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The Spell Begins to Break

Now we must go back to Mr and Mrs Beaver and the three other children. As soon as Mr Beaver said, "There's no time to lose," everyone began bundling themselves into coats, except Mrs Beaver, who started picking up sacks and laying them on the table and said: "Now, Mr Beaver, just reach down that ham. And here's a packet of tea, and there's sugar, and some matches. And if someone will get two or three loaves out of the crock over there in the corner."

"What are you doing, Mrs Beaver?" exclaimed Susan.

"Packing a load for each of us, dearie," said Mrs Beaver very coolly. "You didn't think we'd set out on a journey with nothing to eat, did you?"

"But we haven't time!" said Susan, buttoning the collar of her coat. "She may be here any minute."

"That's what I say," chimed in Mr Beaver.

"Get along with you all," said his wife. "Think it over, Mr Beaver. She can't be here for quarter of an hour at least."

"But don't we want as big a start as we can possibly get," said Peter, "if we're to reach the Stone Table before her?"

"You've got to remember that, Mrs Beaver," said Susan. "As soon as she has looked in here and finds we're gone she'll be off at top speed."

"That she will," said Mrs Beaver. "But we can't get there before her whatever we do, for she'll be on a sledge and we'll be walking."

"Then - have we no hope?" said Susan.

"Now don't you get fussing, there's a dear," said Mrs Beaver, "but just get half a dozen clean handkerchiefs out of the drawer. 'Course we've got a hope. We can't get there before her but we can keep under cover and go by ways she won't expect and perhaps we'll get through."

"That's true enough, Mrs Beaver," said her husband. "But it's time we were out of this."

"And don't you start fussing either, Mr Beaver," said his wife. "There. That's better. There's five loads and the smallest for the smallest of us: that's you, my dear," she added, looking at Lucy.

"Oh, do please come on," said Lucy.

"Well, I'm nearly ready now," answered Mrs Beaver at last, allowing her husband to help her into; her snow-boots. "I suppose the sewing machine's took heavy to bring?"

"Yes. It is," said Mr Beaver. "A great deal too heavy. And you don't think you'll be able to use it while we're on the run, I suppose?"

"I can't abide the thought of that Witch fiddling with it," said Mrs Beaver, "and breaking it or stealing it, as likely as not."

"Oh, please, please, please, do hurry!" said the three children. And so at last they all got outside and Mr Beaver locked the door ("It'll delay her a bit," he said) and they set off, all carrying their loads over their shoulders.

The snow had stopped and the moon had come out when they began their journey. They went in single file - first Mr Beaver, then Lucy, then Peter, then Susan, and Mrs Beaver last of all. Mr Beaver led them across the dam and on to the right bank of the river and then along a very rough sort of path among the trees right down by the river-bank. The sides of the valley, shining in the moonlight, towered up far above them on either hand. "Best keep down here as much as possible," he said. "She'll have to keep to the top, for you couldn't bring a sledge down here."

It would have been a pretty enough scene to look at it through a window from a comfortable armchair; and even as things were, Lucy enjoyed it at first. But as they went on walking and walking - and walking and as the sack she was carrying felt heavier and heavier, she began to wonder how she was going to keep up at all. And she stopped looking at the dazzling brightness of the frozen river with all its waterfalls of ice and at the white masses of the tree-tops and the great glaring moon and the countless stars and could only watch the little short legs of Mr Beaver going pad-pad-pad-pad through the snow in front of her as if they were never going to stop. Then the moon disappeared and the snow began to fall once more. And at last Lucy was so tired that she was almost asleep and walking at the same time when suddenly she found that Mr Beaver had turned away from the river-bank to the right and was leading them steeply uphill into the very thickest bushes. And then as she came fully awake she found that Mr Beaver was just vanishing into a little hole in the bank which had been almost hidden under the bushes until you were quite on top of it. In fact, by the time she realized what was happening, only his short flat tail was showing.

Lucy immediately stooped down and crawled in after him. Then she heard noises of scrambling and puffing and panting behind her and in a moment all five of them were inside.

"Wherever is this?" said Peter's voice, sounding tired and pale in the darkness. (I hope you know what I mean by a voice sounding pale.)

"It's an old hiding-place for beavers in bad times," said Mr Beaver, "and a great secret. It's not much of a place but we must get a few hours' sleep."

"If you hadn't all been in such a plaguey fuss when we were starting, I'd have brought some pillows," said Mrs Beaver.

It wasn't nearly such a nice cave as Mr Tumnus's, Lucy thought - just a hole in the ground but dry and earthy. It was very small so that when they all lay down they were all a bundle of clothes together, and what with that and being warmed up by their long walk they were really rather snug. If only the floor of the cave had been a little smoother! Then Mrs Beaver handed round in the dark a little flask out of which everyone drank something - it made one cough and splutter a little and stung the throat, but it also made you feel deliciously warm after you'd swallowed it and everyone went straight to sleep.

It seemed to Lucy only the next minute (though really it was hours and hours later) when she woke up feeling a little cold and dreadfully stiff and thinking how she would like a hot bath. Then she felt a set of long whiskers tickling her cheek and saw the cold daylight coming in through the mouth of the cave. But immediately after that she was very wide awake indeed, and so was everyone else. In fact they were all sitting up with their mouths and eyes wide open listening to a sound which was the very sound they'd all been thinking of (and sometimes imagining they heard) during their walk last night. It was a sound of jingling bells.

Mr Beaver was out of the cave like a flash the moment he heard it. Perhaps you think, as Lucy thought for a moment, that this was a very silly thing to do? But it was really a very sensible one. He knew he could scramble to the top of the bank among bushes and brambles without being seen; and he wanted above all things to see which way the Witch's sledge went. The others all sat in the cave waiting and wondering. They waited nearly five minutes. Then they heard something that frightened them very much. They heard voices. "Oh," thought Lucy, "he's been seen. She's caught him!"

Great was their surprise when a little later, they heard Mr Beaver's voice calling to them from just outside the cave.

"It's all right," he was shouting. "Come out, Mrs Beaver. Come out, Sons and Daughters of Adam. It's all right! It isn't Her!" This was bad grammar of course, but that is how beavers talk when they are excited; I mean, in Narnia - in our world they usually don't talk at all.

So Mrs Beaver and the children came bundling out of the cave, all blinking in the daylight, and with earth all over them, and looking very frowsty and unbrushed and uncombed and with the sleep in their eyes.

"Come on!" cried Mr Beaver, who was almost dancing with delight. "Come and see! This is a nasty knock for the Witch! It looks as if her power is already crumbling."

"What do you mean, Mr Beaver?" panted Peter as they all scrambled up the steep bank of the valley together.

"Didn't I tell you," answered Mr Beaver, "that she'd made it always winter and never Christmas? Didn't I tell you? Well, just come and see!"

And then they were all at the top and did see.

It was a sledge, and it was reindeer with bells on their harness. But they were far bigger than the Witch's reindeer, and they were not white but brown. And on the sledge sat a person whom everyone knew the moment they set eyes on him. He was a huge man. in a bright red robe (bright as hollyberries) with a hood that had fur inside it and a great white beard, that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest.

Everyone knew him because, though you see people of his sort only in Narnia, you see pictures of them and hear them talked about even in our world - the world on this side of the wardrobe door. But when you really see them in Narnia it is rather different. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world make him look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood looking at him they didn't find it quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.

"I've come at last," said he. "She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move. The Witch's magic is weakening."

And Lucy felt running through her that deep shiver of gladness which you only get if you are being solemn and still.

"And now," said Father Christmas, "for your presents. There is a new and better sewing machine for you, Mrs Beaver. I will drop it in your house as, I pass."

"If you please, sir," said Mrs Beaver, making a curtsey. "It's locked up."

"Locks and bolts make no difference to me," said Father Christmas. "And as for you, Mr Beaver, when you get home you will find your dam finished and mended and all the leaks stopped and a new sluicegate fitted."

Mr Beaver was so pleased that he opened his mouth very wide and then found he couldn't say anything at all.

"Peter, Adam's Son," said Father Christmas.

"Here, sir," said Peter.

"These are your presents," was the answer, "and they are tools not toys. The time to use them is perhaps near at hand. Bear them well." With these words he handed to Peter a shield and a sword. The shield was the colour of silver and across it there ramped a red lion, as bright as a ripe strawberry at the moment when you pick it. The hilt of the sword was of gold and it had a sheath and a sword belt and everything it needed, and it was just the right size and weight for Peter to use. Peter was silent and solemn as he received these gifts, for he felt they were a very serious kind of present.

"Susan, Eve's Daughter," said Father Christmas. "These are for you," and he handed her a bow and a quiver full of arrows and a little ivory horn. "You must use the bow only in great need," he said, "for I do not mean you to fight in the battle. It does not easily miss. And when you put this horn to your lips; and blow it, then, wherever you are, I think help of some kind will come to you."

Last of all he said, "Lucy, Eve's Daughter," and Lucy came forward. He gave her a little bottle of what looked like glass (but people said afterwards that it was made of diamond) and a small dagger. "In this bottle," he said, "there is cordial made of the juice of one of the fireflowers that grow in the mountains of the sun. If you or any of your friends is hurt, a few drops of this restore them. And the dagger is to defend yourse at great need. For you also are not to be in battle."

"Why, sir?" said Lucy. "I think - I don't know but I think I could be brave enough."

"That is not the point," he said. "But battles are ugly when women fight. And now" - here he suddenly looked less grave - "here is something for the moment for you all!" and he brought out (I suppose from the big bag at his back, but nobody quite saw him do it) a large tray containing five cups and saucers, a bowl of lump sugar, a jug of cream, and a great big teapot all sizzling and piping hot. Then he cried out "Merry Christmas! Long live the true King!" and cracked his whip, and he and the reindeer and the sledge and all were out of sight before anyone realized that they had started.

Peter had just drawn his sword out of its sheath and was showing it to Mr Beaver, when Mrs Beaver said:

"Now then, now then! Don't stand talking there till the tea's got cold. Just like men. Come and help to carry the tray down and we'll have breakfast. What a mercy I thought of bringing the bread-knife."

So down the steep bank they went and back to the cave, and Mr Beaver cut some of the bread and ham into sandwiches and Mrs Beaver poured out the tea and everyone enjoyed themselves. But long before they had finished enjoying themselves Mr Beaver said, "Time to be moving on now."

 

第十章 魔法开始破了

话分两头,这会儿我们得回到海狸夫妇和另外三个孩子身上来了。海狸先生刚说完“一刻也不能耽搁”,大伙儿都开始匆匆忙忙穿上大衣,只有海狸太太开始拿起一些口袋放在桌上,说:“好了,海狸先生,把那块火腿拿下来。这是一包茶叶,还有糖,一些火柴。谁到角落的瓦罐里拿两三个面包出来。”

“你在干什么呀,海狸太太?”苏珊叫道。

“给我们每个人收拾一份东西,小宝贝,”海狸太太十分冷静地说,“你们不想上路时没东西吃吧?”

“可我们没时间了!”苏珊说着扣上大衣领上的扣子, “她随时都可能到这儿的。”

“我就是这么说的。”海狸先生插嘴说。

“你们别胡说,”它妻子说,“好好想想,海狸先生。她至少要在一刻钟以后才能到。。

“如果我们要赶在她前头先到石桌那儿,”彼得说,“我们不是要尽可能抢先一步吗?”

“你得记住一点,海狸太太,”苏珊说,“她到这儿一看,发现我们走了,就会飞速离开的。”

“她会的,”海狸太大说,“不过我们无论如何也赶不到她前面,因为她乘着雪橇,我们是走着去的。”

“那么——我们就没希望了?”苏珊说。

“好了,你们乖,别大惊小怪,”海狸太太说,“请从那个抽屉里拿出六条干净手绢吧。我们当然还有一线希望。我们赶不到她前面,不过我们可以隐蔽起来,走一条她意想不到的路,也许能成功。”

“对极了,海狸太太,”它丈夫说,“不过该是我们动身的时候了。”

“你也别大惊小怪的,海狸先生,”它妻子说,“瞧,这样就好些了。这儿有四份东西,最小的一份就给我们当中最小的一个:那就是你,宝贝儿。”她看着露茜加了一句。

“哦,求你快点吧。”露茜说。

“好吧,现在我差不多都准备好了。”海狸太大终于回答说,一面让丈夫帮它穿上雪地靴,“我想,缝纫机太重,带不了吧?”

“是啊,太重了,”海狸先生说,“重得不得了。我看我们赶路你总不见得能用上缝纫机吧?”

“想到妖婆乱动我的缝纫机我就受不了,”海狸太太说. “她八成会把缝纫机弄坏或偷走。”

“哦,请快点吧!请快点吧!”三个孩子说。就这样他们才终于出了门,海狸先生锁上门。(“这会耽误她一点时间。”它说。)他们就此出发了,大家都把自己的一份行李扛在肩上。

他们上路时雪已经停了,月亮也出来了。他们排成单行走着——海狸先生走在头里,随后是露茜,再后是彼得、苏珊,海狸太太走在末尾。海狸先生带他们穿过堤坝,走到河的右岸,然后走到河岸下面树丛里一条崎岖不平的小路上。月光照耀下,山谷两边的峭坡高耸入云。

“最好尽可能在下面走,”海狸先生说,“她只能从上面走,因为不能把雪橇赶到下面来。”

如果是坐在安逸的扶手椅里,往窗外眺望,看到的也许算得上是一幅美景;尽管事情到了这个地步,露茜开头对这儿还是很欣赏的。不过随着他们走啊走的,她背上的口袋也越来越重了,她开始怀疑自己怎么坚持得下去。河面以及水帘子都结了冰,她不再去看那条亮得耀眼的冰河,也不去看树顶上大团大团的雪,以及那光芒四射的大月亮和数不清的星星,只看着前面海狸先生那短小的腿在雪地里啪哒啪哒地走,仿佛永远也停不下来似的。接着月亮不见了,雪又开始下了。最后露茜累得几乎是边走边睡了。突然,她发现海狸先生离开河岸往右走,领着他们奋力爬上陡峭的山坡,走进密集的灌木丛中。等到她完全清醒过来,她发现海狸先生钻进山坡上的一个小洞里,那个洞几乎完全被灌木丛遮住,一直走到洞口才看得见。事实上等她明白是怎么回事,已经只看得见它那扁扁的短尾巴了。

露茜赶紧弯下腰跟着它爬了进去。接着她听到身后急急忙忙爬行的声音和喘气声,不一会儿,他们五个都进了洞。

“这到底是哪儿呀?”彼得说,黑暗中他的声音听上去又疲倦又乏力。(我希望你们知道我说的声音乏力是什么意思。

“这是海狸遇难时一个老的藏身处,”海狸先生说,“是一大秘密。地方虽不怎么样,不过我们一定得睡上几小时。”

“要不是你们动身时都那么手忙脚乱,我本来可以带几个枕头来的。”海狸太太说。

这儿跟图姆纳斯先生的石窟可相差太远了,露茜想着——只是一个洞,不过洞里还算干燥,而且是泥土地。洞非常小,因此当他们全都躺下时,就成了一大堆皮毛和衣服。这样躺着,再加上他们长途跋涉身上也暖和了,他们果真觉得相当舒服。要是这洞里的地稍微平整一点就更好了。随后海狸太太在黑暗中传过来一个小小的长颈瓶子,每个人都就着瓶子喝了一口——喝了这东西叫人直呛.嗓子眼火辣辣的,不过咽下肚去以后倒使人感到暖和得舒心——

大家立刻就睡着了。

露茜觉得似乎只过了片刻(虽然实际上已是好几小时以后了),她一觉醒来感到身子有点冷,而且僵硬得可怕,心想能洗个热水澡该有多好。随后她就觉得有一束长胡子撩在脸蛋上怪痒痒的,又看到洞口有冰凉的阳光照进来。这一来她当然立刻完全清醒了,而且大家也都醒了。事实上他们全都坐了起来,眼睛嘴巴都张得大大的,倾听着他们昨晚走路时一直想着的声音(有时他们还想象着听到了呢)。那就是铃铛的声音。

海狸先生一听见声音顿时就钻出洞去。也许你会像露茜当时所想的那样,觉得它这么做是犯傻了。其实这么做倒是很聪明的。它知道自己能躲在山坡顶上的灌木丛中不让人看见;最主要的是它想看看妖婆的雪橇往哪条路走。其他几个都坐在山洞里等着,满腹疑虑。他们大概等了五分钟。接着听见了什么动静,吓得他们要命。他们听见了说话声;

“哦,”露茜想,“它被发现了。她逮住它了!”

出乎意外的是,过了一会儿,他们竟听见海狸先生的声音在洞口叫他们了。

没事儿,”它大声叫道,“出来吧,海狸太太。出来吧,亚当和夏娃的儿女们。没事儿,原来它不是她!”这句话当然有点不通,不过海狸激动起来就是那么说话的;我是说在纳尼亚——在我们的世界里海狸通常是根本不说话的。

于是海狸太太和孩子们就匆匆忙忙走出洞来,大家在阳光下直眨眼睛,身上全是土,看上去脏兮兮的,又没梳洗过,个个都睡眼惺松。

“来吧!”海狸先生叫道,它高兴得几乎要跳舞了,“来看哪,这对妖婆是个沉重的打击!看来她的权力已经完蛋了。”

“你到底什么意思,海狸先生?”他们大家一齐爬上了陡峭的山坡时,彼得喘着气问。

“我不是告诉过你们吗?”海狸先生回答说,“她把这儿变得一年到头都是冬天,而且从来不过圣诞节。我不是告诉过你们吗?好吧,你们来看哪!”

于是他们全都站在山坡顶上,放眼望去。

只见一辆雪橇,有几只驯鹿,挽具上挂着铃铛。不过这些驯鹿比妖婆的驯鹿大多了,它们也不是白鹿,而是棕色的鹿。雪橇上坐着一个人,大家一见这人就认识了。他个头高大,身穿一件鲜红的袍子(像冬青果那么红),戴一顶里面有皮毛的风帽,一部白色的大胡子像满是泡沫的水帘子垂在胸前。人人都认识他,尽管只是在纳尼亚才见到他这种人.但甚至在我们的世界里——就是在衣柜门这一边的世界里——我们也见过他们的画像,听人谈起过他们。不过一旦你在纳尼亚真正看到他们,这就不大一样了。在我们的世界里,有些圣诞老人的画片把他画得只是外貌有趣、逗人而已。不过现在孩子们真正站在他面前瞧着他,就觉得并不完全是这样。他是那么魁梧,那么高兴,那么真实,他们全都静了下来。他们感到非常高兴,但也非常严肃。

“我终于来了,”他说,“她把我赶走多年了,但我终于进来了。阿斯兰在行动,妖婆的魔法在减弱。”

露茜只觉得浑身上下快活得颤抖起来,这种感觉只有在你心情庄严而宁静时才会有。

“好了,”圣诞老人说,“给你们礼物吧。海狸太太,给你一台更好的新缝纫机,我路过你们家时会把缝纫机送去的。”

“请别见怪,先生,”海狸太太说着行了个屈膝礼,“房子锁上了。”

“锁和门闩对我没什么关系。”圣诞老人说,“至于你嘛、海狸先生,等你回到家,就会看到你的堤坝完工了,修好了,所有裂缝都不漏了,还配上了一道新的水闸门。”

海狸先生高兴得嘴巴张得老大,什么话也说不出来。

“彼得,亚当的儿子。”圣诞老人说。

“在,先生。”彼得说。

“这些是你的礼物,”圣诞老人说,“是工具,而不是玩具。用上这些东西的时候也许就快到了,好好带着吧。”说着他递给彼得一把剑和一面盾。盾是银色的,当中有一只扑腾的红狮,就像刚摘下的熟草莓那么红。剑柄是金铸的,还配有剑鞘和佩剑用的腰带,以及一切用剑必备的东西,而且剑的尺寸和重量对彼得也正合适。彼得接过这些礼物时默默无言,态度严肃,因为他觉得这是一份十分庄严的礼物。

“苏珊,夏娃的女儿,”圣诞老人说,“这些是给你的。”他递给她一张弓、一只装满箭的箭袋和一只小小的象牙号角。

“你必须在紧急时才能使用这弓箭,”他说,“因为我无意让你去打仗。这弓箭百发百中。一旦你拿起这只号角,吹响了,不管你在哪儿,我想你都会得到帮助。”

最后他才说,“露茜,夏娃的女儿。”露茜走上前去。他给她一只小瓶子,看上去好像是玻璃的(不过事后人们说那瓶子是钻石做的)和一把小匕首。“在这个瓶子里,”他说,“有一种妙药,是用长在太阳之山上的一种火花的汁提炼的。如果你或是你哪个朋友受了伤,洒上几滴就能治好。这把匕首是给你在紧急时自卫的。因为你也用不着打仗。”

“怎么,先生,”露茜说,“我想——我不知道——不过我想,我会够勇敢的。”

“不是那个意思,”他说,“让女人打仗是丑陋的。现在呢,”——说到这儿他突然看上去不那么严肃了——“还有一些东西是眼下给你们大家的!”他拿出(我猜是从他背上那只大口袋里拿出来的,不过没人看见他怎么拿的)一只大托盘,上面有五套杯碟,一钵方糖,一罐奶油,一只嘶嘶直响的滚烫大茶壶。接着他叫道:“圣诞快乐!真命国王万岁!”说着一扬鞭子,他们还没看清他已经动身了,他就驾着驯鹿拉的雪橇走得没影了。

彼得刚从剑鞘里抽出剑给海狸先生看,海狸太太就说:

“好了,好了,别站在那儿说话,说得茶凉了。像个男人的样子。来帮帮忙把托盘搬下去,我们就要吃早餐了。幸亏我想到把面包刀带来了。”

于是他们走下陡峭的山坡,回到洞里,海狸先生切了点面包和火腿,做成夹肉面包,海狸太太斟茶,大家吃得津津有味。不过没等他们好好享用多久,海狸先生就说,“现在是行动的时候了。”