The Magic Box 魔法盒

 |2021.09.12
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字級

提要

「中國白話文學之父」胡適先生曾說:「種種從前,都成今我。莫更思量更莫哀,從今後要怎麼收穫,先怎麼栽!」也就是說,想要有什麼樣的成果,至少要先付出同等的努力,天下沒有不勞而獲的。



Once upon a time, in a faraway land there lived a farmer with his two sons. He worked hard and looked after his farm, his cattle, and orchard regularly. It was little wonder that he had fields finest in the village. His cattle and sheep were the best in the village. The choicest fruits and vegetables grew in his garden and orchard.

During the monthly fair, where all village folks met to sell their wares, his was the best of the lot. His neighbors envied and said, "There goes Ferguson, his sons are fortunate to have him as a father. They are going to inherit all these".

Ferguson had two sons. The elder one was William and the younger Harry. However, his sons were not interested in farming. William was more interested in arms and fighting, while Harry liked music and the fiddle.

One day, he asked his sons, "What is it that you want to do in life?"

William was quick to reply, "I want to join the army. I want to serve the country and make you proud".

Harry seemed not so sure about what he wanted to do. "Well, I like music, and I may become a musician, but think I will have to practice harder".

"Okay," the farmer said. "William, you go and join the army, and fulfill your wish".

Then he turned to Harry. "You too can work towards your dream but meantime, help me with my work as well".

So William left and Harry stayed back with his father, occasionally helping him in his daily chores but mostly dreaming about his musical future.

Life went on but one day Ferguson fell ill and there was nothing that anybody could do to help him. On his deathbed, he called Harry and told him, "Take good care of everything son, remember you are looking after your brother's share too, give it back to him intact, when he returns from his duty".

Those were his last words, and Ferguson died leaving everything he had in Harry's care.

At first, Harry kept his father's words close to his heart and started on his life as a farmer. Nevertheless, as time went on, he began falling back to his old, carefree ways. He thought "there are laborers to look after them who have been doing this for long so they will continue to do so".

However, hoping for things to take care of themselves was too much to ask. Once left by themselves, laborers stopped giving their best, which meant crops weren't looked after, cattle was unattended, fruits ripened and fell down from the tree, but never reached markets on time. Thieves stole his cattle while pests and small birds made merry on the unmanned farms. The guards themselves turned to steal as they found the opportunity too tempting.

Harry was oblivious to everything, lost in his world and music. The money his father left was getting him through the days and there was no shortage of friends and well-wishers while that lasted. But all things if not growing, have to come to an end. One night, it finally dawned upon Harry, when his father came to him in a dream.

"Remember my last words, son, remember to give your brother his share, or more if possible." was all he said. Harry was relieved his father did not scold him for being careless.

Harry wasn't sure that his brother would come back or not. The thought of showing him the real situation made him panic, and he was running around in the village. His neighbors and others were having a good laugh at him, "We warned you so many times." Nobody came forward to help him and they were all happy at his misery.

There was one shepherd boy in the crowd, who was considered a simpleton by everybody. But only he gave something which seemed like a solution to Harry. The boy said, "Master, why don't you go to the old lady on the mountains, who can do magic. Who knows she may bring your lost fortunes back through magic".

Harry took serious notice of the boy and climbed up the mountain. The old woman lived in a cave-like house, too old to even move around, she listened to his whole story, then went inside, came back with a small box in her hand, with a tiny hole on top. The box was locked and welded with brass strips. She handed the box to Harry and said, "Every day, before sunrise, shake one grain of magic dust on all corners of your land, and watch the magic happening".

Harry's relief was beyond words. He took the magic box, thanked the old woman, and quickly left for home. The next day he woke up, earlier than he had ever done, and went with the box to the fields, he noticed the crops were half uncut, he also noticed the cut ones had not been taken inside or properly dried.

Harry woke up sleepy laborers and sent them off to fields, with instructions to do their job properly. He repeated the same routine in the cattle sheds and orchards. Laborers were shocked and whispered to each other, "The Master is so much different!"

This routine was repeated every day. Harry went on shaking his magic dust in fields, and his laborers had to keep up with him. Every day, he found items that were left unattended and made sure it was taken care of. He was waiting for the magic to happen, but unknowingly he was making it. Within time, his farm, orchards, and cattle began to prosper and seemed well on the way to the state when his father was alive.

Harry's brother never returned. He may have been killed in the war, but the good times came back for Harry. He got married to a good girl and had two sons. Time passed and while on his deathbed, he asked his sons to open the magic box, and inside there was nothing except some sand and a note which said, "The magic is in the master's eye, and what your property needs are your attention"



解說

從前在遙遠的地方,住著農夫和他的兩個兒子。他努力工作,規律地照顧他的農場、牛群和果園,理所當然擁有最好的農田,他的牲口是村裡最健壯的,他的花園、果園裡,長著最優質的水果、蔬菜。

在每月的集市上,村人聚在一起交易商品,他是其中的佼佼者。鄰居羨慕地說:「這就是弗格森,他的兒子們很幸運,他們將繼承這一切。」

弗格森有兩個兒子,大兒子威廉和小兒子哈利,但他們對務農業不感興趣,威廉對武器和格鬥更感興趣,而哈利則喜歡音樂和小提琴。

有一天他問兒子:「一生想做什麼?」

威廉很快回答:「我要加入軍隊、報效國家,讓你驕傲。」

哈利似乎不太確定他想做什麼:「嗯,我喜歡音樂,我可能會成為一名音樂家,但我認為我必須更加努力地練習。」

「好吧,」農夫弗格森說:威廉,你去軍隊,完成你的心願。」

然後他轉向哈利:「你也可以為你的夢想而努力,但同時,也要幫我完成工作。」

於是威廉離開了,哈利留在了父親身邊,偶爾幫些日常家務,但大部分時候,仍夢想著他的音樂未來。

日復一日,有一天弗格森病倒了,也沒再復原。臨終前,他對哈利說:「兒子,照顧好一切,別忘了你也在照顧你兄弟的那一份,等他回來,原封不動地還給他。」

講完最後幾句話,弗格森離開了人世,把一切都留給了哈利。

起初,哈利還把父親的話放在心上,開始過農夫生活。然而隨著時間的流逝,他變回從前無憂無慮的樣子。他認為:「有工人照顧這些事的,他們已經這樣做了很長的時間,所以會繼續照辦的。」

然而,希望所有的事都能自動運作,未免異想天開。沒人看管的工人不再盡力工作,農作物得不到照顧,牛群無人放牧,成熟的果實從樹上散落一地,也從未按時送往市場販賣。竊賊偷走了牛,害蟲和小鳥在空無一人的農場上嬉戲。守衛們發現這誘人機會,也監守自盜。

迷失在音樂世界中的哈利,對這一切視而不見。他父親留下的錢讓他足以度日,這段期間不乏朋友和甜言蜜語的人出現,但一切事物不再成長,總有山窮水盡的時候。一天晚上,當父親出現在夢中時,哈利才終於恍然大悟。

「記住我的遺言,兒子,要給你兄弟他的那份,如果可能有更多的,也要分給他。」老父只說了這些話,讓哈利鬆了口氣,因為他沒因怠惰而受責罵。

哈利沒把握威廉會不會回來,但一想到要讓兄弟看到這種頹廢的真實情況,他就慌張地在村裡亂跑。幸災樂禍的鄰居都盡情地嘲笑他:「我們警告過你很多次了。」完全沒有人出面幫他。

人群中有個牧童,大家都認為他是個傻子,但也只有他指點迷津。牧童說:「主人,你何不去找山上的老太太,她會魔法。說不定她能用魔法把你所失去的找回來。」

哈利很認真地聽完,然後爬上了山。老嫗住在山洞般的房子裡,已因年邁而行動不便了,她聽完他的全部故事後,進屋拿了一個小盒子回來,盒子上鎖還用黃銅焊住,上面有個小孔。她把盒子遞給哈利說:「每天,在日出之前,到你土地的各角落搖出一粒魔法塵,然後看著神奇的事發生。」

哈利如釋重負的感覺,簡直無法用言語形容。他接過魔法盒、謝過老太太,飛快地回家。第二天,他比以往任何時候都更早地醒來,帶著箱子走到田裡時,他瞧見農作物有一半沒有割,還發現割下來的農作沒有帶進屋裡、也沒完全晒乾。

哈利叫醒昏睡的工人,讓他們回到田裡,並指示認真地完成工作。他到牛欄和果園,也重複著同樣的指示。大吃一驚的工人們竊竊私語:「主人很不一樣了!」

哈利每天重複同樣的過程,在田裡不同的角落搖晃他的魔法塵,為他工作的人則不得不跟上他的腳步。每天,他都會找到該做而沒做的事,並要求大家盡力做好。他等待魔法產生作用,但不知不覺間,自己讓神奇的事發生了,一天一天過去,他的農場、果園和牛群開始繁茂興旺,似乎就像他父親還在世的時候一樣。

哈利的兄弟再也沒有回來,很可能已在戰爭中陣亡,但哈利的好時光回來了,他娶了好女孩、生了兩個兒子。隨著時光流逝,到了哈利臨終的時候,他讓兒子們打開魔法盒,發現裡面只有沙和一張紙條,上面寫著:「魔法存在於目光所及之處,你所擁有的一切,需要的就是你的關心重視。」

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