汪德均 (老顽童) 译坛新宠
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发表于:2014-08-09 20:13 [只看楼主] [划词开启]

This was a mean trick, and I am glad, and you will be, that it did not succeed. No sooner was the vessel out of sight of land than the ignorant captain and the superstitious sailors began to be frightened.

"We are surely sailing off the edge of the earth!" cried they. "What shall we do when the sea-gods learn that we have dared come out of our home into their sacred waters!"

Then a great storm arose; the waves rolled and tumbled and broke above them mountains high. The thunder rumbled and the lightning flashed. Terror-stricken, the sailors turned the vessel homeward. "The gods are angry with us! They are punishing us for our boldness!" cried the ignorant sailors.

A more frightened and miserable crew never sailed back into Lisbon harbor than this one sent out by King John II.





And when Columbus heard of it, angry and disgusted with the meanness of the king, he would have no further talk with him; but, taking his little son Diego with him, he left the country and went to Spain.

Friendless and without money, Columbus with the little Diego travelled from place to place, always seeking some one who would understand and help him to an audience with the king or queen of Spain. If only somewhere a person of wealth could be found who  would fit out for him a fleet, Columbus had not a doubt or a fear but that he could return with news of new lands or, at least, of a short route to India.



Years and years rolled by; and Columbus had gained nothing but a world-wide name of being a fool or an insane man. Men sneered at him, boys hooted at him in the street. Surely it was a brave man who could endure all this for the sake of right. But it is always so; as you grow older and read larger histories than these, you will find that seldom has a great man or woman brought to the world any great new truth, that ignorant and superstitious people did not scoff at it and make the life of the brave discoverer one of wretchedness and persecution.


"I will go to France," said Columbus at last, "and see if I can get the help of the French  king." And he started with his little son, Diego, to walk the long distance.

One day, while on the road, Columbus stopped at the gate of a great gray convent in the town of Palos and asked for food.



As the gate-man brought them bread, one of the monks passed by. Struck with the dignity and the courteous, refined appearance of Columbus, he said to himself, "Whom have we here? This is no ordinary beggar. I will speak with him."

So, going up to Columbus, he saluted him kindly and asked him to stop and rest. Glad enough were both Columbus and Diego to accept this hospitality, and together they entered the great halls of the convent.

Now the monk was a man of great learning for those days. More than that, he was a man who thought and who was always ready  to accept any new theories, providing they seemed reasonable and honest proofs of their truth could be presented with them.

The intelligence and conversation of Columbus attracted the monk at once. "This man knows what he is talking about," thought he. "Surely I must bring him to Queen Isabella. She, if any one, will give him patient and intelligent hearing."











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