。

这是可怕的一夜。你想想看!在第二天早晨,几乎城里所有的招牌都换了位置。有些地方的招牌上写的字是那么存心不良,连外祖父都不好意思说出口。不过我看得出来,他在暗自发笑;很可能他还有些秘密不愿意讲出来呢。

住在这城里的那些可怜的人——特别是那些生人——老是找错了他们要访问的人。当然,要是他们按招牌去找的话,这也就无法避免。有些人以为自己是去参加市参议员们的非常庄严的会议,在那儿讨论一些重要的事情;但结果他们却来到了一个天翻地覆的男孩子的学校,来到一群在桌椅上乱跳乱蹦的孩子中间。

有些人把戏院和教堂弄得分不清。这真是可怕极了!

在我们这个时代里,这样的风暴可是从来没有。那只是在外祖父生前发生的,那时候他还是一个小孩子。这样的风暴在我们的这个时代里大概是不会发生的,不过可能在我们的孩子的时代里会发生。我们只好希望和祈祷:当风暴在掉换招牌的时候,他们恰好都待在家里。

①蜜酒所含的酒精成分很少,通常是用大杯子喝的。

英文版:The Storm Shakes the Shield

IN the old days, when grandpapa was quite a little boy, and ran about in little red breeches and a red coat, and a feather in his cap—for that’s the costume the little boys wore in his time when they were dressed in their best—many things were very different from what they are now. There was often a good deal of show in the streets—show that we don’t see nowadays, because it has been abolished as too old-fashioned. Still, it is very interesting to hear grandfather tell about it.

It must really have been a gorgeous sight to behold, in those days, when the shoemaker brought over the shield, when the court-house was changed. The silken flag waved to and fro, on the shield itself a double eagle was displayed, and a big boot; the youngest lads carried the “welcome,” and the chest of the workmen’s guild, and their shirt-sleeves were adorned with red and white ribbons; the elder ones carried drawn swords, each with a lemon stuck on its point. There was a full band of music, and the most splendid of all the instruments was the “bird,” as grandfather called the big stick with the crescent on the top, and all manner of dingle-dangles hanging to it—a perfect Turkish clatter of music. The stick was lifted high in the air, and swung up and down till it jingled again, and quite dazzled one’s eyes when the sun shone on all its glory of gold, and silver, and brass.

In front of the procession ran the Harlequin, dressed in clothes made of all kinds of colored patches artfully sewn together, with a black face, and bells on his head like a sledge horse. He beat the people with his bat, which made a great clattering without hurting them, and the people would crowd together and fall back, only to advance again the next moment. Little boys and girls fell over their own toes into the gutter, old women dispensed digs with their elbows, and looked sour, and took snuff. One laughed, another chatted; the people thronged the windows and door-steps, and even all the roofs. The sun shone; and although they had a little rain too, that was good for the farmer; and when they got wetted thoroughly, they only thought what a blessing it was for the country.

And what stories grandpapa could tell! As a little boy he had seen all these fine doings in their greatest pomp. The oldest of the policemen used to make a speech from the platform on which the shield was hung up, and the speech was in verse, as if it had been made by a poet, as, indeed it had; for three people had concocted it together, and they had first drunk a good bowl of punch, so that the speech might turn out well.

And the people gave a cheer for the speech, but they shouted much louder for the Harlequin, when he appeared in front of the platform, and made a grimace at them.

The fools played the fool most admirably, and drank mead out of spirit-glasses, which they then flung among the crowd, by whom they were caught up. Grandfather was the possessor of one of these glasses, which had been given him by a working mason, who had managed to catch it. Such a scene was really very pleasant; and the shield on the new court-house was hung with flowers and green wreaths.

“One never forgets a feast like that, however old one may grow,” said grandfather. Nor did he forget it, though he saw many other grand spectacles in his time, and could tell about them too; but it was most pleasant of all to hear him tell about the shield that was brought in the town from the old to the new court-house.

Once, when he was a little boy, grandpapa had gone with his parents to see this festivity. He had never yet been in the metropolis of the country. There were so many people in the streets, that he thought that the shield was being carried. There were many shields to be seen; a hundred rooms might have been filled with pictures, if they had been hung up inside and outside. At the tailor’s were pictures of all kinds of clothing, to show that he could stitch up people from the coarsest to the finest; at the tobacco manufacturer’s were pictures of the most charming little boys, smoking cigars, just as they do in reality; there were signs with painted butter, and herring, clerical collars, and coffins, and inscriptions and announcements into the bargain. A person could walk up and down for a whole day through the streets, and tire himself out with looking at the pictures; and then he would know all about what people lived in the houses, for they had hung out their shields or signs; and, as grandfather said, it was a very instructive thing, in a great town, to know at once who the inhabitants were.

And this is what happened with these shields, when grandpapa came to the town. He told it me himself, and he hadn’t “a rogue on his back,” as mother used to tell me he had when he wanted to make me believe something outrageous, for now he looked quite trustworthy.

The first night after he came to the town had been signalized by the most terrible gale ever recorded in the newspapers—a gale such as none of the inhabitants had ever before experienced. The air was dark with flying tiles; old wood-work crashed and fell; and a wheelbarrow ran up the streets all alone, only to get out of the way. There was a groaning in the air, and a howling and a shrieking, and altogether it was a terrible storm. The water in the canal rose over the banks, for it did not know where to run. The storm swept over the town, carrying plenty of chimneys with it, and more than one proud weathercock on a church tower had to bow, and has never got over it from that time.

There was a kind of sentry-house, where dwelt the venerable old superintendent of the fire brigade, who always arrived with the last engine. The storm would not leave this little sentry-house alone, but must needs tear it from its fastenings, and roll it down the street; and, wonderfully enough, it stopped opposite to the door of the dirty journeyman plasterer, who had saved three lives at the last fire, but the sentry-house thought nothing of that.

The barber’s shield, the great brazen dish, was carried away, and hurled straight into the embrasure of the councillor of justice; and the whole neighborhood said this looked almost like malice, inasmuch as they, and nearly all the friends of the councillor’s wife, used to call that lady “the Razor” for she was so sharp that she knew more about other people’s business than they knew about it themselves.

A shield with a dried salt fish painted on it flew exactly in front of the door of a house where dwelt a man who wrote a newspaper. That was a very poor joke perpetrated by the gale, which seemed to have forgotten that a man who writes in a paper is not the kind of person to understand any liberty taken with him; for he is a king in his own newspaper, and likewise in his own opinion.

The weathercock flew to the opposite house, where he perched, looking the picture of malice—so the neighbors said.

The cooper’s tub stuck itself up under the head of “ladies’ costumes.”

The eating-house keeper’s bill of fare, which had hung at his door in a heavy frame, was posted by the storm over the entrance to the theatre, where nobody went. “It was a ridiculous list—horse-radish, soup, and stuffed cabbage.” And now people came in plenty.

The fox’s skin, the honorable sign of the furrier, was found fastened to the bell-pull of a young man who always went to early lecture, and looked like a furled umbrella. He said he was striving after truth, and was considered by his aunt “a model and an example.”

The inscription “Institution for Superior Education” was found near the billiard club, which place of resort was further adorned with the words, “Children brought up by hand.” Now, this was not at all witty; but, you see, the storm had done it, and no one has any control over that.

It was a terrible night, and in the morning—only think!—nearly all the shields had changed places. In some places the inscriptions were so malicious, that grandfather would not speak of them at all; but I saw that he was chuckling secretly, and there may have been some inaccuracy in his description, after all.

The poor people in the town, and still more the strangers, were continually making mistakes in the people they wanted to see; nor was this to be avoided, when they went according to the shields that were hung up. Thus, for instance, some who wanted to go to a very grave assembly of elderly men, where important affairs were to be discussed, found themselves in a noisy boys’ school, where all the company were leaping over the chairs and tables.

There were also people who made a mistake between the church and the theatre, and that was terrible indeed!

Such a storm we have never witnessed in our day; for that only happened in grandpapa’s time, when he was quite a little boy. Perhaps we shall never experience a storm of the kind, but our grandchildren may; and we can only hope and pray that all may stay at home while the storm is moving the shields.

文章来源:安徒生童话

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