Sherwood Anderson. The Egg (a story in English, for intermediate)

The Egg. A short story adapted for beginners / pre-intermediateПолный горькой иронии рассказ американского писателя Шервуда Андерсона о своем детстве, несомненно, понравится изучающим английский язык. Этот рассказ рекомендуется для чтения на английском языке студентам и взрослым на уровне intermediate. Рассказ разделен 10 частей и к каждой части дается 7 слов  для изучения. А значит ваш словарный запас увеличится на 70 слов (Английские слова для изучения к рассказу «The Egg»). Слова для понимания, а также употребительные грамматические конструкции для изучения выделены в тексте.

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Читайте также этот рассказ на английском языке в оригинале. —  Sherwood Anderson. The Egg (in the original, 1921)

The Egg (a story by Sherwood Anderson, 1921, for intermediate)

Итак, читаем рассказ Шервуда Андерсона на английском языке из цикла «Рассказы американских писателей на английском языке для начинающих и продолжающих»

Copyright ©, 2016

Part 1. New words to learn:

  1. cheerful – жизнерадостный
  2. ambitious – амбициозный, честолюбивый
  3. responsible – ответственный
  4. rule – управлять
  5. give up – бросить (чем-то заниматься)
  6. disaster – катастрофа
  7. gloomy – угрюмый

My father was a cheerful kind man. Until he was thirty-four he worked as a farmhand in a place near the town of Bidwell, Ohio. He had an own horse and on Saturday evenings drove into town to spend a few hours in a local pub. He drank several glasses of beer and had talks with other farmhands.  At ten o’clock father drove home and went to bed, quite happy with his life.

a farmhand – подручный

It was in the spring of his thirty-fifth year that my father married my mother, a country school teacher, and in the following spring I came to the world, crying. Then something happened to the two people. They became ambitious. The American dream for getting up in the world took possession of them.

took possession of – завладела

My mother was responsible. She was a tall silent woman with grey eyes. Being a school teacher, she read books and magazines. She read about Americans who were poor and became famous and dreamt that I would some day rule men and cities. For herself she wanted nothing. But for father and myself she was very ambitious. So, she made my father to give up his work on the farm, sell his horse and start a business of his own.

They rented ten acres of poor stony land, eight miles from Bidwell, and started chicken raising. I was a boy then and watched the life there from the very beginning. It was a disaster. Now I am a gloomy man who always sees the dark side of life and I think it is because I spent the best days of my childhood on a chicken farm.

chicken raising – разведение цыплят

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Part 2. New words to learn:

  1. fluffy –  пушистый
  2. naked – голый
  3. decease – заболевание
  4. dreadful – ужасный
  5. be mistaken – заблуждаться
  6. fortune – состояние
  7. struggle – 1. гл. бороться, 2. борьба

Now I know how many tragic things can happen to a chicken. Only a few weeks it lives as a fluffy thing such as you can see pictured on Easter cards but then becomes naked and ugly, gets deceases called cholera and others, stands looking with stupid eyes at the sun, becomes sick and dies. Only few of them grow up and become hens. The hens lay eggs out of which come other chickens and the dreadful cycle continues. It is very complex and I think most philosophers spent their childhood on chicken farms.  A person who hopes very much from a chicken is very mistaken. Small chickens looking so bright and lovely are very stupid, in fact. If decease doesn’t kill them, they walk under the wheels of a wagon. Or they can be infested by vermin and fortunes must be spent to cure them. In other words, if two ambitious people decide to own a few hens they must be ready to spend a lot of money.

infested by vermin – заражены паразитами

But my story is not about raising chicken. In short, my father and mother struggled to make money on the chicken farm for ten years but then gave up that struggle and began another. They moved into the town of Bidwell and started a restaurant business. After ten years of worry about lovely fluffy balls that became naked and then dead, we packed our things into a wagon and drove down towards Bidwell, hoping to start a new life.

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Part 3. New words to learn:

  1. battlefield – поле боя
  2. discouraged – разочарованный
  3. far – далекий
  4. treasure – сокровище
  5. raise – вырастить
  6. make a fortune – сколотить состояние
  7. wonder – чудо
  8. surprising – удивительный

We were like running away from a battlefield. Mother and I walked sadly along the road behind the wagon full of cheap chairs, tables, piles of bedclothes, boxes with kitchen things and what not. Father drove the wagon. He was a bald-headed man of forty-five. Since he married my mother and started raising chicken, he became silent and discouraged.  All ten years he had to work in other farms to get money and most of that money my mother spent on wonderful remedies for chicken deceases, she found advertised in newspapers. I remember that as a child I liked to sit before the stove looking at him. It was on Sunday afternoons in the winter. I was half asleep and pictured myself going along the road into a far beautiful place where there were no chicken farms and where life was happy without eggs.

had to – приходилось

wonderful remedies – чудо средства

be half-asleep – почти засыпая

So, my mother and I walked along the road for eight miles.  The only seat of the wagon beside father had our greatest treasure. Now I will tell you of that.

On a chicken farm surprising things sometimes happen. When thousands of chicken come out of eggs, some of them are born with four legs, two pairs of wings, two heads or what not. The things do not live. This fact was one of the tragedies of life to father. He thought that if he could raise a five-legged hen or a two-headed rooster, he would make a fortune. He dreamt he would take the wonder about the country and grow rich by showing it to people.

Грамматический комментарий: He dreamt he would take … —  Он мечтал, что возьмет …

По согласованию времен, если текст в прошедшем времени, вместо will употребляется would.

So, my father saved all the little monstrous things that were born on our chicken farm. He preserved them in alcohol and put each in a glass bottle. Now these glass bottles were in the box on the wagon seat beside him. Later he put these bottles on the shelf behind the counter of the restaurant. Mother protested but father said that people liked to look at strange and wonderful things.

Грамматический комментарий: were put – были поставлены

В предложении нет действующего лица, при этом действие совершено над объектом – бутылками. В этом случае надо использовать пассивный залог.  

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Part 4. New words to learn:

  1. exaggerate – преувеличивать
  2. main – главный
  3. empty – пустой
  4. profitable – приносящий выгоду
  5. rise – подняться
  6. necessary – необходимый
  7. obey – слушаться, повиноваться

Did I say that we started a restaurant business in the town of Bidwell? I exaggerated a little. The town was at the foot of a low hill and on the shore of a small river. The railroad did not run through the town and the station was a mile away to the north. In the morning and in the evening buses came down to the station along the main road from the hotel on the main street. To start the business in the out of the way place was mother’s idea.  She talked of it for a year and then one day went off and rented a an empty store building opposite the railway station.

the out of the way – непроходное место

It was her idea that the restaurant would be profitable. Travelling men, she said, would be waiting to take trains out of town and town people would come to the station to meet their people. They would come to the restaurant to buy pieces of pie and drink coffee. Now I am older, and see that my mother had another motive to go. She was ambitious for me. She wanted me to rise in the world, to get into a town school and to become a town man.

At Bidwell father and mother worked hard as they always did. At first, it was necessary to get the place look like a restaurant. That took a month. Father made a shelf on which he put tins of vegetables. He painted a sign on which he put his name in large letters. Below his name was the command – «EAT HERE». The commands are seldom obeyed, you know. A show case was bought and filled with cigars and tobacco. My mother scrubbed the floor and the walls of the room. I went to school in the town and was glad to be away from the farm and from the sad-looking chickens. Still I was not very happy. It seemed to me that a boy who spent his childhood on a chicken farm and saw death every day would not be happy at all.

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Part 5. New words to learn:

  1. order – 1. заказывать (в кафе); 2. приказывать
  2. unsuccessful – неуспешный
  3. entertain — развлекать
  4. doubtful – сомневающийся
  5. imagination – воображение
  6. uncommunicative – необщительный

Mother decided that our restaurant should be open at night. At ten in the evening a passenger train went north past our door. People came out to our restaurant for hot coffee and food. Sometimes one of them ordered a fried egg. In the morning travelling people visited us. A little trade began to grow up.  Mother slept at night, father slept during the day. At night father cooked sandwiches for lunch. The nights were long and there was nothing else to do, so father had time to think. It was no surprising that an idea came into his head. It was the same American idea of getting up in the world. He became ambitious, too.

Father decided that in the past he was unsuccessful man because he was not cheerful enough. He thought that in the future he should always have a cheerful outlook on life. In the early morning he came upstairs and got into bed with mother. She woke and the two talked. From my bed in the corner I listened.

It was father’s idea that both he and mother should try to entertain the people who came to eat at our restaurant. He said that people need some bright entertaining conversation and a jolly inn-keeper. He hoped that love for the company of himself and mother would grow in the hearts of young people of Bidwell.  Mother was doubtful from the first but said nothing. I pictured bright happy groups coming to our restaurant. They laughed and sang. The place would become full of festivity and joy. But it was all the work of my imagination as my father was very uncommunicative man and could not speak so well on the matter. «They want some place to go. I tell you they want some place to go», he only said over and over again. My own imagination filled in the blanks.

joy and festivity – радость и праздничное настроение

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Part 6. New words to learn:

  1. no doubt – без сомнения
  2. ruin – разрушить
  3. anger – гнев
  4. trembling – дрожащий
  5. explanation – объяснение
  6. grief – горе
  7. kneel – становиться на колени

For two or three weeks we tried very much to make smiles on our faces. Mother smiled at the visitors, I smiled at out cat. Father became a little feverish in his anxiety to please.  No doubt, there was something deep in him from a showman.

a little feverish in his anxiety – немного перебарщивал в своем желании угодить

On the counter in the restaurant there was a basket always filled with eggs. I think the idea came from the basket. So, the eggs keep themselves be connected with my father and ruined his new impulse of life.

Late one night I heard a roar of anger coming from father’s throat.  Both my mother and I sat upright in our beds. With trembling hand she lighted a lamp that stood on the table by her head.

We heard the bang of the front door downstairs and a few minutes later father ran into the bedroom. He held an egg in his hand and his hand trembled. He looked mad and it seemed like he was going to throw an egg at my mother or me. But he put an egg on the table beside lamp and dropped on his knees beside mother’s bed. He began to cry like a child and I cried with him. Now I cannot remember what mother said to him and what he said to her in his explanation what happened downstairs. I remember only my own grief and my father’s bald head in the lamp light as he knelt by the bed.

dropped on his knees — упал на колени

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Part 7. New words to learn:

  1. arrival – прибытие
  2. be puzzled by – быть озадаченным
  3. hang around – околачиваться
  4. cheat – 1. сущ. жулик; 2.гл. жульничать
  5. declare – провозгласить
  6. swore (от swear – ругаться)
  7. roll – катать(ся)
  8. warmth (warm ) – теплота (теплый)
  9. movement — движение

As to what happened downstairs. That evening young man Joe Kane, son of a merchant, came to meet his father, who was coming on the evening train from the South. The train was three hours late and Joe came into our place to wait for his arrival. He was alone in the restaurant with father.

From the moment he came in, he was puzzled by my father’s actions. It seemed to him that my father was angry with him for hanging around. He thought to go out but it began to rain. He bought a cigar and ordered a cup of coffee. He had a newspaper in his pocket, took it out and began to read. “I am waiting for the evening train,” he said apologetically.

For a long time father, whom Joe Kane had never seen before, stood silently looking at him. No doubt, he felt nervous. He did not know what to do with his hands. Then he came out of the counter and shook hands with Joe Kane. “How do you do?” he said. Joe Kane put his newspaper down and looked at him. Father began to talk. “Well,” he said, “well, you have heard of Christopher Columbus, eh?” He seemed to be angry. “That Christopher Columbus was a cheat,” he declared nervously. “He talked of making an egg stand on its end. He talked, he did but he cheated as he broke the end of the egg.”

My father seemed to his visitor to be beside himself at the duplicity of Christopher Columbus.

duplicity of Christopher Columbus – двуличие Кристофера Колумба

He muttered and swore. He declared that it was wrong to teach children that Christopher Columbus was a great man when he cheated. Then he declared that he could make an egg stand on its end.

Still swearing at Columbus, father took an egg from the basket and began to walk up and down. He rolled the egg between the palms of his hands. He smiled. He said something about the effect that electricity that comes out of the human body produced on an egg. He declared that he would make the egg stand on its end without breaking its shell. He rolled the egg back and forth in his hands. He said that the warmth of his hands and the movement created a new centre of gravity. Joe Kane seemed to be a little interested. “I have thousands of eggs,” father said. “No one knows more about eggs than I do.”

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Part 8. New words to learn:

  1. trick – фокус
  2. effort – усилие, попытка
  3. succeed in – преуспеть в чем-то
  4. remarkable – выдающееся
  5. sight – зрелище, вид
  6. force – заставить
  7. guess – догадываться

He stood the egg on the counter but it fell on its side. He tried the trick again and again, each time rolling the egg between the palms of his hands and saying the words about the wonders of electricity and the laws of gravity.  After half hour’s effort he did succeed in making the egg stand for a moment but when he look up at the visitor, he was no longer watching. He called Joe to have a look but the egg rolled over and lay on its side.

But my father did not give up. The showman who was deep in him came out. He took the bottles of monstrosities from their place on the shelf and began to show them to his visitor.

monstrosity – уродец

“How would you like to have seven legs and two heads like this fellow?” he asked showing the most remarkable of his treasures. A cheerful smile played on his face. Joe Kane was made a little ill by the sight of the body of the terribly deformed bird in the bottle and stood up to go out.

But my father came from behind the counter, took his visitor by hand and led him back to his seat. He grew a little angry but in a moment forced himself to smile. He put the bottles back on the shelf. Then he made Joe to have one more cup of fresh coffee at his expense.

at his expense – за счет заведения

Then he declared that he would do one more trick. He took a pan, filled it with vinegar and put an egg on the pan. “I will heat this egg in the pan of vinegar and then put it though the neck of a bottle without breaking the shell. When the egg is inside the bottle, it will have its normal shape and the shell will become hard again. I will give the bottle with the egg in it to you. You can take it about with you wherever you go. People will want to know how you got the egg in the bottle. Don’t tell them. Keep them guessing. This is the way to have fun with this trick.

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Part 9. New words to learn:

  1. harmless – безобидный
  2. heat – 1. гл. нагревать; 2. сущ. тепло
  3. burn – жечь, гореть
  4. soft – мягкий (to soften —  размягчиться)
  5. delayed – запоздавший
  6. sweat – 1. гл. потеть, 2. сущ. пот

Father grinned and winked at the visitor. Joe Kane decided that the man was a little mad but harmless. He drank the cup of coffee and began to read his newspaper again. My father heated the egg in the vinegar and took an empty bottle. He was angry because his visitor did not watch him but tried to look cheerful. For a long time he struggled to get the egg to go through the neck of the bottle. It did not go. Then he put the pan of vinegar on the stove and heated the egg again but when he picked it up he burnt his fingers. After the second bath in the hot vinegar the shell of the egg had softened a little but not enough to get into the bottle. Father worked and worked as desperate determination took possession of him.

grinned and winked – ухмылялся и подмигивал

determination took possession of him – им овладело отчаянное упорство

When he thought he was about to succeed, the delayed train came in at the station and Joe Kane stood up and went to the door. Father made a desperate effort to get the egg into the bottle and establish his reputation as one who knew how to entertain visitors in the restaurant. He swore and sweat was on his forehead. Somehow the egg broke under his hand. Its contents spurted over his clothes. Joe Kane who was at the door turned and laughed.

establish his reputation – создать ему репутацию

Its contents spurted over his clothes. – Его содержимое вылилось на его одежду.

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Part 10. New words to learn:

  1. destroy – уничтожить
  2. troubled – беспокойный
  3. complete – полный
  4. final – окончательный
  5. wonder – удивляться
  6. blood – кровь

A roar of anger came from my father’s throat. He danced and shouted. He took another egg from the counter and threw it at the head of the young man.

Then father ran upstairs to mother and me with an egg in his hand. I do not know what he wanted to do with it. I think he had a idea of destroying it, of destroying all eggs and he wanted my mother and me to see him begin. However, when he saw mother, something happened to him. He put the egg on the table and dropped on his knees by the bed as I have already said. Later he decided to close the restaurant for the night, came upstairs and got into the bed with mother. They talked for some time and them both he and mother went to sleep. I went to sleep too, but my sleep was troubled. When I woke up in the morning, I looked at the egg that was on the table. I wondered why eggs had to be and why from the egg came the hen who again laid the egg. The question got into my blood. I imagine because I am the son of my father. The problem is still in my mind and it means the complete and final triumph of the egg – at least as far as my family is concerned.

at least as far as my family is concerned – по крайней мере, в отношении моей семьи

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