The Red Leaves on the Fragrant Hill – Yang Shuo

作品原文

杨朔 《香山红叶》

早听说香山红叶是北京最浓最浓的秋色,能去看看,自然乐意。我去的那日,天也作美,明净高爽,好得不能再好了;人也凑巧,居然找到一位老向导。这位老向导就住在西山脚下,早年做过四十年的向导,胡子都白了,还是腰板挺直,硬朗得很。

我们先邀老向导到一家乡村小饭馆里吃饭。几盘野味,半杯麦酒,老人家的话来了,慢言慢语说:“香山这地方也没别的好处,就是高,一进山门,门坎跟玉泉山顶一样平。地势一高,气也清爽,人才爱来。春天人来踏青,夏天来消夏,到秋天——”一位同游的朋友急着问:“不知山上的红叶红了没有?”

老向导说:“还不是正时候。南面一带向阳,也该先有红的了。”

于是用完酒饭,我们请老向导领我们顺着南坡上山。好清静的去处啊。沿着石砌的山路,两旁满是古松古柏,遮天蔽日的,听说三伏天走在树阴里,也不见汗。

老向导交叠着两手搭在肚皮上,不紧不慢走在前面,总是那么慢言慢语说:“原先这地方什么也没有,后面是一片荒山,只有一家财主雇了个做活的给他种地、养猪。猪食倒在一个破石槽里,可是倒进去一点食,猪怎么吃也吃不完,那做活的觉得有点怪,放进石槽里几个铜钱,钱也拿不完,就知道这是个聚宝盆了。到算工账的时候,做活的什么也不要,单要这个石槽。一个破石槽能值几个钱?财主乐得送个人情,就给了他。石槽太重,做活的扛到山里,就扛不动了,便挖个坑埋好,怕忘了地点,又拿一棵松树和一棵柏树插在上面做记号,自己回家去找人帮着抬。谁知返回来一看,满山都是松柏树,数也数不清。”谈到这儿,老人又慨叹说:“这真是座活山啊。有山就有水,有水就有脉,有脉就有苗,难怪人家说下面埋着聚宝盆。”

这当儿,老向导早带我们走进一座挺幽雅的院子,里边有两眼泉水。石壁上刻着“双清”两个字。老人围着泉水转了转说:“我有十年不上山了,怎么有块碑不见了?我记得碑上刻的是‘梦赶泉’。”接着又告诉我们一个故事,说是元朝有个皇帝来游山,倦了,睡在这儿,梦见身子坐在船上,脚下翻着波浪,醒来叫人一挖脚下,果然冒出股泉水,这就是“梦赶泉”的来历。

老向导又笑笑说:“这都是些乡村野话,我怎么听来的,怎么说,你们也不必信。”

听着这个白胡子老人絮絮叨叨谈些离奇的传说,你会觉得香山更富有迷人的神话色彩。我们不会那么煞风景,偏要说不信,只是一路上山,怎么连一片红叶也看不见?

老人说:“你先别急,一上半山亭,什么都看见了。”

我们上了半山亭,朝东一望,真是一片好景,莽莽苍苍的河北大平原就摆在眼前,烟树深处,正藏着我们的北京城。也妙,本来也算有点气魄的昆明湖,看起来只像一盆清水。万寿山,佛香阁,不过是些点缀的盆景。我们都忘了看红叶。红叶就在高山头坡上,满眼都是,半黄半红的,倒还有意思。可惜叶子伤了水,红的又不透。要是红透了,太阳一照,那颜色该有多浓。

我望着红叶,问:“这是什么树?怎么不大像枫叶?”

老向导说:“本来不是枫叶嘛。这叫红树。”就指着路边的树,说:“你看看,就是那种树。”

路边的红树叶子还没红,所以我们都没注意。我走过去摘下一片,叶子是圆的,只有叶脉上微微透出点红意。

我不觉叫:“哎呀!还香呢。”把叶子送到鼻子上闻了一闻,那叶子发出一股轻微的药香。

另一位同伴也嗅了嗅,叫:“哎呀!是香。怪不得叫香山。”

老向导也慢慢说:“真是香呢。我怎么做了四十年向导,早先就没闻见过呢?”

我的老大爷,我不十分清楚你过去的身世,但是从你脸上密密的纹路里,猜得出你是个久经风霜的人。你的心过去是苦的,你怎么能闻到红叶的香味?我也不十分清楚你今天的生活,可是你看,这么大年纪的一位老人,爬起山来不急,也不喘,好像不快,我们可总是落在后边,跟不上。有这样轻松脚步的老年人,心情也该是轻松的,还能闻不见红叶香?

老向导就在满山红叶的香里,领着我们看了“森玉笏”、“西山晴雪”、昭庙,还有别的香山风景。下山的时候,将近黄昏,一仰脸望见东边天上现出半轮上弦的白月亮,一位同伴忽然想起来,说:“今天是不是重阳?”一翻身边带的报纸,原来是重阳的第二日。我们这一次秋游,倒应了重九登高的旧俗。

也有人觉得没看见一片好红叶,未免美中不足。我却摘到一片更可贵的红叶,藏到我心里去。这不是一般的红叶,这是一片曾在人生经过风吹雨打的红叶,越到老秋,越红得可爱。不用说,我指的是那位老向导。

英文译文

The Red Leaves on the Fragrant Hill
Yang Shuo

I had long heard that the red autumn leaves on the Fragrant Hillmanifested the most luxuriant autumnal colour inBeijing.If I could have a chance to see it, I’d be so happy. The day I finally did go,it was a fine day. The sky was clear and as nice as nice could be. I was luckyenough to find a man who happened to be an old tourist guide. This old manhappened to live right at the foot of the West Hill. He had worked as a touristguide for forty years and although he had become a man bearing a white beard,he was still quite strong.

At first weinvited the old tourist guide to dine with us in a small restaurant in a smallvillage. Having been served several plates of game and half a cup of barleywine, the old man opened his mouth and said slowly, “Except for itsheight, there is nothing worth seeing on the Fragrant Hill. Entering throughthe hill gate, you can see that its threshold is at the same level as the topof the Yuquan Hill (the Jade Spring Hill). In such a high terrain, the air isnaturally fresh and men like to come here. In spring, they come here to strollthrough the green grass; in summer they come here to spend their free time, andin autumn…” A companion asked in eagerness: “I don’t know if theleaves on the hill have turned red.

The old mansaid, “It is not quite time, but the south side faces the sun, so theleaves there might be red by now.

Havingfinished our wine and meal, we asked the old guide to lead us on a hike up thesouth slope of the hill. What a quiet place! On both sides of the stone-pavedpath there were ancient pine and cypress trees with rich foliage that screenedout the sunlight. It is said that here men do not sweat in the shade, even onthe hottest of summer days.

The oldguide walked in front at a moderate pace with his two hands across his bellyand always saying unhurriedly, “Originally there was nothing here. In therear there was a patch of waste land where a rich man hired a farmhand to dofarm work and raise pigs for him. The pig feed was poured into a stone trough.But only a little pig feed was enough for the pigs. Finding it rather strange,the farmhand began to put some coins into the trough and the money was far toomuch to carry away. It turned out to be a Treasure Trough. When the day to dothe accounts arrived, the farmhand wanted nothing except that stone trough. Howmuch did a broken stone trough cost? The rich man was only too glad to do him afavour at no great cost to himself and so gave it to him. As the stone troughwas very heavy, the farmhand could only carry it to the hill, for he could notlift it any longer. There he dug a pit in the ground and buried it. Fearing hemight forget the spot, he planted a pine and a cypress tree above it as marks.When the farmhand returned, he found, in surprise, the whole hill was denselycovered with pine and cypress trees, too numerous to count. “Then the oldman gave a sigh and said, “This is really a living hill. With hill, thereis surely water. Where there is water, there will surely be veins. Where thereare veins, there will surely be seedling. No wonder people say that a treasurebowl is hidden underneath here. ”

At that timethe old guide led us into a very quiet and tasteful courtyard with two springs.On the stone wall were engraved two characters: “Shuang Qing” (TwoClear Streams). After making a turn about the springs, the old man said,”It has been ten years since I came here last. How is it that a stone tablet hasdisappeared? I remember that the stone tablet was engraved “Menggan Spring”(Chasinga Stream in a Dream). Immediately the old man told us a story: Once there wasan emperor in the Yuan Dynasty who came to visit the hill. As he was too tired,he slept here and dreamt of sitting in a boat and under his feet were rollingwaves. When he awoke, he ordered his men to dig the earth under his feet. Therereally was a stream that gushed under the ground. That is the legend of”Menggan Spring”.

The oldguide smiled again and said, “All these stories are just countrysidefolklore. As to how I got these words and how they were said, you should notbelieve in them. ”

Listening tothe old man’s garrulous talking about those fantastic legends, you could feelthat the Fragrant Hill was still full of charming mythological flavour. Wewould not spoil the fun by saying we didn’t believe in him. Thus we continuedto climb all the way up the hill, but why not a single piece of red leaf couldbe found?

The old mansaid, “Don’t worry. When we climb to the Banshan Pavilion (HillsidePavilion), you will see everything. ”

When wereached “Banshan Pavilion”, we looked towards the east. What asplendid sight! The immense misty Hebei Plain spread before our eyes, and inthe midst of the foggy trees Beijing City was hidden. It was really a wonderthat theKunming Lake,which originally held man’s vision, now only looked like a basin of clearwater. Wanshoushan (The Longevity Hill) and Foxiangge (Tower for Incense forthe Buddha) were but a few potted landscapes of decoration. We all forgot tolook for the red leaves on the slope of the hill. Although the vast stretch ofthem were still partly yellow and partly red, they were actually veryinteresting. The sad thing was that the leaves spoiled the water, for the redleaves were not red enough. If they had been red through, how luxurious theywould have been in the sun shine!

Looking atthe leaves, I asked:”What tree is it? Why is it not quite like Chinesesweet gum?”

The old mansaid, “It is by no means Chinese sweet gum. It is mangrove. ” Thenpointing to the tree by the road he said, “You see, it is that kind oftree.”

The leavesof the mangroves on the roadside also had not yet turned red, so we paid littleattention to them. I went over to pick one of the leaves. It was round and onlythe veins penetrated a slight red colour.

I cried outinvoluntarily: “Aha! It smells so fragrant ! “As I put the leaf undermy nose, it gave off a slight medicinal fragrance.

Anothertourist smelled it too and cried:”Aha! It is really fragrant! No wonderthis place is called the Fragrant Hill.”

The oldguide said slowly too, “It is really fragrant. I have been working as atourist guide for forty years now, why have I not smelt it?”

My olduncle, I am not so clear about your past experience, but from the densewrinkles in your face, I can guess that you are a man who has experiencedhardships in life. In the past your heart was bitter, so how could you smellthe fragrance of the red leaves? I am not so clear about your life today, butsuch an old man as you, while climbing, you neither walk fast nor are short ofbreath. You seem to be not so quick in your steps, and no matter how hard wetried, we could not keep up with you. An old man with such light steps must belight in your heart. Why then could not you smell the fragrance of the redleaves?

The fragranceof the red leaves lingered all over the hill as the old guide led us on tovisit other sights as “Sen Yu Hu”, “Xishan Qingxuer” (ClearSnow in the West Hill) , Temple of Zhao and other scenic spots around theFragrant Hill. When we began descending, it was nearly dusk. Lifting my head, Isaw half a white moon (the first quarter moon) was hanging in the sky.Suddenly, a companion recalled something and said, “Isn’t it the DoubleNinth Festival (1) today?” Fetching out the newspaper, it turned out to bethe second day of the Double Ninth Festival. This autumn tour of ours coincidedwith the old Chinese custom, the Double Ninth Festival!

There werealso some people who felt it a pity because they had not seen a good red leaf,regarding it much like a fly in the ointment. But as for me, I picked aprecious red leaf and held it in my heart. It was not an ordinary red leaf buta red leaf that had experienced the hardship in life. The more autumn advances,the more lovely it becomes. It goes without saying that the red leaf is the oldtourist guide.

(1)DoubleNinth Festival: An old Chinese customary festival on the ninth day of the ninthmonth in the lunar calendar. On this day people used to climb onto a high placeto peacefully think of their dead men.

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