英语原著双语阅读:《夏洛特的网》第二十二章 温暖的风

      Chapter 22 A Warm Wind

      And so Wilbur came home to his beloved manure pile in the barn cellar. His was a strange homecoming. Around his neck he wore a medal of honor; in his mouth he held a sac of spider's eggs. There is no place like home, Wilburn thought, as he placed Charlotte's five hundred and fourteen unborn children carefully in a safe corner. The barn smelled good. His friends the sheep and the geese were glad to see him back.

      The geese gave him a noisy welcome.

      "Congratu-congratu-congratulations!" they cried. "Nice work."Mr. Zuckerman took the medal from Wilburn's neck and hung it on a nail over the pigpen, where visitors could examine it. Wilbur himself could look at it whenevere he wanted to.

      In the days that followed, he was very happy. He grew to a great size. He no longer worried about being killed, for he knew that Mr. Zuckerman would keep him as long as he lived. Wilbur often thought of Charlotte. A few strands of her old web still hung in the doorway. Every day Wilburn would stand and look at the torn, empty web, and a lump would come to his throat. No one had ever had such a friend-so affectionate, so loyal, and so skillful.

      The autumn days grew shorter, Lurvy brought the squashes and pumpkins in from the garden and piled them on the barn floor, where they wouldn't get nipped on frosty nights. The maples and birches turned bright colors and the wind shook them and they dropped their leaves one by one to the ground. Under the wild apple trees in the pasture, the red little apples lay thick on the ground, and the sheep gnawed them and foxes came in the night and sniffed them. One evening, just before Christmas, snow began falling. It covered house and barn and fields and woods. Wilbur had never seen snow before. When morning came he went out and plowed the drifts in his yard, for the fun of it. Fern and Avery arrived, dragging a sled. They coasted down the lane and out onto the frozen pond in the pasture.

      "Coasting is the most fun there is," said Avery.

      "The most fun there is," retorted Fern, "is when the Ferris wheel stops and Henry and I are in the top car and Henry makes the car swing and we can see everything for miles and miles and miles.""Goodness, are you still thinking about that ol'Ferris wheel?" said Avery in disgust. "The Fair was weeks and weeks ago.""I think about it all the time," said Fern, picking snow from her ear.

      After Christmas the thermometer dropped to ten below zero. Cold settled on the world. The pasture was bleak and frozen. The cows stayed in the barn all the time now, except on sunny mornings when they went out and stood in the barnyard in the lee of the straw pile. The sheep stayed near the barn, too, for protection. When they were thirsty they ate snow. The geese hung around the barnyard the way boys hang around a drug store, and Mr. Zuckerman fed them corn and turnips to keep them cheerful.

      "Many, many, many thanks!" they always said, when they saw food coming.

      Templeton moved indoors when winter came. His ratty home under the pig trough was too chilly, so he fixed himself a cozy nest in the barn behind the grain bins. He lined it with bits of dirty newspapers and rags, and whenever he found a trinket or a keepsake he carried it home and stored it there. He continued to visit Wilbur three times a day, exactly at mealtime, and Wilbur kept the promise he had made. Wilbur let the rat eat first. Then, when Templeton couldn't hold another mouthful, Wilbur would eat. As a result of overeating, Templeton grew bigger and fatter than any rat you ever saw. He was gigantic. he was as big as a young woodchuck.

      The old sheep spoke to him about his size one day. "you would live longer," said the old sheep, "if you ate less.""Who wants to live forever?" sneered the rat. "I am naturally a heavy eater and I get untold satisfaction from the pleasures of the feast." He patted his stomach, grinned at the sheep, and crept upstairs to lie down.

      All winter Wilbur watched over Charlotte's egg sac as though he were guarding his own children. He had scooped out a special place in the manure for the sac, next to the board fence. On very cold nights he lay so that his breath would warm it. For Wilbur, nothing in life was so important as this small round object--nothing else mattered. Patiently he awaited the end of winter and coming of the little spiders. Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch. The winter ended at last.

      "I heard the frogs today," said the old sheep one evening. "Listen! You can hear them now."Wilbur stood still and cocked his ears. From the pond, in shrill chorus, came the voices of hundreds of little frogs.

      "Springtime," said the old sheep, thoughtfully. "Another spring." As she walked away, Wilbur saw a new lamb following her. It was only a few hours old.

      The snows melted and ran away. The streams and ditches bubbled and chattered with rushing water. A sparrow with a streaky breast arrived and sang. The light strengthened, the mornings came sooner. Almost every morning there was another new lamb in the sheepfold. the goose was sitting on nine eggs. The sky seemed wider and a warm wind blew. The last remaining strands of Charlotte's old web floated away and vanished.

      One fine sunny morning, after breakfast, Wilbur stood watching his precious sac. He wasn't thinking of anything much. As he stood there, he noticed something move. He stepped closer and stared. A tiny spider crawled from the sac. It was no bigger than a grain of sand, no bigger than the head of a pin. Its body was grey with a black stripe underneath. Its legs were grey and tan. It looked just like Charlotte.

      Wilbur trembled all over when he saw it. The little spider waved at him. Then Wilbur looked more closely. Two more little spiders crawled out and waved. They climbed round and round on the sac, exploring their new world. Then three more little spiders. Then eight. Then ten. Charlotte's children were here at last.

      Wilbur's heart pounded. he began to squeal. Then he raced in circles, kicking manure into the air. Then he turned a back flip. Then he planted his front feet and came to a stop in front of Charlotte's children.

      "Hello, there!" he said.

      The first spider said hello, but its voice was so small Wilbur couldn't hear it.

      "I am an old friend of your mother's," said Wilbur. "I'm glad to see you. are you all right? Is everything all right?"The little spiders waved their forelegs at him. Wilbur could see by the way they acted that they were glad to see him.

      "Is there anything I can get you? Is there anything you need?"The young spiders just waved. For several days and several nights they crawled here and there, up and down, around and about, waving at Wilbur, trailing tiny draglines behind them, and exploring their home. There were dozens and dozens of them. Wilbur couldn't count them, but he knew that he had a great many new friends. They grew quite rapidly. Soon each was as big as a BB shot. They made tiny webs near the sac.

      Then came a quiet morning when Mr. Zuckerman opened a door on the north side. A warm draft of rising air blew softly through the barn cellar. The air smelled of the damp earth, of the spruce woods, of the sweet springtime. The baby spiders felt the warm updraft. One spider climbed to the top of the fence. Then it did something that came as a great surprise to Wilbur. The spider stood on its head, pointed its spinnerets in the air, and let loose a cloud of fine silk. The silk formed a balloon. As Wilbur watched, the spider let go of the fence and rose into the air.

      "Good-bye!" it said, as it sailed through the doorway.

      "Wait a minute!" screamed Wilbur. "Where do you think you're going?"But the spider was already out of sight. Then another baby spider crawled to the top of the fence, stood on its head, made a balloon, and sailed away. Then another spider. Then another. the air was soon filled with tiny balloons, each balloon carrying a spider.

      Wilbur was frantic. Charlotte's babies were disappearing at a great rate.

      "Come back, children!" he cried.

      "Good-bye!" they called. "Good-bye, good-bye!"At last one little spider took time enough to stop and talk to Wilbur before making its balloon.

      "We're leaving here on the warm updraft. This is our moment for setting forth. We are aeronauts and we are going out into the world to make webs for ourselves.""But where?" asked Wilbur.

      "Wherever the wind takes us. High, low. Near, far. East, west. North, south. We take to the breeze, we go as we please.""Are all of you going?" asked Wilbur. "You can't all go. I would be left alone, with no friends. Your mother wouldn't want that to happen, I'm sure."The air was now so full of balloonists that the barn cellar looked almost as though a mist had gathered. Balloons by the dozen were rising, circling, and drifting away through the door, sailing off on the gentle wind. Cries of "Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye!" came weakly to Wilbur's ears. He couldn't bear to watch any more. In sorrow he sank to the ground and closed his eyes. This seemed like the end of the world, to be deserted by Charlotte's children. Wilbur cried himself to sleep.

      When he woke it was late afternoon. He looked at the egg sac. It was empty. He looked into the air. The balloonists were gone. Then he walked drearily to the doorway, where Charlotte's web used to be. He was standing there, thinking of her, when he heard a small voice.

      "Salutations!" it said. "I'm up here.""So am I," said another tiny voice.

      "So am I,"said a third voice. "Three of us are staying. We like this place, and we like you."Wilbur looked up. At the top of the doorway three small webs were being constructed. On each web, working busily was one of Charlotte's daughters.

      "Can I take this to mean," asked Wilbur, "that you have definitely decided to live here in the barn cellar, and that I am going to have three friends?""You can indeed," said the spiders.

      "What are your names, please?" asked Wilbur, trembling with joy.

      "I'll tell you my name," replied the first little spider,if you'll tell me why you are trembling.""I'm trembling with joy," said the first spider.

      "Then my name is Joy," said the first spider.

      "What was my mother's middle initial?" asked the second spider.

      "A," said Wilbur.

      "Then my name is Aranea," said the spider.

      "How about me?" asked the third spider. "Will you just pick out a nice sensible name for me--something not too long, not too fancy, and not too dumb?"Wilbur thought hard.

      "Nellie?" he suggested.

      "Fine, I like that very much," said the third spider."You may call me Nellie." She daintily fastened her orb line to the next spoke of the web.

      Wilbur's heart brimmed with happiness. He felt that he should make a short speech on this very important occasion.

      "Joy! Aranea! Nellie!" he began. "Welcome to the barn cellar. You have chosen a hallowed doorway from which to string your webs. I think it is only fair to tell you that I was devoted to your mother. I owe my very life to her. She was brilliant, beautiful, and loyal to the end. I shall always treasure her memory. To you, her daughters, I pledge my friendship, forever and ever.""I pledge mine," said Joy.

      "I do, too," said Aranea.

      "And so do I," said Nellie, who had just managed to catch a small gnat.

      It was a happy day for Wilbur. And many more happy, tranquil days followed.

      As time went on, and the months and years came and went, he was never without friends. Fern did not come regularly to the barn any more. She was growing up, and was careful to avoid childish things, like sitting on a milk stool near a pigpen. But Charlotte's children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, year after year, lived in the doorway. Each spring there were new little spiders hatching out to take the place of the old. Most of them sailed away, on their balloons. But always two or three stayed and set up housekeeping in the doorway.

      Mr. Zuckerman took fine care of Wilbur all the rest of his days, and the pig was often visited by friends and admirers, for nobody ever forgot the year of his triumph and the miracle of the web. Life in the barn was very good--night and day, winter and summer, spring and fall, dull days and bright days. It was the best place to be, thought Wilbur, this warm delicious cellar, with the garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure, and the glory of everything.

      Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

      第二十二章 温暖的风

      威伯就这样回到他在谷仓地窖里的,牛粪堆旁的家。他回来时的样子很奇特:脖子上挂着一枚荣誉奖章,嘴里含着一个蜘蛛的卵囊。没有一个地方像家里这么温暖,当他把夏洛的514个没出世的孩子小心地放到安全的角落后,他想。谷仓里的味道真好。他的朋友们,绵羊和鹅们都很高兴看到他回来。

      鹅们以他们特有的方式表示欢迎了。

      “恭-恭-恭喜!”他们喊着,“干得漂亮。”

      祖克曼先生把奖牌从威伯脖子上摘下来,挂到猪圈上方的一根钉子上,这里很容易被参观者看到,威伯也可以随时看到它。

      往后的日子里,他过得非常幸福。他长得出奇的大。他不再担心被杀掉了,因为他知道祖克曼先生会让他一直活下去的。威伯也经常想到夏洛。她旧网里的几根残丝仍然在门框上挂着。每天威伯都会走到那里站一会儿,望望那张残破不堪的空网,这时他就会哽噎起来。从没有人有过这样一个朋友——这样亲密的,这样忠诚的,这样聪慧的朋友。

      秋天过得很快,鲁维把丝瓜,南瓜们从园子里堆藏到谷仓里面,在这里它们才不会被霜夜的寒冷冻坏。枫树和桦树们变得分外鲜艳,在秋风的吹动下,它们的红叶子一片,一片地落到了地上。草场里的野苹果树下,可爱的小红苹果躺得满地都是,绵羊和鹅们都来吃它们,夜里狐狸们也会来吞食它们。圣诞节前的一个夜里,开始下雪了。房子上,谷仓里,田野间,树林中,到处都覆盖着雪。威伯以前从没见过雪。当他早晨起来后,就到院子里去拱雪堆,感觉这特别有趣。芬和埃弗里拖着雪橇走过来了。他们顺着小路往外滑去,一直滑到草场那边结冰的池塘上。

      “坐雪橇是最有意思的了。”埃弗里说。

      “最有意思的是,”芬反驳,“是在费里斯大转轮停在那里,我和亨利走进最高的位子,然后亨利就让我们的座位摇晃着往前走的时候。那时我们能看到每一件东西,不管它是在多么远,多么远的地方。”

      “老天,你还在想着那个大转轮呀?”埃弗里不屑地说,“展览会是很多很多星期前的事了。”

      “我可是时刻都在想着。”芬说着,掸了掸耳朵上的雪。

      圣诞节后,温度计上的指数落到零下十度了。寒冷统治了世界。草场上变得一片凄清。母牛们现在整日呆在谷仓里了,除非在阳光充足的早上,他们才会走出来,在院子里稻草堆旁的避风处站一会儿。为了取暖,绵羊们也呆在谷仓里,很少出去了。渴了他们就吃雪。鹅们就就像男孩子们在药店里一样,在院子里无精打采地走着。为了让他们高兴,祖克曼先生给他们喂玉米和芜菁。

      “非常,非常,非常感谢!”当他们看到送来的食物时总是这么说。

      冬天来时,坦普尔曼搬到屋里来住了。他在猪食槽下的家已经变得太冷了,因此他在谷仓后的粮仓里给自己造了一个安乐窝。他往那里垫上了碎报纸和破布条,还把任何他能找到的东西都储存在那里。他仍是每天拜访威伯三次,都正好在吃饭的时候出现,威伯也一直遵守他许下的诺言,让老鼠先吃。等到老鼠撑得不能往嘴里塞任何东西时,威伯才过来吃。由于吃得太多的缘故,坦普尔曼长得越来越大,比你见过的任何一只老鼠都要肥。他简直成了一只“庞然大鼠”了,几乎和一只小土拨鼠不相上下。

      一天, 老羊对他说起了他的个头。“你可能活久一点的,”老羊说,“如果你少吃一点的话。”

      “谁想永远活下去?”老鼠轻蔑地说,“我天生就是个特别能吃的,正是从吃喝上面我才得到了无穷的满足。”他拍拍肚子,对绵羊冷笑了一声,爬上楼躺下了。

      整个的冬天威伯都在照看着夏洛的卵囊,好像在呵护他自己的孩子一样。他在离栅栏不远处的牛粪堆旁,给卵囊腾出了一个特别的地方。每个寒冷的夜晚,他都躺在那里,让自己的呼吸使它温暖。对威伯来说,他的生命中没有一件东西比这个小圆球更重要。他耐心地等着冬天的结束,小蜘蛛们的到来。当你在等待什么发生或被孵出来时,生活总是变得漫长而又单调。可冬天终于还是过去了。

      “我今天听到青蛙叫了,”老羊一天晚上说,“听!现在你就能听到他们。”

      威伯静静地站着,竖起了耳朵。从池塘那边,传来了数百只小青蛙的高声合唱。

      “春天,”老羊深思着说,“又一个春天。”当她走开时,威伯看到她身后跟着一只新羊羔。它才被生下来一小时。

      积雪融尽了。小溪和壕沟被潺潺的流水填满了。一只胸脯下带着美丽条纹的雀儿,跳过来开始唱歌。天光渐亮,早晨不久就到来了。几乎每天一早都有一只新生的羊羔降生到羊圈里。母鹅正坐在九个蛋上。天空似乎更宽广了,到处都是和畅的风。夏洛的旧网里剩下的最后几缕丝线也被吹得无影无踪了。

      一个阳光遍地的早晨,吃过早饭的威伯又在观察他那珍贵的卵囊了。他本来没有抱太大的期望的,可是当他静静地站在那里观望时,居然发现有什么在那里动。他便走近一些盯着它看。一只很小的蜘蛛从卵囊里爬出来了。它还没有一颗沙粒大,也并不比一根大头针的针头大。它的身体是灰的,下面带有黑色的斑纹,它的腿是灰褐色的。它看起来就像夏洛一样。

      当他看到它时,威伯惊喜得浑身颤抖起来。这只小动物向他爬过来。威伯朝卵囊走得更近了。两只更小的蜘蛛也爬了出来,在空中漂浮着。他们在卵囊周围爬了一圈又一圈,探索着他们的新世界。接着又出来三只更小的蜘蛛。接着是八个。然后是十个。夏洛的孩子们最后都在这儿了。

      威伯心里充满了骄傲。他幸福地狂叫起来。接着他开始转着圈儿的跑,把牛粪向空中踢去。然后他又跑回来,抬起他的前脚,停到了夏洛的孩子们面前。

      “你们好!”他说。

      第一只小蜘蛛也说了你好,但它的声音太小了,威伯根本没听到。

      “我是你们妈妈的一个老朋友,”威伯说,“我很高兴能看到你们。你们都好吗?什么都好吗?”

      小蜘蛛们对他挥动着他们的前腿。威伯见了知道他们也很高兴看到他。

      “我能为你们做任何事吗?你们有任何需要帮忙的吗?”

      年轻的蜘蛛们只是朝他挥挥脚。一连几天几夜,他们就这么这里那里,上下左右地爬着,对威伯挥着脚,从身后扯出细小的丝线,在他们的家里探险。这里足有几百只蜘蛛。威伯虽然数不过来,却知道他有了无数的新朋友。他们长得很快。不久就都像弹丸那么大了。他们在卵囊附近还织了很多小网。

      一个寂静的早晨,当祖克曼先生打开北边的门时,有件事情发生了。从谷仓地窖里轻轻吹出一股温暖的上升气流。空气中满是泥土的清芬,树木的香味,甘甜的春天气息。小蜘蛛们感受到了这温暖的上升气流。一只蜘蛛爬到了栅栏上面,然后他做了件令威伯非常惊奇的事。这只蜘蛛把腿放到头上,把身后的丝囊对向天空,开始放出云一样的游丝。这些丝线形成了一个大汽球。就在威伯看着的时候,这只蜘蛛让自己离开栅栏往天空飞去。

      “再-见!”当它飞过门口时说。

      “等一等!”威伯尖叫,“你想去哪里?”

      但是这只蜘蛛已经远得看不见了。然后另一只蜘蛛也爬上了栅栏,站在头上,做了一个汽球,向天空飞去。然后是又一只。又是一只。空中不久就充满了无数的小汽球,每个汽球下都挂着一只蜘蛛。

      威伯已经发狂了。夏洛的宝宝们都以惊人的速度消失了。

      “回来吧,孩子们!”他哭喊。

      “再-见!”他们回答,“再-见,再-见!”

      最后一只飞去的小蜘蛛在造它的汽球之前和威伯谈了一会儿。

      “我们要随着这温暖的上升气流离开这里了。这是我们起航的时刻。我们是汽球驾驶员,我们要到世界各地,为我们自己织网。”

      “可你们去哪里呢?”威伯问。

      “风把我们带到的任何地方。不管是高处,矮处,近处,远处,东边,西边,北边还是南边。我们乘着微风,我们开心地离去。”

      “你们都要走吗?”威伯问,“你们不能都走,我一个人在这里,会没有朋友的,你们的妈妈不想发生这种事,我能肯定。”

      空中满是汽球驾驶员,谷仓的地窖里现在看起来就像起了一层大雾。汽球们一个接一个地升起,盘旋,从门口飘远,在和畅的蕙风里航行着。无数声的“再-见,再-见,再-见!”轻轻地不断传进威伯的耳朵。他受不了再这么看下去了。他悲痛地沉到地上,闭上了眼。被夏洛的孩子们遗弃之后,威伯感觉就像到了世界的末日。威伯孤独地痛哭着睡了过去。

      当他醒来时,已经快到傍晚了。他看看卵囊,它已经空了。他朝空中望去,汽球驾驶员们也都走了。他凄伤地走到门口,来到夏洛的网曾经存在过的地方。他正站在那里,追怀着她时,他听到了一个细小的声音。

      “致敬!”那声音说,“我在这上面。”

      “我也是。”另一个细微的声音说。

      “我也是,”第三种声音说,“我们三个留下来了。我们喜欢这里,我们也喜欢你。”

      威伯抬头望去。在门框的上方有三个小蜘蛛正在那里织网呢。每一个网里,都有一个正在忙碌地工作着的夏洛的女儿。

      “我可以这么想,”威伯问,“你们决定住在这谷仓地窖里,而我也将有了三个新朋友了吗?”

      “你可以这么想。”蜘蛛们说。

      “请问,你们都叫什么?”威伯带着狂喜问。

      “我将把我的名字告诉你,”第一只小蜘蛛回答,“如果你告诉我你为何颤抖的话。”

      “我在颤抖是因为极度的快乐(Joy)。”威伯说。

      “那么我的名字就叫乔利(Joy)吧。”第一只小蜘蛛说。

      “我妈妈的中间名字是什么?” 第二只小蜘蛛问。

      “A。”威伯说。

      “那么我的名字就叫阿兰娜吧(Aranea)。” 这只小蜘蛛说。

      “那么我呢?” 第三只小蜘蛛问,“你能给我一个好名字吗——不太长,不太夸张,也不要太沉闷的?”

      威伯使劲儿想起来。

      “内利(Nellie)?”他建议。

      “很好,我非常喜欢,” 第三只蜘蛛说,“你可以叫我内利。”她动作优雅地把她的一根圆线织到了身边的网里。

      威伯的心里盛满了幸福。他感到应该为这个重要时刻发表一场简短的演说。

      “乔利!阿兰娜!内利!”他开始说,“欢迎你们到谷仓地窖来。你们已经选择了在一个神圣的门口拉你们的网。我只想告诉你们,我非常热爱你们的母亲。我的生命就是她挽救的。她是卓越的,美丽的,对朋友的忠诚直到生命的最后一刻。我将永远珍藏着对她的回忆。对你们,她的女儿们,我要发誓,我们的友谊,将永远不变。”

      “我发誓。”乔利说。

      “我也发誓。”阿兰娜说。

      “我也是。”刚设法捉到了一只小咬儿的内利说。

      对威伯来说,这是个幸福的一天。以后,也是一连串幸福,宁静的日子。

      随着时间的推移,很多月,很多年过去了,威伯再没缺少过朋友。芬不再定期来看他了。她正在长大,不再让自己去做那些诸如坐在猪圈旁的挤奶凳上一类的孩子气的事情了。但是夏洛的孩子们和孙女们,重孙女们,都年复一年地生活在地窖门口。每年春天都有一些新的小蜘蛛被孵出来,代替那些老去的蜘蛛,他们中的大多数都乘着他们的汽球飞去了,但总有两三只会留下来,在这门口安家。

      祖克曼先生在威伯的余生里对他照顾得很好。他经常被朋友们和崇拜者参观,因为没有人会忘记他取得胜利的那一年和那些蜘蛛网里的奇迹,谷仓里的生活总是非常愉快的——不管是在白天黑夜,冬夏春秋,还是阴天晴天。它是最好的地方,威伯想,这个温暖宜人的地窖里,有絮叨的鹅们,变幻的季节,温暖的阳光,迁徙的燕子,自私的老鼠,固执的绵羊,可爱的蜘蛛,好闻的牛粪,还有一切值得赞美的东西。

      威伯从来没有忘记过夏洛。尽管他是那么的爱她的孩子们和孙女们,但没有一只新来的蜘蛛能代替夏洛在他心中的位置。她是独一无二的。很少有人能同时既是真正的朋友,又是天才的织网家。而夏洛也是。

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