domingo, 8 de maio de 2011

Dia das Mães - Fábula em Inglês

"A História de uma Mãe" é uma das extraordinárias fábulas contadas por Hans Christian Andersen. Aqui uma versão especial para estudantes de inglês. As ilustrações são de Kay Nielsen (2a) e Peter Madsen (1a, 3a e 4a). A tradução virá no próximo post.


THE STORY OF A MOTHER (Hans Christian Andersen)

. . .A mother sat with her little child. She was so sad, so afraid that it would die! It was so pale, the small eyes were closed, and it breathed so softly, sometimes with a deep respiration, as if sighing; and the mother looked still more sorrowfully at the little creature.

Then there was a knocking at the door, and a poor old man wearing an old cape came in. The mother made some tea
for him, because it was winter, and everything outside was covered in snow, and the cold wind was blowing. The old man sat and rocked the cradle, and the mother sat down on a chair near him, and looked at her little sick child that was breathing with so much difficulty, and she raised its little hand.

"Do you think I can save him?" said she. "Our Lord will not take him from me!"

And the old man - it was Death himself - nodded so strangely, it could just as well mean yes as no. And the mother lowered her head, and tears ran down over her cheeks; her head became so heavy - she had not closed her eyes for three days and nights; and now she slept, but only for a minute, then she suddenly woke up and trembled with cold.

"What is that?" she said, and looked on all sides; but the old man was gone, and her little child was gone - he had taken it with him; and the old clock in the corner made strange noises, and the great leaden weight fell to the floor, bump! and then the clock too stood still.

But the poor mother ran out of the house and cried aloud for her child.

Out there, a woman was sitting on the snow, wearing long, black clothes; and she said, "Death has been to your little house, and I saw him hurrying away with your little child; he goes faster than the wind, and he never brings back what he takes!"

"Oh, only tell me which way he went!" said the mother. "Tell me the way, and I will find him!"

"I know it!" said the woman in the black clothes. "But before I tell it, you must first sing for me all the songs that you used to sing for your child! I like them. I have heard them before; I am Night; I saw your tears while you sang them!"

"I will sing them all, all!" said the mother. "But do not stop me now - I have to overtake him, so I may find my child!"

But Night stood still and mute. Then the mother wrung her hands, sang and wept, and there were many songs, but even many more tears; and then Night said, "Go to the right, into the dark pine forest; there I saw Death go his way with your little child!"

In the middle of the forest, she got lost. Then, she saw a thorn-bush; there was neither leaf nor flower on it, it was also in the cold air of the winter season, and there was ice-flakes on its branches.

"Have you seen Death go past with my little child?" said the mother.

"Yes," said the thorn-bush; "but I will not tell you which way he took, unless you warm me up close to your heart first. I am freezing to death!"

. . .And she pressed the thorn-bush to her breast, so firmly, so it could be completely warmed, and the thorns went right into her flesh, and her blood flowed in large drops, but green leaves grew from the thorn-bush branches, and there were flowers on it in the cold winter night - the heart of the afflicted mother was so warm; and the thorn-bush told her the way she should go.

She then came to a large lake, where there was neither ship nor boat. The lake was not frozen enough for her to walk on it; but it was not totally open for a boat to go through, nor shallow enough for somebody to walk through it; still she had to go
across it to find her child! Then she lay down to drink up the lake, and that was an impossibility for a human being, but the afflicted mother thought that a miracle might happen nevertheless.

At that moment, the water lifted her up, as if she sat in a swing, and she was carried in the rocking waves to the shore on the opposite side, where there was a gigantic, strange house. Looking at it it was hard to tell if it was a mountain with forests and caverns, or if it was built up.

"Where can I find Death, who took away my little child?" said she.

"He has not come here yet!" said the old grave woman, who was appointed to look after Death's great greenhouse! "How have you been able to find the way here? And who has helped you?"

"OUR LORD has helped me," said she. "He is merciful, and you will also be so! Where can I find my little child?"

"Nay, I don't know," said the woman, "But many flowers and trees have withered this night; Death will soon come and plant them over again! You certainly know that every person has his or her life's tree or flower; they look like other plants, but they have pulsations of the heart. Children's hearts can also beat; go after yours, perhaps you may know your child's pulsation; but what will you give me if I tell you what else you can do?"

"I have nothing to give," said the afflicted mother, "but I will go to the world's end for you!"

"Nay, I have nothing to do there!" said the woman. "But you can give me your long black hair; you know that it is beautiful, and I like it! You can have my white hair instead, it's better than nothing!"

"Don't you want anything else?" said she. "That I will gladly give you!" And she gave her her beautiful black hair, and got the old woman's snow-white hair instead.

So they went into Death's great greenhouse, where flowers and trees grew strangely into one another. There there were delicate flowers under glass bells, there were big and strong flowers too; there were water plants, some so fresh, others half sick, water-snakes lying on them, and black crabs pinching their stalks. There were beautiful palm-trees, and big trees; and many other kinds of plants. And every tree and every flower had its name; each of them was a human life, and their human bodies still lived somewhere in the world - some in China, some in Greenland. There were large trees in small pots, so that they couldn't grow much; in other places, there were little dull flowers very well protected and in rich soil. But the distressed mother bent down over all the smallest plants, and heard how the human heart beat inside them; and among millions she knew her child's.

"There it is!" cried she, and stretched her hands out over a little blue crocus, that hung quite sickly on one side.

"Don't touch the flower!" said the old woman. "But stay there, and when Death comes, do not let him pluck the flower up, but threaten him that you will do the same with the others. Then he will be afraid! He is responsible for them to OUR LORD, and no one dares to pluck them up before HE gives permission."

. . .Suddenly an icy cold rushed through the great hall, and the mother could feel that it was Death that came.

"How have you been able to find your way here?" he asked. "How could you come quicker than I?"

"I am a mother," said she.

And Death stretched out his long hand towards the fine little flower, but she held her hands around his. Then Death blew on her hands, and she felt that it was colder than the cold wind, and her hands fell down powerless.

"You cannot do anything against me!" said Death.

"But OUR LORD can!" said she.

"I only do His will!" said Death. "I am His gardener, I take all His flowers and trees, and plant them out in the great garden of Paradise, in the unknown land; but how they grow there, and how it is there I dare not tell you."

"Give me back my child!" said the mother, and she wept and prayed. Then, suddenly, she held two beautiful flowers close by, one in each hand, and cried out to Death, "I will tear all your flowers off, for I am in despair."

"Don't touch them!" said Death. "You say that you are so unhappy, and now you will make another mother equally unhappy."

"Another mother!" said the poor woman, and immediately let go her hold of both flowers.

"Look down into the deep well near you," said Death; "I will tell you the names of the two flowers you would have torn up, and you will see their whole future life - their whole human existence: and see what you were about to disturb and destroy."

And she looked down into the well; and it was a happiness to see how one of them became a blessing to the world, to see how much happiness and joy he brought everywhere. And she saw the other's life, and it was sorrow and distress, horror, and misery.

"Both of them are God's will!" said Death.

"Which of them is Misfortune's flower and which is that of Happiness?" asked she.

"That I will not tell you," said Death; "but I can tell you that one of these flowers was your own child! It was your child's fate that you have seen - your own child's future life!"

Then the mother screamed with terror, "Which of them was my child? Tell it to me! Save the innocent! Save my child from all that misery! Rather take it away! Take it into God's kingdom! Forget my tears, forget my prayers, and all that I have done!"

"I do not understand you!" said Death. "Do you want your child again, or should I take it there, to the place you do not know!"

Then the mother wrung her hands, fell on her knees, and prayed to our Lord: "Oh, don't listen to me when I pray against Thy will, which is the best! Don't listen to me! Don't listen to me!"

And she lowered her head down to her lap, and Death took her child and went with it into the unknown land.