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》。
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.
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.
mine /ma?n/ n. 矿;矿井
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.
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.
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！
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.