Oscar Wilde. The Fisherman and his Soul (in English, audio with text)

Part 2. The Tales of the Sea (a story in English with text)

Part 2. The Tales of the Sea (in English). Морские сказания

Every evening the young Fisherman went out upon the sea, and called to the Mermaid, and she rose out of the water and sang to him. Round and round her swam the dolphins, and the wild gulls wheeled above her head.

And she sang a marvellous song. For she sang of the Sea-folk who drive their flocks from cave to cave, and carry the little calves on their shoulders; of the Tritons who have long green beards, and hairy breasts, and blow through twisted conchs when the King passes by; of the palace of the King which is all of amber, with a roof of clear emerald, and a pavement of bright pearl; and of the gardens of the sea where the great filigrane fans of coral wave all day long, and the fish dart about like silver birds, and the anemones cling to the rocks, and the pinks bourgeon in the ribbed yellow sand. She sang of the big whales that come down from the north seas and have sharp icicles hanging to their fins; of the Sirens who tell of such wonderful things that the merchants have to stop their ears with wax lest they should hear them, and leap into the water and be drowned; of the sunken galleys with their tall masts, and the frozen sailors clinging to the rigging, and the mackerel swimming in and out of the open portholes; of the little barnacles who are great travellers, and cling to the keels of the ships and go round and round the world; and of the cuttlefish who live in the sides of the cliffs and stretch out their long black arms, and can make night come when they will it. She sang of the nautilus who has a boat of her own that is carved out of an opal and steered with a silken sail; of the happy Mermen who play upon harps and can charm the great Kraken to sleep; of the little children who catch hold of the slippery porpoises and ride laughing upon their backs; of the Mermaids who lie in the white foam and hold out their arms to the mariners; and of the sea-lions with their curved tusks, and the sea-horses with their floating manes. (1)

(1) — Она пела о Жителях моря, что из пещеры в пещеру гоняют свои стада и носят детенышей у себя на плечах; о Тритонах, зеленобородых, с волосатою грудью, которые трубят в витые раковины во время шествия Морского царя; о царском янтарном чертоге — у него изумрудная крыша, а полы из ясного жемчуга; о подводных садах, где колышутся целыми днями широкие кружевные веера из кораллов, а над ними проносятся рыбы, подобно серебряным птицам; и льнут анемоны к скалам, и розовые пескари гнездятся в желтых бороздках песка. Она пела об огромных китах, приплывающих из северных морей, с колючими сосульками на плавниках; о Сиренах, которые рассказывают такие чудесные сказки, что купцы затыкают себе уши воском, чтобы не броситься в воду и не погибнуть в волнах; о затонувших галерах, у которых длинные мачты, за их снасти ухватились матросы, да так и закоченели навек, а в открытые люки вплывает макрель и свободно выплывает оттуда; о малых ракушках, великих путешественницах: они присасываются в килях кораблей и объезжают весь свет; о каракатицах, живущих на склонах утесов: она простирает свои длинные черные руки, и cтоит им захотеть, будет ночь. Она пела о моллюске-наутилусе: у него свой собственный опаловый ботик, управляемый шелковым парусом; и о счастливых Тритонах, которые играют на арфе и чарами могут усыпить самого Осьминога Великого; и о маленьких детях моря, которые поймают черепаху и со смехом катаются на ее скользкой спине; и о Девах морских, что нежатся в белеющей пене и простирают руки к морякам; и о моржах с кривыми клыками, и о морских конях, у которых развевается грива.

  • heed (устар.) = pay attention to — обращать внимание на
  • dwell = live

And as she sang, all the tunny-fish came in from the deep to listen to her, and the young Fisherman threw his nets round them and caught them, and others he took with a spear. And when his boat was well-laden, the Mermaid would sink down into the sea, smiling at him.

Yet would she never come near him that he might touch her. Oftentimes he called to her and prayed of her, but she would not; and when he sought to seize her she dived into the water as a seal might dive, nor did he see her again that day. And each day the sound of her voice became sweeter to his ears. So sweet was her voice that he forgot his nets and his cunning, and had no care of his craft. (2) Vermilion-finned and with eyes of bossy gold, the tunnies went by in shoals, but he heeded them not. His spear lay by his side unused, and his baskets of plaited osier were empty. With lips parted, and eyes dim with wonder, he sat idle in his boat and listened, listening till the sea-mists crept round him, and the wandering moon stained his brown limbs with silver.

(2) — Так сладостен был ее голос, что Рыбак забывал свой челнок, свои сети, и добыча уже не прельщала его.

And one evening he called to her, and said: ‘Little Mermaid, little Mermaid, I love thee. Take me for thy bridegroom, for I love thee.’

But the Mermaid shook her head. ‘Thou have a human soul,’ she answered. ‘If only thou would send away thy soul, then could I love thee.’

And the young Fisherman said to himself, ‘Of what use is my soul to me? I cannot see it. I may not touch it. I do not know it. Surely I will send it away from me, and much gladness shall be mine.’ And a cry of joy broke from his lips, and standing up in the painted boat, he held out his arms to the Mermaid. ‘I will send my soul away,’ he cried, ‘and you shall be my bride, and I will be thy bridegroom, and in the depth of the sea we will dwell together, and all that thou have sung of thou shall show me, and all that thou desire I will do, nor shall our lives be divided.’

And the little Mermaid laughed for pleasure and hid her face in her hands.

‘But how shall I send my soul from me?’ cried the young Fisherman. ‘Tell me how I may do it, and lo! it shall be done.’

‘Alas! I know not,’ said the little Mermaid: ‘the Sea-folk have no souls.’ And she sank down into the deep, looking wistfully at him.

The End of Part 2

Читать продолжение истории Оскара Уайльда «Рыбак и его душа» на странице 3

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