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王永利:双语散文《和大鱼的三次对话》
王永利
03月06日 17:20
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我说的大鱼可不是一般的鱼,体长在两三米以上,腰身比大水缸还要粗,而且是活的,不是在博物馆中的标本。

第一次和大鱼的对话,是在文革后期。那时所有副食品都凭票供应。我爸爸嘴谗,一天想吃鱼了,要我为他买。我爸爸在家里有着至高无上的地位,他一人挣钱养家,因此,可以像个皇帝那样指使着全家人围着他团团转。饭菜,当然他吃最好的,我只有吃残羹剩菜的份。再加上那时的艰苦朴素的教育,我对我爸爸的好吃是看不惯的。但是父命难违。那时,我还是个中学生,个子比自行车刚刚高出一个脑袋,刚学会骑自行车。兜里揣着我爸爸给的两块钱,从颐和园后的青龙桥,向海淀镇进发。那里有个较大的菜市场,但是,我到了菜市场,发现,货架上空空荡荡,连鱼的影子也没有。无奈,只好向城里进发。

大约有三十公里,我用了一个多小时,到达东单菜市场,诺大的菜市场的货架很多,但也都是空空荡荡的,连鱼腥也闻不到。我问服务员:“同志,哪里可以买到鱼?”那时人们的称呼,都叫“同志”,或“革命同志”。一位个子不高两鬓花白的服务员,穿着白色的工作服,看了我一眼,和蔼地说:“小孩子,只有月初和月末,才凭票卖鱼,平时没有的卖。不过,前门菜市场刚到一条大鱼,听说比小船还大,是渔民送给毛主席的,他老人家要送给北京市民吃,刚运到。你去看看。”

我一听有鱼,喜出望外,赶紧骑着单车赶到前门。隔着店门的大玻璃,就看到一条硕大无比的鱼,身子有水缸那么粗,体长有两米左右,躺在大柜台上,一个工作人员激动得脸通红,正在用水龙头向鱼的头和身上喷水,把它洗洗干净。并大声喊:“毛主席万岁!”“大鱼万岁!”店内店外围满了人,不少人跟着喊口号。“天啊,真有真么大的鱼!”更多的人们是在惊叹。这是我一生中见第一次见到如此大的鱼,和周围的人一样被震惊了。“还活着呢!”有人惊叫。我从人缝里挤进个脑袋,伸长脖子向里看,果然看到,那条大鱼的嘴有脸盆那么大,被水龙头灌满水后,张了一下,就再也没有动弹。它的眼睛,凸鼓着,像是瞪着我,在无声地说:“我死了。我恨你们,你们这些贪婪的家伙。”我被鱼凸鼓的白眼震慑住了,多好的大鱼啊,多漂亮的大鱼啊,而周围里三层外三层的围着无数要吃它的肉的人。我为大鱼悲哀。

开始卖鱼了,不要票,有钱就可以买,因为这是计划外的馈赠,是毛主席要北京市民尝鲜的。人们拥挤着排起了长队,我被挤到了队伍的最后面。排了有一个多小时,听前面的人闹嚷着,“卖光了,别排了。”队伍一下子散开了。买到鱼的兴高采烈,而没买到的,一脸遗憾。我并没有沮丧,反而为没有买到这条鱼的肉而庆幸。当然,空着手回家后,被老爸骂了一通:“真是没用的东西!”但是,那条大鱼在我的心中留下不可磨灭的印记。

第二次见到大鱼是八十年代末,我作为记者随当时的国家主席李先念出访西欧数国,其中的一个国家是卢森堡,是个世界上国土面积比较小的国家之一,但是非常富有。卢森堡大公,慷慨地邀请所有中国代表团包括随行人员、记者在他的郊外古堡吃晚宴。古堡坐落在一个岛上。车子穿过一片茂林的森林,停下了。所有人员要步行跨过一座木桥,这座桥有上百年历史,连接着一条河流的两岸。岸那边是巍峨的古堡,河流连接着一片开阔的湖水,湖水包围着古堡。四周非常静谧,只能听到鸟欢快地鸣叫,而没有其他人烟,因为这里是皇家禁地。在过桥的时候,我和其他人员都惊奇地发现,河流中缓缓游动着数条大鱼,最大的有三米多长,两条有两米多长, 人过桥的震动,吸引了鱼群,它们游过来,似在向我们问好。一条,两条,三条,四条,啊,五条,我看到了五条硕大的鱼排着队游过来,它们的头有水缸那么大,像潜水艇一样在游弋,时不时地仰起来望着我们这些来客。几乎所有的人都被鱼吸引住了。“真大啊,这么多大鱼!”我由衷地赞叹这里的资源丰富,鱼长得如此硕大,生活得如此安逸。我想起了我在前门店里见到的那条大鱼。如果它能在我国的河湖中自由自在地活着,该多好啊!

宴会非常丰盛,有很多菜肴是鱼肉做的。我用英语问穿着白色围裙金发碧眼的女服务员是否这些鱼是在附近钓上来的,她嫣然一笑,礼貌地用英语回答我:“不,先生,这里是禁钓区。整个湖都是禁钓区。所以鱼长得很大。你们一定看到大鱼了。那是古堡的骄傲,是迎宾的特殊仪仗队。菜肴里用的鱼是菜市场采购的。放心享用吧。祝您胃口好。”我再一次 被感动了,被他们的禁钓感动了。难怪那些大鱼如此安逸,它们受到了保护,并担任着迎宾的特殊任务。人和自然是如此和睦相处,这是多么美好的图画啊!动物的天堂。大鱼的天堂。要是这个天堂在国内就好了。

第三次和大鱼对话的确是在国内,在北京密云水库。那是不久前被邀请作为专家参加全国电视专题片和纪录片界定的会议,地点是密云水库的一个隐蔽的小岛。这个岛至今没有对外开放,岛上别墅建于1960年。会议休息时,我来到岛的一角看湖水,一望无际的湖水,清澈透底,波光潋滟。让人心旷神怡。我独自坐在一块石上,尽情享受这宁静的风景。突然,“哗啦”一声,打破了安静的气氛。我顺着声音望去,发现是一条大鱼跃出了水面。这条鱼有两米多长,水缸那么粗。它沉下去了,可是又有两条略小一点的大鱼紧接着跃出了水面,似在向我问好。我激动地站了起来。啊,在国内真的有这么大的鱼!不是一条,而是三条,是一个家庭!它们在自由自在的游动着。甚至他们游到了我的脚下,望着我,似乎在向我索食。我手里没有食物,如果我回去取食物,又担心回来的时候看不到它们了。所以,我没有动,只是向它们挥了挥手,轻声说:“大鱼,你们好!很高兴见到你们。不过,你们千万别让鱼钩和鱼网逮到,别贪吃,鱼饵不是好东西,是危险!别到有人的水域去,那里危险!当心啊,我为你们祝福,为你们祈祷!”三条大鱼在我的身边缓缓地游动了一会儿,然后沉下去游走了。我的心似乎也被它们带走了,希望它们安全无恙。

第二天,会议开得紧,连休息时间都没有了,我抽不出时间来看望这三条大鱼。下午在会议结束时候,在汽车开动前,我三步并做两步跑到湖边来看望,希望再能够见到它们,可能是我的脚步声音太大,也可能是时间太短,我没有见到它们。但我知道,它们一定就在附近,没有走远,因为我感觉到人和鱼和谐的气氛,感觉到它们安逸的律动。。。。。。

The Three Times I Dialogued with Huge Fish

By Wang Yongli

The huge fish I mentioned is not an ordinary fish, but has a length of two or three metres, is thicker than a huge vat of water, and is living, not a specimen in a museum.

The first dialogue between a huge fish and me happened at the end of the Cultural Revolution. During that time, due to the scarcity of goods, especially food, one had to use coupons to buy whatever limited quantities of necessities were available. One day my dad wanted to eat some fish and ordered me to go out and buy it for him. My father had a supreme status at home—he earned the money used to feed the family, therefore, he could be like an emperor and make us respect him. Of course he ate the best and other family members including me ate the leftovers, but as I had accepted so much of the austerity education, I had a negative opinion about my father thinking him too fond of good food. Except I could not disobey my father’s order. At that time, I was a middle school student, just a head taller than a bike, which I had just learned how to ride. I put the two Yuan my father had given me into my pocket and rode the bicycle from the Qinglong Bridge behind the Summer Palace toward the town of Haidian where there was a large market. But when I arrived at there, I found all the shelves were empty, there was not even the shadow of a little fish. Helpless, I had to go to downtown Beijing.

It was about thirty kilometres and it took me more than an hour to reach the Dongdan food market. To my great disappointment, although there were a lot of large shelves, all of them were also empty; I could not even smell a fishy odor. I asked a sales assistant: "Comrade, where can I buy a fish?" During that time, the Chinese way when speaking to others was with the use of the title of "Comrade", or "Revolutionary Comrade". A short, gray-haired attendant, dressed in white overalls, glanced at me and then gently answered: "Little child, only at the beginning or the end of each month are there fish for selling, but at other times there are usually no fish in the market. However, I just heard a piece of news that at Qianmen Market there is a huge fish, and it is much bigger than a boat. The fishermen wanted to present it to Chairman Mao, but Chairman Mao doesn’t want to eat it and presented it to the Beijing people. It has just been transported to there. You may go there to have a try.”

After hearing the news, I was overjoyed, and hurried on the bicycle to Qianmen Market. Through the huge glass window I saw a gigantic fish lying on the counter, thick as a huge cylinder, with a length of more than two metres. A shop assistant flushed with excitement, washing the huge thing, the head, the body, down to the tail to make it clean. He shouted in a loud voice: "Long live Chairman Mao! Long live the big fish!" Outside the market many people watched the scene and shouted slogans after the shop assistant. The passing people stopped and sighed: "Oh, a really big fish! So huge!" All the people, including myself felt amazed. It was my first time seeing such a large fish. But then the crowd became shocked. "Still alive!" Some people cried. I craned my neck to look, saw that the fish’s mouth was as big as a basin, and that when it was filled with water by a faucet, the fish opened its mouth much wider, then closed it, but after that never moved again. Its eyes were bulging, as if it was staring at me, seeming to silently say: "I'm dead. I hate you, for all your people are greedy." The fish’s convex white eyes fascinated me. It was a huge fish, a big beautiful fish, but around it there stood countless people who wanted to eat its meat. Suddenly I was sad for the fish.

It was time to start selling the fish. It did not need any coupon, only money, because this was a special gift that Chairman Mao wanted the citizens of Beijing to taste. So the crowd of people lined up, but I was pushed into the end of the long queue. I queued for about an hour then heard someone in front of me in a hubbub, "Sold out! Don't queue." The left people suddenly scattered. Those who had been able to buy the fish were jubilant, but those who couldn’t buy it felt sad and regretful, their faces gloomy. But I was not depressed and even rejoiced, for I had not bought the fish meat. Of course, after going home empty-handed, my father scolded me: "You are so useless!" However, the huge fish left an indelible imprint on my heart.

The second time I met huge fish happened in the late eighties. As a reporter I accompanied president Li Xiannian on his visit to the Western European countries. It was in Luxembourg that I had the chance to see huge fish again. Luxembourg is only a small state, but very rich. Archduke Luxembourg generously invited all the Chinese delegation entourages, including reporters, to dinner at his castle. The cars taking us there went through a dense forest then stopped. All of us had to walk across a wooden bridge that had a history of several hundreds years and connected two banks of a river. On the other side stood the towering castle. I found out the river was part of a vast lake, and the castle was surrounded by the lake. It was so quiet that I could only hear birds chirping cheerfully. No one could enter without invitation because it was the Royal citadel. Crossing the bridge, my colleagues and I were surprised to find huge fish slowly swimming toward us, the biggest one was about three metres long and others were about two metres long or a little more than two metres long. The wooden bridge’s vibration had attracted the group of fish. They swam leisurely, as if to say hello to us. One, two, three, four, five, ah, I saw five huge fish swimming towards me. They were as huge as tanks, like submarines, cruising, from time to time forwards and backwards around the bridge to welcome guests. Almost all of us were interested in the huge fish. "Ah, so many huge fish!" I sincerely praised Luxembourg’s rich resources, how fish here could grow so large and live such a comfortable life. It reminded me of the huge fish I saw at Qianmen Market. If only so many huge fish could live in China’s rivers and lakes! I thought with a sigh.

The dinner was very rich with many fish dishes. I wondered why the fish were so plentiful and tried to ask the question to a blond waitress wearing a white apron; she gave me a pleasant smile. “Miss, do you possibly know whether the fish come from the lake in the vicinity? Did your friends catch the fish from the lake?” I politely asked in English. "No, sir, here is a no-fishing area. The whole lake is a no-fishing area, so the fish can grow big. You must have seen the big fish. They are the castle's pride, guards of honor who give a special welcome ceremony. The cooked fish do not come from the lake or the castle river, but are brought from the food market. Please rest assured and enjoy them. Bon appétit." She said in a soft tone. “Thank you very much.” I said. I was touched by their fishing ban. No wonder those fish were so relaxed, they were protected, and serve as special guards of honor. Human beings and nature live harmoniously; what a wonderful picture it is! Here is an animal’s paradise, a huge fish’s paradise. If only this paradise could be in China.

The third time I dialogued with some huge fish really was in China, at the Miyun reservoir of Beijing. As an expert, I was invited to attend a meeting to define feature television programmes and documentaries. The meeting was held on a secluded island in the Miyun reservoir. The island has not been opened to the outside world, but a villa was built on the island in 1960. During the meeting break I walked to a corner of the island to watch the lake. The surface of vast lake’s clean transparent water was rippling in the refreshing breeze. I felt relaxed and enjoyed the scenery very much. I sat on a stone and watched the peaceful landscape. Suddenly, a splash sound broke the quiet atmosphere. I chased the sound down and found a huge fish jumping out of the water and falling back into the water with a plop. The fish was two or three metres long, thick like a water vat. To my surprise I watched another two large fish jump out of the water immediately after, as if to say hello to me. I was so excited to stand up. Ah, they were really huge fish! Not one, but three. They were a family! Swimming at ease they swam to my feet and looked at me, seeming to beg for food from me. But I didn't have any food with me. I thought if I went back to the room to fetch food, I would not see them again when I came back, so, I did not move, but waved my hands to them and said softly: "Big fish, how are you? Very nice to meet you. Don't touch the hook and don’t let the fishermen catch you! Never be greedy for the bait, for the bait is not good food, it is dangerous! Don't go to the area where human beings often fish, for there is risk! Be careful, I bless and pray for you!" The three huge fish swam around me slowly for a while and then turned to the center of the lake eventually vanishing out of sight. My heart seemed to go away with them and I hoped that they were safe.

The next day the meeting was tight, there was not a break, nor any rest time at all. I didn’t have time to see the three fish again. In the afternoon, the meeting finished. Before the car left the island I quickly ran down the corner of the lake to have a look, to try to see them again. Maybe my footsteps were too heavy, or the time was too short, and as a result I didn't see them. But I knew, they must have been in the vicinity, not far from me, because I felt the harmonious atmosphere between us, and because I could feel their comfortable rhythm.

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