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

Part 5. The Sabbath (a story in English with text)


Part 5. The Sabbath (in English). Шабаш

  • Like a targe — как диск
  • yellow sulphurous eyes — со блестящими желтыми глазами
  • sewn with seed-pearls wrought into a curious device — мелким жемчугом был вышит на нем какой-то невиданный узор
  • one snared in a spell — как завороженный
  • Nay. — Нет. (устар.)
  • Thou knowest. — Ты сам знаешь.

And that evening, when the moon had risen, the young Fisherman climbed up to the top of the mountain, and stood under the branches of the hornbeam. Like a targe of polished metal the round sea lay at his feet, and the shadows of the fishing-boats moved in the little bay. A great owl, with yellow sulphurous eyes, called to him by his name, but he made it no answer. A black dog ran towards him and snarled. He struck it with a rod of willow, and it went away whining.

At midnight the witches came flying through the air like bats. ‘Phew!’ they cried, as they lit upon the ground, ‘there is some one here we know not!’ and they sniffed about, and chattered to each other, and made signs. Last of all came the young Witch, with her red hair streaming in the wind. She wore a dress of gold tissue embroidered with peacocks’ eyes, and a little cap of green velvet was on her head.

‘Where is he, where is he?’ shrieked the witches when they saw her, but she only laughed, and ran to the hornbeam, and taking the Fisherman by the hand she led him out into the moonlight and began to dance.

Round and round they whirled, and the young Witch jumped so high that he could see the scarlet heels of her shoes. Then right across the dancers came the sound of the galloping of a horse, but no horse was to be seen, and he felt afraid.

‘Faster,’ cried the Witch, and she threw her arms about his neck, and her breath was hot upon his face. ‘Faster, faster!’ she cried, and the earth seemed to spin beneath his feet, and his brain grew troubled, and a great terror fell on him, as of some evil thing that was watching him, and at last he became aware that under the shadow of a rock there was a figure that had not been there before.

It was a man dressed in a suit of black velvet, cut in the Spanish fashion. His face was strangely pale, but his lips were like a proud red flower. He seemed weary, and was leaning back toying in a listless manner with the pommel of his dagger. On the grass beside him lay a plumed hat, and a pair of riding-gloves gauntleted with gilt lace, and sewn with seed-pearls wrought into a curious device. A short cloak lined with sables hang from his shoulder, and his delicate white hands were gemmed with rings. Heavy eyelids drooped over his eyes.

The young Fisherman watched him, as one snared in a spell. At last their eyes met, and wherever he danced it seemed to him that the eyes of the man were upon him. He heard the Witch laugh, and caught her by the waist, and whirled her madly round and round.

Suddenly a dog bayed in the wood, and the dancers stopped, and going up two by two, knelt down, and kissed the man’s hands. As they did so, a little smile touched his proud lips, as a bird’s wing touches the water and makes it laugh. But there was disdain in it. He kept looking at the young Fisherman.

‘Come! let us worship,’ whispered the Witch, and she led him up, and a great desire to do as she besought him seized on him, and he followed her. But when he came close, and without knowing why he did it, he made on his breast the sign of the Cross, and called upon the holy name.

No sooner had he done so than the witches screamed like hawks and flew away, and the pallid face that had been watching him twitched with a spasm of pain. The man went over to a little wood, and whistled. A jennet with silver trappings came running to meet him. As he leapt upon the saddle he turned round, and looked at the young Fisherman sadly.

And the Witch with the red hair tried to fly away also, but the Fisherman caught her by her wrists, and held her fast.

‘Loose me,’ she cried, ‘and let me go. For thou has named what should not be named, and shown the sign that may not be looked at.’

Nay,‘ he answered, ‘but I will not let thee go till thou has told me the secret.’

‘What secret?’ said the Witch, wrestling with him like a wild cat, and biting her foam-flecked lips.

Thou knowest,’ he made answer.

Her grass-green eyes grew dim with tears, and she said to the Fisherman, ‘Ask me anything but that!’

He laughed, and held her all the more tightly.

The End of Part 5

Читать продолжение истории Оскара Уайльда «Рыбак и его душа» на странице 6

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