Chapter 1

當我六歲的時候,有一次我在一本敘述有關原
始森林名叫「往日真實故事集」的書上看到一
張美麗奇特的畫。它上面畫有一隻蟒蛇在吞吃
一隻野獸。這裡就是那張畫的複寫。

Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent
picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature,
about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa
constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. Here
is a copy of the drawing.

那本書上說:「那些蟒蛇連一口都沒有咀嚼,
就把牠們獵獲的動物整個兒吞吃掉,然後就一
動也不動的長眠六個月,來消化肚子裡的東西。」

那時候我對這類叢林中發生的奇怪事情想了又想
,之後輪到我動手,我拿了一隻彩色鉛筆完成了
我生平第一張畫。我的第一號畫就像這樣。

In the book it said: "Boa constrictors swallow their prey
whole, without chewing it. After that they are not able to
move, and they sleep through the six months that they
need for digestion."

I pondered deeply, then, over the adventures of the jungle.
And after some work with a colored pencil I succeeded in
making my first drawing. My Drawing Number One.
It looked like this:

我把我的傑作拿給大人看,我問他門市不是我的
畫很可怕。他們回答我說;「一頂帽子怎麼會很
可怕?」我畫得並不是一頂帽子。它表示一隻蟒
蛇正在消化一隻象。為了使大人暸解我的意思我
就把蟒蛇的內部也畫出來。大人們經常需要很多
的解釋。我的第二號畫就像這樣。

I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups, and asked
them whether the drawing frightened them. But they
answered: "Frighten? Why should any one be frightened
by a hat?" My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was
a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But
since the grown-ups were not able to understand it, I made
another drawing: I drew the inside of the boa constrictor,
so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always
need to have things explained. My Drawing Number Two
looked like this:

那些大人們勸我放下那些看得見內部或看不見內部
的蟒蛇的畫,而把興趣轉到地理、歷史、算術和文
法上面。就這樣,在六歲的時候,我放棄了畫家的
很好的事業。我第一號和第二號的畫眉得到成功使
我很灰心。大人們從來不會一下子暸解一件事,而
向他們一遍又一遍的說明,對孩子來說,事件令人
疲乏的事。

因此我不得不另外選擇一項職業,而我學會了駕駛
飛機。世界上的每個角落我差不多都飛過了。不錯
,地理對我很有用。我只要睜眼一看,就可以分辨
中國和亞利桑那。當一個人在夜間迷失了路的時候
,這會是很有用的。

The grown-ups' response, this time, was to advise me to
lay aside my drawings of boa constrictors, whether from
the inside or the outside, and devote myself instead to
geography, history, arithmetic and grammar. That is why,
at the age of six, I gave up what might have been a
magnificent career as a painter. I had been disheartened by
the failure of my Drawing Number One and my Drawing
Number Two. Grown-ups never understand anything by
themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and
forever explaining things to them.

So then I chose another profession, and learned to pilot
airplanes. I have flown a little over all parts of the world; and
it is true that geography has been very useful to me. At a
glance I can distinguish China from Arizona. If one gets lost
in the night, such knowledge is valuable.

就這樣在我的一生中,我和一大堆嚴肅的人有了密切的
往來。我在大人群中生活了很久。我仔細的觀察過他們
。我對他們的意見並不因此而改變。

當我遇見一位看起來比較明理一點的大人時,我就將我
經常保存著的第一號畫在他身上做試驗。我想知道他是
否真正有理解力。但他經常回答我:「這是一頂帽子。
」於是我就不再跟他談蟒蛇,也不談原始森林,也不跟
他談星星。我遷就他。我跟他談橋牌,談高爾夫球,談
政治,談領帶。於是那位大人滿意了,他高興於能認識
這樣一位識時務的人。

In the course of this life I have had a great many encounters
with a great many people who have been concerned with matters
of consequence. I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I
have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn't much
improved my opinion of them.

Whenever I met one of them who seemed to me at all clear-sighted,
I tried the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One,
which I have always kept. I would try to find out, so, if this was a
person of true understanding. But, whoever it was, he, or she,
would always say:

"That is a hat."

Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or
primeval forests, or stars. I would bring myself down to his level. I
would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties.
And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a
sensible man.

 

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