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《七个铜板》英文短篇小说

微小说 时间:2018-12-22 我要投稿
【www.ruiwen.com - 微小说】

  主要内容:

  小说以母亲的笑贯穿全篇,描写一个贫苦的妇女为了凑够七个铜板,买一块肥皂给家人洗衣服,不得不翻箱倒柜,最后在一个老乞丐的帮助下,才凑够七个铜板,可肥皂却没买成,女主人终于笑的咯了血的悲惨故事。反映了20世纪初匈牙利劳动人民的贫困和痛苦,赞扬了母子间、穷人间深刻的理解和淳朴真诚的友爱。

  作者介绍:

  莫里兹早期短篇小说《七个铜板》,以别开生面的形式描写了穷人的“哭”与“笑”,因内容与形式的创新而轰动文坛。第一次世界大战期间到前线采访,1916年发表了反战小说《穷人》。中篇小说《火炬》描写一个有志于社会改革的青年牧师被旧势力同化的过程。20年代的中篇小说《一生做好人》、长篇三部曲《爱尔德伊》、长篇小说《通宵达旦》、《老爷的狂欢》和《亲戚》,多以揭露封建社会的腐朽堕落和探索治国道路为主题。 30年代写出《 幸福的人》、《强盗》、《罗饶·山多尔》等小说,反映农民悲惨遭遇和反抗斗争。莫里兹一生还写过80多部剧本,大部分根据自己的小说改编。SEVEN PENNIES

  The gods in their wisdom have granted the benefit of laughter also to the poor.

  The tenants of huts do not wail all the time, often enough a hearty laughter comes ringing from their dwellings. I might even go to the length of saying that the poor often laugh when they have every reason to cry.

  I happen to be thoroughly familiar with that kind of world. The generation of the Soós tribe that had brought forth my father went through the direst stages of destitution. At that time, my father worked as a day-labourer in a machine shop. There was nothing for him, nor for anyone else, to brag about in those days. (Yet brag they did.)

  And it is a fact that never in my life was I to laugh as much as in those very years of my childhood.

  How, indeed, should I ever again have laughed so heartily after I had lost my merry, red-cheeked mother, who used to laugh so sweetly that, in the end, tears came trickling down her cheeks and her laughter ended in a fit of coughing that almost choked her...

  But she never laughed as merrily as on the afternoon which we spent searching for seven pennies. We searched, and we found them, too. Three were in the drawer of the sewing machine one in the cupboard... the rest were more difficult to find.

  My mother found the first three pennies all by herself. She thought there ought to be more coins in the drawer, for she used to turn a penny by sewing and kept whatever she earned in that drawer. To me, the drawer of the sewing machine seemed an inexhaustible gold mine, and whenever you delved into it, all your wishes came true.

  Thus I was flabbergasted to see my mother digging into a mess of needles, thimbles, scissors, bits of ribbon, braid and buttons, and, after she had poked around in them a while, to hear her say in astonishment:

  "They have gone into hiding."

  "Who?"

  "The coins," she said with a laugh.

  She pulled out the drawer.

  "Come on, sonny, let us find the wicked things. Naughty, naughty coins."

  She squatted on the floor and put down the drawer so cautiously, she seemed to fear its contents might fly away; then she daintily turned it upside down, as though she were catching butterflies under a hat.

  You couldn't help laughing over the way she acted.

  "Here they are, in here," she giggled, and was in no hurry to lift up the drawer. "If there's but a single one, it must be in here."

  I squatted on my heels and watched closely for a shiny coin to creep forth somewhere. Nothing stirred.

  To be quite frank, neither of us really believed that there were any inside.

  We glanced at each other, laughing over the childish joke.

  I touched the drawer as it lay there upside down.

  "Ssht!" my mother shushed me. "Keep still, child, or they'll run away. You have no idea how nimble pennies can be. They run so fast, they simply roll away. My, how they roll..."

  We rocked with laughter. We had seen often enough, how easily the pennies could roll away.

  When we got over our fit of laughter, I stretched out my hand once more to lift the drawer.

  "Don't!" mother cried out, and I snatched back my finger as if I had scorched it on a stove.

  "Easy, you spendthrift. Why be in such a hurry to send them off? They belong to us only while they are safe here, under the hood. Let them remain there for a little while yet. For, you see, I have to do some washing and for that I need some soap, and for the soap I must have at least seven pennies, they won't give me any for less. I've got three already, I need four more, they must be in this little house. They live here, but they hate to be disturbed, and if they grow angry, they'll vanish and we shan't ever get hold of them again. Easy, then, for money is a delicate thing and must be handled gently. It wants to be respected. It takes offence quickly, like a sensitive lady... Don't you know a verse that would lure it from its house?"

  Oh, how we laughed while she babbled along! My incantation was odd indeed. It went like this:

  "Uncle Coin, I'm no liar,

  Your house is on fire..."

  At this I turned the drawer right side up again.

  There was every kind of rubbish below it, but coins... there were none.

  My mother kept rummaging in the heap, making a sour face, but that didn't help.

  "What a pity," she said, "that we have no table. It would have been more respectful to turn it over on a table, and then the coins would have stayed put."

  I swept up the things and put them back into the drawer. Mother was doing some hard thinking the while. She racked her brains to remember whether she had some time or other put any money elsewhere, but she couldn't recall it.

  Of a sudden, I had an idea.

  "Mother, I know a place where there is a coin."

  "Where is it, sonny? Let us catch it before it melts like snow."

  "There used to be one in the drawer of the glass cupboard."

  "Oh, my lamb, I'm glad you didn't tell me before, it would surely no longer be there."

  We stood up and went to the cupboard that had lost its glass pane ever so long ago; the penny was actually in the drawer I had suspected it to be in. I had been tempted to filch it for the past three days, but I never mustered enough courage to do so. Had I dared, I would have spent it on candy.

  "Now we have got four pennies. Don't worry, sonny, that's already the bigger half. All we need is three more. And if it has taken us an hour to find four, we shall find the rest before We have a snack. That will leave me plenty of time to do a batch of washing by nightfall. Come on, let us see, perhaps there are some more in the other drawers."

  All would have been well, had each drawer contained one coin. That would have been more than we needed. For, in the prime of its life, the old cupboard had done service in a prosperous dwelling, where it had harboured many treasures. In our home, however, the poor thing contained little enough - weak-chested, worm-eaten, gap-toothed as it was.

  Mother chided each drawer as she pulled it open.

  "This one used to be rich - once upon a time. This one never had a thing. This one here always lived on tick. As for you, you miserable beggar, you haven't a farthing to your name. This one won't ever have any, we keep our poverty in it. And you there, may you never have a single one: I ask you for a penny just this once, and even so you begrudge it me. This one is sure to be the richest, look!" she burst out laughing, as she jerked open the lowest drawer, which had not a splinter to its bottom.

  She hung it around my neck, and we both laughed so hard, we had to sit down on the floor.

  "Wait a minute," she started, "I'll get some money in a jiffy. There must be some in your father's suit."

  There were some nails in the wall upon which our clothes were hung. My mother delved into the topmost pocket of my father's jacket, and, marvel of marvels, her fingers pulled out a penny.

  She could hardly believe her eyes.

  "Bless me," she shouted, "here it is. How much does that make? Why, we can hardly manage to count them all up. One - two - three - four - five... Five! All we need is two more. Two pennies, that is nothing. Where there are five, there are bound to be two more."

  She went about feverishly searching all my father's pockets, but alas, to no avail. She couldn't find another. Even the merriest jokes failed to lure forth two more pennies.

  My mother's cheeks burned like two red roses with excitement and exertion. She was not supposed to work, for, whenever she did, she was taken ill. This was, of course, a special kind of work, and you can't forbid people to look for money.

  Snack-time came and went. Soon it would be getting dark. My father needed a clean shirt for the morning, and no washing could be done. Well-water alone was not enough to remove the greasy dirt.

  Suddenly, mother tapped her forehead:

  "How silly of me. I never thought of searching my own pocket! Now that I think of it, I shall have a look."

  She did, and sure enough, there was a penny in it. The sixth one.

  A veritable fever took hold of us. Just one more penny was lacking.

  "Let me see your pockets, perhaps there is one in them."

  Dear me, it was no good showing them. They were empty.

  It was turning dark, and there we were with our six pennies, we might as well have had none for all the use they were. The Jewish grocer granted no credit, and the neighbours were just as penniless as we. Besides, you just couldn't go and ask for one penny!

  The best we could do was to have a good laugh over our own misery.

  We were in the very throes of it, when a beggar came by, wailing his sing-song prayer for alms.

  Mother almost swooned with laughter.

  "Stop it, my good man," she said, "I have been idle all afternoon, for I am short of one penny to buy half a pound soap with."

  The beggar, a kindly old man, stared at her.

  "You are short of one penny, you say?"

  "One penny, yes."

  "I'll give it you."

  "A nice thing to take alms from a beggar!"

  "Never mind, my child, I can do without it. All I need is a hole in the ground and a shovelful of earth. That will make everything well for me."

  He put the penny into my hand and shuffled along amidst our blessings.

  "Thank goodness," my mother said. "Now run along..."

  She stopped short, then burst into ringing laughter.

  "I can't wash today in any case, but, just the same, it's none too soon that we scraped together the money: it is getting dark, and I have no kerosene for the lamp."

  She laughed so hard, it took her breath away. A fierce murderous fit of coughing shook her body. She swayed on her feet and buried her face in her palms and, as I drew close to support her, I felt something warm trickling down on my hands.

  It was blood, her precious, hallowed blood. That of my mother, who could laugh so heartily as few people can, even among the poor.

  穷人也可以笑,甚至可以说,穷人在想哭的时候也常常是笑的。

  我们一家经历过最悲惨的贫困。但是,在悲惨的童年岁月中,我却曾经笑得那样厉害。这是因为我有一位快活的母亲。她总是笑得那么甜蜜,笑得流眼泪,有时笑得几乎透不过气来。

  有一次,我俩花了整整一下午来找七个铜板,而且终于找到了。

  头三个铜板是我母亲一个人找到的。她希望在缝衣机里再找到几个,因为她时常给人家做点儿活,赚来的钱总是放在那里面。

  我看着母亲在抽屉里边搜寻,在针、线、顶针、剪子、扣子和碎布条的中间摸索。

  “不管怎么样,我们得把这些小坏蛋找出来。啊,这些淘气的、淘气的小铜板!”

  她蹲在地板上,把抽屉放下来,像用帽子扑蝴蝶似的突然把抽屉翻了个身。她那样子,叫你不能不笑。

  我蹲在地板上,注视着有没有晶亮的小铜板悄悄地爬出来,可是没有。我碰了碰那个翻身的抽屉。

  “嘘!”母亲警告我,“当心,会逃走的呀。你不晓得铜板是个多么灵活的动物,它会很快的跑掉,它差不多是滚着跑的。它滚得可真快呀……”我们笑得前仰后合。

  当我们平静下来的时候,母亲说:“你瞧,我要洗衣服,得用肥皂,可是肥皂起码要花七个铜板才能买到,少一个就不行。我已经有三个了,还差四个。它们都在这个小屋子里,可是它们不喜欢人去惊动。假如它们生气,就一去不回了。你得很巧妙地、毕恭毕敬地对待它。你不是会唱迷人的曲儿吗?也许我们可以把它从它的蜗牛壳里面逗出来呢。”

  “铜板叔叔快出来,

  你的房子着火啦……”

  我一面唱,一面就把它的“房子”翻过来。下面是各种各样的破烂儿,就是没有钱。我母亲撅着嘴在乱翻,但是毫无结果。她绞尽脑汁地想是不是把钱放在别的什么地方了,但是她什么也想不出来。

  不过,我的心里倒动了一个念头:“亲爱的妈妈,我知道有个地方有一个铜板。”

  “在哪儿,我的孩子?我们快把它找出来吧,别让它像雪一样融化掉。”

  “玻璃橱里,在那个抽屉里。”

  我们走到早已没有玻璃的玻璃橱前,还好,我们在它的抽屉里找到了那个铜板。

  “得,我们已经有了四个铜板,再有三个就够了。在天黑以前,我们再找到那三个,这样,我还可以洗不少衣服呢。”说着,她拉出了那个连底也没有的抽屉。然后,她把它套在我的脖子上,于是我们坐在地板上,放声大笑。

  “别笑了,”她突然说道,“我们马上就有钱了。我就要从你爸爸的衣服里找出一些来。”你说怪不怪,我母亲把手伸进父亲衣服的口袋,就马上摸到了一个铜板。她简直不相信自己的眼睛了。

  “瞧,”她叫道,“我们找着了!我们已经有多少啦?简直数不过来了!一、二、三、四、五个!再有两个就够了。两个铜板算什么?既然有了五个,另外两个就要出现的。”她非常热心地搜寻那些衣袋,可是,天哪,什么结果也没有。她一个也找不出来了,就连最有趣的笑话也没法把另外两个铜板逗出来了。

  下午快过去了,夜不久就要来临。

  这时,母亲拍了拍前额。“哦,我有多么傻!我怎么不看看自己的衣袋。”

  你相信吗?她真在那里找着了一个铜板-----第六个。我们都兴奋起来,现在只缺一个了。

  “把你的衣袋也给我看看,说不定那儿也有一个!”我的衣袋?里边什么也没有!

  到了晚上,我们有了六个铜板。除了打心坎里笑我们自己的不幸以外,再也没有别的办法了。

  这时,一个叫花子走了进来。

  我母亲笑得几乎昏过去了。

  “算了吧,我的好人,”她说道,“我在这儿糟蹋了整整一个下午,因为需要一个铜板。少了它就买不到半磅肥皂。”

  那个叫花子,一个脸色温和的老头儿,瞪着眼睛看着她。

  “一个铜板?”他问道。

  “是的。”

  “我可以给你一个。”

  “这还了得,接受一个叫花子的布施!”

  “不要紧,我不会短少这一个铜板的。”

  他把一个铜板放在我的手里,然后蹒跚地走开了。

  母亲停了一会儿,然后发出一阵响亮的笑声。

  她笑得透不过气来,几乎要窒息。她弯着腰把脸埋在手掌里,我去扶她的时候,一种热乎乎的东西流过我的手。

  那是血,是我母亲的血,是她宝贵的、圣洁的血。

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