The Tragedy of Dr Faustus
Faustus increasingly 1 used his magic powers to play a lot of tricks on people. One day he was staying in an inn, when he was approached by a horse-dealer whose business was going badly. The horse-dealer offered to buy Faustus’ horse, which he had seen and admired.
‘I’ll give you forty dollars for the horse,’ he offered.
Faustus smiled at the man.
‘You can’t buy a horse as good as this one for forty dollars,’ he said. ‘I’m not even sure that I want to sell him – but I might change my mind if you offered fifty dollars.’
The horse-dealer shook his head sadly.
‘I haven’t got fifty dollars,’ he said bitterly. ‘I’ve lost a lot of money on horses recently. Please take forty dollars for yours!’
‘All right,’ Faustus agreed. ‘I’ll take forty dollars for the horse. But there’s one thing you’ve got to know about this horse. He’s an excellent animal in every way. You can ride him anywhere and he’ll always do what you want. But you mustn’t ride him into water. Do you understand me? Never take this horse into water!’
‘What’s the matter2 with him?’ the horse-dealer asked. ‘He drinks water, doesn’t he?’
Faustus smiled again.
‘Oh yes,’ he replied, ‘he drinks water all right. But never ride him over water.’
The horse-dealer paid Faustus forty dollars and rode the horse away. He thought he had made a good bargain and he was a happy man.
2 the matter:不对劲。
Faustus watched the man ride away. Suddenly he felt unbearably1 sad. He knew that the twenty-four years he had agreed with Lucifer were coming to an end. He was tired and decided to sleep for a while.
The horse-dealer, meanwhile, took the horse that Faustus had sold him, and rode him around for a while. The horse was a good animal and very lively. The horse-dealer wondered why Faustus had told him not to ride the animal into water and he decided to find out what would happen. He rode the horse into a shallow2 river. The animal suddenly disappeared and the poor man found himself sitting on a wet bundle3 of straw4 in the middle of the river!
Faustus was sleeping when the horse-dealer came back. The man was wet and dirty and he was furious. He began shouting and swearing. He was looking for Faustus and threw open the door of the room where the magician was sleeping. He tried to wake him up by pulling his leg and suddenly Faustus’ leg came off in the horse-dealer’s hand.
‘What have I done?’ the man cried in despair. ‘Have I killed him?’ Faustus began to call for help.
‘Murder! Help me, good people, I’m being murdered!’
The horse-dealer panicked and ran away.
Faustus laughed to see the man running off.
‘I’ve got my leg back,’ he joked to himself, ‘and he’s got a bundle of wet straw for his forty dollars!’
Faustus was now so famous that important people were always inviting him to their houses so that he could show them his special powers. One of the visits that he paid was to the Duke of Vanbolt. He showed the Duke and his wife many wonderful sights, including a castle that floated in the air. The Duke was very pleased with his guest and thanked him for what he had shown them.
Faustus turned to the Duke’s wife who was expecting a child.
‘I’ve heard that women in your condition often have strange longings1,’ he told her. ‘Is there any delicacy2 that I can fetch for you — anything in the whole world?’
The Duchess thought for a moment and then she smiled.
‘There is one thing,’ she told him softly. ‘It’s the middle of winter now and I keep dreaming of grapes. I would love to eat some grapes.’
‘That’s an easy matter,’ Faustus told her with a smile. He made a sign to Mephostophilis.
Mephostophilis disappeared and after a few minutes he came back. He was carrying a large bunch of grapes in his hand.
Faustus took the grapes and gave them to the Duchess with a bow. ‘Try these,’ he said. ‘They should be good.’
The Duchess was astonished. She took the grapes and ate some. ‘They’re delicious,’ she told Faustus. ‘The best grapes I’ve ever tasted.’ ‘But where do they come from?’ asked the Duke.
‘It’s winter here,’ Faustus explained, ‘but in other parts of the world it’s summer. Mephostophilis flew to another part of the world to pick these grapes for you.’
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