五个孩子和沙精
Five Children and It


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    1 Beautiful Children
    1 Beautiful Children
    
    The house was about four kilometres from the station,but after only a minute or two the children began to ask,' Are we nearly there?'And every time they saw a house they said,' Oh, is this it?'But it never was. Then they came to the top of a hill, and there was a White house with a green garden and lots of fruit trees. ' Here we are!'Mother said.
    Everyone hurried to get out of the carriage—— Robert,Anthea, Jane, Cyril, and Martha, the nursemaid, with the baby. But Mother did not hurry. The children ran round the house and all through the garden to see what there was. But Mother stood and watched the driver while he carried the boxes into the house.
    The children loved the house. They knew immediately that they were going to be happy there. Mother did not like the house very much because it was old and there were no cup-boards. But it was deep in the country and after two years in London the children thought that it was wonderful. If you live in London and your family is not rich, you get bored because you cannot go to shops and theatres ,and people say,' Don't do this' and 'Don't go there. 'In the country you can go any-where and do anything.
    The white house was on the hill, with a wood behind it and a gravel-pit on one side . It was at the gravel-pit, a week later,that the children found a fairy. Well, that was what it called itself. But it was different from other fairies.
    It happened when Mother had to go and stay with Grand-mother,who was ill. Martha stayed with the children,of course. But the house was very quiet and empty. The children did not know what to do. Then Cyril said,' Let's go to the gravel-pit. '
    The gravel-pit was very large, with grass and wild flowers round the sides at the top. When they got there, the children decided that they would go down into the pit to play in the sand.
    ' Let's dig a deep hole— perhaps we can get all the way down to Australia,'said Robert.
    The others agreed and they all began to dig hard in the sand. But it was a very hot day. Baby went to sleep and Robert, Cyril, and Jane sat down to rest, but Anthea went on working on the hole.
    Suddenly she screamed. ' Cyril! Come here! Quick!There's something alive!'she cried.
    They all jumped up and hurried over to see what it was.
    ' It's got feet,'Anthea said. ' And fur. Don't hurt it. I know this sounds stupid, but it said something. '
    ' What did it say?' asked Cyril.
    'It said,“You leave me alone. ”
    The others just laughed, but the two boys began to move away more of the sand. Soon they could see that there really was something moving in the hole.
    Suddenly a hard little voice cried,' Leave me alone!'
    They all jumped back and no one spoke for a minute. Then Robert said,' But we want to see you. '
    ' Yes, I wish you'd come out,'Anthea said.
    'Oh, well, if that's your wish,'the voice said, and the sand began to fly about everywhere. Then something brown and furry and fat fell out into the hole. ' I think I was asleep,'it said.
    The children stood and looked at it. It really was very strange. It could move its eyes in and out on stalks, it had big ears and its body was fat and round and furry. Its legs and arms had soft fur all over them too, and it had hands and feet.
    ' What is it?' asked Jane. ' Shall we take it home?'
    The thing turned its long eyes to look at her. ' Does she always say stupid things?'it said.
    ' She doesn't mean it,' Anthea said. ' Don't be afraid. We won't hurt you. '
    The little thing was angry. ' Hurt me! 'it cried. ' I'm not afraid of you!'
    'Oh, don't be angry,'said Anthea kindly. ' Tell us who you are. We really don't know. '
    'You don't know?'it said. ' Don't you know a Psammead when you see one?'
    'A Sammyadd? What's that?'Jane said .
    ' A sand-fairy, of course. Don't you know a sand-fairy when you see one?'
    It looked very unhappy, and Jane said,' Of course! I can see that you're a sand-fairy now. '
    And Robert said,'Well, I didn't know that you were a Psammead, but I can see that you are something very wonder-ful. Please talk some more to us. '
    The Psammead looked a little happier when it heard that,and it said,'Well,you can talk to me ,if you want to. Per- haps I'll answer you and perhaps I won't. Now saysomething. '
    At first the children could not think of anything to say,but then Robert asked,' How long have you lived here?'
    'Oh,thousands of years,' the Psammead answered.
    The children waited, but the Psammead was silent.
    ' Please tell us more,' Robert said.
    'Well, all right, then,'the Psammead said. ' There were lots of us then,' it went on. ' People sent their children out to look for Psammeads,and when they found us,we gave them a wish. '
    'What happened to all the Psammeads, then?' Robert asked.
    'Well,if they get wet,they get ill and they usually die, and that's what happened. Most of them got wet and died. And I'm not going to tell you another thing. '
    ' Oh,just one more question,please,'said Robert. ' Do you give wishes now?'
    ' You've had one,'said the Psammead. ' You wished to see me,and here I am. '
    ' Oh, please. Just one more,' Anthea cried.
    ' Well, all right, but be quick!I'm tired of you!'
    It is very difficult to think of a really good wish, in just a second or two. Then Anthea remembered a wish of hers and Jane's. She knew that the boys wouldn't like it, but it was better than nothing.
    ' I wish we were all very, very beautiful,' she said.
    The Psammead pushed out its long eyes and got bigger and fatter, and the children waited. Then it said,' I'm sorry. I haven't done this for a long time. I'll try again,butl can only do one wish a day for you. Do you agree to that?'
    ' Yes, oh yes!'the children cried.
    ' But remember, the wish is only for a day,'said the Psammead. ' When the sun goes down,everything goes back to what it was. '
    The Psammead slowly got bigger, then suddenly went small again. ' That's all right!'it said. At once it turned and went back into the sand at the bottom of the hole.
    The children stood there for a second, and then Anthea turned to speak to the others. But they were not there! She was looking at three strangers— a girl with beautiful red hair and big blue eyes, and two very good-looking boys. Suddenly she understood. They had their wish. The strangers were Robert and Cyril and Jane—but now they were beautiful. Cyril's hair was golden now, and Robert's was black.
    ' I liked you better before!'Robert cried angrily to his brother and sisters. 'Jane's hair looks like carrots, and Cyril looks really stupid with long golden hair. '
    They went to find Baby, but he was just the same as he was before.
    ' Perhaps it's because he's young. He can't have wishes. We'll have to remember that next time,'Anthea said,and she held out her arms to him. But Baby's mouth turned down at the corners and then he began to cry loudly. He did not know them!
    It took an hour to stop him crying and then, very tired and cross, they took him home. Martha, Baby's nursemaid, was waiting at the front door. She took Baby from them quickly:
    ' Where are the others?'she asked. 'And who are you?'
    ' we're us,of course,' Robert said. ' You don't know us be-cause we're beautiful. '
    ' And we're very hungry,'said Cyril,'and we want our lunch, please. '
    ' Go away!'Martha screamed. ' Or I'll send for the police,'and she closed the door in their faces.
    The children were very hungry by then, and they tried three times to get into the house—but Martha would not let them in. After a while they went and sat at the bottom of the garden to wait for the sun to go down. 'The wish will finish then, won't it?'Jane said.
    But the others didn't answer because no one was really sure.
    It was a terrible afternoon. They had no lunch, no tea, and they were tired, angry and afraid. It's true that they were all very beautiful,but that's not a lot of help when you'rs unhappy. In the end they fell asleep.
    It was nearly dark when they woke up. Anthea was the first to wake up and she looked at the others. They were no longer very beautiful. Everything was all right again. Happily, they all went back to the house. Of course, Martha was angry.
    ' Where have you been all day?'she cried.
    It is not easy to explain a Psammead to an angry nursemaid,so the children didn't try.
    'We met some beautiful children and we couldn't get away from them until it was nearly dark,'Anthea said. ' They were terrible, and we never want to see them again. '
    And they never have.
    
    1 漂亮的孩子
    
    他们的新家距车站大约四公里远,而每过一两分钟孩子们就开口问:“我们快到了吗?”而且他们每看到一幢房子都说:“哦,是这个吗?”可总不是。接着他们来到一个山顶,那儿有一幢带有绿色的花园和很多果树的白房子。“我们到了!”母亲说。
    大家急忙下车——罗伯特、安西娅、简、西里尔,还有抱着婴孩的保姆马莎。可母亲不慌不忙。孩子们绕着房子跑,都穿过花园看看那里有什么。但是赶车人把箱子搬到房子里去时妈妈站着看着他。
    孩子们喜欢这房子。他们马上就明白在那儿他们会很快活的。母亲不太喜欢这房子,因为它很旧,也没有柜子。可是这房子位于真正意义上的乡间;在伦敦住了两年之后,孩子们认为这一点太好了。要是住在伦敦可你的家庭又不富有,你就会觉得厌倦,因为你不能去商店和剧场,人们还会说“不许干这个”、“不许去那儿”的。在乡下你想去哪儿就去哪儿,想干什么就干什么。
    这白房子位于小山上,后边有一片树林,在一边还有一个砾石坑。就是在这个砾石坑里孩子们一周之后发现了一个精灵。晤,它是这样称呼自己的,但是它和别的精灵可不一样。
    事情发生在母亲去探护祖母的时候,祖母病了。当然马莎留下来和孩子们在一起。可房子里静悄悄的,空荡荡的。孩子们不知道做些什么好。过了一会儿,西里尔说:“咱们去砾石坑吧。”
    砾石坑大极了,坑口四周长着青草和野花。孩子们到了那儿时,他们决定到坑里去玩沙子。
    “咱们挖个深深的洞——也许能一直挖到澳大利亚呢,”罗伯特说。
    别的孩于同意了,他们就都起劲地挖起沙来。可天气很热。小弟弟睡觉去了,罗伯特、西里尔和简坐下来休息,可安西娅继续挖着洞。
    突然她尖叫起来。“西里尔!到这儿来!快!有什么活的东西!”她叫道。
    他们都跳起身来,急忙过去看是什么东西。
    “它有脚,”安西亚说,“还有毛。别伤着它。我知道这话听起来有些蠢,可它说话了。”
    “它说什么?”西里尔问。
    “它说:'别来打搅我。'”
    别的孩子只是笑,可那两个男孩开始挖开更多的沙子。很快他们就能看见洞里真有个东西在动。
    突然一个刺耳的、细小的声音喊道:“别打搅我!”
    他们都向后退了几步,一时谁也没说话。过了一会儿罗伯特说:“可是我们想看看你。”
    “是啊,我希望你出来。”安西娅说。
    “哦,好吧,如果那是你们的愿望的话,”那个声音说;沙子开始到处乱飞。一会儿一个褐色的、长着毛的、胖乎乎的东西从沙里飞落到洞中。“我想我刚才睡着了,”它说。
    孩子们站着看着它。它的确长得很奇怪。它有一双伸缩自如的柄眼、一对大耳朵,身体又胖又圆,还毛绒绒的。它的胳膊和腿上也覆盖着柔毛,而它还长着手和脚。
    “是什么呀?”简问道,“要不要把它带回家!”
    这东西转动它的柄眼看着她。“她老说蠢话吗?”它说。
    “她不是那个意思。”安西娅说,“别怕,我们不会伤害你。”
    这小东西生气了。“伤害我?!”它叫着,“我才不怕你们呢!”
    “哦,别生气,”安西娅和蔼地说,“告诉我们你是谁。我们真不知道。”
    “你们不知道?”它说,“你们看到一个赛米德时难道会不认识?”
    “赛米德?那是什么啊?”简说。
    “当然是沙精了。你们见到沙精会不认识?”
    它显得很不高兴,简就说:“当然!现在我知道你是个沙精了。”
    罗伯特也说:“喔,我原来不知道你是赛米德,可现在我看得出你棒极了。请再跟我们说些话吧。”
    听到那个这个赛米德显得稍微高兴些了,它说:“好吧,如果你们愿意,你们可以和我说说话。我也许回答你们的问题,也许不回答。现在说什么吧。”
    开头孩子们想不出要说什么,然而不一会儿罗伯特就问:“你在这儿住多久了?”
    “哦,几千年了吧,”赛米德回答说。
    孩子们等赛米德往下说,但它不说话了。
    “请多告诉我们一些情况,”罗伯特说。
    “唔,行,那好,”赛米德说。“当初我们有许多人马呢,”它接着说。“人们打发孩子们去找赛米德,找到时我们就给他们实现一个愿望。”
    “那后来赛米德都怎么样了?”罗伯特问。
    “噢,要是它们弄湿了自己,就会生病,常常会死的,事情就是那样。大部分赛米德弄湿了,死了。我不再告诉你们别的事了。”
    “哦,请再回答一个问题,”罗伯特说,“你现在还帮人们实现愿望吗?”
    “你们已经实现一个了。”赛米德说,“你们希望看到我,我就来了。”
    “噢,求求你了。就再来实现一个愿望吧。”安西娅叫道。
    “唔,那好吧,可是快点!你们真烦人!”
    一两秒内就想出一个好愿望真困难。接着安西娅记起了她和简的一个愿望。她知道男孩子们不会喜欢它,可总比没有强。
    “我希望我们都非常非常漂亮,”她说。
    赛米德将双眼从眼眶伸出去好远,并变大变胖了,孩子们等待着。一会儿,它说:“对不起。我很久没这样做了。我再试一次,但是一天只能为你们实现一个愿望。你们同意吗?”
    “同意,同意!”孩子们喊道。
    “但是记住,只能维持一个白天。”赛米德说,“太阳落下去时,一切就恢复原样了。”
    赛米德慢慢地大起来,然后突然又变小了。“好了!”它说。它马上转过身回到洞底的沙中去了。
    孩子们站了一下,然后安西娅转身去和其他的孩子说话。可他们不在了!她看见三个陌生人——一个长着漂亮的红头发和大大的蓝眼睛的女孩,还有两个很好看的男孩。她忽然明白了。他们的愿望实现了:陌生人就是罗伯特、西里尔和简——只是他们现在漂亮了。西里尔的头发现在是金色的了,罗伯特则是黑头发。
    “我更喜欢你们原来的样子!”罗伯特生气地对他的姐弟们叫着,“简的头发像胡萝卜,西里尔长着金色长发的样子看起来真傻。”
    他们去找小弟弟,可他还是原来的样子。
    “也许是因为他大小了吧。他也不会希望要什么。下次我们得记住。”安西娅说着并向他伸出手臂。可小弟弟撇着嘴开始大哭起来。他不认识他们!
    花了一个小时才哄他不哭了。他们又累又气,把他带回家。小弟弟的保姆马莎正在前门等候。她很快地把孩子接过去。
    “别的孩子们在哪儿呢?”她问,“你们是谁?”
    “我们就是我们,当然了。”罗伯特说,“你不认识我们是因为我们漂亮了。”
    “我们还非常饿,”西里尔说,“我们想要午饭,求求了。”
    “走开!”马莎叫道,“不然我要叫警察了。”她当着他们的面关上了门。
    那时孩子们已经非常饿了,他们三次试图进门——但是马莎每次都不让他们进去。过了一会儿,他们去坐在花园尽头,等太阳落下去。“到那会儿愿望就结束了,不是吗?”简说。
    其他人没有回答,因为谁也不敢肯定。
    那个下午可真糟。他们没有午饭,没有茶点,还又累又气又害怕。他们确实都很漂亮,可人不高兴时漂亮也帮不了多大忙。最后他们睡着了。
    他们醒来时天都快黑了。安西娅第一个醒来,她看看其他孩子。他们不再很漂亮了。一切都恢复原样了。他们都高高兴兴地回屋了。当然,马莎很生气。
    “你们一整天到哪里去了?”她喊道。
    对一个发怒的保姆解释清楚赛米德是什么可不是件容易的事,所以孩子们没试着解释。
    “我们遇到了些漂亮孩子,直到天快黑才脱身。”安西娅说,“他们太可怕了,我们不想再见到他们。”
    他们实际上从来也没见过那几个孩子。
    

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