Winter Night by Ai Wu

作品原文

艾芜 《冬夜》

冬天一个冰寒的晚上。在寂寞的马路旁边,疏枝交横的树下,候着最后一辆搭客汽车的,只我一人。虽然不远的墙边,也蹲有一团黑影,但他却是伸手讨钱的。马路两旁,远远近近都立着灯窗明灿的别墅,向暗蓝的天空静静地微笑着。在马路上是冷冰冰的,还刮着一阵阵猛厉的风。留在枝头的一两片枯叶,也不时发出破碎的哭声。

那蹲着的黑影,接了我的一枚铜板,就高兴地站起来向我搭话,一面抱怨着天气:“真冷呀,再没有比这里更冷了!……先生,你说是不是?”

看见他并不是个讨厌的老头子,便也高兴地说道:“乡下怕更要冷些吧?”

“不,不。”他接着咳嗽起来,要吐出的话,塞在喉管里了。

我说:“为什么?你看见一下霜,乡下的房屋和田野,便在早上白了起来,街上却一点也看不见。”

他捶了几下胸口之后,兴奋地接着说道:“是的,是的……乡下冷,你往人家门前的稻草堆上一钻就暖了哪……这街上,哼,鬼地方!……还有那些山里呵,比乡下更冷哩,咳,那才好哪!火烧一大堆,大大小小一家人,闹热呀!……”

接着他便说到壮年之日,在南方那些山中冬夜走路的事情。一个人的漂泊生活,我是喜欢打听的,同时车又没有驰来.便怂恿他说了下去。他说晚上在那些山里,只要你是一个正派的人,就可以朝灯火人家一直走去,迎着犬声,敞开树阴下的柴门,大胆地闯进。对着火堆周围的人们,不管他男的女的,用两手向他们两肩头一分,就把你带着风寒露湿的身子,轻轻地放了进去。烧山芋和热茶的香味,便一下子扑入你的鼻子。抬头看,四周闪着微笑的眼睛,欢迎着,毫没有怪你唐突的神情。你刚开口说由哪儿来的时候,一杯很热的浓茶,就递在你的下巴边上。老太婆盼咐她的孙女,快把火拨大些,多添点子柴,说是客人要烘暖他的身子;你暖和了,还不觉得疲倦的话,你可以摸摸小孩子的下巴,拧拧他们的脸蛋,做一点奇怪的样子,给他们嬉笑。年轻的妈妈,一高兴了,便会怂恿他的孩子把拿着要吃的烧山芋,分开一半,放在你这位客人的手上。如果你要在他们家过夜,他们的招待,就更来得殷勤些。倘若歇一会,暖暖身子,还要朝前赶路,一出柴门,还可听见一片欢送的声音:“转来时,请来玩呀!”老头子讲着讲着,给冷风一吹,便又咳嗽起来,我听得冷都忘记了,突然老头子忘形地拉着我问道:

“先生,这到底是什么原因哪?……这里的人家,火堆一定烧得多的,看窗子多么亮哪……他们为什么不准一个异乡人进去烤烤手哩?”

搭客汽车从远处轰轰地驰来了,我赶忙摆他的手,高声说道:

“因为他们是文明的人,不像那些山里的……”

再跳进通明的汽车里,蓦地离开他了。但远的南国山中,小小的灯火人家里面,那些丰美的醉人的温暖,却留在我的冬夜的胸中了。

英文译文

Winter Night
Ai Wu

It was a coldwinter night. The street was deserted. I stood alone under a tree with anentanglement of bare branches overhead, waiting for the last bus to arrive. Afew paces off in the darkness there was a shadowy figure squatting against thewall, but he turned out to be a tramp. The street was lined with fine houses,their illuminated windows beaming quietly towards the dark blue sky. It was icycold with a gust of strong wind howling around. A couple of withered leaves,still clinging to the branches, rustled mournfully from time to tithe. Theshadowy figure, taking a copper coin from me with thanks, straightened up toattempt a conversation with me.

“It’s reallycold here,” he complained. “Itcouldn’t be colder anywhere else ….What do you think, sir?”

Seeing that he wasnot too nasty an old man, I readily responded: “It must be colder in thecountry, I’m afraid.”

“No,no,” he disagreed and began to cough, his words stuck up in his throat.

“Why?” Iasked. “In the country when it frosts, you always find the roofs and thefields turning white in the morning, but you don’t see that here on thestreets.”

He patted hischest to ease off his coughing and went on excitedly: “True, true… it’s cold in the country,but when you get into somebody’s straw stack, you are warm again at once….But this street, humm, what a terrible place! In the mountains, it’s evencolder, but when they have a fire in the house with the whole family sittingaround it, wow, it’s heaven!”

Then he began torelate to me the adventures of his younger days-travelling alone in winternights through the mountains in the south. As I was interested in stories aboutwanderers and since the bus had not arrived yet, I encouraged him to go on.

“When you endup in the mountains at night,” he said, “and if you are a decentperson, you can always turn to the place where there is a light flickering anda dog barking. You push open the bramble gate under the shade and walk inwithout hesitation. Part the people, men or women, around the fire with yourhands and you bring yourself — a cold and wet man with dew-among them.Immediately your nose is filled with the aroma of hot tea and roast sweetpotatoes. When you look round you see friendly faces smiling at you; there isno hint of anything like blame for what elsewhere might be considered asbrusqueness. Scarcely have you begun to tell them where you come from when acup of hot and strong tea is handed over to you. Grandma will tell hergranddaughter to feed the fire with more wood, saying that the guest needs morebeat to warm up. When you are recovered from cold and fatigue, you tend totease the baby, stroking his chin, giving a gentle pinch to his cheek or makinga face to provoke him to gurgle. The delighted young mother will encourage herbaby to share his sweet potato with you. The baby will then break it in two andthrust one half into your hand. If you intend to stay overnight, you will beentertained with all possible hospitality. If you’ve just dropped in to warm upand then go on your way, they will see you off at the gate, saying ‘Please dodrop in on us again on your way back. ‘ ”

In the middle ofhis babbling another gust of wind brushed by and the old man began to coughagain. I was so intrigued by his story that I did not feel the cold any more.Suddenly he grabbed my hand, forgetting that we were strangers, and asked:

“Sir, couldyou tell me why the people here even do not allow a countryman in to warm hishands? They must’ve got bigger fires in their houses. Look at their brightwindows. . . ”

The bus camerumbling up. Withdrawing my hand from his, I answered at the top of my voice

“Because theyare more civilized than the mountain people. . . ”

With that I jumpedonto the brightly-lit bus which started moving on, leaving the old man behind.But the little houses with flickering oil lamps in the remote mountains and theintoxicating warmth and friendliness of their inhabitants left a deep impresson my memory.

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