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教育频道 > 外语天地-英语频道 > Words and Stories
The Mystery of Roanok(魂断罗那克)
时间:2006年12月28日19:22 我来说两句  

 
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  Everyone loves a mystery. Books, stories, movies, andtelevisionprograms involving mysteries are very popular. Fictionalmysteriesare fun to solve before the author finally reveals thesecret.However, there are many real-life mysteries that have neverbeensolved. One of them is the mystery of the “Lost Colony ”ofRoanoke.The story begins in 1585. An English explorer namedSirWalter Raleigh wanted to start settlements in the New World forhisglory and that of his queen, Elizabeth I. Walter Raleigh sent108men to settle on Roanoke Island, off the coast ofVirginia.However, these men were soldiers and didn’t know how tofarm. Theyquickly ran out of food. By 1586 the settlers were sickandstarving.One day some English ships anchored near the island.Thecaptains of these ships agreed to take the settlers backtoEngland. The settlers brought back with them Indian cornandpotatoes, which were unknown in England. Sir Raleigh Walterplantedthe potatoes on his estate in Ireland. Later they became achiefsource of food for the Irish people.Walter Raleigh wasstilldetermined to start a colony in Virginia. This time he decidedtoinclude farmers and families who could build things and surviveintheir settlement. In 1587 he sent 150 men, women, and childreninthree ships across the sea. Many had sold everything they ownedinhopes of a better life in the New World. The ships were ontheirway to Chesapeake Bay, where it was thought a settlement couldbemore successful than on Roanoke Island. However, the shipscaptainstopped at Roanoke Island and refused to take his passengersanyfarther. They had no choice but to settle on the island.

  They repaired the old fort and began to build cabins. Buttheysoon realized they need many more supplies than they hadbroughtwith them. It was decided that their leader and governor,JohnWhite, should go back to England for help and more provisions.Aweek before he sailed, White’s daughter gave birth to a babygirl-the first English child to be born in America. Her namewasVirginia Dare. As conditions on the island were difficult, someofthe settlers wanted to move to another place. Before GovernorWhitecenter, he told them that if they center the island , theyshould carveon a tree the name of the place where they were going.If they hadtroubles, they should put a cross above the name.

  Upon reaching England, White discovered that England was atwarwith Spain. Every ship in the country was needed. He andSirRaleigh Walter tried in every way to send ships to thestrandedlittle colony across the sea. But it was not to be. Threeyearspassed before White was able to return to Roanoke Island.InAugustof 1590, the governor stepped shore at Roanoke Island. Hewalked tothe settlement with fear in his heart. Upon reaching it,he foundonly deserted ruins. The cabins had been destroyed and thegroundwas overgrown with high grass and weeds. He found rustedpieces ofmetal and moldy books. It was obvious the colony had beenabandonedfor at least a year.

  Governor White was deeply troubled. But then, at the entrancetothe settlement, he saw the word CROATOAN carved in a tree.Therewas no cross above the world. Croatoan was the name of anearbyisland inhabited by a friendly native tribe. GovernorWhiteconfident the settlers would be found.

  The ship’s captain agreed to sail to Croatoan the nextmorning.But during the night, there was a terrible storm. The shiplost allbut one anchor. The captain was more concerned for his shipthanfor the colonists, so he sailed away from the storm. But thestormfollowed and blew them far into the Atlantic. The captainrefusedto go back, so Governor White unhappily was taken backtoEngland.Although several search parties were eventually senttoRoanoke and Croatoan, not one clue to the fate of the settlerswasever found. Governor White would never know what happened tohisdaughter and grandchild, or all the others who had so bravelymadethe journey with him.Ironically, the fate of Governor Whitealsobecame a mystery. It is not known where or when he died. Thereis arecord that in 1606 a man named John White died“ in partsbeyondthe sea.” It seems very likely that White died stillsearching forthe men and women he had center with a promise ofhelp, but wasunable to save.

  Notes:

  Fictional:虚构的。
Reveal:透露,揭露。Explorer:探险家,勘探者。had nochoicebut:只得。Starve:挨饿,饿死。Anchor:锚,抛锚。Estate:地产,庄园。Survive:活下去,幸存。Bay:海湾,湖湾。Fort:城堡,要塞。Cabin:简易木屋。 Provision:食物供应,补给。cross:十字。 atwar:处于交战状态。strand:多沙的海滩,河岸。使搁浅。desert:沙漠,离弃。moldy:发霉的,过时的,令人沮丧的。entrance:入口,通道。inhabit:居住,栖息。tribe:部落。Ironically:具有讽刺意味的是。(接下页)

  魂断罗那克

  大家都喜欢神奇的事情,以致于关于这类题材的书籍、故事、电影、电视倍受欢迎。虚构的神秘故事往往是有趣的,作者最后总要揭开谜底。然生活中的迷案,我们却每每感到一头雾水。罗那克岛上的失踪的殖民者至今仍是不解之迷——

  故事发生在一五八五年。一个名叫瓦尔特·罗利的探险家,为了表示对英王陛下伊丽莎白的尊敬,立志在新大陆开始殖民,于是他带了一百零八名男子想到靠近佛吉尼亚的罗那克岛上定居。然而,这些人全都是当兵的,不懂得如何种田,所带的食物很快消耗迨尽。到了一五八六年,他开始面临着疾病与饥饿的双重压力。

  一天,一些英国船只在罗那克岛附近靠岸。这些船只的船长们同意把移民者送回英格兰,殖民者带回了英国人闻所未闻的印地安的玉米和土豆。瓦尔特·罗利爵士将土豆种在自己在爱尔兰的庄园里,后来土豆成了爱尔兰人的主要食品。

  瓦尔特·罗利爵士铁了心要在佛吉尼亚开创移民点。再次动身他不仅带上农民还带上他们的家属,以便搞点建筑在那里长期生存下去。一五八七年,瓦尔特·罗利爵士带了包括孩子在内的150名男男女女,分乘三艘大船跨海远征。很多人变卖了所有值钱的家当,以期在新大陆能过上更好的生活。本来认为大西洋上的切萨皮克湾(ChesapeakeBay)比罗那克岛更利于移民,可船驶到了中途的罗那克岛再也不肯往前走了,他们只得选择定居在罗那克岛上。

  他们维修古老的城堡,搭建起简易的小木屋。但很快发现自己带来的给养材料远远不够用,于是决定由他们的队长也是目前的总督——约翰·怀特,回英格兰寻求帮助和更多的给养。在他起航的前一周,他的女儿生下一个小女孩,她是第一个在美洲出生的英国小孩,她的名字叫佛吉尼亚·黛尔(VirginiaDare)。随着岛上生存困难的加剧,有些移民者想转移到别的岛上去。在怀特离开之前,他吩咐大家,如果谁离开了罗那克岛,谁就在所离开地方的树上刻下自己的名字。如果谁遇到了不测,就在他的名字上画个十字架。

  等回到英国,怀特才知道英国人正和西班牙人打仗,国家急需每一条船。他和瓦尔特·罗利爵士千方百计想发船到海外陷于困境的殖民点,但是他们做不到。三年过去了,怀特只得返回了罗那克岛。

  一五九0年八月,总督踏上了罗那克岛。他惶恐不安地去寻找殖民点,等到了那里,他仅仅找到了被遗弃的废墟。小木屋已经毁掉,地面上长满了高高的野草。他找到了锈迹斑斑的金属片和发霉的书本,显然这块殖民地至少被抛弃一年了。

  约翰·怀特很是犯难。在居民点的入口,约翰·怀特看到了树上刻有“CROATOAN”的字样,这个单词的上面没有刻十字。Croatoan(克柔投安)是附近一个岛屿的名字,那里住有友好的土著部落。怀特对找到移民点充满了信心。

  船长同意第二天一早去克柔投安。天有不测风云,就在那天夜里,遭遇了一场可怕的暴风雨,除了剩下一只锚,船上的东西荡然无存。比起移民者来,船长更关心他的船只,于是他驾船离开了这个是非之地,随之而来的暴风雨又把他吹向大西洋的深处。船长拒绝返回,约翰·怀特郁郁不乐地回到了英格兰。

  尽管几个搜救队被派往罗那克岛和克柔投安岛,但关于那批移民者的线索一点儿也没找到。总督怀特再也无从得知他的女儿和外孙女的消息,也不知道那些与他一起勇敢地远征的队友们的下落……

  具有讽刺意味的是,约翰·怀特的命运也成了一个不解之秘。人们不知道他什么时候死的,他到底死在何处。据说1606年,一个叫约翰·怀特的人客死他乡,很可能约翰·怀特是在寻找他曾许诺要帮助他(她)们的那些男男女女的路途中,然他还是没能救下他(她)们。(新东方专稿)(编辑:赵露)

  (本文作者艾临,英语副教授。出版《每天幽它一默》(译著)、《英语新大陆》两部,在《中国日报》《英语沙龙》《中国成人教育》、《英语周报》、《英语辅导报》等发表论文多篇。研究方向是词汇与幽默翻译;喜欢诗歌、旅游、历史与国际关系,发表诗作、游记、国际观察等数百首/篇)

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