少年派的奇幻漂流 Chapter 57
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Chapter 57
It was Richard Parker who calmed me down. It is the irony1 of this story that the one who scared me witless to start with was the very same who brought me peace, purpose, I dare say even wholeness.
He was looking at me intently. After a time I recognized the gaze. I had grown up with it. It was the gaze of a contented2 animal looking out from its cage or pit the way you or I would look out from a restaurant table after a good meal, when the time has come for conversation and people-watching. Clearly, Richard Parker had eaten his fill of hyena3 and drunk all the rainwater he wanted. No lips were rising and falling, no teeth were showing, no growling4 or snarling7 was coming from him. He was simply taking me in, observing me, in a manner that was sober but not menacing. He kept twitching8 his ears and varying the sideways turn of his head. It was all so, well, catlike. He looked like a nice, big, fat domestic cat, a 450-pound tabby.
He made a sound, a snort from his nostrils9. I pricked10 up my ears. He did it a second time. I was astonished. Prusten?
Tigers make a variety of sounds. They include a number of roars and growls11, the loudest of these being most likely the full-throated aaonh, usually made during the mating season by males and oestrous females. It's a cry that travels far and wide, and is absolutely petrifying12 when heard close up. Tigers go woof when they are caught unawares, a short, sharp detonation13 of fury that would instantly make your legs jump up and run away if they weren't frozen to the spot. When they charge, tigers put out throaty, coughing roars. The growl5 they use for purposes of threatening has yet another guttural quality. And tigers hiss14 and snarl6, which, depending on the emotion behind it, sounds either like autumn leaves rustling15 on the ground, but a little more resonant16, or, when it's an infuriated snarl, like a giant door with rusty17 hinges slowly opening-in both cases, utterly18 spine-chilling. Tigers make other sounds too. They grunt19 and they moan. They purr, though not as melodiously20 or as frequently as small cats, and only as they breathe out. (Only small cats purr breathing both ways. It is one of the characteristics that distinguishes big cats from small cats. Another is that only big cats can roar. A good thing that is. I'm afraid the popularity of the domestic cat would drop very quickly if little kitty could roar its displeasure.) Tigers even go meow, with an inflection similar to that of domestic cats, but louder and in a deeper range, not as encouraging to one to bend down and pick them up. And tigers can be utterly, majestically21 silent, that too.
I had heard all these sounds growing up. Except for prusten. If I knew of it, it was because Father had told me about it. He had read descriptions of it in the literature. But he had heard it only once, while on a working visit to the Mysore Zoo, in their animal hospital, from a young male being treated for pneumonia22. Prusten is the quietest of tiger calls, a puff23 through the nose to express friendliness24 and harmless intentions.
Richard Parker did it again, this time with a rolling of the head. He looked exactly as if he were asking me a question.
I looked at him, full of fearful wonder. There being no immediate25 threat, my breath slowed down, my heart stopped knocking about in my chest, and I began to regain26 my senses.
I had to tame him. It was at that moment that I realized this necessity. It was not a question of him or me, but of him and me. We were, literally27 and figuratively, in the same boat. We would live-or we would die-together. He might be killed in an accident, or he could die shortly of natural causes, but it would be foolish to count on such an eventuality. More likely the worst would happen: the simple passage of time, in which his animal toughness would easily outlast28 my human frailty29. Only if I tamed him could I possibly trick him into dying first, if we had to come to that sorry business.
But there's more to it. I will come clean. I will tell you a secret: a part of me was glad about Richard Parker. A part of me did not want Richard Parker to die at all, because if he died I would be left alone with despair, a foe30 even more formidable than a tiger. If I still had the will to live, it was thanks to Richard Parker. He kept me from thinking too much about my family and my tragic31 circumstances. He pushed me to go on living. I hated him for it, yet at the same time I was grateful. I am grateful. It's the plain truth: without Richard Parker, I wouldn't be alive today to tell you my story.
I looked around at the horizon. Didn't I have here a perfect circus ring, inescapably round, without a single corner for him to hide in? I looked down at the sea. Wasn't this an ideal source of treats with which to condition him to obey? I noticed a whistle hanging from one of the life jackets. Wouldn't this make a good whip with which to keep him in line? What was missing here to tame Richard Parker? Time? It might be weeks before a ship sighted me. I had all the time in the world. Resolve? There's nothing like extreme need to give you resolve. Knowledge? Was I not a zookeeper's son? Reward? Was there any reward greater than life? Any punishment worse than death? I looked at Richard Parker. My panic was gone. My fear was dominated. Survival was at hand.
Let the trumpets32 blare. Let the drums roll. Let the show begin. I rose to my feet. Richard Parker noticed. The balance was not easy. I took a deep breath and shouted, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, hurry to your seats! Hurry, hurry. You don't want to be late. Sit down, open your eyes, open your hearts and prepare to be amazed. Here it is, for your enjoyment33 and instruction, for your gratification and edification, the show you've been waiting for all your life, The Greatest Show on Earth! Are you ready for the miracle of it? Yes? Well then: they are amazingly adaptable34. You've seen them in freezing, snow-covered temperate35 forests. You've seen them in dense36, tropical monsoon37 jungles. You've seen them in sparse38, semi-arid scrublands. You've seen them in brackish39 mangrove40 swamps. Truly, they would fit anywhere. But you've never seen them where you are about to see them now! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, without further ado, it is my pleasure and honour to present to you: The Pi Patel, Indo-Canadian, Trans-Pacific, Floating Circuuuuussssssssssss!!!"
"Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee!"
I had an effect on Richard Parker. At the very first blow of the whistle he cringed and he snarled41. Ha! Let him jump into the water if he wanted to! Let him try!
"Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee!"
He roared and he clawed the air. But he did not jump. He might not be afraid of the sea when he was driven mad by hunger and thirst, but for the time being it was a fear I could rely on.
"Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee! Treeeeee!"
He backed off and dropped to the bottom of the boat. The first training session was over. It was a resounding42 success. I stopped whistling and sat down heavily on the raft, out of breath and exhausted43.
And so it came to be:
Plan Number Seven: Keep Him Alive.



1 irony P4WyZ     
  • She said to him with slight irony.她略带嘲讽地对他说。
  • In her voice we could sense a certain tinge of irony.从她的声音里我们可以感到某种讥讽的意味。
2 contented Gvxzof     
  • He won't be contented until he's upset everyone in the office.不把办公室里的每个人弄得心烦意乱他就不会满足。
  • The people are making a good living and are contented,each in his station.人民安居乐业。
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 growling growling     
n.吠声, 咆哮声 v.怒吠, 咆哮, 吼
  • We heard thunder growling in the distance. 我们听见远处有隆隆雷声。
  • The lay about the deck growling together in talk. 他们在甲板上到处游荡,聚集在一起发牢骚。
5 growl VeHzE     
  • The dog was biting,growling and wagging its tail.那条狗在一边撕咬一边低声吼叫,尾巴也跟着摇摆。
  • The car growls along rutted streets.汽车在车辙纵横的街上一路轰鸣。
6 snarl 8FAzv     
  • At the seaside we could hear the snarl of the waves.在海边我们可以听见波涛的咆哮。
  • The traffic was all in a snarl near the accident.事故发生处附近交通一片混乱。
7 snarling 1ea03906cb8fd0b67677727f3cfd3ca5     
v.(指狗)吠,嗥叫, (人)咆哮( snarl的现在分词 );咆哮着说,厉声地说
  • "I didn't marry you," he said, in a snarling tone. “我没有娶你,"他咆哮着说。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
  • So he got into the shoes snarling. 于是,汤姆一边大喊大叫,一边穿上了那双鞋。 来自英汉文学 - 汤姆历险
8 twitching 97f99ba519862a2bc691c280cee4d4cf     
  • The child in a spasm kept twitching his arms and legs. 那个害痉挛的孩子四肢不断地抽搐。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • My eyelids keep twitching all the time. 我眼皮老是跳。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
9 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。
10 pricked 1d0503c50da14dcb6603a2df2c2d4557     
刺,扎,戳( prick的过去式和过去分词 ); 刺伤; 刺痛; 使剧痛
  • The cook pricked a few holes in the pastry. 厨师在馅饼上戳了几个洞。
  • He was pricked by his conscience. 他受到良心的谴责。
11 growls 6ffc5e073aa0722568674220be53a9ea     
v.(动物)发狺狺声, (雷)作隆隆声( growl的第三人称单数 );低声咆哮着说
  • The dog growls at me. 狗向我狂吠。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • The loudest growls have echoed around emerging markets and commodities. 熊嚎之声响彻新兴的市场与商品。 来自互联网
12 petrifying 9eac95f3e84fd001a5a06ca0b8ab08f6     
v.吓呆,使麻木( petrify的现在分词 );使吓呆,使惊呆;僵化
  • I found the climb absolutely petrifying. 我觉得这次爬山太吓人了。 来自柯林斯例句
13 detonation C9zy0     
  • A fearful detonation burst forth on the barricade.街垒传来一阵骇人的爆炸声。
  • Within a few hundreds of microseconds,detonation is complete.在几百微秒之内,爆炸便完成了。
14 hiss 2yJy9     
  • We can hear the hiss of air escaping from a tire.我们能听到一只轮胎的嘶嘶漏气声。
  • Don't hiss at the speaker.不要嘘演讲人。
15 rustling c6f5c8086fbaf68296f60e8adb292798     
n. 瑟瑟声,沙沙声 adj. 发沙沙声的
  • the sound of the trees rustling in the breeze 树木在微风中发出的沙沙声
  • the soft rustling of leaves 树叶柔和的沙沙声
16 resonant TBCzC     
  • She has a resonant voice.她的嗓子真亮。
  • He responded with a resonant laugh.他报以洪亮的笑声。
17 rusty hYlxq     
  • The lock on the door is rusty and won't open.门上的锁锈住了。
  • I haven't practiced my French for months and it's getting rusty.几个月不用,我的法语又荒疏了。
18 utterly ZfpzM1     
  • Utterly devoted to the people,he gave his life in saving his patients.他忠于人民,把毕生精力用于挽救患者的生命。
  • I was utterly ravished by the way she smiled.她的微笑使我完全陶醉了。
19 grunt eeazI     
  • He lifted the heavy suitcase with a grunt.他咕噜着把沉重的提箱拎了起来。
  • I ask him what he think,but he just grunt.我问他在想什麽,他只哼了一声。
20 melodiously fb4c1e38412ce0072d6686747dc7b478     
21 majestically d5d41929324f0eb30fd849cd601b1c16     
雄伟地; 庄重地; 威严地; 崇高地
  • The waters of the Changjiang River rolled to the east on majestically. 雄伟的长江滚滚东流。
  • Towering snowcapped peaks rise majestically. 白雪皑皑的山峰耸入云霄。
22 pneumonia s2HzQ     
  • Cage was struck with pneumonia in her youth.凯奇年轻时得过肺炎。
  • Pneumonia carried him off last week.肺炎上星期夺去了他的生命。
23 puff y0cz8     
  • He took a puff at his cigarette.他吸了一口香烟。
  • They tried their best to puff the book they published.他们尽力吹捧他们出版的书。
24 friendliness nsHz8c     
  • Behind the mask of friendliness,I know he really dislikes me.在友善的面具后面,我知道他其实并不喜欢我。
  • His manner was a blend of friendliness and respect.他的态度友善且毕恭毕敬。
25 immediate aapxh     
  • His immediate neighbours felt it their duty to call.他的近邻认为他们有责任去拜访。
  • We declared ourselves for the immediate convocation of the meeting.我们主张立即召开这个会议。
26 regain YkYzPd     
  • He is making a bid to regain his World No.1 ranking.他正为重登世界排名第一位而努力。
  • The government is desperate to regain credibility with the public.政府急于重新获取公众的信任。
27 literally 28Wzv     
  • He translated the passage literally.他逐字逐句地翻译这段文字。
  • Sometimes she would not sit down till she was literally faint.有时候,她不走到真正要昏厥了,决不肯坐下来。
28 outlast dmfz8P     
  • The great use of life is to spend it doing something that will outlast it.人生的充分利用就是为争取比人生更长久的东西而度过一生。
  • These naturally dried flowers will outlast a bouquet of fresh blooms.这些自然风干的花会比一束鲜花更加持久。
29 frailty 468ym     
  • Despite increasing physical frailty,he continued to write stories.尽管身体越来越虛弱,他仍然继续写小说。
  • He paused and suddenly all the frailty and fatigue showed.他顿住了,虚弱与疲惫一下子显露出来。
30 foe ygczK     
  • He knew that Karl could be an implacable foe.他明白卡尔可能会成为他的死敌。
  • A friend is a friend;a foe is a foe;one must be clearly distinguished from the other.敌是敌,友是友,必须分清界限。
31 tragic inaw2     
  • The effect of the pollution on the beaches is absolutely tragic.污染海滩后果可悲。
  • Charles was a man doomed to tragic issues.查理是个注定不得善终的人。
32 trumpets 1d27569a4f995c4961694565bd144f85     
喇叭( trumpet的名词复数 ); 小号; 喇叭形物; (尤指)绽开的水仙花
  • A wreath was laid on the monument to a fanfare of trumpets. 在响亮的号角声中花圈被献在纪念碑前。
  • A fanfare of trumpets heralded the arrival of the King. 嘹亮的小号声宣告了国王驾到。
33 enjoyment opaxV     
  • Your company adds to the enjoyment of our visit. 有您的陪同,我们这次访问更加愉快了。
  • After each joke the old man cackled his enjoyment.每逢讲完一个笑话,这老人就呵呵笑着表示他的高兴。
34 adaptable vJDyI     
  • He is an adaptable man and will soon learn the new work.他是个适应性很强的人,很快就将学会这种工作。
  • The soil is adaptable to the growth of peanuts.这土壤适宜于花生的生长。
35 temperate tIhzd     
  • Asia extends across the frigid,temperate and tropical zones.亚洲地跨寒、温、热三带。
  • Great Britain has a temperate climate.英国气候温和。
36 dense aONzX     
  • The general ambushed his troops in the dense woods. 将军把部队埋伏在浓密的树林里。
  • The path was completely covered by the dense foliage. 小路被树叶厚厚地盖了一层。
37 monsoon 261zf     
  • The monsoon rains started early this year.今年季雨降雨开始得早。
  • The main climate type in that region is monsoon.那个地区主要以季风气候为主要气候类型。
38 sparse SFjzG     
  • The teacher's house is in the suburb where the houses are sparse.老师的家在郊区,那里稀稀拉拉有几处房子。
  • The sparse vegetation will only feed a small population of animals.稀疏的植物只够喂养少量的动物。
39 brackish 4R8yW     
  • Brackish waters generally support only a small range of faunas.咸水水域通常只能存活为数不多的几种动物。
  • The factory has several shallow pools of brackish water.工厂有几个浅的咸水池。
40 mangrove 4oFzc2     
  • It is the world's largest tidal mangrove forest.它是世界上最大的红树林沼泽地。
  • Many consider this the most beautiful mangrove forest in all Thailand.许多人认为这里是全泰国最美丽的红树林了。
41 snarled ti3zMA     
v.(指狗)吠,嗥叫, (人)咆哮( snarl的过去式和过去分词 );咆哮着说,厉声地说
  • The dog snarled at us. 狗朝我们低声吼叫。
  • As I advanced towards the dog, It'snarled and struck at me. 我朝那条狗走去时,它狂吠着向我扑来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
42 resounding zkCzZC     
adj. 响亮的
  • The astronaut was welcomed with joyous,resounding acclaim. 人们欢声雷动地迎接那位宇航员。
  • He hit the water with a resounding slap. 他啪的一声拍了一下水。
43 exhausted 7taz4r     
  • It was a long haul home and we arrived exhausted.搬运回家的这段路程特别长,到家时我们已筋疲力尽。
  • Jenny was exhausted by the hustle of city life.珍妮被城市生活的忙乱弄得筋疲力尽。
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