接骨木树妈妈的故事

  • A+
所属分类:民间故事

接骨木树妈妈的故事简介

接骨木树的“真正的名字”是“回忆”,通过它的故事反映出一对老夫妇一生的经历。他们从“两小无猜”的时候开始就建立了感情,以后结为眷属。婚后他们就远离故乡,奔向广大的世界,但他们的感情并不因为远离而有所减退,他们直至老年仍恩爱如故,坐在接骨木树下,回味过去的日子,倍觉亲密和可爱。

接骨木树妈妈的故事

从前有一个很小的孩子,他患了伤风,病倒了。他到外面去过,把一双脚全打湿了。谁也不知道他是怎样打湿的,因为天气很干燥。现在他妈妈把他的衣服脱掉,送他上床去睡,同时叫人把开水壶拿进来,为他泡了一杯很香的接骨木茶①,因为茶可以使人感到温暖。这时有一个很有趣的老人走到门口来;他一个人住在这屋子的最高一层楼上,非常孤独。因为他没有太太,也没有孩子。但是他却非常喜欢小孩,而且知道很多童话和故事。听他讲故事是很愉快的。

“现在你得喝茶,”母亲说,“然后才可以听一个故事。”

“哎!我只希望我能讲一个新的故事!”老人说,和善地点了点头。“不过这小家伙是在什么地方把一双脚弄湿了的呢?”他问。

“不错,在什么地方呢?”妈妈说,“谁也想象不出来。”

“讲一个童话给我听吧?”孩子问。

“好,不过我得先知道一件事情:你能不能确实地告诉我,你上学校时经过的那条街,那儿阴沟有多深。”

“如果我把脚伸到那条阴沟最深的地方,”孩子回答说,

“那么水恰恰淹到我的小腿。”

“你看,我们的脚就是这样弄湿了的,”老人说。“现在我却是应该讲一个童话给你听了;不过我的童话都讲完了。”

“你可以马上编一个出来,”小孩说。“妈妈说,你能把你所看到的东西编成童话,你也能把你所摸过的东西都讲成一个故事。”

“不错,不过这些童话和故事算不了什么!不,真正的故事是自己走来的。它们敲着我的前额,说:‘我来了!’”

“它们会不会马上就来敲一下呢?”小孩问。妈妈大笑了一声,把接骨木叶放进壶里,然后把开水倒进去。

“讲呀!讲呀!”

“对,假如童话自动来了的话。不过这类东西架子是很大的;它只有高兴的时候才来——等着吧!”他忽然叫出声来,“它现在来了。请看吧,它现在就在茶壶里面。”

于是小孩向茶壶望去。茶壶盖慢慢地自动立起来了,好几朵接骨木花,又白又新鲜,从茶壶里冒出来了。它们长出又粗又长的枝丫,并且从茶壶嘴那儿向四面展开,越展越宽,形成一个最美丽的接骨木丛——事实上是一棵完整的树。这树甚至伸到床上来,把帐幔分向两边。它是多么香,它的花开得多么茂盛啊!在这树的正中央坐着一个很亲切的老太婆。她穿着奇异的服装——它像接骨木叶子一样,也是绿色的,同时还缀着大朵的白色接骨木花。第一眼谁也看不出来,这衣服究竟是布做的呢,还是活着的绿叶和花朵。

“这个老太婆的名字叫什么?”小孩问。

老人回答说:“罗马人和希腊人把她叫树仙。不过我们不懂得这一套:我们住在水手区的人替她取了一个更好的名字。那儿的人把她叫做‘接骨木树妈妈’。你应该注意的就是她:现在你注意听着和看着这棵美丽的接骨木树吧。

“水手住宅区里就有这么一棵开着花的大树。它生长在一个简陋的小院的角落里。一天下午,当太阳照得非常美好的时候,有两个老人坐在这棵树下。他们一个是很老很老的水手;另一个是他很老很老的妻子。他们已经是曾祖父母了;不久他们就要庆祝他们的金婚②。不过他们记不清日期。接骨木树妈妈坐在树上,样子很高兴,正如她在这儿一样。‘我知道金婚应该是在哪一天,’她说,但是他们没有听到——他们在谈着他们过去的一些日子。

“‘是的,’老水手说,‘你记得吗,我们小的时候,常常在一起跑来跑去,在一起玩耍!那正是在这个院子里,我们现在坐的这个院子里。我们在这里面栽过许多树枝,把它变成一个花园。’

“‘是的,’老太婆回答说,‘我记得很清楚:我们在那些树枝上浇过水,它们之中有一根是接骨木树枝。这树枝生了根,发了绿芽,现在变成了这样一棵大树——我们老年人现在就在它下面坐着。’

“‘一点也不错,’他说,‘在那儿的一个角落里有一个水盆;我把我的船放在那上面浮着——我自己剪的一只船。它航行得真好!但是不久我自己也航行起来了,不过方式不同罢了。’

“‘是的,我们先进学校,学习了一点什么东西,’她说,‘接着我们就受了坚信礼③;我们两个人都哭起来了。不过在下午我们就手挽着手爬到圆塔上去,我们把哥本哈根和大海以外的这个广大世界凝望了好一会儿。于是我们又到佛列得里克斯堡公园④去——国王和王后常常在这儿的运河上驾着华丽的船航行。’

“‘不过我得用另一种方式去航行,而且一去就是几年,那是很辽远的长途航行。’

“‘对,我常常想你想得哭起来,’她说,‘我以为你死了,没有了,躺在深水底下,在跟波浪嬉戏。该是有多少个夜晚我爬起床来,去看风信鸡是不是在转动。是的,它转动起来了,但是你没有回来。我记得很清楚,有一天雨是下得很大。那个收垃圾的人来到我主人的门口。我提着垃圾桶走下来,到门口那儿我就站着不动。——天气是多么坏啊!当我正在站着的时候,邮差走到我身旁来了,交给我一封信。是你写来的信啦!这封信该是旅行了多少路程啊!我马上把它撕开,念着。我笑着,我哭着,我是那么高兴呀。事情现在明白了,你正生活在一个出产咖啡豆的温暖国度里。那一定是一个非常美丽的国度!你信上写了许多事情,我在大雨倾盆的时候读它,站在一个垃圾桶旁边读它。正在这时候来了一个人,他双手把我的腰抱住!——’

“‘——一点也不错,于是你就结结实实地给了他一记耳光——一记很响亮的耳光。’

“‘我不知道那人就是你啦。你跟你的信来得一样快。你那时是一个美男子——现在还是这样。你袋里装着一条丝织的长手帕,你头上戴着光亮的帽子。你是那么漂亮!天啦,那时的天气真坏,街上真难看!’

“‘接着我们就结婚了,’他说,‘你记得吗?接着我们就得了第一个孩子,接着玛莉,接着尼尔斯,接着比得和汉斯·克利斯仙都出生了。’

“‘他们大家都长得多么好,成为大家所喜受的、善良的人!’

“‘于是他们的孩子又生了他们自己的孩子,’老水手说。‘是的,那些都是孩子们的孩子!他们都长得很好。——假如我没有记错的话,我们正是在这个季节里结婚的。——’

“‘是的,今天是你们的结婚纪念日,’接骨木树妈妈说,同时把她的头伸到这两个老人的中间来。他们还以为这是隔壁的一位太太在向他们点头呢。他们互相望了一眼,同时彼此握着手。不一会儿,他们的儿子和孙子都来了;他们都知道这是金婚纪念日。他们早晨就已经来祝贺过,不过这对老夫妇却把这日子忘记了,虽然多少年以前发生的一切事情,他们还能记得很清楚。接骨木树发出强烈的香气。正在下沉的太阳照在这对老夫妇的脸上,弄得他们的双颊都泛出一阵红晕来。他们最小的孙子们围着他们跳舞,兴高采烈地叫着,说是今晚将有一个宴会——那时他们将会吃到热烘烘的土豆!接骨木树妈妈在树上点点头,跟大家一起喊着:‘好!’”

“不过这并不是一个童话呀!”小孩听完了说。

“唔,假如你能听懂它的话,”讲这段故事的老人说。“不过让我来问问接骨木树妈妈的意见吧。”

“这并不是一个童话,”接骨木树妈妈说。“可是现在它来了;最奇异的童话是从真实的生活里产生出来的,否则我的美丽的接骨木树丛就不会从茶壶里冒出来了。”

于是她把这孩子从床上抱起来,搂到自己的怀里,开满了花的接骨木树枝向他们合拢来,使他们好像坐在浓密的树荫里一样,而这片树荫带着他们一起在空中飞行。这真是说不出的美丽!接骨木树妈妈立刻变成了一个漂亮的少女,不过她的衣服依然跟接骨木树妈妈所穿的一样,是用缀着白花的绿色料子做成的。她的胸前戴着一朵真正的接骨木花,黄色的卷发上有一个用接骨木花做成的花圈;她的一双眼睛又大又蓝。啊,她的样子该是多么美丽。啊!她和这个男孩互相吻着,他们现在是同样的年纪,感觉到同样的快乐。

他们手挽着手走出了这片树荫。他们现在是在家里美丽的花园里面。爸爸的手杖是系在新鲜草坪旁边的一根木柱上。在这个孩子的眼中,它是有生命的。当他们一起到它上面的时候,它光亮的头便变成了一个漂亮的嘶鸣的马首,上面披着长长的黑色马鬃,它还长出了四条瘦长而结实的腿。这牲口是既强壮而又有精神。他们骑着它沿着这草坪驰骋——真叫人喝彩!

“现在我们要骑到许多许多里以外的地方去,”这孩子说;“我们要骑到一位贵族的庄园里去!——我们去年到那儿去过。”

他们不停地绕着这个草坪奔驰。那个小女孩子——我们知道她就是接骨木树妈妈——在不停地叫着:

“现在我们来到乡下了!你看到那种田人的房子吗?它的那个大面包炉,从墙壁里凸出来,看起来像路旁的一只庞大的蛋。接骨木树在这屋子上面伸展着枝子,公鸡在走来走去,为它的母鸡扒土。你看它那副高视阔步的神气!——现在我们快要到教堂附近了。它高高地立在一座山丘上,在一丛栎树的中间——其中有一株已经半死了。——现在我们来到了熔铁炉旁边,火在熊熊地烧,打着赤膊的人在挥着锤子打铁,弄得火星迸发。去啊,去啊,到那位贵族的华美的庄园里去啊!”

那个在他后面坐在手杖上的小姑娘所讲的东西,都一一在他们眼前出现了。虽然他们只不过在绕着一个草坪兜圈子,这男孩子却能把这些东西都看得清清楚楚。他们在人行道上玩耍,还在地上划出一个小花园来。于是她从她的头发上取出接骨木树的花朵,把它们栽下,随后它们就长大起来,像那对老年夫妇小时在水手住宅区里所栽的树一样——这事我们已经讲过了。他们手挽着手走着,完全像那对老年夫妇儿时的情形,不过他们不是走上圆塔,也不是走向佛列得里克斯堡公园去。——不是的,这小女孩子抱着这男孩子的腰,他们在整个丹麦飞来飞去。

那时是春天,接着夏天到来了,于是又是秋天,最后冬天也到来了。成千成百的景物映在这孩子的眼里和心上,这小姑娘也不停地对他唱:“这些东西你永远也忘记不了的!”

在他们整个飞行的过程中,接骨木树一直在散发着甜蜜和芬芳的香气:他也闻到了玫瑰花和新鲜的山毛榉,可是接骨木树的香气比它们还要美妙,因为它的花朵就悬在这小女孩子的心上,而且当他们飞行的时候,他就常常把头靠着这些花朵。

“春天在这儿是多么美丽啊!”小姑娘说。

他们站在长满了新叶子的山毛榉林里,绿色的车叶草在他们的脚下散发着香气;淡红的秋牡丹在这一起绿色中显得分外的华丽。

“啊,唯愿春天永远留在这芬芳的丹麦山毛榉林中!”

“夏天在这儿是多么美丽啊!”她说。

于是他们走过骑士时代的那些古宫。这些古宫的红墙和锯齿形的山形墙倒映在小河里——这儿有许多天鹅在游着,在了望那古老的林荫大道,在了望田野里的小麦泛起一层波浪,好像这就是一个大海似的。田沟里长满了黄色和红色的花,篱笆上长着野蛇麻⑤和盛开的牵牛花。月亮在黄昏的时候向上升,又圆又大;草坪上的干草堆发出甜蜜的香气。“人们永远也不会忘记这些东西!”

“秋天在这儿是多么美丽啊!”小姑娘说。

于是天空显得比以前加倍的高阔,加倍的蔚蓝;树林染上最华美的红色、黄色和绿色。猎犬在追逐着;整群的雁儿在远古的土坟上飞过,发出凄凉的叫声;荆棘丛在古墓碑上纠做一团。海是深蓝色的,上面点缀着一些白帆。老太婆、少女和小孩坐在打麦场上,把蛇麻的果穗摘下来扔进一只大桶里。这时年轻人唱着山歌,老年人讲着关于小鬼和妖精的童话。什么地方也没有这儿好。

“冬天在这儿是多么美丽啊!”小姑娘说。

于是所有的树上全盖满了白霜,看起来像白色的珊瑚。雪在人们的脚下发出清脆的声音,好像人们全穿上了新靴子似的。陨星一个接着一个从天上落下来。在屋子里,圣诞节树上的灯都亮起来了。这儿有礼品,有快乐。在乡下,农人的屋子里奏起了小提琴,人们在玩着抢苹果的游戏;就是最穷苦的孩子也说:“冬天是美丽的!”

是的,那是美丽的。小姑娘把每样东西都指给这个孩子看;接骨木树永远在发出香气;绘有白十字架的红旗⑥永远在飘动着——住在水手区的那个老水手就是在这个旗帜下出外去航海的。这个小孩子成了一个年轻人,他得走到广大的世界里去,远远地走到生长咖啡的那些热带的国度里去。在别离的时候,小姑娘把她戴在胸前的那朵接骨木花取下来,送给他作为纪念。它被夹在一本《赞美诗集》里。在外国,当他一翻开这本诗集的时候,总是翻到夹着这朵纪念花的地方。他越看得久,这朵花就越显得新鲜,他好像觉得呼吸到了丹麦树林里的新鲜空气。这时他就清楚地看到,那个小姑娘正在花瓣之间睁着明朗的蓝眼睛,向外面凝望。于是她低声说:“春天、夏天、秋天和冬天在这儿是多么美丽啊!”于是成千成百的画面,就在他的思想中浮过去了。

这么着,许多年过去了;他现在成了一个老头儿,跟他年老的妻子坐在一棵开满了花的树下:他们两人互相握着手,正如以前住在水手区的高祖母和高祖父一样。也像这对老祖宗一样,谈着他们过去的日子,谈着金婚。这位有一双蓝眼珠的、头上戴着接骨木花的小姑娘,坐在树上,向这对老夫妇点着头,说:“今天是你们金婚的日子啦!”于是她从她的花环上取下两朵花,把它们吻了一下;它们便射出光来,起先像银子,然后像金子。当她把它们戴到这对老夫妇的头上时,每朵花就变成了一个金色的王冠。他们两人坐在那株散发着香气的树下,像国王和王后。这树的样子完全像一棵接骨木树。他对他年老的妻子讲着关于接骨木树妈妈的故事,他把他儿时从别人那儿听到的全都讲出来。他们觉得这故事有许多地方像他们自己的生活,而这相似的一部分就是这故事中他们最喜欢的一部分。

“是的,事情的确是这样!”坐在树上的那个小姑娘说。

“有人把我叫做接骨木树妈妈,也有人把我叫做树神,不过我的真正的名字是'回忆'。我就坐在树里,不停地生长;我能够回忆过去,我能讲出以往的事情。让我看看,你是不是仍然保留着你的那朵花。”

老头儿翻开他的《赞美诗集》;那朵接骨木花仍然夹在里面,非常新鲜,好像刚刚才放进去似的。于是“回忆”姑娘点点头。这时头戴金色王冠的老夫妻坐在红色的斜阳里,闭起眼睛,于是——于是——童话就完了。

那个躺在床上的小孩子,不晓得自己是在做梦呢,还是有人对他讲了这个童话。茶壶仍然在桌上:但是并没有接骨木树从它里面长出来。讲这童话的那个老人正在向门外走——事实上他已经走了。

“那是多么美啊!”小孩子说。“妈妈,我刚才到热带的国度里去过一趟!”

“是的,我相信你去过!”妈妈回答说。“当你喝了两满杯滚热的接骨木茶的时候,你很容易就会走到热带国度里去的!”——于是她把他盖好,免得他受到寒气。“当我正在坐着、跟他争论究竟那是一个故事还是一个童话的时候,你睡得香极了。”

“那么接骨木树妈妈到底在什么地方呢?”小孩子问。“她在茶壶里面,”妈妈回答说;“而且她尽可以在那里面待下去!”

①接骨木树是一种落叶灌木或小乔木。叶对生,羽状复叶,卵形或椭圆形,揉碎后有臭气。春季开黄色小花。茎枝可以入药,味甘苦,功能祛风湿。这里说的接骨木茶当是治病用的。

②欧洲人的风俗,把结婚50周年叫做“金婚”。

③在基督教国家中,一个小孩子出生不久以后,受一次入教的洗礼。到了十四五岁、能懂事的时候,必须再受一次洗礼,叫做坚信礼,以加强对宗教的信仰。一个小孩子受了这次洗礼以后,就算已经成人,可以自立谋生了。

④这是哥本哈根的一个大公园。

⑤蛇麻(Humle)是一种多年生草本植物,也叫忽布或啤酒花。它的果穗呈球果状,是制造啤酒的重要原料。

⑥这就是丹麦的国旗。

接骨木树妈妈的寓意

这个童话故事告诉我们:接骨木树是人们心中的神,她有着浓郁的芳香,总是静静的带给人们对美好生活的回忆。文中的老人和他的妻子走过了金婚,突然间他们的子女后代都来为他们庆祝,美好的生活就这样在接骨木树的见证下轮回,世间总是如此美好。

英文版:The Little Elder-Tree Mother

THERE was once a little boy who had caught cold; he had gone out and got wet feet. Nobody had the least idea how it had happened; the weather was quite dry. His mother undressed him, put him to bed, and ordered the teapot to be brought in, that she might make him a good cup of tea from the elder-tree blossoms, which is so warming. At the same time, the kind-hearted old man who lived by himself in the upper storey of the house came in; he led a lonely life, for he had no wife and children; but he loved the children of others very much, and he could tell so many fairy tales and stories, that it was a pleasure to hear him.

“Now, drink your tea,” said the mother; “perhaps you will hear a story.”

“Yes, if I only knew a fresh one,” said the old man, and nodded smilingly. “But how did the little fellow get his wet feet?” he then asked.

“That,” replied the mother, “nobody can understand.”

“Will you tell me a story?” asked the boy.

“Yes, if you can tell me as nearly as possible how deep is the gutter in the little street where you go to school.”

“Just half as high as my top-boots,” replied the boy; “but then I must stand in the deepest holes.”

“There, now we know where you got your wet feet,” said the old man. “I ought to tell you a story, but the worst of it is, I do not know any more.”

“You can make one up,” said the little boy. “Mother says you can tell a fairy tale about anything you look at or touch.”

“That is all very well, but such tales or stories are worth nothing! No, the right ones come by themselves and knock at my forehead saying: ‘Here I am.’”

“Will not one knock soon?” asked the boy; and the mother smiled while she put elder-tree blossoms into the teapot and poured boiling water over them. “Pray, tell me a story.”

“Yes, if stories came by themselves; they are so proud, they only come when they please.—But wait,” he said suddenly, “there is one. Look at the teapot; there is a story in it now.”

And the little boy looked at the teapot; the lid rose up gradually, the elder-tree blossoms sprang forth one by one, fresh and white; long boughs came forth; even out of the spout they grew up in all directions, and formed a bush—nay, a large elder tree, which stretched its branches up to the bed and pushed the curtains aside; and there were so many blossoms and such a sweet fragrance! In the midst of the tree sat a kindly-looking old woman with a strange dress; it was as green as the leaves, and trimmed with large white blossoms, so that it was difficult to say whether it was real cloth, or the leaves and blossoms of the elder-tree.

“What is this woman’s name?” asked the little boy.

“Well, the Romans and Greeks used to call her a Dryad,” said the old man; “but we do not understand that. Out in the sailors’ quarter they give her a better name; there she is called elder-tree mother. Now, you must attentively listen to her and look at the beautiful elder-tree.

“Just such a large tree, covered with flowers, stands out there; it grew in the corner of an humble little yard; under this tree sat two old people one afternoon in the beautiful sunshine. He was an old, old sailor, and she his old wife; they had already great-grandchildren, and were soon to celebrate their golden wedding, but they could not remember the date, and the elder-tree mother was sitting in the tree and looked as pleased as this one here. ‘I know very well when the golden wedding is to take place,’ she said; but they did not hear it—they were talking of bygone days.

“‘Well, do you remember?’ said the old sailor, ‘when we were quite small and used to run about and play—it was in the very same yard where we now are—we used to put little branches into the ground and make a garden.’

“‘Yes,’ said the old woman, ‘I remember it very well; we used to water the branches, and one of them, an elder-tree branch, took root, and grew and became the large tree under which we are now sitting as old people.’

“‘Certainly, you are right,’ he said; ‘and in yonder corner stood a large water-tub; there I used to sail my boat, which I had cut out myself—it sailed so well; but soon I had to sail somewhere else.’

“‘But first we went to school to learn something,’ she said, ‘and then we were confirmed; we both wept on that day, but in the afternoon we went out hand in hand, and ascended the high round tower and looked out into the wide world right over Copenhagen and the sea; then we walked to Fredericksburg, where the king and the queen were sailing about in their magnificent boat on the canals.’

“‘But soon I had to sail about somewhere else, and for many years I was travelling about far away from home.’

“‘And I often cried about you, for I was afraid lest you were drowned and lying at the bottom of the sea. Many a time I got up in the night and looked if the weathercock had turned; it turned often, but you did not return. I remember one day distinctly: the rain was pouring down in torrents; the dust-man had come to the house where I was in service; I went down with the dust-bin and stood for a moment in the doorway, and looked at the dreadful weather. Then the postman gave me a letter; it was from you. Heavens! how that letter had travelled about. I tore it open and read it; I cried and laughed at the same time, and was so happy! Therein was written that you were staying in the hot countries, where the coffee grows. These must be marvellous countries. You said a great deal about them, and I read all while the rain was pouring down and I was standing there with the dust-bin. Then suddenly some one put his arm round my waist—’

“‘Yes, and you gave him a hearty smack on the cheek,’ said the old man.

“‘I did not know that it was you—you had come as quickly as your letter; and you looked so handsome, and so you do still. You had a large yellow silk handkerchief in your pocket and a shining hat on. You looked so well, and the weather in the street was horrible!’

“‘Then we married,’ he said. ‘Do you remember how we got our first boy, and then Mary, Niels, Peter, John, and Christian?’

‘Oh yes; and now they have all grown up, and have become useful members of society, whom everybody cares for.’

“‘And their children have had children again,’ said the old sailor. ‘Yes, these are children’s children, and they are strong and healthy. If I am not mistaken, our wedding took place at this season of the year.’

“‘Yes, to-day is your golden wedding-day,’ said the little elder-tree mother, stretching her head down between the two old people, who thought that she was their neighbour who was nodding to them; they looked at each other and clasped hands. Soon afterwards the children and grandchildren came, for they knew very well that it was the golden wedding-day; they had already wished them joy and happiness in the morning, but the old people had forgotten it, although they remembered things so well that had passed many, many years ago. The elder-tree smelt strongly, and the setting sun illuminated the faces of the two old people, so that they looked quite rosy; the youngest of the grandchildren danced round them, and cried merrily that there would be a feast in the evening, for they were to have hot potatoes; and the elder mother nodded in the tree and cried ‘Hooray’ with the others.”

“But that was no fairy tale,” said the little boy who had listened to it.

“You will presently understand it,” said the old man who told the story. “Let us ask little elder-tree mother about it.”

“That was no fairy tale,” said the little elder-tree mother; “but now it comes! Real life furnishes us with subjects for the most wonderful fairy tales; for otherwise my beautiful elder-bush could not have grown forth out of the teapot.”

And then she took the little boy out of bed and placed him on her bosom; the elder branches, full of blossoms, closed over them; it was as if they sat in a thick leafy bower which flew with them through the air; it was beautiful beyond all description. The little elder-tree mother had suddenly become a charming young girl, but her dress was still of the same green material, covered with white blossoms, as the elder-tree mother had worn; she had a real elder blossom on her bosom, and a wreath of the same flowers was wound round her curly golden hair; her eyes were so large and so blue that it was wonderful to look at them. She and the boy kissed each other, and then they were of the same age and felt the same joys. They walked hand in hand out of the bower, and now stood at home in a beautiful flower garden. Near the green lawn the father’s walking-stick was tied to a post. There was life in this stick for the little ones, for as soon as they seated themselves upon it the polished knob turned into a neighing horse’s head, a long black mane was fluttering in the wind, and four strong slender legs grew out. The animal was fiery and spirited; they galloped round the lawn. “Hooray! now we shall ride far away, many miles!” said the boy; “we shall ride to the nobleman’s estate where we were last year.” And they rode round the lawn again, and the little girl, who, as we know, was no other than the little elder-tree mother, continually cried, “Now we are in the country! Do you see the farmhouse there, with the large baking stove, which projects like a gigantic egg out of the wall into the road? The elder-tree spreads its branches over it, and the cock struts about and scratches for the hens. Look how proud he is! Now we are near the church; it stands on a high hill, under the spreading oak trees; one of them is half dead! Now we are at the smithy, where the fire roars and the half-naked men beat with their hammers so that the sparks fly far and wide. Let’s be off to the beautiful farm!” And they passed by everything the little girl, who was sitting behind on the stick, described, and the boy saw it, and yet they only went round the lawn. Then they played in a side-walk, and marked out a little garden on the ground; she took elder-blossoms out of her hair and planted them, and they grew exactly like those the old people planted when they were children, as we have heard before. They walked about hand in hand, just as the old couple had done when they were little, but they did not go to the round tower nor to the Fredericksburg garden. No; the little girl seized the boy round the waist, and then they flew far into the country. It was spring and it became summer, it was autumn and it became winter, and thousands of pictures reflected themselves in the boy’s eyes and heart, and the little girl always sang again, “You will never forget that!” And during their whole flight the elder-tree smelt so sweetly; he noticed the roses and the fresh beeches, but the elder-tree smelt much stronger, for the flowers were fixed on the little girl’s bosom, against which the boy often rested his head during the flight.

“It is beautiful here in spring,” said the little girl, and they were again in the green beechwood, where the thyme breathed forth sweet fragrance at their feet, and the pink anemones looked lovely in the green moss. “Oh! that it were always spring in the fragrant beechwood!”

“Here it is splendid in summer!” she said, and they passed by old castles of the age of chivalry. The high walls and indented battlements were reflected in the water of the ditches, on which swans were swimming and peering into the old shady avenues. The corn waved in the field like a yellow sea. Red and yellow flowers grew in the ditches, wild hops and convolvuli in full bloom in the hedges. In the evening the moon rose, large and round, and the hayricks in the meadows smelt sweetly. “One can never forget it!”

“Here it is beautiful in autumn!” said the little girl, and the atmosphere seemed twice as high and blue, while the wood shone with crimson, green, and gold. The hounds were running off, flocks of wild fowl flew screaming over the barrows, while the bramble bushes twined round the old stones. The dark-blue sea was covered with white-sailed ships, and in the barns sat old women, girls, and children picking hops into a large tub; the young ones sang songs, and the old people told fairy tales about goblins and sorcerers. It could not be more pleasant anywhere.

“Here it’s agreeable in winter!” said the little girl, and all the trees were covered with hoar-frost, so that they looked like white coral. The snow creaked under one’s feet, as if one had new boots on. One shooting star after another traversed the sky. In the room the Christmas tree was lit, and there were song and merriment. In the peasant’s cottage the violin sounded, and games were played for apple quarters; even the poorest child said, “It is beautiful in winter!”

And indeed it was beautiful! And the little girl showed everything to the boy, and the elder-tree continued to breathe forth sweet perfume, while the red flag with the white cross was streaming in the wind; it was the flag under which the old sailor had served. The boy became a youth; he was to go out into the wide world, far away to the countries where the coffee grows. But at parting the little girl took an elder-blossom from her breast and gave it to him as a keepsake. He placed it in his prayer-book, and when he opened it in distant lands it was always at the place where the flower of remembrance was lying; and the more he looked at it the fresher it became, so that he could almost smell the fragrance of the woods at home. He distinctly saw the little girl, with her bright blue eyes, peeping out from behind the petals, and heard her whispering, “Here it is beautiful in spring, in summer, in autumn, and in winter,” and hundreds of pictures passed through his mind.

Thus many years rolled by. He had now become an old man, and was sitting, with his old wife, under an elder-tree in full bloom. They held each other by the hand exactly as the great-grandfather and the great-grandmother had done outside, and, like them, they talked about bygone days and of their golden wedding. The little girl with the blue eyes and elder-blossoms in her hair was sitting high up in the tree, and nodded to them, saying, “To-day is the golden wedding!” And then she took two flowers out of her wreath and kissed them. They glittered at first like silver, then like gold, and when she placed them on the heads of the old people each flower became a golden crown. There they both sat like a king and queen under the sweet-smelling tree, which looked exactly like an elder-tree, and he told his wife the story of the elder-tree mother as it had been told him when he was a little boy. They were both of opinion that the story contained many points like their own, and these similarities they liked best.

“Yes, so it is,” said the little girl in the tree. “Some call me Little Elder-tree Mother; others a Dryad; but my real name is ‘Remembrance.’ It is I who sit in the tree which grows and grows. I can remember things and tell stories! But let’s see if you have still got your flower.”

And the old man opened his prayer-book; the elder-blossom was still in it, and as fresh as if it had only just been put in. Remembrance nodded, and the two old people, with the golden crowns on their heads, sat in the glowing evening sun. They closed their eyes and—and—

Well, now the story is ended! The little boy in bed did not know whether he had dreamt it or heard it told; the teapot stood on the table, but no elder-tree was growing out of it, and the old man who had told the story was on the point of leaving the room, and he did go out.

“How beautiful it was!” said the little boy. “Mother, I have been to warm countries!”

“I believe you,” said the mother; “if one takes two cups of hot elder-tea it is quite natural that one gets into warm countries!” And she covered him up well, so that he might not take cold. “You have slept soundly while I was arguing with the old man whether it was a story or a fairy tale!”

“And what has become of the little elder-tree mother?” asked the boy.

“She is in the teapot,” said the mother; “and there she may remain.”

文章来源:安徒生童话

发表评论

:?: :razz: :sad: :evil: :!: :smile: :oops: :grin: :eek: :shock: :???: :cool: :lol: :mad: :twisted: :roll: :wink: :idea: :arrow: :neutral: :cry: :mrgreen: