Eta Bessie

El Vikifontaro
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Indekso : Eta Bessie (1908)
de Mark Twain
Tradukita de Vikifontaro


Ĉapitro 1[redakti]

Eta Bessie helpus la Dian Volon

Eta Bessie havis preskaŭ tri jarojn. Ŝi estis bona infanino, kaj ne malprofunda, ne vanta, sed meditema kaj pensema, kaj tre emis pripensi la kialoj de aferoj kaj penis harmonii ilin kun la rezultoj. Je unu tago ŝi diris --

"Panjo, kial estas tiom da doloro kaj malgajeco? Por kio estas ĉio tia?"

Estis facila demando, kaj panjo facile respondis al ĝi:

"Estas por nia bonfartado, mia infanino. Pro Lia saĝeco kaj kompatemo la Sinjoro sendas al ni tiujn afliktojn por disciplini nin kaj plibonigi nin."

"Ĉu Li estas tiu, kiu sendas ilin?"

"Jes."

"Ĉu Li sendas ĉiujn tiujn, panjo?"

"Jes, kara, ĉiujn. Neniu el ili venas hazarde; Li sole sendas ilin, kaj ĉiam pro Lia amo de ni, kaj por plibonigi nin."

"Ĉu ne tio estas stranga!"

"Stranga? Nu, ne, mi neniam pensis pri tio tiel. Mi neniam aŭdis iun nomi tion stranga. Tio ĉiam ŝajnis al mi natura kaj ĝusta al mi, kaj saĝa kaj tre afabla kaj kompatema."

"Kiu unue pensis pri ĝi tiel, panjo? Ĉu vi?"

"Ho, ne, infanino, tion oni instruis al mi."

"Kiu instruis tion al vi, panjo?"

"Nu, efektive, mi ne scias -- mi ne memoras. La patrino, mi supozas; aŭ la predikisto. Sed estas afero, kiun ĉiuj konas."

"Nu, ĉiuokaze, tio ŝajnas stranga. Ĉu Li malsanigis Billy Norris-on per tifo?"

"Jes."

"Kial?"

"Nu, cele de disciplini lin kaj bonigi lin."

"Sed li mortis, mama, kaj do tio ne povis plibonigi lin."

"Nu, do, mi supozas, ke tio estis pro iu alia kialo. Ni scias, ke estis bona kialo, kio ajn ĝi estis."

"Kion opinias vi, ke ĝi estis, mama?"

"Ho, vi demandas tiom da demandoj! Mi pensas; ĝi estas por disciplini liajn gepatrojn."

"Nu, do, tio ne estis justa, mama. Kial devis esti forigita lia vivo pro ili, se li ne faris ion malbonan?"

"Ho, mi ne scias! Mi scias nur, ke tio estis pro iu bona, kaj saĝa kaj kompatema kialo."

"Kiu kialo, mama?"

"Mi opinias -- mi opinias -- nu, estis juĝo; estis por puni ilin pro iu peko, kiun ili farintis."

"Sed li estis tiu, kiu estis punita, mama. Ĉu tio ĝustis?"

"Certe, certe. Li faras nenion, kiu estas bona kaj saĝa kaj kompatema. Vi ne povas kompreni ĉi tiujn aferojn nun, kara, sed kiam vi estos granda vi komprenos ilin, kaj tiam vi vidos, ke tiuj estas justaj kaj saĝaj."

Post paŭzo:

"Ĉu Li igis la tegmenton fali sur la nekonato, kiu penantis savi la kriplan maljuninon el la fajro, mama?"

"Jes, mia infanino. Atendu! Ne demandu al mi "kial", ĉar mi ne scias. Mi scias nur, ke tio estis por disciplini iun, aŭ por juĝi iun, aŭ por montri Lian povon."

"Tiu ebria homo, kiu metis forkegon en la bebo de Sinjorino Welch kiam -- "

"Ne zorgu pri tio, vi ne devas rakonti la tutan historion nun; tio estis kvazaŭ por disciplini la infanon -- almenaŭ tiom certas, ĉiuokaze."

"Mama, Sinjoro Burgess diris en lia prediko, ke miliardoj da etaj estuloj sendatas en nin por malsanigi nin per ĥolero, kaj tifo, kaj tetanuso, kaj pli ol mil aliaj malsanoj kaj -- mama, ĉu Li sendas ilin?"

"Ho, certe, infanino, certe. Kompreneble."

"Kial?"

"Ho, por disciplinin nin! Ĉu mi ne jam diris tion al vi ree kaj ree?"

"Tio estas terure kruela, mama! Kaj nesaĝa! kaj se mi -- "

"Silentu, ho, silentu! ĉu vi volas venigi la fulmon?"

"Vi scias, ke fulmo ja venis la antaŭan semajnon, mama, kaj batis la novan preĝejo, kaj brulis ĝin tute. Ĉu ĝi estis por disciplini la preĝejon?"

(Lace). "Ho, mi supozas, ke jes."

"Sed ĝi mortigis porkon, kiu ne farantis ion malbonan. Ĉu ĝi estis por disciplini la porkon, mama?"

"Kara infanino, ĉu vi ne volas iri eksteren kaj ludi iam? Se vi volus -- "

"Mama, nur pensu! Sinjoro Hollister diras, ke ne estas birdo aŭ fiŝo aŭ reptilio, kiu ne havas malamikon, kiun Providenco sendis por mordi ĝin kaj ĉasi ĝin kaj tedadi ĝin, kaj mortigi ĝin, kaj suĉi ĝian sangon kaj disciplini ĝin kaj igi ĝin bona kaj religiema. Ĉu tio veras, mama -- ĉar se tio veras, kial ridis Sinjoro Hollister je tio?"

"Tiu Hollister estas skandala homo, kaj mi ne volas, ke vi aŭskultu al io ajn, kiun li diras."

"Nu, mama, li estas tre interesa, kaj mi opinias, ke li penas esti bona. Li diras, ke vespoj kaptas araneojn kaj metas ilin en siajn nestojn en la grundo -- vivantajn, mama! -- kaj tie ili vivas kaj suferas dum tagoj kaj tagoj kaj tagoj, kaj la malsataj, kaj la malsataj vespetoj maĉas iliajn krurojn kaj rodas iliajn ventrojn dum ĉiu tiu tempo, por plibonigi ilin kaj religiemigi ilin kaj igi ilin glori Dion pro Liaj senfina kompatemo. Mi opinias, ke Sinjoro Hollister estas vere agrabla, kaj tre afabla; ĉar kiam mi demandis al li, ĉu li agus tiel al araneo, li diris, ke li esperas esti damnita se li tion farus; kaj poste li -- "

"Mia infanino! ho, do for goodness' sake -- "

"Kaj mama, li diras, ke la araneo estis oficigita por kapti la muŝon, kaj puŝi ŝiajn dentegojn en lian intestaron, kaj suĉi kaj suĉi kaj suĉi lian sangon, por disciplini lin kaj Kristanigi lin; kaj kiam la muŝo zumas per liaj flugiloj pro la doloro kaj mizero de la afero, videblas pro la dankema okulo de la araneo, ke ŝi dankas al la Donanto de Ĉiuj Bonaĵoj por -- nu, she's saving grace, as he says; kaj, ankaŭ, li -- "

"Ho, ĉu vi ne iam laciĝos pro babilado! Se vi volas iri eksteren kaj ludi -- "

"Mama, li mem diras, ke ĉiuj ĝenoj kaj doloroj kaj mizeroj kaj aĉaj malsanoj kaj teruroj kaj villainies are sent to us in mercy and kindness to discipline us; and he says it is the duty of every father and mother to helpi Providencon, per ĉiuj manieroj, kiuj ili povas; and says they can't do it by just scolding and whipping, for that won't answer, it is weak and no good -- Providence's way is best, and it is every parent's duty and every person's duty to help discipline everybody, and cripple them and kill them, and starve them, and freeze them, and rot them with diseases, and lead them into murder and theft and dishonor and disgrace; and he says Providence's invention for disciplining us and the animals is the very brightest idea that ever was, and not even an idiot could get up anything shinier. Mama, brother Eddie needs disciplining, right away: and I know where you can get the smallpox for him, and the itch, and the diphtheria, and bone-rot, and heart disease, and consumption, and -- Kara mama, ĉu vi svenis! Mi kuros kaj alportos helpon! Nu, tio sekvas pro restado enurbe dum ĉiu tiu varmega vetero."


Chapter 2[redakti]

Creation of Man

Mamma. You disobedient child, have you been associating with that irreligious Hollister again?

Bessie. Well, mamma, he is interesting, anyway, although wicked, and I can't help loving interesting people. Here is the conversation we had:

Hollister. Bessie, suppose you should take some meat and bones and fur, and make a cat out of it, and should tell the cat, Now you are not to be unkind to any creature, on pain of punishment and death. And suppose the cat should disobey, and catch a mouse and torture it and kill it. What would you do to the cat?

Bessie. Nothing.

H. Why?

B. Because I know what the cat would say. She would say, It's my nature, I couldn't help it; I didn't make my nature, you made it. And so you are responsible for what I've done -- I'm not. I couldn't answer that, Mr. Hollister.

H. It's just the case of Frankenstein and his Monster over again.

B. What is that?

H. Frankenstein took some flesh and bones and blood and made a man out of them; the man ran away and fell to raping and robbing and murdering everywhere, and Frankenstein was horrified and in despair, and said, I made him, without asking his consent, and it makes me responsible for every crime he commits. I am the criminal, he is innocent.

B. Of course he was right.

H. I judge so. It's just the case of God and man and you and the cat over again.

B. How is that?

H. God made man, without man's consent, and made his nature, too; made it vicious instead of angelic, and then said, Be angelic, or I will ill punish you and destroy you. But no matter, God is responsible for everything man does, all the same; He can't get around that fact. There is only one Criminal, and it is not man.

Mamma. This is atrocious! it is wicked, blasphemous, irreverent, horrible!

Bessie. Yes'm, but it's true. And I'm not going to make a cat. I would be above making a cat if I couldn't make a good one.

Chapter 3[redakti]

Mamma, if a person by the name of Jones kills a person by the name of Smith just for amusement, it's murder, isn't it, and Jones is a murderer?

Yes, my child.

And Jones is punishable for it?

Yes, my child.

Why, mamma?

Why? Because God has forbidden homicide in the Ten Commandments, and therefore whoever kills a person commits a crime and must suffer for it.

But mamma, suppose Jones has by birth such a violent temper that he can't control himself?

He must control himself. God requires it.

But he doesn't make his own temper, mamma, he is born with it, like the rabbit and the tiger; and so, why should he be held responsible?

Because God says he is responsible and must control his temper.

But he can't, mamma; and so, don't you think it is God that does the killing and is responsible, because it was He that gave him the temper which he couldn't control?

Peace, my child! He must control it, for God requires it, and that ends the matter. It settles it, and there is no room for argument.

(After a thoughtful pause.) It doesn't seem to me to settle it. Mamma, murder is murder, isn't it? and whoever commits it is a murderer? That is the plain simple fact, isn't it?

(Suspiciously.) What are you arriving at now, my child?

Mamma, when God designed Jones He could have given him a rabbit's temper if He had wanted to, couldn't He?

Yes.

Then Jones would not kill anybody and have to be hanged?

True.

But He chose to give Jones a temper that would make him kill Smith. Why, then, isn't He responsible?

Because He also gave Jones a Bible. The Bible gives Jones ample warning not to commit murder; and so if Jones commits it he alone is responsible.

(Another pause.) Mamma, did God make the house-fly?

Certainly, my darling.

What for?

For some great and good purpose, and to display His power.

What is the great and good purpose, mamma?

We do not know, my child. We only know that He makes all things for a great and good purpose. But this is too large a subject for a dear little Bessie like you, only a trifle over three years old.

Possibly, mamma, yet it profoundly interests me. I have been reading about the fly, in the newest science-book. In that book he is called "the most dangerous animal and the most murderous that exists upon the earth, killing hundreds of thousands of men, women and children every year, by distributing deadly diseases among them." Think of it, mamma, the most fatal of all the animals! by all odds the most murderous of all the living things created by God. Listen to this, from the book:

Now, the house fly has a very keen scent for filth of any kind. Whenever there is any within a hundred yards or so, the fly goes for it to smear its mouth and all the sticky hairs of its six legs with dirt and disease germs. A second or two suffices to gather up many thousands of these disease germs, and then off goes the fly to the nearest kitchen or dining room. There the fly crawls over the meat, butter, bread, cake, anything it can find in fact, and often gets into the milk pitcher, depositing large numbers of disease germs at every step. The house fly is as disgusting as it is dangerous.

Isn't it horrible, mamma! One fly produces fifty-two billions of descendants in 60 days in June and July, and they go and crawl over sick people and wade through pus, and sputa, and foul matter exuding from sores, and gaum themselves with every kind of disease-germ, then they go to everybody's dinner-table and wipe themselves off on the butter and the other food, and many and many a painful illness and ultimate death results from this loathsome industry. Mamma, they murder seven thousand persons in New York City alone, every year -- people against whom they have no quarrel. To kill without cause is murder -- nobody denies that. Mamma?

Well?

Have the flies a Bible?

Of course not.

You have said it is the Bible that makes man responsible. If God didn't give him a Bible to circumvent the nature that He deliberately gave him, God would be responsible. He gave the fly his murderous nature, and sent him forth unobstructed by a Bible or any other restraint to commit murder by wholesale. And so, therefore, God is Himself responsible. God is a murderer. Mr. Hollister says so. Mr. Hollister says God can't make one moral law for man and another for Himself. He says it would be laughable.

Do shut up! I wish that that tiresome Hollister was in H -- amburg! He is an ignorant, unreasoning, illogical ass, and I have told you over and over again to keep out of his poisonous company.


Chapter 4[redakti]

Mamma, what is a virgin?"

"A maid."

"Well, what is a maid?"

"A girl or woman that isn't married."

"Uncle Jonas says that sometimes a virgin that has been having a child -- "

"Nonsense! A virgin can't have a child."

"Why can't she, mamma?"

"Well, there are reasons why she can't."

"What reasons, mamma?"

"Physiological. She would have to cease to be a virgin before she could have the child."

"How do you mean, mamma?"

"Well, let me see. It's something like this: a Jew couldn't be a Jew after he had become a Christian; he couldn't be Christian and Jew at the same time. Very well, a person couldn't be mother and virgin at the same time."

"Why, mamma, Sally Brooks has had a child, and she's a virgin."

"Indeed?' Who says so?"

"She says so herself."

"Oh. no doubt! Are there any other witnesses?"

"Yes -- there's a dream. She says the governor's private secretary appeared to her in a dream and told her she was going to have a child, and it came out just so."

"I shouldn't wonder! Did he say the governor was the corespondent?"

Chapter 5[redakti]

B. Mama, didn't you tell me an ex-governor, like Mr. Burlap, is a person that's been governor but isn't a governor any more?

M. Yes, dear.

B. And Mr. Williams said "ex" always stands for a Has Been, didn't he?

M. Yes, child. It is a vulgar way of putting it, but it expresses the fact.

B, (eagerly). So then Mr. Hollister was right, after all. He says the Virgin Mary isn't a virgin any more, she's a Has Been. He says --

M. It is false! Oh, it was just like that godless miscreant to try to undermine an innocent child's holy belief with his foolish lies; and if I could have my way, I --

B. But mama, -- honest and true -- is she still a virgin -- a real virgin, you know?

M. Certainly she is; and has never been anything but a virgin -- oh, the adorable One, the pure, the spotless, the undefiled!

B. Why, mama, Mr. Hollister says she can't be. That's what he says. He says she had five children after she had the One that was begotten by absent treatment and didn't break anything and he thinks such a lot of child-bearing, spread over years and years and years, would ultimately wear a virgin's virginity so thin that even Wall street would consider the stock too lavishly watered and you couldn't place it there at any discount you could name, because the Board would say it was wildcat, and wouldn't list it. That's what he says. And besides --

M. Go to the nursery, instantly! Go!

Chapter 6[redakti]

Mamma, is Christ God?

Yes, my child.

Mamma, how can He be Himself and Somebody Else at the same time?

He isn't, my darling. It is like the Siamese twins -- two persons, one born ahead of the other, but equal in authority, equal in power.

I understand it, now, mamma, and it is quite simple. One twin has sexual intercourse with his mother, and begets himself and his brother; and next he has sexual intercourse with his grandmother and begets his mother. I should think it would be difficult, mamma, though interesting. Oh, ever so difficult. I should think that the Corespondent --

All things are possible with God, my child.

yes, I suppose so. But not with an! other Siamese twin, I suppose. You don't think any ordinary Siamese twin could beget himself and his brother on his mother, do you, mamma, and then go on back while his hand is in and beget her, too, on his grandmother?

Certainly not, my child. None but God can do these wonderful and holy miracles.

And enjoy them. For of course He enjoys them, or He wouldn't go foraging around among the family like that, would He, mamma? -- injuring their reputations in the village and causing talk. Mr. Hollister says it was wonderful and awe-inspiring in those days, but wouldn't work now. He says that if the Virgin lived in Chicago now, and got in the family way and explained to the newspaper fellows that God was the Corespondent, she couldn't get two in ten of them to believe it. He says the! are a hell of a lot!

My child!

Well, that is what he says, anyway.

Oh, I do wish you would keep away from that wicked, wicked man!

He doesn't mean to be wicked, mamma, and he doesn't blame God. No, he doesn't blame Him; he says they all do it -- gods do. It's their habit, they've always been that way.

What way, dear?

Going around unvirgining the virgins. He says our God did not invent the idea -- it was old and mouldy before He happened on it. Says He hasn't invented anything, but got His Bible and His Flood and His morals and all His ideas from earlier gods, and they got them from still earlier gods. He says there never was a god yet that wasn't born of a Virgin. Mr. Hollister says no virgin is safe where a god is. He says he wishes he was a god; he says he would make virgins so scarce that --

Peace, peace! Don't run on so, my child. If you --

-- and he advised me to lock my door nights, because --

Hush, hush, will you!

-- because although I am only three and a half years old and quite safe from men --

Mary Ann, come and get this child! There, now, go along with you, and don't come near me again until you can interest yourself in some subject of a lower grade and less awful than theology. .

Bessie, (disappearing.) Mr. Hollister says there ain't any.