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海蟒的童话故事

发布时间:2018-12-16     文章来源:翔之梦故事百科     推荐人数:

海蟒的故事简介

一条因人们为了方便联系而放入大海的电报电缆,但鱼儿却认为是一条大海蟒,因此而讨论着,直到大海牛解释了一切,鱼儿们口中的大海蟒只不过是人类的其中一个发明——电缆。

海蟒的故事

从前有一条家庭出身很好的小海鱼,它的名字我记不清楚——只有有学问的人才能告诉你。这条小鱼有一千八百个兄弟和姊妹,它们的年龄都一样。它们不认识自己的父亲或母亲,它们只好自己照顾自己,游来游去,不过这是很愉快的事情。

它们有吃不尽的水——整个大洋都是属于它们的。因此它们从来不在食物上费脑筋——食物就摆在那儿。每条鱼喜欢做什么就做什么,喜欢听什么故事就听什么故事。但是谁也不想这个问题。

太阳光射进水里来,在它们的周围照着。一切都照得非常清楚,这简直是充满了最奇异的生物的世界。有的生物大得可怕,嘴巴很宽,一口就能把这一千八百个兄弟姊妹吞下去。不过它们也没有想这个问题,因为它们没有谁被吞过。

小鱼都在一块儿游,挨得很紧,像鲱鱼和鲭鱼那样。不过当它们正在水里游来游去、什么事情也不想的时候,忽然有一条又长又粗的东西,从上面坠到它们中间来了。它发出可怕的响声,而且一直不停地往下坠。这东西越伸越长;小鱼一碰到它就会被打得粉碎或受重伤,再也复元不了。所有的小鱼儿——大的也不例外——从海面一直到海底,都在惊恐地逃命。这个粗大的重家伙越沉越深,越变越长,变成许多里路长,穿过大海。

鱼和蜗牛——一切能够游、能够爬、或者随着水流动的生物——都注意到了这个可怕的东酉,这条来历不明的、忽然从上面落下来的、庞大的海鳝。

这究竟是一个什么东西呢?是的,我们知道!它就是无数里长的粗大的电缆。人类正在把它安放在欧洲和美洲之间。

凡是电缆落到的地方,海里的合法居民就感到惊惶,引起一阵骚动。飞鱼冲出海面,使劲地向高空飞去。鲂鮄在水面上飞过枪弹所能达到的整个射程,因为它有这套本领。别的鱼则往海底钻;它们逃得飞快,电缆还没有出现,它们就已经跑得老远了。鳍鱼和比目鱼在海的深处自由自在地游泳,吃它们的同类,但是现在也被别的鱼吓慌了。

有一对海参吓得那么厉害,它们连肠子都吐出来了。不过它们仍然能活下去,因为它们有这套本领。有许多龙虾和螃蟹从自己的甲壳里冲出来,把腿都扔在后面。

在这种惊慌失措的混乱中,那一千八百个兄弟姊妹就被打散了。它们再也聚集不到一起,彼此也没有办法认识。它们只有一打留在原来的地方。当它们静待了个把钟头以后,总算从开头的一阵惊恐中恢复过来,开始感到有些奇怪。它们向周围看,向上面看,也向下面看。它们相信在海的深处看见了那个可怕的东西——那个把它们吓住,同时也把大大小小的鱼儿都吓住的东西。凭它们的肉眼所能看见的,这东西是躺在海底,伸得很远,相当细,但是它们不知道它能变得多粗,或者变得多结实。它静静地躺着,不过它们认为它可能是在捣鬼。

“让它在那儿躺着吧!这跟我们没有什么关系!”小鱼中一条最谨慎的鱼说,不过最小的那条鱼仍然想知道,这究竟是一个什么东西。它是从上面沉下来的,人们一定可以从上面得到可靠的消息,因此它们都浮到海面上去。天气非常晴朗。

它们在海面上遇见一只海豚。这是一个耍武艺的家伙,一个海上的流浪汉:它能在海面上翻筋斗。它有眼睛看东西,因此一定看到和知道一切情况。它们向它请教,不过它老是想着自己和自己翻的筋斗。它什么也没有看到,因此也回答不出什么来。它只是一言不发,做出一副很骄傲的样子。

它们只好请教一只海豹。海豹只会钻水。虽然它吃掉小鱼,它还是比较有礼貌的,不过它今天吃得很饱。它比海豚知道得稍微多一点。

“有好几夜我躺在潮湿的石头上,朝许多里路以外的陆地望。那儿有许多呆笨的生物——在他们的语言中叫做‘人’。他们总想捉住我们,不过我们经常逃脱了。我知道怎样逃,你们刚才问起的海鳝也知道。海鳝一直是被他们控制着的,因为它无疑从远古起就一直躺在陆地上。他们把它从陆地运到船上,然后又把它从海上运到另一个遥远的陆地上去。我看见他们碰到多少麻烦,但是他们却有办法应付,因为它在陆地上是很听话的。他们把它卷成一团。我听到它被放下水的时候发出的哗啦哗啦的声音。不过它从他们手中逃脱了,逃到这儿来了。他们使尽气力来捉住它,许多手来抓住它,但是它仍然溜走了,跑到海底上来。我想它现在还躺在海底上吧!”

“它倒是很细呢!”小鱼说。

“他们把它饿坏了呀!”海豹说。“不过它马上就可以复元,恢复它原来粗壮的身体。我想它就是人类常常谈起而又害怕的那种大海蟒吧。我以前从来没有看见过它,也从来不相信它。现在我可相信了:它就是那家伙!”于是海豹就钻进水里去了。

“它知道的事情真多,它真能讲!”小鱼说。“我从来没有这样聪明过!——只要这不是说谎!”

“我们可以游下去调查一下!”最小的那条鱼说。“我们沿路还可以向别人打听打听!”

“我什么都不想知道了,我连鳍都不愿意动一下,”别的鱼儿说,掉转身就走。

“不过我要去!”最小的鱼儿说。于是它便钻到深水里去了。但是这离开“沉下的那个长东西”躺着的地方还很远。小鱼在海底朝各方面探望和寻找。

它从来没有注意到,它所住的世界是这样庞大。鲱鱼结成大队在游动,亮得像银色的大船。鲭鱼在后回跟着,样子更是富丽堂皇。各种形状的鱼和各种颜色的鱼都来了。水母像半透明的花朵,随着水流在前后飘动。海底上长着巨大的植物,一人多高的草和类似棕榈的树,它们的每一片叶子上都附有亮晶晶的贝壳。

最后小鱼发现下面有一条长长的黑条,于是它向它游去。但是这既不是鱼,也不是电缆,而是一艘沉下的大船的栏杆。因为海水的压力,这艘船的上下两层裂成了两半。小鱼游进船舱里去。当船下沉的时候,船舱里有许多人都死了,而且被水冲走了。现在只剩下两个人:一个年轻的女人直直地躺着,怀里抱着一个小孩。水把她们托起来,好像在摇着她们似的。她们好像是在睡觉。小鱼非常害怕;它一点也不知道,她们是再也醒不过来的。海藻像藤蔓似的悬在栏杆上,悬在母亲和孩子的美丽的尸体上。这儿是那么沉静和寂寞。小鱼拼命地游——游到水比较清亮和别的鱼游泳的地方去。它没有游远就碰见一条大得可怕的年轻的鲸鱼。

“请不要把我吞下去,”小鱼说。“我连味儿都没有,因为我是这样小,但是我觉得活着是多么愉快啊!”

“你跑到这么深的地方来干什么?为什么你的族人没有来呢?”鲸鱼问。

于是小鱼就谈起了那条奇异的长鳝鱼来——不管它叫什么名字吧。这东西从上面沉下来,甚至把海里最大胆的居民都吓慌了。

“乖乖!”鲸鱼说。它喝了一大口水,当它跑到水面上来呼吸的时候,不得不吐出一根庞大的水柱。“乖乖!”它说,“当我翻身的时候,把我的背擦得怪痒的那家伙原来就是它!我还以为那是一艘船的桅杆,可以拿来当作搔痒的棒子呢!但是它并不在这附近。不,这东西躺在很远的地方。我现在没有别的事情可干,我倒要去找找它!”

于是它在前面游,小鱼跟在后面——并不太近,因为有一股激流卷过来,大鲸鱼很快地就先冲过去了。

它们遇见了一条鲨鱼和一条老锯鳐。这两条鱼也听到关于这条又长又瘦的奇怪海鳝的故事。它们没有看见过它,但是想去看看。

这时有一条鲶鱼游过来了。

“我也跟你们一道去吧,”它说。它也是朝这个方向游来。“如果这条大海蟒并不比锚索粗多少,那么我一口就要把它咬断。”于是它把嘴张开,露出六排牙齿。“我可以在船锚上咬出一个印迹来,当然也可以把那东西的身子咬断!”

“它在那儿呢!”大鲸鱼说,“我看见了!”

它以为自己看事情要比别人清楚得多。“请看它怎样浮起来,怎样摆动、拐弯和打卷吧!”

可是它却看错了。朝它们游过来的是一条庞大的海鳗,有好几码长。

“这家伙我从前曾经看见过!”锯鳐说。“它在海里从来不闹事,也从来不吓唬任何大鱼的。”

因此它们就和它谈起那条新来的海鳝,同时问它愿意不愿意一同去找它。

“难道那条鳝鱼比我还要长吗?”海鳗问。“这可要出乱子了!”

“那是肯定的!”其余的鱼说。“我们的数目不少,倒是不怕它的。”于是它们就赶忙向前游。

正在这时候,有一件东西挡住了它们的去路——一个比它们全体加到一起还要庞大的怪物。

这东西像一座浮着的海岛,而又浮不起来。

这是一条很老的鲸鱼。它的头上长满了海藻,背上堆满了爬行动物,一大堆牡蛎和贻贝,弄得它的黑皮上布满了白点。

“老头子,跟我们一块来吧!”它们说。“这儿现在来了一条新鱼,我们可不能容忍它。”

“我情愿躺在我原来的地方,”老鲸鱼说。“让我休息吧!让我躺着吧!啊,是的,是的,是的。我正害着一场大病!我只有浮到海面上.把背露出水面,才会觉得舒服一点!这时庞大的海鸟就飞过来啄我。只要它们不啄得太深,这倒是蛮舒服的。它们有时一直啄到我的肥肉里去。你们瞧吧!有一只鸟的全部骨架还卡在我的背上呢。它把爪子抓得太深,当我潜到海底的时候,它还取不出来。于是小鱼又来啄它。请看看它的样子,再看看我的样子!我病了!”

“这全是想象!”那条年轻的鲸鱼说,“我从来就不生病。没有鱼会生病的!”

“请原谅我,”老鲸鱼说,“鳝鱼有皮肤病,鲤鱼会出天花,而我们大家都有寄生虫!”

“胡说!”鲨鱼说。它不愿意再拖延下去,别的鱼也一样,因为它们有别的事情要考虑。

最后它们来到电缆躺着的那块地方。它横躺在海底,从欧洲一直伸到美洲,越过沙丘、泥地、石底、茫茫一片的海中植物和整个珊瑚林。这儿激流在不停地变动,漩涡在打转,鱼在成群结队地游——它们比我们看到的无数成群地飞过的候鸟还要多。这儿有骚动声、溅水声、哗啦声和嗡嗡声——当我们把大个的空贝壳放在耳边的时候,我们还可以微微地听到这种嗡嗡声。现在它们就来到了这块地方。

“那家伙就躺在这儿!”大鱼说。小鱼也随声附和着。它们看见了电缆,而这电缆的头和尾所在的地方都超出了它们的视线。

海绵、水螅和珊蝴虫在海底飘荡,有的垂挂着,不时沉下来,垂落下来盖在它上面,因此它一忽儿显露,一忽儿隐没。海胆、蜗牛和蠕虫在它上面爬来爬去。庞大的蜘蛛,背上背着整群的爬虫,在电缆上迈着步子。深蓝色的海参——不管这种爬虫叫什么,它是用整个的身体来吃东西的——躺在那儿,似乎在唤海底的这个新的动物。比目鱼和鳍鱼在水里游来游去,静听各方面的响声。海盘车喜欢钻进泥巴里去,只是把长着眼睛的两根长脚伸出来。它静静地躺着,看这番骚动究竟会产生一个什么结果。

电缆静静地躺着,但是生命和思想却在它的身体里活动。人类的思想在它身体内通过。

“这家伙很狡猾!”鲸鱼说。“它能打中我的肚皮,而我的肚皮是最容易受伤的地方!”

“让我们摸索前进吧!”水螅说。“我有细长的手臂,我有灵巧的手指。我摸过它。我现在要把它抓紧一点试试看。”

它把灵巧的长臂伸到电缆底下,然后绕在它上面。

“它并没有鳞!”水螅说,“也没有皮!我相信它永远也养不出有生命的孩子!”

海鳗在电缆旁躺下来,尽量把自己伸长。

“这家伙比我还要长!”它说。“不过长并不是了不起的事情,一个人应该有皮、肚子和灵活性才行。”

鲸鱼——这条年轻和强壮的鲸鱼——向下沉,沉得比平时要深得多。

“请问你是鱼呢,还是植物?”它问。“也许你是从上面落下来的一件东西,在我们中间生活不下去吧?”

但是电缆却什么也不回答——这不是它的事儿。它里面有思想在通过——人类的思想。这些思想,在一秒钟以内,从这个国家传到那个国家,要跑几千里。

“你愿意回答呢,还是愿意被咬断?”凶猛的鲨鱼问。别的大鱼也都随声附和。“你愿意回答呢,还是愿意被咬断?”

电缆一点也不理会,它有它自己的思想。它在思想,这是最自然不过的事情,因为它全身充满了思想。

“让它们把我咬断吧。人们会把我捞起来,又把我联结好。我有许多族人在较小的水道曾经碰到过这类事情。”

因此它就不回答;它有别的事情要做。它在传送电报;它躺在海底完全是合法的。

这时候,像人类所说的一样,太阳落下去了。天空看上去像红彤彤的火焰,天上的云块发出火一般的光彩——一块比一块好看。

“现在我们可以有红色的亮光了!”水螅说。“我们可以更清楚地瞧瞧这家伙——假如这是必要的话。”

“瞧瞧吧!瞧瞧吧!”鲶鱼说,同时露出所有的牙齿。

“瞧瞧吧!瞧瞧吧!”旗鱼、鲸鱼和海鳗一起说。

它们一齐向前冲。鲶鱼跑在前面。不过当它们正要去咬电缆的时候,锯鳐把它的锯猛力刺进鳝鱼的背。这是一个严重的错误:鲶鱼再也没有力量来咬了。

泥巴里现在是一团混乱。大鱼和小鱼,海参和蜗牛都在横冲直撞,互相乱咬乱打,乱挤乱压。电缆在静静地躺着,做它应该做的事情。

海上是一片黑夜,但是成千上万的海中生物发出光来。不够针头大的螃蟹也在发着光。这真是奇妙得很,不过事实是如此。

海里的动物望着这根电缆。

“这家伙是一件东西呢,还是不是一件东西呢?”

是的,问题就在这儿。

这时有一头老海象来了。人类把这种东西叫海姑娘或海人。这是一头母海象,有一个尾巴、两只划水用的短臂和一个下垂的胸脯。她的头上有许多海藻和爬行动物,而她因这些东西而感到非常骄傲。

“你们想不想知道和了解呢?”她说。“我是唯一可以告诉你们的人。不过我要求一件事情:我要求我和我的族人有在海底自由吃草的权利。我像你们一样,也是鱼,但在动作方面我又是一个爬行动物。我是海里最聪明的生物。我知道生活在海里的一切东西,也知道生活在海上的一切东西。那个让你们大伤脑筋的东西是从上面下来的,凡是从上面放下来的东西都是死的,或者变成死的,没有任何力量。让它躺在那儿吧。它不过是人类的一种发明罢了!”

“我相信它还不止是如此!”小鱼说。

“小鲭鱼,住口!”大海象说。

“刺鱼!”别的鱼儿说;此外还有更加无礼的话。

海象解释给它们听,说这个一言不发的、吓人的家伙不过是陆地上的一种发明罢了。她还作了一番短短的演讲,说明人类是如何讨厌。

“他们想捉住我们,”她说。“这就是他们生活的唯一目的。他们撒下网来,在钩子上安着饵来捉我们。那儿躺着的家伙是一条大绳子。他们以为我们会咬它,他们真傻!我们可不会这样傻!不要动这废物吧,它自己会消散,变成灰尘和泥巴的。上面放下来的东西都是有毛病和破绽的——一文不值!”

“一文不值!”所有的鱼儿都说。它们为了要表示意见,所以就全都赞同海象的意见。

小鱼却有自己的看法:“这条又长又瘦的海蟒可能是海里最奇异的鱼。我有这种感觉。”

“最奇异的!”我们人类也这样说,而且有把握和理由这样说。

这条巨大的海蟒,好久以前就曾在歌曲和故事中被谈到过的。它是从人类的智慧中孕育和产生出来的,它躺在海底,从东方的国家伸展到西方的国家去。它传递消息,像光从太阳传到我们地球上一样快。它在发展,它的威力和范围在发展,一年一年地在发展。它穿过大海,环绕着地球;它深入波涛汹涌的水,也深入一平如镜的水——在这水上,船长像在透明的空气中航行一样,可以朝下看,望见像五颜六色的焰火似的鱼群。

这蟒蛇——一条带来幸运的中层界①的蟒蛇——向极远的地方伸展,它环绕着地球一周,可以咬到自己的尾巴。鱼和爬虫硬着头皮向它冲来,它们完全不懂得上面放下来的东西:人类的思想,用种种不同的语言,无声无息地,为了好的或坏的目的,在这条知识的蛇里流动着。它是海里奇物中一件最奇异的东西——我们时代的海蟒。

①原文是Midgaard,按照宗教传说,认为宇宙分天堂、人间和地狱三层。中间这层就是我们人类居住的世界。

海蟒的故事读后感

这个童话故事的内涵与安徒生以前的童话故事所表达的情感是不一样的。《大海蟒》的故事暗示了当时技术的进步,人类的科技文明向前迈进了崭新的阶段。其中电报电缆是人们聪明才智的产物,被放置在了海底,电报电缆大大缩短了人们的相互通讯时间。本文用动物之间的故事来说明了那时候科技的进步,给人眼前一亮的感觉。

英文版:The Great Sea-Serpent

THERE was a little fish—a salt-water fish—of good family: I don’t recall the name—you will have to get that from the learned people. This little fish had eighteen hundred brothers and sisters all just as old as he; they did not know their father and mother, and were obliged to look out for themselves at the very beginning, and swim round, but that was great sport. They had water enough to drink, the entire ocean; they thought nothing about their food, it came when they wanted it. Each did as it pleased, each was to make out its own story—ay, rather none of them thought at all about that. The sun shone down on the water that was light about them, so clear was it. It was a world with the strangest creatures, and some very horrid and big, with great gaping mouths that could gulp down all the eighteen hundred brothers and sisters, but neither did they think of that, for none of them as yet had been swallowed. The small ones swam side by side close together, as herrings and mackerel swim. But as they were swimming their prettiest in the water and thinking of nothing, there sank with prodigious noise, from above, right down through them, a long heavy thing that looked as if it never would come to an end; it stretched out farther and farther, and every one of the little fishes that scampered off was either crushed or got a crack that it could not stand. All the little fishes, and the great ones with them, from the level of the sea to the bottom, were thrown into a panic. The great horrid thing sank deeper and deeper, and grew longer and longer, miles and miles long. The fishes and snails, everything that swims, or creeps, or is driven by the current, saw this fearful thing, this enormous incomprehensible sea-eel which had come down upon them in this fashion.

What was the thing, anyway? ah, we know; it was the great interminable telegraph cable that people were laying between Europe and America.

There was a confusion and commotion amongst all the rightful occupants of the sea where the cable was laid. The flying fishes shot up above the surface as high as they could fling themselves; the blow-fish took a leap an entire gunshot in length over the water, for it can do that; the other fish made for the bottom of the sea, and went down with such haste that they reached it long before the telegraph was seen or known about down there; they poured in on the cod and flounders that lived peaceably at the bottom of the sea and ate their neighbors. One or two of the sea-anemones were so agitated that they threw up their stomachs, but they lived after it just the same, for they can do that. A good many lobsters and crabs got out of their excellent shells, and were obliged to wait for their bones to grow back again.

In all this fright and confusion, the eighteen hundred brethren and sisters became separated, and never agan met, or ever knew each other after that; only some ten of them remain ed still in the same place, and so in a few hours they got over the first fright and began to be curious about the affair. They looked about them, they looked up and they looked down, and down in the depths they fancied they saw the fearful thing that had scared them—yes, had scared all, great and small, lying on the bottom of the sea, as far as their eyes could reach; it was quite thin, but they did not know how thick it might be able to make itself, or how strong it was; it lay very quiet, but then that might be a part of its cunning, they thought.

“Let it lie; it does not come near us!” said the most cautious of the little fishes; but the smallest one of all would not give up trying to find out what the thing could be. It had come down from above, so it was up above that one could best find out about it. So they swam up to the surface. It was perfectly still. They met a dolphin there. The dolphin is a sprightly fellow that can turn somersaults on the water, and it has eyes to see with, so iht must have seen this and known all about it. They asked him, but he had only been thinking about himself and his somersaults, he’d seen nothing, had no answer for them, and only looked high and mighty.

Then they turned to the seal, which was just plunging in; it was more civil, for all that it eats small fish; but to-day it had had enough. It knew little more than the dolphin.

“Many a night have I lain upon a wet stone and looked far into the country, miles away from here; there are crafty creatures called in their speech men-folk. They plot against us, but usually we slip away from them; that I know well, and the sea-eel too, that you are asking about, he knows it. He has been under their sway, up there on the earth, time out of mind, and it was from there that they were carrying him off on a ship to a distant land. I saw what a trouble they had, Shut they could manage him, because he had become weak on the earth. They laid him in coils and circles. I heard how he ringled and rangled when they laid him down and when he slipped away from them out here. They held on to him with all their might—ever so many hands had hold of him, but he kept slipping away from them down to the bottom; there he is lying now—till further notice, I rather think.”

“He is quite thin,” said the small fishes.

“They have starved him,” said the seal, “but he will soon come to himself, and get his old size and corpulence again. I suppose he is the great sea-serpent that men are so afraid of and talk so much about. I never saw him before, and never believed in a sea-serpent; now I do. I believe he is the sea-serpent,” and with that down went the seal.

“How much he knew! how he talked!” said the small fishes; “I never was so wise before; if it only isn’t all an untruth.”

“We can, anyway, swim down and see for ourselves,” said the littlest fish; “on the way we can hear what the others think about it.”

“I wouldn’t make a stroke with my fins to get at something to know,” said the others, and turned away.

“But I would !“ said the littlest fellow, and put off down into deep water; but it was a good distance from the place where “the long thing that sank” lay. The little fish looked and hunted on all sides down in tne deep water. Never before had it imagined the world to be so big. The herrings went in great shoals, shining like a mighty ribbon of silver; the mackerel followed after, and looked even finer. There were fishes there of all fashions and marked with every possible color: jelly-fish, like half-transparent flowers, borne along by the currents. Great plants grew up from the floor of the ocean; grass, fathoms long, and palm-like trees, every leaf tenanted by shining shell-fish.

At last the little fish spied a long dark streak away down, and made his way toward it, but it was neither fish nor cable: it was the gunwale of a sunken vessel, which above and below the deck was broken in two by the force of the sea. The little fish swam into the cabin, where the people who perished when the vessel sank were all washed away, except two: a young woman lay there stretched out, with her little child in her arms. They seemed to be sleeping. The little fish was quite frightened, for it did not know that they never again could waken. Sea-weed hung like a net-work of foliage over the gun- wale above the two beautiful bodies of mother and babe. it was so quiet, so solitary: the little fish scampered away as fast as it could, out where the water was bright and clear, and there were fishes to see. It had not gone far before it met a whale, fearfully big.

“Don’t swallow me!” cried the little fish; “I am not even to be tasted, I am so small. and it is a great comfort to me to live.”

“What are you doing away down here, where your kind never come?” asked the whale.

So then the little fish told about the astonishingly long eel, or whatever the thing was, that had sunk down from above and produced such a panic amongst all the other creatures in the sea.

“Ho, ho!” said the whale, and he drew in such a rush of water that he was ready to make a prodigious spout when he came to the surface for a breath. “Ho, ho! so that was the thing that tickled me on the back when I was turning round. I thought it was a ship’s mast, that I could break up into clothes-pins. But it was not here that it was; no, a good deal farther out lies the thing. I’ll go with you and look for it, for I have nothing else to do;” and so it swam off, and the little fish behind it, not too near, because there was a tearing stream, as it were, in the wake of the whale.

They met a shark and an old saw-fish; they, too, had heard of the famous sea-eel, so long and so thin; they had not seen it, but now they would.

“I’ll go with you,” said the shark, who was on the same road; “if the great sea-serpent is no thicker than a cable, then I can bite through it in one bite,” and he opened his mouth and showed his six rows of teeth—” I can bite dents in a ship’s anchor, and certainly can bite off the shank.”

“There it is!” said the great whale ; “I see him.” He thought he saw better than the others. “See how it rises, how it bends and bows and curves!”

But it was not the sea-serpent, but an extraordinarily great eel, ever so many ells long, that drew near.

“Why, I have seen him before!” said the saw-fish. “He never has made a hullabaloo in the sea or frightened any big fish out of his wits.” And so they talked to him of the new eel, and asked him if he would go with them on their voyage of discovery.

“If that eel is longer than I am,” said the sea-eel, “there will be something disagreeable happening.”

“Ay, that there will,” said the others; “there are enough of us not to tolerate him!” and so they shot ahead. But then there came right in their way a great monster, bigger than all of them put together; it looked like a floating island, that could not stop itself. It was a venerable whale. Its head was grown over with sea-weed, its back covered with barnacles, and such innumerable oysters and mussels, that its black skin was altogether whitened.

“Come with us, old fellow!” said they. “Here is a new fish come, and we won’t stand it.”

“I would rather lie where I am lying,” said the whale. “Leave me alone; leave me alone. O ah, 0 ah! I suffer from a dreadful disease! My only relief is to get up toward the surface and get my back up higher; then the great sea-fowl can come and pick at me. That feels so good! only when they do not drive their beaks in too far; sometimes they go in too deep, quite into my blubber. You can see now how a complete skeleton of a fowl is fixed in my back; she struck her claws in too deep, and could not get them out when I went down to the bottom. And now the little fishes have picked at her. See how she looks, and how I look. I am all diseased!”

“That is all imagination!” said the shark. “I am never sick. No fish is ever sick.”

“Pardon me,” said the whale. “The eel suffers from headache, the carp has the smallpox, and we all have intestinal worms.”

“Nonsense!” said the shark, and refused to hear any further, and the others also would rather not; they had something else to attend to.

At last they came to the place where the telegraph cable lay. It has a pretty long bed on the floor of the sea from Europe to America, over sand-banks and sea-mud, rocky ground and weedy places, entire forests of coral. The currents down there, too, change, whirlpools eddy, and fishes swarm in greater masses than the countless flocks of birds that men see when birds of passage take their flight. There is a stir, a splashing there, a humming and rushing; the rushing still haunts a little the great empty conch-shells when we hold them to our ears.

“There lies the fellow!” cried all the great fishes and the little one with them. They saw the cable, the beginning and end of which vanished beyond the reach of their eyes. Sponges and polyps swayed from the ground, rose and fell over it, so that now it was hidden, now came to view. Sea-porcupines, snails, and worms moved over it. Gigantic crabs, that had a complete fringe of creeping things, stalked about it. Dark sea-anemones, or whatever the creature is called that eats with its entire body, lay beside it and smelled of the new creature that had stretched itself on the bottom of the sea. Flounders and codfish turned over in the water so as to get an idea about it from all sides. The star-fish, that always bores down into the mud and can keep its eyes outside, lay and stared to see what was to come of all this bustle.

The telegraph cable lay without stirring, but life and thought were in it. Human thought went through it. “The thing is crafty,” said the whale; “it is able to strike me in the stomach, and that is my weak point.”

“Let us grope along,” said the polyps. “I have long arms and limber fingers; I have been moving by the side of it; now I’ll go a little faster,” and so it stretched its most flexible, longest arms down to the cable and round about it. “It has no scales!” said the polyps; “it has no skin at all. I do believe it never feeds its own young.”

The sea-eel laid itself by the side of the telegraph cable and stretched out as far as it could. “The thing is longer than I am,” it said; “but it is not length that does anything; one must have skin, stomach, and flexibility.”

The whale dove down deeper than it ever had been. “Art thou fish or art thou plant?” it asked, “or art thou only some piece of work made up above that cannot thrive down here amongst us?”

The telegraph cable did not answer; it has no power for that. Yet thoughts go through it, men’s thoughts, that rush in one second miles upon miles from land to land.

“Will you answer, or will you take a crack?” asked the fierce shark, and all the other great fishes asked the same thing.

The cable did not stir, but it had its private thought, and such a one it had a right to have when it was full of thoughts. “Let them only give me a crack! then I shall be hauled up and be myself again; that has happened to others of my race in shallower waters.” So it gave no answer; it had something else to attend to; it telegraphed and lay in its lawful place at the bottom of the ocean.

Up above, the sun now went down, as men say. It became like flaming fire, and all the clouds glowed with fiery color, each more splendid than the other. “Now we shall get the red light,” said the polyps, “and can see the thing better, if need be.”

“At it! at it!” shouted the shark. “At it! at it!” said the sword-fish and the whale and the eel. They rushed forward, the shark foremost. But just as it was about to grip the wire, the sword-fish, out of pure politeness, ran his saw right into the back of the shark. It was a great mistake, and the shark lost all his strength for biting. There was a hubbub down in the mud. Great fishes and small, sea-anemones and snails rushed at one another, ate each other, mashed and squeezed in. The cable lay quietly and attended to its affairs, and that one ought to do.

The dark night brooded over them, but the ocean s millions upon millions of living creatures lighted it; craw-fish, not so big as a pin-head, gave out light. Some were so small that it took a thousand to make one pin-head, and yet they gave light. It certainly is wonderful, but that’s the way it is.

These sea creatures looked at the telegraph wire. “What is that thing?” they asked, “and what isn’t it?” Ay, that was the question.

Then there came an old sea-cow. Folks on the earth call its kind a mermaid, or else a merman. This was a she, had a tail and two short arms to splash with, hanging breasts, and sea-weed and sponges on her head, and that was what she was proud of.

“Will you have the society of intelligent people?” said she. “I’m the only one down here that can give it. But I ask in return for it perfectly secure pasturage on the bottom of the sea for me and mine. I am a fish, as you see, and I am also an amphibious animal—with practice. I am the wisest cow in the sea. I know about everything that goes on down here, and all that goes on above. That thing you are pondering over is from above, and whatever plumps down from up there is either dead or comes to be dead and powerless; let it lie there for what it is; it’s only some invention of man.”

“Now I think there is something more to it,” said the little fish.

“Hold your tongue, mackerel !” said the great sea-cow.

“Stickleback!” said the rest, and that was even more insulting.

And the sea-cow explained to them that this terrible thing, which, to be sure, had not given out a single mutter, was only some invention from the dry land. And it delivered a little oration upon the rottenness of men.

“They want to get hold of us.” said she. “That’s all they live for. They stretch nets for us, and come with bait on a hook to catch us. That thing there is some kind of big string which they think we are going to bite at. They are such stupids! We are not. Only do not touch it, and it will shrivel up and all turn to dust and mud. Everything that comes down from up there is full of cracks and breaks—it’s good for nothing.”

“Good for nothing!” said all the creatures in the sea, and held fast to the sea-cow’s opinion, so as to have an opinion. The little fish had its own thoughts. “That exceedingly long, thin serpent is perhaps the most wonderful fish in the ocean. I have a feeling it is.”

“The very most wonderful,” say we human folks, and say it with knowledge and assurance. It is the great sea-serpent, long ago the theme of song and story. It was born and nourished and sprang forth from men’s cunning and was laid upon the bottom of the sea, stretching from the Eastern to the Western land, bearing messages, quick as light flashes to our earth. It grows in might and in length, grows year by year through all seas, round the world, beneath the stormy waves and the lucid waters, where the skipper looks down as if he sailed through the transparent air, and sees the swarming fish, brilliant fireworks of color. Down, far down, stretches the serpent, Midgard’s snake, that bites its own tail as it encircles the earth. Fish and shell beat upon it with their heads—they understand not the thing—it is from above. Men’s thoughts in all languages course through it noiselessly. “The serpent of science for good and evil, Midgard’s snake, the most wonderful of all the ocean’s wonders, our—GREAT SEA-SERPENT!”

文章来源:安徒生童话

还记得那段神话故事吗?还记得那份令人感动的精神吗?正义的力量赋予了神话一个坚硬无比的灵魂。神话,在很远很远的地方,走过很远很远的旅程,送来了整整一个“曾经”。

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