The glass coffin



Let no one ever say that a poor tailor cannot do great things and win high honors; all that is needed is that he should go to the right smithy, and what is of most consequence, that he should have good luck. A civil, adroit tailor's apprentice once went out travelling, and came into a great forest, and, as he did not know the way, he lost himself. Night fell, and nothing was left for him to do, but to seek a bed in this painful solitude. He might certainly have found a good bed on the soft moss, but the fear of wild beasts let him have no rest there, and at last he was forced to make up his mind to spend the night in a tree. He sought out a high oak, climbed up to the top of it, and thanked God that he had his goose with him, for otherwise the wind which blew over the top of the tree would have carried him away.
After he had spent some hours in the darkness, not without fear and trembling, he saw at a very short distance the glimmer of a light, and as he thought that a human habitation might be there, where he would be better off than on the branches of a tree, he got carefully down and went towards the light. It guided him to a small hut that was woven together of reeds and rushes. He knocked boldly, the door opened, and by the light which came forth he saw a little hoary old man who wore a coat made of bits of colored stuff sewn together. "Who are you, and what do you want?" asked the man in a grumbling voice. "I am a poor tailor," he answered, "whom night has surprised here in the wilderness, and I earnestly beg you to take me into your hut until morning." - "Go your way," replied the old man in a surly voice, "I will have nothing to do with runagates; seek for yourself a shelter elsewhere." After these words he was about to slip into his hut again, but the tailor held him so tightly by the corner of his coat, and pleaded so piteously, that the old man, who was not so ill-natured as he wished to appear, was at last softened, and took him into the hut with him where he gave him something to eat, and then pointed out to him a very good bed in a corner.

The weary tailor needed no rocking; but slept sweetly till morning, but even then would not have thought of getting up, if he had not been aroused by a great noise. A violent sound of screaming and roaring forced its way through the thin walls of the hut. The tailor, full of unwonted courage, jumped up, put his clothes on in haste, and hurried out. Then close by the hut, he saw a great black bull and a beautiful stag, which were just preparing for a violent struggle. They rushed at each other with such extreme rage that the ground shook with their trampling, and the air resounded with their cries. For a long time it was uncertain which of the two would gain the victory; at length the stag thrust his horns into his adversary's body, whereupon the bull fell to the earth with a terrific roar, and was thoroughly despatched by a few strokes from the stag.

The tailor, who had watched the fight with astonishment, was still standing there motionless, when the stag in full career bounded up to him, and before he could escape, caught him up on his great horns. He had not much time to collect his thoughts, for it went in a swift race over stock and stone, mountain and valley, wood and meadow. He held with both hands to the tops of the horns, and resigned himself to his fate. It seemed, however, to him just as if he were flying away. At length the stag stopped in front of a wall of rock, and gently let the tailor down. The tailor, more dead than alive, required a longer time than that to come to himself. When he had in some degree recovered, the stag, which had remained standing by him, pushed its horns with such force against a door which was in the rock, that it sprang open. Flames of fire shot forth, after which followed a great smoke, which hid the stag from his sight. The tailor did not know what to do, or whither to turn, in order to get out of this desert and back to human beings again. Whilst he was standing thus undecided, a voice sounded out of the rock, which cried to him, "Enter without fear, no evil shall befall you thee." He hesitated, but driven by a mysterious force, he obeyed the voice and went through the iron-door into a large spacious hall, whose ceiling, walls and floor were made of shining polished square stones, on each of which were cut letters which were unknown to him. He looked at everything full of admiration, and was on the point of going out again, when he once more heard the voice which said to him, "Step on the stone which lies in the middle of the hall, and great good fortune awaits thee."

His courage had already grown so great that he obeyed the order. The stone began to give way under his feet, and sank slowly down into the depths. When it was once more firm, and the tailor looked round, he found himself in a hall which in size resembled the former. Here, however, there was more to look at and to admire. Hollow places were cut in the walls, in which stood vases of transparent glass which were filled with colored spirit or with a bluish vapour. On the floor of the hall two great glass chests stood opposite to each other, which at once excited his curiosity. When he went to one of them he saw inside it a handsome structure like a castle surrounded by farm-buildings, stables and barns, and a quantity of other good things. Everything was small, but exceedingly carefully and delicately made, and seemed to be cut out by a dexterous hand with the greatest exactitude.

He might not have turned away his eyes from the consideration of this rarity for some time, if the voice had not once more made itself heard. It ordered him to turn round and look at the glass chest which was standing opposite. How his admiration increased when he saw therein a maiden of the greatest beauty! She lay as if asleep, and was wrapped in her long fair hair as in a precious mantle. Her eyes were closely shut, but the brightness of her complexion and a ribbon which her breathing moved to and fro, left no doubt that she was alive. The tailor was looking at the beauty with beating heart, when she suddenly opened her eyes, and started up at the sight of him in joyful terror. "Just Heaven!" cried she, "my deliverance is at hand! Quick, quick, help me out of my prison; if thou pushest back the bolt of this glass coffin, then I shall be free." The tailor obeyed without delay, and she immediately raised up the glass lid, came out and hastened into the corner of the hall, where she covered herself with a large cloak. Then she seated herself on a stone, ordered the young man to come to her, and after she had imprinted a friendly kiss on his lips, she said, "My long-desired deliverer, kind Heaven has guided thee to me, and put an end to my sorrows. On the self- same day when they end, shall thy happiness begin. Thou art the husband chosen for me by Heaven, and shalt pass thy life in unbroken joy, loved by me, and rich to overflowing in every earthly possession. Seat thyself, and listen to the story of my life:

"I am the daughter of a rich count. My parents died when I was still in my tender youth, and recommended me in their last will to my elder brother, by whom I was brought up. We loved each other so tenderly, and were so alike in our way of thinking and our inclinations, that we both embraced the resolution never to marry, but to stay together to the end of our lives. In our house there was no lack of company; neighbors and friends visited us often, and we showed the greatest hospitality to every one. So it came to pass one evening that a stranger came riding to our castle, and, under pretext of not being able to get on to the next place, begged for shelter for the night. We granted his request with ready courtesy, and he entertained us in the most agreeable manner during supper by conversation intermingled with stories. My brother liked the stranger so much that he begged him to spend a couple of days with us, to which, after some hesitation, he consented. We did not rise from table until late in the night, the stranger was shown to room, and I hastened, as I was tired, to lay my limbs in my soft bed. Hardly had I slept for a short time, when the sound of faint and delightful music awoke me. As I could not conceive from whence it came, I wanted to summon my waiting-maid who slept in the next room, but to my astonishment I found that speech was taken away from me by an unknown force. I felt as if a mountain were weighing down my breast, and was unable to make the very slightest sound. In the meantime, by the light of my night-lamp, I saw the stranger enter my room through two doors which were fast bolted. He came to me and said, that by magic arts which were at his command, he had caused the lovely music to sound in order to awaken me, and that he now forced his way through all fastenings with the intention of offering me his hand and heart. My repugnance to his magic arts was, however, so great, that I vouchsafed him no answer. He remained for a time standing without moving, apparently with the idea of waiting for a favorable decision, but as I continued to keep silence, he angrily declared he would revenge himself and find means to punish my pride, and left the room. I passed the night in the greatest disquietude, and only fell asleep towards morning. When I awoke, I hurried to my brother, but did not find him in his room, and the attendants told me that he had ridden forth with the stranger to the chase by daybreak.

"I at once suspected nothing good. I dressed myself quickly, ordered my palfrey to be saddled, and accompanied only by one servant, rode full gallop to the forest. The servant fell with his horse, and could not follow me, for the horse had broken its foot. I pursued my way without halting, and in a few minutes I saw the stranger coming towards me with a beautiful stag which he led by a cord. I asked him where he had left my brother, and how he had come by this stag, out of whose great eyes I saw tears flowing. Instead of answering me, he began to laugh loudly. I fell into a great rage at this, pulled out a pistol and discharged it at the monster; but the ball rebounded from his breast and went into my horse's head. I fell to the ground, and the stranger muttered some words which deprived me of consciousness.

"When I came to my senses again I found myself in this underground cave in a glass coffin. The magician appeared once again, and said he had changed my brother into a stag, my castle with all that belonged to it, diminished in size by his arts, he had shut up in the other glass chest, and my people, who were all turned into smoke, he had confined in glass bottles. He told me that if I would now comply with his wish, it was an easy thing for him to put everything back in its former state, as he had nothing to do but open the vessels, and everything would return once more to its natural form. I answered him as little as I had done the first time. He vanished and left me in my prison, in which a deep sleep came on me. Amongst the visions which passed before my eyes, that was the most comforting in which a young man came and set me free, and when I opened my eyes to-day I saw thee, and beheld my dream fulfilled. Help me to accomplish the other things which happened in those visions. The first is that we lift the glass chest in which my castle is enclosed, on to that broad stone."

As soon as the stone was laden, it began to rise up on high with the maiden and the young man, and mounted through the opening of the ceiling into the upper hall, from whence they then could easily reach the open air. Here the maiden opened the lid, and it was marvellous to behold how the castle, the houses, and the farm buildings which were enclosed, stretched themselves out and grew to their natural size with the greatest rapidity. After this, the maiden and the tailor returned to the cave beneath the earth, and had the vessels which were filled with smoke carried up by the stone. The maiden had scarcely opened the bottles when the blue smoke rushed out and changed itself into living men, in whom she recognized her servants and her people. Her joy was still more increased when her brother, who had killed the magician in the form of the bull, came out of the forest towards them in his human form, and on the self-same day the maiden, in accordance with her promise, gave her hand at the altar to the lucky tailor.
谁能断言穷裁缝不能干一番惊天泣地的伟业,并赢得荣誉? 其实也无需别的,只要他走对地方,但最重要的是他要有这个福份。 曾经就有这么个小裁缝,他既举止文雅,又心灵手巧,一次他出去旅行,来到一片大森林,由于不知方向,迷了路,这时天又黑了,他孤独万分,又无别的法子,当务之急是找张床来睡。 说不定能在苔藓上找张床,舒舒服服地睡一觉,但又害怕野兽,所以他便放弃了这念头,最后决定在树上过一夜。 于是他找了棵橡树,爬上树梢,谢天谢地他带上了熨斗,否则掠过树梢的风早把他吹得老远了。
他在黑夜里静静地呆着,好一段时间里既担惊受怕,又浑身哆嗦。 这时只见不远处有灯光在闪动,他心想那儿准会有人住着,肯定比这树梢上舒服得多。 于是他便小心翼翼地爬下树,向灯光处走去。 灯光指引着他来到一个茅棚前,他壮着胆敲了敲门。 门开了,灯光里他瞧见了一个小老头,满头灰白,穿着一件七零八乱、五颜六色的破衣服。 "你是谁?想干什么?"老人不耐烦地问道。 "我是个穷裁缝,在荒郊野外的黑夜里让您受惊了,我想求您让我进来住一宿。""你走吧!"老人粗暴地答道,"我可不想和乞丐打交道,到别处去找落脚点吧!"说完就要缩进屋内,裁缝一把抓紧对方衣角,苦苦哀求。 老人外表虽尖刻,心地倒不坏,最后还是软下心来,把他让进了屋内,给了他一些东西吃后,便在屋角给他一张舒服的床让他睡。
辛苦了一天的裁缝也不需要人去催眠,舒舒服服地一觉睡到了大天亮,要不是被外面突然的一声巨响给震醒,他可不想起床呢! 此刻他只觉得一片呼啸声混杂着吼叫声,穿过墙壁传进屋内。 裁缝突然一跃而起,迅速披上外衣,冲出了屋子。 只见在茅棚的不远处,一头身躯庞大的黑牛和一头漂亮的牡鹿正严阵以待,随时准备投入撕杀。 不久它们就怒气冲冲地撞在了一起,撞击的力量震撼着脚下的大地,叫声在空中回荡不已。 它们酣斗了好一阵,不分胜负。 这时只见牡鹿用犄角猛地戳入对方的身躯,公牛应声倒下了,发出了一阵令人颤慄不已的吼声,牡鹿接着又用几犄角结果了公牛。
裁缝目睹了眼前的这场搏杀,惊得目瞪口呆,竟双脚纹丝不动地钉在了那儿。 就在他准备转身逃命时,牡鹿猛地向他扑来,一下把他掀在犄角上。 牡鹿驮着他穿过乱石丛林、山岭沟谷、森林草地 ,速度之快,一时他都回不过神来。 他只得双手紧握角端,一切听天由命,他只觉得自己在腾飞。 最后他们来到了一堵石壁前,牡鹿把他轻轻地放在地上,此刻的裁缝已吓得半死,好一阵才缓过神来。 等他稍稍清醒后,站在身旁的牡鹿,双角对准石门猛地一撞,门便猛地开了。 里面突然喷出一股火,随后又是一阵浓烟,眼前的牡鹿倾刻就被吞没了。 现在该怎么办呢? 是否撒腿就跑,离开这荒郊野地,重新回到人世间去呢? 他一时拿不定主意。 这时听到一个声音在喊:"进来把,别怕!里面没有鬼吃你。"他犹豫了片刻,最后受到一股神奇的力量驱使,他顺从那个声音,穿过一扇铁门,走进了一片空阔的洞厅。 只见洞顶、洞壁、洞底都镶着一块块方正的石头,擦得光溜溜的,每块上面都刻着一些他不认识的符号。 他盯着眼前的一切,惊叹不已。 就在他要转身走出山洞之际,那个声音又喊道:"站到中央那块石头上去,可有好运在等着你呢!"
裁缝便鼓起了勇气,听从了命令。 脚下的石头挪动了,慢慢地向深处沉去。 着地后,裁缝环视一下四周,发现自己站在另一个如上面一般大小的洞厅中。 然而他不看则已,一看更觉得惊奇万分。 只见壁上挖空多处,里面摆放着一个个透明的玻璃花瓶,瓶内或充满了五颜六色的酒精,或装着蓝色的气体,大厅的中央摆放着两口水晶棺材,相向而立。 这一切立刻引起了他的好奇心,他向其中的一只棺材走去,发现里面装着一个类似城堡的建筑物,漂亮无比,周围有农舍、马厩、仓库,以及其它许多上好的东西。 一切都是那样的小巧,做工又是那般的精致,仿佛是出自一位技艺精湛的雕刻匠之手。
面对这稀世之物,他顿时想如非非。 要不是那个声音又在叫他,他可看傻了眼。 那声音要他转过身来,让他看这对面的水晶棺,那水晶棺更令他惊奇万分,里面竟躺着位少女,貌似天仙,她安详地躺在那里,仿佛睡着一般。 她的那头秀发包裹着全身,仿佛披着件精美的披风,她双眼紧闭,但肌肤色泽光亮,那条发带也随着呼吸而上下起伏,种种迹象表明她还活着。 裁缝盯着眼前这位绝色佳人,心跳加剧。 突然她睁开了双眼,一见他便惊喜万分,"老天保佑!"她叫道,"快!快帮我从这监牢里出来,只要你把水晶棺材背后的横栓轻轻一推,我便自由了。"裁缝毫不迟凝地照做了,只见她一把掀开棺盖,站了出来,又走到大厅的一角,在那儿披上一件大斗篷,然后在一块石头上坐了下来。 她命令年青人走上前来,友好地亲吻一下他的嘴唇,然后说道:"我盼望已久了,蒙老天开恩,总算把你带到此地,结束了我的不幸。从今以后你将有享不尽的荣华富贵。老天替我挑选了你做我的丈夫,你将终生幸福快乐,有我爱你,还会富甲天下。你坐下来,听听我的身世吧!
"我原是位富贵的伯爵家的千金小姐,当我仍在襁褓时,父母便撒手双双离我而去。在他们的遗嘱里把我托给了我的哥哥,是他把我扶养成人。我们兄妹俩相依为命,有着相同的思维、共同的兴趣爱好 ,并彼此打定主意终生不结婚。 我们家也不是没有别的伴侣,邻居朋友也常来看顾我们,我们对待每个人都一样热情周到。 一天傍晚,我们的城堡来了位陌生客,他声称已无法赶到下一站,想在此借宿一晚。 我们毫不忧豫地答应了他,还请他和我们共进晚餐。 席间他给我们讲了些故事,逗得我们高兴得不得了,使哥哥越发喜欢这陌生人,求他和我们再多呆几天,他听后稍作忧豫,便答应了。 这顿饭一直吃到了深夜,饭后陌生人被带进了一间房子。 此时我累极了,一骨碌爬上床就躺下了。 我刚睡着,耳边忽然传来了悠扬悦耳的音乐声,把我给唤醒了。 不过我也不知音乐声来自何处,便想叫醒睡在隔壁的侍女。 但奇怪的是,我的声音竟给一股不知来自何处的力量卷走了,我只觉得似乎有件可怕的东西压在我胸口,使我发不出声来。 这时借着夜光,我瞧见了那位陌生客穿过两重拴好的门,走进了我的房间。 他来到我的跟前,说他施了法术,用美妙的音乐把我唤醒,并吹嘘说只要凭着意念,就可来去自由,所有的门栓对他都无济于事。 我渐渐地讨厌起他的法术来,不过我拒不回话。 他在我旁边站了好一会,显然想得到一个好的评价,我却仍是默不作声。 他发怒了,声称一定要报复,并首先得消去我的气焰,说完便离开了房间。 那天晚上,我一直睡不安稳,只是天亮前我才稍稍合了会眼。 我醒来后,就匆匆地走到哥哥那儿,不过在他房间没找到他,仆人告诉我黎明时分哥哥已骑着马跟陌生人打猎去了。
等他们把东西放好后,石块便载着少女与裁缝穿过洞顶的窟隆,一起往上升去,到达了上面的洞厅,从这儿他们可以轻易地踏入野外。 这时 ,少女一把掀开了棺盖,只见那些曾是缩小的农舍便神奇地扩张开来,顷刻间便恢复了原状。 少女和裁缝又重新走回下面的洞厅,再次把那些盛着烟雾的瓶罐搬上石块,没等少女完全打开瓶盖,里面突然喷出一股蓝烟,随即变成了一个个活生生的人。 她立刻认出那是她原来的仆人和臣民,更使她快乐的是,她竟见到了她的哥哥,他刚才把变成牛形的巫师杀死了。 自己便恢复了原形,正从林中走来。 就在这一天,少女也履行了她的承诺,嫁给了幸运的小裁缝。

Compare two languages:

Donations are welcomed & appreciated.

Thank you for your support.