ENGLISH

Sunshine stories

FRANÇAIS

Le soleil raconte


"I'll tell you a story," said the wind. "Kindly remember," said the Rain, "that it's my turn to talk. You've been howling around the corner at the top of your voice quite long enough."

"Is that the thanks I get for all of the favors I've done you?" the Wind blustered. "Many an umbrella I've turned inside out, or even blown to tatters, when people tried to avoid you."

"Be silent! It is I who shall speak," said the Sunshine, who spoke with such brilliance and warmth that the weary Wind fell flat on his back, and the Rain shook him and tried to rouse him, crying: "We won't stand for it. This Madam Sunshine is forever interrupting us. Don't lets listen to her. What she says is not worth hearing."

And the Sunshine began: "A beautiful swan flew over the rolling, tossing waves of the ocean. Each of its feathers shone like gold. One feather drifted down above a great merchant ship that sailed the sea with all its canvas spread. The feather came to rest upon the curly hair of a young overseer who looked after the goods aboard that ship - supercargo they called him. The bird of fortune's feather touched his forehead, became a quill pen in his hand, and brought him such luck that he soon became a merchant, a man of wealth, a man so rich that he could wear spurs of gold and change a golden dish into a nobleman's shield. I know - I have shone on it," said the Sunshine.

"The swan flew far away, over a green meadow where a little shepherd boy, not more than seven years old, lay in the shade of an old tree, the only tree in that meadow. As the swan flew past it, she brushed one leaf from the tree. This leaf fell into the boy's hands, where it turned into three leaves, ten leaves - yes, it turned into all the leaves of a book. In this book he read of the many wonderful things that are in nature, about his native language, about faith, and about knowledge. Before he went to sleep he laid the book under his pillow to keep from forgetting what he had learned during the day. The wonderful book led him first to school, and then far into the fields of learning. I have seen his name where they carve the names of great scholars," the Sunshine said.

"The swan flew over the forest, where it was lonely and quiet. She came to rest on a deep blue lake, where the water lilies grow, where wild apple trees flourish along the shore, and where the cuckoo and wild pigeon make their nests.

"A poor woman was in the forest, gathering fallen branches. She carried them on her back, and held a baby in her arms. She saw the golden swan, that bird of fortune, rise from the rush-covered shore. What was this glittering thing the swan had left? It was a golden egg, still warm. She put it in her bosom, and the warmth stayed in it. Truly there was life in that egg. Yes, she heard a tapping inside the shell, but it was so faint that she mistook it for the sound of her own heartbeat.

"When she came home to her own poor cottage, she took the egg out to look at it. 'Tick,' it said, 'tick,' as if it had been a costly gold watch. But it was no watch. It was an egg, just about to hatch. The shell cracked open, and a dear little baby swan looked out. It was fully feathered, all in gold, and around its neck were four gold rings. As the poor woman had four boys - three at home and the baby she had carried in her arms - she knew that one of the rings was meant for each of her sons. As soon as she realized this, the little golden bird flew away. She kissed all of the rings, and she made each son kiss one of them, touch it against his heart, and wear it on his finger. I saw all this," said the Sunshine, "and I saw what came of it.

"As one of the boys played in the bed of a stream, he picked up a handful of clay. He turned it, and twisted it, and he shaped it in his fingers until he had made a statue of Jason. Like Jason, the young sculptor had found the golden fleece he sought.

"The second boy ran across the meadow, where there were flowers of every hue. He gathered a handful, and squeezed them so tightly that the colored juices wet his ring and splashed in his eye. They stuck to his fingers and colored his thoughts. The days went by, and the years went past, until people in the big city came to speak of him as 'the great painter.'

"The third boy clenched his ring in his teeth so tightly that it echoed the song that lay deep in his heart. The things he thought and the things he felt were turned to music. The rose like singing swans, and like swans they plunged down as deep as the depths of the sea, 'the deep Sea of Thoughts.' He became a great musician, a great composer of whom every land has the right to say: 'He belongs to me.'

"The fourth boy - the baby - was an outcast. They said he had the pip, and that like a sick little chicken he should be dosed with butter and pepper. They gave him pepper enough with his butter, but I gave him warmth and the kiss of the sun," said the Sunshine. "He got ten kisses for one that the other children received. He was a poet, who met with a blow and a kiss, all his life long. But he had something that no one could take from him. He had the ring of fame from the golden swan of fortune. There were golden wings to his thoughts. Up they flew and away they went, like golden butterflies, which are the symbol of things immortal."

"What an extremely long story," said the Wind.

"And so awfully dull," the Rain agreed. "Fan me, if you please, so I may revive a little."

The Wind blew again, and the Sunshine said: "The swan of fortune flew over the deep gulf, where fishermen spread their nets. The poorest of the fishermen thought of getting married, and marry he did. And to him the swan brought a lump of amber. Amber has the power to draw things to it, and it drew the hearts to the fisherman's home. Amber makes the most wonderful incense, and there came a fragrant air as from a church, like a balmy breeze from God's nature. So the fisherman and his bride were happy and thankful in their quiet home. They were content with what little they had, and their life became a complete sunshine story."

"I think," said the Wind, "that these stories should stop. The Sunshine has talked long enough, and I am very bored."

"So am I," said the Rain.

And what do we others who knew this story say?

We say: "Now it's out."
Maintenant, c'est moi qui raconte! dit le vent.

- Non, si vous permettez, protesta la pluie, c'est mon tour à présent! Cela fait des heures que vous êtes posté au coin de la rue en train de souffler de votre mieux.

- Quelle ingratitude! soupira le vent. En votre honneur, je retourne les parapluies, j'en casse même plusieurs et vous me brusquez ainsi!

- C'est moi qui raconte, dit le rayon de soleil. Il s'exprima si fougueusement et en même temps avec tant de noblesse que le vent se coucha et cessa de mugir et de grogner; la pluie le secoua en rouspétant: «Est-ce que nous devons nous laisser faire! Il nous suit tout le temps. Nous n'allons tout de même pas l'écouter. Cela n'en vaut pas la peine. » Mais le rayon de soleil raconta:

Un cygne volait au-dessus de la mer immense et chacune de ses plumes brillait comme de l'or. Une plume tomba sur un grand navire marchand qui voguait toutes voiles dehors. La plume se posa sur les cheveux bouclés d'un jeune homme qui surveillait la marchandise; on l'appelait « supecargo ». La plume de l'oiseau de la fortune toucha son front, se transforma dans sa main en plume à écrire, et le jeune homme devint bientôt un commerçant riche qui pouvait se permettre d'acheter des éperons d'or et échanger un tonneau d'or contre un blason de noblesse. Je le sais parce que je l'éclairais, ajouta le rayon de soleil.

Le cygne survola un pré vert. Un petit berger de sept ans venait juste de se coucher à l'ombre d'un vieil arbre. Le cygne embrassa une des feuilles de l'arbre, laquelle se détacha et tomba dans la paume de la main du garçon. Et la feuille se multiplia en trois, dix feuilles, puis en tout un livre. Ce livre apprit au garçon les miracles de la nature, sa langue maternelle, la foi et le savoir. Le soir, il reposait sa tête sur lui pour ne pas oublier ce qu'il y avait lu, et le livre l'amena jusqu'aux bancs de l'école et à la table du grand savoir. J'ai lu son nom parmi les noms des savants, affirma le soleil. Le cygne descendit dans la forêt calme et se reposa sur les lacs sombres et silencieux, parmi les nénuphars et les pommiers sauvages qui les bordent, là où nichent les coucous et les pigeons sauvages.

Une pauvre femme ramassait des ramilles dans la forêt et comme elle les ramenait à la maison sur son dos en tenant son petit enfant dans ses bras, elle aperçut un cygne d'or, le cygne de la fortune, s'élever des roseaux près de la rive. Mais qu'est-ce qui brillait là? Un ouf d'or. La femme le pressa contre sa poitrine et l'œuf resta chaud, il y avait sans doute de la vie à l'intérieur; oui, on sentait des coups légers. La femme les perçut mais pensa qu'il s'agissait des battements de son propre cœur. A la maison, dans sa misérable et unique pièce, elle posa l'œuf sur la table. « Tic, tac » entendit-on à l'intérieur. Lorsque l'œuf se fendilla, la tête d'un petit cygne comme emplumé d'or pur en sortit. Il avait quatre anneaux autour du cou et comme la pauvre femme avait quatre fils, trois à la maison et le quatrième qui était avec elle dans la forêt, elle comprit que ces anneaux étaient destinés à ses enfants. A cet instant le petit oiseau d'or s'envola.

La femme embrassa les anneaux, puis chaque enfant embrassa le sien; elle appliqua chaque anneau contre son cœur et le leur mit au doigt.

Un des garçons prit une motte de terre dans sa main et la fit tourner entre ses doigts jusqu'à ce qu'il en sortît la statue de Jason portant la toison d'or.

Le deuxième garçon courut sur le pré où s'épanouissaient des fleurs de toutes les couleurs. Il en cueillit une pleine poignée et les pressa très fort. Puis il trempa son anneau dans le jus. Il sentit un fourmillement dans ses pensées et dans sa main. Un an et un jour après, dans la grande ville, on parlait d'un grand peintre.

Le troisième des garçons mit l'anneau dans sa bouche où elle résonna et fit retentir un écho du fond du cœur. Des sentiments et des pensées s'élevèrent en sons, comme des cygnes qui volent, puis plongèrent comme des cygnes dans la mer profonde, la mer profonde de la pensée. Le garçon devint le maître des sons et chaque pays au monde peut dire à présent: oui, il m'appartient.

Le quatrième, le plus petit, était le souffre-douleur de la famille. Les gens se moquaient de lui, disaient qu'il avait la pépie et qu'à la maison on devrait lui donner du beurre et du poivre comme aux poulets malades; il y avait tant de poison dans leurs paroles. Mais moi, je lui ai donné un baiser qui valait dix baisers humains. Le garçon devint un poète, la vie lui donna des coups et des baisers, mais il avait l'anneau du bonheur du cygne de la fortune. Ses pensées s'élevaient librement comme des papillons dorés, symboles de l'immortalité.

- Quel long récit! bougonna le vent.

- Et si ennuyeux! ajouta la pluie. Soufflez sur moi pour que je m'en remette. Et le vent souffla et le rayon de soleil raconta:

- Le cygne de la fortune vola au-dessus d'un golfe profond où des pêcheurs avaient tendu leurs filets. Le plus pauvre d'entre eux songeait à se marier, et aussi se maria-t-il bientôt.

Le cygne lui apporta un morceau d'ambre. L'ambre a une force attractive et il attira dans sa maison la force du cœur humain. Tous dans la maison vécurent heureux dans de modestes conditions. Leur vie fut éclairée par le soleil.

- Cela suffit maintenant, dit le vent. Le soleil raconte depuis bien longtemps. Je me suis ennuyé!

Et nous, qui avons écouté le récit du rayon de soleil, que dirons-nous? Nous dirons: «Le rayon de soleil a fini de raconter».




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