فصل 01

مجموعه: کتاب های متوسط / کتاب: 2001 - اودیسه فضایی / فصل 1

کتاب های متوسط

43 کتاب | 631 فصل

فصل 01

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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متن انگلیسی فصل

PART ONE

ANCIENT NIGHT

CHAPTER ONE

The Road to Death

Very little rain had fallen for a long time, for at least ten million years. Here, in the place that one day would be called Africa, the man-apes of the grasslands were fighting a battle to stay alive, and they were not winning.

About fifty of them lived in caves on the side of a small dry valley. There was a stream running down the middle. If the weather was very hot, its water dried up and the man-apes were thirsty.

When the first light of morning came into the cave, Moon-Watcher saw that his father had died in the night. He did not know that the Old One was his father, because he did not know what a father was. But he felt a little anxious as he dragged the dead body out of the cave. Outside, he did something that no other animal in the world could do - he stood up.

Moon-Watcher was bigger than the others in his group. He was nearly a meter and a half high, though very thin because of the constant hunger. His hairy body was half-way between ape and man. But his head looked quite human. His forehead was low, but there were signs of intelligence in his eyes.

As he walked down the slope, the rest of the group saw him and began to come out of their caves. They moved towards the stream for their morning drink. Moon-Watcher walked on until he found a small bush. He left the body there, knowing that animals would do the rest. He never thought of his father again.

His two females, the adults from the other cave, and most of the young ones were looking for berries among the small trees further up the valley. Only the babies and the very old were left in the caves. If there was any extra food at the end of the day, they might be fed. If not, they would stay hungry.

Moon-Watcher climbed the slope to join the group. After some time he found honey in a dead tree. This did not happen very often, and the group was happy. Of course, they also collected a number of bee stings, but they hardly noticed these. Now, although Moon-Watcher was still hungry, he was not actually weak with hunger. He could not expect more than that.

He led his group back to the stream. The Others were there, as usual. There were about thirty of them, and they looked exactly the same as Moon-Watcher’s own group. As they saw him coming, they began to dance, shake their arms and shout, and his people did the same.

And that was all that happened. Although the man-apes sometimes fought among themselves, they could do little harm to each other. Their teeth were not sharp and their bodies were protected by thick hair. Also, they did not often have enough energy for fighting. After a time, the man-apes on both sides grew quiet and began to drink the muddy water.

On the grassland near the caves there were many animals, but the man-apes knew of no way to kill one of them. In fact, they could not even imagine the idea of killing one. In the middle of so much food, they were slowly dying of hunger.

That night a cold wind blew. Moon-Watcher hardly moved when the screams came from one of the lower caves. He knew what was happening before he heard the sound of the leopard. But Moon-Watcher did not think of going to help. He lay quietly, as all the others did.

Later, he went outside and sat on a rock. He looked up and down the valley, then at the Moon. The man-apes were the only animal that ever did this. Moon-Watcher had done it since his childhood. He was old now, twenty-five years old. If he was lucky, he might live another ten years.

He stayed on the rock for some time, sleeping and waking but always listening. If any animal moved in the area, Moon-Watcher would know about it. But he did not see the bright light, brighter than any star, that crossed the sky twice, rising high and sinking down to the east.

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