The Happy Prince 3

时间:2020-9-1 作者:小声故事网

  ‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince,’far away across the city I see a young man in a garret(阁楼) . He is leaning over a desk covered with papers, and in a tumbler by his side there is a bunch of withered violets. His hair is brown and crisp, and his lips are red as a pomegranate(石榴) , and he has large and dreamy eyes. He is trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre, but he is too cold to write any more. There is no fire in the grate, and hunger has made him faint.’

  ‘I will wait with you one night longer,’ said the Swallow, who really had a good heart. ‘Shall I take him another ruby?’

  ‘Alas! I have no ruby now,’ said the Prince; ‘my eyes are all that I have left. They are made of rare sapphires, which were brought out of India a thousand years ago. Pluck out one of them and take it to him. He will sell it to the jeweller, and buy food and firewood, and finish his play.’

  ‘Dear Prince,’ said the Swallow,’I cannot do that;’ and he began to weep.

  ‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘do as I command you.’

  So the Swallow plucked out the Prince’s eye, and flew away to the student’s garret. It was easy enough to get in, as there was a hole in the roof. Through this he darted, and came into the room. The young man had his head buried in his hands, so he did not hear the flutter of the bird’s wings, and when he looked up he found the beautiful sapphire lying on the withered violets.

  ‘I am beginning to be appreciated,’ he cried; ‘this is from some great admirer. Now I can finish my play,’ and he looked quite happy.

  The next day the Swallow flew down to the harbour. He sat on the mast of a large vessel and watched the sailors hauling big chests out of the hold with ropes. ‘Heave a-hoy!’ they shouted as each chest came up. ‘I am going to Egypt!’ cried the Swallow, but nobody minded, and when the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince.

  ‘I am come to bid you good-bye,’ he cried.

  ‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince,’will you not stay with me one night longer?’

  ‘It is winter,’ answered the Swallow, and the chill snow will soon be here. In Egypt the sun is warm on the green palm-trees, and the crocodiles lie in the mud and look lazily about them. My companions are building a nest in the Temple of Baalbec, and the pink and white doves are watching them, and cooing to each other. Dear Prince, I must leave you, but I will never forget you, and next spring I will bring you back two beautiful jewels in place of those you have given away. The ruby shall be redder than a red rose, and the sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea.

  ‘In the square below,’ said the Happy Prince, ‘there stands a little match-girl. She has let her matches fall in the gutter, and they are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if she does not bring Home some money, and she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. Pluck out my other eye, and give it to her, and her father will not beat her.

  ‘I will stay with you one night longer,’ said the Swallow,’but I cannot pluck out your eye. You would be quite blind then.’

  ‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘do as I command you.’

  So he plucked out the Prince’s other eye, and darted down with it. He swooped(俯冲) past the match-girl, and slipped the jewel into the palm of her hand. ‘What a lovely bit of glass,’ cried the little girl; and she ran Home, laughing.

  Then the Swallow came back to the Prince. ‘You are blind now,’ he said, ‘so I will stay with you always.’

  ‘No, little Swallow,’ said the poor Prince, ‘you must go away to Egypt.’

  ‘I will stay with you always,’ said the Swallow, and he slept at the Prince’s feet.

  All the next day he sat on the Prince’s shoulder, and told him stories of what he had seen in strange lands. He told him of the red ibises(朱鹭) , who stand in long rows on the banks of the Nile, and catch gold fish in their beaks; of the Sphinx, who is as old as the world itself, and lives in the desert, and knows everything; of the merchants, who walk slowly by the side of their camels, and carry amber beads in their hands; of the King of the Mountains of the Moon, who is as black as ebony, and worships a large crystal; of the great green snake that sleeps in a palm-tree, and has twenty priests to feed it with honey-cakes; and of the pygmies who sail over a big lake on large flat leaves, and are always at war with the butterflies.

  ‘Dear little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘you tell me of marvellous things, but more marvellous than anything is the suffering of men and of women. There is no Mystery so great as Misery. Fly over my city, little Swallow, and tell me what you see there.’

  So the Swallow flew over the great city, and saw the rich making merry in their beautiful houses, while the beggars were sitting at the gates. He flew into dark lanes, and saw the white faces of starving children looking out listlessly at the black streets. Under the archway(拱门) of a bridge two little boys were lying in one another’s arms to try and keep themselves warm. ‘How hungry we are’ they said. ‘You must not lie here,’ shouted the Watchman, and they wandered out into the rain.

  

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