老墓碑的童话故事

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所属分类:民间故事

老墓碑简介

这是一首散文诗,最初是用德文发表在《巴伐利亚历书》上,后来才在丹麦的刊物《学校与家庭》上发表。“墓碑”代表一对老夫妇所度过的一生,很平凡,但也布满了美和善。墓碑虽然流落到他方,作为铺路石之用,但这并不说明:“一切东西都会被遗忘了!”同样,人生将会在新的一代传续下去,被永远地记忆着。“美和善的东西是永远不会给遗忘的,它在传说和歌谣中将获得永恒的生命。”

老墓碑

在一个小乡镇里,有一个人自己拥有一幢房子。有一天晚上,他全家的人围坐在一起。这正是人们所常说的“夜长”的季节。这种时刻既温暖,又舒适。灯亮了;长长的窗帘拉下来了。窗子上摆着许多花盆;外面是一片美丽的月光。不过他们并不是在谈论这件事。他们是在谈论着一块古老的大石头。这块石头躺在院子里、紧靠着厨房门旁边。

女佣人常常把擦过了的铜制的用具放在上面晒;孩子们也喜欢在上面玩耍。事实上它是一个古老的墓碑。

“是的,”房子的主人说,“我相信它是从那个拆除了的老修道院搬来的。人们把里面的宣讲台、纪念牌和墓碑全都卖了!我去世了的父亲买了好几块墓石,每块都打断了,当做铺道石用,不过这块墓石留下来了,一直躺在院子那儿没有动。”

“人们一眼就可以看出,这是一块墓石,”最大的一个孩子说,“我们仍然可以看出它上面刻得有一个滴漏①和一个安琪儿的片断。不过它上面的字差不多全都模糊了,只剩下卜列本这个名字和后边的一个大字母S,以及离此更远一点的'玛尔塔'!此外什么东西也看不见了。只有在下了雨,或者当我们把它洗净了以后,我们才能看得清楚。”

“天哪,这就是卜列本·斯万尼和他妻子的墓石!”一个老人插进来说。他是那么老,简直可以作为这所房子里所有人的祖父。“是的,他们是最后埋在这个老修道院墓地里的一对夫妇。他们从我小时起就是一对老好人。大家都认识他们,大家都喜欢他们。他们是这小城里的一对元老。大家都说他们所有的金子一个桶也装不完。但是他们穿的衣服却非常朴素,总是粗料子做的;不过他们的桌布、被单等总是雪白的。他们——卜列本和玛尔塔——是一对可爱的夫妇!当他们坐在屋子面前那个很高的石台阶上的一条凳子上时,老菩提树就把枝子罩在他们头上;他们和善地、温柔地对你点着头——这使你感到愉快。他们对穷人非常好,给他们饭吃,给他们衣服穿。他们的慈善行为充分地表示出他们的善意和基督精神。

“太太先去世!那一天我记得清清楚楚。我那时是一个很小的孩子,跟着爸爸一起到老卜列本家里去,那时她刚刚合上眼睛,这老头儿非常难过,哭得像一个小孩子。她的尸体还放在睡房里,离我们现在坐的这地方不远。他那时对我的爸爸和几个邻人说,他此后将会多么孤独,她曾经多么好,他们曾经怎样在一起生活了多少年,他们是怎样先认识的,然后又怎样相爱起来。我已经说过,我那时很小,只能站在旁边听。我听到这老人讲话,我也注意到,当他一讲起他们的订婚经过、她是怎样的美丽、他怎样找出许多天真的托词去会见她的时候,他就活泼起来,他的双颊就渐渐红润起来;这时我就感到非常惊奇。于是他就谈起他结婚的那个日子;他的眼睛这时也发出闪光来。他似乎又回到那个快乐的年代里去了。但是她——一个老女人——却躺在隔壁房间里,死去了。他自己也是一个老头儿,谈论着过去那些充满了希望的日子!是的,是的,世事就是这样!

“那时候我还不过是一个小孩子,不过现在我也老了,老了——像卜列本·斯万尼一样。时间过去了,一切事情都改变了!我记得她入葬那天的情景:卜列本·斯万尼紧跟在棺材后边。好几年以前,这对夫妇就准备好了他们的墓碑,在那上面刻好了他们的名字和碑文——只是没有填上死的年月。在一天晚间,这墓碑被抬到教堂的墓地里去,放在坟上。一年以后,它又被揭开了,老卜列本又在他妻子的身边躺下去了。

“他们不像人们所想象的和所讲的那样,身后并没有留下许多钱财。剩下的一点东西都送给了远房亲戚——直到那时人们才知道有这些亲戚。那座木房子——和它的台阶顶上菩提树下的一条凳子——已经被市政府拆除了,因为它太腐朽,不能再让它存留下去,后来那个修道院也遭受到同样的命运:那个墓地也铲平了,卜列本和玛尔塔的墓碑,像别的墓碑一样,也卖给任何愿意买它的人了。现在事又凑巧,这块墓石居然没有被打碎,给人用掉;它却仍然躺在这院子里,作为女佣人放厨房用具和孩子们玩耍的地方。在卜列本和他的妻子安息的地上现在铺出了一条街道。谁也不再记起他们了。”

讲这故事的老人悲哀地摇摇头。

“被遗忘了!一切东西都会被遗忘了!”他说。

于是他们在这房间里谈起别的事情来。不过那个最小的孩子——那个有一双严肃的大眼睛的孩子——爬到窗帘后边的一个椅子上去,朝院子里眺望。月光明朗地正照在这块大墓石上——对他说来。这一直是一块空洞和单调的石头。不过它现在躺在那儿像一整部历史中的一页。这孩子所听到的关于老卜列本和他的妻子的故事似乎就写在它上面。他望了望它,然后又望了望那个洁白的月亮,那个明朗高阔的天空。这很像造物主的面孔,向这整个的世界微笑。

“被遗忘了!一切东西都会被遗忘了!”这是房间里的人所说的一句话。这时候,有一个看不见的安琪儿飞进来,吻了这孩子的前额,同时低声地对他说:“好好地保管着这颗藏在你身体内的种子吧,一直到它成熟的时候!通过你,我的孩子,那块老墓石上模糊的碑文,它的每个字,将会射出金光,传到后代!那对老年夫妇将会手挽着手,又在古老的街上走过,微笑着,现出他们新鲜和健康的面孔,在菩提树下,在那个高台阶上的凳子上坐着,对过往的人点头——不论是贫或是富。从这时开始,这颗种子,到了适当的时候,将会成熟,开出花来,成为一首诗。美的和善的东西是永远不会给遗忘的;它在传说和歌谣中将会获得永恒的生命。”

①这是古代一种最原始的钟。它是由上下两个玻璃球作成的,由一个小颈联在一起。上面的球装满沙子或水银,通过这小颈流到下面的一个球里去。这个过程所花的时间,一般是一小时。时刻就以这流尽的过程为单位计算。古代教堂里常用这种钟。

英文版:The Old Grave-Stone

IN a house, with a large courtyard, in a provincial town, at that time of the year in which people say the evenings are growing longer, a family circle were gathered together at their old home. A lamp burned on the table, although the weather was mild and warm, and the long curtains hung down before the open windows, and without the moon shone brightly in the dark-blue sky.

But they were not talking of the moon, but of a large, old stone that lay below in the courtyard not very far from the kitchen door. The maids often laid the clean copper saucepans and kitchen vessels on this stone, that they might dry in the sun, and the children were fond of playing on it. It was, in fact, an old grave-stone.

“Yes,” said the master of the house, “I believe the stone came from the graveyard of the old church of the convent which was pulled down, and the pulpit, the monuments, and the grave-stones sold. My father bought the latter; most of them were cut in two and used for paving-stones, but that one stone was preserved whole, and laid in the courtyard.”

“Any one can see that it is a grave-stone,” said the eldest of the children; “the representation of an hour-glass and part of the figure of an angel can still be traced, but the inscription beneath is quite worn out, excepting the name ‘Preben,’ and a large ‘S’ close by it, and a little farther down the name of ‘Martha’ can be easily read. But nothing more, and even that cannot be seen unless it has been raining, or when we have washed the stone.”

“Dear me! how singular. Why that must be the grave-stone of Preben Schwane and his wife.”

The old man who said this looked old enough to be the grandfather of all present in the room.

“Yes,” he continued, “these people were among the last who were buried in the churchyard of the old convent. They were a very worthy old couple, I can remember them well in the days of my boyhood. Every one knew them, and they were esteemed by all. They were the oldest residents in the town, and people said they possessed a ton of gold, yet they were always very plainly dressed, in the coarsest stuff, but with linen of the purest whiteness. Preben and Martha were a fine old couple, and when they both sat on the bench, at the top of the steep stone steps, in front of their house, with the branches of the linden-tree waving above them, and nodded in a gentle, friendly way to passers by, it really made one feel quite happy. They were very good to the poor; they fed them and clothed them, and in their benevolence there was judgment as well as true Christianity. The old woman died first; that day is still quite vividly before my eyes. I was a little boy, and had accompanied my father to the old man’s house. Martha had fallen into the sleep of death just as we arrived there. The corpse lay in a bedroom, near to the one in which we sat, and the old man was in great distress and weeping like a child. He spoke to my father, and to a few neighbors who were there, of how lonely he should feel now she was gone, and how good and true she, his dead wife, had been during the number of years that they had passed through life together, and how they had become acquainted, and learnt to love each other. I was, as I have said, a boy, and only stood by and listened to what the others said; but it filled me with a strange emotion to listen to the old man, and to watch how the color rose in his cheeks as he spoke of the days of their courtship, of how beautiful she was, and how many little tricks he had been guilty of, that he might meet her. And then he talked of his wedding-day; and his eyes brightened, and he seemed to be carried back, by his words, to that joyful time. And yet there she was, lying in the next room, dead—an old woman, and he was an old man, speaking of the days of hope, long passed away. Ah, well, so it is; then I was but a child, and now I am old, as old as Preben Schwane then was. Time passes away, and all things changed. I can remember quite well the day on which she was buried, and how Old Preben walked close behind the coffin.

“A few years before this time the old couple had had their grave-stone prepared, with an inscription and their names, but not the date. In the evening the stone was taken to the churchyard, and laid on the grave. A year later it was taken up, that Old Preben might be laid by the side of his wife. They did not leave behind them wealth, they left behind them far less than people had believed they possessed; what there was went to families distantly related to them, of whom, till then, no one had ever heard. The old house, with its balcony of wickerwork, and the bench at the top of the high steps, under the lime-tree, was considered, by the road-inspectors, too old and rotten to be left standing. Afterwards, when the same fate befell the convent church, and the graveyard was destroyed, the grave-stone of Preben and Martha, like everything else, was sold to whoever would buy it. And so it happened that this stone was not cut in two as many others had been, but now lies in the courtyard below, a scouring block for the maids, and a playground for the children. The paved street now passes over the resting place of Old Preben and his wife; no one thinks of them any more now.”

And the old man who had spoken of all this shook his head mournfully, and said, “Forgotten! Ah, yes, everything will be forgotten!” And then the conversation turned on other matters.

But the youngest child in the room, a boy, with large, earnest eyes, mounted upon a chair behind the window curtains, and looked out into the yard, where the moon was pouring a flood of light on the old gravestone,—the stone that had always appeared to him so dull and flat, but which lay there now like a great leaf out of a book of history. All that the boy had heard of Old Preben and his wife seemed clearly defined on the stone, and as he gazed on it, and glanced at the clear, bright moon shining in the pure air, it was as if the light of God’s countenance beamed over His beautiful world.

“Forgotten! Everything will be forgotten!” still echoed through the room, and in the same moment an invisible spirit whispered to the heart of the boy, “Preserve carefully the seed that has been entrusted to thee, that it may grow and thrive. Guard it well. Through thee, my child, shall the obliterated inscription on the old, weather-beaten grave-stone go forth to future generations in clear, golden characters. The old pair shall again wander through the streets arm-in-arm, or sit with their fresh, healthy cheeks on the bench under the lime-tree, and smile and nod at rich and poor. The seed of this hour shall ripen in the course of years into a beautiful poem. The beautiful and the good are never forgotten, they live always in story or in song.”

文章来源:安徒生童话

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