The seven Swabians



Seven Swabians were once together. The first was Master Schulz; the second, Jackli; the third, Marli; the fourth, Jergli; the fifth, Michal; the sixth, Hans; the seventh, Veitli: all seven had made up their minds to travel about the world to seek adventures, and perform great deeds. But in order that they might go in security and with arms in their hands, they thought it would be advisable that they should have one solitary, but very strong, and very long spear made for them. This spear all seven of them took in their hands at once; in front walked the boldest and bravest, and that was Master Schulz; all the others followed in a row, and Veitli was the last. Then it came to pass one day in the hay-making month (July), when they had walked a long distance, and still had a long way to go before they reached the village where they were to pass the night, that as they were in a meadow in the twilight a great beetle or hornet flew by them from behind a bush, and hummed in a menacing manner. Master Schulz was so terrified that he all but dropped the spear, and a cold perspiration broke out over his whole body. "Hark! hark!" cried he to his comrades, "Good heavens! I hear a drum." Jackli, who was behind him holding the spear, and who perceived some kind of a smell, said, "Something is most certainly going on, for I taste powder and matches." At these words Master Schulz began to take to flight, and in a trice jumped over a hedge, but as he just happened to jump on to the teeth of a rake which had been left lying there after the hay-making, the handle of it struck against his face and gave him a tremendous blow. "Oh dear! Oh dear!" screamed Master Schulz. "Take me prisoner; I surrender! I surrender!" The other six all leapt over, one on the top of the other, crying, "If you surrender, I surrender too! If you surrender, I surrender too!" At length, as no enemy was there to bind and take them away, they saw that they had been mistaken, and in order that the story might not be known, and they be treated as fools and ridiculed, they all swore to each other to hold their peace about it until one of them accidentally spoke of it. Then they journeyed onwards. The second danger which they survived cannot be compared with the first. Some days afterwards, their path led them through a fallow-field where a hare was sitting sleeping in the sun. Her ears were standing straight up, and her great glassy eyes were wide open. All of them were alarmed at the sight of the horrible wild beast, and they consulted together as to what it would be the least dangerous to do. For if they were to run away, they knew that the monster would pursue and swallow them whole. So they said, "We must go through a great and dangerous struggle. Boldly ventured, is half won," and all seven grasped the spear, Master Schulz in front, and Veitli behind. Master Schulz was always trying to keep the spear back, but Veitli had become quite brave while behind, and wanted to dash forward and cried,

"Strike home, in every Swabian's name,
Or else I wish ye may be lame."
But Hans knew how to meet this, and said,

"Thunder and lightning, it's fine to prate,
But for dragon-hunting thou'rt aye too late."
Michal cried,

"Nothing is wanting, not even a hair,
Be sure the Devil himself is there."
Then it was Jergli's turn to speak,

"If it be not, it's at least his mother,
Or else it's the Devil's own step-brother."
And now Marli had a bright thought, and said to Veitli,

"Advance, Veitli, advance, advance,
And I behind will hold the lance."
Veitli, however, did not attend to that, and Jackli said,

"Tis Schulz's place the first to be,
No one deserves that honor but he."
Then Master Schulz plucked up his courage, and said, gravely,

"Then let us boldly advance to the fight,
And thus we shall show our valour and might."
Hereupon they all together set on the dragon. Master Schulz crossed himself and prayed for God's assistance, but as all this was of no avail, and he was getting nearer and nearer to the enemy, he screamed "Oho! oho! ho! ho! ho!" in the greatest anguish. This awakened the hare, which in great alarm darted swiftly away. When Master Schulz saw her thus flying from the field of battle, he cried in his joy.

"Quick, Veitli, quick, look there, look there,
The monster's nothing but a hare!"
But the Swabian allies went in search of further adventures, and came to the Moselle, a mossy, quiet, deep river, over which there are few bridges, and which in many places people have to cross in boats. As the seven Swabians did not know this, they called to a man who was working on the opposite side of the river, to know how people contrived to get across. The distance and their way of speaking made the man unable to understand what they wanted, and he said "What? what?" in the way people speak in the neighborhood of Treves. Master Schulz thought he was saying, "Wade, wade through the water," and as he was the first, began to set out and went into the moselle. It was not long before he sank in the mud and the deep waves which drove against him, but his hat was blown on the opposite shore by the wind, and a frog sat down beside it, and croaked "Wat, wat, wat." The other six on the opposite side heard that, and said, "Oho, comrades, Master Schulz is calling us; if he can wade across, why cannot we?" So they all jumped into the water together in a great hurry, and were drowned, and thus one frog took the lives of all six of them, and not one of the Swabian allies ever reached home again.
从前有七个斯瓦比亚人住在一块,他们分别是斯尔茨先生、杰克力、马力、约科力、米绍尔、汉斯和韦特利。 七个人都决心周游世界去猎奇探险,行善济世。 但是为了行路安全,手中须有武器,他们认为最好能造一根又长又结实的矛。 矛造好后七个人马上把那根矛抓在手里,排好了队,排头的是那个最大胆勇猛的斯尔茨先生,其他六个一字排开,紧随其后,韦特利排在最后。 他们走啊走啊,走了好长的路,但距离他们要投宿的村庄还有一大段路,他们只好在干草堆上睡上一宿。 黄昏时在一片草地上,一只大甲虫亦或是大赤蜂从灌木丛后飞来,嗡嗡地发出扰人的声音。 斯尔茨先生吓出了一身冷汗,赶紧放下手中的矛。 "听啊!听啊!"他叫道,"天啊!我听到一阵鼓声。"杰克力紧随其后托着那支矛,鼻子里也闻到了某种气味,"肯定发生了什么事,我闻到了火药和火柴味。"一听这话斯尔茨先生调转头就跑,转眼就跨过了树篱,但当他就要跳过人们晒完草后扔在一边的耙犁时,耙柄撞了一下他的脸,狠狠地砸了他一下。 "唉哟!唉哟!"他大叫起来,"你抓着我了,我投降!我投降!"其他六个也都跌撞过来,一个趴在另一个头上,大呼小叫:"你投降,我也投降!你投降,我也投降!"最后,并没有敌人来把他们捆起来带走,他们意识到自己弄错了,为了不让别人知道这件事,免得别人戏谑嘲笑,他们互相起誓要保守机密,当然此事到很久以后还是有人无意中说出来了。 于是他们又继续往前走。 他们经历的第二道难关比起第一次来差远了。 又过了几天,他们走进了一片荒地,发现一只野兔正缩在那儿晒太阳,它双耳耸立,瞪着对亮晶晶的大眼睛。 七个人看到可怕的野兽都给吓怕了,商量着怎样做才会最安全。 因为他们知道一旦跑开,那只怪兽恐怕就会追上来将他们吃掉。 所以他们说:"我们必须进行一场刺激惊险的搏斗,勇敢向前就是成功的一半。"七个人紧紧地抓着矛,斯尔茨先生总想把矛拿着不动,但排在最后的韦特利却变得极为勇敢,想冲锋向前,口中念念有词:
不然你们就像跛子一样趴下! "
每次战斗你总是落在最后。 "
那家伙简直就是一个鬼。 "
要不就是鬼的过继兄弟。 "
有我在后面抓着矛。 "
要知光荣属于冲在最先的人。 "
以显示我们的勇猛和力量。 "
于是七个人一齐冲向那野兽。 斯尔茨先生双手划着十字,祈求上帝的帮助,但这一切都无济于事,当他离"敌人"越来越近时,他口中惊恐地发出了:"喔!喔!"声并且是声嘶力竭,痛苦万分的声音,叫声惊醒了野兔,它吓了一大跳便迅速逃开了。 斯尔茨先生见她逃离了战场,高兴地大叫:
那恶魔只不过是只野兔。 "
接着七个斯瓦比亚人继续他们的探险,这天他们来到了摩塞莱河。 这是一条布满了青苔,平静而深沉的河流,水面上桥儿不多,有好多地方要乘船过去。 但这七个斯瓦比亚人却对此一概不知。 他们冲着对岸一位正在干活的人猛叫,问他怎样才能过去。 因两岸距离远,别人又听不懂他们的话,那人没懂他们要干什么,于是就用他特武人的土话说:"干啥子?干啥子?"斯尔茨先生以为他在说:"涉水过河。"因为他排在最头,所以第一个踏入了河里。 不久他就陷进泥里站不起来了,河里的浪花不断向他砸来,他的帽子也被风吹到了对岸。 一只青蛙正好蹲在帽子旁,叫着:"呱,呱,呱。"呆在一边的六个人听到叫声,说道:"喔,伙计们,斯尔茨先生在叫咱们,既然他能涉水过河,我们为什么不能?"于是六人一齐跳入了水中,结果全部淹死了。 就这样一只青蛙要了六条人命,那群斯瓦比亚人没有一个活着回家的。

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