鬼火进城了的童话故事

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所属分类:民间故事

鬼火进城了的故事简介

有个人从前会讲许多童话故事,但因为战争的缘故,经常拜访他的童话不再来了。于是,他来到郊外寻找童话,路上遇到了沼泽女人,沼泽女人告诉他要当心鬼火,并且看到那七棵有四片叶子的苜蓿——其中有一棵是六片叶子的——还是新鲜的时候,当月亮还是很高的时候,要赶快过来!

鬼火进城了的故事

从前有一个人会讲许多新的童话;不过据他说,这些童话都偷偷地离开他了。那个经常来拜访他的童话不再来了,也不再敲他的门了。为什么它不再来呢?是的,这人的确有很久没有想到它,也没有盼望它来敲他的门,而它也就没有来,因为外面有战争,而家里又有战争带来的悲哀和忧虑。

鹳鸟和燕子从长途旅行中回来了,它们也没有想到什么危险。当它们到来的时候,窠被烧掉了,人类的住屋也被烧掉了,门都倒了,有的门简直就不见了;敌人的马匹在古老的坟墓上践踏。这是一个艰难黑暗的时代,但是这样的时代也总有一天要结束。

事实上它现在已经结束了。但是童话还没有来敲门,也没有送来什么消息。

“它一定死的,跟别的东西一起消灭了,”这人说。不过童话是永远不会死的!

一整年又过去了。他非常想念童话!

“我不知道,童话会不会再来敲我的门?”

他还能生动地记起,童话曾经以种种不同的姿态来拜访他:有时它像春天一样地年轻和动人,有时它像一个美丽的姑娘,头上戴着一个车叶草编的花环,手中拿着一根山毛榉的枝子,眼睛亮得像深树林里的、照在明亮的太阳光下的湖。有时它装做一个小贩到来。它打开它的背包,让银色的缎带飘出来——上面写着诗和充满了回忆的字句。不过当它装做一个老祖母到来的时候,它要算是最可爱的了。她的头发是银白色的,她的一对眼睛是大而又聪明。她能讲远古时代的故事——比公主用金纺锤纺纱、巨龙在宫门外守卫着的那个时代还要古。她讲得活灵活现,弄得听的人仿佛觉得有黑点子在眼前跳舞,仿佛觉得地上被人血染黑了。看到这样的情景和听到这样的故事,真有些骇人,但同时它又很好玩,因为它是发生在那么一个远古的时代里。

“她不会再来敲我的门吧!”这人说。于是他凝望着门,结果黑点子又在他眼前和地上出现了。他不知道这是血呢,还是那个艰难的黑暗时代的丧服上用的黑纱。

当他这样坐着的时候,就想起童话是不是像那些古老的童话中的公主一样,藏起来了,需要人把它找出来呢?如果它被找出来了,那么它又可以发出新的光彩,比以前还要美丽。

“谁知道呢?可能它就藏在别人随便扔在井边的一根草里。注意!注意!可能它就藏在一朵萎谢的花里——夹在书架上的那本大书里的花里。”

为了要弄清楚,这人就打开一本最新的书;不过这里面并没有一朵花。他在这里读到丹麦人荷尔格的故事②,他同时还读到:这个故事是由一个法国修道士杜撰的,是一本“译成丹麦文和用丹麦文印出来”的传奇,因此丹麦人荷尔格从来就没有真正存在过,同时也永远不会像我们所歌颂的和相信的那样,又回到我们这儿来。丹麦人荷尔格和威廉·退尔①一样,不过是一个口头传说,完全靠不住,虽然它是花了很大一番考据功夫,写上书本的。

“唔,我要相信我所相信的东西,”这人说,“脚没有踩过的地方,路也不会展宽的。”

于是他把书合上,放到书架上去,然后就走到窗前的新鲜花朵那儿去;童话可能就藏在那些有黄色金边的红郁金香里,或者在新鲜的玫瑰花里,或者在颜色鲜艳的茶花里。花瓣之间倒是有太阳,但是没有童话。

“多难的时代里长出的花儿,总是很美丽的。不过它们统统被砍掉,编成花圈,放进棺材里,上面又盖上国旗!可能童话就跟这些花儿一起被埋葬掉了。如果是这样的话,花儿就应该知道,棺材也应该知道,泥土也应该知道,从土里长出的每根草也应该能讲出一个道理来了。童话是从来不会死的。

“可能它曾经到这儿来过一次,敲过门——不过那时谁会听见和想到它呢?人们带着阴郁、沉重、几乎生气的神情来望着春天的太阳、喃喃的鸟儿和一切愉快的绿东西。舌头连那些古老的、快乐的民间歌曲都不唱;它们跟我们最心爱的东西一起被埋在棺材里。童话尽可以来敲门,不过不会有人听见的。没有人欢迎它,因此它就走了。

“我要去寻找它!”

“到乡下去找它!到树林里去找它!到广阔的海滩上去找它!”

乡间有一个古老的庄园。它有红色的墙和尖尖的山形墙;塔顶上还飘着一面旗。夜莺在繸子很细的山毛榉叶子间唱着歌,望着花园里盛开的苹果树,还以为它们开的就是玫瑰花呢。在夏天的太阳光里,蜜蜂在这儿忙着工作,围着它们的皇后嗡嗡地吟唱。秋天的风暴会讲出许多关于野猎的故事,关于树林的落叶和过去的人类的故事。在圣诞节的时候,野天鹅在一片汪洋的水上唱着歌;而在那个古老的花园里,人们坐在炉边倾听歌声和远古的传说。

在花园一个古老的角落里,有一条生满了野栗树的大路,引诱人们向它的树荫里走去。这人便走进去寻找童话,风儿曾经在这儿低声地对他讲过“一个贵族和他的女儿们”②的故事。树精——她就是童话妈妈本人——曾经在这儿对他讲述过“老槲树的梦”②。在祖母活着的时候,这儿有修剪得很整齐的篱笆;可是现在这儿只长着凤尾草和荨麻——它们把遗弃在那儿的残破的古代石像都掩盖住了。这些石像的眼睛里长出了青苔,但是它们仍然能像以前一样看得见东西——而来寻找童话的人却看不见,因为他没有看见童话。童话到哪儿去了呢?

千百只乌鸦在他的头上飞,在一些古老的树上飞,同时叫着:“它就在那里!它就在那里!”

他走出花园,走出花园外面的护墙河,走到赤杨树林里面去。这儿有一个六角形的小屋子,还附带有一个养鸡场和养鸭场。在屋子的中央坐着一个老太婆。她管理这儿的一切事情;生下的每一个蛋,从蛋里爬出的每一只小鸡,她都知道得清清楚楚。不过她并不是这人所要找的那个童话:这一点她可以拿出那张受过洗礼的证书和那张种过天花的证书来作证。这两件东西都放在抽屉里。

在外面,离屋子不远,有一个土丘,上面长满了红山楂和金链花。这儿躺着一块古老的墓碑。它是从一个乡下市镇的教堂墓地里搬来的;它是城里一个有声望的参议员的纪念碑。他的太太和五个女儿,全都拱着双手,穿着绉领,在他的石像周围站着。人们可以把他们观察很久,一直观察到使它在思想上发生作用,同时思想又在石像上发生反作用,使它能讲出关于远古时代的事情——那个找童话的人最低限度有这种想法。当他来到这儿的时候,发现有一只活蝴蝶落在这位石雕的参议员的额角上。蝴蝶拍着翅膀,向前飞了一会儿,然后又落到墓石的近旁,像是要把这儿生长着的东西都指出来似的。这儿长着有四片叶子的苜蓿;一共有七棵,排成一行。幸运的事情总不是单独到来的。他摘下苜蓿叶子,装进衣袋里。这人想:幸运是跟现钱一样好;但是美妙的新童话比那还要好。但是他在这儿没有找到童话。

太阳,又红又大的太阳,落下去了,草地上升起了烟雾;沼泽女人正在酿酒。

现在是晚上。他单独站在房子里,朝着大海、草地、沼泽和海滩上望。月光很明朗,草地上笼罩着一层烟雾,好像一个大湖。像传说上所讲的,它的确曾经是一个大湖——这个传说现在在月光中得到了证明。这人想起了他住在城里时读过的故事:威廉·退尔和丹麦人荷尔格从来没有存在过。但是,像作为传说的证明的这个湖一样,他们却活在民间的传说里。是的,丹麦人荷尔格会再回来的!

当他正站着深思的时候,窗子上有相当重的敲击声。这是一只雀子,一只蝙蝠,还是一只猫头鹰呢?如果是这类东西,就没有开门的必要。但窗子却自动地开了,一个老太婆向这人望。

“什么?”他说。“她是什么人?她直接朝第二层楼上望。难道她是站在梯子上吗?”

“你衣袋里有一棵长着四片叶子的苜蓿,”她说。“是的,你有七棵,其中有一棵还有六片叶子呢。”

“请问你是谁?”这人又问。

“沼泽女人!”她回答说。“酿酒的沼泽女人。我正在酿酒。酒桶安上了塞子,但是一个恶作剧的沼泽小鬼把塞子拔掉了,而且把它向院子里扔来,打在窗子上。现在啤酒正在从桶里往外直淌,这对什么人都没有好处。”

“请你讲下去!”这人说。

“啊,请等一下!”沼泽女人说。“我此刻还有一件别的事情要做。”于是她就走了。

这人正要关上窗子,沼泽女人忽然又出现了。

“现在我做完了!”她说。“不过,如果明天天气好,我就把另外一半啤酒留到明天再酿。唔,你有什么事情要问我呢?我现在回来了,因为我是一个说话算话的人呀。你衣袋里有七棵带四片叶子的苜蓿,其中有一棵是六片叶子的。这使人起尊敬之感,因为它是长在大路旁的一种装饰品,不过这并不是每个人都可以发现的。你有什么事情要问我呢?不要站着像个呆子呀,因为我得马上去看我的塞子和桶!”

于是这人便问起童话,问她在路上是不是看到过童话。

“嗨,愿上帝保佑我的大酒桶!”沼泽女人说,“难道你所知道的童话还不够吗?我的确相信你所知道的已经够多了。你应该关心别的事情,注意别的事情才对。连小孩子也不再要什么童话了。给男孩子一支雪茄,给女孩子一条新裙子吧;他们会更喜欢这类东西的。听什么童话!嗨,应该做的事情多着呢,更重要的事情有的是!”

“你这是什么意思?”这人问。“你懂得什么世事?你所看到的只是青蛙和鬼火!”

“是的,请你当心鬼火吧,”沼泽女人说,“它们已经出来了!它们已经溜走了!这正是我们要讨论的一件事情!跟我一块儿到沼泽地来吧,我必须在场,我可以把整个的事儿都告诉你。当你那七棵有四片叶子的苜蓿——其中有一棵是六片叶子的——还是新鲜的时候,当月亮还是很高的时候,请你赶快来!”

于是沼泽女人就不见了。

教堂上的钟敲了12下;最后一下还没有敲完,这人已经走出了屋子,来到花园里,站在草地上了。烟雾已经散了。沼泽女人停止了酿酒。

“你花了这么多的时间才到来!”沼泽女人说。“巫婆比人走得快得多。我很高兴,我生来就是一个巫婆!”

“你现在有什么话可以告诉我呢?”这人问。“这跟童话有关吗?”

“难道你就不能问点别的东西吗?”沼泽女人说。

“你是不是想和我谈一点关于未来的诗的问题呢?”这人又问。

“请你不要卖弄学问吧!”沼泽女人说。“让我回答你吧。你心里老想着诗,而嘴上却问起童话来,好像童话就是一切艺术的皇后似的。她是一个最老的人,不过她的样子却显得最年轻。我对她的事情知道得很清楚!我有个时候也是年轻的,这也不是什么幼稚病。有个时候我也是相当漂亮的一个妖姑娘呢;我也在月亮底下和别人跳过舞,听过夜莺的曲子,到森林里去过,会见过童话姑娘——她老是在那儿东跑西跑。她一会儿跑进一朵半开的郁金香或一朵普通的野花里去,一会儿偷偷地走进教堂,把自己裹在祭坛蜡烛上挂着的黑丧布里睡去!”

“你的消息真灵通!”这人说。

“我知道的东西起码应该和你一样多!”沼泽女人说。“童话和诗——不错,它们像同一材料织成的两段布。它们可以随便在什么地方躺下来。它们所做的事和讲的话,人们可以随意编造,而且编得又好又便宜。你可以一文不花就从我这里得到这些东西。我有一整柜子的瓶装诗。这是诗精,诗的最好一部分——它是又甜又苦的草药。人们对诗的无论哪方面的要求,我的瓶子里都有。在节日里我把它洒一点到手帕上,不时闻闻它。”

“你所讲的这番话真是奇妙极了!”这人说。你有瓶装的诗?”

“比你所能接受得了的还多!”沼泽女人说。“你知道,‘踩着面包走的女孩’②这个故事吧?她这样做,为的是怕弄脏了她的新鞋子。这个故事被写下来,而且还被印出来了。”

“这个故事是我亲自讲出来的。”这人说。

“对,那么你应该知道它了。”沼泽女人说,“你也知道,那个女孩立刻就沉到地底下的沼泽女人那儿去了——那个魔鬼的老太太这时正来拜访,为的是要检查酒厂。她一看见这个女孩子沉下来就要求把她带走,作为她来拜访的一个纪念品。她得到了这个孩子,我也得到了一件毫无用处的礼品。它是一个旅行药柜——整柜子全是瓶装的诗。老太太告诉我柜子应该放在什么地方——它还立在那儿。请你去看一次吧!你衣袋里装着七棵带四片叶子的苜蓿——其中一棵是六片叶子的——所以你应该看得见它了。”

的确,沼泽地的中央有一根粗大的赤杨树干。它就是老太太的柜子。沼泽女人说,这柜子对她和对任何国家任何时代的人都是开着的,人们只须知道它在什么地方就得了。它的前面,后面,每一边和每一角都可以打开——真是一件完整的艺术品,但是它的样子却像一根赤杨树干。各国的诗人,特别是我们本国的诗人,都是在这儿制造出来的。他们的精神都加以考虑、品评、翻新和净化以后才装进瓶子里的。祖母以她“极大的本能”——这是人们不愿说“天才”时所用的一个字眼——把这个或那个诗人的气味,再加上一点儿鬼才,混合在一起封在瓶子里,作为将来之用。

“我请求你让我看看!”这人说。

“是的,还有更重要的事情在后面!”沼泽女人说。

“不过现在我们是在柜子旁边呀!”这人说,同时朝里面看。“这儿有种种不同体积的瓶子。这一个里面装的什么呢?那一个里面装的什么呢?”

“这就是人们所谓的五月香,”沼泽女人说。“我自己还没有用过,不过我知道,如果把酒洒一滴到地上,马上就会有一个长满了睡莲、水芋和野薄荷的美丽的小湖出现。你只须滴两滴到一本旧练习簿上——甚至小学最低班的练习簿上——这本子就可以成为一部芬芳的剧本。它可以上演,也可以叫你睡过去,因为它的香气是那么强烈。瓶子上贴着这样的标签:‘沼泽女人监制’——其用意是要恭维我一番。

“这是一个‘造谣瓶’。它里面装着的似乎只是最脏的水。里面的确是最脏的水,不过它含有街头闲话的发酵粉、三两谎话和二钱真理。这几种成分被桦木条搅成一团——不是在咸水里浸了很久的、专门用以打犯人的流着血的背的那种枝条,也不是小学老师用的那种枝条,而是从扫沟渠的扫帚上抽下来的一根枝条。

“这是一个装满了仿照圣诗调子写的、虔诚的诗的瓶子。每一滴能够发出那种像地狱门的响声。它是用刑罚的血和汗所做成的。有的人说它不过是一点鸽子的胆汁罢了。不过鸽子是最虔诚的动物,并没有胆汁;那些不懂得博物学的人都这样讲。

“这是一个最大的瓶子,它占了半个柜子的面积——装满了‘日常故事’的瓶子。它是用膀胱和猪皮包着的,因为它的力量不能被蒸发掉。每个民族都可以依照自己摇瓶子的方法做出自己的汤。这儿有古老的德国血汤,里面有强盗肉丸子。这儿还有稀薄的农民汤,在它里面真正的枢密大臣像豆子似的沉到底,而面上则浮着富有哲学意味的胖眼睛。这儿有英国的女管家汤和法国用鸡腿和麻雀腿熬的‘鸡汤’——这在丹麦文里叫做‘康康舞汤’③。不过最好的汤是‘哥本哈根汤’。家里的人都这样说。

“这是一个香槟瓶子,里面装着‘悲剧’。它能够爆裂,它也应该如此。喜剧是像能打到眼里去的细沙——这也就是说,较细致的喜剧。瓶子里也有较粗的喜剧,不过它们还只是一些待用的剧名——其中有些非常有名的剧名,如:《你敢向机器里吐痰吗》,《一记耳光》,《可爱的驴子》和《她喝得烂醉》。”

这人听到这番话,就沉入到幻想中去了。不过沼泽女人想得更远一点;她想把事情做个结束。

“这个老柜子你已经看得相当久了!”她说,“你已经知道它里面有些什么东西。不过你应该知道的更重要的东西,你还不知道。鬼火现在到城里来了!这比诗和童话要重要得多。我的确应该闭住嘴,不过大概有某种力量,某种命运,某种无可奈何的东西塞在我的喉咙里,老是要跑出来。鬼火进了城!他们在猖狂作乱!你们人呵,当心啦!”

“你说的这一套,我连半个字也不懂!”这人说。

“请劳驾坐在柜子上吧。”她说,“不过请你当心不要坐塌了,把瓶子打碎——你知道它们里面装着什么东西。有一件大事我非得讲出来不可。它还是昨天发生的;并没有很早就发生。它的有效期限还有364天。我想你知道一年有多少日子吧?”

下面是沼泽女人所讲的话:

“昨天沼泽地上有一个很大的热闹场面!那是一个孩子的盛会!一个小鬼火出生了——事实上他们有一打同时出生。他们得到了许可:如果他们愿意的话,可以跑到人世间去,也可自由行动,发号施令,好像他们生下来就是人一样。这是沼泽地上的一件大事,因此鬼火,在沼泽地和草原上,像亮光一样,男的女的都跳起舞来——因为他们中间有几个是女性,虽然他们一般都不讲出来。我坐在那个柜子上,把这12个新生的鬼火抱在膝上。他们像萤火虫似的发出亮光来。他们已经开始跳起来,而他们的体积每一秒钟都在增长,因此不到一刻钟,他们的样子就好像他们的父亲和叔父那样大。按照大家公认的一个老规矩和特权,如果月亮照得完全像昨天一样,风吹得完全像昨天一样,在这个时刻所出生的一切鬼火,都有权变成人,而他们每一个人,在一年的时限内,可以行使他们的权利。如果每个鬼火不怕掉到海里去、不怕被大风暴吹熄的话,他可以跑遍全国,跑遍整个世界。他可以附在一个人身上,代他讲话,随意行动。一个鬼火可以随意以任何形式出现;他可以是男人或女人,可以依照他们的精神行动,但是必须走自己的极端,把他想要做的事都做出来。不过他在一年之中要大规模地把365个人引入歧途:把他们从真理和正确的道路上引走。只有这样,一个鬼火才能达到最高峰——成为魔鬼专车前面的一个跑腿。这样,他就可以穿起深黄的衣服,从喉咙里喷出火焰来。这足够使一个普通的鬼火得到满足。不过里面也有一些凶险。一个有抱负的鬼火想完成这么一个出色的任务,得碰到一些麻烦。如果一个人的眼睛能看清面前是什么东西,而把鬼火一口气吹走的话,那么鬼火就完蛋了,它只有再回到沼泽里来。

同样,如果鬼火在一年终结以前要回家来看看、而放弃他们的工作,那么他也就完蛋,再也不能照得很亮,于是他很快就会灭了,再也燃不起来。当一年终了的时候,如果他还没有把365个人引入歧途、离开真理和一切美善的东西的话,那么他就要被监禁在一块腐木里面,躺在那儿发着闪光,不能动弹一下。对于一个活泼的鬼火说来,这是再厉害不过的一种惩罚。这一切我全知道。同时我也把这事情讲给我抱在膝上的12个鬼火听。他们听了乐得不可开交。我告诉他们,说最安全和最简单的办法是放弃这种光荣,什么事情也不干。可是小鬼火们不同意这种说法。他们已经幻想自己穿起深黄的衣服,从喉咙里喷出火来。‘跟我们住在一起吧!’年老的几位鬼火说。‘你们去和人开玩笑吧,’另外几位说。‘人把我们的草地都滤干了!他们已经开始在排水。我们的后代将怎么活下去呢?’“‘我们要发出火光来!发出火光来!’新生的鬼火说。事情就这样肯定下来了。

“一个跳舞会开始了——时间只有一秒钟;它不能再短。妖姑娘们跟别的妖姑娘们转了三个圈子,为的是不要显得骄傲,她们一般只是愿意和她们自己跳舞。接着舞会发起人就散发礼品:‘打水漂’——这就是礼物的名字。礼物像矽石似的在沼泽地的水上飞过去。每个姑娘又彼此赠送一小片面纱。‘把这拿去吧!’她们说,‘那么你就会跳更高级的舞——那些不可少的比较困难的旋转和扭腰。这样你们就有恰当的风度,你们就可以在上流社会里表现自己。’夜渡乌教每一个年轻的鬼火说:‘好——好——好。’而且教他们在什么场合说最恰当。这是一件最大的礼品,它可以使你受用不尽。猫头鹰和鹳鸟也提了一些意见——不过他们说,这都不值得一谈,因此我们就不提了。国王瓦尔得马尔这时正来到沼泽地上野猎。当这些贵族们听到这个盛会时,他们就赠送了一对漂亮的猎犬,作为礼品。它们追起东西来跟风一样快,同时能够背起一个到三个鬼火。两个老梦魔——他们靠骑着东西飞行过日子——也来参加了这次盛会。他们马上就传授起钻钥匙孔的技术来,使得所有的门等于没有。这两位老梦魔还提议把小鬼火们带到城里去,因为城里的情形他们很熟悉。他们一般是骑在自己的鬃毛上在空中飞过,而且总是把毛打一个结,因为他们喜欢坐硬席。可是他们现在叉着腿坐在猎犬身上,把这些年轻的鬼火——他们打算到城里去把人引入歧途——抱在怀里,于是嘘的一声,他们就不见了。

“这全是昨天夜里发生的事情。现在鬼火到城里来了,开始进行工作——不过怎样进行呢?唉!你能够告诉我吗?我的大脚趾里有一根气候线。它总是告诉我一些事情的。”

“这倒是一个完整的童话呢。”这人说。

“是的,不过这只是童话的一个开头,”沼泽女人说。“你能够告诉我,鬼火的行为和做的事情是怎样的吗?他们以什么样的形态来把人引到邪路上去呢?”

“我相信,”这人说,“人们可以写成一部鬼火传奇,分成十二卷,每一卷谈一个鬼火。也许更好是写成一部通俗剧本。”

“你写吧,”沼泽女人说,“不过最好还是让它去吧。”

“是的,那当然更容易,更舒服,”这人说。“因为这样我们就可以不受报纸的拘束了。受报纸的拘束,其不舒服的程度跟鬼火关在朽木里发光而不敢说一句话没有两样。”

“这和我没有什么关系,”沼泽女人说。“让别的人——那些会写的和不会写的人——去写吧!我把我桶上的一个旧塞子给你。它可以打开放着诗瓶的那个柜子,你可以从那里取出你所需要的东西。可是你,亲爱的朋友,你的手似乎被墨水染得够黑了。你似乎已经到了懂事的年龄,不必每年东跑西跑去寻找童话了。世上特别应该做的重要的事情还多着呢。你已知道现在发生了什么事情吧?”

“鬼火现在进城了!”这人说。“我听到过这事情,我也懂得这事情!不过你觉得我应该怎么办呢?如果我对人说,‘看呀,鬼火穿着庄严的衣服在那里活动!’人们一定会把我痛打一顿的。”

“他们有时也穿着裙子活动呀!”沼泽女人说,“一个鬼火可以以各种形式,在任何地方出现。他到教堂里去,不是为了去做礼拜,而是为了要附在牧师身上。他在选举的时候演讲,不是为了国家的利益,而是为了他自己。他是一个画家,也可以是一个演员。不过他把权利抓到手上来了以后,它的颜料匣子可就空了!我闲聊了一大阵子,但是我必须把塞在我喉头的东西拉出来,即使这对于我家庭不利也管不了。现在我要把许多人救出来!这并不是因为出自善意,或者是为了要得到一枚勋章。我要做出我能做到的最疯狂的事情,我把这事告诉给一个诗人;只有这样,整个城市才会马上知道。”

“城市将会一点也不在乎,”这人说。“谁也不会感到惊慌。当我以极端严肃的态度告诉他们说,‘沼泽女人说过,鬼火进城了。你们当心啦!’人们将认为我不过是对他们讲一个童话罢了。

①威廉·退尔(Vilhelm Tell)是传说中的瑞士民族英雄,他反抗当时统治瑞士的奥国领主,曾两度被捕。德国诗人席勒曾把他的事迹写成一部诗剧《威廉·退尔》。

②这是安徒生的一篇童话的名字。

③康康舞(Kankan)是19世纪中叶在巴黎流行的一种疯狂的四人舞。

读后感

安徒生的童话故事总是那么令人意味深长。其中《鬼火进城了》是作者在硝烟弥漫的战争时期写的,故事中的地理环境的描写源自于巴斯纳斯周围的景物,它的真实感令人佩服。这是一篇带有讽刺意味的童话故事,安徒生把矛头指向了社会中的不作为的评论家、报刊编辑和文化人,讽刺这些人在国难当头的时刻,还沉浸在自己的小圈子里互相的吹捧。

英文版:“The Will-o-the Wisp Is in the Town”, Says the Moor-Woman

THERE was a man who once knew many stories, but they had slipped away from him—so he said. The Story that used to visit him of its own accord no longer came and knocked at his door. And why did it come no longer? It is true enough that for days and years the man had not thought of it, had not expected it to come and knock; and if he had expected it, it would certainly not have come; for without there was war, and within was the care and sorrow that war brings with it.

The stork and the swallows came back from their long journey, for they thought of no danger; and, behold, when they arrived, the nest was burnt, the habitations of men were burnt, the hedges were all in disorder, and everything seemed gone, and the enemy’s horses were stamping in the old graves. Those were hard, gloomy times, but they came to an end.

And now they were past and gone—so people said; yet no Story came and knocked at the door, or gave any tidings of its presence.

“I suppose it must be dead, or gone away with many other things,” said the man.

But the story never dies. And more than a whole year went by, and he longed—oh, so very much!—for the Story.

“I wonder if the Story will ever come back again and knock?”

And he remembered it so well in all the various forms in which it had come to him, sometimes young and charming, like spring itself, sometimes as a beautiful maiden, with a wreath of thyme in her hair, and a beechen branch in her hand, and with eyes that gleamed like deep woodland lakes in the bright sunshine.

Sometimes it had come to him in the guise of a peddler, and had opened its box and let silver ribbon come fluttering out, with verses and inscriptions of old remembrances.

But it was most charming of all when it came as an old grandmother, with silvery hair, and such large, sensible eyes. She knew so well how to tell about the oldest times, long before the princesses spun with the golden spindles, and the dragons lay outside the castles, guarding them. She told with such an air of truth, that black spots danced before the eyes of all who heard her, and the floor became black with human blood; terrible to see and to hear, and yet so entertaining, because such a long time had passed since it all happened.

“Will it ever knock at my door again?” said the man, and he gazed at the door, so that black spots came before his eyes and upon the floor; he did not know if it was blood, or mourning crape from the dark heavy days.

And as he sat thus, the thought came upon him whether the Story might not have hidden itself, like the princess in the old tale. And he would now go in search of it; if he found it, it would beam in new splendor, lovelier than ever.

“Who knows? Perhaps it has hidden itself in the straw that balances on the margin of the well. Carefully, carefully! Perhaps it lies hidden in a certain flower—that flower in one of the great books on the book-shelf.”

And the man went and opened one of the newest books, to gain information on this point; but there was no flower to be found. There he read about Holger Danske; and the man read that the tale had been invented and put together by a monk in France, that it was a romance, “translated into Danish and printed in that language;” that Holger Danske had never really lived, and consequently could never come again, as we have sung, and have been so glad to believe. And William Tell was treated just like Holger Danske. These were all only myths—nothing on which we could depend; and yet it is all written in a very learned book.

“Well, I shall believe what I believe!” said the man. “There grows no plantain where no foot has trod.”

And he closed the book and put it back in its place, and went to the fresh flowers at the window. Perhaps the Story might have hidden itself in the red tulips, with the golden yellow edges, or in the fresh rose, or in the beaming camellia. The sunshine lay among the flowers, but no Story.

The flowers which had been here in the dark troublous time had been much more beautiful; but they had been cut off, one after another, to be woven into wreaths and placed in coffins, and the flag had waved over them! Perhaps the Story had been buried with the flowers; but then the flowers would have known of it, and the coffin would have heard it, and every little blade of grass that shot forth would have told of it. The Story never dies.

Perhaps it has been here once, and has knocked; but who had eyes or ears for it in those times? People looked darkly, gloomily, and almost angrily at the sunshine of spring, at the twittering birds, and all the cheerful green; the tongue could not even bear the old merry, popular songs, and they were laid in the coffin with so much that our heart held dear. The Story may have knocked without obtaining a hearing; there was none to bid it welcome, and so it may have gone away.

“I will go forth and seek it. Out in the country! out in the wood! and on the open sea beach!”

Out in the country lies an old manor house, with red walls, pointed gables, and a red flag that floats on the tower. The nightingale sings among the finely-fringed beech-leaves, looking at the blooming apple trees of the garden, and thinking that they bear roses. Here the bees are mightily busy in the summer-time, and hover round their queen with their humming song. The autumn has much to tell of the wild chase, of the leaves of the trees, and of the races of men that are passing away together. The wild swans sing at Christmas-time on the open water, while in the old hall the guests by the fireside gladly listen to songs and to old legends.

Down into the old part of the garden, where the great avenue of wild chestnut trees lures the wanderer to tread its shades, went the man who was in search of the Story; for here the wind had once murmured something to him of “Waldemar Daa and his Daughters.” The Dryad in the tree, who was the Story-mother herself, had here told him the “Dream of the Old Oak Tree.” Here, in the time of the ancestral mother, had stood clipped hedges, but now only ferns and stinging nettles grew there, hiding the scattered fragments of old sculptured figures; the moss is growing in their eyes, but they can see as well as ever, which was more than the man could do who was in search of the Story, for he could not find that. Where could it be?

The crows flew past him by hundreds across the old trees, and screamed, “Krah! da!—Krah! da!”

And he went out of the garden and over the grass-plot of the yard, into the alder grove; there stood a little six-sided house, with a poultry-yard and a duck-yard. In the middle of the room sat the old woman who had the management of the whole, and who knew accurately about every egg that was laid, and about every chicken that could creep out of an egg. But she was not the Story of which the man was in search; that she could attest with a Christian certificate of baptism and of vaccination that lay in her drawer.

Without, not far from the house, is a hill covered with red-thorn and broom. Here lies an old grave-stone, which was brought here many years ago from the churchyard of the provincial town, a remembrance of one of the most honored councillors of the place; his wife and his five daughters, all with folded hands and stiff ruffs, stand round him. One could look at them so long, that it had an effect upon the thoughts, and these reacted upon the stones, as if they were telling of old times; at least it had been so with the man who was in search of the Story.

As he came nearer, he noticed a living butterfly sitting on the forehead of the sculptured councillor. The butterfly flapped its wings, and flew a little bit farther, and then returned fatigued to sit upon the grave-stone, as if to point out what grew there. Four-leaved shamrocks grew there; there were seven specimens close to each other. When fortune comes, it comes in a heap. He plucked the shamrocks and put them in his pocket.

“Fortune is as good as red gold, but a new charming story would be better still,” thought the man; but he could not find it here.

And the sun went down, round and large; the meadow was covered with vapor. The Moor-woman was at her brewing.

It was evening. He stood alone in his room, and looked out upon the sea, over the meadow, over moor and coast. The moon shone bright, a mist was over the meadow, making it look like a great lake; and, indeed, it was once so, as the legend tells—and in the moonlight the eye realizes these myths.

Then the man thought of what he had been reading in the town, that William Tell and Holger Danske never really lived, but yet live in popular story, like the lake yonder, a living evidence for such myths. Yes, Holger Danske will return again!

As he stood thus and thought, something beat quite strongly against the window. Was it a bird, a bat or an owl? Those are not let in, even when they knock. The window flew open of itself, and an old woman looked in at the man.

“What’s your pleasure?” said he. “Who are you? You’re looking in at the first floor window. Are you standing on a ladder?”

“You have a four-leaved shamrock in your pocket,” she replied. “Indeed, you have seven, and one of them is a six-leaved one.”

“Who are you?” asked the man again.

“The Moor-woman,” she replied. “The Moor-woman who brews. I was at it. The bung was in the cask, but one of the little moor-imps pulled it out in his mischief, and flung it up into the yard, where it beat against the window; and now the beer’s running out of the cask, and that won’t do good to anybody.”

“Pray tell me some more!” said the man.

“Yes, wait a little,” answered the Moor-woman. “I’ve something else to do just now.” And she was gone.

The man was going to shut the window, when the woman already stood before him again.

“Now it’s done,” she said; “but I shall have half the beer to brew over again to-morrow, if the weather is suitable. Well, what have you to ask me? I’ve come back, for I always keep my word, and you have seven four-leaved shamrocks in your pocket, and one of them is a six-leaved one. That inspires respect, for that’s an order that grows beside the sandy way; but that every one does not find. What have you to ask me? Don’t stand there like a ridiculous oaf, for I must go back again directly to my bung and my cask.”

And the man asked about the Story, and inquired if the Moor-woman had met it in her journeyings.

“By the big brewing-vat!” exclaimed the woman, “haven’t you got stories enough? I really believe that most people have enough of them. Here are other things to take notice of, other things to examine. Even the children have gone beyond that. Give the little boy a cigar, and the little girl a new crinoline; they like that much better. To listen to stories! No, indeed, there are more important things to be done here, and other things to notice!”

“What do you mean by that?” asked the man, “and what do you know of the world? You don’t see anything but frogs and Will-o’-the-Wisps!”

“Yes, beware of the Will-o’-the-Wisps,” said the Moor-woman, “for they’re out—they’re let loose—that’s what we must talk about! Come to me in the moor, where my presence is necessary, and I will tell you all about it; but you must make haste, and come while your seven four-leaved shamrocks, for which one has six leaves, are still fresh, and the moon stands high!”

And the Moor-woman was gone.

It struck twelve in the town, and before the last stroke had died away, the man was out in the yard, out in the garden, and stood in the meadow. The mist had vanished, and the Moor-woman stopped her brewing.

“You’ve been a long time coming!” said the Moor-woman. “Witches get forward faster than men, and I’m glad that I belong to the witch folk!”

“What have you to say to me now?” asked the man. “Is it anything about the Story?”

“Can you never get beyond asking about that?” retorted the woman.

“Can you tell me anything about the poetry of the future?” resumed the man.

“Don’t get on your stilts,” said the crone, “and I’ll answer you. You think of nothing but poetry, and only ask about that Story, as if she were the lady of the whole troop. She’s the oldest of us all, but she takes precedence of the youngest. I know her well. I’ve been young, too, and she’s no chicken now. I was once quite a pretty elf-maiden, and have danced in my time with the others in the moonlight, and have heard the nightingale, and have gone into the forest and met the Story-maiden, who was always to be found out there, running about. Sometimes she took up her night’s lodging in a half-blown tulip, or in a field flower; sometimes she would slip into the church, and wrap herself in the mourning crape that hung down from the candles on the altar.”

“You are capitally well-informed,” said the man.

“I ought at least to know as much as you,” answered the Moor-woman. “Stories and poetry—yes, they’re like two yards of the same piece of stuff; they can go and lie down where they like, and one can brew all their prattle, and have it all the better and cheaper. You shall have it from me for nothing. I have a whole cupboard-full of poetry in bottles. It makes essences; and that’s the best of it—bitter and sweet herbs. I have everything that people want of poetry, in bottles, so that I can put a little on my handkerchief, on holidays, to smell.”

“Why, these are wonderful things that you’re telling!” said the man. “You have poetry in bottles?”

“More than you can require,” said the woman. “I suppose you know the history of ‘the Girl who Trod on the Loaf, so that she might not soil her shoes’? That has been written, and printed too.”

“I told that story myself,” said the man.

“Yes, then you must know it; and you must know also that the girl sank into the earth directly, to the Moor-woman, just as Old Bogey’s grandmother was paying her morning visit to inspect the brewery. She saw the girl gliding down, and asked to have her as a remembrance of her visit, and got her too; while I received a present that’s of no use to me—a travelling druggist’s shop—a whole cupboard-full of poetry in bottles. Grandmother told me where the cupboard was to be placed, and there it’s standing still. Just look! You’ve your seven four-leaved shamrocks in your pocket, one of which is a six-leaved one, and so you will be able to see it.”

And really in the midst of the moor lay something like a great knotted block of alder, and that was the old grandmother’s cupboard. The Moor-woman said that this was always open to her and to every one in the land, if they only knew where the cupboard stood. It could be opened either at the front or at the back, and at every side and corner—a perfect work of art, and yet only an old alder stump in appearance. The poets of all lands, and especially those of our own country, had been arranged here; the spirit of them had been extracted, refined, criticised and renovated, and then stored up in bottles. With what may be called great aptitude, if it was not genius the grandmother had taken as it were the flavor of this and of that poet, and had added a little devilry, and then corked up the bottles for use during all future times.

“Pray let me see,” said the man.

“Yes, but there are more important things to hear,” replied the Moor-woman.

“But now we are at the cupboard!” said the man. And he looked in. “Here are bottles of all sizes. What is in this one? and what in that one yonder?”

“Here is what they call may-balm,” replied the woman. “I have not tried it myself. But I have not yet told you the ‘more important’ thing you were to hear. THEWILL-O’-THE-WISP’S IN THE TOWN! That’s of much more consequence than poetry and stories. I ought, indeed, to hold my tongue; but there must be a necessity—a fate—a something that sticks in my throat, and that wants to come out. Take care, you mortals!”

“I don’t understand a word of all this!” cried the man.

“Be kind enough to seat yourself on that cupboard,” she retorted, “but take care you don’t fall through and break the bottles—you know what’s inside of them. I must tell of the great event. It occurred no longer ago than the day before yesterday. It did not happen earlier. It has now three hundred and sixty-three days to run about. I suppose you know how many days there are in a year?”

And this is what the Moor-woman told:

“There was a great commotion yesterday out here in the marsh! There was a christening feast! A little Will-o’-the-Wisp was born here—in fact, twelve of them were born all together; and they have permission, if they choose to use it, to go abroad among men, and to move about and command among them, just as if they were born mortals. That was a great event in the marsh, and accordingly all the Will-o’-the-Wisps, male and female, went dancing like little lights across the moor. There are some of them of the dog species, but those are not worth mentioning. I sat there on the cupboard, and had all the twelve little new-born Will-o’-the-Wisps upon my lap. They shone like glow-worms; they already began to hop, and increased in size every moment, so that before a quarter of an hour had elapsed, each of them looked just as large as his father or his uncle. Now, it’s an old-established regulation and favor, that when the moon stands just as it did yesterday, and the wind blows just as it blew then, it is allowed and accorded to all Will-o’-the-Wisps—that is, to all those who are born at that minute of time—to become mortals, and individually to exert their power for the space of one year.

“The Will-o’-the-Wisp may run about in the country and through the world, if it is not afraid of falling into the sea, or of being blown out by a heavy storm. It can enter into a person and speak for him, and make all the movements it pleases. The Will-o’-the-Wisp may take whatever form he likes, of man or woman, and can act in their spirit and in their disguise in such a way that he can effect whatever he wishes to do. But he must manage, in the course of the year, to lead three hundred and sixty-five people into a bad way, and in a grand style, too. To lead them away from the right and the truth; and then he reaches the highest point. Such a Will-o’-the-Wisp can attain to the honor of being a runner before the devil’s state coach; and then he’ll wear clothes of fiery yellow, and breathe forth flames out of his throat. That’s enough to make a simple Will-o’-the-Wisp smack his lips. But there’s some danger in this, and a great deal of work for a Will-o’-the-Wisp who aspires to play so distinguished a part. If the eyes of the man are opened to what he is, and if the man can then blow him away, it’s all over with him, and he must come back into the marsh; or if, before the year is up, the Will-o’-the-Wisp is seized with a longing to see his family, and so returns to it and gives the matter up, it is over with him likewise, and he can no longer burn clear, and soon becomes extinguished, and cannot be lit up again; and when the year has elapsed, and he has not led three hundred and sixty-five people away from the truth and from all that is grand and noble, he is condemned to be imprisoned in decayed wood, and to lie glimmering there, without being able to move; and that’s the most terrible punishment that can be inflicted on a lively Will-o’-the-Wisp.

“Now, all this I know, and all this I told to the twelve little Will-o’-the-Wisps whom I had on my lap, and who seemed quite crazy with joy.

“I told them that the safest and most convenient course was to give up the honor, and do nothing at all; but the little flames would not agree to this, and already fancied themselves clad in fiery yellow clothes, breathing flames from their throats.

“‘Stay with us,’ said some of the older ones.

“‘Carry on your sport with mortals,’ said the others.

“‘The mortals are drying up our meadows; they’ve taken to draining. What will our successors do?’

“‘We want to flame; we will flame—flame!’ cried the new-born Will-o’the-Wisps.

“And thus the affair was settled.

“And now a ball was given, a minute long; it could not well be shorter. The little elf-maidens whirled round three times with the rest, that they might not appear proud, but they preferred dancing with one another.

“And now the sponsors’ gifts were presented, and presents were thrown them. These presents flew like pebbles across the sea-water. Each of the elf-maidens gave a little piece of her veil.

“‘Take that,’ they said, ‘and then you’ll know the higher dance, the most difficult turns and twists—that is to say, if you should find them necessary. You’ll know the proper deportment, and then you can show yourself in the very pick of society.’

“The night raven taught each of the young Will-o’-the-Wisps to say, ‘Goo—goo—good,’ and to say it in the right place; and that’s a great gift which brings its own reward.

“The owl and the stork—but they said it was not worth mentioning, and so we won’t mention it.

“King Waldemar’s wild chase was just then rushing over the moor, and when the great lords heard of the festivities that were going on, they sent a couple of handsome dogs, which hunt on the spoor of the wind, as a present; and these might carry two or three of the Will-o’-the-Wisps. A couple of old Alpas, spirits who occupy themselves with Alp-pressing, were also at the feast; and from these the young Will-o’-the-Wisps learned the art of slipping through every key-hole, as if the door stood open before them. These Alpas offered to carry the youngsters to the town, with which they were well acquainted. They usually rode through the atmosphere on their own back hair, which is fastened into a knot, for they love a hard seat; but now they sat sideways on the wild hunting dogs, took the young Will-o’-the-Wisps in their laps, who wanted to go into the town to mislead and entice mortals, and, whisk! away they were. Now, this is what happened last night. To-day the Will-o’-the-Wisps are in the town, and have taken the matter in hand—but where and how? Ah, can you tell me that? Still, I’ve a lightning conductor in my great toe, and that will always tell me something.”

“Why, this is a complete story,” exclaimed the man.

“Yes, but it is only the beginning,” replied the woman. “Can you tell me how the Will-o’-the-Wisps deport themselves, and how they behave? and in what shapes they have aforetime appeared and led people into crooked paths?”

“I believe,” replied the man, “that one could tell quite a romance about the Will-o’-the-Wisps, in twelve parts; or, better still, one might make quite a popular play of them.”

“You might write that,” said the woman, “but it’s best let alone.”

“Yes, that’s better and more agreeable,” the man replied, “for then we shall escape from the newspapers, and not be tied up by them, which is just as uncomfortable as for a Will-o’-the-Wisp to lie in decaying wood, to have to gleam, and not to be able to stir.”

“I don’t care about it either way,” cried the woman. “Let the rest write, those who can, and those who cannot likewise. I’ll grant you an old bung from my cask that will open the cupboard where poetry’s kept in bottles, and you may take from that whatever may be wanting. But you, my good man, seem to have blotted your hands sufficiently with ink, and to have come to that age of satiety that you need not be running about every year for stories, especially as there are much more important things to be done. You must have understood what is going on?”

“The Will-o’-the-Wisp is in town,” said the man. “I’ve heard it, and I have understood it. But what do you think I ought to do? I should be thrashed if I were to go to the people and say, ‘Look, yonder goes a Will-o’-the-Wisp in his best clothes!’”

“They also go in undress,” replied the woman. “The Will-o’-the-Wisp can assume all kinds of forms, and appear in every place. He goes into the church, but not for the sake of the service; and perhaps he may enter into one or other of the priests. He speaks in the Parliament, not for the benefit of the country, but only for himself. He’s an artist with the color-pot as well as in the theatre; but when he gets all the power into his own hands, then the pot’s empty! I chatter and chatter, but it must come out, what’s sticking in my throat, to the disadvantage of my own family. But I must now be the woman that will save a good many people. It is not done with my good will, or for the sake of a medal. I do the most insane things I possibly can, and then I tell a poet about it, and thus the whole town gets to know of it directly.”

“The town will not take that to heart,” observed the man; “that will not disturb a single person; for they will all think I’m only telling them a story if I say, ‘The Will-o’-the-Wisp is in the town, says the Moor-woman. Take care of yourselves!’”

文章来源:安徒生童话

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