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张培基英译中国现代散文选--26 父亲

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父亲
鲁彦

 “父亲已经上了六十岁了,还想作一点事业,积一点钱,给我造起屋子来(1)。”一个朋友从北方来,告诉了我这样的话。

他的话使我想起了我的父亲(2)。我的父亲正是和他的父亲完全一样的。我的父亲曾经为我苦了一生,把我养大,送我进学校,为我造了屋子,买了几亩田地。六十岁那一年,还到汉口去做生意,怕人家嫌他年老,只说自己五十几岁(3)。大家都劝他不要再出门,他偏背着包裹走了。

“让我再帮儿子几年(4)!”他只是这样说。

后来屋子被火烧掉了,他还想再做生意,把屋子重造起来。我安慰他说,三年以后我自己就可积起钱造屋了(5),还是等一等吧。他答应了。他给我留下了许多造屋的材料,告诉我这样可以做什么那样可以做什么。他死的以前不久,还对我说: “早一点造起来吧,我可以给你监工(6)。”但是他终于没有看见屋子重造起来就死了。他弥留的时候对我说,一切都满足了。但是我知道他倘能再活几年,我把屋子造起来,是他所最心愿的。我听他弥留时的呻吟和叹息。我知道他还想再活几年,帮我造起屋子来。

现在我自己已是几个孩子的父亲了。我爱孩子,但我没有像前一辈父亲的想法,帮孩子一直帮到老,帮到死还不足。我赞美前一辈父亲的美德,而自己却不跟着他们的步伐走去。

我觉得我的孩子累我,使我受到极大的束缚。我没有对他们永久的计划,甚至连短促的也没有。

“倘使有人要,我愿意把他们送给人家!”我常常这样说,当我厌恶孩子的时候。唉,和前一辈做父亲的一比,我觉得我们这一辈生命力薄弱得可怜,我们二三十岁的前辈,他们虽然老的老死的死了,但是他们才是真正活着到现在到将来。 而我们呢,虽然活着,却是早已死了。

Father
Lu Yan


“Father is now over sixty, but he still wants to work to save up for a house to be built for me,” a friend of mine from North China told me.

That put me in mind of my father. My father was very much like his. Father went through untold hardships for me all his life. He brought me up, sent me to school, had a house built for me and bought me a few mu of land. He went to Hankou to engage in trade the year when he was already sixty. And he tried to make out that he was still in his fifties lest people should consider him too old to be of much use. We had all tried to dissuade him from going out to Hankou, but he simply wouldn’t listen and left home carrying the luggage on his back.

“Let me toil a few more years for my son’s sake!” That was what he said.

It happened afterwards that the house was burned down. And he wanted to go back to his business in order to have the house rebuilt. I tried to console him, saying that there was no need for him to do it because in three years’ time I myself would have laid by enough money for a new house. He agreed. Then he gave me a lot of building materials and told me what to do with them. Shortly before his death, he urged me, “You’d better get started right away so that I can watch to see that everything is done properly.” Unfortunately he didn’t live long enough to see the new house. He told me on his deathbed that had nothing to feel sorry about. But I knew he would be much happier if he could live a few more years just to see the new house put up. When I heard his dying groans and sighs, I believed they were caused not by physical pain, but by regret for not being able to live a few more years to help me with the new house.

Now I myself am a father of several children. Though I love my kids, I do not share idea of father and people of his time that one can never do too much in his lifetime to help his children. Much as I admire father and people of his time for their moral excellence, I can never follow in their footsteps.

I think of my children as an encumbrance to me I haven’t worked out a long-term plan for them, nay, not even a short-term one.

“I’d like to give away my kids to anyone who’s willing to take them!” That’s what I say whenever I am fed up with them. Alas, compared with father and people of his time, the present generation, I think, have pitifully low vitality. We in our twenties or thirties cannot compare with our elders in their sixties or seventies. Today they may be advanced in years or even no more, but they will, nevertheless, live forever and ever. As for us, though still alive, we have long been dead.

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2011-11-11 20:20 编辑:Day_Day_Up1990
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