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卖火柴的小女孩

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  THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL

  Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening--

  the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there went along the

  street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet. When she left home

  she had slippers on, it is true; but what was the good of that? They were very

  large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn; so large were they; and

  the poor little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street,

  because of two carriages that rolled by dreadfully fast.

  One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an

  urchin, and off he ran with it; he thought it would do capitally for a cradle

  when he some day or other should have children himself. So the little maiden

  walked on with her tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from cold.

  She carried a quantity of matches in an old apron, and she held a bundle of

  them in her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole livelong day; no

  one had given her a single farthing.

  She crept along trembling with cold and hunger--a very picture of sorrow, the

  poor little thing!

  The flakes of snow covered her long fair hair, which fell in beautiful curls

  around her neck; but of that, of course, she never once now thought. From all

  the windows the candles were gleaming, and it smelt so deliciously of roast

  goose, for you know it was New Year's Eve; yes, of that she thought.

  In a corner formed by two houses, of which one advanced more than the other,

  she seated herself down and cowered together. Her little feet she had drawn

  close up to her, but she grew colder and colder, and to go home she did not

  venture, for she had not sold any matches and could not bring a farthing of

  money: from her father she would certainly get blows, and at home it was cold

  too, for above her she had only the roof, through which the wind whistled,

  even though the largest cracks were stopped up with straw and rags.

  Her little hands were almost numbed with cold. Oh! a match might afford her a

  world of comfort, if she only dared take a single one out of the bundle, draw

  it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it. She drew one out. "Rischt!"

  how it blazed, how it burnt! It was a warm, bright flame, like a candle, as

  she held her hands over it: it was a wonderful light. It seemed really to the

  little maiden as though she were sitting before a large iron stove, with

  burnished brass feet and a brass ornament at top. The fire burned with such

  blessed influence; it warmed so delightfully. The little girl had already

  stretched out her feet to warm them too; but--the small flame went out, the

  stove vanished: she had only the remains of the burnt-out match in her hand.

  She rubbed another against the wall: it burned brightly, and where the light

  fell on the wall, there the wall became transparent like a veil, so that she

  could see into the room. On the table was spread a snow-white tablecloth; upon

  it was a splendid porcelain service, and the roast goose was steaming famously

  with its stuffing of apple and dried plums. And what was still more capital to

  behold was, the goose hopped down from the dish, reeled about on the floor

  with knife and fork in its breast, till it came up to the poor little girl;

  when--the match went out and nothing but the thick, cold, damp wall was left

  behind. She lighted another match. Now there she was sitting under the most

  magnificent Christmas tree: it was still larger, and more decorated than the

  one which she had seen through the glass door in the rich merchant's house.

  Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored

  pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her.

  The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when--the match went

  out. The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now

  as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire.

  "Someone is just dead!" said the little girl; for her old grandmother, the

  only person who had loved her, and who was now no more, had told her, that

  when a star falls, a soul ascends to God.

  She drew another match against the wall: it was again light, and in the lustre

  there stood the old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such

  an expression of love.

  "Grandmother!" cried the little one. "Oh, take me with you! You go away when

  the match burns out; you vanish like the warm stove, like the delicious roast

  goose, and like the magnificent Christmas tree!" And she rubbed the whole

  bundle of matches quickly against the wall, for she wanted to be quite sure of

  keeping her grandmother near her. And the matches gave such a brilliant light

  that it was brighter than at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been

  so beautiful and so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both

  flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was

  neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety--they were with God.

  But in the corner, at the cold hour of dawn, sat the poor girl, with rosy

  cheeks and with a smiling mouth, leaning against the wall--frozen to death on

  the last evening of the old year. Stiff and stark sat the child there with her

  matches, of which one bundle had been burnt. "She wanted to warm herself,"

  people said. No one had the slightest suspicion of what beautiful things she

  had seen; no one even dreamed of the splendor in which, with her grandmother

  she had entered on the joys of a new year.

  卖火柴的小女孩

  天气冷得可怕。正在下雪,黑暗的夜幕开始垂下来了。这是这年最后的一夜——新年的前夕。在这样的寒冷和黑暗中,有一个光头赤脚的小女孩正在街上走着。是的,她离开家的时候还穿着一双拖鞋,但那又有什么用呢?那是一双非常大的拖鞋——那么大,最近她妈妈一直在穿着。当她匆忙地越过街道的时候,两辆马车飞奔着闯过来,弄得小姑娘把鞋跑落了。有一只她怎样也寻不到,另一只又被一个男孩子捡起来,拿着逃走了。男孩子还说,等他将来有孩子的时候,可以把它当做一个摇篮来使用。

  ??现在小姑娘只好赤着一双小脚走。小脚已经冻得发红发青了。她有许多火柴包在一个旧围裙里;她手中还拿着一扎。这一整天谁也没有向她买过一根;谁也没有给她一个铜板。

  ??可怜的小姑娘!她又饿又冻得向前走,简直是一幅愁苦的画面。雪花落到她金黄的长头发上——它卷曲地散落在她的肩上,看上去非常美丽。不过她并没有想到自己漂亮。所有的窗子都射出光来,街上飘着一股烤鹅肉①的香味。的确,这是除夕。她在想这件事情。

  ??①烤鹅肉是丹麦圣诞节和除夕晚餐中的一个主菜。

  ??那儿有两座房子,其中一座房子比另一座更向街心伸出一点,她便在这个墙角里坐下来,缩作一团。她把一双小脚也缩进来,不过她感到更冷。她不敢回家里去,因为她没有卖掉一根火柴,没有赚到一个铜板。她的父亲一定会打她,而且家里也是很冷的,因为他们头上只有一个可以灌进风来的屋顶,虽然最大的裂口已经用草和破布堵住了。

  ??她的一双小手几乎冻僵了。唉!哪怕一根小火柴对她也是有好处的。只要她敢抽出一根来,在墙上擦着了,就可以暖暖手!最后她抽出一根来了。哧!它燃起来了,冒出火光来了!当她把手覆在上面的时候,它便变成了一朵温暖、光明的火焰,像是一根小小的蜡烛。这是一道美丽的小光!小姑娘觉得真像坐在一个铁火炉旁边一样:它有光亮的黄铜圆捏手和黄铜炉身,火烧得那么欢,那么暖,那么美!唉,这是怎么一回事儿?当小姑娘刚刚伸出一双脚,打算暖一暖脚的时候,火焰就忽然熄灭了!火炉也不见了。她坐在那儿,手中只有烧过了的火柴。

  ??她又擦了一根。它燃起来了,发出光来了。墙上有亮光照着的那块地方,现在变得透明,像一片薄纱;她可以看到房间里的东西:桌上铺着雪白的台布,上面有精致的碗盘,填满了梅子和苹果的、冒着香气的烤鹅。更美妙的事情是:这只鹅从盘子里跳出来了,背上插着刀叉,蹒跚地在地上走着,一直向这个穷苦的小姑娘面前走来。这时火柴就熄灭了;她面前只有一堵又厚又冷的墙。

  ??她点了另一根火柴。现在她是坐在美丽的圣诞树下面。上次圣诞节时,她透过玻璃门,看到一个富有商人家里的一株圣诞树;可是现在这一株比那株还要大,还要美。它的绿枝上燃着几千支蜡烛;彩色的,跟橱窗里挂着的那些一样美丽,在向她眨眼。这个小姑娘把两只手伸过去。于是火柴就熄灭了。圣诞节的烛光越升越高。她看到它们现在变成了明亮的星星。这些星星有一颗落下来了,在天上划出一条长长的光线。

  ??“现在又有一个什么人死去了①,”小姑娘说,因为她的老祖母曾经说过:天上落下一颗星,地上就有一个灵魂升到了上帝那儿去。老祖母是唯一对她好的人,但是现在已经死了。

  ??①北欧人的迷信:世界上有一个人,天上便有一颗星。一颗星的陨落象征一个人的死亡。

  ??她在墙上又擦了一根火柴。它把四周都照亮了;在这光亮中老祖母出现了。她显得那么光明,那么温柔,那么和蔼。

  ??“祖母!”小姑娘叫起来。“啊!请把我带走吧!我知道,这火柴一灭掉,你就会不见了,你就会像那个温暖的火炉、那只美丽的烤鹅、那棵幸福的圣诞树一样地不见了!”

  ??于是她急忙把整束火柴中剩下的火柴都擦亮了,因为她非常想把祖母留住。这些火柴发出强烈的光芒,照得比大白天还要明朗。祖母从来没有像现在这样显得美丽和高大。她把小姑娘抱起来,搂到怀里。她们两人在光明和快乐中飞走了,越飞越高,飞到既没有寒冷,也没有饥饿,也没有忧愁的那块地方——她们是跟上帝在一起。

  ??不过在一个寒冷的早晨,这个小姑娘却坐在一个墙角里;她的双颊通红,嘴唇发出微笑,她已经死了——在旧年的除夕冻死了。新年的太阳升起来了,照着她小小的尸体!她坐在那儿,手中还捏着火柴——其中有一扎差不多都烧光了。

  ??“她想把自己暖和一下,”人们说。谁也不知道:她曾经看到过多么美丽的东西,她曾经是多么光荣地跟祖母一起,走到新年的幸福中去。

  (1846)

  ??这篇童话发表在1846年的《丹麦大众历书》上。它的内容一看就清楚:一年一度的新年除夕,是大家欢乐的日子,但有的人却在挨饿。这种饥饿在天真的孩子身上就特别显得尖锐,特别是当她(或他)看到好吃的东西而弄不到口的时候。卖火柴的小女孩擦亮一根火柴,照出对面楼上有钱人家的餐桌:“桌上铺着雪白的台布,上面有精致的碗盘,填满了梅子和苹果的、冒着香气的烤鹅。更美妙的事情是:这只鹅从盘子里跳出来了,背上插着刀叉,蹒跚地在地上走着,一直向这个穷苦的小姑娘面前走来。这时火柴就熄灭了;她面前只有一堵又厚又冷的墙。”最后她“死了——在旧年的除夕冻死了。”在这里安徒生安慰读者,说她和她的祖母“在光明和快乐中飞走了……飞到既没有寒冷,也没有饥饿,也没有忧愁的那块地方——她们是跟上帝在一起。”但这只是一个希望。真正的“光明和快乐”得自己去创造。上帝是没有的。小女孩究竟还是死了。

  ??安徒生在他的手记中写道:“我在去国外旅行的途中在格洛斯登城堡住了几天。《卖火柴的小女孩》就是在那里写成的。我那时接到出版商佛林奇先生的信,要求我为他的历书写一个故事,以配合其中的三幅画。我选了以一个穷苦小女孩拿着一包火柴为画面的那张画。”这幅画是丹麦画家龙布(J.T.Lumdbye,1818~1848)的手笔。

 

  

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