单身汉的睡帽

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所属分类:民间故事

那时卜列门和留贝克的有钱商人经常跟哥本哈根做生意。他们不亲自到这儿来,只是派他们的伙计来。这些人就住在这条“小房子街”上的木棚子里,出卖啤酒和香料。

德国的啤酒是非常可口的,而且种类繁多,包括卜列门、普利生、爱姆塞等啤酒,甚至还有布龙斯威克白啤酒③。香料出售的种数也不少——番红花、大茴香、生姜,特别是胡椒。的确,胡椒是这儿一种最重要的商品;因此在丹麦的那些德国的伙计就获得了一个称号:“胡椒朋友”。‘他们在出国以前必须答应老板一个条件,那就是:他们不能在丹麦讨太太。他们有许多人就这样老了。他们得自己照料自己,安排自己的生活,压制自己的感情——如果他们真有感情冲动起来的话。他们有些人变成了非常孤独的单身汉,思想很古怪,生活习惯也很古怪。从他们开始,凡是达到了某种年龄而还没有结婚的人,现在人们统统把他们叫做“胡椒朋友”。人们要懂得这个故事,必须要了解这一点。

“胡椒朋友”成了人们开玩笑的一个对象。据说他们总是要戴上睡帽,并且把帽子拉到眼睛上,然后才去睡觉。孩子们都这么唱:

砍柴,砍柴!

唉,唉!这些单身汉真孤独。

他们戴着一顶睡帽去睡觉,

他只好自己生起炉火。

是的,这就是人们所唱的关于他们的歌!人们这样开一个单身汉和他的睡帽的玩笑,完全是因为他们既不理解单身汉,也不了解他的睡帽的缘故。唉!这种睡帽谁也不愿意戴上!为什么不呢?我们且听吧:

在很古的时候,这条小房子街上没有铺上石块;人们把脚从这个坑里拖出来,又踏进另一个坑里去,好像是在一条人迹罕至的偏僻小路上走一样;而且它还是狭窄得很。那些小房子紧挨在一起,和对面的距离很短,所以在夏天就常常有人把布篷从这个屋子扯到对面的屋子上去。在这种情况下,胡椒、番红花和生姜的气味就比平时要特别厉害了。

柜台后面站着的没有很多年轻人;不,他们大多数都是老头儿。但是他们并不是像我们所想象的那些人物:他们并没有戴着假发和睡帽,穿着紧腿裤,把背心和上衣的扣子全都扣上。不是的,祖父的曾祖父可能是那个样儿——肖像上是这样绘着的;但是“胡椒朋友”却没有钱来画他们的肖像。这也实在可惜:如果曾经有人把他们某一位站在柜台后或在礼拜天到教堂去做礼拜的那副样儿画出一张来,现在一定是很有价值的。他们的帽子总是有很高的顶和很宽的边。最年轻的伙计有时还喜欢在帽子上插一根羽毛。羊毛衬衫被烫得很平整的布领子掩着;窄上衣紧紧地扣着,大键松松地披在身上,裤脚一直扎进竞口鞋里——因为这些伙计们都不穿袜子;他们的腰带上挂着一把吃饭用的刀子和汤匙;同时为了自卫起见,还插着一把较大的刀子——这个武器在那个时候常常是不可缺少的。

安东——小房子街上一位年纪最大的店员——他节日的装束就是这样。他只是没有戴高顶帽子,而戴了一种无边帽。在这帽子底下还有一顶手织的便帽——一顶不折不扣的睡帽。他戴惯了它,所以它就老是在他的头上。他有两顶这样的帽子。他真是一个值得画一下的人物,他瘦得像一根棍子,他的眼睛和嘴巴的四周全是皱纹;他的手指很长,全是骨头;他的眉毛是灰色的,密得像灌木丛。他的左眼上悬得有一撮头发——这并不使他显得漂亮,但却引起人对他的注意。人们都知道,他是来自卜列门;可是这并不是他的故乡,只是他的老板住在那儿。他的老家是在杜林吉亚——在瓦尔特堡附近的爱塞纳哈城④。老安东不大谈到它,但这更使他想念它。

这条街上的老伙计们不常碰到一起。每人呆在自己的店里。晚间很早店就关上门了,因此街上也显得相当黑暗。只有一丝微光从屋顶上镶着角的窗子透露进来。在这里面,老单身汉一般地是坐在床上,手里拿着一本德文《圣诗集》,口中吟着晚祷诗;要不然他就在屋子里东摸西摸,忙这忙那,一直忙到深夜,这种生活当然不是很有趣的。在他乡作为一个异国人是一种悲惨的境遇:谁也不管你,除非你妨害到别人。

当外面是黑夜,下着雪或雨的时候,这地方就常常显得极端阴暗和寂寞。这儿看不见什么灯,只有挂在墙上的那个圣母像面前有一个孤独的小亮。在街的另一头,在附近一个渡口的木栏栅那儿,水声这时也可以清楚地听得见。这样的晚上是既漫长而又孤寂,除非人们能找些事情来做。打包裹和拆包裹并非是天天有的事情;而人们也不能老是擦着秤或者做着纸袋。所以人们还得找点别的事情来做。老安东正是这样打发他的时间。他缝他的衣服,补他的皮鞋。当他最后上床睡觉的时候,他就根据他的习惯在头上保留着他的睡帽。他把它拉得很低,但是不一会儿他又把它推上去,看看灯是不是完全吹熄了,他把灯摸一下,把灯芯捻一下,然后翻个身躺下去,又把睡帽拉下一点。这时他心里又疑虑起来:是不是下面那个小火钵里的每一颗炭都熄了和压灭了——可能还有一颗小小的火星没有灭,它可以使整体的火又燃起来,造成灾害。于是他就下床来,爬下梯子——因为我们很难把它叫做“楼”梯。当他来到那个火钵旁边的时候,一颗火星也看不见;他很可以转身就回去的。但是当他走了一半的时候,他又想起门闩可能没有插好,窗扉可能没有关牢。是的,他的那双瘦腿又只好把他送到楼下来。当他又爬到床上去的时候,他全身已经冻冰了,他的牙齿在嘴里发抖,因为当寒冷知道自己呆不了多久的时候,它也就放肆起来。他把被子往上拉得更紧一点,把睡帽拉得更低一点,直盖到眉毛上,然后他的思想便从生意和这天的烦恼转到别的问题上去。但是这也不是愉快的事情,因为这时许多回忆就来了,在他周围放下一层帘子,而这些帘子上常常是有尖针的,人们常常用这些针来刺自己,叫出一声“哦!”这些刺就刺进肉里去,使人发烧,还使人流出眼泪。老安东就常常是这个样子——流出热泪来。大颗的泪珠一直滚到被子上或地板上。它们滴得很响,好像他痛苦的心弦已经断了似的。有时它们像火焰似地燎起来,在他面前照出一幅生命的图画——一幅在他心里永远也消逝不了的图画。如果他用睡帽把他的眼睛揩一下的话,这眼泪和图画的确就会破灭,但是眼泪的源泉却是一点也没有动摇,它仍然藏在他心的深处。这些图画并不根据它们实际发生的情况,一幕一幕地按照次序显现出来;最痛苦的情景常常是一齐到来;最快乐的情景也是一齐到来,但是它们总是撒下最深的阴影。

“丹麦的山毛榉林子是美丽的!”人们说,但是杜林吉亚的山毛榉林子,在安东的眼中,显得更美丽得多。那个巍峨的骑士式的宫殿旁长着许多老栎树。它们在他的眼中也要比丹麦的树威严和庄重得多。石崖上长满了长春藤;苹果树上开满了花:它们要比丹麦的香得多。他生动地记起了这些情景。于是一颗亮晶晶的眼泪滚到他脸上来了;在这颗眼泪里面,他可以清楚地看到两个孩子在玩耍——一个男孩和一个女孩。男孩有一副鲜红的脸,金黄的卷发和诚实的蓝眼睛。他是一个富有商人的儿子小安东——就是他自己。女孩有棕色的眼珠、黑发和聪明伶俐的外表。她是市长的女儿茉莉。这两个孩子在玩着一个苹果。他们摇着这苹果,倾听里面的苹果子发出什么响声。他们把它切成两半;每个人分一半。他们把苹果子也平均地分了,而且都吃掉了,只剩下一颗。小女孩提议把这颗子埋在土里。

“那么你就可以看到会有什么东西长出来。那将是你料想不到的一件东西。一棵完整的苹果树将会长出来,但是它不会马上就长的。”

于是他们就把这苹果子埋在一个花钵里。两个人为它热心地忙了一阵。男孩用手指在土里挖了一个洞,小女孩把籽放进去;然后他们两人就一起用土把它盖好。

“不准明天把它挖出来,看它有没有长根,”茉莉说。“这样可就不行!我以前对我的花儿也这样做过,不过只做过两次。我想看看它们是不是在生长;那时我也不太懂,结果花儿全都死了。”

安东把这花钵搬到自己家里去。有一整个冬天,他每天早晨去看它。可是除了黑土以外,他什么也看不见。接着春天到来了;太阳照得很温暖。最后有两片绿叶子从钵子里冒出来。

“它们就是我和茉莉!”安东说。“这真是美!这真是妙极了!”

不久第三片叶子又冒出来了。这一片代。表谁呢?是的,另外一片叶儿也长出来了,接着又是另外一片!一天一天地,一星期一星期地,它们长宽了。这植物开始长成一棵树。这一切现在映在一颗泪珠里——于是被揩掉了,不见了;但是它可以从源泉里再涌出来——从老安东的心里再涌出来。

在爱塞纳哈的附近有一排石山。它们中间有一座是分外地圆,连一棵树,一座灌木林,一根草也没有。它叫做维纳斯山,因为在它里面住着维纳斯夫人——异教徒时代的神抵之一。她又叫做荷莱夫人。住在爱塞纳哈的孩子们,过去和现在都知道关于她的故事。把那个高贵的骑士和吟游诗人但霍依塞尔⑤从瓦尔特堡宫的歌手群中引诱到这山里去的人就正是她。

小茉莉和安东常常站在这山旁边。有一次茉莉说:

“你敢敲敲这山,说:‘荷莱夫人!荷莱夫人!请把门打开,但霍依塞尔来了’吗?”但是安东不敢。茉莉可是敢了,虽然她只是高声地、清楚地说了这几个字:“荷莱夫人!荷莱夫人!”其余的几个字她对着风说得那么含糊,连安东都不相信她真的说过什么话。可是她做出一副大胆和淘气的神气——淘气得像她平时带些小女孩子到花园里来逗他的那个样儿:那时因为他不愿意被人吻,同时想逃避她们,她们就更想要吻他;只有她是唯一敢吻他的人。

“我可以吻他!”她骄傲地说。于是她便搂着他的脖子。这是她的虚荣的表现。安东只有屈服了,对于这事也不深究。

茉莉是多么可爱,多么大胆啊!住在山里的荷莱夫人据说也是很美丽的,不过那是一种诱惑人的恶魔的美。最美丽、最优雅的要算是圣·伊丽莎白的那种美。她是这地方的守护神,杜林吉亚的虔诚的公主;她的善行被编成了传说和故事,在许多地方被人歌颂。她的画像挂在教堂里,四周悬着许多银灯。但是她一点也不像茉莉。

这两个孩子所种的苹果树一年一年地在长大。它长得那么高,他们不得不把它移植到花园里去,让它能有新鲜空气、露水和温暖的太阳。这树长得很结实,能够抵御冬天的寒冷。它似乎在等待严寒过去,以便它能开出春天的花朵而表示它的欢乐。它在秋天结了两个苹果——一个给茉莉,一个给安东。它不会结得少于这个数目。

这株树在欣欣向荣地生长。茉莉也像这样在生长。她是像一朵苹果花那样新鲜。可是安东欣赏这朵花的时间不长久。一切都起了变化!茉莉的父亲离开了老家,到很远的地方去了;茉莉也跟他一起去了。是的,在我们的这个时代里,火车把他们的旅行缩短成为几个钟头。但是在那个时候,从爱塞纳哈向东走,到杜林吉亚最远边境上的一个叫做魏玛的城市,却需要一天一夜以上的时间。

茉莉哭起来;安东也哭起来。他们的眼泪融成一颗泪珠,而这颗泪珠有一种快乐可爱的粉红颜色,因为茉莉告诉他,说她爱他——爱他胜过爱华丽的魏玛城。

一年、两年、三年过去了。在这期间他收到了两封信。一封是由一个信差带来的;另一封是由一个旅人带来的。路途是那么遥远而又艰难,同时还要曲曲折折地经过许多城市和村庄。

莱莉和安东常常听人谈起特里斯丹和依苏尔特⑥的故事,而且他常常把这故事来比自己和茉莉。但是特里斯丹这个名字的意义是在“苦难中生长的”;这与安东的情况不相合,同时他也不能像特里斯丹那样。想象“她已经忘掉了我”。但是依苏尔特的确也没有忘掉他的意中人:当他们两人死后各躺在教堂一边的时候,他们坟上的菩提树就伸到教堂顶上去,把它们盛开的花朵交织在一起。安东觉得这故事很美丽,但是悲惨。不过他和茉莉之间的关系不可能是这样悲惨的吧。于是他就唱出一个吟游诗人维特·冯·德尔·佛格尔外得⑦所写的一支歌:

在荒地上的菩提树下——!

他特别觉得这一段很美丽:

从那沉静的山谷里,从那树林,

哎哎哟!

飘来夜莺甜美的歌声。

他常常唱着这支歌。当他骑着马走过深谷到魏玛去看茉莉的时候,他就在月明之夜唱着并且用口哨吹着这支歌。他要在她意料不到的时候来,而他也就在她意料不到的时候到来了。茉莉用满杯的酒,愉快的陪客,高雅的朋友来欢迎他;还为他准备好了一个漂亮的房间和一张舒服的床。然而这种招待跟他梦想的情形却有些不同。他不理解自己,也不能理解别人;但是我们可以理解!一个人可能被请到一家去,跟这家的人生活在一起,而不成为他们中的一员。一个人可以一起跟人谈话,像坐在马车里跟人谈话一样,可能彼此都认识,像在旅途上同行的人一样——彼此都感到不方便,彼此都希望自己或者这位好同伴赶快走开。是的,安东现在的感觉就是这样。

“我是一个诚实的女子,”茉莉对他说,“我想亲自把这一点告诉你!自从我们小的时候起,我们彼此有了许多变化——内在的和外在的变化。习惯和意志控制不了我们的感情。安东!我不希望叫你恨我,因为不久我就要离开此地。请相信我,我衷心希望你一切都好。不过叫我爱你——现在我所理解的对于男子的那种爱——那是不可能的了。你必须接受这事实。再会吧,安东!”

安东也就对她说了“再会”。他的眼里流不出什么眼泪,不过他感到他不再是茉莉的朋友了,白热的铁和冰冷的铁,只要我们吻它一下,在我们的嘴唇上所产生的感觉都是一样的。他的心里充满了恨,也充满了爱。

他这次没有花一天一夜的工夫,就回到爱塞纳哈来了,但是这种飞快的速度已经把他骑着的那匹马累坏了。

“有什么关系!”他说,“我也毁掉了。我要毁掉一切能使我记起她、荷莱姑娘或者那个女异教徒维纳斯的东西,我要把那棵苹果树砍断,把它连根挖起来,使它再也开不了花,结不了果!”

可是苹果树倒没有倒下来,而他自己却倒下来了:他躺在床上发烧,起不来了,什么东西可以使他再起床呢?这时他得到一剂药,可以产生这样的效果——一剂最苦的、会刺激他生病的身体和萎缩的灵魂的药;安东的父亲不再是富有的商人了。艰难的日子——考验的日子——现在来到门前了。倒楣的事情像汹涌的海浪一样,打进这曾经一度是豪富的屋子里来。他的父亲成了一个穷人。悲愁和苦难把他的精力折磨尽了。安东不能再老是想着他爱情的创伤和对茉莉的愤怒,他还要想点别的东西。他得成为这一家的主人——布置善后,维持家庭,亲自动手工作。他甚至还得自己投进这个茫茫的世界,去挣自己的面包。

安东到卜列门去。他在那里尝到了贫穷和艰难日子的滋味。这有时使得他的心硬,有时使得他的心软——常常是过于心软。

这世界是多么不同啊!实际的人生跟他在儿时所想象的是多么不同啊!吟游诗人的歌声现在对他有什么意义呢?那只不过是一种声音,一种废话罢了!是的,这正是他不时所起的感想;不过这歌声有时在他的灵魂里又唱起来,于是他的心就又变得温柔了。

“上帝的意志总是最好的!”他不免要这样说。“这倒也是对的:上帝不让我保留住茉莉的心,她不再真心爱我。好运既然离开了我,我们的关系发展下去又会有什么结果呢?在她还没有知道我破产以前,在她还想不到我的遭遇以前,她就放弃了我——这是上天给我的一种恩惠。一切都是为了一个最好的目的而安排的。这不能怪她——而我却一直在恨她,对她起了那么大的恶感!”

许多年过去了。安东的父亲死了;他的老屋已经有陌生人进去了。不过安东却要再看到它一次。他富有的主人因了某些生意要派他出去;他的职务又使他回到他的故乡爱塞纳哈城来。那座古老的瓦尔特堡宫和它的一些石刻的“修士和修女”,仍然立在山上,一点也没有改变。巨大的栎树把那些轮廓衬托得更鲜明,像在他儿时一样。那座维纳斯山赤裸裸地立在峡谷上,发着灰色的闪光。他倒很想喊一声:“荷莱夫人哟,荷莱夫人哟,请把山门打开吧,让我躺在我故乡的土里吧!”

这是一种罪恶的思想;他划了一个十字。这时有一只小鸟在一个丛林里唱起来;于是那支吟游诗人的歌又回到他心里来了:

在那沉静的山谷里,从那树林,

哎哎哟!

飘来夜莺甜美的歌声。

他现在含着眼泪来重看这座儿时的城市,他不禁记起了许多事情。他父亲的房子仍然跟以前一样,没有改变;但是那个花园却改观了:现在在它的一边开辟了一条小径;他没有毁掉的那棵苹果树仍然立在那儿,不过它的位置已经是在花园的外面,在小径的另一边。像往昔一样,太阳照在这苹果树上,露珠落到它身上;它结了那么多的果子,连枝丫都弯到地上来了。

“它长得真茂盛!”他说。“它可会长!”

虽然如此,它还是有一根枝子被折断了。这是一只残忍的手做的事情,因为它离开路旁那么近。

“人们把它的花朵拆下来,连感谢都不说一声。——他们偷它的果子,折断它的枝条。我们谈到这棵树的时候,也可以像谈到某些人一样——当它在摇篮里的时候,谁也没有想到它会到这步田地!它的生活在开始的时候是多么光明啊!结果是怎样呢?它被人遗弃了,忘掉了——一棵花园的树,现在居然流落到荒郊,站在大路边!它立在那儿没有什么东西保护它;它任人劫掠和折断!它固然不会因此而死掉,但是它的花将会一年一年地变得稀少,它很快就会停止结果,最后——最后一切就都完了!”

这是安东在这树下所起的感想。这也是他在一个遥远的国度里,在哥本哈根的那个“小房子街”上的一座孤寂的木屋子里,在许多夜里,所起的感想。他被他富有的老板——一个卜列门的商人——送到这儿来,第一个条件是不准他结婚。

“结婚!哈!哈!”他对自己苦笑起来。

冬天来得很早;外面冻得厉害。一阵暴风雪在外面呼啸。凡是能呆在家里的人都呆在家里不出来。因此,住在对面的邻居也没有注意到安东有两天没有开过店门,他本人也没有出现,因为在这样的天气里,如果没有必要的事情,谁会走出来呢?

那是灰色的、阴沉的日子。在这些窗子的不是玻璃的房子里,平时只有黎明和黑夜这两种气氛。老安东有整整两天没有离开过他的床,因为他没有气力起来。天气的寒冷已经把他冻僵了。这个被世人遗忘了的单身汉在那儿,简直没有办法照料自己了。他亲自放在床边的一个水壶,他现在连拿它的气力都没有。现在它里面最后的一滴水已经喝光了。压倒他的东西倒不是发烧,也不是疾病,而是衰老。在他睡着的那块地方,他简直被漫长的黑夜吞没了。一只小小的蜘蛛——可是他看不见它——在兴高采烈地、忙忙碌碌地围着他的身体织了一层蛛网。它好像是在织一面丧旗,以便在这老单身汉闭上眼睛的那天可以挂起来。

时间过得非常慢、非常长,非常沉闷。他再没有眼泪可流,他也不感到痛楚。他心里也不再想起茉莉。他有一种感觉:这世界与它熙熙攘攘的声音和他再没有什么关系——他仿佛是躺在世界的外面。谁也没有想到他。他偶尔也感觉到有点饥渴。是的,他有这种感觉!但是没有谁来送给他茶水——没有谁。于是他想起那些饥饿的人;他想起圣伊丽莎白生前的事迹。她是他故乡和他儿童时代的守护神,杜林吉亚的公爵夫人,一个仁慈的少妇。她常常去拜访最贫寒的小屋、带食物和安慰给生病的人。她的一切虔诚的善行射进他的灵魂。他想起她带给苦痛的人们安慰的话语,她替受难的人们裹伤,带肉给饥饿的人吃,虽然她的严厉的丈夫常为这类的事情骂她。他记起那个关于她的传说:她有一次提着满满一篮的食物和酒;这时监视着她的脚步的丈夫就走过来,生气地问她提着的是什么东西;她害怕得抖起来,她回答说她篮子里盛的是她在花园里摘下的玫瑰花朵;他把那块白布从篮子上拉开,于是一件奇迹为这虔诚的妇人发生了:面包、酒和这篮子里的每件东西全都变成了玫瑰花!

老安东平静的心里现在充满了对于这位圣者的记忆。她现在就亲身在他沮丧的面孔前面立着,在丹麦国土上这个简陋木屋里的、他的床边立着。他把头伸出来,凝望着她那对温柔的眼睛,于是他周围的一切就变成了玫瑰和阳光。是的,好像是玫瑰在展开花瓣,喷出香气。这时他闻到一种甜蜜的、独特的苹果花的香味。于是他就看到一株开满了花朵的苹果树;它在他头上展开了一片青枝绿叶——这就是他和茉莉用苹果子共同种的那株树。

这树在他身上撒下它芬芳的花瓣,使他发热的前额感到清凉,这些花瓣落到他干渴的嘴唇上,像面包和酒似地提起他的精神。这些花瓣落到他的胸膛上,他于是感到轻松,想安静地睡过去。

“现在我要睡了!”他对自己低声说。“睡眠可以恢复精神。明天我将又可以起床了,又变得健康和强壮了。那才美呢,那才好呢!这株用真正的爱情所培养出来的苹果树,现在站在我面前,放射出天国的光辉!”

于是他就睡去了。

过了一天以后——这是他的店子关门的第三天——暴风雪停止了。对面的一个邻居到他的木屋子里来看这位一直还没有露面的老安东。安东直直地躺在床上——死了——他的双手紧紧地抓着他的那顶老睡帽!在他入殓的时候,人们没有把这顶睡帽戴在他的头上,因为他还有一顶崭新的白帽子。

他曾经流过的那些眼泪现在到什么地方去了呢?这些泪珠变成了什么呢?它们都装在他的睡帽里——真正的泪珠是没有办法洗掉的。它们留在那顶睡帽里被人忘记了。不过那些旧时的回忆和旧时的梦现在保存在这顶“单身汉的睡帽”里,请你不要希望得到这顶帽子吧。它会使你的前额烧起来,使你的脉搏狂跳,使你做起像真事一样的梦来。安东死后戴过这帽子的第一个人就有这样亲身的体会,虽然已经时隔半个世纪。这个人就是市长本人。他有一个太太和11个孩子,而且生活得很好。他马上就做了许多梦,梦到失恋、破产和艰难的日子。

“乖乖!这帽子真是热得烫人!”他说,赶快把它从脑袋上拉掉。

一颗珠子滚出来,接着滚出第二颗,第三颗;它们滴出响声,发出闪光。

“一定是关节炎发作了!”市长说。“我的眼睛有些发花!”

这是半个世纪以前爱塞纳哈的老安东所撒下的泪珠。

从来无论什么人,只要戴上这顶睡帽,便会做出许多梦和看到许多幻影。他自己的生活便变成了安东的生活,而且成为一个故事;事实上,成为许多的故事。不过我们可以让别人来讲它们。我们现在已经讲了头一个。我们最后的一句话是。请不要希望得到那顶“老单身汉的睡帽”。

①单身汉(Pebersvend)这个字在丹麦文里是由Peber(胡椒)和Svend(店伙)两个字合成的。可见丹麦文中“单身汉”这个字的起源是跟这个故事有关的,即“胡椒朋友”。

②原文“Hysken Straede”即“小房子街”的意思。这既不像丹麦文,也不像德文,而是“洋泾浜”的德文和丹麦文的混合物。Hysken是丹麦人把德文kauschen(小房子)改成丹麦文的结果。“Straede”(街)是地道的丹麦文。

③布龙斯威大(Brunswick)是德国中间的一个城市。这儿的啤酒以强烈著名。

④杜林吉亚(Tburingia)是德国一个省,以多森林和美丽的城市如魏玛(Weimar)和爱塞纳哈(Eisenach)著名。瓦尔特堡垒(Wartburg)是一个古老的宫殿;在中世纪许多吟游诗人经常到这儿来举行诗歌比赛。

⑤但霍依塞尔(Tannhauser)是德国13世纪的一个抒情诗人。德国的名作曲家瓦格纳(Richard Wagner,1813~1883)曾根据他的传说写出一个有名的歌剧,叫做《但霍依塞尔》。

⑥这是中世纪一个传奇故事中的两个主角。特里斯丹(Tristan)爱上了国王马尔克的女儿依苏尔特(Isolde)。因为皇后的嫉妒,他们不得结婚。

⑦维特·冯·德尔·佛格尔外得(Walther von der Vogelweide,1170~1230?)是德国一个著名的抒情诗人和吟游诗人。他最著名的情诗是《在菩提树下》(Unter der Linden)。

英文版:The Old Bachelor’s Nightcap

THERE is a street in Copenhagen with a very strange name. It is called “Hysken” street. Where the name came from, and what it means is very uncertain. It is said to be German, but that is unjust to the Germans, for it would then be called “Hauschen,” not “Hysken.” “Hauschen,” means a little house; and for many years it consisted only of a few small houses, which were scarcely larger than the wooden booths we see in the market-places at fair time. They were perhaps a little higher, and had windows; but the panes consisted of horn or bladder-skins, for glass was then too dear to have glazed windows in every house. This was a long time ago, so long indeed that our grandfathers, and even great-grandfathers, would speak of those days as “olden times;” indeed, many centuries have passed since then.

The rich merchants in Bremen and Lubeck, who carried on trade in Copenhagen, did not reside in the town themselves, but sent their clerks, who dwelt in the wooden booths in the Hauschen street, and sold beer and spices. The German beer was very good, and there were many sorts—from Bremen, Prussia, and Brunswick—and quantities of all sorts of spices, saffron, aniseed, ginger, and especially pepper; indeed, pepper was almost the chief article sold here; so it happened at last that the German clerks in Denmark got their nickname of “pepper gentry.” It had been made a condition with these clerks that they should not marry; so that those who lived to be old had to take care of themselves, to attend to their own comforts, and even to light their own fires, when they had any to light. Many of them were very aged; lonely old boys, with strange thoughts and eccentric habits. From this, all unmarried men, who have attained a certain age, are called, in Denmark, “pepper gentry;” and this must be remembered by all those who wish to understand the story. These “pepper gentlemen,” or, as they are called in England, “old bachelors,” are often made a butt of ridicule; they are told to put on their nightcaps, draw them over their eyes, and go to sleep. The boys in Denmark make a song of it, thus:—

“Poor old bachelor, cut your wood,

Such a nightcap was never seen;

Who would think it was ever clean?

Go to sleep, it will do you good.”

So they sing about the “pepper gentleman;” so do they make sport of the poor old bachelor and his nightcap, and all because they really know nothing of either. It is a cap that no one need wish for, or laugh at. And why not? Well, we shall hear in the story.

In olden times, Hauschen Street was not paved, and passengers would stumble out of one hole into another, as they generally do in unfrequented highways; and the street was so narrow, and the booths leaning against each other were so close together, that in the summer time a sail would be stretched across the street from one booth to another opposite. At these times the odor of the pepper, saffron, and ginger became more powerful than ever. Behind the counter, as a rule, there were no young men. The clerks were almost all old boys; but they did not dress as we are accustomed to see old men represented, wearing wigs, nightcaps, and knee-breeches, and with coat and waistcoat buttoned up to the chin. We have seen the portraits of our great-grandfathers dressed in this way; but the “pepper gentlemen” had no money to spare to have their portraits taken, though one of them would have made a very interesting picture for us now, if taken as he appeared standing behind his counter, or going to church, or on holidays. On these occasions, they wore high-crowned, broad-brimmed hats, and sometimes a younger clerk would stick a feather in his. The woollen shirt was concealed by a broad, linen collar; the close jacket was buttoned up to the chin, and the cloak hung loosely over it; the trousers were tucked into the broad, tipped shoes, for the clerks wore no stockings. They generally stuck a table-knife and spoon in their girdles, as well as a larger knife, as a protection to themselves; and such a weapon was often very necessary.

After this fashion was Anthony dressed on holidays and festivals, excepting that, instead of a high-crowned hat, he wore a kind of bonnet, and under it a knitted cap, a regular nightcap, to which he was so accustomed that it was always on his head; he had two, nightcaps I mean, not heads. Anthony was one of the oldest of the clerks, and just the subject for a painter. He was as thin as a lath, wrinkled round the mouth and eyes, had long, bony fingers, bushy, gray eyebrows, and over his left eye hung a thick tuft of hair, which did not look handsome, but made his appearance very remarkable. People knew that he came from Bremen; it was not exactly his home, although his master resided there. His ancestors were from Thuringia, and had lived in the town of Eisenach, close by Wartburg. Old Anthony seldom spoke of this place, but he thought of it all the more.

The old clerks of Hauschen Street very seldom met together; each one remained in his own booth, which was closed early enough in the evening, and then it looked dark and dismal out in the street. Only a faint glimmer of light struggled through the horn panes in the little window on the roof, while within sat the old clerk, generally on his bed, singing his evening hymn in a low voice; or he would be moving about in his booth till late in the night, busily employed in many things. It certainly was not a very lively existence. To be a stranger in a strange land is a bitter lot; no one notices you unless you happen to stand in their way. Often, when it was dark night outside, with rain or snow falling, the place looked quite deserted and gloomy. There were no lamps in the street, excepting a very small one, which hung at one end of the street, before a picture of the Virgin, which had been painted on the wall. The dashing of the water against the bulwarks of a neighboring castle could plainly be heard. Such evenings are long and dreary, unless people can find something to do; and so Anthony found it. There were not always things to be packed or unpacked, nor paper bags to be made, nor the scales to be polished. So Anthony invented employment; he mended his clothes and patched his boots, and when he at last went to bed,—his nightcap, which he had worn from habit, still remained on his head; he had only to pull it down a little farther over his forehead.

Very soon, however, it would be pushed up again to see if the light was properly put out; he would touch it, press the wick together, and at last pull his nightcap over his eyes and lie down again on the other side. But often there would arise in his mind a doubt as to whether every coal had been quite put out in the little fire-pan in the shop below. If even a tiny spark had remained it might set fire to something, and cause great damage. Then he would rise from his bed, creep down the ladder—for it could scarcely be called a flight of stairs—and when he reached the fire-pan not a spark could be seen; so he had just to go back again to bed. But often, when he had got half way back, he would fancy the iron shutters of the door were not properly fastened, and his thin legs would carry him down again. And when at last he crept into bed, he would be so cold that his teeth chattered in his head. He would draw the coverlet closer round him, pull his nightcap over his eyes, and try to turn his thoughts from trade, and from the labors of the day, to olden times. But this was scarcely an agreeable entertainment; for thoughts of olden memories raise the curtains from the past, and sometimes pierce the heart with painful recollections till the agony brings tears to the waking eyes. And so it was with Anthony; often the scalding tears, like pearly drops, would fall from his eyes to the coverlet and roll on the floor with a sound as if one of his heartstrings had broken. Sometimes, with a lurid flame, memory would light up a picture of life which had never faded from his heart. If he dried his eyes with his nightcap, then the tear and the picture would be crushed; but the source of the tears remained and welled up again in his heart. The pictures did not follow one another in order, as the circumstances they represented had occurred; very often the most painful would come together, and when those came which were most full of joy, they had always the deepest shadow thrown upon them.

The beech woods of Denmark are acknowledged by every one to be very beautiful, but more beautiful still in the eyes of old Anthony were the beech woods in the neighborhood of Wartburg. More grand and venerable to him seemed the old oaks around the proud baronial castle, where the creeping plants hung over the stony summits of the rocks; sweeter was the perfume there of the apple-blossom than in all the land of Denmark. How vividly were represented to him, in a glittering tear that rolled down his cheek, two children at play—a boy and a girl. The boy had rosy cheeks, golden ringlets, and clear, blue eyes; he was the son of Anthony, a rich merchant; it was himself. The little girl had brown eyes and black hair, and was clever and courageous; she was the mayor’s daughter, Molly. The children were playing with an apple; they shook the apple, and heard the pips rattling in it. Then they cut it in two, and each of them took half. They also divided the pips and ate all but one, which the little girl proposed should be placed in the ground.

“You will see what will come out,” she said; “something you don’t expect. A whole apple-tree will come out, but not directly.” Then they got a flower-pot, filled it with earth, and were soon both very busy and eager about it. The boy made a hole in the earth with his finger, and the little girl placed the pip in the hole, and then they both covered it over with earth.

“Now you must not take it out to-morrow to see if it has taken root,” said Molly; “no one ever should do that. I did so with my flowers, but only twice; I wanted to see if they were growing. I didn’t know any better then, and the flowers all died.”

Little Anthony kept the flower-pot, and every morning during the whole winter he looked at it, but there was nothing to be seen but black earth. At last, however, the spring came, and the sun shone warm again, and then two little green leaves sprouted forth in the pot.

“They are Molly and me,” said the boy. “How wonderful they are, and so beautiful!”

Very soon a third leaf made its appearance.

“Who does that stand for?” thought he, and then came another and another. Day after day, and week after week, till the plant became quite a tree. And all this about the two children was mirrored to old Anthony in a single tear, which could soon be wiped away and disappear, but might come again from its source in the heart of the old man.

In the neighborhood of Eisenach stretches a ridge of stony mountains, one of which has a rounded outline, and shows itself above the rest without tree, bush, or grass on its barren summits. It is called the “Venus Mountain,” and the story goes that the “Lady Venus,” one of the heathen goddesses, keeps house there. She is also called “Lady Halle,” as every child round Eisenach well knows. She it was who enticed the noble knight, Tannhauser, the minstrel, from the circle of singers at Wartburg into her mountain.

Little Molly and Anthony often stood by this mountain, and one day Molly said, “Do you dare to knock and say, ‘Lady Halle, Lady Halle, open the door: Tannhauser is here!’” But Anthony did not dare. Molly, however, did, though she only said the words, “Lady Halle, Lady Halle,” loudly and distinctly; the rest she muttered so much under her breath that Anthony felt certain she had really said nothing; and yet she looked quite bold and saucy, just as she did sometimes when she was in the garden with a number of other little girls; they would all stand round him together, and want to kiss him, because he did not like to be kissed, and pushed them away. Then Molly was the only one who dared to resist him. “I may kiss him,” she would say proudly, as she threw her arms round his neck; she was vain of her power over Anthony, for he would submit quietly and think nothing of it. Molly was very charming, but rather bold; and how she did tease!

They said Lady Halle was beautiful, but her beauty was that of a tempting fiend. Saint Elizabeth, the tutelar saint of the land, the pious princess of Thuringia, whose good deeds have been immortalized in so many places through stories and legends, had greater beauty and more real grace. Her picture hung in the chapel, surrounded by silver lamps; but it did not in the least resemble Molly.

The apple-tree, which the two children had planted, grew year after year, till it became so large that it had to be transplanted into the garden, where the dew fell and the sun shone warmly. And there it increased in strength so much as to be able to withstand the cold of winter; and after passing through the severe weather, it seemed to put forth its blossoms in spring for very joy that the cold season had gone. In autumn it produced two apples, one for Molly and one for Anthony; it could not well do less. The tree after this grew very rapidly, and Molly grew with the tree. She was as fresh as an apple-blossom, but Anthony was not to behold this flower for long. All things change; Molly’s father left his old home, and Molly went with him far away. In our time, it would be only a journey of a few hours, but then it took more than a day and a night to travel so far eastward from Eisenbach to a town still called Weimar, on the borders of Thuringia. And Molly and Anthony both wept, but these tears all flowed together into one tear which had the rosy shimmer of joy. Molly had told him that she loved him—loved him more than all the splendors of Weimar.

One, two, three years went by, and during the whole time he received only two letters. One came by the carrier, and the other a traveller brought. The way was very long and difficult, with many turnings and windings through towns and villages. How often had Anthony and Molly heard the story of Tristan and Isolda, and Anthony had thought the story applied to him, although Tristan means born in sorrow, which Anthony certainly was not; nor was it likely he would ever say of Molly as Tristan said of Isolda, “She has forgotten me.” But in truth, Isolda had not forgotten him, her faithful friend; and when both were laid in their graves, one, on each side of the church, the linden-trees that grew by each grave spread over the roof, and, bending towards each other, mingled their blossoms together. Anthony thought it a very beautiful but mournful story; yet he never feared anything so sad would happen to him and Molly, as he passed the spot, whistling the air of a song, composed by the minstrel Walter, called the “Willow bird,” beginning—

“Under the linden-trees,

Out on the heath.”

One stanza pleased him exceedingly—

“Through the forest, and in the vale,

Sweetly warbles the nightingale.

This song was often in his mouth, and he sung or whistled it on a moonlight night, when he rode on horseback along the deep, hollow way, on his road to Weimar, to visit Molly. He wished to arrive unexpectedly, and so indeed he did. He was received with a hearty welcome, and introduced to plenty of grand and pleasant company, where overflowing winecups were passed about. A pretty room and a good bed were provided for him, and yet his reception was not what he had expected and dreamed it would be. He could not comprehend his own feelings nor the feelings of others; but it is easily understood how a person can be admitted into a house or a family without becoming one of them. We converse in company with those we meet, as we converse with our fellow-travellers in a stage-coach, on a journey; we know nothing of them, and perhaps all the while we are incommoding one another, and each is wishing himself or his neighbor away. Something of this kind Anthony felt when Molly talked to him of old times.

“I am a straightforward girl,” she said, “and I will tell you myself how it is. There have been great changes since we were children together; everything is different, both inwardly and outwardly. We cannot control our wills, nor the feelings of our hearts, by the force of custom. Anthony, I would not, for the world, make an enemy of you when I am far away. Believe me, I entertain for you the kindest wishes in my heart; but to feel for you what I now know can be felt for another man, can never be. You must try and reconcile yourself to this. Farewell, Anthony.”

Anthony also said, “Farewell.” Not a tear came into his eye; he felt he was no longer Molly’s friend. Hot iron and cold iron alike take the skin from our lips, and we feel the same sensation if we kiss either; and Anthony’s kiss was now the kiss of hatred, as it had once been the kiss of love. Within four-and-twenty hours Anthony was back again to Eisenach, though the horse that he rode was entirely ruined.

“What matters it?” said he; “I am ruined also. I will destroy everything that can remind me of her, or of Lady Halle, or Lady Venus, the heathen woman. I will break down the apple-tree, and tear it up by the roots; never more shall it blossom or bear fruit.”

The apple-tree was not broken down; for Anthony himself was struck with a fever, which caused him to break down, and confined him to his bed. But something occurred to raise him up again. What was it? A medicine was offered to him, which he was obliged to take: a bitter remedy, at which the sick body and the oppressed spirit alike shuddered. Anthony’s father lost all his property, and, from being known as one of the richest merchants, he became very poor. Dark days, heavy trials, with poverty at the door, came rolling into the house upon them like the waves of the sea. Sorrow and suffering deprived Anthony’s father of his strength, so that he had something else to think of besides nursing his love-sorrows and his anger against Molly. He had to take his father’s place, to give orders, to act with energy, to help, and, at last, to go out into the world and earn his bread. Anthony went to Bremen, and there he learnt what poverty and hard living really were. These things often harden the character, but sometimes soften the heart, even too much.

How different the world, and the people in it, appeared to Anthony now, to what he had thought in his childhood! What to him were the minstrel’s songs? An echo of the past, sounds long vanished. At times he would think in this way; yet again and again the songs would sound in his soul, and his heart become gentle and pious.

“God’s will is the best,” he would then say. “It was well that I was not allowed to keep my power over Molly’s heart, and that she did not remain true to me. How I should have felt it now, when fortune has deserted me! She left me before she knew of the change in my circumstances, or had a thought of what was before me. That is a merciful providence for me. All has happened for the best. She could not help it, and yet I have been so bitter, and in such enmity against her.”

Years passed by: Anthony’s father died, and strangers lived in the old house. He had seen it once again since then. His rich master sent him journeys on business, and on one occasion his way led him to his native town of Eisenach. The old Wartburg castle stood unchanged on the rock where the monk and the nun were hewn out of the stone. The great oaks formed an outline to the scene which he so well remembered in his childhood. The Venus mountain stood out gray and bare, overshadowing the valley beneath. He would have been glad to call out “Lady Halle, Lady Halle, unlock the mountain. I would fain remain here always in my native soil.” That was a sinful thought, and he offered a prayer to drive it away. Then a little bird in the thicket sang out clearly, and old Anthony thought of the minstrel’s song. How much came back to his remembrance as he looked through the tears once more on his native town! The old house was still standing as in olden times, but the garden had been greatly altered; a pathway led through a portion of the ground, and outside the garden, and beyond the path, stood the old apple-tree, which he had not broken down, although he talked of doing so in his trouble. The sun still threw its rays upon the tree, and the refreshing dew fell upon it as of old; and it was so overloaded with fruit that the branches bent towards the earth with the weight. “That flourishes still,” said he, as he gazed. One of the branches of the tree had, however, been broken: mischievous hands must have done this in passing, for the tree now stood in a public thoroughfare. “The blossoms are often plucked,” said Anthony; “the fruit is stolen and the branches broken without a thankful thought of their profusion and beauty. It might be said of a tree, as it has been said of some men—it was not predicted at his cradle that he should come to this. How brightly began the history of this tree, and what is it now? Forsaken and forgotten, in a garden by a hedge in a field, and close to a public road. There it stands, unsheltered, plundered, and broken. It certainly has not yet withered; but in the course of years the number of blossoms from time to time will grow less, and at last it was cease altogether to bear fruit; and then its history will be over.”

Such were Anthony’s thoughts as he stood under the tree, and during many a long night as he lay in his lonely chamber in the wooden house in Hauschen Street, Copenhagen, in the foreign land to which the rich merchant of Bremen, his employer, had sent him on condition that he should never marry. “Marry! ha, ha!” and he laughed bitterly to himself at the thought.

Winter one year set in early, and it was freezing hard. Without, a snowstorm made every one remain at home who could do so. Thus it happened that Anthony’s neighbors, who lived opposite to him, did not notice that his house remained unopened for two days, and that he had not showed himself during that time, for who would go out in such weather unless he were obliged to do so. They were gray, gloomy days, and in the house whose windows were not glass, twilight and dark nights reigned in turns. During these two days old Anthony had not left his bed, he had not the strength to do so. The bitter weather had for some time affected his limbs. There lay the old bachelor, forsaken by all, and unable to help himself. He could scarcely reach the water jug that he had placed by his bed, and the last drop was gone. It was not fever, nor sickness, but old age, that had laid him low. In the little corner, where his bed lay, he was over-shadowed as it were by perpetual night. A little spider, which he could however not see, busily and cheerfully spun its web above him, so that there should be a kind of little banner waving over the old man, when his eyes closed. The time passed slowly and painfully. He had no tears to shed, and he felt no pain; no thought of Molly came into his mind. He felt as if the world was now nothing to him, as if he were lying beyond it, with no one to think of him. Now and then he felt slight sensations of hunger and thirst; but no one came to him, no one tended him. He thought of all those who had once suffered from starvation, of Saint Elizabeth, who once wandered on the earth, the saint of his home and his childhood, the noble Duchess of Thuringia, that highly esteemed lady who visited the poorest villages, bringing hope and relief to the sick inmates. The recollection of her pious deeds was as light to the soul of poor Anthony. He thought of her as she went about speaking words of comfort, binding up the wounds of the afflicted and feeding the hungry, although often blamed for it by her stern husband. He remembered a story told of her, that on one occasion, when she was carrying a basket full of wine and provisions, her husband, who had watched her footsteps, stepped forward and asked her angrily what she carried in her basket, whereupon, with fear and trembling, she answered, “Roses, which I have plucked from the garden.” Then he tore away the cloth which covered the basket, and what could equal the surprise of the pious woman, to find that by a miracle, everything in her basket—the wine, the bread— had all been changed into roses.

In this way the memory of the kind lady dwelt in the calm mind of Anthony. She was as a living reality in his little dwelling in the Danish land. He uncovered his face that he might look into her gentle eyes, while everything around him changed from its look of poverty and want, to a bright rose tint. The fragrance of roses spread through the room, mingled with the sweet smell of apples. He saw the branches of an apple-tree spreading above him. It was the tree which he and Molly had planted together. The fragrant leaves of the tree fell upon him and cooled his burning brow; upon his parched lips they seemed like refreshing bread and wine; and as they rested on his breast, a peaceful calm stole over him, and he felt inclined to sleep. “I shall sleep now,” he whispered to himself. “Sleep will do me good. In the morning I shall be upon my feet again, strong and well. Glorious! wonderful! That apple-tree, planted in love, now appears before me in heavenly beauty.” And he slept.

The following day, the third day during which his house had been closed, the snow-storm ceased. Then his opposite neighbor stepped over to the house in which old Anthony lived, for he had not yet showed himself. There he lay stretched on his bed, dead, with his old nightcap tightly clasped in his two hands. The nightcap, however, was not placed on his head in his coffin; he had a clean white one on then. Where now were the tears he had shed? What had become of those wonderful pearls? They were in the nightcap still. Such tears as these cannot be washed out, even when the nightcap is forgotten. The old thoughts and dreams of a bachelor’s nightcap still remain. Never wish for such a nightcap. It would make your forehead hot, cause your pulse to beat with agitation, and conjure up dreams which would appear realities.

The first who wore old Anthony’s cap felt the truth of this, though it was half a century afterwards. That man was the mayor himself, who had already made a comfortable home for his wife and eleven children, by his industry. The moment he put the cap on he dreamed of unfortunate love, of bankruptcy, and of dark days. “Hallo! how the nightcap burns!” he exclaimed, as he tore it from his bead. Then a pearl rolled out, and then another, and another, and they glittered and sounded as they fell. “What can this be? Is it paralysis, or something dazzling my eyes?” They were the tears which old Anthony had shed half a century before.

To every one who afterwards put this cap on his head, came visions and dreams which agitated him not a little. His own history was changed into that of Anthony till it became quite a story, and many stories might be made by others, so we will leave them to relate their own. We have told the first; and our last word is, don’t wish for a “bachelor’s nightcap.”

文章来源:安徒生童话

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