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安徒生童话 08 THE ELDERBUSH 接骨木树妈妈

THE ELDERBUSH

Once upon a time there was a little boy who had taken cold. He had gone out and got his feet wet; though nobody could imagine how it had happened, for it was quite dry weather. So his mother undressed him, put him to bed, and had the tea-pot brought in, to make him a good cup of Elderflower tea. Just at that moment the merry old man came in who lived up a-top of the house all alone; for he had neither wife nor children--but he liked children very much, and knew so many fairy tales, that it was quite delightful.

"Now drink your tea," said the boy's mother; "then, perhaps, you may hear a fairy tale."

"If I had but something new to tell," said the old man. "But how did the child get his feet wet?"

"That is the very thing that nobody can make out," said his mother.

"Am I to hear a fairy tale?" asked the little boy.

"Yes, if you can tell me exactly--for I must know that first--how deep the gutter is in the little street opposite, that you pass through in going to school."

"Just up to the middle of my boot," said the child; "but then I must go into the deep hole."

"Ah, ah! That's where the wet feet came from," said the old man. "I ought now to tell you a story; but I don't know any more."

"You can make one in a moment," said the little boy. "My mother says that all you look at can be turned into a fairy tale: and that you can find a story in everything."

"Yes, but such tales and stories are good for nothing. The right sort come of themselves; they tap at my forehead and say, 'Here we are.'"

"Won't there be a tap soon?" asked the little boy. And his mother laughed, put some Elder-flowers in the tea-pot, and poured boiling water upon them.

"Do tell me something! Pray do!"

"Yes, if a fairy tale would come of its own accord; but they are proud and haughty, and come only when they choose. Stop!" said he, all on a sudden. "I have it! Pay attention! There is one in the tea-pot!"

And the little boy looked at the tea-pot. The cover rose more and more; and the Elder-flowers came forth so fresh and white, and shot up long branches. Out of the spout even did they spread themselves on all sides, and grew larger and larger; it was a splendid Elderbush, a whole tree; and it reached into the very bed, and pushed the curtains aside. How it bloomed! And what an odour! In the middle of the bush sat a friendly-looking old woman in a most strange dress. It was quite green, like the leaves of the elder, and was trimmed with large white Elder-flowers; so that at first one could not tell whether it was a stuff, or a natural green and real flowers.

"What's that woman's name?" asked the little boy.

"The Greeks and Romans," said the old man, "called her a Dryad; but that we do not understand. The people who live in the New Booths have a much better name for her; they call her 'old Granny'--and she it is to whom you are to pay attention. Now listen, and look at the beautiful Elderbush. A row of buildings for seamen in Copenhagen.

"Just such another large blooming Elder Tree stands near the New Booths. It grew there in the corner of a little miserable court-yard; and under it sat, of an afternoon, in the most splendid sunshine, two old people; an old, old seaman, and his old, old wife. They had great-grand-children, and were soon to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage; but they could not exactly recollect the date: and old Granny sat in the tree, and looked as pleased as now. "I know the date," said she; but those below did not hear her, for they were talking about old times.

"Yes, can't you remember when we were very little," said the old seaman, "and ran and played about? It was the very same court-yard where we now are, and we stuck slips in the ground, and made a garden."

"I remember it well," said the old woman; "I remember it quite well. We watered the slips, and one of them was an Elderbush. It took root, put forth green shoots, and grew up to be the large tree under which we old folks are now sitting."

"To be sure," said he. "And there in the corner stood a waterpail, where I used to swim my boats."

"True; but first we went to school to learn somewhat," said she; "and then we were confirmed. We both cried; but in the afternoon we went up the Round Tower, and looked down on Copenhagen, and far, far away over the water; then we went to Friedericksberg, where the King and the Queen were sailing about in their splendid barges."

"But I had a different sort of sailing to that, later; and that, too, for many a year; a long way off, on great voyages."

"Yes, many a time have I wept for your sake," said she. "I thought you were dead and gone, and lying down in the deep waters. Many a night have I got up to see if the wind had not changed: and changed it had, sure enough; but you never came. I remember so well one day, when the rain was pouring down in torrents, the scavengers were before the house where I was in service, and I had come up with the dust, and remained standing at the door--it was dreadful weather--when just as I was there, the postman came and gave me a letter. It was from you! What a tour that letter had made! I opened it instantly and read: I laughed and wept. I was so happy. In it I read that you were in warm lands where the coffee-tree grows. What a blessed land that must be! You related so much, and I saw it all the while the rain was pouring down, and I standing there with the dust-box. At the same moment came someone who embraced me."

"Yes; but you gave him a good box on his ear that made it tingle!"

"But I did not know it was you. You arrived as soon as your letter, and you were so handsome--that you still are--and had a long yellow silk handkerchief round your neck, and a bran new hat on; oh, you were so dashing! Good heavens! What weather it was, and what a state the street was in!"

"And then we married," said he. "Don't you remember? And then we had our first little boy, and then Mary, and Nicholas, and Peter, and Christian."

"Yes, and how they all grew up to be honest people, and were beloved by everybody."

"And their children also have children," said the old sailor, "yes, those are our grand-children, full of strength and vigor. It was, methinks about this season that we had our wedding."

"Yes, this very day is the fiftieth anniversary of the marriage," said old Granny, sticking her head between the two old people; who thought it was their neighbor who nodded to them. They looked at each other and held one another by the hand. Soon after came their children, and their grand-children; for they knew well enough that it was the day of the fiftieth anniversary, and had come with their gratulations that very morning; but the old people had forgotten it, although they were able to remember all that had happened many years ago. And the Elderbush sent forth a strong odour in the sun, that was just about to set, and shone right in the old people's faces. They both looked so rosy-cheeked; and the youngest of the grandchildren danced around them, and called out quite delighted, that there was to be something very splendid that evening--they were all to have hot potatoes. And old Nanny nodded in the bush, and shouted 'hurrah!' with the rest."

"But that is no fairy tale," said the little boy, who was listening to the story.

"The thing is, you must understand it," said the narrator; "let us ask old Nanny."

"That was no fairy tale, 'tis true," said old Nanny, "but now it's coming. The most wonderful fairy tales grow out of that which is reality; were that not the case, you know, my magnificent Elderbush could not have grown out of the tea-pot." And then she took the little boy out of bed, laid him on her bosom, and the branches of the Elder Tree, full of flowers, closed around her. They sat in an aerial dwelling, and it flew with them through the air. Oh, it was wondrous beautiful! Old Nanny had grown all of a sudden a young and pretty maiden; but her robe was still the same green stuff with white flowers, which she had worn before. On her bosom she had a real Elderflower, and in her yellow waving hair a wreath of the flowers; her eyes were so large and blue that it was a pleasure to look at them; she kissed the boy, and now they were of the same age and felt alike.

Hand in hand they went out of the bower, and they were standing in the beautiful garden of their home. Near the green lawn papa's walking-stick was tied, and for the little ones it seemed to be endowed with life; for as soon as they got astride it, the round polished knob was turned into a magnificent neighing head, a long black mane fluttered in the breeze, and four slender yet strong legs shot out. The animal was strong and handsome, and away they went at full gallop round the lawn.

"Huzza! Now we are riding miles off," said the boy, "We are riding away to the castle where we were last year!"

And on they rode round the grass-plot; and the little maiden, who, we know, was no one else but old Nanny, kept on crying out, "Now we are in the country! Don't you see the farm-house yonder? And there is an Elder Tree standing beside it; and the cock is scraping away the earth for the hens, look, how he struts! And now we are close to the church. It lies high upon the hill, between the large oak-trees, one of which is half decayed. And now we are by the smithy, where the fire is blazing, and where the half-naked men are banging with their hammers till the sparks fly about. Away! away! To the beautiful country-seat!"

And all that the little maiden, who sat behind on the stick, spoke of, flew by in reality. The boy saw it all, and yet they were only going round the grass-plot. Then they played in a side avenue, and marked out a little garden on the earth; and they took Elder-blossoms from their hair, planted them, and they grew just like those the old people planted when they were children, as related before. They went hand in hand, as the old people had done when they were children; but not to the Round Tower, or to Friedericksberg; no, the little damsel wound her arms round the boy, and then they flew far away through all Denmark. And spring came, and summer; and then it was autumn, and then winter; and a thousand pictures were reflected in the eye and in the heart of the boy; and the little girl always sang to him, "This you will never forget." And during their whole flight the Elder Tree smelt so sweet and odorous; he remarked the roses and the fresh beeches, but the Elder Tree had a more wondrous fragrance, for its flowers hung on the breast of the little maiden; and there, too, did he often lay his head during the flight.

"It is lovely here in spring!" said the young maiden. And they stood in a beech-wood that had just put on its first green, where the woodroof at their feet sent forth its fragrance, and the pale-red anemony looked so pretty among the verdure. "Oh, would it were always spring in the sweetly-smelling Danish beech-forests!"

Asperula odorata.

"It is lovely here in summer!" said she. And she flew past old castles of by-gone days of chivalry, where the red walls and the embattled gables were mirrored in the canal, where the swans were swimming, and peered up into the old cool avenues. In the fields the corn was waving like the sea; in the ditches red and yellow flowers were growing; while wild-drone flowers, and blooming convolvuluses were creeping in the hedges; and towards evening the moon rose round and large, and the haycocks in the meadows smelt so sweetly.

"This one never forgets!"

"It is lovely here in autumn!" said the little maiden. And suddenly the atmosphere grew as blue again as before; the forest grew red, and green, and yellow-colored. The dogs came leaping along, and whole flocks of wild-fowl flew over the cairn, where blackberry-bushes were hanging round the old stones. The sea was dark blue, covered with ships full of white sails; and in the barn old women, maidens, and children were sitting picking hops into a large cask; the young sang songs, but the old told fairy tales of mountain-sprites and soothsayers. Nothing could be more charming.

"It is delightful here in winter!" said the little maiden. And all the trees were covered with hoar-frost; they looked like white corals; the snow crackled under foot, as if one had new boots on; and one falling star after the other was seen in the sky. The Christmas-tree was lighted in the room; presents were there, and good-humor reigned. In the country the violin sounded in the room of the peasant; the newly-baked cakes were attacked; even the poorest child said, "It is really delightful here in winter!"

Yes, it was delightful; and the little maiden showed the boy everything; and the Elder Tree still was fragrant, and the red flag, with the white cross, was still waving: the flag under which the old seaman in the New Booths had sailed. And the boy grew up to be a lad, and was to go forth in the wide world-far, far away to warm lands, where the coffee-tree grows; but at his departure the little maiden took an Elder-blossom from her bosom, and gave it him to keep; and it was placed between the leaves of his Prayer-Book; and when in foreign lands he opened the book, it was always at the place where the keepsake-flower lay; and the more he looked at it, the fresher it became; he felt as it were, the fragrance of the Danish groves; and from among the leaves of the flowers he could distinctly see the little maiden, peeping forth with her bright blue eyes--and then she whispered, "It is delightful here in Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter"; and a hundred visions glided before his mind.

Thus passed many years, and he was now an old man, and sat with his old wife under the blooming tree. They held each other by the hand, as the old grand-father and grand-mother yonder in the New Booths did, and they talked exactly like them of old times, and of the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding. The little maiden, with the blue eyes, and with Elder-blossoms in her hair, sat in the tree, nodded to both of them, and said, "To-day is the fiftieth anniversary!" And then she took two flowers out of her hair, and kissed them. First, they shone like silver, then like gold; and when they laid them on the heads of the old people, each flower became a golden crown. So there they both sat, like a king and a queen, under the fragrant tree, that looked exactly like an elder: the old man told his wife the story of "Old Nanny," as it had been told him when a boy. And it seemed to both of them it contained much that resembled their own history; and those parts that were like it pleased them best.

"Thus it is," said the little maiden in the tree, "some call me 'Old Nanny,' others a 'Dryad,' but, in reality, my name is 'Remembrance'; 'this I who sit in the tree that grows and grows! I can remember; I can tell things! Let me see if you have my flower still?"

And the old man opened his Prayer-Book. There lay the Elder-blossom, as fresh as if it had been placed there but a short time before; and Remembrance nodded, and the old people, decked with crowns of gold, sat in the flush of the evening sun. They closed their eyes, and--and--! Yes, that's the end of the story!

The little boy lay in his bed; he did not know if he had dreamed or not, or if he had been listening while someone told him the story. The tea-pot was standing on the table, but no Elder Tree was growing out of it! And the old man, who had been talking, was just on the point of going out at the door, and he did go.

"How splendid that was!" said the little boy. "Mother, I have been to warm countries."

"So I should think," said his mother. "When one has drunk two good cupfuls of Elder-flower tea, 'tis likely enough one goes into warm climates"; and she tucked him up nicely, least he should take cold. "You have had a good sleep while I have been sitting here, and arguing with him whether it was a story or a fairy tale."

"And where is old Nanny?" asked the little boy.

"In the tea-pot," said his mother; "and there she may remain."

接骨木树妈妈

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。

  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。

  “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①。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。

  ①欧洲人的风俗,把结婚五十周年叫做“金婚”。

  “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①;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②去——国王和王后常常在这儿的运河上驾着华丽的船航行。”

  ①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。

  ②这是哥本哈根的一个大公园。

  “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片绿色中显得分外的华丽。

  “啊,惟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①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!”

  ①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。

  “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①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。

  ①这就是丹麦的国旗。

  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!”

  --------------------

  (1845年)

  这个故事首次在一个叫做《加埃亚》(Gaea)的杂志上发表的。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。这也反映出安徒生的善良和人道主义精神的一个侧面。但安徒生在”回忆”中却说:“这个故事的种子,是我在一个古老的传说中得到的:在一棵接骨木树里活着一个生物,名叫‘接骨木树妈妈’或‘接骨木树女人’。任何人伤害这棵树,她必然要向他报仇。曾经有一个人砍掉这棵树,很快他就暴死了。这样一个传说,竟在安徒生的笔下引出一个主题思想完全不同的童话。这也说明在创作思维活动中,确也潜藏着一种无法解释的“奥秘”。
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