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«Вьетнамская народная сказка на английском языке»
One upon a time, a young married couple lived near a river. The wife, who was pretty and thrifty, stayed at home and took care of the household. Her husband, who was strong and clever, sailed hither and yon to trade his goods. One day, he heard that Ha Chau Port was rich and teeming with boats. He decided to go there and try his luck.
Husband and wife parted with reluctance. She stood in sadness on the river bank, watching her husband’s small boat float away.
After two weeks of sailing, the trader finally reached the port. Indeed, wharf fit the descriptions he’d heard. The moored boats were as numerous as bamboo leaves, while on the river bank people bustled in streets lined with endless rows of shops and open markets.
Near the wharf stood an imposing emporium crowded with customers. The trader was admiring the handsome building when a stranger approached. “That’s our town’s trading house,” the man said in a friendly voice. “You can buy or sell anything there.” The trader thought to himself: “I’ll go see! Perhaps I can do business with that broker for a long time.”
The broker and her staff welcomed their guest. “You’ve come from afar,” the owner said. “You’ve been sailing for days. You must be tired. If my house isn’t too small and humble, I’d be pleased to have you rest here.”
With that, the owner invited the trader to visit her estate. The trader noticed her gauze and brocade curtains, her walls paneled in fragrant cinnamon wood, her priceless furniture, and the expensive ware stocking her storeroom.
One small room displayed a tray made from jade and, on it, a tortoise fashioned from sparkling gold. “That’s our ancestors’ precious legacy,” the owner told the trader. “We’ve prospered and we continue to grow richer, thanks to this golden tortoise.”
That noon, the owner served her guests a feast of rare delicacies. They in turn praised her wealth and hospitality. Since the trader and his crew had come from afar, they didn’t realize that local people called their host “The Swindler”. Indeed, she was famous for manipulating and deceiving those who came to sell. In fact, the stranger who’d first suggested the trader visit the emporium was a member of the swindler’s staff.
Host and guests feasted together until afternoon. Then the trader led the emporium owner down to his boat to view his precious, beautiful wares. The swindler was delighted. “I’ll buy all your goods,” she announced in honeyed tones. “You can relax. You needn’t worry about selling them.”
That evening, the swindler organized another banquet complete with wine to entertain the trader and his crew. Since the party went on until late, she led her guests off to sleep in sumptuous rooms complete with
Thrifty - бережливый brocade - парчовый
hither and yon – сюдатуда fragrant - ароматный
teeming with - кишеть cinnamon - корица, светло-коричневый
The next morning, the trader expressed his appreciation for the hospitality. He started to return to his boat. But before he’d taken ten steps, the swindler rushed after him. “Don’t leave!” she shouted in fright. “We’ve just lost our golden tortoise!”
Everyone dashed back to the house. The tortoise was gone. Only jade tray remained. “That tortoise brings my family its good fortune!” the swindler whined, her mouth twisting as if she would cry. “If you’ve taken our tortoise by mistake, please return it.” “But we didn’t take anything.” The trader protested.
The trader’s aides began to weep. They denied knowing anything. They insisted they’d taken nothing.
Suddenly the swindler did an about- face. “You ate in my house all day yesterday!” she accused. “You slept in my house! Now, we’ve lost our golden tortoise! But you won’t admit responsibility. I won’t accept that!!!” “Search his boat!” the swindler ordered her servants. “Anyone objecting will know my wrath!!”
The trader realized his host was making a scene to slander him. “Madam”, he said with determined anger, “no me may enter my boat unless the mandarin is present to judge.”
The swindler was elated. The trader had fallen into her trap. Soon the mandarin arrived. After all, the swindler had bribed him handsomely after each previous such incident of deception. The swindler fawned over the mandarin, pressing her case. “With your kind permission,” she said, “I’ll give the trader all my property if we don’t find my golden tortoise on his boat!”
The mandarin nodded, Yes. “And, if we find the tortoise on this trader’s boat,” the mandarin announced, “he must forfeit to you his boat, his goods, and his staff. Further, he must spend his life as your servant.”
Confident in his innocence, the trader agreed. With that, the mandarin, his soldiers, and the swindler’s servants hastened onto the trader’s boat.
The soldiers and servants ransacked the trunks of goods, creating chaos. Within minutes, they found the golden tortoise nestled in a roll of cloth.
The trader was speechless, as if they’d struck him dead.
Thus, the swindler won the boat, its goods, the trader’s servants.
As for the trader, she exiled him to a distant hut, where he spent his days clipping grass to feed a horse. The work was strenuous, yet the trader could protest his anguish only to the heavens.
Appreciation – признательность tobeelated – быть в восторге
swindler – мошенник bribe - подкупать
to whine – ныть, скулить deception - обман
aide – помощник to fawn – лебезить, подлизываться
toweep – плакать property - собственность
todeny- отрицать toforfeit - поплатиться
to insist- настаивать confident - уверенный
to do an about – face – делатьповорот innocence - невиновность
to accuse – обвинять to ransack – рыться, обыскивать
One day, the trader was cutting grass on the river bank, he met an elderly man with the benevolent appearance of a fairy. The old man carried a monk’s staff in one hand and a ripe, red pomelo in the other.
The trader asked if he might have pomelo to eat.
The old man shook his head, No. “This pomelo isn’t for eating,” he said. “It’s only for sending a letter. But if you want to send news to someone, I can help.”
The trader was thrilled. That night, he wrote his wife a letter. The next morning, while the grass was still damp with dew, the trader returned to the river bank to find the old man waiting. The old man placed the letter inside the pomelo, murmured a few words, and set the fruit into the river.
“Pomelo! Pomelo!!” the old man chanted. “Make haste! Make haste!!”
The trader watched the pomelo drift away. Then he turned back around to find that the old man had vanished.
For some years, the trader’s wife had left their house every morning and walked to the river to wait for her husband. She missed him. She worried. She wept and wept until she had no more tears, yet the sea remained immense and indifferent to her pain. Time passed, but the familiar brown sail of her husband’s boat did not appear.
Then one day, a pomelo bobbing on the waves came ashore at the place where the trader’s wife stood, gazing out to the sea. She opened the strange fruit and found her husband’s letter inside.
The wife followed her husband’s directions. She purchased a boat and loaded it with silk, brocade, and other precious goods. She added a small cage of mice. Then she asked her parents’ permission to travel to Ha Chau and search for her husband. She included a goldsmith among her crew. Their boat arrived at Ha Chau. Immediately the swindler’s aide greeted these distinguished guests and invited them to the emporium.
That night, the swindler ordered her staff to slip the golden tortoise onto the wife’s boat and to hide it among the wife’s wares. But the goldsmith uncovered the golden tortoise as soon as the servants left. Within minutes, he’d melted the golden tortoise and was shaping it into bars of gold.
The next day, the swindler saw her guests off to their boat. But as soon as the wife and her crew had taken ten steps, the swindler ran after them. “Thieves!” she shouted. “Stop the thieves! They’ve taken my golden tortoise!!”
Just as before, the swindler invited the mandarin to judge. If her accusation proved true, the accused wife must give the swindler her boat and goods and become the swindler’s servant. However, if the swindler’s accusation proved false, she must suffer the same punishment.
The swindler assumed she would profit once more. The mandarin and his soldiers searched the boat all morning. However this time, they found no trace of the golden tortoise.
Instead, they came upon bars of glittering gold.
The swindler was horrified and beset with panic.
But the swindler wouldn’t accept failure. “I have two lamp-holder cats who can display their lanterns all night long, “ she said to the trader’s wife. “If you can make them drop their lanterns, I’ll give you my second house. It’s the largest in Ha Chau. Otherwise, that first house will be mine once more.”
The trader’s wife accepted the challenge because she was prepared for this trick. And, so the two women played cards while the lantern-bearing cats sat on two corners of the mat. Some time after midnight, the trader’s wife opened the small cage she’d brought along, releasing her mice. The cats tore after the prey. Their lanterns toppled, smashing to bits.
The swindler turned pale. She tried to smile. “You can’t take both my houses and leave Ha Chau just yet,” she said. “We will plant a dead tree. If the tree recovers after one night, you must depart empty-handed. If the tree remains dead, then all my property will be yours.”
The trader’s wife accepted this challenge, too, because she also knew this trick. That night, she sent her crew to replace the swindler’s special soil with ordinary earth. And so the swindler’s miracle failed.
Defeated, the swindler drowned herself in the sea. But Buddha was compassionate. He turned the swindler into a carp. And so, again and again, the carp dives down through brackish water at the river’s mouth and returns to the surface as if ceaselessly seeking the wealth the swindler has once seized through deception.
As for the trader husband and wife, they were overjoyed to be together once more. They divided the swindler’s property among the poor and allowed the swindler’s servants to return home. When they’d finished these tasks, they climbed aboard their boat and sailed back home.