1.22.2008

原委

這是我看過最有趣的故事之一,讓我差點笑死。

我建議你讀英文版,有語言障礙的同學,下面有克利斯牌詞不達意翻譯。

How it Happened -- Issac Asimov

My brother began to dictate in his best oratorical style, the one which has the tribes hanging on his words.

"In the beginning," he said, "exactly fifteen point two billion years ago, there was a big bang and the Universe--"

But I had stopped writing. "Fifteen billion years ago?" I said incredulously.

"Absolutely," he said. "I'm inspired."

"I don't question your inspiration," I said. (I had better not. He's three years younger than I am, but I don't try questioning his inspiration. Neither does anyone else or there's hell to pay.) "But are you going to tell the story of the Creation over a period of fifteen billion years?"

"I have to," said my brother. "That's how long it took. I have it all in here," he tapped his forehead, "and it's on the very highest authority."

By now I had put down my stylus. "Do you know the price of papyrus?" I said.

"What?" (He may be inspired but I frequently noticed that the inspiration didn't include such sordid matters as the price of papyrus.)

I said, "Suppose you describe one million years of events to each roll of papyrus. That means you'll have to fill fifteen thousand rolls. You'll have to talk long enough to fill them and you know that you begin to stammer after a while. I'll have to write enough to fill them and my fingers will fall off. And even if we can afford all that papyrus and you have the voice and I have the strength, who's going to copy it? We've got to have a guarantee of a hundred copies before we can publish and without that where will we get royalties from?"

My brother thought awhile. He said, "You think I ought to cut it down?"

"Way down," I said, "if you expect to reach the public."

"How about a hundred years?" he said.

"How about six days?" I said.

He said horrified, "You can't squeeze Creation into six days."

I said, "This is all the papyrus I have. What do you think?"

"Oh, well," he said, and began to dictate again, "In the beginning-- Does it have to be six days, Aaron?"

I said, firmly, "Six days, Moses."


原委 -- 以撒.艾西莫夫 (翻譯︰克利斯桑塔克)

我弟弟開始敘述,用他那一貫的雄辯的足以吸引整個部落的眼神的演說風格。

「一開始,」他說︰「在一百五十億年前,發生了大爆炸,然後整個宇宙——」

我不得不打斷他。「一百五十億年前?」我不敢相信。

「沒錯」他說,「神啟是這樣說的」

「我不是要質疑神啟」我說(最好別那樣做。他比我小三歲,但是我不想挑戰他的神啟。誰都不會想挑戰他的神啟,除了想下地獄的人以外)「但是你打算講一個跨越一百五十億年的創造宇宙的故事?」

「沒辦法」我弟弟說,「它就是那麼長。它統統都在這裡」他敲敲自己的額頭,「而且我相信它是正確的」

我放下我的筆。「你知道草紙有多貴嗎?」我說。

「什麼?」(我常常會發現神啟沒有告訴他一些低級瑣碎的事,例如草紙的價錢)

我說︰「即使一卷草紙足夠紀錄一百萬年之間發生的故事,我們也得用掉一萬五千卷草紙。你要花很久的時間才講得完那些故事,而且你知道待會你就會開始口齒不清。而我得拼命把他們記下來,抄到手斷掉。而且,就算我們買得起那麼多草紙,講得出那麼多話,寫得了那麼多字,誰會想要印它們啊?我們得有一百份訂單才能找師父開版欸,找不到人訂你是打算要自費出嗎?」

我的弟弟想了一下。他說︰「所以你覺得我應該砍掉一些?」

「砍掉很多」我說,「如果你希望它問世的話」

「縮成一百年怎樣?」他說。

「六天如何?」我說。

他有點嚇到︰「我們不能把創世砍到只剩六天啊」

我說,「我們就只有醬一點草紙,不然你想怎麼辦?」

「唔...好吧」他說,然後再次重頭開始講︰「在最初的時候——我們真的要把它縮成六天嗎,亞倫?」

「沒錯,摩西」



本文最初發表於我的舊網誌

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