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小故事“美女,还是老虎?”

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小编摘要:今天,我们向你讲一个小故事《美女还是老虎?》,该故事的作者是弗兰克.R.斯托克顿。

美女还是老虎 

BOB DOUGHTY: Now, the VOA Special English program, AMERICAN STORIES.

(MUSIC)

We present the short story "The Lady, or the Tiger?" by Frank R. Stockton. Here is Barbara Klein with the story.

(MUSIC)

BARBARA KLEIN: Long ago, in the very olden time, there lived a powerful king. Some of his ideas were progressive. But others caused people to suffer.

One of the king's ideas was a public arena as an agent of poetic justice. Crime was punished, or innocence was decided, by the result of chance.

When a person was accused of a crime, his future would be judged in the public arena.

All the people would gather in this building. The king sat high up on his ceremonial chair. He gave a sign. A door under him opened. The accused person stepped out into the arena. Directly opposite the king were two doors. They were side by side, exactly alike. The person on trial had to walk directly to these doors and open one of them. He could open whichever door he pleased.

If the accused man opened one door, out came a hungry tiger, the fiercest in the land. The tiger immediately jumped on him and tore him to pieces as punishment for his guilt. The case of the suspect was thus decided.

Iron bells rang sadly. Great cries went up from the paid mourners. And the people, with heads hanging low and sad hearts, slowly made their way home. They mourned greatly that one so young and fair, or so old and respected, should have died this way.

But, if the accused opened the other door, there came forth from it a woman, chosen especially for the person. To this lady he was immediately married, in honor of his innocence. It was not a problem that he might already have a wife and family, or that he might have chosen to marry another woman. The king permitted nothing to interfere with his great method of punishment and reward.

Another door opened under the king, and a clergyman, singers, dancers and musicians joined the man and the lady. The marriage ceremony was quickly completed. Then the bells made cheerful noises. The people shouted happily. And the innocent man led the new wife to his home, following children who threw flowers on their path.

This was the king's method of carrying out justice. Its fairness appeared perfect. The accused person could not know which door was hiding the lady. He opened either as he pleased, without having knowing whether, in the next minute, he was to be killed or married.

Sometimes the fierce animal came out of one door. Sometimes it came out of the other.

This method was a popular one. When the people gathered together on one of the great trial days, they never knew whether they would see a bloody killing or a happy ending. So everyone was always interested. And the thinking part of the community would bring no charge of unfairness against this plan. Did not the accused person have the whole matter in his own hands?
(MUSIC)

The king had a beautiful daughter who was like him in many ways. He loved her above all humanity. The princess secretly loved a young man who was the best-looking and bravest in the land. But he was a commoner, not part of an important family.

One day, the king discovered the relationship between his daughter and the young man. The man was immediately put in prison. A day was set for his trial in the king's public arena. This, of course, was an especially important event. Never before had a common subject been brave enough to love the daughter of the king.

The king knew that the young man would be punished, even if he opened the right door. And the king would take pleasure in watching the series of events, which would judge whether or not the man had done wrong in loving the princess.

(MUSIC)

The day of the trial arrived. From far and near the people gathered in the arena and outside its walls. The king and his advisers were in their places, opposite the two doors. All was ready. The sign was given. The door under the king opened and the lover of the princess entered the arena.

Tall, beautiful and fair, his appearance was met with a sound of approval and tension. Half the people had not known so perfect a young man lived among them. No wonder the princess loved him! What a terrible thing for him to be there!

As the young man entered the public arena, he turned to bend to the king. But he did not at all think of the great ruler. The young man's eyes instead were fixed on the princess, who sat to the right of her father.

From the day it was decided that the sentence of her lover should be decided in the arena, she had thought of nothing but this event.
The princess had more power, influence and force of character than anyone who had ever before been interested in such a case. She had done what no other person had done. She had possessed herself of the secret of the doors. She knew behind which door stood the tiger, and behind which waited the lady. Gold, and the power of a woman's will, had brought the secret to the princess.

She also knew who the lady was. The lady was one of the loveliest in the kingdom. Now and then the princess had seen her looking at and talking to the young man.

The princess hated the woman behind that silent door. She hated her with all the intensity of the blood passed to her through long lines of cruel ancestors.

Her lover turned to look at the princess. His eye met hers as she sat there, paler and whiter than anyone in the large ocean of tense faces around her. He saw that she knew behind which door waited the tiger, and behind which stood the lady. He had expected her to know it.

The only hope for the young man was based on the success of the princess in discovering this mystery. When he looked at her, he saw that she had been successful, as he knew she would succeed.

Then his quick and tense look asked the question: "Which?" It was as clear to her as if he shouted it from where he stood. There was not time to be lost.

The princess raised her hand, and made a short, quick movement toward the right. No one but her lover saw it. Every eye but his was fixed on the man in the arena.

He turned, and with a firm and quick step he walked across the empty space. Every heart stopped beating. Every breath was held. Every eye was fixed upon that man. He went to the door on the right and opened it.

(MUSIC)

Now, the point of the story is this: Did the tiger come out of that door, or did the lady?

The more we think about this question, the harder it is to answer. It involves a study of the human heart. Think of it not as if the decision of the question depended upon yourself. But as if it depended upon that hot-blooded princess, her soul at a white heat under the fires of sadness and jealousy. She had lost him, but who should have him?

How often, in her waking hours and in her dreams, had she started in wild terror, and covered her face with her hands? She thought of her lover opening the door on the other side of which waited the sharp teeth of the tiger!

But how much oftener had she seen him open the other door? How had she ground her teeth, and torn her hair, when she had seen his happy face as he opened the door of the lady! How her soul had burned in pain when she had seen him run to meet that woman, with her look of victory. When she had seen the two of them get married. And when she had seen them walk away together upon their path of flowers, followed by the happy shouts of the crowd, in which her one sad cry was lost!

Would it not be better for him to die quickly, and go to wait for her in that blessed place of the future? And yet, that tiger, those cries, that blood!
Her decision had been shown quickly. But it had been made after days and nights of thought. She had known she would be asked. And she had decided what she would answer. And she had moved her hand to the right.

The question of her decision is one not to be lightly considered. And it is not for me to set myself up as the one person able to answer it. And so I leave it with all of you:

Which came out of the open door – the lady, or the tiger?

(MUSIC)

BOB DOUGHTY: You have heard the American Story "The Lady, or the Tiger?" by Frank R. Stockton. Your storyteller was Barbara Klein.

This story was adapted into Special English by Shelley Gollust. It was produced by Lawan Davis. Listen again next week for another American story in VOA Special English. I'm Bob Doughty.

美女,还是老虎?

今天,我们向你讲一个小故事《美女还是老虎?》,该故事的作者是弗兰克.R.斯托克顿。

很久很久以前,有一位强权的国王。他的想法,有些有进步性,而有些却使他的人民遭受苦难。

国王有一个想法就是建立公共竞技场,作为理想的审判场所。一个罪犯,是受到惩罚,还是被确定为清白者?由其选择的结果来定。当一个人被指控有罪,他的未来就在公共竞技场裁决。

所有人都聚集在竞技场上,国王坐在他的宝座上,他发出一个指令,在他座位下面的一扇门就打开了,那位被指控有罪的人就从这扇门里走出来。在国王正对面,有两扇门,这两扇门紧挨着,完全一样。站在审判台上的那位被指控有罪的人,必须径直走到这两扇门前,并打开其中一扇门,他可以随意打开任何一扇门。

如果这位被指控有罪的人打开了一扇门,从这扇门中出来的是一只饥饿的老虎,老虎是这个国家中最凶恶的野兽。老虎会立即向他扑上去,并将他撕碎,这就是对他所犯罪行的惩罚。这位嫌疑犯的命运由此也就决定了。

此时,悲伤的铁铃声响起,全场响起了哭泣声,人们一个个低着头,怀着悲伤的心情,慢慢地走回家去,他们哀悼这样一位年轻美貌或年长而受人尊重的人以这种方式结束了生命。

但是,如果这位被指控有罪的人打开的另一扇门,那么从里面出来的是一位女士,这位女士是专门为这位犯人挑选的。面对他的是女士,意味着他是清白的,他会立即娶这位女士。至于说这位被指控有罪的人原先可能有妻室,或可能已经有对象了,这并不成为一个问题。国王不会允许任何事情影响他这种惩罚或奖励的伟大方法。

在国王座位下的另一扇门此时打开了,牧师、歌唱家、舞蹈家和音乐家从里出来,围笼在这对男女周围,婚礼很快就结束了,然后响起了愉快的钟声,人们向他们欢呼。这位清白者带着他的新妻子回家,后面跟着一路抛撒鲜花的儿童。

这就是这位国王进行审判的方法,这种方法的公平性看似非常完美。被指控的人事先并不知道哪一扇门后面藏的是美女,他按他的意愿打开任何一扇门,在几分钟中内,迎接他的是死亡或婚礼。

有时,凶残的动物从一扇门中出来,有时,从这里出来的却是美女。

这是一种非常受欢迎的方法。在某一个审判日,当人们聚集在一起时,他们不知道即将看到的是血淋淋的屠杀还是欢快的婚礼。所以,每个人对这样的审判都非常感兴趣。而且社会也不会指责这种方法不公平,被指控的人的命运难道不是掌握在他自己手里吗?

这位国王有一位非常漂亮的女儿,她在很多地方像他,他非常爱她。这位公主偷偷地爱上了一位年轻人,这位年轻人是这个国家里最英俊、最勇敢的年轻人,但他只是一介平民,他没有显赫的家世。

有一天,国王发现了他女儿与这位年轻人的关系,这位年轻人立即被关进了监狱。在国王设立的公共竞技场审判这位年轻人的日期已经确定。

自然,这是一件非常重大的事件,在此之前还从来没有一个普通人敢爱上国王的女儿。

即使他打开正确的门,国王知道,这位年轻人也肯定会受到惩罚,国王很乐于观看即将发生的一系列事情,无论最终的判决是什么,都让这位年轻人知道爱上公主是错误的。

审判这位年轻人的日子到了。来自四面八方的人聚集在公共竞技场周围和围墙的外面。国王和他的官员们各就各位,在他们的正对面有两扇门。一切准备就绪。国王已经发出指令,国王座位下面的门已经打开,公主的情人走进了竞技场。

高大、英俊的年轻人站在大家的面前,他的出现,赢得了大家的赞赏声,也使大家倍感紧张。这个国家有一半人都不知道竟然有这样完美的年轻人生活在他们中间,公主爱上他,一点都不奇怪。对他而言,这里即将发生的事,将是多么可怕。

当这位年轻人走进公共竞技场时,他面向国王鞠躬,但他根本就没有在意这位伟大国王,这位年轻人的眼睛直盯着公主身上,公主就坐在她父亲的旁边。

裁决的时刻到了,她的情人的命运就要在这个竞技场上决定了,她除了这件事外什么也不想。

公主比任何一位对此案件感兴趣的人都更有权力、影响力和支配力,她做了一件别人从未做过的事,她掌握了那两扇门的秘密。她知道哪扇门后面是老虎,哪扇门后面是美女。女人所祈求的黄金和权力帮助公主获得了这个秘密。

她还知道那位美女是谁,这位美女是这个王国中最可爱的女人之一。公主偶尔看到她注意这位年轻人,并和这位年轻人交谈。

公主恨那扇门后面藏着的这位美女,公主身上流趟着祖先遗传下来的野蛮的血液,让她更加憎恨这个女孩。

她的情人将目光转向她的身上,他们四目相对,他发现公主的脸色比竞技场四周神色紧张的人们的脸色更加暗淡和苍白,他从她的眼神中看到她知道哪扇门后面是老虎,哪扇门后面是美女,他希望她能够告诉他。

这位年轻人的唯一希望是公主能够发现这个秘密,当他看着她时,他看出,她成功了,就如他所希望她成功一样。

然后他迅速而又紧张地用眼神询问:“是哪扇门?” 对公主而言,她的情人就像从他所站在的广场那向她喊话一样,迫在眉睫。

公主抬起她的手,微微而又迅速地指右方,除了她的情人外,没有人看到她的这个手势,场上每一双眼睛都紧紧地盯着场上这位年轻人的身上。

他转身迈着坚定而迅速的步伐穿过空旷的广场,每个人的心都停止跳动,人们都屏住呼吸,每一双眼睛都盯在年轻人的身上。他向右侧的门走过去,并打开了它。

现在,我们这个故事的高潮到了:从这扇门中出来的是老虎。还是美女?

你越思考这个问题,这个答案就越难以回答。因为这个答案涉及到人们的内心。思考这个答案,你不仅要站在自己的立场来考虑,你还要站在热血沸腾的公主的立场上来考虑,她的内心受到悲伤和嫉妒的影响,她已经失去了他,那么谁会拥有他呢?

她在想,她的情人在打开那扇门时,躲藏在门后面的是那老虎尖利的牙齿,无论是她在醒的时候还是在梦中,她有多少次处于恐怖之中,掩面而泣呢?

但她又多少次想到,如果她看到打开的是另一扇门呢?当她看到他打开那扇藏有美女的门所露出的欢快脸色时,她是多么咬牙切齿,抓挠自己头发!当她看到他迎向那位美女,而那位美女满怀胜利喜悦时,她的心在痛苦地煎熬。当她看到这两个人就要结婚,当她看到他们共同走向撒满鲜花的路,被众人欢呼时,她为她所失去的而悲伤地哭泣!

难道让他即刻死亡,在充满祝福的来世等待她吗?然而,那毕竟是老虎、尖叫和血淋淋的场面呀!

她的决定是瞬间做出的,但这个瞬间做出的决定却是经过好长时间日夜思虑所得的。她知道他会问她,而且她知道她会怎么回答他,因此,她手指向右方。

问题是,公主的决定并不是随意做出来的,因此对于我而言,不能按照我自己的的意愿来回答,所以,我还是把这个问题留给你:从年轻人打开的那扇门中出来的是――美女,还是老虎?

标签:voa special
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2012-03-02 12:57 编辑:pliny
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