The Bottle Imp by Robert Stevenson (adapted story in English, intermediate)

Продолжаем публиковать рассказы на английском языке (уровень intermediate). Сегодня изучающих английский язык ждет увлекательная история Роберта Стивенсона о волшебной бутылке The Bottle Imp. В этой истории автор предлагает читателю разгадать некий логический парадокс, который так и называется парадокс «волшебной бутылки».

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Have you ever heard about logical paradoxes? There are not so many of them and the most famous one is the hangman paradox. In the short story «The Bottle Imp» Robert Stevenson creates one more paradox, called the Bottle Imp paradox. The point is that the bottle bought at some price but must be sold at a loss. Otherwise it returns to its owner. Would you like to know more about it and improve your English at the same time? Well, the only way is to read the story. The level of adaptation of the story «The Bottle Imp» is intermediate.

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The Bottle Imp (adapted for intermediate) из цикла «Stories by Stevenson for Intermediate»

Adaptation by T. Nabeeva, ©

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The Bottle Imp by Robert Stevenson. Part I

Hawaii [hə’waɪiː ] — Гавайи

Keawe [ki:v] — Кеаве (главный герой рассказа)

Words to know:

  1. sail – плыть
  2. went ashore (от go ashore – сойти на берег)
  3. admiration – восхищение
  4. notice – замечать
  5. sigh – вздыхать
  6. envy – завидовать
  7. sign – знак
  8. wish – желать
  9. bring trouble – принести неприятности
  10. fortune – богатство
  11. chest – сундук
  12. shadow – тень
  13. break – разбить
  14. imp – бес
  15. at his command – в его распоряжении
  16. prolong – продлить
  17. burn in hell – гореть в аду
  18. do without – обойтись без
  19. have to do – придется сделать
  20. power – могущество, сила

There was a man of the Island of Hawaii, whose name was Keawe. This man was poor but brave and active. One day Keawe decided to see the great world and foreign cities, and he sailed to San Francisco.

He went ashore and walked around the town, looking at the great houses with pleasure. «What fine houses these are!» he thought, «and how happy must be the people who live in them!»Suddenly Keawe saw a very beautiful house and he stopped and looked at the house in admiration. Then he noticed a man who was looking at him through a window. The man was old, with a bald head and a black beard. The man was sad, he sighed. Keawe looked at the man, and the man looked at Keawe, and somehow they felt that they envied the other.

Then the man gave a sign for Keawe to come in. He met him at the front door and said, «This is a fine house of mine.» He sighed again. «Would you like to see the rooms?»

And he led Keawe all over the house, from the cellar to the roof, and everything was perfect there.

«That’s true,» said Keawe, «this is a beautiful house; if I lived in this house I should laugh all day long. Why do you sigh

«You could have a house like this, and finer, if you wish. You have some money, I guess?» said the man.

«I have fifty dollars,» said Keawe; «but a house like this will cost more than fifty dollars.»

«I am sorry you have no more,» said he, «for it may bring you trouble in the future; but it shall be yours at fifty dollars.»

«The house?» asked Keawe.

«No, not the house,» answered the man; «but the bottle. For, I must tell you, all my fortune, and this house itself and its garden, came out of a bottle. This is it.»

And he opened a chest, and took out a round-bellied bottle with a long neck; the glass of it was changing rainbow colours.Within it something moved, like a shadow.

a round-bellied bottle with a long neck – пузатая круглая бутылка с длинным горлышком;

— the glass changing rainbow colours – стекло, переливающееся всеми цветами радуги.

«This is the bottle,» said the man; and Keawe laughed, «You do not believe me?» he added. «Try, then, for yourself. See if you can break it.»

Keawe took the bottle up and threw it on the floor; but it jumped on the floor like a child’s ball, and was not broken.

«This is a strange thing,» said Keawe. «For by the touch and by the look, the bottle is of glass.»

«Of glass it is,»said the man, sighing again; «but the glass of it was made in the flames of hell.

<…> but the glass of it was made in the flames of hell. — но стекло это изготовлено в пламени ада.

An imp lives in it, and that is his shadow in the bottle. If any man buys this bottle the imp is at his command; all that he wants — love, fame, money, houses like this house, ay, or a city like this city- all are his. Napoleon had this bottle, and by it he became the king of the world; but he sold it, and fell. Captain Cook had this bottle, and by it he found his way to so many islands; but he sold it too, and was killed.

«And yet you talk of selling it yourself?» Keawe said.

«I have all I want, and I am growing old,» answered the man. «There is one thing the imp cannot do — he cannot prolong life; and, to tell the truth, there is one thing about the bottle; for if a man dies before he sells it, he must burn in hell for ever.»

«To be sure, that is bad and no mistake,» cried Keawe. «I can do without a house, thank God.»

«Just think,» said the man. «All you have to do is to use the power of the imp just once or twice, and then sell it to someone else, as I do to you, and finish your life in comfort.»

Текст книги на английском языке уровня intermediae «The Bottle Imp» by Robert Stevenson разбит на 7 частей для удобства чтения.

The Bottle Imp. Part II

Words to know:

  1. cheap — дешевый
  2. get worse — ухудшаться
  3. pigeon — голубь
  4. price — цена
  5. expensive — дорогой
  6. go down — уменьшаться
  7. deceive — обманывать
  8. swear — клясться
  9. show out — выпроводить
  10. shake — трястись

«Well, I notice two things,» said Keawe. «The first one that you keep sighing all the time and the second that you sell this bottle very cheap

«I have told you already why I sigh,» said the man. «It is because my health is getting worse; and I don’t want to die and go to the devil. And I sell so cheap because there is one thing about the bottle — it cannot be sold at all, unless sold at a loss. If you sell it for the money you paid for it, back it comes to you again like a homing pigeon.

<…> it cannot be sold at all, unless sold at a loss. — <…> ее можно продать только с убытком

Long ago, when the devil brought it first upon earth, it was very expensive, and was sold first for many millions of dollars. But it cannot be sold at all, unless sold at a loss, so the price has gone down in these centuries, and it is now very low. I bought it myself from one of my great neighbours on this hill, and the price I paid was only ninety dollars. I could sell it not more than for eighty-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents, or back the thing comes to me.

«How can I know that this is all true?» asked Keawe.

«You can try at once,» answered the man. «Give me your fifty dollars, take the bottle, and wish your fifty dollars back into your pocket. If that does not happen, I promise I will give you your money back.»

«You are not deceiving me?» said Keawe.

The man swore to tell the truth.

«Well, I will risk that much,» said Keawe, «for that can do no harm.» And he paid over his money to the man, and the man gave him the bottle.

«Imp of the bottle,» said Keawe, «I want my fifty dollars back.» And the money was in his pocket at once.

«This is a wonderful bottle,» said Keawe.

«And now, good morning to you, my fine fellow, and the devil go with you for me!» said the man.

«No, take it!» cried Keawe, «I don’t want any more of this fun. Here, take your bottle back.»

«You have bought it for less than I paid for it,» answered the man. «It is yours now; and I don’t want to see you now.» And he rang for his servant to show Keawe out of the house.

Now Keawe was in the street, with the bottle under his arm, and he began to think. «That looks like the truth,» said Keawe. «Now I will try another way.»

He threw the bottle in the gutter and walked away. Twice he looked back, and saw the milky, round-bellied bottle where he threw it. He turned a corner; and then suddenly something knocked upon his elbow, and the bottle was in the pocket of his coat.

«And that looks like the truth,» said Keawe. And all at once he began to shake, for he was afraid of that bottle.

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The Bottle Imp. Part III

Words to know:

  1. on the way back to — на обратном пути
  2. offer — предложить
  3. curious — любопытный
  4. mate — товарищ
  5. clipper — клипер
  6. go trading — заниматься торговлей
  7. agreed — договорились
  8. be drowned — утонуть
  9. serve — служить
  10. rich — богатый

On his way back to the port, he saw a shop where a man sold shells from the wild islands, old coins, pictures from China and Japan, and other things that sailors bring in their sea-chests. He went in and offered the bottle for a hundred dollars. The shopman laughed at him but when he saw the bottle with its milky white shadow inside, he found it curious and gave Keawe sixty silver dollars for the thing, and set it on a shelf in his window.

«Now,» said Keawe, «I have sold that for sixty which I bought for fifty. Soon I will know the truth about it.»

So he went back on board his ship, but when he opened his chest, he saw the bottle in it.

«Why are you so worried?» said Lopaka, Keawe’s mate on the ship, «Why are you looking so sadly in your chest

  • Lopaka — Лопака (друг Кеаве)

They were alone and Keawe told him all.

«This is a very strange thing,» said Lopaka; «and you will be in trouble about this bottle. But don’t worry. Just think what you want with it; and when it is done as, I will buy the bottle myself; because I want to get a clipper, and go trading through the islands.»

«This is my idea,» said Keawe; «I want to have a beautiful house and garden on the Kona Coast, where I was born, the sun shining in at the door, flowers in the garden, glass in the windows, pictures on the walls; and to live there happily with my friends and relatives.»

«Well,» said Lopaka, «let us come back to Hawaii, and if all comes true, I will buy the bottle, as I said, and ask for a clipper.»

Upon that they were agreed. After a while the ship came back to Hawaii. When they came ashore, they saw a friend upon the beach, who looked very sad.

«Have you heard,» said the friend, «your uncle — that good old man — is dead, and your cousin-that beautiful boy — was drowned at sea?»

Keawe became very sad and completely forgot about the bottle. But Lopaka did not and some time later asked his friend «Where did your uncle have lands?»

“On the mountain side,” said Keawe.

«These lands will now be yours?» asked Lopaka.

«And so they will,» says Keawe, and began again to feel sad for his relatives.

«Look here,» said Lopaka, «I have a thought in my mind. Don’t you think that is the doing of the bottle? Now you have the place ready for your house.»

«If this is so,» cried Keawe, «it is a very ill way to serve me by killing my relatives. But it may be indeed.»

«The house, however, is not yet built,» said Lopaka.

«No, and I don’t have money for building it.» said Keawe, «for though my uncle had some land but he didn’t have much money.»

«Let us go to the lawyer,» said Lopaka; «I have still this idea in my mind.»

When they came to the lawyer’s, they knew that Keawe’s uncle had become very rich in the last days, and left Keawe all his money.
«And here is the money for the house!» cried Lopaka.

The Bottle Imp. Part IV

Words to know:

  1. go by — идти дальше
  2. visible — видимый
  3. weapons — оружие
  4. mantelpiece — каминная полка
  5. dream — мечтать
  6. ask for a favour — попросить об одолжении
  7. go deep — увязнуть
  8. pray for — молиться за
  9. give glory to God — возносить славу Богу
  10. escape out of the trouble — избежать неприятностей

The time went by and at last the house was ready. Keawe and Lopaka came to see it.

The house stood on the mountain side, visible to ships. It was three-storey high, with great rooms and large balconies and a garden full of flowers was around it. The windows were of glass as clear as water and as bright as day. Pictures upon the wall were in golden frames: they were pictures of ships, and men fighting, and of the most beautiful women. Chiming clocks and musical boxes, little men with nodding heads, books filled with pictures, weapons from all over the world were on the shelves and mantelpiece. And everyone would be happy living in such house, only walking through the rooms and looking around.

«Well,» asked Lopaka, «is it all as you wished?»

«It is better than I dreamed,» said Keawe.

«There is but one thing to think over,» said Lopaka; «You know, I gave you my word to buy the bottle. But yet I think I want to ask you for a favour.»

«I have sworn I would take no more wishes,» said Keawe. «I have gone already deep enough

«This is not the favour you are thinking of,» said Lopaka. «It is only to see the imp himself. You get nothing from it, so you needn’t worry. So let me see the imp; and, after that, here is the money in my hand, and I will buy it.»

«There is only one thing I am afraid of,» said Keawe. «The imp may be very ugly to look at; and if you once see him you don’t want to buy the bottle.»

«I am a man of my word,» said Lopaka.

«Very well,» replied Keawe. «I am curious myself. So come, let us have one look at you, Mr. Imp.»

As soon as that was said, the imp looked out of the bottle, and in again; and Keawe and Lopaka turned to stone. The night had already come, before each of them could say a word; and then Lopaka gave the money over and took the bottle.

Lopaka went down the mountain; and Keawe stood in his front balcony, and watched him go down the path, and he prayed for his friend and gave glory to God that he himself had escaped out of that trouble.

The Bottle Imp. Part V

Words to know:

  1. terrors — страхи
  2. fame — слава
  3. hurry — спешить
  4. far ahead — далеко вперед
  5. silently — молча
  6. welcome — приветствовать
  7. too much — слишком много
  8. too little — слишком мало
  9. silence — тишина
  10. without rest — без отдыха

But the next day came very brightly, and that new house of his was so beautiful that he forgot his terrors. One day followed another, and Keawe lived in his house very happily. When anyone came to visit him, he showed them rooms and the pictures. And the fame of the house went far and wide.

So time went by, until one day Keawe went upon a visit to one of his friends. But next morning he left early as he hurried to come back to his beautiful house. On the way home, looking far ahead, he saw a woman bathing in the sea. By the time he came closer, she had come up from the sea, and stood by the track, her eyes shone.

«I thought I knew everyone in this country,» said Keawe. «How comes it that I do not know you?»

«I am Kokua, daughter of Kiano,» said the girl, «and I have just come back from Oahu. Who are you?»

  • Kokua [ko’kua] — Кокуа, дочь Киано

«I will tell you who I am but not now,» said Keawe. Because if you knew who I was, you would not give me a true answer. But tell me, first of all, one thing: are you married?»

At this Kokua laughed out aloud. “Are you married yourself?» asked she.

«Indeed, Kokua, I am not,» said Keawe, «and never thought to be until this hour. But here is the truth. I have met you here, and I saw your eyes, which are like the stars, and my heart went to you. And so now, if you don’t like me, say so, and I will go away.»

Kokua said nothing but she looked at the sea and laughed.

«Kokua,» said Keawe, «if you say nothing, I will take that for the good answer; so let us go to your father’s door.»

She went on ahead of him silently.

Now, when they came to the door, her father came out, and cried out and welcomed Keawe by name. And the girl knew who he was as the fame of the great house had come to her ears. All that evening they were very merry together; but the girl was under the eyes of her parents, and laughed at Keawe. The next day he found the girl alone.

«Kokua,» said he, «you laughed at me all the evening; and it is time for me to go. I would not tell you who I was, because I have so beautiful house, and I was afraid that you would think too much of that house and too little of me. Now you know all, and if you want me to go away, say so at once.»

«No,» said Kokua; but this time she did not laugh.

Keawe came to the Bright House, singing. He sat and ate in the large balcony, and the servants hear him singing all day long. The sun went down into the sea, and the night came; and Keawe walked the balconies by lamplight, still singing.

«Here am I now in my beautiful house,» he said to himself. «And soon I will have a beautiful wife. Life may be no better. I will light up all the lamps, and bathe in my fine bath with the hot water, and sleep on the bed in my best rooms.»

So he asked his servant to get the bath ready for him. When the water began to be hot the servant cried to his master; and Keawe went into the bathroom; and the servant heard him singing but suddenly the song stopped. The servant listened, and listened but there was silence.

But there was no more singing in the Bright House; and all night long the servant heard his master went around the balconies without rest.

The Bottle Imp. Part VI

Words to know:

  1. undress — раздеться
  2. spot — пятнышко
  3. Leprosy — проказа
  4. fall into this sickness — заболеть этой болезнью
  5. break — разбиться
  6. to and fro — взад и вперед
  7. in despair — в отчаянии
  8. sin — грех
  9. soul — душа
  10. sick — больной
  11. dreadful — ужасный
  12. to face — встретиться лицом с
  13. to get rid of — избавиться

Now the truth of it was this: as Keawe undressed for his bath, he noticed upon his body a spot like a patch of lichen on a rock, and it was then that he stopped singing.

a spot like a patch of lichen on a rockпятнышко вроде лишая на скале

For he knew what this spot meant. It was Leprosy. And every man who fall into this sickness had to leave his house and go to the north coast of Molokai where he was to live alone until his death. What a terrible thing for Keawe, who had met his love only yesterday and now all his hopes broke, in a moment, like a piece of glass.

For a long time he sat upon the edge of the bath; then cried and ran outside; and went to and fro, to and fro, along the balcony in despair.

«I could leave Hawaii, the home of my fathers,» Keawe was thinking. «I could leave my house, so rich and beautiful. I could go to Molokai, to live alone by the cliffs, far away from people. But what wrong have I done, what sin lies upon my soul, that no sooner have I met my love, Kokua, than I have fallen ill. Kokua, the love of my life! I will never marry you. I will never see you. I will never take your hand.

<…> that no sooner have I met my love, Kokua, than I have fallen ill. — <…> заболел сразу же как встретил свою любовь

There was a way to keep it in secret and to live in the Bright House for years but then he must lose Kokua. And again, he could marry Kokua sick as he was; but Keawe loved the girl dearly and couldn’t do her any harm or bring her in no danger.

The night was going on and suddenly it came to his mind the thought about the bottle. He went out on the balcony and called to memory the day when the devil looked out of the bottle; and at the ice ran in his veins.

<…> called to memory the day when the devil looked out of the bottle; and at the ice ran in his veins. — <…> вспомнил тот день, когда дьявол выглянул из бутылки, и кровь застыла в его жилах.

«A dreadful thing is the bottle,» thought Keawe, «and dreadful is the imp, and it is a dreadful thing to risk the flames of hell. But I have no other way to marry Kokua? » And he decided to face the devil again.
«I must find Lopaka,» he thought, «and my best hope now is to have the bottle, which I was so glad to get rid of.»

The Bottle Imp. Part VII

Words to know:

  1. stuck in his throat — застрясть в горле
  2. in vain — напрасно
  3. search — разыскать
  4. set off — отправиться
  5. owner of a clipper — владелец клиппера
  6. go upon adventure — отправиться искать приключений
  7. be no use — бесполезно
  8. laywer — юрист
  9. grow rich — разбогатеть
  10. gift — дар

Since that very day he couldn’t sleep; he couldn’t eat or drink as the food stuck in his throat. He sent letters to ports to find his friend but in vain. No news of Lopaka was heard. Then he decided to search Lopaka himself and set off to Honolulu, the place, which Lopaka told him about many times.

When he came to Honolulu, he began to ask for Lopaka. He knew that he had become the owner of a clipper and had gone upon an adventure to some remote islands; so there was no use to look for Lopaka. But people say that he had a friend, a lawyer in the town, who grew suddenly rich, and had a fine new house on the shore. This put a thought in Keawe’s head, and he drove to the lawyer’s house.

The house was all new, and when the lawyer came, he look very pleased.

«What can I do to serve you?» said the lawyer.

«You are a friend of Lopaka’s,» replied Keawe, «and Lopaka bought from me a certain thing that I thought you might help me to find it.»

The lawyer‘s face suddenly became very dark. «Mr. Keawe,» said he, «this is an ugly business to get in on. You may be sure I know nothing, but yet if you ask (he named a man) I think you might have news.»

So it was for days, and Keawe went from one to another, finding everywhere new clothes, fine new houses and pleased men but when he told them about his business their faces became dark.

«No doubt I am upon the track,» thought Keawe. «These new clothes and fine houses are all the gifts of the little imp, and these pleased faces are the faces of men who got what they wished and then could get rid of the bottle. When I see pale cheeks and hear sighing, I shall know that I am near the bottle.»

«No doubt I am upon the track.» — Без сомнения я на верном пути.

The Bottle Imp. Part VIII

Words to know:

  1. corpse — труп
  2. gallows — виселица
  3. faint — чуть не потерять сознание
  4. embezzle — растратить деньги из кассы
  5. jail — тюрьма
  6. poor creature — бедняжка
  7. avoid — избежать
  8. punishment — наказание
  9. hesitate — колебаться
  10. darkness — тьма

At last that he was recommended to see a young man in Beritania Street. When he came to the door, there were the usual marks of the new house, and the young garden, and the electric light shining in the windows; but when the owner came, a shock of hope and fear ran through Keawe; for here was a young man, white as a corpse, and black about the eyes, and such a look in his face as if the man was waiting for the gallows.

«Here it is, to be sure,» thought Keawe, and ask straight, «I have come to buy the bottle.»

At the word the young man seemed fainted.

«The bottle!» he cried. «To buy the bottle!» Then he took Keawe by the arm carried him into a room and poured out wine in two glasses.

«Yes,» he added, «I have come to buy the bottle. What is the price by now?»

At that word the young man looked upon Keawe like a ghost.

«The price,» says he; «the price! you do not know the price?»

«It is for that I am asking you,»said Keawe. «Is there anything wrong about the price? How much did it cost you?»

The young man was as white as a sheet. «Two cents,» said he.

«What?» cried Keawe, «two cents? Why, then, you can only sell it for one. And he who buys it- …» The words died upon Keawe’s tongue; because he could never sell it again, the bottle and the bottle imp must be with him until he died, and when he died must carry him to hell.

The words died upon Keawe’s tongue; because he could never sell it again, the bottle and the bottle imp must be with him until he died, and when he died must carry him to hell. — Слова замерли на его устах, ибо он никогда не сможет продать бутылку; теперь бутылка и ее хозяин будет с ним до самой смерти, а когда он умрет, бес утащит его в ад.

The young man fell upon his knees. «For God’s sake buy it!» he cried. «You can have all my fortune. I was mad when I bought it at that price. I had embezzled money at my store; I must have gone to jail.»

«Poor creature,» said Keawe, «you would risk your soul upon to avoid the punishment; and you think I could hesitate with love in front of me. Give me the bottle. Here is one cent.”

The bottle changed hands. When Keawe took the bottle than he wished to be a clean man. And, sure , when he got home to his room and undressed before a glass, his body was clear like an baby’s. But the strange thing happened: his mind changed within him as he didn’t think about Kokua anymore. Only one thought he had now that here he would have the bottle imp forever, and he was to burn in the flames of hell. And darkness fell upon his soul.

<…> and he was to burn in the flames of hell. — <…> и ему предстоит гореть в пламени ада.

«But the thing is done now,» he said to himself, «and once more let me take the good along with the evil.»

<…> let me take the good along with the evil.» — <…> что же не извлечь добра из худа.

So he came back to Hawaii, married to Kokua, and carried her up the mountain side to the Bright House.


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