聪明人的宝石

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聪明人的宝石简介

一个聪明人想知道他手里的真理之书最后一页写的是什么。于是他让他的儿女们去找一种打开最后一页的力量。他的大儿子是用眼睛寻找的,二儿子是用耳朵寻找的,三儿子是用鼻子寻找的,他们都没有寻找到,均以失败而告终。聪明人的女儿会织世界上最结实的线,她把线的一头系在家里,另一头拿在手里,出门寻能打开最后一页的力量,她历尽各种困难,得到了一些尘埃,她本以为没有得到哪些力量,但是等她回到家时,她手里的尘埃发出了一道刺眼的光芒,把真理之书的最后一页打开了。上面只有俩个字“信心”,是的只要有信心,没有什么事是做不到的。聪明人的女儿能把真理之书的最后一页打开,是她有一颗永不放弃、坚持到底的心,那就是信心。

聪明人的宝石

你当然知道《丹麦人荷尔格》这个故事。我不会再讲这个故事给你听,但是我可要问,你记不记得它里面说过:“荷尔格获得了印度广大的国土以后,一直向东走,走到世界的尽头,甚至走到那棵太阳树的跟前。”——这是克利斯仙·贝德生讲的话。你知道贝德生吗?你不知道他也没有什么关系。丹麦人荷尔格把治理印度的一切大权都交给约恩牧师。你知道约恩牧师吗?如果你不知道他,这也不要紧,因为他跟这个故事完全没有关系。你将听到一个关于太阳树的故事。这树是“在印度——那世界的尽头的东方”。人们都是这样说,因为他们没有像我们一样学过地理。不过目前这也没有什么关系!

太阳树是一棵华贵的树;我们从来没有看见过它,将来恐怕也永远不会看到它。树顶上的枝叶向周围伸出好几里路远。它本身就是一个不折不扣的树林,因为它每一根顶小的枝子都是一棵树。这上面长着棕榈树、山毛榉、松树和梧桐树,还长着许多其他种类的树——事实上世界各地的树这儿都有了。它们作为小枝从大枝上冒出来,而这些大枝东一个结,西一个弯,好像是溪谷和山丘——上面还盖着天鹅绒般的草地和无数的花朵呢。每一根枝子像一片开满了花的广阔草坪,或者像一个最美丽的花园。太阳向它射着温暖的光,因为它是一株太阳树。

世界各个角落里的鸟儿都飞到它上面来:有的来自美洲的原始森林,有的来自大马士革的玫瑰花园,有的来自非洲的沙漠地带——这个地带的大象和狮子以为它们自己是唯一的统治者。南极和北极的鸟儿也飞来了;当然,鹳鸟和燕子也决不会不到场的。但是鸟儿并不是来到这儿的唯一的生物,雄鹿、松鼠、羚羊以及上百种其他会跳的可爱的动物也在这儿住下来。

树顶本身就是一个广大的、芬芳的花园。许多巨大的枝权在它里面像绿色的山丘似地向四周伸展开来。这些山丘之中有一座水晶宫,俯视着世界上所有的国家。它上面的每一座塔看起来都像一朵百合花;人们可以在花梗子里爬上去,因为梗子里有螺旋楼梯;因此你现在也不难懂得,人们可以走到叶子上去,因为叶子就是阳台。花枣里有一个美丽、辉煌的圆厅,它的天花板就是嵌着太阳和星星的蔚蓝的天。

在下边的宫殿里,那些广大的厅堂也是同样辉煌灿烂的,虽然它们表现的方式不同。整个世界就在那些墙上被反射出来。人们可以看到世界上发生的一切事情。因此人们都没有读报纸的必要,事实上这里也没有什么报纸。人们可以通过活动的图画看到一切东西——这也就是说,你能够看到、或者愿意看的那点东西,因为什么东西都有一个限度,就是连聪明人都不能例外,而这儿却住着一个聪明人。

这个人的名字很难念。你也念不出来,所以也就不用提它了。人们所知道的事情,或者人们在这个世界上所能知道的事情,他全都知道。每一件已经完成了的发明,或者快要完成的发明,他全都知道。但是除此以外的事情他就不知道了,因为一切究竟还是有一个限度。以聪明著名的君主所罗门①,也不过只有他一半的聪明。但这位君主还要算是一个非常聪明的人呢。他统治着大自然的一切威力,管理着所有凶猛的精灵。的确,连死神每天早晨都不得不把当天要死的人的名单送给他看。然而所罗门自己也不能不死。住在太阳树上宫殿里的这位法力很大的主人——这位探讨者——就经常在思索这个问题。不管他的智慧比人类要高多少,总有一天他也不免死亡。他知道,他的子孙也会死亡,正如树林里的叶子会枯萎并且化为尘土一样。他看得出,人类会像树上的叶子一样凋谢,为的是好让新的一代来接替。但是叶子一落下来就再也活不转来;它只有化为尘土,或者成为别的植物的一部分。

当死神到来的时候,人会得到一个什么结果呢?死究竟是什么呢?身体消灭了,但是灵魂会怎样呢?它会变成什么呢?它将到什么地方去呢?“到永恒的生命中去,”这是宗教所说的安慰话。但是怎样转变过去呢?人在什么地方生活,同时怎样生活呢?“生活在天上,”虔诚的人说,“我们将要到天上去!”

“到天上去?”这位聪明人重复着这句话说,同时向太阳和星星凝望。

“到天上去!”从这个圆形的地球上看,天和地是一体,是同样的东西。这完全要看一个人在这个旋转的球体上从一个什么角度观察而定。如果他爬到地球上最高山的最高峰,那么他就可以看到,我们在下边所谓澄净透明的东西——“苍天”——不过是漆黑一团。它像一块布似地覆在一切东西上面,而太阳在这种情形下也不过是一个不发光的火球,地球上飘着的不过是一层橙黄的烟雾。肉眼的限制是多么大!灵魂的眼睛所能看到的东西是多么少!与我们最有切身关系的事情,即使智慧最高的圣人也只能看到很微小的一点。

在这宫殿的一个最秘密的房间里藏着世界上一件最伟大的宝物:《真理之书》。这位圣人一页一页地翻着读。这本书谁都可以读,但是只能读几个片断。在许多人的眼中,这本书上的字母似乎都在发抖,人们没有办法把它们拼成完整的字句。某些页上的字迹很淡,很模糊,看起来好像是一无所有的空页。一个人越具有智慧,他就越能读得懂,因此具有大智的人就能读懂得最多。正因为这个缘故,聪明人知道怎样把太阳光和星光跟理智之光和灵魂的潜在力结合起来。在这种混合的强光中,书页上所写的东西在他面前就显得非常清楚。不过有一章叫做《死后的生活》,这里面没有一个字可以看得清楚。这使他感到非常难过。难道他在这世界上找不到一线光明,使他能看清楚《真理之书》上所写的一切东西吗?

他像聪明的国王所罗门一样,懂得动物的语言。他能解释它们所唱的歌和讲的话。但是他井不因此而变得更聪明。他发现了植物和金属的力量——能够治疗疾病和延迟死亡的力量。可是他却找不到制止死亡的办法,他在他所能接触到的一切创造出来的事物之中,希望寻求到一种可以使生命永恒不灭的启示;但是却寻求不到。《真理之书》摆在他面前,但是书页却是一张白纸。基督教在《圣经》里给了他一个关于永恒生命的诺言。但是他希望在自己的书中读到它,当然在这书中他是读不到的。

他有5个孩子,其中4个是男孩子;他们都得到一个最聪明的父亲所能供给他们的教育。另外一个是女孩子;她既美丽,又温柔,又聪明,但她却是一个瞎子。然而这不能算是一个缺点。爸爸和哥哥们都是她的眼睛,而她的敏锐的感觉也能看得见东酉。

儿子们离开宫殿大厅的时候,从来不走出从树干伸出的树枝的那个范围。妹妹更不会走远。他们生活在儿时的家里,在儿时的国度里,在美丽、芬芳的太阳村里,是非常幸福的。像所有的孩子一样,他们非常喜欢听故事。爸爸告诉他们许多别的孩子怎么也听不懂的故事。这些孩子聪明的程度,可以与我们中间的许多成年人相比。他把他们在宫殿墙上所看到的一些活动图画——人所做的事情和世界各国所发生的事情解释给他们听——儿子们也希望他们能够到外面去参加别人所做的一切伟大的事情。爸爸告诉他们说,外边的世界是既艰难而又辛苦,跟他们这个美丽的儿时世界是完全两样。

他对他们谈论着真、美和善,而且告诉他们说,这三件东西把世界维系在一起。它们在它们所承担的压力下,凝结成一块宝石。这块宝石的光泽度胜过金刚钻的光泽度。它的光泽就是在上帝的眼中也是非常有价值的。它比什么东西都光亮。它叫做“聪明人的宝石”。他告诉他们说,一个人可以通过创造出来的事物认识上帝;同样,一个人也可通过人类知道“聪明人的宝石”的确存在。他只能告诉他们这一点,他也只知道这一点。这种说法对于别的孩子是很难理解的,不过这些孩子却能够理解。以后别的孩子也可以渐渐理解了。

他们问爸爸,什么叫做真、善、美。他一一解释给他们听。他告诉他们很多事情。还说,上帝用泥土造成人,并且还在这个创造物身上吻了5次——火热的吻,心里的吻,我们上帝的温柔的吻。我们现在把这叫做5种感官。通过这些感官,我们可以看见、感觉和理解真、善、美,可以判断它们的价值,保护它们和使它们向前发展。我们从身体到思想,从里到外,从根到顶,从肉体到灵魂,都具有这5种感官。

孩子们把这些事情想了很久,他们日夜都在深思。于是最大的哥哥做了一个美丽的梦。奇怪的是,第二个兄弟也做了同样的梦,接着第三个、第四个也做了同样的梦。每个人恰恰梦见同样的东西。每个人都梦见走向广大的世界,找到了“聪明人的宝石”。梦见有一天大清早,他们各骑着一匹快马穿过家里天鹅绒般的绿草地,走进父亲的城堡里去,这宝石就在每个人的额上射出强烈的光辉。当这宝石的祥光射到书页上的时候,书上所描写的关于死后的生活就全都现出来了。但是妹妹却没有梦见走进广大的世界里去:她连想都没有想到。爸爸的家就是她的世界。

“我要骑着马到广大的世界里去!”大哥说。“我要体验实际的生活,我要在人群之间来往。我要遵从善和真,我要用善和真来保护美。只要我一去,许多东西就会改观!”

的确,他的思想是勇敢和伟大的。当我们待在家中一个温暖的角落里的时候,在我们没有到外面遇见荆棘和风雨以前,我们大家都是这个样子。

这5种感官在他和他的几个弟弟身上,里里外外都获得了高度的发展。不过他们每个人都有一种特殊的感官,它的敏锐和发展的程度都超过了其余的4个人。在大哥身上,这是视觉。这对于他有特别的好处。他说,他能看见一切时代,一切国家;他能直接看见地下的宝藏,看见人的心,好像这些东西外面罩着的只不过是一层玻璃。这也就是说,他能看见的东西,不仅仅是脸上所现出的红晕或者惨白,眼睛里的哭泣或者微笑。雄鹿和羚羊陪送他向西走,一直走到边境;野天鹅到这儿来迎接他,然后再向西北飞。他跟着它们走。他现在走到世界辽远的角落,远离他的父亲的国土——一直伸向东、达到世界尽头的国土。

但是他的眼睛因惊奇而睁得多么大啊!要看的东西真是太多。不管他在他父亲的房子里看到的图画多么真实,他现在亲眼看见的许多东西,完全跟他在图画中看到的不同。起初,他的眼睛惊奇得几乎失去辨别的能力,因为美是用许多廉价的东西和狂欢节的一些装饰品显现出来的。但是他还没有完全受到迷惑,他的眼睛还没有失去作用。

他要彻底地、诚实地花一番功夫来认识美、真和善。但是这几样东西在这个世界上是用什么表示出来的呢?他发现,应该属于美的花束,常常被丑夺去了;善没有被人理会;而应该被嘘下台的劣等东西,却被人鼓掌称赞。人们只是看到名义,而没有看到实质;只是看到衣服,而没有看到穿衣服的人;只要虚名,不要美德;只是看到地位,而没有看到才能。处处都是这种现象。

“是的,我要认真地来纠正这种现象!”他想。于是他就来纠正了。

不过当他正在追求真的时候,魔鬼来了。它是欺骗的祖先,而它本身就是欺骗。它倒很想把这位观察家的一双眼睛挖下来,但是它觉得这直截了当了。魔鬼的手段是很狡猾的。它让他去观察和寻求真,而且也让他去观察美和善;不过当他正在沉思地注视他们的时候,魔鬼就把尘埃吹进他的眼睛里——他的两只眼睛里。魔鬼一粒接着一粒地吹,弄得眼睛完全看不见东面——即使最好的眼睛也看不见。魔鬼一直把尘埃吹成一道光。于是这位观察家的眼睛也就失去作用了。这样,他在这个茫茫的大世界里就成了一个瞎子,同时也失去了信心。他对世界和对自己都没有好感。当一个人对世界和对自己都没有好感的时候,那么他的一切也就都完了。

“完了!”横渡大海、飞向东方的野天鹅说。“完了!”飞向东方的太阳树的燕子说。这对于家里的人说来,并不是好消息。

“我想那位‘观察家’的运气大概不太好;”第二个兄弟说。“但是‘倾听者’的运气可能要好些!”这位倾听者的听觉非常敏锐,他甚至连草的生长都能听出来。

他高高兴兴地向家人告别。他带着头等的听觉和满腔的善意骑着马走了。燕子跟着他,他跟着天鹅。他离开了家很远,走到茫茫的世界里去。

太好了就吃不消——他现在对这句话有了体会。他的听觉太敏锐。他不仅能听到草生长,还能听到每个人的心在悲哀或快乐时的搏动。他觉得这个世界好像一个钟表匠的大工作室,里面所有的钟都在“滴答!滴答!”地响,所有的屋顶上的钟都在敲着:“叮当!叮当!”嗨,这真叫人吃不消!不过他还是尽量地让他的耳朵听下去。最后,这些吵声和闹声实在太厉害,弄得人怎么也支持不了。这时就有一群60岁的野孩子——人不应该以年龄来判断——到来了。他们狂叫了一阵子,使人不禁要发笑。但是这时“谣言”就产生了。它在屋子、大街和小巷里流传着,一直流传到公路上去。“虚伪”高声叫喊起来,想当首领。愚人帽上的铃档②响起来,自称是教堂的钟声。这些噪音弄得“倾听者”太吃不消了。他马上用指头塞住两个耳朵。但是他仍然能听到虚伪的歌声,邪恶的喧闹声,以及谣言和诽谤。不值半文钱的废话从嘴里飞溅出来,吵嚷不休。里里外外都是号叫、哀鸣和喧闹。请上帝大发慈悲!他用手指把耳朵塞得更紧,更深,弄得后来把耳鼓都顶破了。现在他什么也听不见了。他也听不见美、真和善的声音,因为听觉是通到他的思想的一座桥梁。他现在变得沉默起来,怀疑起来。他什么人也不相信;最后连自己也不相信了——这真是一件非常不幸的事情,他再也不想去找那块宝贵的宝石,把它带到家里。他完全放弃了这个念头,也放弃了自己——这是最糟糕的事情。飞向东方的鸟儿带着这个消息,送到太阳树里的父亲的城堡里去。那时没有邮政,因此也没有回信。

“我现在要试一试!”第三个兄弟说。“我有一个很敏锐的鼻子!”

这话说得不太雅观,但是他却这样说了,你不得不承认他是这样一个人物。他的心情老是很好。他是一个诗人,一个真正的诗人。有许多事情他说不出来,但是唱得出来。有许多东西他比别人感觉得早些。

“人家心中想象的事情我都可以嗅得出来!”他说。他有高度发达的嗅觉;这扩大了他对于美的知识。

“有的人喜欢苹果香,有的人喜欢马厩的气味!”他说。“在美的领域里,每一种气味都有它的群众。有的人喜欢酒店的那种气味,包括冒烟的蜡烛、酒和廉价烟草的混合气味。有的人喜欢坐在强烈的素馨花香中,或者把浓郁的丁香花油喷得满身都是。有的人喜欢寻找清新的海风,有的人喜欢登最高的山顶,俯视下面那些忙碌的众生。”

这是他说的话。看样子好像他从前曾经到过这茫茫的大世界,好像他曾经跟人有过来往,而且认识他们。不过这种知识是从他的内心产生的,因为他是一个诗人——这是当他在摇篮里的时候,我们的上帝赐给他的一件礼物。

他告别了藏在太阳村里的父母的家。他在故乡美丽的风景中步行出去,但是当他一走出了边境以后,就骑上一只鸵鸟,因为鸵鸟比马跑得快些。后来当他看到一群野天鹅的时候,就爬到一只最强壮的野天鹅的背上。他喜欢换换口味。他飞过大海,飞向一个拥有大树林、深湖、雄伟的山和美丽的城市的、陌生的国家。他无论向什么地方走,总是似乎觉得太阳在田野上跟着他。每一朵花,每一个灌木丛,都发出一种强烈的香气,因为它们知道一位爱护它们和了解它们的朋友和保护者就在它们附近。一丛凋零的玫瑰花也竖起枝子,展开叶儿,开出最美丽的花来。每个人都可以看得见它的美,甚至树林里潮湿的黑蜗牛也注意到它的美。

“我要在这朵花上留下一点纪念!”蜗牛说。“我要在花上吐一口唾沫,因为我没有别的东西!”

“世界上的美的东西的命运就是这样!”诗人说。

于是他唱了一首关于它的歌,是用他自己特有的一种调子唱的;但是谁也不听。因此他送给一位鼓手两个银毫和一根孔雀毛,叫他把这支歌编成拍子,在这城市的大街小巷中用鼓把它传播出去。大家都听到了,而且还听得懂——它的内容很深奥!诗人唱着关于美、真和善的歌。人们在充满了蜡烛烟味的酒店中,在新鲜的草原上,在树林里,在广阔的海上听着他的歌。看样子,这位兄弟的运气要比其他的两位好得多。

但是魔鬼却对此很生气,于是它立刻着手吹起香粉,燃起香烟。它的手段实在是非常高明,这些烟的气味连安琪儿都能给迷住,一个可怜的诗人当然更不在话下。魔鬼是知道怎样对付这种人的。它用香烟把这个诗人层层包住,把他弄得昏头昏脑,结果他忘掉了他的任务和他的家,最后他把自己也忘掉了。他在烟雾中死去了。

当所有的小鸟听到这个消息的时候,都感到非常伤心。它们有三天没有唱歌。树林里的黑蜗牛变得更黑——这并不是因为它伤心,而是因为它嫉妒。

“香烟应该是为我而焚的,”它说,“因为他的这首最驰名的、叫做‘世事’的击鼓歌是受了我的启发而写的,玫瑰花上的粘液就是我吐出来的!我可以提出证明。”

不过这件消息没有传到诗人在印度的家里,因为所有的鸟儿三天没有唱歌。当哀悼期结束以后,它们就感到非常悲痛,它们甚至忘记了自己是为什么人而哭。事情就是这样!

“现在我要到外面的世界上去,像别的兄弟一样远行!”第四个兄弟说。

他像刚才说的那个兄弟一样,心情也非常好;不过他并非诗人。因此他的心情好是理所当然。这两个兄弟使整个宫殿充满了快乐,但是现在连这最后的快乐也要没有了。视觉和听觉一直被认为是人类最重要的两种感官,所以谁都希望这两种感官变得敏锐。其余的三种感官一般都认为是不太重要的。不过这位少爷却不是如此想法。他尤其注重从各方面培养他的味觉,而他的味觉非常强烈,范围也广。凡是放进嘴里和深入心里的东西,都由它来控制。因此罐子里和锅里的东西,瓶子里和桶里的东西,他都要尝一下。他说,这是他的工作中的粗活儿。对于他来说,每个人都是一个炒菜的锅,每个国家是一个庞大的厨房——思想的厨房。

“这是一件细致的事情,”他说。他现在就要到外面的世界去研究一下,究竟它细致到什么程度。

“可能我的运气要比我的几个哥哥好些!”他说。“我要去了。但是我用什么工具去旅行呢?人们发明了气球没有?”他问他的父亲。这个老头儿知道已经发明过的和快要发明的一切东西,不过气球还没有人发明出来,汽船和铁路也没有发明出来。

“好吧,那么我就乘气球吧!”他说。“我的父亲知道怎样制造它,怎样驾驶它,我将要学习使用它。现在还没有谁把它发明出来,因此大家会认为它是一个空中幻影。我用过气球以后,就把它烧掉。因此你必须给我一些下次发明的零件——也就是所谓化学火柴!”

他所需要的东西他都得到了。于是他就飞走了。鸟儿陪着他飞了一程——比陪着其他几个兄弟飞得远。它们很想看看,这次飞行会有一个什么结果。鸟儿越来越多,因为它们都很好奇:它们以为现在飞行的这个家伙是一只什么新的鸟儿。是的,现在他的朋友倒是不少!天空都被这些鸟儿遮黑了。它们像一大块乌云似地飞来,像飞在埃及国土上的蝗虫。他就是这样向广大的世界里飞去的。

“东风是我的好朋友,是帮助我的人,”他说。

“你是指东风和西风吗?”风儿说。“我们两个人一同合作,否则你就不会飞到西北方来了!”

但是他却没有听到风儿说的话,因此这等于不说。鸟儿现在也不再陪着他飞了。当它们的数目一多的时候,就有好几只对于飞行感到厌烦起来。这简直是小题大做!它们这样说,他的脑子里装的完全是一堆幻想。“跟他一起飞毫无道理,完全是浪费!完全是胡闹!”于是它们就都回去了,全体都回去了。

气球在一个最大的城市上空降落。气球的驾驶人在最高的一点停下来——在教堂的尖塔顶上。气球又升起来了;这种事情实在不应该发生。它究竟要飞到什么地方去呢,谁也不知道;不过这也没有什么了不起的关系,因为它还没有被人发明出来。

他坐在教堂的尖塔顶上。身边再没有什么鸟儿在飞,因为它们对他感到厌烦,而他对它们也感到厌烦。

城里所有的烟囱都在快活地冒烟。

“这都是为你而建立起来的祭坛!”风儿说。它想对他说点愉快的事情。

他目空一切地坐在那上面,俯视着街上的人群。有一个人走过去,对于自己的钱包感到骄傲;另一个对于悬在自己腰上的钥匙感到得意,虽然他并没有锁着什么宝贵的东西。还有一个人对自己虫蛀了的上衣感到骄傲,另外还有一个人觉得他那个无用的身躯很了不起。

“这全是虚荣!我必须赶快爬下去,把手指伸进罐子里,尝尝里面的味道!”他说。“但是我还不如在这儿坐一会儿。风吹在我的背上怪舒服的——这是一桩很大的快事。风吹多久,我就坐多久。我要在这里休息一会儿。懒人说,一个人的事情多,就应该在早晨多睡一会儿。不过懒是万恶之本,而我们家里井没有什么恶事。我敢于这样说,所有的人也这样说。风吹多久,我就要在这儿坐多久。我喜欢这味道。”

于是他就坐下来,不过他是坐在风信鸡上,而风信鸡是随着他转的,因此他以为风向一直没有变。他坐着,而且可以一直坐下去欣赏风吹的滋味。

但是在印度,太阳村里的宫殿是空洞和寂寞的,因为那儿的几个兄弟就这样一个接着一个地离去了。

“他们的遭遇并不好!”父亲说。“他们永远也不会把那颗亮晶晶的宝石拿回来。那不是我能够获得的。他们都走了,死去了!”

他低下头来读着《真理之书》。书页上写着关于死后生活的问题。不过他什么也看不见,什么也不知道。

他的盲目的女儿是他唯一的安慰和快乐。她对他怀着真诚的感情。为了他的快乐和安宁,她希望那颗宝石能够寻到,带回家来。她悲哀地、渴望地思念着她的几个哥哥,他们在什么地方呢?他们住在什么地方呢?她希望能够在梦中见到他们,不过说来也奇怪,即使在梦中她也见不到他们。最后她总算做了一个梦,听到了几个哥哥的声音。他们在外面广大的世界里呼唤她。她不得不走出去,走得很远。但是又似乎觉得她仍然在父亲的屋子里。她没有遇见几个哥哥,不过她觉得手上有火在烧。但是火烧得并不痛,原来那颗亮晶晶的宝石就在她的手上。她要把它送给她的父亲。

当她醒来以后,有一忽儿还觉得手中捏着那颗宝石。事实上,她捏着的是纺车的把手。她经常在漫漫长夜里纺纱。她在纺锤上纺出了一根比最细的蜘蛛丝还要细的线。肉眼是看不见这根线的。她用眼泪把它打湿了,因此它比锚索还要结实。她从床上爬起来,下了一个决心,要把这个梦变成真亭。

这正是黑夜,她的父亲还在睡觉。她吻了他的手。她拿起纺锤,把那根线的一端联在父亲的屋子上。的确,要不是这样做,她这样一个瞎子将永远不会找到家的。她必须紧紧地捏着这根线,而且必须依靠它,自己和别人都是靠不住的。她从太阳树上摘下4片叶子,委托风和雨把它们作为她的信和问候带给她的4个哥哥,因为她怕在这广阔的大世界里遇不见他们。

她这个可怜的小瞎子,她在外面的遭遇是怎样的呢?她有那根看不见的线可以作为依靠。她有哥哥们全都缺少的一种官能:敏感性。有了这种敏感性,她的手指就好像是眼睛,她的心就好像是耳朵。

她一声不响地走进这个熙熙攘攘的、忙忙碌碌的新奇的世界。她走到的地方,天空就变得非常明朗。她可以感觉到温暖的太阳光。虹从乌黑的云层里现出来,悬在蔚蓝色的天空上。她听见鸟儿在唱着歌;她能够闻到橙子和苹果园的香气。这种香气是那么强烈,她几乎觉得自己尝到了果子的味道。她听到柔和的音调和美妙的歌声,但是她也听到号哭和吼叫。思想和判断彼此起了不调和的冲突。人的思想和感情在她的心的最深处发出回响。这形成一个合唱:

人间的生活不过是一个幻影——

一个可以使我们哭泣的黑夜!

但是另外一支歌又升起来了:

人间的生活是一个玫瑰花丛,

充满了太阳光,充满了欢乐。

接着又有一个这样痛苦的调子唱出来了:

每个人只是为自己打算,

我们多少次都认识到了这个真理。

于是来了一个响亮的回答:

爱的河流在不停地流,

在我们人间的生活中流!

她听到了这样的话语:

世上的一切都是非常渺小,

无论什么东西,有利必有弊。

但是她又听到安慰的声音:

世上伟大和善良的东西不知多少,

只是一般的人很难知道!

有时从各处飘来一阵嘲讽的曲调:

关吧,把一切东西当作一个玩笑!

笑吧,跟犬吠声一起发笑!

但是盲女子的心中有另外一个更响的歌声:

依靠你自己,依靠上帝,

上帝的意志总会实现,阿门!

在所有的男人和女人、老年人和少年人的心中,只要她一到来,真、美、善的光辉就闪耀起来了。她走到哪里——在艺术家的工作室里也好,在金碧辉煌的大厅里也好,在机声隆隆、拥挤不堪的工厂里也好——哪里就似乎有太阳光射进来,有音乐奏起来,有花香喷来,枯叶子也似乎得到了新鲜的露水。

但是恶魔却不喜欢这种情况。它的狡猾超过了不只万人;它总有办法达到它的目的。它走到沼泽地上去,它收集一大堆死水的泡沫,它在这些泡沫上注入七倍以上的谎言的回音,使这些谎言更有力量。于是它尽量收集许多用钱买来的颂词和骗人的墓志铭,把这些东西捣碎,再放进“嫉妒”哭出来的眼泪中煮开,然后再加上一位小姐的干枯的脸上的胭脂。它把这些东西塑成一个姑娘。她在体态和动作上跟那个虔诚的盲女子是一模一样——人们把她叫做“温柔的、真诚的安琪儿"。魔鬼的巧计就这样成功了。世人都不知道,她们之中究竟哪一个是真的。的确,世人怎么能够知道呢?

依靠你自己,依靠上帝,

上帝的意志总会实现,阿门!

盲女满怀信心地唱着这支歌。她把她从太阳树上摘下的那4片叶子交给风雨.作为地带给她哥哥们的信和问候。她相信,这些信定能够到达他们的手里,同时那颗宝石也一定找得到,这颗宝石的光辉将会超过世上一切的光辉;它将从人的额上一直射到她的父亲的宫殿里去。

“射到父亲的屋子里去,”她重复着说。“是的,宝石在这个世界上是存在的;这一点我可以保证,而我带回家去的将不只是这个保证。我感到它在我紧握的手里发光,膨胀!一毫一厘的真理,不管它是怎样微小,只要锐利的风能把它托起,向我吹来,我就要把它捡起,珍藏起来。我要让一切美丽东西的香气渗进它里面去——而世界上美的东西,即使对于一个盲女子说来,也是多得不可胜数。我还要把善良的心的搏动声也加进去。我现在得到的不过是一颗尘埃,然而它却是我们正在寻找的那块宝石的尘埃。我有很多这样的尘埃——我满把都是这样的尘埃。”

于是她把手伸向她的父亲。她立刻就回到家里来了。她是骑在思想的翅膀上回到家里来的。但是她一直没有放弃连结着她的家的那根看不见的线。

恶魔的威力以暴风雨的迅猛向太阳树袭来,像狂风似地闯进敞开着的大门,一直闯进藏着《真理之书》的秘室。

“暴风会把它吹走!”父亲惊叫着,同时紧握着她伸着的手。

“决不可能!”她满怀信心地说。“吹不走的!我在我的灵魂中已经感觉到了那种温暖的光线!”

这时父亲看到了一道强烈的光。这光是从她手中那些尘埃上射出来的。它射到《真理之书》的那些空白页上——那上面应该写着这样的话:永恒的生命一定是存在的。但是在这耀眼的光中,书页上只看到两个字:信心。

那4个哥哥又回到家里来了。当那4片绿叶子落到他们胸口上的时候,他们就渴望回家。这种心情把他们引回家来。他们现在回来了;候鸟、雄鹿、羚羊和树林中的一切动物也跟着他们一起来了,因为它们也想分享他们的欢乐。只要可能的话,它们为什么不来分享呢?

我们常常看到,当一丝太阳光从门上的隙缝里射进一间充满灰尘的房间里的时候,就有一根旋转的灰尘的光柱。这不能算是一股平凡、微小的灰尘,因为跟它的美比起来,甚至天空的彩虹都显得缺少生气。同样,从这书页上,从“信心”这光辉的字上,每一颗真理的微粒,带着真的光彩和善的音调,射出比黑夜里照着摩西带领以色列人穿过沙漠走向迦南的火炬还要强烈的光来。无限的希望之桥就是从“信心”这两个字开始的——而这是一座把我们引向无限博爱的桥。

①所罗门是公元前十世纪以色列的国王,据说他具有非凡的智慧。

②从前丹麦扮演丑角的人,头上戴一种尖帽子,上面挂着铃铛。

聪明人的宝石寓意

这个童话故事告诉我们:只要有信心,没有什么事是做不到的。聪明人的女儿能把真理之书的最后一页打开,是她有一颗永不放弃、坚持到底的心,那就是信心。

英文版:The Philosopher’s Stone

FAR away towards the east, in India, which seemed in those days the world’s end, stood the Tree of the Sun; a noble tree, such as we have never seen, and perhaps never may see.

The summit of this tree spread itself for miles like an entire forest, each of its smaller branches forming a complete tree. Palms, beech-trees, pines, plane-trees, and various other kinds, which are found in all parts of the world, were here like small branches, shooting forth from the great tree; while the larger boughs, with their knots and curves, formed valleys and hills, clothed with velvety green and covered with flowers. Everywhere it was like a blooming meadow or a lovely garden. Here were birds from all quarters of the world assembled together; birds from the primeval forests of America, from the rose gardens of Damascus, and from the deserts of Africa, in which the elephant and the lion may boast of being the only rulers. Birds from the Polar regions came flying here, and of course the stork and the swallow were not absent. But the birds were not the only living creatures. There were stags, squirrels, antelopes, and hundreds of other beautiful and light-footed animals here found a home.

The summit of the tree was a wide-spreading garden, and in the midst of it, where the green boughs formed a kind of hill, stood a castle of crystal, with a view from it towards every quarter of heaven. Each tower was erected in the form of a lily, and within the stern was a winding staircase, through which one could ascend to the top and step out upon the leaves as upon balconies. The calyx of the flower itself formed a most beautiful, glittering, circular hall, above which no other roof arose than the blue firmament and the sun and stars.

Just as much splendor, but of another kind, appeared below, in the wide halls of the castle. Here, on the walls, were reflected pictures of the world, which represented numerous and varied scenes of everything that took place daily, so that it was useless to read the newspapers, and indeed there were none to be obtained in this spot. All was to be seen in living pictures by those who wished it, but all would have been too much for even the wisest man, and this man dwelt here. His name is very difficult; you would not be able to pronounce it, so it may be omitted. He knew everything that a man on earth can know or imagine. Every invention already in existence or yet to be, was known to him, and much more; still everything on earth has a limit. The wise king Solomon was not half so wise as this man. He could govern the powers of nature and held sway over potent spirits; even Death itself was obliged to give him every morning a list of those who were to die during the day. And King Solomon himself had to die at last, and this fact it was which so often occupied the thoughts of this great man in the castle on the Tree of the Sun. He knew that he also, however high he might tower above other men in wisdom, must one day die. He knew that his children would fade away like the leaves of the forest and become dust. He saw the human race wither and fall like leaves from the tree; he saw new men come to fill their places, but the leaves that fell off never sprouted forth again; they crumbled to dust or were absorbed into other plants.

“What happens to man,” asked the wise man of himself, “when touched by the angel of death? What can death be? The body decays, and the soul. Yes; what is the soul, and whither does it go?”

“To eternal life,” says the comforting voice of religion.

“But what is this change? Where and how shall we exist?”

“Above; in heaven,” answers the pious man; “it is there we hope to go.”

“Above!” repeated the wise man, fixing his eyes upon the moon and stars above him. He saw that to this earthly sphere above and below were constantly changing places, and that the position varied according to the spot on which a man found himself. He knew, also, that even if he ascended to the top of the highest mountain which rears its lofty summit on this earth, the air, which to us seems clear and transparent, would there be dark and cloudy; the sun would have a coppery glow and send forth no rays, and our earth would lie beneath him wrapped in an orange-colored mist. How narrow are the limits which confine the bodily sight, and how little can be seen by the eye of the soul. How little do the wisest among us know of that which is so important to us all.

In the most secret chamber of the castle lay the greatest treasure on earth—the Book of Truth. The wise man had read it through page after page. Every man may read in this book, but only in fragments. To many eyes the characters seem so mixed in confusion that the words cannot be distinguished. On certain pages the writing often appears so pale or so blurred that the page becomes a blank. The wiser a man becomes, the more he will read, and those who are wisest read most.

The wise man knew how to unite the sunlight and the moonlight with the light of reason and the hidden powers of nature; and through this stronger light, many things in the pages were made clear to him. But in the portion of the book entitled “Life after Death” not a single point could he see distinctly. This pained him. Should he never be able here on earth to obtain a light by which everything written in the Book of Truth should become clear to him? Like the wise King Solomon, he understood the language of animals, and could interpret their talk into song; but that made him none the wiser. He found out the nature of plants and metals, and their power in curing diseases and arresting death, but none to destroy death itself. In all created things within his reach he sought the light that should shine upon the certainty of an eternal life, but he found it not. The Book of Truth lay open before him, but, its pages were to him as blank paper. Christianity placed before him in the Bible a promise of eternal life, but he wanted to read it in his book, in which nothing on the subject appeared to be written.

He had five children; four sons, educated as the children of such a wise father should be, and a daughter, fair, gentle, and intelligent, but she was blind; yet this deprivation appeared as nothing to her; her father and brothers were outward eyes to her, and a vivid imagination made everything clear to her mental sight. The sons had never gone farther from the castle than the branches of the trees extended, and the sister had scarcely ever left home. They were happy children in that home of their childhood, the beautiful and fragrant Tree of the Sun. Like all children, they loved to hear stories related to them, and their father told them many things which other children would not have understood; but these were as clever as most grownup people are among us. He explained to them what they saw in the pictures of life on the castle walls—the doings of man, and the progress of events in all the lands of the earth; and the sons often expressed a wish that they could be present, and take a part in these great deeds. Then their father told them that in the world there was nothing but toil and difficulty: that it was not quite what it appeared to them, as they looked upon it in their beautiful home. He spoke to them of the true, the beautiful, and the good, and told them that these three held together in the world, and by that union they became crystallized into a precious jewel, clearer than a diamond of the first water—a jewel, whose splendor had a value even in the sight of God, in whose brightness all things are dim. This jewel was called the philosopher’s stone. He told them that, by searching, man could attain to a knowledge of the existence of God, and that it was in the power of every man to discover the certainty that such a jewel as the philosopher’s stone really existed. This information would have been beyond the perception of other children; but these children understood, and others will learn to comprehend its meaning after a time. They questioned their father about the true, the beautiful, and the good, and he explained it to them in many ways. He told them that God, when He made man out of the dust of the earth, touched His work five times, leaving five intense feelings, which we call the five senses. Through these, the true, the beautiful, and the good are seen, understood, and perceived, and through these they are valued, protected, and encouraged. Five senses have been given mentally and corporeally, inwardly and outwardly, to body and soul.

The children thought deeply on all these things, and meditated upon them day and night. Then the eldest of the brothers dreamt a splendid dream. Strange to say, not only the second brother but also the third and fourth brothers all dreamt exactly the same thing; namely, that each went out into the world to find the philosopher’s stone. Each dreamt that he found it, and that, as he rode back on his swift horse, in the morning dawn, over the velvety green meadows, to his home in the castle of his father, that the stone gleamed from his forehead like a beaming light; and threw such a bright radiance upon the pages of the Book of Truth that every word was illuminated which spoke of the life beyond the grave. But the sister had no dream of going out into the wide world; it never entered her mind. Her world was her father’s house.

“I shall ride forth into the wide world,” said the eldest brother. “I must try what life is like there, as I mix with men. I will practise only the good and true; with these I will protect the beautiful. Much shall be changed for the better while I am there.”

Now these thoughts were great and daring, as our thoughts generally are at home, before we have gone out into the world, and encountered its storms and tempests, its thorns and its thistles. In him, and in all his brothers, the five senses were highly cultivated, inwardly and outwardly; but each of them had one sense which in keenness and development surpassed the other four. In the case of the eldest, this pre-eminent sense was sight, which he hoped would be of special service. He had eyes for all times and all people; eyes that could discover in the depths of the earth hidden treasures, and look into the hearts of men, as through a pane of glass; he could read more than is often seen on the cheek that blushes or grows pale, in the eye that droops or smiles. Stags and antelopes accompanied him to the western boundary of his home, and there he found the wild swans. These he followed, and found himself far away in the north, far from the land of his father, which extended eastward to the ends of the earth. How he opened his eyes with astonishment! How many things were to be seen here! and so different to the mere representation of pictures such as those in his father’s house. At first he nearly lost his eyes in astonishment at the rubbish and mockery brought forward to represent the beautiful; but he kept his eyes, and soon found full employment for them. He wished to go thoroughly and honestly to work in his endeavor to understand the true, the beautiful, and the good. But how were they represented in the world? He observed that the wreath which rightly belonged to the beautiful was often given the hideous; that the good was often passed by unnoticed, while mediocrity was applauded, when it should have been hissed. People look at the dress, not at the wearer; thought more of a name than of doing their duty; and trusted more to reputation than to real service. It was everywhere the same.

“I see I must make a regular attack on these things,” said he; and he accordingly did not spare them. But while looking for the truth, came the evil one, the father of lies, to intercept him. Gladly would the fiend have plucked out the eyes of this Seer, but that would have been a too straightforward path for him; he works more cunningly. He allowed the young man to seek for, and discover, the beautiful and the good; but while he was contemplating them, the evil spirit blew one mote after another into each of his eyes; and such a proceeding would injure the strongest sight. Then he blew upon the motes, and they became beams, so that the clearness of his sight was gone, and the Seer was like a blind man in the world, and had no longer any faith in it. He had lost his good opinion of the world, as well as of himself; and when a man gives up the world, and himself too, it is all over with him.

“All over,” said the wild swan, who flew across the sea to the east.

“All over,” twittered the swallows, who were also flying eastward towards the Tree of the Sun. It was no good news which they carried home.

“I think the Seer has been badly served,” said the second brother, “but the Hearer may be more successful.”

This one possessed the sense of hearing to a very high degree: so acute was this sense, that it was said he could hear the grass grow. He took a fond leave of all at home, and rode away, provided with good abilities and good intentions. The swallows escorted him, and he followed the swans till he found himself out in the world, and far away from home. But he soon discovered that one may have too much of a good thing. His hearing was too fine. He not only heard the grass grow, but could hear every man’s heart beat, whether in sorrow or in joy. The whole world was to him like a clockmaker’s great workshop, in which all the clocks were going “tick, tick,” and all the turret clocks striking “ding, dong.” It was unbearable. For a long time his ears endured it, but at last all the noise and tumult became too much for one man to bear.

There were rascally boys of sixty years old—for years do not alone make a man—who raised a tumult, which might have made the Hearer laugh, but for the applause which followed, echoing through every street and house, and was even heard in country roads. Falsehood thrust itself forward and played the hypocrite; the bells on the fool’s cap jingled, and declared they were church-bells, and the noise became so bad for the Hearer that he thrust his fingers into his ears. Still, he could hear false notes and bad singing, gossip and idle words, scandal and slander, groaning and moaning, without and within. “Heaven help us!” He thrust his fingers farther and farther into his ears, till at last the drums burst. And now he could hear nothing more of the true, the beautiful, and the good; for his hearing was to have been the means by which he hoped to acquire his knowledge. He became silent and suspicious, and at last trusted no one, not even himself, and no longer hoping to find and bring home the costly jewel, he gave it up, and gave himself up too, which was worse than all.

The birds in their flight towards the east, carried the tidings, and the news reached the castle in the Tree of the Sun.

“I will try now,” said the third brother; “I have a keen nose.” Now that was not a very elegant expression, but it was his way, and we must take him as he was. He had a cheerful temper, and was, besides, a real poet; he could make many things appear poetical, by the way in which he spoke of them, and ideas struck him long before they occurred to the minds of others. “I can smell,” he would say; and he attributed to the sense of smelling, which he possessed in a high degree, a great power in the region of the beautiful. “I can smell,” he would say, “and many places are fragrant or beautiful according to the taste of the frequenters. One man feels at home in the atmosphere of the tavern, among the flaring tallow candles, and when the smell of spirits mingles with the fumes of bad tobacco. Another prefers sitting amidst the overpowering scent of jasmine, or perfuming himself with scented olive oil. This man seeks the fresh sea breeze, while that one climbs the lofty mountain-top, to look down upon the busy life in miniature beneath him.”

As he spoke in this way, it seemed as if he had already been out in the world, as if he had already known and associated with man. But this experience was intuitive—it was the poetry within him, a gift from Heaven bestowed on him in his cradle. He bade farewell to his parental roof in the Tree of the Sun, and departed on foot, from the pleasant scenes that surrounded his home. Arrived at its confines, he mounted on the back of an ostrich, which runs faster than a horse, and afterwards, when he fell in with the wild swans, he swung himself on the strongest of them, for he loved change, and away he flew over the sea to distant lands, where there were great forests, deep lakes, lofty mountains, and proud cities. Wherever he came it seemed as if sunshine travelled with him across the fields, for every flower, every bush, exhaled a renewed fragrance, as if conscious that a friend and protector was near; one who understood them, and knew their value. The stunted rose-bush shot forth twigs, unfolded its leaves, and bore the most beautiful roses; every one could see it, and even the black, slimy wood-snail noticed its beauty. “I will give my seal to the flower,” said the snail, “I have trailed my slime upon it, I can do no more.”

“Thus it always fares with the beautiful in this world,” said the poet. And he made a song upon it, and sung it after his own fashion, but nobody listened. Then he gave a drummer twopence and a peacock’s feather, and composed a song for the drum, and the drummer beat it through the streets of the town, and when the people heard it they said, “That is a capital tune.” The poet wrote many songs about the true, the beautiful, and the good. His songs were listened to in the tavern, where the tallow candles flared, in the fresh clover field, in the forest, and on the high-seas; and it appeared as if this brother was to be more fortunate than the other two.

But the evil spirit was angry at this, so he set to work with soot and incense, which he can mix so artfully as to confuse an angel, and how much more easily a poor poet. The evil one knew how to manage such people. He so completely surrounded the poet with incense that the man lost his head, forgot his mission and his home, and at last lost himself and vanished in smoke.

But when the little birds heard of it, they mourned, and for three days they sang not one song. The black wood-snail became blacker still; not for grief, but for envy. “They should have offered me incense,” he said, “for it was I who gave him the idea of the most famous of his songs—the drum song of ’The Way of the World;’ and it was I who spat at the rose; I can bring a witness to that fact.”

But no tidings of all this reached the poet’s home in India. The birds had all been silent for three days, and when the time of mourning was over, so deep had been their grief, that they had forgotten for whom they wept. Such is the way of the world.

“Now I must go out into the world, and disappear like the rest,” said the fourth brother. He was as good-tempered as the third, but no poet, though he could be witty.

The two eldest had filled the castle with joyfulness, and now the last brightness was going away. Sight and hearing have always been considered two of the chief senses among men, and those which they wish to keep bright; the other senses are looked upon as of less importance.

But the younger son had a different opinion; he had cultivated his taste in every way, and taste is very powerful. It rules over what goes into the mouth, as well as over all which is presented to the mind; and, consequently, this brother took upon himself to taste everything stored up in bottles or jars; this he called the rough part of his work. Every man’s mind was to him as a vessel in which something was concocting; every land a kind of mental kitchen. “There are no delicacies here,” he said; so he wished to go out into the world to find something delicate to suit his taste. “Perhaps fortune may be more favorable to me than it was to my brothers. I shall start on my travels, but what conveyance shall I choose? Are air balloons invented yet?” he asked of his father, who knew of all inventions that had been made, or would be made.

Air balloons had not then been invented, nor steam-ships, nor railways.

“Good,” said he; “then I shall choose an air balloon; my father knows how they are to be made and guided. Nobody has invented one yet, and the people will believe that it is an aerial phantom. When I have done with the balloon I shall burn it, and for this purpose, you must give me a few pieces of another invention, which will come next; I mean a few chemical matches.”

He obtained what he wanted, and flew away. The birds accompanied him farther than they had the other brothers. They were curious to know how this flight would end. Many more of them came swooping down; they thought it must be some new bird, and he soon had a goodly company of followers. They came in clouds till the air became darkened with birds as it was with the cloud of locusts over the land of Egypt.

And now he was out in the wide world. The balloon descended over one of the greatest cities, and the aeronaut took up his station at the highest point, on the church steeple. The balloon rose again into the air, which it ought not to have done; what became of it is not known, neither is it of any consequence, for balloons had not then been invented.

There he sat on the church steeple. The birds no longer hovered over him; they had got tired of him, and he was tired of them. All the chimneys in the town were smoking.

“There are altars erected to my honor,” said the wind, who wished to say something agreeable to him as he sat there boldly looking down upon the people in the street. There was one stepping along, proud of his purse; another, of the key he carried behind him, though he had nothing to lock up; another took a pride in his moth-eaten coat; and another, in his mortified body. “Vanity, all vanity!” he exclaimed. “I must go down there by-and-by, and touch and taste; but I shall sit here a little while longer, for the wind blows pleasantly at my back. I shall remain here as long as the wind blows, and enjoy a little rest. It is comfortable to sleep late in the morning when one had a great deal to do,” said the sluggard; “so I shall stop here as long as the wind blows, for it pleases me.”

And there he stayed. But as he was sitting on the weather-cock of the steeple, which kept turning round and round with him, he was under the false impression that the same wind still blew, and that he could stay where he was without expense.

But in India, in the castle on the Tree of the Sun, all was solitary and still, since the brothers had gone away one after the other.

“Nothing goes well with them,” said the father; “they will never bring the glittering jewel home, it is not made for me; they are all dead and gone.” Then he bent down over the Book of Truth, and gazed on the page on which he should have read of the life after death, but for him there was nothing to be read or learned upon it.

His blind daughter was his consolation and joy; she clung to him with sincere affection, and for the sake of his happiness and peace she wished the costly jewel could be found and brought home.

With longing tenderness she thought of her brothers. Where were they? Where did they live? How she wished she might dream of them; but it was strange that not even in dreams could she be brought near to them. But at last one night she dreamt that she heard the voices of her brothers calling to her from the distant world, and she could not refrain herself, but went out to them, and yet it seemed in her dream that she still remained in her father’s house. She did not see her brothers, but she felt as it were a fire burning in her hand, which, however, did not hurt her, for it was the jewel she was bringing to her father. When she awoke she thought for a moment that she still held the stone, but she only grasped the knob of her distaff.

During the long evenings she had spun constantly, and round the distaff were woven threads finer than the web of a spider; human eyes could never have distinguished these threads when separated from each other. But she had wetted them with her tears, and the twist was as strong as a cable. She rose with the impression that her dream must be a reality, and her resolution was taken.

It was still night, and her father slept; she pressed a kiss upon his hand, and then took her distaff and fastened the end of the thread to her father’s house. But for this, blind as she was, she would never have found her way home again; to this thread she must hold fast, and trust not to others or even to herself. From the Tree of the Sun she broke four leaves; which she gave up to the wind and the weather, that they might be carried to her brothers as letters and a greeting, in case she did not meet them in the wide world. Poor blind child, what would become of her in those distant regions? But she had the invisible thread, to which she could hold fast; and she possessed a gift which all the others lacked. This was a determination to throw herself entirely into whatever she undertook, and it made her feel as if she had eyes even at the tips of her fingers, and could hear down into her very heart. Quietly she went forth into the noisy, bustling, wonderful world, and wherever she went the skies grew bright, and she felt the warm sunbeam, and a rainbow above in the blue heavens seemed to span the dark world. She heard the song of the birds, and smelt the scent of the orange groves and apple orchards so strongly that she seemed to taste it. Soft tones and charming songs reached her ear, as well as harsh sounds and rough words—thoughts and opinions in strange contradiction to each other. Into the deepest recesses of her heart penetrated the echoes of human thoughts and feelings. Now she heard the following words sadly sung,—

“Life is a shadow that flits away

In a night of darkness and woe.”

But then would follow brighter thoughts:

“Life has the rose’s sweet perfume

With sunshine, light, and joy.”

And if one stanza sounded painfully—

“Each mortal thinks of himself alone,

Is a truth, alas, too clearly known;”

Then, on the other hand, came the answer—

“Love, like a mighty flowing stream,

Fills every heart with its radiant gleam.”

She heard, indeed, such words as these—

“In the pretty turmoil here below,

All is a vain and paltry show.”

Then came also words of comfort—

“Great and good are the actions done

By many whose worth is never known.”

And if sometimes the mocking strain reached her—

“Why not join in the jesting cry

That contemns all gifts from the throne on high?”

In the blind girl’s heart a stronger voice repeated—

“To trust in thyself and God is best,

In His holy will forever to rest.”

But the evil spirit could not see this and remain contented. He has more cleverness than ten thousand men, and he found means to compass his end. He betook himself to the marsh, and collected a few little bubbles of stagnant water. Then he uttered over them the echoes of lying words that they might become strong. He mixed up together songs of praise with lying epitaphs, as many as he could find, boiled them in tears shed by envy; put upon them rouge, which he had scraped from faded cheeks, and from these he produced a maiden, in form and appearance like the blind girl, the angel of completeness, as men called her. The evil one’s plot was successful. The world knew not which was the true, and indeed how should the world know?

“To trust in thyself and God is best,

In his Holy will forever to rest.”

So sung the blind girl in full faith. She had entrusted the four green leaves from the Tree of the Sun to the winds, as letters of greeting to her brothers, and she had full confidence that the leaves would reach them. She fully believed that the jewel which outshines all the glories of the world would yet be found, and that upon the forehead of humanity it would glitter even in the castle of her father. “Even in my father’s house,” she repeated. “Yes, the place in which this jewel is to be found is earth, and I shall bring more than the promise of it with me. I feel it glow and swell more and more in my closed hand. Every grain of truth which the keen wind carried up and whirled towards me I caught and treasured. I allowed it to be penetrated with the fragrance of the beautiful, of which there is so much in the world, even for the blind. I took the beatings of a heart engaged in a good action, and added them to my treasure. All that I can bring is but dust; still, it is a part of the jewel we seek, and there is plenty, my hand is quite full of it.”

She soon found herself again at home; carried thither in a flight of thought, never having loosened her hold of the invisible thread fastened to her father’s house. As she stretched out her hand to her father, the powers of evil dashed with the fury of a hurricane over the Tree of the Sun; a blast of wind rushed through the open doors, and into the sanctuary, where lay the Book of Truth.

“It will be blown to dust by the wind,” said the father, as he seized the open hand she held towards him.

“No,” she replied, with quiet confidence, “it is indestructible. I feel its beam warming my very soul.”

Then her father observed that a dazzling flame gleamed from the white page on which the shining dust had passed from her hand. It was there to prove the certainty of eternal life, and on the book glowed one shining word, and only one, the word BELIEVE. And soon the four brothers were again with the father and daughter. When the green leaf from home fell on the bosom of each, a longing had seized them to return. They had arrived, accompanied by the birds of passage, the stag, the antelope, and all the creatures of the forest who wished to take part in their joy.

We have often seen, when a sunbeam burst through a crack in the door into a dusty room, how a whirling column of dust seems to circle round. But this was not poor, insignificant, common dust, which the blind girl had brought; even the rainbow’s colors are dim when compared with the beauty which shone from the page on which it had fallen. The beaming word BELIEVE, from every grain of truth, had the brightness of the beautiful and the good, more bright than the mighty pillar of flame that led Moses and the children of Israel to the land of Canaan, and from the word BELIEVE arose the bridge of hope, reaching even to the unmeasurable Love in the realms of the infinite.

文章来源:安徒生童话

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