ENGLISH

The story of the youth who went forth to learn what fear was

中文

傻小子学害怕


A certain father had two sons, the elder of whom was smart and sensible, and could do everything, but the younger was stupid and could neither learn nor understand anything, and when people saw him they said, "There's a fellow who will give his father some trouble!" When anything had to be done, it was always the elder who was forced to do it; but if his father bade him fetch anything when it was late, or in the night-time, and the way led through the churchyard, or any other dismal place, he answered "Oh, no, father, I'll not go there, it makes me shudder!" for he was afraid. Or when stories were told by the fire at night which made the flesh creep, the listeners sometimes said "Oh, it makes us shudder!" The younger sat in a corner and listened with the rest of them, and could not imagine what they could mean. "They are always saying 'it makes me shudder, it makes me shudder!' It does not make me shudder," thought he. "That, too, must be an art of which I understand nothing."

Now it came to pass that his father said to him one day "Hearken to me, thou fellow in the corner there, thou art growing tall and strong, and thou too must learn something by which thou canst earn thy living. Look how thy brother works, but thou dost not even earn thy salt." - "Well, father," he replied, "I am quite willing to learn something - indeed, if it could but be managed, I should like to learn how to shudder. I don't understand that at all yet." The elder brother smiled when he heard that, and thought to himself, "Good God, what a blockhead that brother of mine is! He will never be good for anything as long as he lives. He who wants to be a sickle must bend himself betimes." The father sighed, and answered him "thou shalt soon learn what it is to shudder, but thou wilt not earn thy bread by that."

Soon after this the sexton came to the house on a visit, and the father bewailed his trouble, and told him how his younger son was so backward in every respect that he knew nothing and learnt nothing. "Just think," said he, "when I asked him how he was going to earn his bread, he actually wanted to learn to shudder." - "If that be all," replied the sexton, "he can learn that with me. Send him to me, and I will soon polish him." The father was glad to do it, for he thought, "It will train the boy a little." The sexton therefore took him into his house, and he had to ring the bell. After a day or two, the sexton awoke him at midnight, and bade him arise and go up into the church tower and ring the bell. "Thou shalt soon learn what shuddering is," thought he, and secretly went there before him; and when the boy was at the top of the tower and turned round, and was just going to take hold of the bell rope, he saw a white figure standing on the stairs opposite the sounding hole. "Who is there?" cried he, but the figure made no reply, and did not move or stir. "Give an answer," cried the boy, "or take thy self off, thou hast no business here at night." The sexton, however, remained standing motionless that the boy might think he was a ghost. The boy cried a second time, "What do you want here? - speak if thou art an honest fellow, or I will throw thee down the steps!" The sexton thought, "he can't intend to be as bad as his words," uttered no sound and stood as if he were made of stone. Then the boy called to him for the third time, and as that was also to no purpose, he ran against him and pushed the ghost down the stairs, so that it fell down ten steps and remained lying there in a corner. Thereupon he rang the bell, went home, and without saying a word went to bed, and fell asleep. The sexton's wife waited a long time for her husband, but he did not come back. At length she became uneasy, and wakened the boy, and asked, "Dost thou not know where my husband is? He climbed up the tower before thou didst." - "No, I don't know," replied the boy, "but some one was standing by the sounding hole on the other side of the steps, and as he would neither give an answer nor go away, I took him for a scoundrel, and threw him downstairs, just go there and you will see if it was he. I should be sorry if it were." The woman ran away and found her husband, who was lying moaning in the corner, and had broken his leg.

She carried him down, and then with loud screams she hastened to the boy's father. "Your boy," cried she, "has been the cause of a great misfortune! He has thrown my husband down the steps and made him break his leg. Take the good-for-nothing fellow away from our house." The father was terrified, and ran thither and scolded the boy. "What wicked tricks are these?" said he, "the devil must have put this into thy head." - "Father," he replied, "do listen to me. I am quite innocent. He was standing there by night like one who is intending to do some evil. I did not know who it was, and I entreated him three times either to speak or to go away." - "Ah," said the father, "I have nothing but unhappiness with you. Go out of my sight. I will see thee no more." - "Yes, father, right willingly, wait only until it is day. Then will I go forth and learn how to shudder, and then I shall, at any rate, understand one art which will support me." - "Learn what thou wilt," spake the father, "it is all the same to me. Here are fifty thalers for thee. Take these and go into the wide world, and tell no one from whence thou comest, and who is thy father, for I have reason to be ashamed of thee." - "Yes, father, it shall be as you will. If you desire nothing more than that, I can easily keep it in mind."

When day dawned, therefore, the boy put his fifty thalers into his pocket, and went forth on the great highway, and continually said to himself, "If I could but shudder! If I could but shudder!" Then a man approached who heard this conversation which the youth was holding with himself, and when they had walked a little farther to where they could see the gallows, the man said to him, "Look, there is the tree where seven men have married the ropemaker's daughter, and are now learning how to fly. Sit down below it, and wait till night comes, and you will soon learn how to shudder." - "If that is all that is wanted," answered the youth, "it is easily done; but if I learn how to shudder as fast as that, thou shalt have my fifty thalers. Just come back to me early in the morning." Then the youth went to the gallows, sat down below it, and waited till evening came. And as he was cold, he lighted himself a fire, but at midnight the wind blew so sharply that in spite of his fire, he could not get warm. And as the wind knocked the hanged men against each other, and they moved backwards and forwards, he thought to himself "Thou shiverest below by the fire, but how those up above must freeze and suffer!" And as he felt pity for them, he raised the ladder, and climbed up, unbound one of them after the other, and brought down all seven. Then he stirred the fire, blew it, and set them all round it to warm themselves. But they sat there and did not stir, and the fire caught their clothes. So he said, "Take care, or I will hang you up again." The dead men, however, did not hear, but were quite silent, and let their rags go on burning. On this he grew angry, and said, "If you will not take care, I cannot help you, I will not be burnt with you," and he hung them up again each in his turn. Then he sat down by his fire and fell asleep, and the next morning the man came to him and wanted to have the fifty thalers, and said, "Well, dost thou know how to shudder?" - "No," answered he, "how was I to get to know? Those fellows up there did not open their mouths, and were so stupid that they let the few old rags which they had on their bodies get burnt." Then the man saw that he would not get the fifty thalers that day, and went away saying, "One of this kind has never come my way before."

The youth likewise went his way, and once more began to mutter to himself, "Ah, if I could but shudder! Ah, if I could but shudder!" A waggoner who was striding behind him heard that and asked, "Who are you?" - "I don't know," answered the youth. Then the waggoner asked, "From whence comest thou?" - "I know not." - "Who is thy father?" - "That I may not tell thee." - "What is it that thou art always muttering between thy teeth." - "Ah," replied the youth, "I do so wish I could shudder, but no one can teach me how to do it." - "Give up thy foolish chatter," said the waggoner. "Come, go with me, I will see about a place for thee." The youth went with the waggoner, and in the evening they arrived at an inn where they wished to pass the night. Then at the entrance of the room the youth again said quite loudly, "If I could but shudder! If I could but shudder!" The host who heard this, laughed and said, "If that is your desire, there ought to be a good opportunity for you here." - "Ah, be silent," said the hostess, "so many inquisitive persons have already lost their lives, it would be a pity and a shame if such beautiful eyes as these should never see the daylight again." But the youth said, "However difficult it may be, I will learn it and for this purpose indeed have I journeyed forth." He let the host have no rest, until the latter told him, that not far from thence stood a haunted castle where any one could very easily learn what shuddering was, if he would but watch in it for three nights. The King had promised that he who would venture should have his daughter to wife, and she was the most beautiful maiden the sun shone on. Great treasures likewise lay in the castle, which were guarded by evil spirits, and these treasures would then be freed, and would make a poor man rich enough. Already many men had gone into the castle, but as yet none had come out again. Then the youth went next morning to the King and said if he were allowed he would watch three nights in the haunted castle. The King looked at him, and as the youth pleased him, he said, "Thou mayest ask for three things to take into the castle with thee, but they must be things without life." Then he answered, "Then I ask for a fire, a turning lathe, and a cutting-board with the knife."

The King had these things carried into the castle for him during the day. When night was drawing near, the youth went up and made himself a bright fire in one of the rooms, placed the cutting-board and knife beside it, and seated himself by the turning-lathe. "Ah, if I could but shudder!" said he, "but I shall not learn it here either." Towards midnight he was about to poke his fire, and as he was blowing it, something cried suddenly from one corner, "Au, miau! how cold we are!" - "You simpletons!" cried he, "what are you crying about? If you are cold, come and take a seat by the fire and warm yourselves." And when he had said that, two great black cats came with one tremendous leap and sat down on each side of him, and looked savagely at him with their fiery eyes. After a short time, when they had warmed themselves, they said, "Comrade, shall we have a game at cards?" - "Why not?" he replied, "but just show me your paws." Then they stretched out their claws. "Oh," said he, "what long nails you have! Wait, I must first cut them for you." Thereupon he seized them by the throats, put them on the cutting-board and screwed their feet fast. "I have looked at your fingers," said he, "and my fancy for card-playing has gone," and he struck them dead and threw them out into the water. But when he had made away with these two, and was about to sit down again by his fire, out from every hole and corner came black cats and black dogs with red-hot chains, and more and more of them came until he could no longer stir, and they yelled horribly, and got on his fire, pulled it to pieces, and tried to put it out. He watched them for a while quietly, but at last when they were going too far, he seized his cutting-knife, and cried, "Away with ye, vermin," and began to cut them down. Part of them ran away, the others he killed, and threw out into the fish-pond. When he came back he fanned the embers of his fire again and warmed himself. And as he thus sat, his eyes would keep open no longer, and he felt a desire to sleep. Then he looked round and saw a great bed in the corner. "That is the very thing for me," said he, and got into it. When he was just going to shut his eyes, however, the bed began to move of its own accord, and went over the whole of the castle. "That's right," said he, "but go faster." Then the bed rolled on as if six horses were harnessed to it, up and down, over thresholds and steps, but suddenly hop, hop, it turned over upside down, and lay on him like a mountain.

But he threw quilts and pillows up in the air, got out and said, "Now any one who likes, may drive," and lay down by his fire, and slept till it was day. In the morning the King came, and when he saw him lying there on the ground, he thought the evil spirits had killed him and he was dead. Then said he, "After all it is a pity, he is a handsome man." The youth heard it, got up, and said, "It has not come to that yet." Then the King was astonished, but very glad, and asked how he had fared. "Very well indeed," answered he; "one night is past, the two others will get over likewise." Then he went to the innkeeper, who opened his eyes very wide, and said, "I never expected to see thee alive again! Hast thou learnt how to shudder yet?" - "No," said he, "it is all in vain. If some one would but tell me."

The second night he again went up into the old castle, sat down by the fire, and once more began his old song, "If I could but shudder." When midnight came, an uproar and noise of tumbling about was heard; at first it was low, but it grew louder and louder. Then it was quiet for awhile, and at length with a loud scream, half a man came down the chimney and fell before him. "Hollo!" cried he, "another half belongs to this. This is too little!" Then the uproar began again, there was a roaring and howling, and the other half fell down likewise. "Wait," said he, "I will just blow up the fire a little for thee." When he had done that and looked round again, the two pieces were joined together, and a frightful man was sitting in his place. "That is no part of our bargain," said the youth, "the bench is mine." The man wanted to push him away; the youth, however, would not allow that, but thrust him off with all his strength, and seated himself again in his own place. Then still more men fell down, one after the other; they brought nine dead men's legs and two skulls, and set them up and played at nine-pins with them. The youth also wanted to play and said "Hark you, can I join you?" - "Yes, if thou hast any money." - "Money enough," replied he, "but your balls are not quite round." Then he took the skulls and put them in the lathe and turned them till they were round. "There, now, they will roll better!" said he. "Hurrah! Now it goes merrily!" He played with them and lost some of his money, but when it struck twelve, everything vanished from his sight. He lay down and quietly fell asleep. Next morning the King came to inquire after him. "How has it fared with you this time?" asked he. "I have been playing at nine-pins," he answered, "and have lost a couple of farthings." - "Hast thou not shuddered then?" - "Eh, what?" said he, "I have made merry. If I did but know what it was to shudder!"

The third night he sat down again on his bench and said quite sadly, "If I could but shudder." When it grew late, six tall men came in and brought a coffin. Then said he, "Ha, ha, that is certainly my little cousin, who died only a few days ago," and he beckoned with his finger, and cried "Come, little cousin, come." They placed the coffin on the ground, but he went to it and took the lid off, and a dead man lay therein. He felt his face, but it was cold as ice. "Stop," said he, "I will warm thee a little," and went to the fire and warmed his hand and laid it on the dead man's face, but he remained cold. Then he took him out, and sat down by the fire and laid him on his breast and rubbed his arms that the blood might circulate again. As this also did no good, he thought to himself "When two people lie in bed together, they warm each other," and carried him to the bed, covered him over and lay down by him. After a short time the dead man became warm too, and began to move. Then said the youth, "See, little cousin, have I not warmed thee?" The dead man, however, got up and cried, "Now will I strangle thee." - "What!" said he, "is that the way thou thankest me? Thou shalt at once go into thy coffin again," and he took him up, threw him into it, and shut the lid. Then came the six men and carried him away again. "I cannot manage to shudder," said he. "I shall never learn it here as long as I live."

Then a man entered who was taller than all others, and looked terrible. He was old, however, and had a long white beard. "Thou wretch," cried he, "thou shalt soon learn what it is to shudder, for thou shalt die." - "Not so fast," replied the youth. "If I am to die, I shall have to have a say in it." - "I will soon seize thee," said the fiend. "Softly, softly, do not talk so big. I am as strong as thou art, and perhaps even stronger." - "We shall see," said the old man. "If thou art stronger, I will let thee go - come, we will try." Then he led him by dark passages to a smith's forge, took an axe, and with one blow struck an anvil into the ground. "I can do better than that," said the youth, and went to the other anvil. The old man placed himself near and wanted to look on, and his white beard hung down. Then the youth seized the axe, split the anvil with one blow, and struck the old man's beard in with it. "Now I have thee," said the youth. "Now it is thou who will have to die." Then he seized an iron bar and beat the old man till he moaned and entreated him to stop, and he would give him great riches. The youth drew out the axe and let him go. The old man led him back into the castle, and in a cellar showed him three chests full of gold. "Of these," said he, "one part is for the poor, the other for the king, the third is thine." In the meantime it struck twelve, and the spirit disappeared; the youth, therefore, was left in darkness. "I shall still be able to find my way out," said he, and felt about, found the way into the room, and slept there by his fire. Next morning the King came and said "Now thou must have learnt what shuddering is?" - "No," he answered; "what can it be? My dead cousin was here, and a bearded man came and showed me a great deal of money down below, but no one told me what it was to shudder." - "Then," said the King, "thou hast delivered the castle, and shalt marry my daughter." - "That is all very well," said he, "but still I do not know what it is to shudder."

Then the gold was brought up and the wedding celebrated; but howsoever much the young king loved his wife, and however happy he was, he still said always "If I could but shudder - if I could but shudder." And at last she was angry at this. Her waiting-maid said, "I will find a cure for him; he shall soon learn what it is to shudder." She went out to the stream which flowed through the garden, and had a whole bucketful of gudgeons brought to her. At night when the young king was sleeping, his wife was to draw the clothes off him and empty the bucketful of cold water with the gudgeons in it over him, so that the little fishes would sprawl about him. When this was done, he woke up and cried "Oh, what makes me shudder so? What makes me shudder so, dear wife? Ah! now I know what it is to shudder!"
有位父亲,膝下有两个儿子。 大儿子聪明伶俐,遇事都能应付自如;小儿子呢,却呆头呆脑,啥也不懂,还啥也不学,人们看见他时都异口同声地说:"他父亲为他得操多少心哪!"
遇到有什么事儿要办的时候,总得大儿子出面去办;不过,要是天晚了,或者深更半夜的时候,父亲还要他去取什么东西的话,而且要路过墓地,或者其它令人毛骨悚然的地方,他就会回答说:"啊,爸爸,我可不去,我害怕!"他是真的害怕。
晚上,一家人围坐在火炉旁讲故事,讲到令人毛发悚立的时候,听故事的人里就会有人说:"真可怕呀!"小儿子在这种时候,总是一个人坐在屋角里听他们说话,却怎么也不明白他们说的是什么意思,于是他常常大声地说:"他们都说,'我害怕!我害怕!'可我从来不害怕。我想这一定是一种本领,是一种我完全弄不懂的本领。"
有一天,父亲对他说:"你就呆在角落里,给我听好了。你已经是一个强壮的小伙子了,也该学点养活自己的本事了。你看你哥哥,多么勤奋好学;你再看看你自己 ,好话都当成了耳边风。 "
"爸爸,你说的没错,"小儿子回答说,"我非常愿意学点本事。要是办得到的话,我很想学会害怕,我还一点儿也不会害怕呢。"
哥哥听了这话,哈哈大笑起来,心想,"我的天哪,我弟弟可真是个傻瓜蛋;他一辈子都没什么指望了。三岁看小,七岁看老嘛。"父亲叹了一口气,对小儿子回答说:"我保证,你早晚能学会害怕;不过,靠害怕是养活不了自己的。"
过了不多日子,教堂的执事到他们家来作客,于是父亲向他诉说了自己的心事,抱怨他的小儿子简直傻透了,啥也不会 ,还啥也不学。 他对执事说:"您想一想,我问他将来打算靠什么来养活自己,他却说要学会害怕。"
执事听了回答说:"如果他想的只是这个的话,那他很快能学会的。让他跟我走好啦,我替你整治他。"
父亲满口答应,心想,"不论怎么说,这小子这回该长进一点啦。"于是,执事就把小儿子带回了家,叫他在教堂敲钟。
几天后的一个深夜,执事把小儿子叫醒,要他起床后到教堂钟楼上去敲钟。 "这回我要教教你什么是害怕。"执事心里想着,随后悄悄地先上了钟楼。 小儿子来到钟楼,转身去抓敲钟的绳子的时候 ,却发现一个白色的人影儿,正对着窗口站在楼梯上。
"那是谁呀?"他大声地问,可是那个影子却不回答,一动不动地站在那儿。
"回话呀!"小伙子扯着嗓子吼道,"要不就给我滚开!深更半夜的你来干啥!"
可是执事呢,仍然一动不动地站在那儿,想叫小伙子以为他是个鬼怪。
小伙子又一次大声吼道:"你想在这儿干啥?说呀,你实话实说,不说我就把你扔到楼下去。"
执事心想:"他不会那么做",因此他依然一声不响,一动不动地站在那儿,就像泥塑木雕的一般。
接着小伙子第三次冲他吼叫,可还是没有一点儿用,于是小伙子猛扑过去,一把将鬼怪推下了楼梯。 鬼怪在楼梯上翻滚了十多级,才躺在墙角不动了。 接着小伙子去敲钟,敲完钟回到了他自己的房间后,一言未发,倒头便睡。
执事的太太左等右等却不见丈夫回来,后来她感到很担忧,就叫醒了小伙子,问他:"你知不知道我丈夫在哪儿?他在你之前上的钟楼。"
"不知道,"小伙子回答说,"不过,有个人当时对着窗口站在楼梯上。我朝他大吼大叫,他不答话,也不走开,我想那一定是个坏蛋,就一下子把他从楼梯上推了下去。您去看看,就知道是不是您丈夫了。要是的话,我非常抱歉。"
执事的太太急匆匆跑了出去,发现她丈夫正躺在墙角,一边呻吟一边叹息,因为他的一条腿给摔断了。
执事的太太把他背回了家,随后跑去见小伙子的父亲,对着他大喊大叫:"你的那个小子闯下了大祸。他把我丈夫从钟楼的楼梯上一把给推了下来,腿都摔断了。把这个废物从我们家领走吧。"
一听这些,父亲惊慌失措,风风火火地跑到执事家,对着儿子破口大骂:"你一定是着了魔,竟干出这等混账事来!"
"爸爸,"小伙子申辩说,"一点儿都不怪我呀。您听我说:他深更半夜的站在那里,好像是来干坏事的。我哪里知道那是谁呀!我一连三次大声地告诉他,要么答腔儿,要么走开。"
"唉!"父亲说道,"你只会给我召灾惹祸。你给我走得远远的,别让我再见到你。"
"好吧,爸爸,"小伙子回答说,"可得等到天亮才成。天一亮,我就去学害怕。起码我要学会养活自己的本事。"
"你想学啥就去学吧,"父亲说道,"反正对我都是一回事。给你五十个银币,拿着闯荡世界去吧。记着,跟谁也别说你是从哪儿出去的,你父亲是谁。有你这样一个儿子我脸都丢光了。"
"那好吧,爸爸,我就照您说的去做好啦。"小伙子回答说,"如果您不再提别的要求的话,这事太容易办到啦。"
天亮了,小伙子把那五十个银币装进衣袋里,从家中走出来,上了大路。 他一边走,一边不停地自言自语:"我要是会害怕该多好啊!我要是会害怕该多好啊!"
过了不久,有一个人从后面赶了上来,听见了小伙子自言自语时所说的话。 他们一块儿走了一段路程,来到了一个看得见绞架的地方,这个人对小伙子说:"你瞧!那边有棵树,树上一共吊着七个强盗。你坐在树下,等到天黑了,你准能学会害怕。"
"如果只要我做这个的话,那太容易啦。"小伙子回答说,"要是我真的这么快就学会了害怕,我这五十个银币就归你啦。明天早晨你再来一趟。"
小伙子说完就朝绞架走去,然后坐在绞架的下面,等着夜幕的降临。 他坐在那里感到很冷,于是就生起了一堆火。 可是夜半风起,寒冷难耐,他虽然烤着火,还是感到很冷。 寒风吹得吊着的死尸荡来荡去,相互碰撞。 他心想,"我坐在火堆旁还感到挺冷的,那几个可怜的家伙吊在那里,该多冷呀。"小伙子的心肠可真好:他搭起梯子,然后爬上去,解开了这些被绞死的强盗身上的绳索,再一个接一个地把他们放下来。 接着他把火拨旺,吹了又吹,使火堆熊熊燃烧起来。 然后他把他们抱过来,围着火堆坐了一圈,让他们暖暖身子。 可是这些家伙坐在那里纹丝不动,甚至火烧着了他们的衣服,他们还是一动也不动。 于是小伙子对他们说:"你们在干什么?小心点啊!要不我就把你们再吊上去。"可是这些被绞死的强盗根本听不见他的话,他们仍然一声不吭,让自己的破衣烂衫被火烧着。
小伙子这下子可真生气了,于是就说:"你们一点儿都不小心,我可帮不了你们啦,我才不愿意和你们一起让火烧死呢。"说完,他又把他们一个接一个地全都吊了上去。 然后,他在火堆旁坐了下来,不一会儿就睡着了。
第二天清早,那个人来到小伙子面前,想得到他的五十个银币。 他对小伙子说:"喂,我想你现在知道什么是害怕了吧?"
"不知道哇,"小伙子回答说,"我怎样才能知道呢?上边吊着的那些可怜的家伙,怎么都不开口,个个是傻瓜,身上就穿那么点儿破破烂烂的衣服,烧着了还不在乎。"
听了这话,那个人心里就明白了,他是怎么也赢不到小伙子的五十个银币了,于是,他就走了,走的时候说道:"我活这么大岁数还从来没有见到过这样的人呢。"
小伙子又上了路,路上又开始嘀嘀咕咕地自言自语:"我要是会害怕该多好啊!我要是会害怕该多好啊!"
一个从后面赶上来的车夫听见了小伙子的话,就问道:
"你是谁呀?"
"我不知道。"小伙子答道。
车夫接着问道:"你打哪儿来呀?"
"我不知道。"
"你父亲是谁?"
"这我可不能告诉你。"
"你一个劲儿地在嘀咕些啥呢?"
"咳,"小伙子回答说,"我想学会害怕,可没谁能教会我。"
"别说蠢话啦,"车夫说道,"跟我走吧。我先给你找个住的地方。"
小伙子跟着车夫上了路,傍晚时分他们来到了一家小旅店,打定主意要在这儿过夜。 他们进屋时,小伙子又高声大嗓门地说了起来:"我要是会害怕该多好啊!我要是会害怕该多好啊!"
店主无意中听到了这话,就大声地笑了起来,然后说:
"你要是想这个的话,这里倒是有一个好机会呀。"
"别再说了,"店主的太太说道,"有多少冒失鬼都在那里送了命啊。要是这个小伙子的那双漂亮的眼睛,再也见不到阳光了,那多可惜呀。"
听了店主太太的这番话,小伙子却说:"我一定要学会,不管多么艰难,我都不在乎。正是为了这个我才从家里出来闯荡的。"小伙子死缠着店主不放,店主只好告诉他:离小旅店不远,有一座魔宫,谁要想知道害怕是怎么一回事,只要在那里呆三个夜晚就行了。 国王已经许下诺言,谁愿意到魔宫里一试身手,就把公主许配给谁。 那位公主啊,是天底下最最美丽的少女呢。 在魔宫里,藏着大量的金银财宝,由一群恶魔把守着。 谁要是能得到这些金银财宝,就是一个穷光蛋也会成为大富翁的。 不少人冒险进到魔宫里去,可是都是有去无还。
第二天早晨,小伙子去见国王,他对国王说:"如果能得到您的允许,我很高兴到魔宫里去守夜三天。"
国王对小伙子上下打量了一番,觉得他挺不错的,就回答说:"你可以去,你还可以要三样东西带到魔宫里去,但必须是无生命的东西。"
"那么,"小伙子回答说,"我就要一把火、一个木匠工作台,还要一台带刀的车床。"
国王吩咐把小伙子所要的东西在白天搬深到魔宫里去。 黄昏时分,小伙子走进魔宫,在一个房间里生起了一堆熊熊燃烧的大火,把木匠工作台和车刀放在火堆旁边,自己则靠着车床坐下。 "我要是会害怕该多好啊!"他说道,"没准在这儿我还是学不会害怕。"
快到半夜的时候,小伙子打算往火堆里添柴,好让火烧得旺些。 正当他使劲儿吹火的时候,突然听到从房间的一个角落里传来的叫声:"喵儿,喵儿,我们好冷啊!"
"你们这帮笨蛋,"小伙子说道,"喵喵地叫喊个啥?要是真冷,就坐过来烤烤火。"
他话音刚落,就一下子跳过来两只大黑猫,在他身旁坐下,一边坐一只,瞪大眼睛恶狠狠地盯着他。 过了一会儿,两只黑猫烤暖和了,就对小伙子说:"伙计,咱们一起打牌怎么样?"
"那敢情好,"小伙子回答说,"不过呀,得先让我看看你们的爪子。"两只黑猫果真把爪子伸了过来。
"哎呀呀,你们的指甲好长啊!"小伙子大声说道,"等一下,我来给你们剪一剪吧。"
小伙子说着就掐住它们的脖子,把它们放在木匠工作台上,牢牢地夹住它们的爪子。 然后他说:"我已经看过你们的爪子了,我不喜欢和你们打牌。"说完,他把两只黑猫给打死了,扔到了外面的水池里。
可是,他刚刚收拾了这两只黑猫,准备回到火边坐下的时候,从房间的各个角落、各个洞穴又钻出成群的黑猫和黑狗,还拖着烧得火红的链子,而且越来越多,多得连小伙子藏身的地方都没有了。 这些黑猫黑狗尖叫着,声音非常吓人,接着它们在火堆上踩来踩去,把火堆上燃烧的柴火拖得到处都是,想将火弄灭。 起先,小伙子一声不吭地忍受着它们的恶作剧,可等到它们闹得太不像话了,他一把抓起车刀来,大声喝道:"都给我滚开,你们这帮流氓!"说着他就开始左劈右砍。 有的猫狗逃之夭夭,没逃掉的就被他砍死了,扔进了外面的水池里。
他回屋后,把余烬吹了又吹,使火重新熊熊燃烧起来,然后坐在火边暖和暖和身子。 他这样做着坐着,眼睛渐渐地就睁不开了,他很想睡上一觉。 他环顾四周,发现角落里有一张大床。 "这正是我需要的东西。"他说道,然后就躺了上去。 谁知他刚要合眼,大床却开始移动,接着在魔宫中到处滚动。
"接着滚,挺好的,"小伙子喊叫着说,"想滚多快都行啊。"话音刚落,大床就像有六匹马拉着似的,上下翻腾,飞也似的向前滚动,越过一道道门槛,翻越一段段楼梯。 忽然间,轰隆一声巨响,大床翻了个个儿,来了一个底朝天,像一座大山一样压在了小伙子的身上。 可小伙子把床垫枕头什么的猛地一掀,就钻了出来,然后说道:"现在谁想乘坐,就请便吧。"
说完他便躺在火堆旁,一觉睡到大天亮。
第二天早上,国王驾到。 国王看见小伙子躺在地上,以为他丧生于鬼怪,确实死了,国王于是长吁短叹,说道:"多可惜啊!多帅的小伙子啊!"
小伙子听到这话,一跃而起,说道:"还没到这份儿上!"
国王见此情景又惊又喜,问他情况如何。
"很好,"小伙子回答说,"已经过去了一夜,另外两夜也会过去的。"
小伙子回到旅店,店主惊得目瞪口呆。 他对小伙子说:
"我以为再也见不到你了。你学会害怕了吗?"
"还没有呢,"小伙子回答说,"完全是白费力气。要是有谁能教我学会害怕就好啦!"
第二天晚上,小伙子又走进古老的魔宫。 他在火堆旁坐下来之后,又开始老调重弹:"我要是会害怕该多好啊!"
时近午夜,小伙子听见一片嘈杂声,由远及近,越来越响,随后又安静了一小会儿,接着顺着烟囱跌跌撞撞下来一个半截人,一步跨到小伙子的面前。 "喂,"小伙子说,"还得有半截才行,这成什么样子!"
说完,嘈杂声又响了起来。 随着一阵喧嚣,另半截身子也摇摇晃晃地落了下来。 "等一等,"小伙子说,"我把火吹旺一点。"
当小伙子把火吹旺了,转过头来时,那两个半截身子已经合在了一起,变成了一个面目狰狞可怕的家伙,正端坐在小伙子的座位上。
"我可没这个意思,"小伙子大声地嚷嚷说,"那座位是我的。"
那个家伙想把小伙子推开,可小伙子怎么会答应呢,一用劲儿把那家伙推开,重又坐在自己的座位上。 随后,越来越多这样的家伙从烟囱落到地面,他们随身带着九根大骨头和两个骷髅,把骨头立在地上就玩起了撞柱游戏。 小伙子一见心里痒痒的,也想玩这种游戏,于是就问他们:"喂,算我一个好吗?"
"好哇,"他们回答说,"有钱就来玩。"
"钱我有的是,"小伙子回答说,"不过你们的球不太圆。"
说完他就抓起骷髅,放在车床上把骷髅车圆了。
"圆啦,"小伙子喊叫着说,"这回就滚得更顺溜啦。我们会玩得很痛快!"
小伙子和他们一块儿玩了起来,结果输了一些钱。 说也奇怪,午夜十二点的钟声响起时,眼前的一切消失得无影无踪。 于是小伙子默默地躺下睡觉。
第三天晚上,小伙子又坐在工作台上,心情烦躁地叨咕:
"我要是会害怕该多好啊!"
话音刚落,突然走进来一个高大的男人,个头比小伙子见过的任何人都高,样子特别可怕。 他已上了年纪,留着长长的白胡子。
"嘿,淘气鬼!"他吼叫道,"你马上就学会害怕啦!你死到临头啦!""没那么容易吧,"小伙子回答说,"要我死,先得我答应。"
"我这就宰了你。"这个恶魔咆哮道。
"忙什么,忙什么,"小伙子对他说,"别尽吹牛皮。我觉得我和你的劲一样大,或许比你的劲还要大。"
"那咱们较量较量。"老头儿大叫道,"要是你比我劲大,我就放你走。过来,咱们比试比试吧。"
他领着小伙子穿过黑乎乎的通道,来到一座铁匠炉前。 老头儿举起一把斧头,猛地一下,就把一个铁砧砸进了地里。
"我会干得比这更漂亮。"小伙子一边说着一边朝另一个铁砧走过去。 老头儿站在一旁观看,白花花的胡子垂在胸前。 小伙子一把抓起斧头,一斧就把铁砧劈成两半,还把老头儿的胡子紧紧地楔了进去。
"这下我可逮住你啦,"小伙子大叫道,"是你死到临头啦!"
说着小伙子顺手抓起一根铁棍,对着老家伙就乱打起来,打得他鬼哭狼嚎,央求小伙子住手,并告诉小伙子说,如果他住手,他会得到一大笔财富。 于是小伙子将斧头拔了出来,放开了老家伙的长胡子。
老头儿领着小伙子回到魔宫,给他看了三只大箱子,箱子里装满了黄金。 "一箱给穷人,"他说道,"一箱给国王,另一箱就是你的了。"
正说着话的当儿,午夜十二点的钟声敲响了,这个老妖怪一下子就无影无踪了,只剩下小伙子一个人站在黑夜之中。
"我自己能离开这个地方。"小伙子说道,说完就开始在四周摸索,终于找到了回房间的路。 回到房间后,他就在火堆旁睡着了。
次日早上,国王再次驾到,问小伙子:"我想这回你终于学会害怕了吧?"
"没有,真的没有,"小伙子回答说,"害怕到底是怎么回事呢?来了一个白胡子老头儿,让我看了好多金子,可他并没告诉我害怕是怎么回事啊!"
"好吧,"国王对小伙子说,"既然你解除了宫殿的魔法,你就娶我的女儿为妻吧。"
"那可真是太好啦。"小伙子回答说,"可我现在还是不明白害怕到底是怎么回事啊!"
黄金被取出来后,就举行了婚礼。 小伙子非常爱他的妻子,感到生活无比幸福,可是他仍然不停地唠叨:"我要是会害怕该多好啊!我要是会害怕该多好啊!"对此他年轻的妻子终于恼火了,于是她的贴身丫环对她说,"我来想个办法,准叫他学会害怕。"
说罢她来到流经花园的小溪边,让人把满满一桶虾虎鱼放到屋里,然后告诉她的女主人,等到她丈夫夜里熟睡时,把被子掀开,再把桶里的鱼和水一古脑倒在他身上,这样一来,虾虎鱼就会在他全身乱蹦乱跳。
果然小伙子一下子就惊醒了,大喊大叫:"我害怕!哎呀,哎呀!到底是什么使我害怕的呀?亲爱的,这下我可知道害怕是怎么回事啦!"




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