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童年的读书梦 - 莫言 Childhood Dream of Reading by Mo Yan

(2011-06-30 12:36:54)
我翻译这篇 My translation of this essay
我希望他不介意 I hope he doesn't mind

    一个作家读另一个作家的书,实际上是一次对话,甚至是一次恋爱,如果谈得成功,很可能成为终身伴侣,如果话不投机,大家就各奔前程。在我的心目中,一个好的作家是长生不死的,他的肉体当然也与常人一样迟早要化为泥土,但他的精神却会因为他的作品的流传而永垂不朽。
 
When a writer reads another writer's book, it becomes a conversation, maybe even a love affair, and if the affair goes well, then you can become partners for life, if it doesn't work out, then you can both move on. In my eyes, a good writer never dies, of course their body will die and become dust and ash like anybody else's, but their spirit will live forever through their work.


  几十年前,当我还是一个在故乡的草地上放牧牛羊的顽童时,就开始了阅读生涯。那时候在我们那个偏僻落后的地方,书籍是十分罕见的奢侈品。在我们高密东北乡那十几个村子里,谁家有本什么样的书我基本上都知道。为了得到阅读这些书的权利,我经常给有书的人家去干活。

Several decades ago, when I was just a countryside urchin raising cattle and sheep, I began my reading life. At that time, in our remote, backward town, books were a rare luxury. In the several dozen villages of our north eastern town, Gaomi, I just about knew which books were in every house. In order to get the chance to read these books, I would often offer to work for the owners of the houses.

我们邻村一个石匠家里有一套带插图的《封神演义》,这套书好像是在讲述三千年前的中国历史,但实际上讲述的是许多超人的故事。这样的书对我这样整天沉浸在幻想中的儿童,具有难以抵御的吸引力。为了阅读这套书,我给石匠家里拉磨磨面,磨一上午面,可以阅读这套书两个小时,而且必须在他家的磨道里读。我读书 时,石匠的女儿就站在我的背后监督着我,时间一到,马上收走。如果我想继续阅读,那就要继续拉磨。那时在我们那里根本就没有钟表,所以所谓两个小时,全看石匠女儿的情绪,她情绪好时,时间就走得缓慢,她情绪不好时,时间就走得飞快。

In our neighbouring village were a family of masons who had an illustrated copy of Creation of the Gods, a book that appeared to be about 3000 years of China's history, but was actually the story of supernatural beings. To me, a boy who lived in a dream world, this book was irresistible. In order to access this book, I would work at the grinding mill for the mason, during an afternoon's work, I would read the book for about 2 hours, having to read it while grinding. While I was reading, the mason's daughter would stand behind and supervise me, and as soon as time was up, she would snatch the book away. If I wanted to read, I would have to continue grinding. At that time, nobody in our town had a watch, so the length of those two hours completely depended on the mason's Daughter's mood, if her mood was good, the time would go slowly, if bad, then the time would fly.

为了让这个小姑娘保持愉快的心情,我只好到邻居家的杏树上偷杏子给她吃。像我这样的馋鬼,能把偷来的杏子送给别人吃,简直就像让馋猫把嘴里的鱼吐出来一样,但我还是将得来不易的杏子送给那个女孩,当然,石匠的女儿很好看也是一个重要的原因。总之,在我的童年时代,我付出了巨大的代价,把我们周围那十几个村子里的书都读完了。那时候我的记忆力很好,不但阅读的速度惊人,而且几乎是过目不忘。至于把读书看成是与作者的交流,在当时是谈不上的,当时是纯粹为了看故事,而且非常地投入,经常因为书中的人物而痛哭流涕,也经常爱上书中那些 可爱的女性。

In order to keep this girl in a good mood, I had to steal some apricots from the neighbouring house's apricot tree. Expecting a greedy devil like me to simply give away the apricots I had stolen, was a bit like asking a greedy cat to spit out the fish in its mouth. But I would always bring myself to give the apricot to the girl,  needless to say, her beauty was a factor in my deciding to do so. Overall, throughout my childhood, I paid a huge price to devour every book in those several dozen villages which surrounded my home. At that time, I had a very strong memory, not only was I an amazingly fast reader, but I also had a near photographic memory of everything I had read. As for whether reading a book is the same as conversing with its author, I didn't have such ideas at the time, I was purely in the business of enjoying stories, and I invested everything into doing so, if the characters in the books were miserable, my nose would start to run, and I would often fall in love with the lovely female characters.

  我把周围村子里的十几本书读完之后,十几年里,几乎再没读过书。我以为世界上的书就是这十几本,把它们读完,就等于把天下的书读完了。那一段时间我在农村劳动,与牛羊打交道的机会比与人打交道的机会多,我在学校里学会的那些字也几乎忘光了。但我的心里还是充满了幻想,希望能成为一个作家,过上幸福的生活。

After I'd read every book in these several dozen villages, for a few decades, I never read another book. Finishing these several dozen books felt like finishing every book in the world. Back then, I laboured in the farm, with more chances to talk to cows and sheep than to people, everything I had learnt in school I had seemingly forgotten. But my heart was still full of fantasies, wanting to become a writer, and live a joyful life.

  我15岁时,石匠的女儿已经长成了一个很漂亮的大姑娘,她扎着一条垂到臀部的大辫子,生着两只毛茸茸的眼睛,一副睡眼蒙眬的样子。我对她十分着迷,经常用自己艰苦劳动换来的小钱买糖果送给她吃。她家的菜园子与我家的菜园子紧靠着,傍晚的时候,我们都到河里担水浇菜。当我看到她担着水桶、让大辫子在背后 飞舞着从河堤上飘然而下时,我的心里百感交集。我感到她是地球上最美丽的人。我跟在她的身后,用自己的赤脚去踩她留在河滩上的脚印,仿佛有一股电流从我的脚直达我的脑袋,我心中充满了幸福。我鼓足了勇气,在一个黄昏时刻,对她说我爱她,并且希望她能嫁给我做妻子,她吃了一惊,然后便哈哈大笑。她说: “你简直是癞蛤蟆想吃天鹅肉!”我感到自尊心受到了沉重的打击,但痴心不改,又托了一个大嫂去她家提亲。她让大嫂带话给我,说我只要能写出一本像她家那套 《封神演义》一样的书她就嫁给我。我到她家去看她,想对她表示一下我的雄心壮志,她不出来见我,她家那条凶猛的大狗却像老虎似的冲了出来。

By the time I was 15, the mason's Daughter had already become a beautiful maiden, her hair flowed down to her hips, her eyelashes fluttered, and she could have been painted as a sleeping beauty. I was intoxicated by her, I would often save up my tiny earnings to buy some sweets, just for her. Her family's vegetable garden was close to my family's, and in the evening, we would both go down to the river to sprinkle the vegetables. When I watched her lift the bucket, her hair would wave with the grace of a dancer, a mass of feelings entered my heart. I believed she was the most beautiful person on this earth. When I was behind her, I would put my foot in the river where hers had been, and it was like an electric charge had run from my foot to my brain, my heart almost burst with happiness. When I plucked up the courage one dusk and seized the moment to tell her I loved her, and hoped she would marry me, she looked surprised at first and then laughed out loud. She said: "You're just a toad aspiring to eat swan meat!" Although my self-esteem had taken a profound blow, my resolve had not been affect. I then sent a Sister to her home to propose marriage. She told my Sister to tell me, only if I cuold write a book like Creation of the Gods, would she marry me. I went to her home to see her and declare my heroic aspirations, but she didn't come out to see me, and that brutish dog of hers was guarding her home like a tiger.

  前几天在斯坦福演讲时我曾经说,是因为想过上一天三次吃饺子那样的幸福日子才发奋写作。其实,鼓舞我写作的,除了饺子之外,还有石匠家那个睡眼蒙眬的姑娘。我至今也没能写出一本像《封神演义》那样的书,而石匠家的女儿也早已嫁给铁匠的儿子并且成了三个孩子的母亲。

A few days ago, in a speech at Stanford University I said, I became a writer because I wanted to be the kind of person who was lucky enough to eat jiaozi three times a day. Actually, what inspired me to write, except for jiaozi, was that mason's daughter who looked like sleeping beauty. So far I've been unable to write anything like Creation of the Gods, and the mason's Daughter is now married to the blacksmith's Son and has three children.

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