“爸”·“爹”·“妈”
——狱中给女儿的信选刊五十二

亲爱的小文:
  小孩子刚学说话,最先发的音也就是最容易发的音就是“爸”、“爹”、“妈”这些音,中外都是一样的。英文Pa或Papa或Dad或Daddy都是“父亲”(Father)的意思,但比Father亲热得多。所以你以后写信,不要写Dear Father而该写Dear Dad,我附一封英文给爸爸信的样本在下面:

June 10
Dear Dad,
  The flowers are beautiful! Mother and I will enjoy them at our table for several days, I know. Everything is so new and so exciting. I heard several French Canadians singing their songs as they stood on the stern waving to some friends on the dock. It is like a foreign land already. I'm all anticipation for the summer to come. I only wish you could be with us.
Love, and thank you for the wonderful trip and for the flowers.

Joan

  但Mother这个字,却不像Father这个字这么正式,所以常和Mom或Ma或Mamma或Mama混用,我再附一段英文小说在下面:

  Davie was next down.“Morning, Mother. Morning, Dad.”he said with that deference that comes on a sixteen-year-old when he has something to ask for, something he wants much.
“Here're your waffles, Davie,”his mother said. “Four.”
“That'll do fine to start on,”Davie said, and grinned up at her.“You sure can sling a wicked waffle, Mom.”

  当然正式的说法都用Father,尤其成语里都是固定用Father的,如:

  Like father, like son.(有其父必有其子,子必肖其父,虎父无犬子,什么样的爸爸什么样的儿子。)
 Like mother, like daughter.(也是一样的意思。)

  我再附一段用Daddy的例子:

  As our I 1-year-old daughter's birthday approached, she let it be known that the thing she wanted most, was an automatic record player. We agreed to give it to her on condition that she promise to take good care of it. She promised, of course. But we had no idea how serious she was until one day when my wife was tidying her room she found a list of rules headed:“How To Take Care of My Record Player.”
  
   The rules included such things as keeping the machine clean, caring for the needle and so on. But the clincher was the last rule of all. It read:“If record player gets broke, don't let Daddy try to fix it.”

  我们十一岁女儿的生日快到前,她暗示最想要的东西是一架自动电唱机。我们同意要是她答应好好照管,就可以送给她,当然她答应了。但我们还不知道她对此是何等认真,直到有一天我太太替她收拾房间,发现一张标题是“如何照管我的唱机”的照管规则时,我们才恍然大悟。

  这些规则包括保持机件清洁、当心针头等等。但是使人没话讲的是最后一条:“假使喝机坏了,别让爹爹去修。”

  “长服爹爹”(Daddy long legs)不是人,是一种不咬人的蜘蛛,也叫“收割者”(harvestman),在动物学上,翻作“盲蜘蛛”。它的腿,可以说丢就丢,遇到危险,它就丢个腿骗敌人,敌人注意到腿,它就趁机跑了。(壁虎也有这种本领,不过壁虎丢的是尾巴。)

   中国有句古话“毒蛇在手,壮士断臂”,因为不断臂毒液就会蔓延,人就给毒死了。所以“壮士断臂”是表示有决心、有决心、肯牺牲、不因小失大的意思。可是人断了臂,不能再生一只,“长腿爹爹”的腿,像壁虎尾巴一样,断了却可以再生出来。许多小动物,实在比人奇妙得多、有办法得多。

   上月十五的信和照片都收到,贺年片也收到。你这张照片照得非常漂亮可爱。


爸 爸 一九七五年一月二日夜