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黑郁金香Black Tulips

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核心提示:When I was a child growing up in the Netherlands, I often begged my mother to tell me this story about an experience her family had at the end of World WarⅡ. During the terrible last winter of the German occupation, food was very scarce in the Neth


    When I was a child growing up in the Netherlands, I often begged my mother to tell me this story about an experience her family had at the end of World WarⅡ. 

    During the terrible last winter of the German occupation, food was very scarce in the Netherlands. People were so desperately hungry, they began to eat small animals and many things not normally considered edible, including tulip bulbs. People discovered the bulbs could be cooked like potatoes or turnips, or even eaten raw. 

    For centuries my mother’s family, the Van der Veldes, had owned a highly successful tulip business, which provided jobs for many in our village of Ridderkerk. Their bulbs were popular throughout Europe and abroad, and the family name was known far and wide. But the war shut their business down, and during the winter of hunger, my grandfather, Arnoldus, donated all his tulip bulbs to feed the hungriest villagers. 

    All, that is, except for a few irreplaceable bulbs. For years, Arnoldus had been trying to cultivate a black tulip, something no gardener had ever been able to do. He was now very close. By careful selection, he had created a dark-purple tulip. These few bulbs he guarded vigorously to prevent people from stealing them for food. He did not even give them to his family to eat, because they would make just one meager meal, and eating them would destroy his chance of restarting his business and restoring his village after the war. 

    One day, underground Radio Orange announced that the war was over. There was great rejoicing, but more hardships were still to come. The German forces that had occupied and terrorized our country for five long years started to withdraw, battalion by battalion. But as they pulled back, some soldiers deserted and fled toward Germany, sacking and looting as they went. There was much destruction, and the Dutch people still faced grave dangers. 

    My grandfather, Arnoldus, looked at his pale, thin children and realized that the hunger could continue for a longtime as the war left poverty in its wake. He wondered if it might be time to feed his precious bulbs to his children. Certainly it would be better than losing the bulbs to the marauding bands of fleeing German soldiers. After hours of agonizing, he made his decision. He seized a shovel and went into the garden. There he found my mother, Albertha, then just seven, 1ooking flushed and agitated. 

    “Papa! Papa! I must tell you something,” Albertha said. Over her shoulder, Arnoldus saw a band of drunken, looting Germans coming toward them down the street. He whispered to Albertha to run inside the house and frantically began digging for his bulbs. Over and over his shovel came up empty. He was too late. Someone had already stolen them. 

    Crazed with grief and rage, he ran toward the street screaming, “They have stolen my tulip bulbs!” Albertha, watching from the doorway, cried out and ran to stop him. Before she could reach Arnoldus, a German soldier raised his pistol and shot him. Although the German surrender had been signed, a curfew was still technically in effect, and my grandfather had violated it. 

    Arnoldus survived his wounds and mended slowly. When he could finally leave his bed, he sat by the window staring out into the garden. He so regretted that he hadn’t given the bulbs to his family sooner. The war was over and spring was coming, but life remained very hard. Many houses had been bombed. There was little food and jobs were few. 

    Finally the weather warmed, and Arnoldus was able to sit outside. Albertha stayed close to him, attending to his every need, rarely leaving him even to play with her friends. She had become quiet and reserved, although she had been a happy, bubbly child before the war. Sometimes she would try to cheer her father by pointing to the pile of rubble next door, all that was left of their neighbors’ bombed house. She reminded her father that at least their family still had each other and a roof above their heads. Arnoldus realized the truth in her words and often glanced over at the ruins to remind himself of how lucky they had been. 

    One day, he noticed something sprouting among the broken bricks and concrete. He pointed out the green leaves to Albertha. Suddenly, all her reserve left her. She began to cry hysterically. Between convulsive sobs, she told him that these were his black tulip bulbs. He held her close and listened with amazement as she told her story. 

    Just before her father was shot. Albertha had been in the garden when a friendly German soldier had approached her. Carl Meier was stationed in the family’s neighborhood during the German occupation. He had Van der Veldes bulbs in his own garden back home in Germany. and he appreciated their value. Carl had watched as Arnoldus gave away the precious bulbs to feed his neighbors, and he suspected that there were more hidden away. The soldier warned Albertha that a band of German looters was on its way down the street. He urged her to hide the remaining bulbs away from the yard, which would surely be searched. And he begged her not to mention his name to anyone because he could be court-martialed for his warning. 

    Just then the laughing and shouting of drunken soldiers could be heard coming down the road. Carl Meier fled. With no time to summon her father, Albertha scrabbled in the dirt with her bare hands, scooped up the bulbs from their hiding place, and reburied them in the rubble next door. 

    As she clambered back over the fence into her own garden, she found her father digging with a shovel. She tried to tell him what she had done but he was so intent on his work that he ignored her. 

    For some time, it was uncertain whether Arnoldus would survive his gunshot wound. When he began to recover, Albertha went to retrieve the bulbs, knowing that seeing them would raise his spirits. She climbed over the fence and gasped with horror. An unstable wall had collapsed on the spot, covering the bulbs. It seemed impossible to the little girl that anyone could ever move the heavy slab. Overwhelmed with sorrow, Albertha decided not to tell anyone what she had done. 

    However, during the last cruel days of winter, ice must have formed in the cracks of the wall, gently forcing them apart. With the warmth of spring, the ice had melted and the tender shoots had made their way up toward the sun. 

    Arnoldus had survived, and so had his bulbs. Now father and daughter stood looking at the young green leaves. 

    It took some time, but my grandfather rebuilt his business, starting with those few bulbs. The rare dark-purple tulips eventually became an enormous source of income for the people in Ridderkerk and provided many much-needed jobs. The recovery of Ridderkerk persuaded its people that there could again be happiness after so much misery and new life after much death. As the tulips rose from the ruins and came to bloom again, so did the Netherlands. 

    Although the Van der Veldes tried to locate Carl Meier, he was never found. But the family did find a way to honor his courage and kindness. When my mother’s little brother was born the following year, the grateful family named him Karel, the Dutch version of “Carl.”

    我是在荷兰长大的,小时候时常要母亲给我讲二战末期她家族的故事。 

    在那遭透了的德军占领下的最后一个冬季里,食物在荷兰极其匮乏。人们饿得发慌,开始吃小动物和许多通常情况下被认为不能食用的东西,这包括郁金香球根。人们发现郁金香球根可以象土豆或萝卜那样煮着吃,生吃也行。 

    几个世纪以来,我母亲的家族,万德韦尔德家族就在郁金香行业很成功了。她们还为里德柯克村提供了很多工作。母亲家里的郁金香根在整个欧洲和海外都很受欢迎,她们家族也名扬四海。但战争让她们停业了,在饥饿的冬季,我祖父,阿诺尔德斯,把所有的郁金香根都赠送给饥饿的村民食用。 

    只留下几株特殊培育的郁金香根。多年以来,祖父试着培育一种没有人培养的黑郁金香。他已经快成功了。经过谨慎的挑选,他种出了一株紫黑色的郁金香。他警觉地守卫着这几株郁金香球根,以防有人把它们偷走吃掉。他甚至也没有给自己家里人吃,因为这些球茎只能做出那么一小口饭菜,而吃掉它们将丧失重操旧业和战后重建家乡的机会。 

    有一天,地下橙色电台宣告战争结束了。大家都欣喜若狂,但更多的苦难还是接踵而至。占领祖国实施高压恐怖长达5年之久的德军开始大批大批地撤退。撤退过程中,一些开小差的德国兵往国内逃亡,沿途抢劫掠夺。这造成了更大的破坏,荷兰的人民始终要面对严峻的危险。 

    我祖父,阿诺尔德斯,看着面色苍白身形消瘦的孩子们,他意识到战后留下的贫穷会使饥荒持续很长一段时间。他不知道是不是该把那些珍贵的郁金香球根给孩子们充饥。当然,吃了总比让那些溃逃的德国兵抢去了强。经过几个小时的思想斗争,他做出了决定。他抓起一把铁铲走进花园这。在花园里,他见到了母亲,当时只有7岁的阿尔韦塔,满脸通红怒气冲冲。 

    “爸爸! 爸爸! 我必须告诉你件事!”阿尔韦塔嚷道。越过母亲的肩头,祖父看见一队醉醺醺的德国兵沿街朝他们走来。他轻声叫阿尔韦塔进屋去,并开始疯狂地挖掘那些郁金香球根。可一次次,他的铲子总是什么也没刨到。他出手晚了。有人已经把他们偷走了。 

    祖父的悲伤和忿怒让他发疯似地跑上街头高叫着,“有人偷了我的郁金香!”阿尔韦塔在门口看到后,呼喊着跑去阻止祖父。在她能够到祖父之前,一个德国士举起手枪朝祖父开了一枪。虽然德国政府已经签署了投降书,但当时的宵禁令在法律上仍然有效。 

    阿诺尔德斯的枪伤没有要了他的命,伤口慢慢好了起来。当他能下床的时候,他站在床前两眼瞪着花园。他真后悔没把那些郁金香球根交给家里人。战争结束了,春天也来了,但生活还是极其艰难。许多房屋都被炸毁了。没有什么事物,工作也几乎没有。 

    终于,天气转暖,阿诺尔德斯也能到户外坐坐了。阿尔韦塔就守在他身旁,留心他的每一个要求,和小朋友们玩也不离他左右。虽然战前她是一个快乐活泼的小孩子,但如今她变得从容谨慎。有时她指着邻居家房子的废墟里的碎石堆,哄祖父开心。她提醒祖父,至少他们家人都在而且头顶上的天棚还在。阿诺尔德斯明白女儿言语中的事实,也常常瞥一眼废墟,提醒自己已经够幸运了。 

    一天,注意到在瓦砾和水泥块中萌发出什么东西。他把绿叶指给阿尔韦塔看。突然,阿尔韦塔所有的谨慎一扫而光。她开始号啕大哭。在抽噎间,她告诉祖父这些就是黑郁金香球根。祖父紧紧抱着她,惊讶地听完她的故事。 

    就在祖父被射中前,阿尔韦塔正在花园里。这时走过来一个善良的德国兵。在德军占领期,卡尔迈耶住在母亲家隔壁。他在德国家中的花园里种有万德韦尔德的郁金香。而且他了解这些花的价值。卡尔看到阿诺尔德斯把这些珍贵的球根给邻里们食用,他怀疑还有许多郁金香根被藏了起来。于是,卡尔警告阿尔韦塔有一队德国兵沿着大街来了。他敦促阿尔韦塔把剩下的郁金香根藏到别处去,因为这个院子必定要接受检查。他还告诉她,不要向任何人提及他的名字,否则他可能会因为告密而接受军事法庭审判。 

    就在能听见沿街而下的醉酒德国兵的笑声和叫喊声时,卡尔迈耶跑开了。没时间召唤父亲,阿尔韦塔用双手在泥土中拔出郁金香根,铲起它们,并把它们埋在邻居家的瓦砾中。 

    当她再次爬过墙头回到自家花园的时候,她发现父亲正在用铲子挖寻郁金香根。她试图告诉父亲自己挖走了郁金香,但父亲当时太专心没有注意到她。 

    在相当长的一段时间,都不能确定祖父的枪伤是否致命。当祖父开始恢复,阿尔韦塔回去寻找那些郁金香根,希望这些球根能让祖父打起精神。她翻过围墙,吓得大喘气起来。一堵坍台的墙压倒在埋郁金香的地方,覆盖住了那些球根。小姑娘看来,似乎任何人都不可能移动那沉重的混凝土板。遭受沉痛悲伤的阿尔韦塔决定不把自己的所作所为告诉任何人。 

    然而,去年严寒的冬季,墙体上的裂缝中结了冰,把墙胀裂了。春天的温暖又让冰融化,嫩芽便朝着阳光生长开来。 

    阿诺尔德斯活了下来,他的郁金香根也活了。如今,父女俩站在那里看着郁金香那清新的绿叶。

    经过一段时间,祖父用这几株郁金香得以重新开业。最终,珍贵的紫黑色郁金香为里德柯克人民带来了巨大的财富,还提供了许多急需的工作岗位。里德柯克的复苏让人们相信苦难过后幸福同样可以到来,死亡过后新的生命依然茁壮。随着郁金香从废墟中长出又绽放出花朵,整个荷兰也复苏了。
虽然万德韦尔德试着找到那个德国人卡尔迈耶,但始终没有找到。但是,万德韦尔德家族找到了一个称颂他勇气和友爱的途径。次年,当母亲的小弟降生时,心存感激的一家人把他命名为卡雷尔,荷兰语即,“卡尔”。

 

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关键词: 黑郁金香
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