Jack London. To Build a Fire (in English, in the original)

Jack London. To Build a Fire. The End

  • flaw — изъян
  • endurance — выносливость
  • to thaw out— оттаять
  • be aware of -осознавать
  • drove him on — погнала его вперед
  • with dignity — с достоинством
  • conception — представление
  • make fool of himself — делать из себя дурака
  • chicken with its head cut off — курица с отрезанной головой
  • was bound to — предстояло
  • decently — прилично
  • new- found peace of mind — новое умиротворенное состояние
  • drowsiness — сонливость
  • found himself with them — оказался с ними

This thought he kept in the background and refused to consider. Sometimes it pushed itself forward and demanded to be heard, but he thrust it back and strove to think of other things.

It struck him as curious that he could run at all on feet so frozen that he could not feel them when they struck the earth and took the weight of his body. He seemed to himself to skim along above the surface and to have no connection with the earth. Somewhere he had once seen a winged Mercury, and he wondered if Mercury felt as he felt when skimming over the earth.

His theory of running until he reached camp and the boys had one flaw in it: he lacked the endurance. Several times he stumbled, and finally he tottered, crumpled up, and fell. When he tried to rise, he failed. He must sit and rest, he decided, and next time he would merely walk and keep on going. As he sat and regained his breath, he noted that he was feeling quite warm and comfortable. He was not shivering, and it even seemed that a warm glow had come to his chest and trunk. And yet, when he touched his nose or cheeks, there was no sensation. Running would not thaw them out. Nor would it thaw out his hands and feet. Then the thought came to him that the frozen portions of his body must be extending. He tried to keep this thought down, to forget it, to think of something else; he was aware of the panicky feeling that it caused, and he was afraid of the panic. But the thought asserted itself, and persisted, until it produced a vision of his body totally frozen. This was too much, and he made another wild run along the trail. Once he slowed down to a walk, but the thought of the freezing extending itself made him run again.

And all the time the dog ran with him, at his heels. When he fell down a second time, it curled its tail over its forefeet and sat in front of him facing him curiously eager and intent. The warmth and security of the animal angered him, and he cursed it till it flattened down its ears appeasingly. This time the shivering came more quickly upon the man. He was losing in his battle with the frost. It was creeping into his body from all sides. The thought of it drove him on, but he ran no more than a hundred feet, when he staggered and pitched headlong. It was his last panic. When he had recovered his breath and control, he sat up and entertained in his mind the conception of meeting death with dignity. However, the conception did not come to him in such terms. His idea of it was that he had been making a fool of himself, running around like a chicken with its head cut off--such was the simile that occurred to him. Well, he was bound to freeze anyway, and he might as well take it decently. With this new-found peace of mind came the first glimmerings of drowsiness. A good idea, he thought, to sleep off to death. It was like taking an anaesthetic. Freezing was not so bad as people thought. There were lots worse ways to die.

He pictured the boys finding his body next day. Suddenly he found himself with them, coming along the trail and looking for himself. And, still with them, he came around a turn in the trail and found himself lying in the snow. He did not belong with himself any more, for even then he was out of himself, standing with the boys and looking at himself in the snow. It certainly was cold, was his thought. When he got back to the States he could tell the folks what real cold was. He drifted on from this to a vision of the old-timer on Sulphur Creek. He could see him quite clearly, warm and comfortable, and smoking a pipe.

«You were right, old hoss; you were right,» the man mumbled to the old-timer of Sulphur Creek.

Then the man drowsed off into what seemed to him the most comfortable and satisfying sleep he had ever known. The dog sat facing him and waiting. The brief day drew to a close in a long, slow twilight. There were no signs of a fire to be made, and, besides, never in the dog’s experience had it known a man to sit like that in the snow and make no fire. As the twilight drew on, its eager yearning for the fire mastered it, and with a great lifting and shifting of forefeet, it whined softly, then flattened its ears down in anticipation of being chidden by the man. But the man remained silent. Later, the dog whined loudly. And still later it crept close to the man and caught the scent of death. This made the animal bristle and back away. A little longer it delayed, howling under the stars that leaped and danced and shone brightly in the cold sky. Then it turned and trotted up the trail in the direction of the camp it knew, where were the other food-providers and fire-providers.

Read the story «To Build a Fire» in Russian online — «Развести костер» (часть 6) читать онлайн на русском языке

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6 thoughts on “Jack London. To Build a Fire (in English, in the original)
  1. Vladimir says:

    Здравствуйте! Напутали Вы тут с температурой. Действительно, +32 градуса по Фаренгейту это 0 градусов по Цельсию, но -50 по Фаренгейту это -45,6 по Цельсию (а не -82, как у Вас). Кстати, самая низкая температура на Земле была зафиксирована в Антарктиде, около -89 по Цельсию. В 19 веке и в начале 20 века были популярны спиртовые термометры Реомюра. В рассказе «To build a fire» предложение «Fifty degrees below zero meant eighty odd degrees of frost» следует перевести так «Пятьдесят градусов ниже нуля по Реомюру означало восемьдесят с лишним градусов мороза по Фаренгейту».
    -50 Реомюр = -80,5 Фаренгейт = -62,5 Цельсий
    С уважением,
    В.

    • admin says:

      Спасибо огромное за столь дельное замечание. Признаюсь, ничего не знала о спиртовых термометрах Реомюра. Исправлю обязательно)

    • Vladimir says:

      Похоже, что я тоже чуть напутал :))
      Вариант перевода, где упоминается Реомюр, часто встречается в Интернете. Но в рассказе, видимо, речь _только_ о градусах Фаренгейта. Логика автора такая: температура замерзания воды это +32 по Фаренгейту (или 0 по Цельсию). Если термометр показывает -50 по Фаренгейту, то для автора это то же самое, что 82 градуса мороза.
      Если -75 по Фаренгейту, то для автора это 107 градусов мороза.

      В рассказе «To build a fire» читаем:
      It was seventy-five below zero. Since the freezing-point is thirty-two above zero, it meant that one hundred and seven degrees of frost obtained.

      -75 Фаренгейт = -59,4 Цельсий

      Холодно! :))

      С уважением,
      В.

    • admin says:

      То есть все равно около минус 60 градусов по Цельсию получается. ОК, но я еще сама попробую разобраться)) Спасибо!

  2. Соболев Александр Александрович, says:

    Картинка на обложке книжки не соответствует содержанию. Он развел костер под сосной…

    • Tatiana says:

      Вы очень внимательны. Спасибо! Буду благодарна, если вы поможете исправить это недоразумение и нарисуете такую картинку!

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