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The End of the Rainbow 彩虹的尽头

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The End of the Rainbow 彩虹的尽头
  V. M.希利尔(1875—1931),美国著名的儿童教育家、科普作家 ,创建了卡尔弗特教育体系。他为孩子们编写了一套趣味盎然的历史、地理、艺术读物,即《写给孩子看的世界历史》《写给孩子看的世界地理》《写给孩子看的艺术史》。本文选自《写给孩子看的世界地理》。
  Gold!
  It used to be said there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, though no one has ever found it. Yet men have left their business and their families and homes and gone to the ends of the earth in search of gold and to find a short cut to riches, for gold is used for money all over the world, though small coins are not made of it because they would have to be too small and would easily be lost.
  The largest gold mines in the world are in South Africa, and more than half of the gold in the world comes from gold mines near a city there called Johannesburg.
  金子!
  传说在彩虹的尽头有一罐金子。可是没有人真正走到过彩虹的尽头,找到这罐金子。不过,人们为了找到金子,抛弃自己的产业和妻子,走遍世界,走到世界的尽头,希望能找到金子,一夜之间变成富翁。金子是世界上所有国家的硬通货币。过去金子被直接用来做成金币。只有一些尺寸太小的硬币不用金子做,因为这些小硬币很容易丢失。
  世界上最大的金矿在南非。世界上超过一半的金子产自南非的一座金矿。这座金矿附近有一个城市,叫作约翰内斯堡。
  Gold is called the king of metals, for though platinum is more valuable, gold can be used for money and for ornament and for other things, and most people think it more beautiful. Pure gold is stamped 24 karat, but pure gold is so soft it wears away too easily and some other metal is usually mixed with it to make it harder. The finest rings and jewelry are usually 18 karat, which means that eighteen parts are of pure gold and six parts are of another metal. Look on a ring or watch and see if you can find the figures 18 K or 14 K stamped there.
  Sometimes gold is found in little lumps which are called nuggets, but usually it is mixed through the rock and doesn’t show at all. The rock has to be ground to powder and then the gold separated from the powder.
  Almost every family has at least one thing that has come from South Africa—a very small thing but a very valuable one. Can you guess what it is? The diamond in the wedding ring. Nearly all the diamonds in the world come from a place called Kimberley in South Africa. They are found in a kind of blue clay in what used to be volcanoes.
  金子被看作是金屬之王,因为尽管铂金在某种意义上比金子贵重,但是金子用途更广。金子可以用来做金币和各种首饰,还有别的用途。不光如此,大多数人也觉得金子看上去比铂金更漂亮。人们用“开(K)”来标识金子的纯度,纯金是24K。可是,纯金的硬度不高,非常软,戴在身上很容易磨损,所以人们在纯金中添加一些别的金属,提高其硬度。最好的耳环和金饰品往往用的是18K的金子。也就是说,这种耳环中黄金的含量是18份,其他金属的含量是6份。找找你家的黄金首饰,看看能不能发现18K或者14K这样的标记。
  有时候你能发现成块的天然金块,但更多时候金子是混在石头里面的,并没有直接显露出来。这时候,人们就必须把石头粉碎,再从中分离出金子来。
  不少人家里能找出至少一样来自南非的东西。这样东西尺寸不大,可是价格很高。你能猜到这是什么吗?对了,就是结婚戒指上的钻石。世界上几乎所有的钻石都来自一个叫作金伯利的南非城市。人们在金伯利的一种蓝色黏土中找到了钻石,这种蓝色黏土曾经在火山里。
 Word Study
  mine /ma?n/ n. 矿;矿井
  v. 开矿;采矿
  The mine is waiting for opening out.
  They were mining for gold.
  ornament /'??n?m?nt/ n. 首饰;饰物;装饰品
  There is an ornament made of shells on the wall.
  powder /'pa?d?(r)/ n. 粉末
  A wide range of cleaning fluids and powders is available.
  Most of the diamonds used to be sent to Amsterdam in Holland to be cut and polished. The reason they are sent there rather than to some other country is because the diamond mines were first discovered by Dutch people living in South Africa. Now, however, many of the diamonds are cut in Kimberley and are all finished there before being shipped to other countries.
  Diamonds are made out of the same stuff as coal, and if they were put in the fire, they would turn to coal. Sometimes people speak of coal as “Black Diamonds.” When a diamond is held to the light it may look pure white or it may be bluish or yellowish. The pure white diamonds are the most valuable.
  The biggest diamond ever found was about the size of my fist. It was called the Cullinan diamond. It was too large and too valuable to be used as a single jewel, so it was broken into two pieces and each piece was cut and polished. The next largest diamond ever found was called the Great Mogul. But the Great Mogul was stolen. Of course, the thief could not sell such a large diamond, for, as there was only one such diamond in the world, every one would know he was the thief. It was something like stealing the picture of Mona Lisa. But the Great Mogul has never been seen since, so the thief must have broken it up into smaller diamonds and sold the pieces.
  在南非開采出来的钻石会被送往荷兰的阿姆斯特丹进行切割和打磨。之所以钻石都要被送去阿姆斯特丹,而不是世界上别的什么城市,是因为南非的这些钻石矿最开始是由生活在南非的荷兰人发现的。当然,今天也有很多钻石直接在金伯利切割加工,在完成了所有的工序之后,它们被卖到世界各地。
  钻石的成分同煤炭的成分是一样的,所以如果你把钻石拿去烧,最终就会变成煤炭。有时候人们也管煤炭叫作“黑色钻石”。当你把钻石拿到灯下去仔细观察,就会看得出来,有些钻石是纯白色的,有些偏蓝,有些偏黄。纯白色的钻石价值最高。
  世界上发现的最大的钻石有我的拳头那么大,叫作库利南钻石。由于尺寸太大,价格太高,不适合做成一件单独的饰品,所以这块钻石被切割成两大块,分别进行了加工。比库利南钻石小一点的另一块钻石叫作大莫卧儿钻石。不过这块钻石失窃了。当然,偷去这块钻石的人不可能把它拿出来售卖。因为像这么大一块钻石,世界上绝无仅有,只要一拿出来,人们就知道这个人是偷钻石的贼。这就像是偷窃名画《蒙娜丽莎》,谁敢拿出来卖呢?可是大莫卧儿钻石再也没有现世,估计偷它的贼把这块钻石碎成了小块,一点一点卖掉了。
  The owners of the diamond mines take extraordinary care to prevent the people who dig the diamonds from stealing at least some of those they find. The mines are closed in with a high fence which is closely guarded, and the laborers are not allowed to go home at night but must live inside of the fence for three or four months. When they do leave, the guards, for they are guarded as if in prison, strip them and search their hair and ears and mouths to see that they have not hidden any diamonds away, for even a single diamond would be worth a fortune to one of the people. They have found so many diamonds at Kimberley that, if they sold them all, diamonds would be too common and too cheap. In order to keep up the price, therefore, the owners of the diamond mines lock up millions of dollars’ worth and only sell them when people are willing to pay a good price.

  钻石矿山的拥有者投入了大量的精力防止采矿的工人顺手牵羊。钻石矿四周用高高的篱笆围起来,还有专门的人员把守。采矿的工人必须住在篱笆圈起来的范围里面,就算是晚上也不能回家。这样工作一次就是三四个月。等结束了一次工作,工人们要离开矿山的时候,必须一个一个地接受检查,就像监狱里面对待犯人一样。这些工人得脱光衣裳,然后有人来检查他们的头发、耳朵和嘴巴,以确保他们没有把钻石藏起来带走。的确,一颗钻石对工人来说就是一笔巨额财富。人们在金伯利发现了数量巨大的钻石,如果把这些钻石都开采出来的话,市场上的钻石就会太多,从而降低钻石的价值。为了让市面上的钻石保值,矿山的拥有者封存了价值不可估量的钻石,只在人们愿意出大价钱的情况下才卖一批。
  有一位英国人名叫塞西尔·罗兹,他因为健康原因到南非去疗养。他运气很好,当他到南非的时候,正赶上了开采钻石矿。于是这位罗兹不但找回了健康,还找到了财富。南非有一个地方就以罗兹的名字命名,叫作罗得西亚。罗兹去世之后,留下了巨大的财富。这些钱的一部分被设立为奖学金,资助各国优秀的青年到英国牛津大学去念书。这些优秀青年被称为罗兹奖学金获得者。
  An Englishman named Cecil Rhodes went out to South Africa for his health. He happened to be there when diamonds were discovered and fortunes were being made, and he found his health and found wealth too. A part of South Africa was named after him: Rhodesia. When Rhodes died he left a great deal of money, part of which was to be used to send some of the best young men chosen from our country and other countries to the great university of Oxford in England. These boys are called Rhodes Scholars.
  Cecil Rhodes wanted to build a railroad from the top of Africa to the bottom of Africa, from Cairo in Egypt to Cape Town at the southern point. Most of the railroad has been built since he died. It is called the “Cape to Cairo” Railroad, but more is still to be built. Rhodes was one of the few Englishmen who didn’t ask to be sent home when he died. He chose a place in Africa on the top of a mountain to be buried. It was such a high point he called it “The World View.”
  The capital of South Africa, Tshwane, is like an English city. The chief city is Cape Town, and it too is just like an English city. Only about a hundred years ago these cities were jungle in which only black men lived.
  If you collect stamps you may have heard of a famous stamp called “A Mauritius” that a collector paid $20,000 for, enough money to buy a good house and lot, yet the only thing he can do with it is put it in a stamp album. Why should he pay so much money for it? Just to show others something he has that no one else has. Mauritius is a little island off the east coast of Africa. There are other islands near Africa. Madagascar is the biggest. Mauritius is one of the smaller ones. Zanzibar is another small one. Pictures of their stamps you will have in your album, if not the stamps themselves. From Zanzibar come the cloves your mother uses to spice baked apples, pickles, and hams. Cloves look like little burnt match heads, and I don’t believe you would ever guess what they really are. They are tiny flower blossoms that grow on the clove-tree!
  塞西爾·罗兹有一个愿望,希望修建一条贯通非洲南北的铁路,从北边的开罗一直修到南边的开普敦。在他去世之前,这条被叫作开罗—开普敦铁路的大部分都已经修好了,只有少部分路段还没有竣工。罗兹是少数几个不要求死后被送回英国安葬的英国人。他选择了非洲的一座高山山顶为自己的坟墓,那里地势很高,风景很好,他把那里称为“世界的景致”。
  南非的首都茨瓦内,是一个英国风格的城市。而南非的重要城市开普敦,也是一个英国风格的城市。而就在100年前,这些地方还都只是一片丛林,只有黑人出没。
  如果你集邮,你可能会听过一张非常著名的邮票——毛里求斯邮票。曾经有一位集邮爱好者愿意出两万美元买这张邮票。两万美元可是一笔不小的钱了,能买一所好房子和很多好东西呢。而这位集邮爱好者只是把这张毛里求斯邮票放在他的邮票簿里。为什么他愿意花这么大一笔钱来买一张邮票呢?其实也很简单,只为了向他人炫耀他拥有的这张绝无仅有的邮票。毛里求斯是非洲东边的一个岛国。非洲还有好几个岛,马达加斯加是最大的一个,毛里求斯是较小的一个,其他的小岛还有桑给巴尔岛。如果你没有办法得到这些地方发行的邮票,那么这些邮票的图片你也值得收集。桑给巴尔岛出产丁香。你妈妈做烤苹果、腌黄瓜和火腿的时候,都要用丁香来调味。用作调味料的丁香看起来像是烧过的火柴头,我打赌你不知道它是什么样子的。在没有经过加工之前,丁香是长在丁香树上的花!
  Word Study
  polish /'p?l??/ v. 磨光;擦光
  He polished his glasses with a handkerchief.
  fortune /'f??t?u?n/ n. 大笔钱;运气
  A car like that costs a small fortune.

英语阅读彩虹的尽头

英文爱情诗:彩虹
The End of the Rainbow 彩虹的尽头:https://www.ryedu.net/syy/zxyy/202011/59466.html