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    1 week ago

1.18.2010

Cat Village

因為一個朋友說起消失與火車,於是我在上班無聊的時候 ,每天打一點點,譯了《1Q84》裡的「貓之村」。其實我也未讀到這個故事,只是有人模仿書裡的人唸出來,我也模仿書裡的人聆聽了。記住後,我也在電郵裡打了出來,譯了就唔好嘥,post出來公諸同好。Skip the middle part if you want, I love my translated last paragraph the best. Guess which phrase I love most.

There was once this young man who loved to travel by train. He would pick a train, jump on it, and whenever he saw a pretty place or town, he would get off the train at the station, and walked off to his wonderland.

One day, he took his belongings and started his journey, like every other time he had done it. After travelling on a new line for half an hour, he reached a place with very beautiful scenery. Very much attracted, he got off. He checked the train schedule-only one train came every day in the morning, and one train back in the other direction in the evening. He remembered this and wander off to find the village, which had so magically drawn him when he was on the moving train.

After a few minutes’ walk, he reached the village, with very beautiful surrounding and architecture. But there was something odd about this town, even in hostels, he could not find a human soul. He waited and wandered, wandered and waited. Having no place to go and no one to talk to, he went onto a tower and slept. He thought he would catch the train the next morning.

After the last sunray disappeared, he started to hear voices from all over. He looked out the tower, and saw the most amazing thing he had ever seen – cats were coming from all directions, operating shops, hostels and restaurants. Some sang in the square, some talked on the street. He didn’t want to make a noise so he hid all night, looking at this magic.

Before sunrise, the cats left the town and everything was as if it was the previous morning, quiet and spotless. The next morning, the young man thought, he’d stay a little longer to see why this villages ha turned into a cat village. Since when have they gather like this? Why is it night time? Where do they go in daytime, collecting things that need to keep this place in operation? There were so many things that the curious he who wants to find out. He saw the train stopped and left in the morning and evening. He wandered for the day and stayed in the tower for the night.

For the nights after, he saw more of the cats’ lives, how some assemble in the public square, how some buy goods from grocery stores, how some operate their shops so easily. They were as if humans, he thought. He observed during the night, slept during the day, and of course filled himself with ‘cat food’ when the cats were not around. Well, but even the ‘cat food’ tasted like human food, he found no difference in his species and the night cats anyway.

On one special night, way before he got his questions sorted, he saw something extraordinary. The cats gathered at the square, not just the usual ones, but nearly all of them. It seemed they were having a meeting.

“I don’t know if you all sense the same. But I smell human these days.”

“Yes, me too, but I do not see humans anywhere.”

They decided to search the village. The young man heard everything, and trembled in fear.

They broke into several squads, as organized as they possibly could, and started to scan the area. One team went up to the tower. The young man could hear their steps coming up. Soon he could see their whiskers, detecting his breath and sweat. “The smell is so strong here. But I don’t see anyone.” “Yes, it is certainly a human but I cannot find a soul here!”

To the young man’s surprise, the cats left. He was relieved but not without doubts. Did they pass to save me? Or did they really not see me? But he saw the cat faces for sure, they were all so clear under the moonlight. Yes it was a clear, well-lit night with all the stars and moon. But still, no cats saw him. It was soon dawn and the cats went away, leaving him with questions. But I must go, he thought. He knew well that he would not be this lucky the following night.

He went to the platform the first thing in the morning. As the train approached, he picked up his backpack. But the train passed right by him, having absolutely no intention of stopping. He remained on the platform, startled. Why didn’t the train stop? With helplessness, he waved at the passengers on the train. But nobody seemed to be able to see him. They stared to the distance, skipping him, in the middle. He could not do but wait. He did not mind getting on the evening train. As long as I could leave this village, he thought.

Time passed slowly. Finally evening came, the young man once again saw the train from a distance, from the direction which he saw it abandoning him in the morning. Now, who would have thought the train did the same? Maybe everyone, including the young man. He saw this coming but he could not be so certain until the evening train left the platform. As soon as the train completely vanished, he knew he had completely disappeared from the world. This Cat Village wasn’t a place that erased his existence but rather a place that existed for his disappearance. This place was meant to be his last stop, his last contact with the world. It was here because of him, and as soon as he disappears, the villages vanishes too.

*(Picture from 唔關事的 「猫の集会」)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you very much
for your time and patience