小王子 Chapter 15
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The sixth planet was ten times larger than the last one. It was inhabited by an old gentleman who wrote voluminous books.
"Oh, look! Here is an explorer!" he exclaimed to himself when he saw the little prince coming.
The little prince sat down on the table and panted a little. He had already traveled so much and so far!
"Where do you come from?" the old gentleman said to him.
"What is that big book?" said the little prince. "What are you doing?"
"I am a geographer1," the old gentleman said to him.
"What is a geographer?" asked the little prince.
"A geographer is a scholar who knows the location of all the seas, rivers, towns, mountains, and deserts."
"That is very interesting," said the little prince. "Here at last is a man who has a real profession!" And he cast a look around him at the planet of the geographer. It was the most magnificent and stately planet that he had ever seen.
"Your planet is very beautiful," he said. "Has it any oceans?"
"I couldn't tell you," said the geographer.
"Ah!" The little prince was disappointed. "Has it any mountains?"
"I couldn't tell you," said the geographer.
"And towns, and rivers, and deserts?"
"I couldn't tell you that, either."
"But you are a geographer!"
"Exactly," the geographer said. "But I am not an explorer. I haven't a single explorer on my planet. It is not the geographer who goes out to count the towns, the rivers, the mountains, the seas, the oceans, and the deserts. The geographer is much too important to go loafing about. He does not leave his desk. But he receives the explorers in his study. He asks them questions, and he notes down what they recall of their travels. And if the recollections of any one among them seem interesting to him, the geographer orders an inquiry2 into that explorer's moral character."
"Why is that?"
"Because an explorer who told lies would bring disaster on the books of the geographer. So would an explorer who drank too much."
"Why is that?" asked the little prince.
"Because intoxicated3 men see double. Then the geographer would note down two mountains in a place where there was only one."
"I know some one," said the little prince, "who would make a bad explorer."
"That is possible. Then, when the moral character of the explorer is shown to be good, an inquiry is ordered into his discovery."
"One goes to see it?"
"No. That would be too complicated. But one requires the explorer to furnish proofs. For example, if the discovery in question is that of a large mountain, one requires that large stones be brought back from it."
The geographer was suddenly stirred to excitement.
"But you-- you come from far away! You are an explorer! You shall describe your planet to me!"
And, having opened his big register, the geographer sharpened his pencil. The recitals4 of explorers are put down first in pencil. One waits until the explorer has furnished proofs, before putting them down in ink.
"Well?" said the geographer expectantly.
"Oh, where I live," said the little prince, "it is not very interesting. It is all so small. I have three volcanoes. Two volcanoes are active and the other is extinct. But one never knows."
"One never knows," said the geographer.
"I have also a flower."
"We do not record flowers," said the geographer.
"Why is that? The flower is the most beautiful thing on my planet!"
"We do not record them," said the geographer, "because they are ephemeral."
"What does that mean-- 'ephemeral'?"#p#分页标题#e#
"Geographies," said the geographer, "are the books which, of all books, are most concerned with matters of consequence. They never become old-fashioned. It is very rarely that a mountain changes its position. It is very rarely that an ocean empties itself of its waters. We write of eternal things."
"But extinct volcanoes may come to life again," the little prince interrupted. "What does that mean-- 'ephemeral'?"
"Whether volcanoes are extinct or alive, it comes to the same thing for us," said the geographer. "The thing that matters to us is the mountain. It does not change."
"But what does that mean-- 'ephemeral'?" repeated the little prince, who never in his life had let go of a question, once he had asked it.
"It means, 'which is in danger of speedy disappearance5.'"
"Is my flower in danger of speedy disappearance?"
"Certainly it is."
"My flower is ephemeral," the little prince said to himself, "and she has only four thorns to defend herself against the world. And I have left her on my planet, all alone!"
That was his first moment of regret. But he took courage once more.
"What place would you advise me to visit now?" he asked.
"The planet Earth," replied the geographer. "It has a good reputation."
And the little prince went away, thinking of his flower.
“火山是熄灭了的也好,苏醒的也好,这对我们这些人来讲都是一回事。” 地理学家说,“对我们来说,重要的是山。山是不会变换位置的。”


1 geographer msGzMv     
  • His grandfather is a geographer.他的祖父是一位地理学家。
  • Li Siguang is a famous geographer.李四光是一位著名的地理学家。
2 inquiry nbgzF     
  • Many parents have been pressing for an inquiry into the problem.许多家长迫切要求调查这个问题。
  • The field of inquiry has narrowed down to five persons.调查的范围已经缩小到只剩5个人了。
3 intoxicated 350bfb35af86e3867ed55bb2af85135f     
  • She was intoxicated with success. 她为成功所陶醉。
  • They became deeply intoxicated and totally disoriented. 他们酩酊大醉,东南西北全然不辨。
4 recitals 751371ca96789c59fbc162a556dd350a     
n.独唱会( recital的名词复数 );独奏会;小型音乐会、舞蹈表演会等;一系列事件等的详述
  • His recitals have earned him recognition as a talented performer. 他的演奏会使他赢得了天才演奏家的赞誉。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Her teachers love her playing, and encourage her to recitals. 她的老师欣赏她的演奏,并鼓励她举办独奏会。 来自互联网
5 disappearance ouEx5     
  • He was hard put to it to explain her disappearance.他难以说明她为什么不见了。
  • Her disappearance gave rise to the wildest rumours.她失踪一事引起了各种流言蜚语。
TAG标签: planet prince geographer