英语原著双语阅读:《夏洛特的网》第二十一章 最后审判日

      chapter 21 Last Day

      Charlotte and Wilbur were alone. The families had gone to look for Fern. Templeton was asleep. Wilbur lay resting after the excitement and strain of the ceremony. His medal still hung from his neck; by looking out of the corner of his eye he could see it.

      "Charlotte," said Wilbur after a while, "why are you so quiet?""I like to sit still," she said. "I've always been rather quiet.""Yes, but you seem specially so today. Do you feel all right?""A little tired, perhaps. But I feel peaceful. Your success in the ring this morning was, to a small degree, my success. Your future is assured. You will live, secure and safe, Wilbur. Nothing can harm you now. These autumn days will shorten and grow cold. The leaves will shake loose from the trees and fall. Christmas will come, then the snows of winter. You will live to enjoy the beauty of the frozen world, for you mean a great deal to Zuckerman and he will not harm you, ever. Winter will pass, the days will lengthen, the ice will melt in the pasture pond. Then song sparrow will return and sing, the frogs will awake, the warm wind will blow again. All these sights and sounds and smells will be yours to enjoy, Wilbur--this lovely world, these precious days..."Charlotte stopped. a moment later a tear came to Wilbur's eye. "Oh, Charlotte," he said. "To think that when I first met you I thought you were cruel and bloodthirsty!"When he recovered from his emotion, he spoke again.

      "Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.""You have been my friend," replied Charlotte. "That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.""Well," said Wilbur. "I'm no good at making speeches. I haven't got your gift for words. But you have saved me, Charlotte, and I would gladly give my life for you--I really would.""I'm sure you would. And I thank you for your generous sentiments.""Charlotte," said Wilbur. "We're all going home today. The Fair is almost over. Won't it be wonderful to be back home in the barn cellar again with the sheep and the geese? Aren't you anxious to get home?"For a moment Charlotte said nothing. Then she spoke in a voice so low Wilbur could hardly hear the words.

      "I will not be going back to the barn," she said.

      Wilbur leapt to his feet. "Not going back?" he cried. "Charlotte, what are you talking about?

      "I'm done for," she replied. "In a day or two I'll be dead. I haven't even strength enough to climb down into the crate. I doubt if I have enough silk in my spinnerets to lower me to the ground."Hearing this, Wilbur threw himself down in an agony of pain and sorrow. Great sobs racked his body. He heaved and grunted with desolation. "Charlotte," he moaned. "Charlotte! My true friends!""Come now, let's not make a scene," said the spider. "Be quiet, Wilbur. Stop thrashing about!""But I can't stand it," shouted Wilbur. "I won't leave you here alone to die. If you're going to stay here I shall stay, too.""Don't be ridiculous," said Charlotte. "You can't stay here. Zuckerman and Lurvy and John Arable and the others will be back any minute now, and they'll shove you into that crate and away you'll go. Besides, it wouldn't make any sense for you to stay. There would be no one to feed you. The fair Grounds will soon be empty and deserted."Wilbur was in a panic. he raced round and round the pen. Suddenly he had an idea--he thought of the egg sac and the five hundred and fourteen little spiders that would hatch in the spring. If Charlotte herself was unable to go home to the barn, at least he must take her children along.

      Wilbur rushed to the front of his pen. He put his front feet up on the top board and gazed around. In the distance he saw the Arables and the Zuckermans approaching. He knew he would have to act quickly.

      "Where's Templeton?" he demanded.

      "He's in that corner, under the straw, asleep," said Charlotte.

      Wilbur rushed over, pushed his strong snout under the rat, and tossed him into the air.

      "Templeton!" screamed Wilbur. "Pay attention!"The rat, surprised out of a sound sleep, looked first dazed then disgusted.

      "What kind of monkeyshine is this?" he growled. "Can't a rat catch a wink of sleep without being rudely popped into the air?""Listen to me!" cried Wilbur. "Charlotte is very ill. She has only a short time to live. She cannot accompany us home, because of her condition. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that I take her egg sac with me. I can't reach it, and I can't climb. You are the only one that can get it. There's not a second to be lost. The people are coming--they'll be here in no time. Please, please, please, Templeton, climb up and get the egg sac."The rat yawned. He straightened his whiskers. Then he looked up at the egg sac.

      "So!" he said, in disgust. "So it's old Templeton to the rescue again, is it? Templeton do this, Templeton do that, Templeton please run down to the dump and get me a magazine clipping, Templeton please lend me a piece of string so I can spin a web.""Oh, hurry!" said Wilbur. "Hurry up, Templeton!"But the rat was in no hurry. He began imitating Wilbur's voice.

      "So it's 'Hurry up, Temple,' is it?" he said. "Ho, ho. and what thanks do I ever get for these services, I would like to know? Never a kind word for old Templeton, only abuse and wisecracks and side remarks. Never a kind word for a rat.""Templeton," said Wilbur in desperation, "if you don't stop talking and get busy, all will be lost, and I will die of a broken heart. Please climb up!"Templeton lay back in the straw. Lazily he placed his forepaws behind his head and crossed his knees, in an attitude of complete relaxation.

      "Die of a broken heart," he mimicked. "How touching! My, my! I notice that it's always me you come to when in trouble. But I've never heard of anyone's heart breaking on my account. Oh, no. Who cares anything about old Templeton?""Get up!" screamed Wilbur. "Stop acting like a spoiled child1"Templeton grinned and lay still. "Who made trip after trip to the dump?" he asked. "Why, it was old Templeton! Who saved Charlotte's life by scaring that Arable boy away with a rotten goose egg? Bless my soul, I believe it was old Templeton. Who bit your tail and got you back on your feet this morning after you had fainted in front of the crowd? Old Templeton. Has it ever occurred to you that I'm sick of running errands and doing favors? What do you think I am, anyway, a rat-of-all-work?"Wilbur was desperate. The people were coming. And the rat was failing him. Suddenly he remembered Templeton's fondness for food.

      "Templeton," he said, "I will make you a solemn promise. get Charlotte's egg sac for me, and from now on I will let you eat first, when Lurvy slops me. I will let you have your choice of everything in the trough and I won't touch a thing until you're through."The rat sat up. "You mean that?" he said.

      "I promise. I cross my heart.""All right, it's a deal," said the rat. He walked to the wall and started to climb. His stomach was still swollen from last night's gorge. Groaning and complaining, he pulled himself slowly to the ceiling. He crept along till he reached the egg sac. Charlotte moved aside for him. She was dying, but she still had strength enough to move a little. Then Templeton bared his long ugly teeth and began snipping the threads that fastened the sac to the ceiling. Wilbur watched from below.

      "Use extreme care!" he said. "I don't want a single one of those eggs harmed.""Thith thruff thticks in my mouth," complained the rat. "It'th worth than caramel candy."But Templeton worked away at the job, and managed to cut the sac adrift and carry it to the ground, where he dropped it in front of Wilbur. Wilbur heaved a great sigh of relief.

      "Thank you, Templeton," he said. "I will never forget this as long as I live.""Neither will I," said the rat, picking his teeth. "I feel as though I'd eaten a spool of thread. Well, home we go!"Templeton crept into the crate and buried himself in the straw. He got out of sight just in time. Lurvy and John Arable and Mr. Zucherman came along at that moment, followed by Mrs. Arable and Mrs. Zuckerman and Avery and Fern. Wilbur had already decided how he would carry the egg sac--there was only one way possible. He carefully took the little bundle in his mouth and held it there on top of his tongue. He remembered what Charlotte had told him--that the sac was waterproof and strong. It felt funny on his tongue and made him drool a bit. And of course he couldn't say anything. But as he was being shoved into the crate, he looked up at Charlotte and gave her a wink. She knew he was saying good-bye in the only way he could. And she knew her children were safe.

      "Good-bye!" she whispered. Then she summoned all her strength and waved one of her front legs at him.

      She never moved again. Next day, as the Ferris wheel was being taken apart and the race horses were being loaded into vans and the entertainers were packing up their belongings and driving away in their trailers, Charlotte died. The Fair Grounds were soon deserted. The sheds and buildings were empty and forlorn. The infield was littered with bottles and trash. Nobody, of the hundreds of people that has visited the Fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all. No one was with her when she died.

      第十二十一章 最后审判日

      夏洛和威伯又单独在一起了。这两家人都去找芬了。坦普尔曼睡着了。参加完激动而紧张的庆典的威伯正躺在那里休息。他的奖章还在脖子上挂着;他的眼睛正望着从他躺的位置可以看到的角落。

      “夏洛,”过了一会儿,威伯说,“你为什么这么安静?”

      “我喜欢静静地呆着,”她说,“我一向喜欢安静。”

      “我知道,不过你今天似乎有些特别,你感觉还好吧?”

      “可能有一点点累吧。但是我感到很满足。你今早在裁判场上的成功,在很小的程度上,也可以算是我的成功。你的将来没危险了。你会无忧无虑地活下去的,威伯。现在没什么能伤害你的了。这个秋天会变短,也会变冷。叶子们也会从树上摇落的。圣诞节会来,然后就是飘飘的冬雪。你将活着看到那个美丽的冰雪世界的,因为你对祖克曼有很重大的意义,他再也不会想伤害你了。冬天将过去,白天又会变长,草场池塘里的冰也会融化的。百灵鸟又会回来唱歌,青蛙也将醒来,又会吹起暖暖的风。所有的这些美丽的景色,所有的这些动听的声音,所有的这些好闻的气味,都将等着你去欣赏呢,威伯——这个可爱的世界,这些珍贵的日子……”

      夏洛沉默了。片刻之后,泪水模糊了威伯的眼。“哦,夏洛,”他说,“记得刚遇到你的那一天,我还认为你是个残忍嗜血的动物!”

      等情绪稳定下来后,他又继续说起来。

      “为什么你要为我做这一切?”他问,“我不值得你帮我。我从来也没有为你做过任何事情。”

      “你一直是我的朋友,”夏洛回答,“这本身就是你对我最大的帮助。我为你织网,是因为我喜欢你。然而,生命的价值是什么,该怎么说呢?我们出生,我们短暂的活着,我们死亡。一个蜘蛛在一生中只忙碌着捕捉、吞食小飞虫是毫无意义的。通过帮助你,我才可能试着在我的生命里找到一点价值。老天知道,每个人活着时总要做些有意义的事才好吧。”

      “噢,”威伯说,“我并不善于说什么大道理。我也不能像你说得那么好。但我要说,你已经拯救了我,夏洛,而且我很高兴能为你奉献我的生命——我真的很愿意。”

      “我相信你会的。我要感谢你这无私的友情。”

      “夏洛,”威伯说,“我们今天就要回家了。展览会快结束了。再回到谷仓地窖的家,和绵羊、母鹅们在一起不是很快活吗?你不盼着回家吗?”

      夏洛沉默了好一会儿。然后她用一种低得威伯几乎都听不到的声音说:

      “我将不回谷仓了。”她说。

      威伯吃惊得跳了起来。“不回去?”他叫,“夏洛,你在说什么?”

      “我已经不行了,”她回答,“一两天内我就要死去了。我现在甚至连爬下板条箱的力气都没有了。我怀疑我的丝囊里是否还有足够把我送到地面上的丝了。”

      听到这些话,威伯立刻沉浸到巨大的痛苦和忧伤之中。他痛苦地绞动着身子,哭叫起来。“夏洛,”他呻吟道,“夏洛!我真诚的朋友!”

      “好了,不要喊了,”夏洛说,“安静,威伯。别哭了!”

      “可是我忍不住,”威伯喊,“我不会让你在这里孤独地死去的。如果你要留在这里,我也要留下。”

      “别胡说了,”夏洛说,“你不能留在这里。祖克曼和鲁维还有约翰·阿拉贝尔以及其他人现在随时都会回来,他们会把你装到箱子里,带你离开的。此外,你留在这里也没什么好处,这里不会有人喂你的。展览会不久就会空无一人的。”

      威伯陷入了恐慌之中。他在猪圈里转着圈子跑来跑去。突然他想起了一件事——他想到了卵囊和明年春天里将要出世的那514只小蜘蛛。如果夏洛不能回到谷仓里的家,至少他要把她的孩子们带回去。

      威伯向猪圈前面冲去。他把前腿搭在木板上,四处察看着。他看到阿拉贝尔一家和祖克曼一家正从不远处走过来。他知道他必须赶快行动了。

      “坦普尔曼在哪里?”他问。

      “他在稻草下面的角落里睡着呢。”夏洛说。

      威伯奔过去,用他有力的鼻子把老鼠拱上了天。

      “坦普尔曼!”威伯尖叫,“醒醒!”

      从美梦中惊醒的老鼠,开始看起来还迷迷糊糊的,随即就变得气愤起来。

      “你这是搞什么恶作剧?”他怒吼,“一只老鼠挤个时间安静地睡一小会儿时,就不能不被粗暴地踢上天?”

      “听我说!”威伯叫,“夏洛快死了,她只能活很短的一段时间了。因此她不能陪我们一起回家了。所以,我只能把她的卵囊带回去了。可我上不去,我不会爬。你是唯一能帮我的人了。再等一秒种就来不及了,人们就要走过来了——他们一到就没时间了。请,请,请帮帮我,坦普尔曼,爬上去把卵囊带下来吧。”

      老鼠打了一个哈欠。他梳了梳他的胡子,才抬头朝卵囊望去。

      “所以!”他厌恶地说,“所以又是老坦普尔曼来救你,对吧?坦普尔曼做这个,坦普尔曼做那个,请坦普尔曼去垃圾堆为我找破杂志,请坦普尔曼借我一根绳子,我好织网。”

      “噢,快点!”威伯说,“快去,坦普尔曼!”

      可老鼠却一点儿也不急。他开始模仿起威伯的声音来。

      “所以现在该说‘快去,坦普尔曼’了,对不对呀?”他说,“哈,哈。我很想知道,我为你们提供了这么多的特别服务后,都得到了什么感谢呀?从没有人给过老坦普尔曼一句好听的话,除了谩骂,风凉话和旁敲侧击之外。从没有人对老鼠说过一句好话。”

      “坦普尔曼,”威伯绝望地说,“如果你不停止你的议论,马上忙起来的话,什么就都完了,我也会心碎而死的,请你爬上去吧!”

      坦普尔曼反而躺到了稻草里。他懒洋洋地把前爪枕到脑后,翘起了二郎腿,一副完全与己无关的自得模样。

      “心碎而死,”他模仿,“多么感人呀!啊唷,啊唷!我发现当你有麻烦时总是我来帮你。可我却从没听说谁会为了我而心碎呢。哦,没人会的。谁在乎老坦普尔曼?”

      “站起来!”威伯尖叫,“别装得跟一个惯坏了的孩子似的!”

      坦普尔曼咧嘴笑笑,还是躺着没动。“是谁一趟趟的往垃圾堆跑呀?”他问,“为什么,总是老坦普尔曼!是谁用那个坏鹅蛋把阿拉贝尔家的男孩子臭跑,救了夏洛一命呀?为我的灵魂祈祷吧,我相信这件事又是老坦普尔曼做的。是谁咬了你的尾巴尖儿,让今早昏倒在人们面前的你站起来的呀?还是老坦普尔曼。你就没想过我已经厌倦了给你跑腿,为你施恩吗?你以为我是什么,一个什么活都得干的老鼠奴仆吗?”

      威伯绝望了。人们就要来了,可老鼠却在忙着奚落他。突然,他想起了老鼠对食物的钟爱。

      “坦普尔曼,”他说,“我将给你一个郑重的承诺。只要你把夏洛的卵囊给我拿下来,那么从现在起每当鲁维来喂我时,我都将让你先吃。我会让你先去挑选食槽里的每一样食物,在你吃饱之前,我绝不碰里面的任何东西。”

      老鼠腾地坐了起来。“真的吗?”他说。

      “我保证。我在胸口划十字保证。”

      “好极了,这是个划得来的交易。”老鼠说。他走到墙边开始往上爬。可是他的肚子里还存着许多昨天吃的好东西呢,因此他只好边抱怨边慢慢地把自己往上面拉。他一直爬到卵囊那里。夏洛为他往边上挪了挪。她就要死了,但她还有动一动的力气。然后坦普尔曼张开他丑陋的长牙,去咬那些把卵囊绑在棚顶的线。威伯在下面看着。

      “要特别小心!”他说,“我不想让任何一个卵受伤。”

      “它粘到我嘴上了,”老鼠抱怨,“它比胶皮糖还黏。”

      但是老鼠还是设法把卵囊拉下来,带到地面,丢到威伯面前。威伯大大松了一口气。

      “谢谢你,坦普尔曼,”他说,“我这一辈子也不会忘记的。”

      “我也是,”老鼠说着,剔剔他的牙,“我感觉好像吞下了满满一线轴的线。好吧,我们回家吧!”

      坦普尔曼爬进板条箱,把自己埋到稻草下面。他消失得正是时候。鲁维和约翰·阿拉贝尔,祖克曼先生那一刻正好走过来,身后跟着阿拉贝尔太太和祖克曼太太,还有芬和埃弗里。威伯已经想好怎么带走卵囊了——这只有一种可能的方法。他小心翼翼地把这个小东西吞到嘴里,放到了舌头尖上。他想起了夏洛告诉过他的话——这个卵囊是防水的,结实的。可这让他的舌头觉得痒痒的,口水开始流了出来。这时他什么也不能说了,但当他被推进板条箱时,他抬头望了一眼夏洛,对她眨了眨眼。她知道他在用他所能用的唯一方式,在对自己说再见。她也知道她的孩子们都很安全。

      “再-见!”她低语。然后她鼓起全身仅剩的一丝力气,对威伯挥起一只前腿。

      她再也不能动了。第二天,当费里斯大转轮被拆走,那些赛马被装进货车拉走,游乐场的摊主们也收拾起他们的东西,把他们的活动房搬走时,夏洛死了。这个展览会不久就被人遗忘了。那些棚屋与房子只好空虚地,孤单单地留在那里。地上堆满了空瓶子之类的废物和垃圾。没有一个人,参加过这次展览会的几百人中,没有一个人知道:那只大灰蜘蛛在这次展览会上扮演了一个最重要的角色。当她死亡时,没有一个人陪在她的身旁。

      参与评论