The Cricket on the Hearth

A Fairy Tale of Home

Das Heimchen am Herd

Ein häusliches Märchen

Übersetzt von Margit Meyer, Lizenz der Aufbau Verlagsgruppe
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2012







The kettle began it! Don’t tell me what Mrs. Peery­bingle said. I know bet­ter.
Mrs. Peery­bingle may leave it on re­cord to the end of time that she couldn’t say which of them began it; but I say the kettle did.
I ought to know, I hope? The kettle began it, full five minutes by the little waxy-faced Dutch clock in the corner, be­fore the Crick­et uttered a chirp.
As if the clock hadn’t fin­ished strik­ing, and the con­vuls­ive little Hay-maker at the top of it,
jerking away right and left with a scythe in front of a Moor­ish Palace,
hadn’t mowed down half an acre of ima­gin­ary grass be­fore the Crick­et joined in at all!
Why, I am not nat­ur­ally pos­it­ive.
Every one knows that I wouldn’t set my own opin­ion against the opin­ion of Mrs. Peery­bingle, un­less I were quite sure, on any ac­count whatever.
Noth­ing should in­duce me. But, this is a ques­tion of fact.
And the fact is, that the kettle began it at least five minutes be­fore the Crick­et gave any sign of be­ing in ex­ist­ence.
Con­tra­dict me, and I’ll say ten.
Let me nar­rate ex­actly how it happened. I should have pro­ceeded to do so, in my very first word,
but for this plain con­sid­er­a­tion — if I am to tell a story I must be­gin at the be­gin­ning;
and how is it pos­sible to be­gin at the be­gin­ning without be­gin­ning at the kettle?
It ap­peared as if there were a sort of match, or tri­al of skill, you must un­der­stand, between the kettle and the Crick­et.
And this is what led to it, and how it came about.
Mrs. Peery­bingle, go­ing out into the raw twi­light, and click­ing over the wet stones in a pair of pat­tens
that worked in­nu­mer­able rough im­pres­sions of the first pro­pos­i­tion in Eu­c­lid all about the yard — Mrs. Peery­bingle filled the kettle at the wa­ter-butt.
Presently re­turn­ing, less the pat­tens (and a good deal less,
for they were tall, and Mrs. Peery­bingle was but short), she set the kettle on the fire.
In do­ing which she lost her tem­per, or mis­laid it for an in­stant;
for, the wa­ter be­ing un­com­fort­ably cold, and in that slippy, slushy, sleety sort of state
wherein it seems to pen­et­rate through every kind of sub­stance, pat­ten rings in­cluded
— had laid hold of Mrs. Peery­bingle’s toes, and even splashed her legs.
And when we rather plume ourselves (with reas­on too) upon our legs, and keep ourselves par­tic­u­larly neat in point of stock­ings, we find this, for the mo­ment, hard to bear.
Be­sides, the kettle was ag­grav­at­ing and ob­stin­ate. It wouldn’t al­low it­self to be ad­jus­ted on the top bar;
it wouldn’t hear of ac­com­mod­at­ing it­self kindly to the knobs of coal; it would lean for­ward with a drunk­en air, and dribble, a very Idi­ot of a kettle, on the hearth.
It was quar­rel­some, and hissed and spluttered mor­osely at the fire.
To sum up all, the lid, res­ist­ing Mrs. Peery­bingle’s fin­gers, first of all turned topsy-turvy, and then,
with an in­geni­ous per­tinacity de­serving of a bet­ter cause, dived side­ways in — down to the very bot­tom of the kettle.
And the hull of the Roy­al George has nev­er made half the mon­strous res­ist­ance to com­ing out of the wa­ter
which the lid of that kettle em­ployed against Mrs. Peery­bingle be­fore she got it up again.
It looked sul­len and pig-headed enough, even then; car­ry­ing its handle with an air of de­fi­ance,
and cock­ing its spout pertly and mock­ingly at Mrs. Peery­bingle, as if it said, “I won’t boil. Noth­ing shall in­duce me!”

Charles Dickens
The Cricket on the Hearth / Das Heimchen am Herd
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Margit Meyer

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Die Übersetzung erschien erstmals 1979 in Alle Weihnachtserzählungen im Verlag Rütten & Loening, Berlin. Rütten & Loening ist eine Marke der Aufbau Verlag GmbH & Co. KG.
Übersetzung © Aufbau Verlag GmbH & Co. KG

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