少年派的奇幻漂流 Chapter 45
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Chapter 45
I was cold. It was a distracted observation, as if it didn't concern me. Daybreak came. It happened quickly, yet by imperceptible degrees. A corner of the sky changed colours. The air began filling with light. The calm sea opened up around me like a great book. Still it felt like night. Suddenly it was day.
Warmth came only when the sun, looking like an electrically lit orange, broke across the horizon, but I didn't need to wait that long to feel it. With the very first rays of light it came alive in me: hope. As things emerged in outline and filled with colour, hope increased until it was like a song in my heart. Oh, what it was to bask1 in it! Things would work out yet. The worst was over. I had survived the night. Today I would be rescued. To think that, to string those words together in my mind, was itself a source of hope. Hope fed on hope. As the horizon became a neat, sharp line, I scanned it eagerly. The day was clear again and visibility was perfect. I imagined Ravi would greet me first and with a tease. "What's this?" he would say. "You find yourself a great big lifeboat and you fill it with animals? You think you're Noah or something?" Father would be unshaven and dishevelled. Mother would look to the sky and take me in her arms. I went through a dozen versions of what it was going to be like on the rescue ship, variations on the theme of sweet reunion. That morning the horizon might curve one way, my lips resolutely2 curved the other, in a smile.
Strange as it might sound, it was only after a long time that I looked to see what was happening in the lifeboat. The hyena3 had attacked the zebra. Its mouth was bright red and it was chewing on a piece of hide. My eyes automatically searched for the wound, for the area under attack. I gasped4 with horror.
The zebra's broken leg was missing. The hyena had bitten it off and dragged it to the stern, behind the zebra. A flap of skin hung limply over the raw stump5. Blood was still dripping. The victim bore its suffering patiently, without showy remonstrations. A slow and constant grinding of its teeth was the only visible sign of distress6. Shock, revulsion and anger surged through me. I felt intense hatred7 for the hyena. I thought of doing something to kill it. But I did nothing. And my outrage8 was short-lived. I must be honest about that. I didn't have pity to spare for long for the zebra. When your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival. It was sad that it was suffering so much-and being such a big, strapping9 creature it wasn't at the end of its ordeal- but there was nothing I could do about it. I felt pity and then I moved on. This is not something I am proud of. I am sorry I was so callous10 about the matter. I have not forgotten that poor zebra and what it went through. Not a prayer goes by that I don't think of it.
There was still no sign of Orange Juice. I turned my eyes to the horizon again.
That afternoon the wind picked up a little and I noticed something about the lifeboat: despite its weight, it floated lightly on the water, no doubt because it was carrying less than its capacity. We had plenty of freeboard, the distance between the water and the gunnel; it would take a mean sea to swamp us. But it also meant that whatever end of the boat was facing the wind tended to fall away, bringing us broadside to the waves. With small waves the result was a ceaseless, fist-like beating against the hull12, while larger waves made for a tiresome13 rolling of the boat as it leaned from side to side. This jerky and incessant14 motion was making me feel queasy15.
Perhaps I would feel better in a new position. I slid down the oar11 and shifted back onto the bow. I sat facing the waves, with the rest of the boat to my left. I was closer to the hyena, but it wasn't stirring.
It was as I was breathing deeply and concentrating on making my nausea16 go away that I saw Orange Juice. I had imagined her completely out of sight, near the bow beneath the tarpaulin17, as far from the hyena as she could get. Not so. She was on the side bench, just beyond the edge of the hyena's indoor track and barely hidden from me by the bulge18 of rolled-up tarpaulin. She lifted her head only an inch or so and right away I saw her.
Curiosity got the best of me. I had to see her better. Despite the rolling of the boat I brought myself to a kneeling position. The hyena looked at me, but did not move. Orange Juice came into sight. She was deeply slouched and holding on to the gunnel with both her hands, her head sunk very low between her arms. Her mouth was open and her tongue was lolling about. She was visibly panting. Despite the tragedy afflicting19 me, despite not feeling well, I let out a laugh. Everything about Orange Juice at that moment spelled one word: seasickness21. The image of a new species popped into my head: the rare seafaring green orang-utan. I returned to my sitting position. The poor dear looked so humanly sick! It is a particularly funny thing to read human traits in animals, especially in apes and monkeys, where it is so easy. Simians are the clearest mirrors we have in the animal world. That is why they are so popular in zoos. I laughed again. I brought my hands to my chest, surprised at how I felt. Oh my. This laughter was like a volcano of happiness erupting in me. And Orange Juice had not only cheered me up; she had also taken on both our feelings of seasickness. I was feeling fine now.
I returned to scrutinizing22 the horizon, my hopes high.
Besides being deathly seasick20, there was something else about Orange Juice that was remarkable23: she was uninjured. And she had her back turned to the hyena, as if she felt she could safely ignore it. The ecosystem24 on this lifeboat was decidedly baffling. Since there are no natural conditions in which a spotted25 hyena and an orangutan can meet, there being none of the first in Borneo and none of the second in Africa, there is no way of knowing how they would relate. But it seemed to me highly improbable, if not totally incredible, that when brought together these frugivorous tree-dwellers and carnivorous savannah-dwellers would so radically26 carve out their niches27 as to pay no attention to each other. Surely an orang-utan would smell of prey28 to a hyena, albeit29 a strange one, one to be remembered afterwards for producing stupendous hairballs, nonetheless better-tasting than an exhaust pipe and well worth looking out for when near trees. And surely a hyena would smell of a predator30 to an orangutan, a reason for being vigilant31 when a piece of durian has been dropped to the ground accidentally. But nature forever holds surprises. Perhaps it was not so. If goats could be brought to live amicably32 with rhinoceros33, why not orang-utans with hyenas34? That would be a big winner at a zoo. A sign would have to be put up. I could see it already: "Dear Public, Do not be afraid for the orang-utans! They are in the trees because that is where they live, not because they are afraid of the spotted hyenas. Come back at mealtime, or at sunset when they get thirsty, and you will see them climbing down from their trees and moving about the grounds, absolutely unmolested by the hyenas." Father would be fascinated.
Sometime that afternoon I saw the first specimen35 of what would become a dear, reliable friend of mine. There was a bumping and scraping sound against the hull of the lifeboat. A few seconds later, so close to the boat I could have leaned down and grabbed it, a large sea turtle appeared, a hawksbill, flippers lazily turning, head sticking out of the water. It was striking-looking in an ugly sort of way, with a rugged36, yellowish brown shell about three feet long and spotted with patches of algae37, and a dark green face with a sharp beak38, no lips, two solid holes for nostrils39, and black eyes that stared at me intently. The expression was haughty40 and severe, like that of an ill-tempered old man who has complaining on his mind. The queerest thing about the reptile41 was simply that it was. It looked incongruous, floating there in the water, so odd in its shape compared to the sleek42, slippery design of fish. Yet it was plainly in its element and it was I who was the odd one out. It hovered43 by the boat for several minutes.
I said to it, "Go tell a ship I'm here. Go, go." It turned and sank out of sight, back flippers pushing water in alternate strokes.



1 bask huazK     
  • Turtles like to bask in the sun.海龟喜欢曝于阳光中。
  • In winter afternoons,he likes to bask in the sun in his courtyard.冬日的午后,他喜欢坐在院子晒太阳。
2 resolutely WW2xh     
  • He resolutely adhered to what he had said at the meeting. 他坚持他在会上所说的话。
  • He grumbles at his lot instead of resolutely facing his difficulties. 他不是果敢地去面对困难,而是抱怨自己运气不佳。
3 hyena k47yz     
  • African hyena noted for its distinctive howl.非洲鬣狗,以其特别的嚎叫而闻名。
  • The hyena's public image is not aided by its ridiculous appearance.鬣狗滑稽的外表无助于改善它在公众心中的形象。
4 gasped e6af294d8a7477229d6749fa9e8f5b80     
v.喘气( gasp的过去式和过去分词 );喘息;倒抽气;很想要
  • She gasped at the wonderful view. 如此美景使她惊讶得屏住了呼吸。
  • People gasped with admiration at the superb skill of the gymnasts. 体操运动员的高超技艺令人赞叹。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
5 stump hGbzY     
  • He went on the stump in his home state.他到故乡所在的州去发表演说。
  • He used the stump as a table.他把树桩用作桌子。
6 distress 3llzX     
  • Nothing could alleviate his distress.什么都不能减轻他的痛苦。
  • Please don't distress yourself.请你不要忧愁了。
7 hatred T5Gyg     
  • He looked at me with hatred in his eyes.他以憎恨的眼光望着我。
  • The old man was seized with burning hatred for the fascists.老人对法西斯主义者充满了仇恨。
8 outrage hvOyI     
  • When he heard the news he reacted with a sense of outrage.他得悉此事时义愤填膺。
  • We should never forget the outrage committed by the Japanese invaders.我们永远都不应该忘记日本侵略者犯下的暴行。
9 strapping strapping     
adj. 魁伟的, 身材高大健壮的 n. 皮绳或皮带的材料, 裹伤胶带, 皮鞭 动词strap的现在分词形式
  • He's a strapping lad—already bigger than his father. 他是一个魁梧的小伙子——已经比他父亲高了。
  • He was a tall strapping boy. 他是一个高大健壮的小伙子。
10 callous Yn9yl     
  • He is callous about the safety of his workers.他对他工人的安全毫不关心。
  • She was selfish,arrogant and often callous.她自私傲慢,而且往往冷酷无情。
11 oar EH0xQ     
  • The sailors oar slowly across the river.水手们慢慢地划过河去。
  • The blade of the oar was bitten off by a shark.浆叶被一条鲨鱼咬掉了。
12 hull 8c8xO     
  • The outer surface of ship's hull is very hard.船体的外表面非常坚硬。
  • The boat's hull has been staved in by the tremendous seas.小船壳让巨浪打穿了。
13 tiresome Kgty9     
  • His doubts and hesitations were tiresome.他的疑惑和犹豫令人厌烦。
  • He was tiresome in contending for the value of his own labors.他老为他自己劳动的价值而争强斗胜,令人生厌。
14 incessant WcizU     
  • We have had incessant snowfall since yesterday afternoon.从昨天下午开始就持续不断地下雪。
  • She is tired of his incessant demands for affection.她厌倦了他对感情的不断索取。
15 queasy sSJxH     
  • I felt a little queasy on the ship.我在船上觉得有点晕眩想呕吐。
  • He was very prone to seasickness and already felt queasy.他快晕船了,已经感到恶心了。
16 nausea C5Dzz     
  • Early pregnancy is often accompanied by nausea.怀孕期常有恶心的现象。
  • He experienced nausea after eating octopus.吃了章鱼后他感到恶心。
17 tarpaulin nIszk     
  • The pool furniture was folded,stacked,and covered with a tarpaulin.游泳池的设备都已经折叠起来,堆在那里,还盖上了防水布。
  • The pool furniture was folded,stacked,and covered with a tarpaulin.游泳池的设备都已经折叠起来,堆在那里,还盖上了防水布。
18 bulge Ns3ze     
  • The apple made a bulge in his pocket.苹果把他口袋塞得鼓了起来。
  • What's that awkward bulge in your pocket?你口袋里那块鼓鼓囊囊的东西是什么?
19 afflicting ozfzfp     
  • Violent crime is only one of the maladies afflicting modern society. 暴力犯罪仅仅是困扰现代社会的严重问题之一。
  • Violent crime is only one of the maladies afflicting modern society. 暴力犯罪仅仅是危害社会的弊病之一。
20 seasick seasick     
  • When I get seasick,I throw up my food.我一晕船就呕吐。
  • He got seasick during the voyage.在航行中他晕船。
21 seasickness ojpzVf     
  • Europeans take melons for a preventive against seasickness. 欧洲人吃瓜作为预防晕船的方法。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • He was very prone to seasickness and already felt queasy. 他快晕船了,已经感到恶心了。 来自辞典例句
22 scrutinizing fa5efd6c6f21a204fe4a260c9977c6ad     
v.仔细检查,详审( scrutinize的现在分词 )
  • His grandfather's stern eyes were scrutinizing him, and Chueh-hui felt his face reddening. 祖父的严厉的眼光射在他的脸上。 来自汉英文学 - 家(1-26) - 家(1-26)
  • The machine hushed, extraction and injection nozzles poised, scrutinizing its targets. 机器“嘘”地一声静了下来,输入输出管道各就各位,检查着它的目标。 来自互联网
23 remarkable 8Vbx6     
  • She has made remarkable headway in her writing skills.她在写作技巧方面有了长足进步。
  • These cars are remarkable for the quietness of their engines.这些汽车因发动机没有噪音而不同凡响。
24 ecosystem Wq4xz     
  • This destroyed the ecosystem of the island.这样破坏了岛上的生态系统。
  • We all have an interest in maintaining the integrity of the ecosystem.维持生态系统的完整是我们共同的利益。
25 spotted 7FEyj     
  • The milkman selected the spotted cows,from among a herd of two hundred.牛奶商从一群200头牛中选出有斑点的牛。
  • Sam's shop stocks short spotted socks.山姆的商店屯积了有斑点的短袜。
26 radically ITQxu     
  • I think we may have to rethink our policies fairly radically. 我认为我们可能要对我们的政策进行根本的反思。
  • The health service must be radically reformed. 公共医疗卫生服务必须进行彻底改革。
27 niches 8500e82896dd104177b4cfd5842b1a09     
壁龛( niche的名词复数 ); 合适的位置[工作等]; (产品的)商机; 生态位(一个生物所占据的生境的最小单位)
  • Some larvae extend the galleries to form niches. 许多幼虫将坑道延伸扩大成壁龛。
  • In his view differences in adaptation are insufficient to create niches commensurate in number and kind. 按照他的观点,适应的差异不足以在数量上和种类上形成同量的小生境。
28 prey g1czH     
  • Stronger animals prey on weaker ones.弱肉强食。
  • The lion was hunting for its prey.狮子在寻找猎物。
29 albeit axiz0     
  • Albeit fictional,she seemed to have resolved the problem.虽然是虚构的,但是在她看来好象是解决了问题。
  • Albeit he has failed twice,he is not discouraged.虽然失败了两次,但他并没有气馁。
30 predator 11vza     
  • The final part of this chapter was devoted to a brief summary of predator species.本章最后部分简要总结了食肉动物。
  • Komodo dragon is the largest living lizard and a fearsome predator.科摩多龙是目前存在的最大蜥蜴,它是一种令人恐惧的捕食性动物。
31 vigilant ULez2     
  • He has to learn how to remain vigilant through these long nights.他得学会如何在这漫长的黑夜里保持警觉。
  • The dog kept a vigilant guard over the house.这只狗警醒地守护着这所房屋。
32 amicably amicably     
  • Steering according to the wind, he also framed his words more amicably. 他真会看风使舵,口吻也马上变得温和了。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • The couple parted amicably. 这对夫妻客气地分手了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
33 rhinoceros tXxxw     
  • The rhinoceros has one horn on its nose.犀牛鼻子上有一个角。
  • The body of the rhinoceros likes a cattle and the head likes a triangle.犀牛的形体像牛,头呈三角形。
34 hyenas f7b0c2304b9433d9f69980a715aa6dbe     
n.鬣狗( hyena的名词复数 )
  • These animals were the prey of hyenas. 这些动物是鬣狗的猎物。 来自辞典例句
  • We detest with horror the duplicity and villainy of the murderous hyenas of Bukharinite wreckers. 我们非常憎恨布哈林那帮两面三刀、杀人破坏,干尽坏事的豺狼。 来自辞典例句
35 specimen Xvtwm     
  • You'll need tweezers to hold up the specimen.你要用镊子来夹这标本。
  • This specimen is richly variegated in colour.这件标本上有很多颜色。
36 rugged yXVxX     
  • Football players must be rugged.足球运动员必须健壮。
  • The Rocky Mountains have rugged mountains and roads.落基山脉有崇山峻岭和崎岖不平的道路。
37 algae tK6yW     
  • Most algae live in water.多数藻类生长在水中。
  • Algae grow and spread quickly in the lake.湖中水藻滋蔓。
38 beak 8y1zGA     
  • The bird had a worm in its beak.鸟儿嘴里叼着一条虫。
  • This bird employs its beak as a weapon.这种鸟用嘴作武器。
39 nostrils 23a65b62ec4d8a35d85125cdb1b4410e     
鼻孔( nostril的名词复数 )
  • Her nostrils flared with anger. 她气得两个鼻孔都鼓了起来。
  • The horse dilated its nostrils. 马张大鼻孔。
40 haughty 4dKzq     
  • He gave me a haughty look and walked away.他向我摆出傲慢的表情后走开。
  • They were displeased with her haughty airs.他们讨厌她高傲的派头。
41 reptile xBiz7     
  • The frog is not a true reptile.青蛙并非真正的爬行动物。
  • So you should not be surprised to see someone keep a reptile as a pet.所以,你不必惊奇有人养了一只爬行动物作为宠物。
42 sleek zESzJ     
  • Women preferred sleek,shiny hair with little decoration.女士们更喜欢略加修饰的光滑闪亮型秀发。
  • The horse's coat was sleek and glossy.这匹马全身润泽有光。
43 hovered d194b7e43467f867f4b4380809ba6b19     
鸟( hover的过去式和过去分词 ); 靠近(某事物); (人)徘徊; 犹豫
  • A hawk hovered over the hill. 一只鹰在小山的上空翱翔。
  • A hawk hovered in the blue sky. 一只老鹰在蓝色的天空中翱翔。
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