影子的童话故事

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所属分类:民间故事

影子的故事简介

一个学者的影子消失了,几年后影子发迹,影子反过来要求这学者做他的影子。他们遇到一个公主。影子以绅士的形象赢得公主的好感,公主想进一步检验影子的学识,遂向影子提问。影子对公主说,这个问题非常简单,连他的影子都能回答。学者对公主侃侃而谈,公主心想,有这样一个聪明的影子的人,一定不是普通人“。因此,公主决定选影子做自己的丈夫。影子警告学者,你得让大家把你叫做影子,同时永远不准说你曾经是一个人。学者说,这未免做得太过火了,我不能接受,我要把一切事情讲出来,我是人,你是影子,你不过打扮得像一个人罢了。于是,影子对公主说,我的影子疯了,他幻想他变成了一个人,他以为—我是他的影子。于是,他们不声不响地把学者处置了。

影子的故事

在热带的国度里,太阳晒得非常厉害。人们都给晒成棕色,像桃花心木一样;在最热的国度里,人们就给晒成了黑人。不过现在有一位住在寒带的学者偏偏要到这些热的国家里来。他以为自己可以在这些国家里面漫游一番,像在本国一样,不过不多久他就改变了看法。像一切有理智的人一样,他得待在家里,把百叶窗和门整天都关起来,这看起来好像整屋子的人都在睡觉或者家里没有一个人似的。他所住的那条有许多高房子的狭小街道,建筑得恰恰使太阳从早到晚都照在它上面。这真叫人吃不消!

这位从寒带国家来的学者是一个聪明的年轻人。他觉得好像是坐在一个白热的炉子里面。这弄得他筋疲力尽。他变得非常瘦,连他的影子也萎缩起来,比在家时小了不知多少。太阳也把它烤得没精打采。只有太阳落了以后,他和影子在晚间才恢复过来。这种情形看起来倒真是一桩很有趣味的事儿。蜡烛一拿进房间里来,影子就在墙上伸长起来。它把自己伸得很高,甚至伸到天花板上面去了。为了要重新获得气力,它不得不伸长。

这位学者走到阳台上去,也伸了伸身体。星星在那美丽的晴空一出现,他觉得自己又有了生气。在这些街上所有的阳台上面——在热带的国家里,每个窗子上都有一个阳台——现在都有人走出来了,因为人们到底要呼吸些新鲜空气,即使要变成桃花心木的颜色也管不了。这时上上下下都显得生气勃勃起来。鞋匠啦,裁缝啦,在家都搬到街上来。桌子和椅子也被搬出来了;蜡烛也点起来了——是的,不止一千根蜡烛。这个人聊天,那个人唱歌;人们散步,马车奔驰,驴子走路——丁当——丁当——丁当!因为它们身上都戴着铃铛。死人在圣诗声中入了土;野孩子在放焰火;教堂的钟声在响。的确,街上充满了活跃的空气。

只有在那位外国学者住所对面的一间房子里,一切是沉寂的。但是那里面却住着一个人,因为阳台上有好几棵花。这些花儿在太阳光中长得非常美丽。如果没有人浇水,它们决不会长得这样好的;所以一定有什么人在那儿为它们浇水,因此一定有人住在那儿。天黑的时候,那儿的门也打开了,但是里面却很黑暗,最低限度前房是如此。更朝里一点有音乐飘出来。这位外国学者认为这音乐很美妙,不过这可能只是他的幻想,因为他发现在这些热带的国家里面,什么东西都是顶美丽的——如果没有太阳的话。这位外国人的房东说,他不知道谁租了对面的房子——那里从来没有任何人出现过;至于那音乐,他觉得单调之至。

他说:“好像有某个人坐在那儿,老是练习他弹不好的一个调子——一个不变的调子。他似乎在说:‘我终究要学会它。’但是不管他弹多久,他老是学不会。”

这个外国人有天晚上醒来了。他是睡在敞开的阳台门口的。风把它前面的帘子掀开,于是他就幻想自己看见一道奇异的光从对面的阳台上射来。所有的花都亮起来了,很像色彩鲜艳的火焰。在这些花儿中间立着一位美丽苗条的姑娘。她也似乎射出一道光来。这的确刺伤他的眼睛。不过这是因为他从睡梦中惊醒时把眼睛睁得太大了的缘故。他一翻身就跳到地上来了。他轻轻地走到帘子后面去,但是那个姑娘却不见了,光也没有了,花儿也不再闪亮,只是立在那儿,像平时一佯地好看。那扇门还是半掩着,从里面飘出一阵音乐声——那么柔和,那么美妙,使人一听到它就沉浸到甜美的幻想中去。这真妤像是一个幻境。但是谁住在那儿呢?真正的入口是在什么地方呢?因为最下面一层全是店铺,人们不能老是随便从这些铺子进出的。

有一天晚上,这位外国人坐在他的阳台上。在他后边的那个房间里点着灯,因此他的影子很自然地就射到对面屋子的墙上去了。它的确正坐在那个阳台上的花丛中间。当这外国人动一下的时候,他的影子也就动一下。

“我相信,我们在这儿所能看到的唯一活着的东西,就是我的影子。”这位学者说。“你看,它坐在花丛中间的一副样儿多么可爱。门是半开着的,但是这影子应该放聪明些,走进里面去瞧瞧,然后再回来把它所看到的东西告诉我。”

“是的,你应该变得有用一点才对啊!”他开玩笑地说。“请你走进去吧。嗯,你进去吗?”于是他对影子点点头;影子也对他点点头。“那么就请你进去吧,但是不要一去就不回来啦。”

这位外国人站起来,对面阳台上的影子也站了起来。这位外国人掉转身;影子也同时掉转身。如果有人仔细注意一下的话,就可以清楚地看出,当这位外国人走进自己的房间、放下那长帘子的时候,影子也走进对面阳台上那扇半掩着的门里去。

第二天早晨,这位学者出去喝咖啡,还要去看看报纸。奇Qīsuū.сom书

“这是怎么一回事儿?”当他走到太阳光里的时候,他忽然问。“我的影子不见了!它昨天晚上真的走开了,没有再回来。这真是一件怪讨厌的事儿!”

这使他烦恼起来,并不完全是因为他的影子不见了,而是因为他知道一个关于没有影子的人的故事。住在寒带国度里的家乡人都知道这个故事。如果这位学者回到家里、把自己的故事讲出来的话,大家将会说这是他模仿那个故事编出来的。他不愿意人们这样议论他。因此他就打算完全不提这事情——这是一个合理的想法。

晚上他又走到他的阳台上来,他已经把烛灯仔细地在他后面放好,因为他知道影子总是需要它的主人作为掩护的,但是他没有办法把它引出来。他把自己变小,把自己扩大,但是影子却没有产生,因此也没有影子走出来。他说:“出来!出来!”但是这一点用也没有。

这真使人苦恼。不过在热带的国度里,一切东西都长得非常快。过了一个星期以后,有一件事使他非常高兴:他发现当他走到太阳光里去的时候,一个新的影子从他的腿上生出来了。他身上一定有一个影子的根。三个星期以后,他已经有了一个相当可观的影子了。当他动身回到他的北国去的时候,影子在路上更长了许多;到后来它长得又高又大,就是去掉它半截也没有关系。

这位学者回到家里来了。他写了许多书,研究这世界上什么是真,什么是善,什么是美。于是日子一天一天地过去了,许多岁月也过去了,许多许多年也过去了。

有一天晚上,他正坐在房间里,有人在门上轻轻地敲了几下。“请进来!”他说;可是没有什么人进来。于是他把门打开;他看到自己面前站着一个瘦得出奇的人。这使他感到非常惊奇。但是这个人的衣服却穿得非常入时;他一定是一个有地位的人。

“请问尊姓大名?”这位教授问。

“咳!”这位有绅士风度的客人说,“我早就想到,您是不会认识我的!我现在成了一个具体的人,有了真正的血肉和衣服。您从来也没有想到会看到我是这个样子。您不认识您的老影子了吗?您决没有想到我会再来。自从我上次跟您在一起以后,我的一切情况进展得非常顺利。无论在哪方面说起来,我现在算得是很富有了;如果我想摆脱奴役,赎回自由,我也可以办得到!”

于是他把挂在表上的一串护身符①摇了一下,然后把手伸到颈项上戴着的一个很粗的金项链上去。这时钻石戒指在他的手指上发出多么亮的闪光呵!而且每件东西都是真的!

“不成,这把我弄得有点糊涂!”学者说。“这究竟是怎么一回事情?”

“决不是普通的事情!”影子说。“不过您自己也不是一个普通的人呀。您知道得很清楚,从我小时候起,我就寸步不离开您。只有当您觉得我成熟了、可以单独在这个世界上生活,我才自找出路。找现在的境遇是再美好电没有,不过我对您起了一种怀念的心情,想在您死去以前来看您一次。您总会死去的!同时我也想再看看这些地方,因为一个人总是喜爱自己的祖国的。我知道您现在已经有了另一个影子;要不要我对您——或者对它——付出一点什么代价呢?您只须告诉我好了。”

“嗨,原来是你呀!”学者说。“这真奇怪极了!我从来没有想到,一个人的旧影子会像人一样又回转来!”

“请告诉我,我应该付出些什么,”影子说,“因为我讨厌老欠别人的债。”

“你怎能讲这类的话呢?”学者说。“现在谈什么债呢?你跟任何人一样,是自由的!你有这样的好运气,我感到非常快乐。请坐吧,老朋友,请告诉我一点你过去的生活情况,和你在那个热带国家,在我们对面那所房子里所看到的事情。”

“是的,我可以告诉您,”影子说。于是他就坐下来。“不过请您答应我:随便您在什么地方遇见我,请不要告诉这城里的任何人,说我曾经是您的影子!我现在有意订婚,因为我现在的能力供养一个家庭还绰绰有余。”

“请放心,”学者说,“我决不把你的本来面目告诉任何人。请握我的手吧。我答应你。一个男子汉——说话算话。”

“一个影子——说话算话!”影子说,因为他不得不这样讲。

说来也真够了不起,他现在成了一个多么完整的人。他全身是黑色的打扮:他穿着最好的黑衣服,漆皮鞋,戴着一顶可以叠得只剩下一个顶和边的帽子。除此以外,他还有我们已经知道的护身符、金项链和钻石戒指。影子真是穿得异乎寻常地漂亮。正是这种打扮使他看起来像一个人。

“现在我对您讲吧,”影子说。于是他把他穿着漆皮鞋的脚使劲地踩在学者新影子的手臂上——它躺在他的脚下像一只小狮子狗。这种作法可能是由于骄傲而起,也可能是因为他想要把这新影子粘在他的脚上。不过这个伏着的影子是非常安静的,因为它想静听他们讲话。它也想知道,一个影子怎样可以获得自由,成为自己的主人。

“您知道住在那对面房间里的人是谁吗?”影子问。“那是一切生物中最可爱的一个人;那是诗神!我在那儿住了三个星期。这使人好像在那儿住了一千年、读了世界上所有的诗和文章似的。我敢说这句话,而且这是真话,我看到了一切,我知道了一切!”

“诗神!”学者大叫一声。“是的,是的!她常常作为一个隐士,住在大城市里面。诗神!是的,我亲眼看到过她一刹那,不过我的眼皮那时被睡虫压得沉重;她站在阳台上,发出—道很像北极光的光。请告诉我吧!请告诉我吧!你那时是立在阳台上的。你走进

那个门里去,于是——”

“于是我就走进了前房,”影子说,“那时您坐在对面,老是朝着这个前房里瞧。那儿没有点灯,只有一种模糊的光。不过里面却有一整排厅堂和房间,门都是一个接着一个地开着的;房里都点着灯。要不是我直接走进去,到那个姑娘的身旁,我简直要被这强烈的光照死了。不过我是很冷静的,我静静地等着——这正是一个人所应取的态度。”

“你看到了什么呢?”这位学者问。

“我看到了一切,我将全部告诉您。不过——这并不是我的自高自大——作为一个自由人,加上我所有的学问,且不说我高尚的地位和优越的条件,——我希望您把我称做‘您’。”

“请原谅!”学者说,“这是一个老习惯,很不容易去掉。——您是绝对正确的,我一定记住。不过现在请您把您所看到的一切都告诉我吧。”

“一切!”影子说,“因为我看到了一切,同时我知道一切。”

“那个内房里的一切是个什么样儿的呢?”学者问。“是像在一个空气新鲜的山林里吗?是像在一个神庙里吗?那些房间是像一个人站在高山上看到的满天星斗的高空吗?”

“那儿一切都有,”影子说,“我没有完全走进里面去,只是站在阴暗的前房里,不过我在那儿的地位站得非常好。我看到一切,我知道一切。我曾经到前房诗之宫里去过。”

“不过您到底看到了什么呢?在那些大厅里面是不是有远古的神祗走过?是不是有古代的英雄在那儿比武?是不是有美丽的孩子们在那儿嬉戏,在那儿讲他们所做过的梦?”

“我告诉您,找到那儿去过,因此您懂得我在那儿看到了我所能看到的一切!如果您到那儿去过,您不会成为另外一个人;但是我却成了一个人了,同时我还学到了理解我内在的天性,我的本质和我与诗的关系。是的,当我以前和您在一起的时候,我不曾想到过这些东西。不过您知道,在太阳上升或落下去的时候,我就变得分外地高大。在月光里面,我看起来比您更真实。那时我不认识我内在的本质;我只有到了那个前房里才认出来。我变成一个人了!

“我完全成形了。您已经不再在那些温暖的国度里。作为一个人,我就觉得以原来的形态出现是羞耻的:我需要皮鞋、衣服和一个具体的人所应当有的各种修饰,——我自己藏起来;是的,我把这都告诉您了——请您不要把它写进任何书里去。我跑到卖糕饼女人的裙子下面去,在那里面藏起来。这个女人一点也不知道她藏着一件多么大的东西。起初我只有在晚上才走出来,我在街上的月光下面走来走去。我在墙上伸得很长,这使得我背上发痒,怪舒服的啦!我跑上跑下,我通过最高的窗子向客厅里面望去;我通过屋顶向谁也望不见的地方望去;我看到谁也没有见过和谁也不应该见到的东西。整个地说来,这是一个卑鄙肮脏的世界!要不是大家认为做一个人是件了不起的事情,我决不愿意做一个人。

“我看到一些在男人、女人、父母和‘亲爱无比的’孩子们中间发生的最不可思议的事情。我看到谁也不知道、但是大家却非常想知道的事情——他们的邻居做的坏事。如果我把这些事情写出来在报纸上发表的话,那么看的人可就多了!但是我只直接写给一些有关的人看,因此我到哪个城市,哪个城市就起了一阵恐怖。人们那么害怕我,结果他们都变得非常喜欢我。教授推选我为教授;裁缝送给我新衣服穿,我什么也不缺少。造币厂长为我造钱;女人们说找长得漂亮!——这么一来,我就成为现在这样的一个人了。咳,现在我要告别了。这是我的名片;我住在有太阳的那一边。下雨的时候我总在家里。”

影子告别了。

“这真是稀奇,”学者说。

许多岁月过去了。影子又来拜访。

“您好吗?”他问。

“哎呀!”学者说,“我正在写关于真、关于善、关于美的文章。但是谁也不愿意听这类的事儿;我简直有些失望,因为这使我难过。”

“但是我却不这样,”影子说。“我正长得心宽体胖——一个人应该这样才成。你不了解这个世界,因此你快要病了。你应该去旅行一下。这个夏天我将要到外面去跑跑;你也来吗?我倒很希望有一位旅伴呢。您愿不愿作为我的影子,跟我一道来?有您在一起,对我说来将是一桩很大的愉快。我愿意担负您的一切旅行费用。”

“这未免有点太过分了,”学者说。

“这要看您对这个问题取一种什么态度,”影子回答说,“旅行一次会对您有很大的好处。如果您愿意做我的影子,那么您将得到一切旅行的利益,而却没有旅行的负担。”

“这未免有点太那个了!”学者说。

“世事就是如此呀!”影子说,“而且将来也会是如此!”

于是影子就走了。

这位学者并不完全是很舒服的。忧愁和顾虑紧跟着他。他所谈的真、善、美对于大多数的人说来,正如玫瑰花之对于一头母牛一样,引不起兴趣。——最后他病了。

“你看起来真像一个影子,”大家对他说。他想到这句话时,身上就冷了半截。

“您应该到一个温泉去疗养!”影子来拜访他的时候说。“再没有别的办法。看在我们老交情的分上,我可以把您带去。我来付出一切旅行的费用,您可以把这次旅行描写一番,同时也可以使我在路上消消遣。我要到一个温泉去住住。我的胡子长得不正常,而这是一种病态。但是我必须有胡子,现在请您放聪明一些,接受我的提议吧:我们可以作为好朋友去旅行一番。”

这么着,他们就去旅行了。影子现在成为主人了,而主人却成了影子。他们一起坐着车子,一起骑着马,一起并肩走着路;他们彼此有时在前,有时在后,完全依太阳的位置而定。影子总是很当心地要显出主人的身份。这位学者却没有想到这一点,因为他有一颗很善良的心,而且是一个特别温和和友爱的人。因此有一天主人对影子说:

“我们现在成为旅伴了——这一点也不用怀疑;同时我们也是从小在一起长大的,我们结拜为兄弟好不好?这样我们就可以变得更亲密些。”

“您说得对!”影子说——他现在事实上是主人,“您这句话非常直率,而且用意很好。我现在也要以诚相见,想什么就说什么。您是一个有学问的人;我想您知道得很清楚,人性是多么古怪。有些人不能摸一下灰纸——他们一看到灰纸就讨厌。有些人看到一个人用钉子在玻璃窗上划一下就全身发抖。我听到您把我称为‘你’,也有同样的感觉。像我跟您当初的关系一样,我觉得好像我是被睬到地上。您要知道,这是一种感觉,并不是自高自大的问题。我不能让您对我说‘你’,但是我倒很愿意把您称为‘你’呢。这样我们就两不吃亏了。”

从这时起,影子就把他从前的主人称为“你”。

“这未免有点太过火了,”后者想,“我得喊‘您’,而他却把我称为‘你’。”但是他也只好忍受了。

他们来到一个温泉。这儿住着许多外国人;他们之中有一位美丽的公主。她得了一种病,那就是她的眼睛看东西非常锐利——这可以使人感到极端地不安。

她马上就注意到,新来的这位人物跟其他的人不同。

“大家都说他到这儿来为的是要使他的胡子生长。不过我却能看出真正的原由——他不能投射出一个影子来。”

她有些好奇,因此她马上就在散步场上跟这位陌生的绅士聊起天来。作为一个公主,她没有什么客气的必要,因此她就直截了当地对他说:

“你的毛病就是不能投射出影子。”

“公主殿下的身体现在好多了,”影子说;“我知道您的毛病是:您看事情过于尖锐。不过这毛病已经没有了,您已经治好了。我恰恰有一个相当不平常的影子!您没有看到老跟我在一起的这个人么?别的人都有一个普通的影子,但是我却不喜欢普通的东西。有人喜欢把比自己衣服质料还要好的料子给仆人做制服穿;同样,我要让我的影子打扮得像一个独立的人。您看我还让他有一个自己的影子。这笔费用可是不小,但是我喜欢与众不同一点。”

“怎么!”公主想。“我的病已经真正治好了吗?这是世界上一个最好的温泉。它的水现在有一种奇异的力量。不过我现在还不打算离开这里,因为这地方开始使我很感兴趣。这个陌生人非常逗我的喜爱。我只希望他的胡须不要长起来,因为如果他长好了的话,那么他就要走了。”

这天晚上公主和影子在一个宽广的大厅里跳舞。她的体态轻盈,但是他的身体更轻。她从来没有遇见过这样一个跳舞的人。她告诉他,她是从哪一个国家来的,而他恰恰知道这个国家——他到那儿去过,但是那时她已经离开了。他曾经从窗口向她宫殿的内部看过——上上下下地看过。他看到了这,也看到了那。因此他可以回答公主的问题,同时暗示一些事情——这使得她非常惊奇。他一定是世界上最聪明的人了!因此她对于他的知识的渊博起了无限的敬意。当她再次和他跳舞的时候,她不禁对他发生了爱情。影子特别注意到了这一点,因为她的眼睛一直在盯着他。

她跟他又跳了一次舞。她几乎把心中的话说出来了,不过她是一个很懂得分寸的人:她想到了她的国家。她的王国和她将要统治的那些人民。

“他是一个聪明人,”她对自己说。“这是很好的;而且他跳舞也很出色——这也是很好的。但是我不知道他的学问是不是根底很深?这也是一个重要的问题:必须把他考察一下才是。”

于是她马上问了他一个非常困难、连她自己也回答不出来的问题。影子做了一个鬼脸。

“你回答不了,”公主说。

“我小时候就知道了,”影子说,“而且我相信,连站在门那儿的我的影子都能回答得出来。”

“你的影子!”公主叫了一声,“那倒真是了不起。”

“我并不是肯定地说他能回答,”影子说,“不过我相信他能够回答。这许多年来,他一直跟着我,听我谈话。不过请殿下原谅,我要提醒您注意,他认为自己是一个人,而且以此自豪;所以如果您要使他的心情好、使他能正确地回答问题,那末您得把他当做一个真正的人来看待。”

“我可以这样办,”公主说。

于是她走到那位站在门旁的学者身边去。她跟他谈到太阳和月亮,谈到人类的内心和外表;这位学者回答得既聪明,又正确。

“有这样一个聪明的影子的人,一定不是普通人,”她想。“如果我把他选做我的丈夫的话,那对于我的国家和人民一定是一桩莫

大的幸事。——我要这样办!”

于是他们——公主和影子——马上就达到了一个谅解。不过在她没有回到自己的王国去以前,谁也不能知道这件事情。

“谁也不会知道——即使我的影子也不会知道的,”影子说。他说这句话有他自己的理由。

他们一起回到公主在家时所统治的那个国家里去。

“请听着,我的好朋友,”影子对学者说。“现在一个人所能希望得到的幸运和权力,我都有了。我现在也要为你做点特别的事情。你将永远跟我一起住在我的宫殿里,跟我一起乘坐我的皇家御车,而且每年还能领十万块钱的俸禄。不过你得让大家把你叫做影子,同时永远不准你说你曾经是一个人。一年一度,当我坐在阳台上太阳光里让大家看我的时候②,你得像一个影子的样儿,乖乖地躺在我的脚下。我可以告诉你,我快要跟公主结婚了;婚礼就在今天晚上举行。”

“哎,这未免做得太过火了!”学者说。“我不能接受,我决不干这类的事儿。这简直是欺骗公主和全国的人民。我要把一切事情讲出来——我是人,你是影子,你不过打扮得像一个人一样罢了!”

“决没有人会相信你的话!”影子说。“请你放聪明一点吧,否则我就要喊警卫来了!”

“我将直接去告诉公主!”学者说。

“但是我会比你先去,”影子说;“你将走进监牢。”

事实上,结果也就是如此,因为警卫知道他要跟公主结婚,所以就服从了他的指挥。

“你在发抖,”当影子走进房里去的时候,公主说。“出了什么事情吗?我们快要结婚,你今晚不能生病呀!”

“我遇见世上一件最骇人听闻的事情!”影子说。“请想想吧!——当然,一个可怜的影子的头脑是经不起抬举的——请想想吧!我的影子疯了:他幻想他变成了一个人;他以为——请想想吧——他以为我是他的影子!”

“这真可怕!”公主说。“我想他已经被关起来了吧?”

“当然啦。我恐怕他永远也恢复不了理智了。”

“可怜的影子!”公主说,“他真是不幸。把他从他渺小的生命中解脱出来,我想也算是一桩善行吧。当我把这事情仔细思量一番以后,我觉得把他不声不响处置掉是必要的。”

“这当然未免有点过火,因为他一直是一个很忠实的仆人,”影子说,同时假装叹了一口气。

“你真是一个品质高贵的人,”公主说,在他面前深深地鞠了一躬。

这天晚上,整个城市大放光明;礼炮在一齐放射——轰轰!兵士们都在举枪致敬。这是举行婚礼!公主和影子在阳台上向百姓露面,再次接受群众的欢呼。

那位学者对于这个盛大的庆祝一点也没有听到,因为他已经被处决了。

①在欧洲,特别是在民间,人门常常在身边带些小玩意儿,迷信地认为它们可以带来好运。

②在欧洲,根据封建时代遗留下来的惯例,国王和王后,或者公主和驸马,在每年国庆节日的时候,走到阳台上来,向外面欢呼的民众答礼。

影子的故事寓意

在这个童话故事中,影子象征我们的幻想和欲望。为了实现幻想,满足欲望,我们游历世间,学习必需的知识和技能,并在这过程中逐渐世俗化。为了成为社会所欢迎的典型,我们越来越远离真善美的本我。外在的角色、地位、关系、成就,足以使人忘却自我。

英文版:The Shadow

IN very hot climates, where the heat of the sun has great power, people are usually as brown as mahogany; and in the hottest countries they are negroes, with black skins. A learned man once travelled into one of these warm climates, from the cold regions of the north, and thought he would roam about as he did at home; but he soon had to change his opinion. He found that, like all sensible people, he must remain in the house during the whole day, with every window and door closed, so that it looked as if all in the house were asleep or absent. The houses of the narrow street in which he lived were so lofty that the sun shone upon them from morning till evening, and it became quite unbearable. This learned man from the cold regions was young as well as clever; but it seemed to him as if he were sitting in an oven, and he became quite exhausted and weak, and grew so thin that his shadow shrivelled up, and became much smaller than it had been at home. The sun took away even what was left of it, and he saw nothing of it till the evening, after sunset. It was really a pleasure, as soon as the lights were brought into the room, to see the shadow stretch itself against the wall, even to the ceiling, so tall was it; and it really wanted a good stretch to recover its strength. The learned man would sometimes go out into the balcony to stretch himself also; and as soon as the stars came forth in the clear, beautiful sky, he felt revived. People at this hour began to make their appearance in all the balconies in the street; for in warm climates every window has a balcony, in which they can breathe the fresh evening air, which is very necessary, even to those who are used to a heat that makes them as brown as mahogany; so that the street presented a very lively appearance. Here were shoemakers, and tailors, and all sorts of people sitting. In the street beneath, they brought out tables and chairs, lighted candles by hundreds, talked and sang, and were very merry. There were people walking, carriages driving, and mules trotting along, with their bells on the harness, “tingle, tingle,” as they went. Then the dead were carried to the grave with the sound of solemn music, and the tolling of the church bells. It was indeed a scene of varied life in the street. One house only, which was just opposite to the one in which the foreign learned man lived, formed a contrast to all this, for it was quite still; and yet somebody dwelt there, for flowers stood in the balcony, blooming beautifully in the hot sun; and this could not have been unless they had been watered carefully. Therefore some one must be in the house to do this. The doors leading to the balcony were half opened in the evening; and although in the front room all was dark, music could be heard from the interior of the house. The foreign learned man considered this music very delightful; but perhaps he fancied it; for everything in these warm countries pleased him, excepting the heat of the sun. The foreign landlord said he did not know who had taken the opposite house—nobody was to be seen there; and as to the music, he thought it seemed very tedious, to him most uncommonly so.

“It is just as if some one was practising a piece that he could not manage; it is always the same piece. He thinks, I suppose, that he will be able to manage it at last; but I do not think so, however long he may play it.”

Once the foreigner woke in the night. He slept with the door open which led to the balcony; the wind had raised the curtain before it, and there appeared a wonderful brightness over all in the balcony of the opposite house. The flowers seemed like flames of the most gorgeous colors, and among the flowers stood a beautiful slender maiden. It was to him as if light streamed from her, and dazzled his eyes; but then he had only just opened them, as he awoke from his sleep. With one spring he was out of bed, and crept softly behind the curtain. But she was gone—the brightness had disappeared; the flowers no longer appeared like flames, although still as beautiful as ever. The door stood ajar, and from an inner room sounded music so sweet and so lovely, that it produced the most enchanting thoughts, and acted on the senses with magic power. Who could live there? Where was the real entrance? for, both in the street and in the lane at the side, the whole ground floor was a continuation of shops; and people could not always be passing through them.

One evening the foreigner sat in the balcony. A light was burning in his own room, just behind him. It was quite natural, therefore, that his shadow should fall on the wall of the opposite house; so that, as he sat amongst the flowers on his balcony, when he moved, his shadow moved also.

“I think my shadow is the only living thing to be seen opposite,” said the learned man; “see how pleasantly it sits among the flowers. The door is only ajar; the shadow ought to be clever enough to step in and look about him, and then to come back and tell me what he has seen. You could make yourself useful in this way,” said he, jokingly; “be so good as to step in now, will you?” and then he nodded to the shadow, and the shadow nodded in return. “Now go, but don’t stay away altogether.”

Then the foreigner stood up, and the shadow on the opposite balcony stood up also; the foreigner turned round, the shadow turned; and if any one had observed, they might have seen it go straight into the half-opened door of the opposite balcony, as the learned man re-entered his own room, and let the curtain fall. The next morning he went out to take his coffee and read the newspapers.

“How is this?” he exclaimed, as he stood in the sunshine. “I have lost my shadow. So it really did go away yesterday evening, and it has not returned. This is very annoying.”

And it certainly did vex him, not so much because the shadow was gone, but because he knew there was a story of a man without a shadow. All the people at home, in his country, knew this story; and when he returned, and related his own adventures, they would say it was only an imitation; and he had no desire for such things to be said of him. So he decided not to speak of it at all, which was a very sensible determination.

In the evening he went out again on his balcony, taking care to place the light behind him; for he knew that a shadow always wants his master for a screen; but he could not entice him out. He made himself little, and he made himself tall; but there was no shadow, and no shadow came. He said, “Hem, a-hem;” but it was all useless. That was very vexatious; but in warm countries everything grows very quickly; and, after a week had passed, he saw, to his great joy, that a new shadow was growing from his feet, when he walked in the sunshine; so that the root must have remained. After three weeks, he had quite a respectable shadow, which, during his return journey to northern lands, continued to grow, and became at last so large that he might very well have spared half of it. When this learned man arrived at home, he wrote books about the true, the good, and the beautiful, which are to be found in this world; and so days and years passed—many, many years.

One evening, as he sat in his study, a very gentle tap was heard at the door. “Come in,” said he; but no one came. He opened the door, and there stood before him a man so remarkably thin that he felt seriously troubled at his appearance. He was, however, very well dressed, and looked like a gentleman. “To whom have I the honor of speaking?” said he.

“Ah, I hoped you would recognize me,” said the elegant stranger; “I have gained so much that I have a body of flesh, and clothes to wear. You never expected to see me in such a condition. Do you not recognize your old shadow? Ah, you never expected that I should return to you again. All has been prosperous with me since I was with you last; I have become rich in every way, and, were I inclined to purchase my freedom from service, I could easily do so.” And as he spoke he rattled between his fingers a number of costly trinkets which hung to a thick gold watch-chain he wore round his neck. Diamond rings sparkled on his fingers, and it was all real.

“I cannot recover from my astonishment,” said the learned man. “What does all this mean?”

“Something rather unusual,” said the shadow; “but you are yourself an uncommon man, and you know very well that I have followed in your footsteps ever since your childhood. As soon as you found that I have travelled enough to be trusted alone, I went my own way, and I am now in the most brilliant circumstances. But I felt a kind of longing to see you once more before you die, and I wanted to see this place again, for there is always a clinging to the land of one’s birth. I know that you have now another shadow; do I owe you anything? If so, have the goodness to say what it is.”

“No! Is it really you?” said the learned man. “Well, this is most remarkable; I never supposed it possible that a man’s old shadow could become a human being.”

“Just tell me what I owe you,” said the shadow, “for I do not like to be in debt to any man.”

“How can you talk in that manner?” said the learned man. “What question of debt can there be between us? You are as free as any one. I rejoice exceedingly to hear of your good fortune. Sit down, old friend, and tell me a little of how it happened, and what you saw in the house opposite to me while we were in those hot climates.”

“Yes, I will tell you all about it,” said the shadow, sitting down; “but then you must promise me never to tell in this city, wherever you may meet me, that I have been your shadow. I am thinking of being married, for I have more than sufficient to support a family.”

“Make yourself quite easy,” said the learned man; “I will tell no one who you really are. Here is my hand,—I promise, and a word is sufficient between man and man.”

“Between man and a shadow,” said the shadow; for he could not help saying so.

It was really most remarkable how very much he had become a man in appearance. He was dressed in a suit of the very finest black cloth, polished boots, and an opera crush hat, which could be folded together so that nothing could be seen but the crown and the rim, besides the trinkets, the gold chain, and the diamond rings already spoken of. The shadow was, in fact, very well dressed, and this made a man of him. “Now I will relate to you what you wish to know,” said the shadow, placing his foot with the polished leather boot as firmly as possible on the arm of the new shadow of the learned man, which lay at his feet like a poodle dog. This was done, it might be from pride, or perhaps that the new shadow might cling to him, but the prostrate shadow remained quite quiet and at rest, in order that it might listen, for it wanted to know how a shadow could be sent away by its master, and become a man itself. “Do you know,” said the shadow, “that in the house opposite to you lived the most glorious creature in the world? It was poetry. I remained there three weeks, and it was more like three thousand years, for I read all that has ever been written in poetry or prose; and I may say, in truth, that I saw and learnt everything.”

“Poetry!” exclaimed the learned man. “Yes, she lives as a hermit in great cities. Poetry! Well, I saw her once for a very short moment, while sleep weighed down my eyelids. She flashed upon me from the balcony like the radiant aurora borealis, surrounded with flowers like flames of fire. Tell me, you were on the balcony that evening; you went through the door, and what did you see?”

“I found myself in an ante-room,” said the shadow. “You still sat opposite to me, looking into the room. There was no light, or at least it seemed in partial darkness, for the door of a whole suite of rooms stood open, and they were brilliantly lighted. The blaze of light would have killed me, had I approached too near the maiden myself, but I was cautious, and took time, which is what every one ought to do.”

“And what didst thou see?” asked the learned man.

“I saw everything, as you shall hear. But—it really is not pride on my part, as a free man and possessing the knowledge that I do, besides my position, not to speak of my wealth—I wish you would say you to me instead of thou.”

“I beg your pardon,” said the learned man; “it is an old habit, which it is difficult to break. You are quite right; I will try to think of it. But now tell me everything that you saw.”

“Everything,” said the shadow; “for I saw and know everything.”

“What was the appearance of the inner rooms?” asked the scholar. “Was it there like a cool grove, or like a holy temple? Were the chambers like a starry sky seen from the top of a high mountain?”

“It was all that you describe,” said the shadow; “but I did not go quite in—I remained in the twilight of the ante-room—but I was in a very good position,—I could see and hear all that was going on in the court of poetry.”

“But what did you see? Did the gods of ancient times pass through the rooms? Did old heroes fight their battles over again? Were there lovely children at play, who related their dreams?”

“I tell you I have been there, and therefore you may be sure that I saw everything that was to be seen. If you had gone there, you would not have remained a human being, whereas I became one; and at the same moment I became aware of my inner being, my inborn affinity to the nature of poetry. It is true I did not think much about it while I was with you, but you will remember that I was always much larger at sunrise and sunset, and in the moonlight even more visible than yourself, but I did not then understand my inner existence. In the ante-room it was revealed to me. I became a man; I came out in full maturity. But you had left the warm countries. As a man, I felt ashamed to go about without boots or clothes, and that exterior finish by which man is known. So I went my own way; I can tell you, for you will not put it in a book. I hid myself under the cloak of a cake woman, but she little thought who she concealed. It was not till evening that I ventured out. I ran about the streets in the moonlight. I drew myself up to my full height upon the walls, which tickled my back very pleasantly. I ran here and there, looked through the highest windows into the rooms, and over the roofs. I looked in, and saw what nobody else could see, or indeed ought to see; in fact, it is a bad world, and I would not care to be a man, but that men are of some importance. I saw the most miserable things going on between husbands and wives, parents and children,—sweet, incomparable children. I have seen what no human being has the power of knowing, although they would all be very glad to know—the evil conduct of their neighbors. Had I written a newspaper, how eagerly it would have been read! Instead of which, I wrote directly to the persons themselves, and great alarm arose in all the town I visited. They had so much fear of me, and yet how dearly they loved me. The professor made me a professor. The tailor gave me new clothes; I am well provided for in that way. The overseer of the mint struck coins for me. The women declared that I was handsome, and so I became the man you now see me. And now I must say adieu. Here is my card. I live on the sunny side of the street, and always stay at home in rainy weather.” And the shadow departed.

“This is all very remarkable,” said the learned man.

Years passed, days and years went by, and the shadow came again. “How are you going on now?” he asked.

“Ah!” said the learned man; “I am writing about the true, the beautiful, and the good; but no one cares to hear anything about it. I am quite in despair, for I take it to heart very much.”

“That is what I never do,” said the shadow; “I am growing quite fat and stout, which every one ought to be. You do not understand the world; you will make yourself ill about it; you ought to travel; I am going on a journey in the summer, will you go with me? I should like a travelling companion; will you travel with me as my shadow? It would give me great pleasure, and I will pay all expenses.”

“Are you going to travel far?” asked the learned man.

“That is a matter of opinion,” replied the shadow. “At all events, a journey will do you good, and if you will be my shadow, then all your journey shall be paid.”

“It appears to me very absurd,” said the learned man.

“But it is the way of the world,” replied the shadow, “and always will be.” Then he went away.

Everything went wrong with the learned man. Sorrow and trouble pursued him, and what he said about the good, the beautiful, and the true, was of as much value to most people as a nutmeg would be to a cow. At length he fell ill. “You really look like a shadow,” people said to him, and then a cold shudder would pass over him, for he had his own thoughts on the subject.

“You really ought to go to some watering-place,” said the shadow on his next visit. “There is no other chance for you. I will take you with me, for the sake of old acquaintance. I will pay the expenses of your journey, and you shall write a description of it to amuse us by the way. I should like to go to a watering-place; my beard does not grow as it ought, which is from weakness, and I must have a beard. Now do be sensible and accept my proposal; we shall travel as intimate friends.”

And at last they started together. The shadow was master now, and the master became the shadow. They drove together, and rode and walked in company with each other, side by side, or one in front and the other behind, according to the position of the sun. The shadow always knew when to take the place of honor, but the learned man took no notice of it, for he had a good heart, and was exceedingly mild and friendly.

One day the master said to the shadow, “We have grown up together from our childhood, and now that we have become travelling companions, shall we not drink to our good fellowship, and say thee and thou to each other?”

“What you say is very straightforward and kindly meant,” said the shadow, who was now really master. “I will be equally kind and straightforward. You are a learned man, and know how wonderful human nature is. There are some men who cannot endure the smell of brown paper; it makes them ill. Others will feel a shuddering sensation to their very marrow, if a nail is scratched on a pane of glass. I myself have a similar kind of feeling when I hear any one saythou to me. I feel crushed by it, as I used to feel in my former position with you. You will perceive that this is a matter of feeling, not pride. I cannot allow you to say thou to me; I will gladly say it to you, and therefore your wish will be half fulfilled.” Then the shadow addressed his former master as thou.

“It is going rather too far,” said the latter, “that I am to say you when I speak to him, and he is to say thou to me.” However, he was obliged to submit.

They arrived at length at the baths, where there were many strangers, and among them a beautiful princess, whose real disease consisted in being too sharp-sighted, which made every one very uneasy. She saw at once that the new comer was very different to every one else. “They say he is here to make his beard grow,” she thought; “but I know the real cause, he is unable to cast a shadow.” Then she became very curious on the matter, and one day, while on the promenade, she entered into conversation with the strange gentleman. Being a princess, she was not obliged to stand upon much ceremony, so she said to him without hesitation, “Your illness consists in not being able to cast a shadow.”

“Your royal highness must be on the high road to recovery from your illness,” said he. “I know your complaint arose from being too sharp-sighted, and in this case it has entirely failed. I happen to have a most unusual shadow. Have you not seen a person who is always at my side? Persons often give their servants finer cloth for their liveries than for their own clothes, and so I have dressed out my shadow like a man; nay, you may observe that I have even given him a shadow of his own; it is rather expensive, but I like to have things about me that are peculiar.”

“How is this?” thought the princess; “am I really cured? This must be the best watering-place in existence. Water in our times has certainly wonderful power. But I will not leave this place yet, just as it begins to be amusing. This foreign prince—for he must be a prince—pleases me above all things. I only hope his beard won’t grow, or he will leave at once.”

In the evening, the princess and the shadow danced together in the large assembly rooms. She was light, but he was lighter still; she had never seen such a dancer before. She told him from what country she had come, and found he knew it and had been there, but not while she was at home. He had looked into the windows of her father’s palace, both the upper and the lower windows; he had seen many things, and could therefore answer the princess, and make allusions which quite astonished her. She thought he must be the cleverest man in all the world, and felt the greatest respect for his knowledge. When she danced with him again she fell in love with him, which the shadow quickly discovered, for she had with her eyes looked him through and through. They danced once more, and she was nearly telling him, but she had some discretion; she thought of her country, her kingdom, and the number of people over whom she would one day have to rule. “He is a clever man,” she thought to herself, “which is a good thing, and he dances admirably, which is also good. But has he well-grounded knowledge? that is an important question, and I must try him.” Then she asked him a most difficult question, she herself could not have answered it, and the shadow made a most unaccountable grimace.

“You cannot answer that,” said the princess.

“I learnt something about it in my childhood,” he replied; “and believe that even my very shadow, standing over there by the door, could answer it.”

“Your shadow,” said the princess; “indeed that would be very remarkable.”

“I do not say so positively,” observed the shadow; “but I am inclined to believe that he can do so. He has followed me for so many years, and has heard so much from me, that I think it is very likely. But your royal highness must allow me to observe, that he is very proud of being considered a man, and to put him in a good humor, so that he may answer correctly, he must be treated as a man.”

“I shall be very pleased to do so,” said the princess. So she walked up to the learned man, who stood in the doorway, and spoke to him of the sun, and the moon, of the green forests, and of people near home and far off; and the learned man conversed with her pleasantly and sensibly.

“What a wonderful man he must be, to have such a clever shadow!” thought she. “If I were to choose him it would be a real blessing to my country and my subjects, and I will do it.” So the princess and the shadow were soon engaged to each other, but no one was to be told a word about it, till she returned to her kingdom.

“No one shall know,” said the shadow; “not even my own shadow;” and he had very particular reasons for saying so.

After a time, the princess returned to the land over which she reigned, and the shadow accompanied her.

“Listen my friend,” said the shadow to the learned man; “now that I am as fortunate and as powerful as any man can be, I will do something unusually good for you. You shall live in my palace, drive with me in the royal carriage, and have a hundred thousand dollars a year; but you must allow every one to call you a shadow, and never venture to say that you have been a man. And once a year, when I sit in my balcony in the sunshine, you must lie at my feet as becomes a shadow to do; for I must tell you I am going to marry the princess, and our wedding will take place this evening.”

“Now, really, this is too ridiculous,” said the learned man. “I cannot, and will not, submit to such folly. It would be cheating the whole country, and the princess also. I will disclose everything, and say that I am the man, and that you are only a shadow dressed up in men’s clothes.”

“No one would beleive you,” said the shadow; “be reasonable, now, or I will call the guards.”

“I will go straight to the princess,” said the learned man.

“But I shall be there first,” replied the shadow, “and you will be sent to prison.” And so it turned out, for the guards readily obeyed him, as they knew he was going to marry the king’s daughter.

“You tremble,” said the princess, when the shadow appeared before her. “Has anything happened? You must not be ill to-day, for this evening our wedding will take place.”

“I have gone through the most terrible affair that could possibly happen,” said the shadow; “only imagine, my shadow has gone mad; I suppose such a poor, shallow brain, could not bear much; he fancies that he has become a real man, and that I am his shadow.”

“How very terrible,” cried the princess; “is he locked up?”

“Oh yes, certainly; for I fear he will never recover.”

“Poor shadow!” said the princess; “it is very unfortunate for him; it would really be a good deed to free him from his frail existence; and, indeed, when I think how often people take the part of the lower class against the higher, in these days, it would be policy to put him out of the way quietly.”

“It is certainly rather hard upon him, for he was a faithful servant,” said the shadow; and he pretended to sigh.

“Yours is a noble character,” said the princess, and bowed herself before him.

In the evening the whole town was illuminated, and cannons fired “boom,” and the soldiers presented arms. It was indeed a grand wedding. The princess and the shadow stepped out on the balcony to show themselves, and to receive one cheer more. But the learned man heard nothing of all these festivities, for he had already been executed.

文章来源:安徒生童话

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