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کتاب سوم - فصل 04-01

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Chapter 4:

Treebeard

Meanwhile the hobbits went with as much speed as the dark and tangled forest allowed, following the line of the running stream, westward and up towards the slopes of the mountains, deeper and deeper into Fangorn. Slowly their fear of the Orcs died away, and their pace slackened. A queer stifling feeling came over them, as if the air were too thin or too scanty for breathing.

At last Merry halted. “We can’t go on like this,” he panted. “I want some air.”

“Let’s have a drink at any rate,” said Pippin. “I’m parched.” He clambered on to a great tree-root that wound down into the stream, and stooping drew up some water in his cupped hands. It was clear and cold, and he took many draughts. Merry followed him. The water refreshed them and seemed to cheer their hearts; for a while they sat together on the brink of the stream, dabbling their sore feet and legs, and peering round at the trees that stood silently about them, rank upon rank, until they faded away into grey twilight in every direction.

“I suppose you haven’t lost us already?” said Pippin, leaning back against a great tree-trunk. “We can at least follow the course of this stream, the Entwash or whatever you call it, and get out again the way we came.”

“We could, if our legs would do it,” said Merry;”and if we could breathe properly.”

“Yes, it is all very dim, and stuffy, in here,” said Pippin. “It reminds me, somehow, of the old room in the Great Place of the Tooks away back in the Smials at Tuckborough: a huge place, where the furniture has never been moved or changed for generations. They say the Old Took lived in it year after year, while he and the room got older and shabbier together-and it has never changed since he died, a century ago. And Old Gerontius was my great-great-grandfather: that puts it back a bit. But that is nothing to the old feeling of this wood. Look at all those weeping, trailing, beards and whiskers of lichen! And most of the trees seem to be half covered with ragged dry leaves that have never fallen. Untidy. I can’t imagine what spring would look like here, if it ever comes; still less a spring-cleaning.”

“But the Sun at any rate must peep in sometimes.” said Merry. “It does not look or feel at all like Bilbo’s description of Mirkwood. That was all dark and black, and the home of dark black things. This is just dim, and frightfully tree-ish. You can’t imagine animals living here at all, or staying for long.”

“No, nor hobbits,” said Pippin. “And I don’t like the thought of trying to get through it either. Nothing to eat for a hundred miles, I should guess. How are our supplies?”

“Low,” said Merry. “We ran off with nothing but a couple of spare packets of lembas, and left everything else behind.” They looked at what remained of the elven-cakes: broken fragments for about five meagre days, that was all. “And not a wrap or a blanket,” said Merry. “We shall be cold tonight, whichever way we go.”

“Well, we’d better decide on the way now,” said Pippin. “The morning must be getting on.”

Just then they became aware of a yellow light that had appeared, some way further on into the wood: shafts of sunlight seemed suddenly to have pierced the forest-roof.

“Hullo!” said Merry. “The Sun must have run into a cloud while we’ve been under these trees, and now she has run out again; or else she has climbed high enough to look down through some opening. It isn’t far - let’s go and investigate!”

They found it was further than they thought. The ground was rising steeply still, and it was becoming increasingly stony. The light grew broader as they went on, and soon they saw that there was a rock-wall before them: the side of a hill, or the abrupt end of some long root thrust out by the distant mountains. No trees grew on it, and the sun was falling full on its stony face. The twigs of the trees at its foot were stretched out stiff and still, as if reaching out to the warmth. Where all had looked so shabby and grey before, the wood now gleamed with rich browns, and with the smooth black-greys of bark like polished leather. The boles of the trees glowed with a soft green like young grass: early spring or a fleeting vision of it was about them.

In the face of the stony wall there was something like a stair: natural perhaps, and made by the weathering and splitting of the rock, for it was rough and uneven. High up, almost level with the tops of forest-trees, there was a shelf under a cliff. Nothing grew there but a few grasses and weeds at its edge, and one old stump of a tree with only two bent branches left: it looked almost like the figure of some gnarled old man, standing there, blinking in the morning-light.

“Up we go!” said Merry joyfully. “Now for a breath of air, and a sight of the land!”

They climbed and scrambled up the rock. If the stair had been made it was for bigger feet and longer legs than theirs. They were too eager to be surprised at the remarkable way in which the cuts and sores of their captivity had healed and their vigour had returned. They came at length to the edge of the shelf almost at the feet of the old stump; then they sprang up and turned round with their backs to the hill, breathing deep, and looking out eastward. They saw that they had only come some three or four miles into the forest: the heads of the trees marched down the slopes towards the plain. There, near the fringe of the forest, tall spires of curling black smoke went up, wavering and floating towards them.

“The wind’s changing,” said Merry. “It’s turned east again. It feels cool up here.”

“Yes,” said Pippin; “I’m afraid this is only a passing gleam, and it will all go grey again. What a pity! This shaggy old forest looked so different in the sunlight. I almost felt I liked the place.”

“Almost felt you liked the Forest! That’s good! That’s uncommonly kind of you,” said a strange voice. “Turn round and let me have a look at your faces. I almost feel that I dislike you both, but do not let us be hasty. Turn round!” A large knob-knuckled hand was laid on each of their shoulders, and they were twisted round, gently but irresistibly; then two great arms lifted them up.

They found that they were looking at a most extraordinary face. It belonged to a large Man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say. At any rate the arms, at a short distance from the trunk, were not wrinkled, but covered with a brown smooth skin. The large feet had seven toes each. The lower part of the long face was covered with a sweeping grey beard, bushy, almost twiggy at the roots, thin and mossy at the ends. But at the moment the hobbits noted little but the eyes. These deep eyes were now surveying them, slow and solemn, but very penetrating. They were brown, shot with a green light. Often afterwards Pippin tried to describe his first impression of them.

“One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present: like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a very deep lake. I don’t know but it felt as if something that grew in the ground-asleep, you might say, or just feeling itself as something between roof-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky had suddenly waked up, and was considering you with the same slow care that it had given to its own inside affairs for endless years.”

‘Hrum, Hoom,” murmured the voice, a deep voice like a very deep woodwind instrument. “Very odd indeed! Do not be hasty, that is my motto. But if I had seen you, before I heard your voices - I liked them: nice little voices; they reminded me of something I cannot remember - if I had seen you before I heard you, I should have just trodden on you, taking you for little Orcs, and found out my mistake afterwards. Very odd you are, indeed. Root and twig, very odd!”

Pippin, though still amazed, no longer felt afraid. Under those eyes he felt a curious suspense, but not fear. “Please.” he said,”who are you? And what are you?”

A queer look came into the old eyes, a kind of wariness; the deep wells were covered over. ‘Hrum, now,” answered the voice;”well, I am an Ent, or that’s what they call me. Yes, Ent is the word. The Ent, I am, you might say, in your manner of speaking. Fangorn is my name according to some, Treebeard others make it. Treebeard will do.”

“An Ent?” said Merry. “What’s that? But what do you call yourself? What’s your real name?”

“Hoo now!” replied Treebeard. “Hoo! Now that would be telling! Not so hasty. And I am doing the asking. You are in my country. What are you, I wonder? I cannot place you. You do not seem to come in the old lists that I learned when I was young. But that was a long, long time ago, and they may have made new lists. Let me see! Let me see! How did it go?

Learn now the lore of Living Creatures!

First name the four, the free peoples:

Eldest of all, the elf-children;

Dwarf the delver, dark are his houses;

Ent the earthborn, old as mountains;

Man the mortal, master of horses:

Hm, hm, hm.

Beaver the builder, buck the leaper,

Bear bee-hunter, boar the fighter;

Hound is hungry, hare is fearful…

hm, hm.

Eagle in eyrie, ox in pasture,

Hart horn-crowned; hawk is swiftest

Swan the whitest, serpent coldest…

Hoom, hm; hoom. hm. how did it go? Room tum, room tum, roomty toom tum. It was a long list. But anyway you do not seem to fit in anywhere!”

“We always seem to have got left out of the old lists, and the old stories,” said Merry. “Yet we’ve been about for quite a long time. We’re hobbits.”

“Why not make a new line?” said Pippin.

Half-grown hobbits, the hole-dwellers.

“Put us in amongst the four, next to Man (the Big People) and you’ve got it.”

“Hm! Not bad, not bad,” said Treebeard. “That would do. So you live in holes, eh? It sounds very right and proper. Who calls you hobbits, though? That does not sound elvish to me. Elves made all the old words: they began it.”

“Nobody else calls us hobbits; we call ourselves that,” said Pippin.

“Hoom, hmm! Come now! Not so hasty! You call yourselves hobbits? But you should not go telling just anybody. You’ll be letting out your own right names if you’re not careful.”

“We aren’t careful about that,” said Merry. “As a matter of fact I’m a Brandybuck, Meriadoc Brandybuck, though most people call me just Merry.”

“And I’m a Took, Peregrin Took, but I’m generally called Pippin, or even Pip.”

“Hm, but you are hasty folk, I see,” said Treebeard. “I am honoured by your confidence; but you should not be too free all at once. There are Ents and Ents, you know; or there are Ents and things that look like Ents but ain’t, as you might say. I’ll call you Merry and Pippin if you please - nice names. For I am not going to tell you my name, not yet at any rate.” A queer half-knowing, half-humorous look came with a green flicker into his eyes. “For one thing it would take a long while: my name is growing all the time, and I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.

“But now,” and the eyes became very bright and”present’, seeming to grow smaller and almost sharp,”what is going on? What are you doing in it all? I can see and hear (and smell and feel) a great deal from this, from this, from this a-lalla-lalla-rumba-kamanda-lind-or-burúmë. Excuse me: that is a part of my name for it; I do not know what the word is in the outside languages: you know, the thing we are on, where I stand and look out on fine mornings, and think about the Sun, and the grass beyond the wood, and the horses, and the clouds, and the unfolding of the world. What is going on? What is Gandalf up to? And these - burárum,” he made a deep rumbling noise like a discord on a great organ -“these Orcs, and young Saruman down at Isengard? I like news. But not too quick now.”

“There is quite a lot going on,” said Merry:”and even if we tried to be quick, it would take a long time to tell. But you told us not to be hasty. Ought we to tell you anything so soon? Would you think it rude, if we asked what you are going to do with us, and which side you are on? And did you know Gandalf?”

“Yes, I do know him: the only wizard that really cares about trees ‘ said Treebeard. “Do you know him?”

“Yes,” said Pippin sadly,”we did. He was a great friend, and he was our guide.”

“Then I can answer your other questions,” said Treebeard. “I am not going to do anything with you: not if you mean by that”do something to you’ without your leave. We might do some things together. I don’t know about sides. I go my own way; but your way may go along with mine for a while. But you speak of Master Gandalf, as if he was in a story that had come to an end.”

“Yes, we do,” said Pippin sadly. “The story seems to be going on, but I am afraid Gandalf has fallen out of it.”

“Hoo, come now!” said Treebeard. “Hoom, hm, ah well.” He paused, looking long at the hobbits: “Hoom, ah, well I do not know what to say. Come now!”

“If you would like to hear more. said Merry,”we will tell you. But it will take some time. Wouldn’t you like to put us down? Couldn’t we sit here together in the sun, while it lasts? You must be getting tired of holding us up.”

“Hm, tired? No. I am not tired. I do not easily get tired. And I do not sit down. I am not very, hm, bendable. But there, the Sun is going in. Let us leave this - did you say what you call it?”

“Hill?” suggested Pippin. “Shelf? Step?” suggested Merry.

Treebeard repeated the words thoughtfully. ‘Hill. Yes, that was it. But it is a hasty word for a thing that has stood here ever since this part of the world was shaped. Never mind. Let us leave it, and go.”

“Where shall we go?” asked Merry.

“To my home, or one of my homes,” answered Treebeard.

“Is it far?”

“I do not know. You might call it far, perhaps. But what does that matter?”

“Well, you see, we have lost all our belongings,” said Merry. “We have only a little food.”

“O! Hm! You need not trouble about that,” said Treebeard. “I can give you a drink that will keep you green and growing for a long, long while. And if we decide to part company, I can set you down outside my country at any point you choose. Let us go!”

Holding the hobbits gently but firmly, one in the crook of each arm, Treebeard lifted up first one large foot and then the other, and moved them to the edge of the shelf. The rootlike toes grasped the rocks. Then carefully and solemnly, he stalked down from step to step, and reached the floor of the Forest.

At once he set off with long deliberate strides through the trees, deeper and deeper into the wood, never far from the stream, climbing steadily up towards the slopes of the mountains. Many of the trees seemed asleep, or as unaware of him as of any other creature that merely passed by; but some quivered, and some raised up their branches above his head as he approached. All the while, as he walked, he talked to himself in a long running stream of musical sounds.

The hobbits were silent for some time. They felt, oddly enough, safe and comfortable, and they had a great deal to think and wonder about. At last Pippin ventured to speak again.

“Please, Treebeard,” he said,”could I ask you something? Why did Celeborn warn us against your forest? He told us not to risk getting entangled in it.”

“Hmm, did he now?” rumbled Treebeard. “And I might have said much the same, if you had been going the other way. Do not risk getting entangled in the woods of Laurelindórenan! That is what the Elves used to call it, but now they make the name shorter: Lothlórien they call it. Perhaps they are right: maybe it is fading; not growing. Land of the Valley of Singing Gold, that was it, once upon a time. Now it is the Dreamflower. Ah well! But it is a queer place, and not for just any one to venture in. I am surprised that you ever got out, but much more surprised that you ever got in: that has not happened to strangers for many a year. It is a queer land.

“And so is this. Folk have come to grief here. Aye, they have, to grief. Laurelindórenan lindelorendor malinornélion ornemalin,” he hummed to himself. “They are falling rather behind the world in there, I guess,” he said “Neither this country, nor anything else outside the Golden Wood, is what it was when Celeborn was young. Still: Taurelilómëa-tumbalemorna Tumbaletaurëa Lómëanor,*1

that is what they used to say. Things have changed, but it is still true in places.”

“What do you mean?” said Pippin. “What is true?”

“The trees and the Ents,” said Treebeard. “I do not understand all that goes on myself, so I cannot explain it to you. Some of us are still true Ents, and lively enough in our fashion, but many are growing sleepy, going tree-ish, as you might say. Most of the trees are just trees, of course; but many are half awake. Some are quite wide awake, and a few are, well, ah, well getting Entish. That is going on all the time.

“When that happens to a tree, you find that some have bad hearts. Nothing to do with their wood: I do not mean that. Why, I knew some good old willows down the Entwash, gone long ago, alas! They were quite hollow, indeed they were falling all to pieces, but as quiet and sweet-spoken as a young leaf. And then there are some trees in the valleys under the mountains, sound as a bell, and bad right through. That sort of thing seems to spread. There used to be some very dangerous parts in this country. There are still some very black patches.”

“Like the Old Forest away to the north, do you mean?” asked Merry.

“Aye, aye. something like, but much worse. I do not doubt there is some shadow of the Great Darkness lying there still away north; and bad memories are handed down. But there are hollow dales in this land where the Darkness has never been lifted, and the trees are older than I am. Still, we do what we can. We keep off strangers and the foolhardy; and we train and we teach, we walk and we weed.

“We are tree-herds, we old Ents. Few enough of us are left now. Sheep get like shepherd, and shepherds like sheep, it is said; but slowly, and neither have long in the world. It is quicker and closer with trees and Ents, and they walk down the ages together. For Ents are more like Elves: less interested in themselves than Men are, and better at getting inside other things. And yet again Ents are more like Men, more changeable than Elves are, and quicker at taking the colour of the outside, you might say. Or better than both: for they are steadier and keep their minds on things longer. “Some of my kin look just like trees now, and need something great to rouse them; and they speak only in whispers. But some of my trees are limb-lithe, and many can talk to me. Elves began it, of course, waking trees up and teaching them to speak and learning their tree-talk. They always wished to talk to everything, the old Elves did. But then the Great Darkness came, and they passed away over the Sea, or fled into far valleys, and hid themselves, and made songs about days that would never come again. Never again. Aye, aye, there was all one wood once upon a time: from here to the Mountains of Lune, and this was just the East End.

“Those were the broad days! Time was when I could walk and sing all day and hear no more than the echo of my own voice in the hollow hills. The woods were like the woods of Lothlórien. only thicker stronger, younger. And the smell of the air! I used to spend a week just breathing.”

Treebeard fell silent, striding along, and yet making hardly a sound with his great feet. Then he began to hum again, and passed into a murmuring chant. Gradually the hobbits became aware that he was chanting to them:

In the willow-meads of Tasarinan I walked in the Spring.

Ah! the sight and the smell of the Spring in Nan-tasarion!

And I said that was good.

I wandered in Summer in the elm-woods of Ossiriand.

Ah! the light and the music in the Summer by the Seven Rivers of Ossir!

And I thought that was best.

To the beeches of Neldoreth I came in the Autumn.

Ah! the gold and the red and the sighing of leaves in the Autumn in Taur-na-neldor!

It was more than my desire.

To the pine-trees upon the highland of Dorthonion I climbed in the Winter.

Ah! the wind and the whiteness and the black branches of Winter upon Orod-na-Thôn!

My voice went up and sang in the sky.

And now all those lands lie under the wave.

And I walk in Ambaróna, in Tauremorna, in Aldalómë.

In my own land, in the country of Fangorn,

Where the roots are long,

And the years lie thicker than the leaves

In Tauremornalómë.

He ended, and strode on silently, and in all the wood, as far as ear could reach, there was not a sound.

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