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4.隐居的国王
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4.隐居的国王                            

 

  人们告诉我,在群山环抱的森林里,隐居着一位年轻人,他曾是两河对面一个大国的国王。人们还说,他完全自愿地离开了王位,离开了他可以称耀的江山,而寄身于荒山僻林。

  我想,我要去寻访此人,探究他内心的秘密,因为能够舍弃王国的人,必定比王国更加伟大。

  当天,我就来到了此人隐居的森林,见他正坐在柏树下,手持一截芦管,仿佛握着极杖一样。我像对国王一样对他行礼致意,他掉头看我,和蔼地问道:"你为何来此僻静的林间?在绿荫中寻你失落的自我吗?在薄暮时分回归故乡吗?"

  我说:"我寻的是你,想知道你何以舍弃王国,来此林间。"

  他答:"我的故事说来简单,正如泡沫的破灭是瞬间的事情:一天,我坐在王宫的一座窗前,王室侍从长和一位异邦的特使在花园散步,他们走近我窗前时,侍从长正在说他自己:'我和国王一样,酷爱烈性酒,嗜好各种赌博,也和国王一样脾气暴躁。'说着他们在树林中远去了。不多一会儿,他们又折路回来,这次侍从长谈起了我:'国王和我一样,也是百步穿杨的神射手,也和我一样爱好音乐,日浴三次。'"

  停顿了一下国王又说:"当日黄昏我就离开了王宫,只带了随身的衣裳作为行李。因为我不愿再成为人们的统治者,他们把我的毛病揽在自身,又把他们的长处全归于我。"

  我说:"这故事听来还真奇怪。"

  他回答:"不,朋友,你叩开了我无声的门户,得到的还只是皮毛。谁不愿抛弃王国,换取一座时光永在其间歌舞的森林?多少人都放弃了江山,只为在独居中求得甜蜜的宁静;无数的大鹰都自空中降下与鼹鼠为伍,期望获得大地的奥秘。有人舍弃梦幻的王国,以免被无梦者视为异己;有人舍弃赤裸的王国,把灵魂遮掩起来,以免别人因目睹无遮掩的真理和美而羞涩;最伟大的,乃是舍弃忧愁王国的人,他因此不被目为孤傲和自负。"

  说着他倚杖站起,又说:"你现在回到大城,坐在城门前观察所有进出的人们。你会发现,有的人生来具有君王气概,却并不拥有王立;有的人身为臣民,却是精神上的王者——虽然他和他的臣民都不知觉;还有的人看来是个统治者,而实则是自己奴仆的奴仆。"

  说完这些,他对我笑着,唇间挂着一千个黎明。然后他转过身去,走进森林深处。

  我回到城里,依他的话坐在城门口,观察着进进出出的行人。从那时至今,无数个"君王"的身影从我身上掠过,而被我的身影掠过的臣民们,却难得一见。

The King-Hermit

They told me that in a forest among the mountains lives a young man in solitude who once was a king of a vast country beyond the Two Rivers. And they also said that he, of his own will, had left his throne and the land of his glory and come to dwell in the wilderness.

And I said, "I would seek that man, and learn the secret of his heart; for he who renounces a kingdom must needs be greater than a kingdom."

On that very day I went to the forest where he dwells. And I found him sitting under a white cypress, and in his hand a reed as if it were a sceptre. And I greeted him even as I would greet a king. And he turned to me and said gently, "What would you in this forest of serenity? Seek you a lost self in the green shadows, or is it a home-coming in your twilight?"

And I answered, "I sought but you - for I fain would know that which made you leave a kingdom for a forest."

And he said, "Brief is my story, for sudden was the bursting of the bubble. It happened thus: one day as I sat at a window in my palace, my chamberlain and an envoy from a foreign land were walking in my garden. And as they approached my window, the lord chamberlain was speaking of himself and saying, 'I am like the king; I have a thirst for strong wine and a hunger for all games of chance. And like my lord the king I have storms of temper.' And the lord chamberlain and the envoy disappeared among the trees. But in a few minutes they returned, and this time the lord chamberlain was speaking of me, and he was saying, 'My lord the king is like myself - a good marksman; and like me he loves music and bathes thrice a day.' "

After a moment he added, "On the eve of that day I left my palace with but my garment, for I would no longer be ruler over those who assume my vices and attribute to me their virtues."

And I said, "This is indeed a wonder, and passing strange."

And he said, "Nay, my friend, you knocked at the gate of my silences and received but a trifle. For who would not leave a kingdom for a forest where the seasons sing and dance ceaselessly? Many are those who have given their kingdom for less than solitude and the sweet fellowship of aloneness. Countless are the eagles who descend from the upper air to live with moles that they may know the secrets of the earth. There are those who renounce the kingdom of dreams that they may not seem distant from the dreamless. And those who renounce the kingdom of nakedness and cover their souls that others may not be ashamed in beholding truth uncovered and beauty unveiled. And greater yet than all of these is he who renounces the kingdom of sorrow that he may not seem proud and vainglorious."

Then rising he leaned upon his reed and said, "Go now to the great city and sit at its gate and watch all those who enter into it and those who go out. And see that you find him who, though born a king, is without kingdom; and him who though ruled in flesh rules in spirit - though neither he nor his subjects know this; abd him also who but seems to rule yet is in truth slave of his own slaves."

After he had said these things he smiled on me, and there were a thousand dawns upon his lips. Then he turned and walked away into the heart of the forest.

And I returned to the city, and I sat at its gate to watch the passers-by even as he had told me. And from that day to this numberless are the kings whose shadows have passed over me and few are the subjects over whom my shadow passed.

 

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