上一级

讨论区

本书首页    Previous    Next    Chinese


THE BEETLE

 

THE Emperor's horse was shod with goldIt had a golden shoe on each of its feet

{ewc MVIMAGE,MVIMAGE, !413823T1.bmp}

And why was this

He was a beautiful creaturewith delicate legsbright intelligent eyesand a mane that hung down over his neck like a veilHe had carried his master through the fire and smoke of battleand heard the bullets whistling around himhad kickedbittenand taken part in the fight when the enemy advancedand had sprung with his master on his back over the fallen enemy's horseand had saved the crown of red goldand the life of the Emperorwhich was more valuable than the red goldand that is why the Emperor's horse had gold-en shoes

And a Beetle came creeping forth

First the great ones,”said he,“and then the little onesbut it's not size that does it.”And so sayinghe stretched out his thin legs

What do you want?”asked the smith

Golden shoes,”replied the Beetle

Whyyou must be out of your senses,”cried the smith.“Do you want to have golden shoes too?”

Golden shoes!”I said the Beetle.“Am I not just as good as that big creaturethat is waited onand brushedand has meat and drink put before himDon't I belong to the imperial stable?”

But why is the horse to have golden shoesDon't you understand that?”asked the smith

UnderstandI understand that it is a slight to me,”cried the Beetle.“It is an insultand therefore I am now going into the wide world.”

Go along!”said the smith

You're a rude fellow!”cried the Beetleand then he went Out of the stableflew a little wayand soon afterwards found himself in a beautiful flower gardenall fragrant with roses and lavender

Is it not beautiful here?”asked one of the little Ladybirds that flew aboutwith black spots on their red shield-like wings.“How sweet it smells herehow beautiful it is!”

I'm accustomed to better things.”said the Beetle.“Do you call this beautifulWhythere is not so much as a dung-heap.”

Then he went onunder the shadow of a great stockand found a Caterpillar crawling along

How beautiful the world is!”said the Caterpillar:“the sun is so warmand everything so enjoyableAnd when I go to sleepand dieas they call itI shall wake up as a butterfly.”

How conceited you are!”exclaimed the Beetle.“You fly about as a butterflyindeedI've come out of the stable of the Emperorand no one therenot even the Emperor's favorite horsethat wears my cast-off golden shoeshas any such ideaTo have wings to flyWhywe can fly now;”and he spread his wings and flew away.“I don't want to be annoyedand yet I am annoyed,”said heas he flew off

Soon afterwards he fell down upon a great lawnHere he lay for a littleand then he fell asleep

Suddenly a heavy shower of rain came falling from the cloudsThe Beetle woke up at the noiseand wanted to escape into the earthbut could notHe was tumbled over and oversometimes he was swimming on his stomachsometimes on his backand as for flyingthat was out of the questionhe doubted whether he should escape from he place with his lifeHe therefore remained lying where he was

When the weather had moderated a littleand the Beetle had blinked the water out of his eyeshe saw something whiteIt was linen that had been placed there to bleachHe managed to make his way up to itand crept into a fold of the damp linenCertainly the place was not so comfortable to lie in as the warm stablebut there was no better to be hadand therefore he remained lying there for a whole day and a whole nightand the rain kept on during all the timeTowards morning he crept forthhe was very much out of temper because of the climate

On the linen two Frogs were sittingTheir bright eyes absolutely gleamed with pleasure

Wonderful weather this!”one of them cried.“How refreshingAnd the linen keeps the water togetherso beautifullyMy hind legs seem to quiver as if I were going to swim.”

I should like to know,”said the second,“if the swallowwho flies so far round in her many journeys in foreign landsever meets with a better climate than thisWhat delicious dampnessIt is really as if one were lying in a wet ditchWhoever does not rejoice in thiscertainly does not love his fatherland.”

Have you then never been in the Emperor's stable!”asked the Beetle;“there the dampness is warm and refreshingThat's the climate for mebut I cannot take it with me on my journeyIs there never a muck-heaphere in the gardenwhere a person of ranklike myselfcan feel himself at homeand take up his quarters?”

But the Frogs either did not or would not understand him

I never ask a question twice,”said the Beetleafter he had already asked this one three times without receiving any answer

Then he went a little fartherand stumbled against a fragment of potterythat certainly ought not to have been lying therebut since it was thereit gave a good shelter against wind and weatherHere dwelt several families of Earwigsand these did not require much house-roombut only companionshipThe females are specially gifted with maternal affectionand accordingly each one considered her own child the most beautiful and cleverest of all

Our son has engaged himself,”said one mother.“Dearinnocent boyHis greatest hope is that he may creep one day into a clergy man's earThat is very art-less and lovableand being engaged will keep him steadyWhat joy for a mother!”

Our son,”said another mother,“had scarcely crept out of the eggwhen he was already off on his travelsHe's all life and spiritshe'll run his horns offWhat joy that is for a motherIs it not soMrBeetle?”For she knew the stranger by his shape

You are both quite right,”said heso they begged him to walk inthat is to sayto come as far as he could under the bit of pottery

Nowyou also see my little earwig,”observed a third mother and a fourth;“they are lovely little thingsand highly amusingThey are never ill-behavedexcept when they are uncomfortable in their insidebut one is very subject to that at their age.”

Thus each mother spoke about her young onesand the young ones also talkedand made use of the little nippers they have in their tails to nip the beard of the Beetle

Yesthey are always busy about somethingthe little rogues!”said the mothersand they quite beamed with maternal pridebut the Beetle felt bored by it alland therefore he inquired how far it was to the nearest muck-heap

That is quite out in the big worldon the other side of the ditch,”answered an Earwig.“I hope none of my children will go so far awayfor it would be the death of me.”

But I shall try to get so far,”said the Beetleand he went off without taking formal leavefor that is considered the polite thing to doAnd by the ditch he met several friendsBeetlesall of them

Here we live,”they said.“We are very comfort-able hereMight we ask you to step down into this rich mudYou must be fatigued after your journey.”

Certainly,”replied the Beetle.“I have been ex-posed to the rainand have had to lie upon linenand cleanliness is a thing that greatly exhausts meI have also pains in one of my wingsfrom standing in a draught under a fragment of potteryIt is really quite refreshing to be among one's companions once more.”

Perhaps you come from a muck-heap?”observed the oldest of them

From higher up,”replied the Beetle.“I come from the Emperor's stablewhere I was born with golden shoes on my feetI am traveling on a secret embassyYou must not ask any questionsfor I may tell you nothing.”

With this the Beetle stepped down into the rich mudThere sat three young maiden Beetlesand they titteredbecause they did not know what to say

Not one of them is engaged yet,”said their motherand the Beetle maidens tittered againthis time from embarrassment

I have never seen greater beauties in the royal stables,”exclaimed the traveling Beetle

Don't spoil my girls,”said the mother;“and don't talk to thempleaseunless you have serious intentionsBut of course your intentions are seriousand therefore I give you my blessing.”

Hurrah!”cried all the other Beetles togetherand our friend was engagedImmediately after the betrothal came the marriagefor there was no reason for delay

The following day passed very pleasantlyand the next in tolerable comfortbut on the third it was time to think of food for the wifeand perhaps also for children

I have allowed myself to be taken in,” said our Beetle himself,“So I must just take them inin turn.”

So saidso doneAway he wentand he stayed away all dayand stayed away all nightand his wife sat therea forsaken widow

Oh,”said the other Beetles,“this fellow whom we received into our family is nothing more than a thorough vagabondHe has gone awayand has left his wife a burden upon our hands.”

Wellthenshe shall be unmarried againand sit here my daughters,”said the mother.“Fie on the villain who forsook her!”

In the meantime the Beetle had been journeying onand had sailed across the ditch on a cabbage leafIn the morning two persons came to the ditchWhen they saw himthey took him upand turned him over and overthey were very learnedespecially one of thema boy

Allah sees the black beetle in the black stone and in the black rockIs not that written in the Koran?”Then he translated the Beetle's name into Latinand enlarged upon the creature's nature and historyThe older scholar voted against carrying him homeHe said they had just as good specimensand this seemed an uncivil speech to our Beetleand in consequence he flew suddenly out of the speaker's handAs he had now dry wingshe flew a consider-able distanceand reached a hothousewhere a sash of the glass roof was partly openso he quietly slipped in and buried himself in the warm earth

Very comfortable it is here,”said he

Soon after he went to sleepand dreamed that the Emperor's horse had fallenand that MrBeetle had got its golden shoeswith the promise that he should have two more

That was all very charmingWhen the Beetle woke uphe crept forth and looked around himWhat splendour was in the hothouseGreat palm trees growing up on highthe sun made them look transparentand beneath them what a luxuriance of greenand of beaming flowersred as fireyellow as amberor white as fresh-fallen snow

This is an incomparable show of plants,”cried the Beetle.“How good they will taste When they are decayedA capital store-room thisThere must certainly be relations of mine living hereI will just see if I can find any one with whom I may associateI'm proudcertainlyand I'm proud of being so.”

And so he prowled about in the earthand thought what a pleasant dream that was about the dead horseand the golden shoes he had inherited

Suddenly a hand seized the Beetleand pressed himand turned him round and round

The gardener's little son and a companion were in the hothousehad espied the Beetleand wanted to have their fun with himFirst he was wrapped in a vine leafand then put into a warm trousers-pocketHe crept and crawledbut he got a good pressing from the boy's hand for thisThen the boy went rapidly towards the great lake that lay at the end of the gardenHere the Beetle was put in an old broken wooden shoeon which a little stick was placed upright for a mastand to this mast the Beetle was bound with a woolen threadNow he was a sailorand had to sail away

The lake was very largeto the Beetle it seemed an oceanand he was so astonishedthat he fell over on his back and kicked out with his legs

The little ship sailed awayThe current of the water seized itbut whenever it went too far from the shoreone of the boys turned up his trousers and went in after itand brought it back to the landBut at lengthjust as it went merrily out againthe two boys were called awayand very urgentlyso that they hurried awayand left the wooden shoe to its fateThus it drove away from the shorefarther and farther into the open seait was terrible work for the Beetlefor he could not get awayin consequence of being bound to the mast

Then a Fly came and paid him a visit

What beautiful weather!”said the Fly.“I'll rest hereand sun myselfYou have an agreeable time of it.”

You speak according to your intelligence,”replied the Beetle.“Don't you see that I'm a prisoner?”

AhBut I'm not a prisoner,”observed the Flyand he flew away accordingly

Wellnow I know the world,”said the Beetle to himself.“It is an abominable world I'm the only honest person in itFirstthey refuse me my golden shoesthen I have to lie on wet linenand to stand in the draughtandto crown allthey fasten a wife upon meThenwhen I've taken a quick step out into the worldand found out how one can have it thereand how I wished to have itone of those human whelps comes and ties me upand leaves me to the mercy of the wild waveswhile the Emperor's horse prances about proudly in golden shoesThat is what annoys me more than allBut one must not look for sympathy in this worldMy career has been very interestingbut what's the use of thatif nobody knows itThe world does not deserve to know it eitherotherwise it would have given me golden shoesin the Emperor's stablewhen his favorite horse stretched out its legs and was shodIf I had received golden shoesI should have become an ornament to the stableNow the stable has lost meand the world has lost meIt is all over!”

But all was not over yetThere came a boatwith some young girls

There sails a wooden shoe,”said one of the girls

There's a little creature bound fast to it,”said an-other

The boat came quite close to our Beetle's shipand the young girls fished him out of the waterOne of them drew a small pair of scissors from her pocketand cut the woollen threadwithout hurting the Beetleand when she stepped on shoreshe put him down on the grass

Greepcreepflyflyif thou canst,”she said.“Liberty is a splendid thing.”

And the Beetle flew upand straight through the open window of a great buildingthere he sank downtired and exhaustedexactly on the finesoftlong mane of the Emperor's favorite horsewho stood in the stable where he and the Beetle had their homeThe Beetle clung fast to the maneand sat there a short time to re-cover himself

Here I'm sitting on the Emperor's favorite horsesitting like a knight!”he cried.“What is that I am sayingNow it becomes clear to meThat's a good thoughtand quite correctThe smith asked me why the golden shoes were given to the horseNow I'm quite clear about he answerThey were given to the horse on my account.”

And now the Beetle was in a good temper again

One becomes clear-headed by traveling,”said he

The sun shone very beautifully upon him

The world is nor so badupon the whole,”said the Beetle;“but one must just know how to take it.”The world was beautifulfor the Emperor's horse had got golden shoesbecause the Beetle was to be its rider

Now I shall go down to the other beetles and tell them how much has been done for meI shall tell them about all the advantages I have enjoyed in my foreign travelsand I shall saythat now I am going to stay at home until the horse has worn out his golden shoes.”

 


 

Previous    Next    Chinese

 
 
上一级

讨论区