A Child's Angel

Once upon a time there was a child ready to be born. One day the little child asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?"

God answered him, "Among the many angels, I have chosen one for you. She will be waiting for you and will take care of you."

"But tell me what I am going to do," asked the child, "here in Heaven, I don't do anything else but sing and smile, which is enough for me to be happy."

"Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you every day. And you will feel your angel's love and be happy." God reassured him.

"And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me, if I don't know the language that men talk?"

"Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak."

"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you, Lord?"

"Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray."

"I've heard that on earth there are bad men. Who will protect me?"

"Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life."

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from earth could already be heard, and the child in a hurry asked softly, "Oh God, if I am about to leave now, please tell me my angel's name."

"You will call your angel Mother."(Author Unknown)




在那一刻,天堂里一片静谧,但来自人间的声音已依稀可闻,孩子赶紧轻声问上帝:“上帝啊,如果我现在就要离开,请告诉我这位天使的名字吧。”“你可以叫她妈妈。”(译 / 张玲)

The Mother

The most beautiful word on the lips of mankind is the word "Mother", and the most beautiful call is the call of "My mother". It is a word full of hope and love, a sweet and kind word coming from the depths of the heart. The mother is everything—she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgiveness. He who loses his mother loses a pure soul who blesses and guards him constantly.

Everything in nature bespeaksthe mother. The sun is the mother of earth and gives it its nourishment of heat; it never leaves the universe at night until it has put the earth to sleep to the song of the sea and the hymnof birds and brooks. And this earth is the mother of trees and flowers. It produces them, nurses them, and weansthem. The trees and flowers become kind mothers of their great fruits and seeds. And the mother, the prototypeof all existence, is the eternal spirit, full of beauty and love.(By Kahlil Gibran)



自然界的万物都是母亲中的一员。太阳是大地的母亲,她用自己的热量滋养着大地;夜晚,太阳母亲会哄大地入睡,让她在海洋的吟唱以及鸟儿与溪流的欢歌中进入梦乡后才会离去。大地是树木和花朵的母亲,她孕育了她们,滋养着她们,又让她们离开自己的怀抱独自成长。树木和花朵又成为丰硕果实和饱满种子的慈母。而母亲,那宇宙万物的原型啊,就是一种充满美丽与爱的永恒精神。( 译 / 赵越)

Five-finger Discount

The Belfast, Maine of my youth was not the coastal tourist village that it is today. At the time, Belfast was still a blue-collar town. McDonald's hadn't yet moved into town. Before the supermarket existed, Cottle's, a food market where my dad worked, was the only place where my mother could do her once-a-week shopping. Because we lived a few miles from Belfast, we'd usually combine the grocery trip with a visit to see my grandmother. Of course, Grammy always had cookies ready for the grandkids.

On one particular shopping day at Cottle's, I stood behind my mother as she was unloading the grocery cart and checking her items outat the register. The candy displays on either side of me were full of Life Savers, Clark Bars, Tootsie Rolls, Sugar Babies—you name it!

"Can I get some candy?" I asked.

My mother rarely veeredfrom her list so I wasn't surprised with her response. "No."

This much I knew for certain. "No" always meant "No". There was no sense in me asking a second time. But I really, really wanted that candy!

I reached for a Sugar Baby package. My mother didn't notice. So I figured she probably wouldn't notice if I ever so coylyput them into my pocket. We continued checking out and walked with the bag boy to the car where he loaded the bags into the car's trunk. No one noticed my action—not my mother, not the cashier, not the bag boy—no one! I did it! Wow! My very first shopliftingexperience! A five-finger discount! How exciting! How easy! How rewarding! Got my candy and didn't need one penny to get it!

I sat in the back seat as my mother drove across the bridge to where my grandmother lived. Slowly, so as not to make any unnecessary noise, I opened my prize and carefully slippeda Sugar Baby into my mouth. No one piece of candy ever tasted so good! Mom might have said, "No," but I'd said, "Yes," and look who'd won!

When we pulled into my grandmother's driveway, I knew I was in the clear. Miles and minutes separated me from Cottle's. As I prepared to open my car door, I confidently slipped a few more Sugar Babies into my mouth. They would tide me overuntil I got to Grammy's cookie jar inside.

Big mistake. "Keith, what have you got in your mouth?" I looked up at the rearview mirrorand could see the reflection of my mother's eyes staring intentlyback at me. "I asked you a question! What have you got in your mouth?"

Though I'd recently become skilled in the art of shoplifting, I hadn't quite mastered the art of giving false testimony. "Uhhh ... just some Sugar Babies."

"Sugar Babies? Where did you get the money to buy them?" Why was she asking such a foolish question? She knew I hadn't purchased them. It was no big deal. Nobody even saw me take them. It was one little package of Sugar Babies. Let's just go into Grammy's! "I ... uh ... didn't really buy them."

"That's what I thought!" And then, rather than just going into Grammy's house and giving me a good scolding, she began backing out of my grandmother's driveway.

As she drove away from my grandmother's house and then back across the bridge, I knew exactly where we were headed. To Cottle's! This was so stupid! We're talking twenty-five cents here! A return trip all the wayback there was a ridiculous waste of gas and time, if you asked me. Why was she turning this into such an emotional drama? What was she trying to prove?

I didn't have long to find out.

My mother pulled into Cottle's parking lot, cast one more glare my way, and marched me into the store. She proceeded to hunt downMr. Proulx, the store manager! Why would she want to bother an important man like Mr. Proulx about me needing to pay for some candy that any cashier could more easily just take care of?

Once she located him and got his full attention, she said, in a voice that could be heard from three aisles away, "Tell Mr. Proulx what you did!"

I knew Mr. Proulx. I liked Mr. Proulx. But on this day Mr. Proulx was taking all of his cuesfrom my mother. There was no room for doubt. I was on trial and Mr. Proulx was judge and jury! Through tears, I admitted what I had done and apologized. My mother put a quarter in my hand to give to him. Mr. Proulx listened and accepted my apology along with the twenty-five cents. He then issued a sternwarning, explaining what the consequences would be if there was ever a repeat performance. Snuffling, embarrassed, ashamed, I totally understood the significance of my actions and what they might lead to if not nipped in the bud: Sugar Babies today, grand theft auto tomorrow.

To this day, often while in a checkout lane near a candy rack, I think back to the lesson I learned from my mother. Thanks, Mom, for keeping me from a life of crime.(By Keith Smith)



有一天去科特尔商场购物时,妈妈在收银台前从购物车里拿出所买的货品逐项结账,我站在她身后。在我两旁的货架上摆满了各式各样的糖果——Life Saver薄荷糖、Clark Bar牛轧糖、Tootsie Roll咀嚼糖、Sugar Baby牛奶焦饴糖——各种品牌,应有尽有!“能给我买点儿糖吗?”我问妈妈。



我把手伸向一包Sugar Baby糖,妈妈并未注意到。因此我想,如果我假装害羞然后把它们塞进衣服口袋里,妈妈很可能不会发现。我们继续结账,然后随着打包服务员一起走到车前,服务员把购物袋放进后备厢。谁也没有发现我的偷窃行为——无论是我妈妈、收银员还是打包服务员——没有任何人发现!我成功了!哇!我平生第一次体验商店行窃!一次顺手牵羊!多么令人激动!多么轻而易举!多么有收获!我分文未花就得到了这些糖!

妈妈开车通过一座桥,向外婆家驶去,我坐在车后座上。为了避免发出不必要的声音,我慢慢地打开自己的战利品,然后小心翼翼地把一块Sugar Baby糖偷偷塞进了嘴里。再没有比这更好吃的糖啦!妈妈或许说过“不行”,但是我却说“行”,看看最终是谁赢了!

当我们驶入外婆家的车道时,我以为我安全了——距离上和时间上我都远离了科特尔商场。我一边准备打开车门,一边安心地又塞了几块Sugar Baby糖到嘴里。它们甜美的味道会一直伴随我进入外婆家直到我拿起饼干罐。


虽然我刚刚熟练掌握了入店行窃术,但我却尚不精于提供假证词。“呃……就是一些Sugar Baby糖。”“Sugar Baby糖?你哪来的钱买糖?”妈妈怎么会问我这样一个愚蠢的问题?她知道我根本就没买过。没什么大不了的,根本就没人看见我拿糖了。不就是一小袋Sugar Baby糖嘛。赶紧进外婆家吧!“我……呃……其实我并没买。”“果然不出我所料!”接着,妈妈既没有进外婆家,也没有狠狠批评我,而是把车倒出了外婆家的车道。






直到今天,通常当我站在糖果架附近的付款通道时,我还是会想起妈妈给我上的这一课。谢谢你,妈妈,是你让我远离了犯罪的道路。(译 / 刘克)

Off the Shelf

When I was ten years old, I lived with my family in a small ranch housein rural South Jersey. I often accompanied my mother to the A&Pto buy groceries. We did not have a car, so we walked, and I would help her carry the bags.

My mother had to shop very carefully, as my father was on strike. She was a waitress, and her salary and tips barely sustained us. One day, while she was weighing prices, a promotionaldisplay for the World Book Encyclopedia caught my eye. The volumes were cream-colored, with forest-green spinesstamped in gold. Volume I was ninety-nine cents with a ten-dollar purchase.

All I could think of, as we combed the aisles for creamed corn, dry milk, cans of Spam, and shreddedwheat, was the book, which I longed for with all my being. I stood at the register with my mother, holding my breath as the cashier rang upthe items. It came to over eleven dollars. My mother produced a five, some singles, and a handful of change. As she was counting out the money, I somehow found the courage to ask for the encyclopedia. "Could we get one?" I said, showing her the display. "It's only ninety-nine cents."

I did not understand my mother's increasing anxiety; she did not have enough change and had to sacrifice a large can of peas to pay the amount. "Not now, Patricia," she said sternly. "Today is not a good day." I packed the groceries and followed her home, crestfallen.

The next Saturday, my mother gave me a dollar and sent me to the A&P alone. Two quarts of milk and a loaf of bread—that's what a dollar bought in 1957. I went straight to the World Book display. There was only one first volume left, which I placed in my cart. I didn't need a cart, but took one so I could read as I went up and down the aisles. A lot of time went by, but I had little concept of time, a fact that often got me in trouble. I knew I had to leave, but I couldn't bear to part with the book. Impulsively I put it inside my shirt and zipped upmy plaidwindbreaker. I was a tall, skinny kid, and I'm certain the shape of the book was obvious.

I strolledthe aisles for several more minutes, then went through the checkout, paid my dollar, swiftly bagged the three items, and headed home with my heart pounding.

Suddenly I felt a heavy tap on my shoulder and turned to find the biggest man I had ever seen. He was the store detective, and he asked me to hand it over. I just stood in silence. "We know you stole something—you will have to be searched." Horrified, I slid the heavy book out from the bottom of my shirt.

He looked at it quizzically. "This is what you stole, an encyclopedia?"

"Yes," I whispered, trembling.

"Why didn't you ask your parents?"

"I did," I said, "but they didn't have the money."

"Do you know it's wrong?"


"Do you go to church?"

"Yes, twice a week."

"Well, you're going to have to tell your parents what you did."

"No, please."

"Then I will do it. What's the address?" I was silent.

"Well, I'll have to walk you home."

"No, please, I will tell them."

"Do you swear?"

"Yes, yes, sir."

My mother was worried when I arrived home. "Where were you? I needed the bread for your father's sandwiches. I told you to come right home."

And suddenly everything went green, like right before a tornado. My ears were ringing, I felt dizzy, and I threw up.

My mother tended to me immediately, as she always did. She had me lie on the couch and got a cold towel for my head and sat by me with her anxious expression.

"What is it, Patricia?" she asked. "Did something bad happen?"

"Yes," I whispered. "I stole something." I told her about my lust for the book, my wrongdoing, and the big detective. My mother was a good mother, but she could be explosive, and I tensed, waiting for the barrageof verbal punishment, the sentencing that always seemed to outweigh the crime. But she said nothing. She told me that she would call the store and tell the detective I had confessed, and that I should sleep.

When I awoke, sometime later, the house was silent. My mother had taken my siblings to the field to play. I sat up and noticed a brown-paper bag with my name on it. I opened it and inside was the World Book Encyclopedia, Volume I.(By Patti Smith)













我睡了一段时间醒来后,发现屋子里静悄悄的。妈妈带我的兄弟姐妹们去院子里玩了。我坐起身来,看到了一个写着我名字的棕色纸袋。我打开袋子,里面正是那本《世界百科全书》第一册。(译 / 张玲)

The Shaved Eyebrows

It was evening and time for my little sister and me to take our showers and get ready for bed. As I passed the mirror in the bathroom, there it was—a wild hair right in the middle of my forehead, threatening to be the beginning of the third eyebrow. I went into the shower trying to think of a solution, and then I spotted a razor. I took it and started trying to shave off the savage hair.

Usually I would trust my mom's advice about what to do in this sort of situation, but this was just too complicated for her—or so I thought. Well, while I was shaving that hair off, the razor slipped, and I ended up shaving off half my eyebrow! Then I did what any girl would do in this situation—I tried to even them out. When I was finished, I looked in the mirror. It was a disaster! I tried to figure out if there was any way to fix this mess. Thankfully, I found a way to hide my mistake. I put my bangsover my eyebrows. It worked perfectly!

Just then my parents called me to come and say good night. Nobody noticed my eyebrows, but they did notice my little sister's eyebrows! It turned out that while I was fighting the stray hair, she had found another razor in the drawer and began copying me. Now her eyebrows were completely missing! My parents were very confused until they finally noticed that half my eyebrows were gone as well. After a lot of questioning, I broke downand confessed to what had happened.

I thought that my parents would be mad at me until my mom took me aside to tell me that when she was a preteen, she had done a similar thing. In her case, it was her underarms. While away at camp on a swimming day, she was extremely embarrassed because she had some long hairs in her armpits. My grandma, her mom, had told her she was too young to shave yet. But she went against her mom's wishes and borrowed her friend's razor and shaved her armpits. Then she wrote her mom a confession letter telling her that she had done a terrible thing and that she was very sorry. At the very end of this long two-page letter, she finally told her mom what she had done. As my grandma read through the letter, she was so worried about this terrible thing that her daughter had done that by the end of the letter she laughed, because she was just so relievedto find out about what had actually happened. My grandmother totally understood how my mom had felt, just like my mom now understood me.

This ended up bringing my mom and me even closer together. I still wouldn't ever recommend trying to shave your eyebrows. I suggest that you find a different way to get closer to your mom!

As for my little sister, it took a long time for her eyebrows to grow back in. From then on, I've learned to be a better example to her because she still copies everything I do!(By Ariel Subrahmanyam)







至于我的小妹妹,过了很长一段时间她的眉毛才长回原样。从那时起,我学会了为她树立一个更好的榜样,因为她仍然会模仿我做的一切!(译 / 朱孝萍)

Oh, to Be Rich with Mom's Cake!

I lay on my bed, legs propped upagainst the wall, desperately wishing my mother would call. But I remembered the last time I'd seen her, right before the train for Providence pulled outof the station, "You know how expensive it is to call," she said, then squeezed me tight and said good-bye.

This was my first birthday away from home. I missed my mom, missed my sister, and most certainly missed the special pound cakemy mother always made for my birthday. Since getting to college that year, I would watch jealously as the other freshmen received care packages from their parents on their birthdays—and even on ordinary days. Big boxes containing summer slacksand blouses, packages of M&M's and Snickers, things they needed and things they didn't. Instead of feeling thrilled about my upcoming eighteenth birthday, I felt empty. I wished my mom would send me something, too, but I knew that she couldn't afford presents or the postage. She had done her best with my sister and me—raising us by herself. The simple truth was there just was never enough money.

But that didn't stop her from filling us with dreams. "You can be anything you want to be," she would tell us. "Politicians, dancers, writers—you just have to work for it; you have to get an education."

For a long time, because of my mother's resourcefulness, I didn't realize that we were poor. She did so much with so little. She owned and took care of our house. She clothed and fed us. She found ways to get us scholarships so that we could take violin, piano and violalessons from some of the best teachers in Philadelphia. She never





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