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英汉对照文章:人狗之间

Of Dogs and Men

  Chester was my window on the mysterious bond between canines and humans.

   译者点评:普罗泰格拉说,人类胜过动物,全恃道德。如是,道德就成了衡量人与动物的一把尺子。其实,人与动物之间的关系不仅仅能反映人的道德观,也反映动物的道德观。人狗之间与人猫之间所反映的就是两种不同的动物的道德观:忠诚与奸诈。这决定了人对动物的不同态度:忠诚博得了宠爱,奸诈遭到了疏远。结果也导致了狗猫之间的频频战事。而事实上,人与人,人与动物,动物与动物,未必不能和睦相处:关键在于理解和爱。

  The way I see it dogs had this big meeting. Oh maybe 20,000 years ago. A huge meeting—an international convention with delegates from everywhere. And that’s when they decided that humans were the up and coming species and dogs were going to throw their lot in with them. The decision was obviously not unanimous. The wolves and dingoes walked out in protest.

  Cats had an even more negative reaction. When they heard the news they called their own meeting—in Paris of course—to denounce canine subservience to the human hyperpower.Their manifesto—La Condition Féline—can still be found in provincial bookstores.

  Cats, it must be said, have not done badly. Using guile and seduction they managed to get humans to feed them thus preserving their superciliousness without going hungry. A neat trick. Dogs being guileless signed and delivered. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

  I must admit that I’ve been slow to warm to dogs.I grew up in a non-pet friendly home. Dogs do not figure prominently in Jewish immigrant households. My father was not very high on pets. He wasn’t hostile. He just saw them as superfluous an encumbrance. When the Cossacks are chasing you around Europe you need to travel light.This by the way is why Europe produced far more Jewish violinists than pianists. Try packing a piano.

  My parents did allow a hint of zoological indulgence. I had a pet turtle. My brother had a parakeet. Both came to unfortunate ends. My turtle fell behind a radiator and was not discovered until too late. And the parakeet God bless him flew out a window once never to be seen again. After such displays of stewardship we dared not ask for a dog.

  My introduction to the wonder of dogs came from my wife Robyn. She’s Australian. And Australia as lovingly recounted in Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country has the craziest wildest deadliest meanest animals on the planet. In a place where every spider and squid can take you down faster than a sucker punched boxer you cherish niceness in the animal kingdom. And they don’t come nicer than dogs.

  Robyn started us off slowly. She got us a Border collie Hugo when our son was about 6. She knew that would appeal to me because the Border collie is the smartest species on the planet. Hugo could 1 play outfield in our backyard baseball games 2 do flawless front door sentry duty and 3 play psychic weatherman announcing with a wail every coming thunderstorm.

  When our son Daniel turned 10 he wanted a dog of his own. I was against it using arguments borrowed from seminars on nuclear nonproliferation. It was hopeless. One giant “Please Dad” and I caved completely. Robyn went out to Winchester Virginia found a litter of black Labs and brought home Chester.

  Chester is what psychiatrists mean when they talk about unconditional love. Unbridled is more like it. Come into our houseand he was so happy to see you he would knock you over.Deliverymen learned to leave things at the front door.

  In some respects—Ph.D. potential for example—I don’t make any great claims for Chester. When I would arrive home I fully expected to find Hugo reading the newspaper. Not Chester. Chester would try to make his way through a narrow sliding door find himself stuck halfway and then look at me with total and quite genuine puzzlement.I don’t think he ever got to understand that the rear part of him was actually attached to the front.

  But it was Chester who dispensed affection as unreflectively as he breathed who got me thinking about this long ago pact between humans and dogs. Cat lovers and the pet averse will just roll their eyes at such dogophilia.I can’t help it. Chester was always at your foot or your hand waiting to be petted and stroked played with and talked to. His beautiful blocky head his wonderful overgrown puppy’s body his baritone bark filled every corner of house and heart.

  Then last month at the tender age of 8 he died quite suddenly. The long slobbering slothful decline we had been looking forward to was not to be. When told the news a young friend who was a regular victim of Chester’s lunging lovebombs said mournfully“He was the sweetest creature I ever saw. He’s the only dog I ever saw kiss a cat.”

  Some will protest that in a world with so much human suffering it is something between eccentric and obscene to mourn a dog. I think not. After all it is perfectly normal indeed deeply human to be moved when nature presents us with a vision of great beauty. Should we not be moved when it produces a vision—a creature—of the purest sweetness﹖ -

人狗之间:理解才有爱 忠诚一生伴
  根据我的观察,狗开了这次大会。噢,也许是在两万年以前开的。那是一次盛大聚会——有各地代表参加的一次国际会议。正是在那次会议上它们做出了决定:人是上进的物种,狗要与他们共命运。这个决定显然未取得一致见解。狼和野狗愤然离会表示抗议。

  猫的反应更消极。它们听到这个消息后,也召开了会议——当然是在巴黎——痛斥狗屈服于人类强权的懦弱行径。(它们的声明——《猫的状况》——仍然可以在外省书店里看到。)

  必须承认,猫干得不坏。利用欺骗和诱惑,它们设法让人类喂养它们,所以,既不挨饿又保持了目中无人的派头。一个绝招儿。老实厚道的狗签署并发表了那项声明。于是开始了人与狗的一段美好友谊。

  我必须承认,我并不是一下子就对狗产生好感的。我生长在一个不喜欢宠物的家庭里。在犹太移民的家庭里,狗不是最重要的。父亲对宠物不感兴趣。他不是恨宠物,只是认为宠物是多余的,是累赘。当哥萨克人追着你满欧洲跑的时候,你需要轻装上路。(顺便说一句,欧洲犹太人小提琴家之所以大大多于犹太人钢琴家,原因就在这里。不信你就打包一架钢琴试试。)

  我父母确实迁就过我们养宠物。我养过一只龟,弟弟养过一只长尾鹦鹉。两个的结局都很不幸。我的龟掉到一个散热器的后面,发现时已经没救了。而那只鹦鹉,愿上帝保佑它,有一次飞出窗外,就再也没见到影儿。在表现出如此糟糕的管理之后,我们还哪敢提养狗的事儿。

  是我的妻子罗宾使我开始了解到狗的神奇的。她是澳大利亚人。而澳大利亚,正如比尔·布赖森在《太阳烧焦的乡村》中所热情洋溢地歌颂的那样,拥有这个星球上最狂的、最野的、最凶的、最丑的动物。每一只蜘蛛,每一条乌贼,都能比又快又猛的拳击手还快地打倒你,在这样一个地方,你所珍重的是动物王国里的文雅。而那些动物都不如狗文雅。

  罗宾带我们慢慢地起步。儿子6岁时,她给我们弄了一只博德牧羊犬,叫雨果。她知道我会喜欢它,因为博德牧羊犬是这个星球上最聪明的狗。第一,雨果能在我们打后院垒球游戏时打外场;第二,无可挑剔地在前门把守;第三,它是通灵气象员,每当雷暴到来之前它都会长吠一声。

  当我们的儿子丹尼尔10岁时,他想自己养条狗。我不同意,借用防核扩散研讨会上的论点来反对。但不奏效。只一声伟大的“求求你了,爸爸”,我就彻底屈服了。罗宾去了趟弗吉尼亚的温切斯特,发现了一窝黑色的拉布拉多小狗,于是,把切斯特带回了家。

  切斯特就是精神病学家所说的那种无条件的爱。更确切地说是毫无顾忌。有谁一走进家门,它那么高兴地见到你,会把你撞倒。(送货人都学会了把东西放在我们门口。)

  在某些方面——如博士学位什么的——我对切斯特并不抱什么太大的奢望。一到家,我总能看到雨果在读报纸。但不是切斯特。切斯特会使劲挤进一个很窄的拉门,半身卡在了那里,然后用毫不掺假的迷茫眼神看着我。我认为它从来不明白它的后半截身子实际上是和前半截连在一起的。

  但正是切斯特像呼吸一样不假思索地施爱与人,正是它让我想起了这个很久以前就已订立了的人犬之间的契约。爱猫者和厌恶宠物者对这种亲狗症只能翻翻白眼而已。可我没有办法。切斯特不是在你的脚下,就是在你的手边,等着拍打抚摩,与它玩耍或与它说话。它那颗漂亮斑驳的脑袋,那奇妙肥大的身段,那男中音式的狗吠,遍及房间和心窝的各个角落。

  而上个月,在刚刚8岁这幼小的年龄,它就突然死去了。我们曾经预料的那漫长的、流着口水的、懒散的衰老过程不会再有了。经常受切斯特发自肺腑的爱弹袭击的一个年轻朋友在听到它的死讯时悲伤地说,“它是我见过的最可爱的动物。它是我见过的惟一一只吻猫的狗。”

  有些人会反驳说,在一个充满了人类痛苦的世界上,为一只狗悲伤,是近乎怪癖或可憎的表现。我以为不然。毕竟,深为自然界呈现给我们的伟大美景而感动完全是正常的、具有深刻人性的事。当它向我们呈现一个最可爱的景象——一个动物时,我们不应该为之所动吗?

 

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