scribner 출판사에서 펴낸 The Snow of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories에 수록된 Ernest Hemingway의 열 편의 단편 중 가장 짧은 이야기다. 화자는 9살난 소년의 아버지다.
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He came into the room to shut the windows while we were still in bed and I saw he looked ill. He was shivering, his face was white, and he walked slowly as though it ached to move.
“What’s the matter, Shatz?”
“I’ve got a headache.”
“You better to back to bed.”
“No. I’m alright.”
“You go to bed. I’ll see you when I’m dressed.”
But when I came downstairs he was dressed, sitting by the fire, looking a very sick and miserable of nine years. When I put my hand on his forehead I knew he had a fever.
“You go up to bed,” I said, “you’re sick.”
“I’m all right,” he said.
When the doctor came he took the boy’s temperature.
“What is it?” I asked him.
“One hundred and two.”
Downstairs, the doctor left three different medicines in different colored capsules with instructions for giving them. One was to bring down the fever, another a purgative, the third to overcome an acid condition. The germs of influenza can only exist in an acid condition, he explained. He seemed to know all about influenza and said there was nothing to worry about if the fever did not go above one hundred and four degrees. This was a light epidemic of flu and there was no danger if you avoided pneumonia.
Back in the room I wrote the boy’s temperature down and made a note of the time to give the various capsules.
“Do you want me to read to you?”
“All right. If you want to,” said the boy. His face was very white and there were dark areas under his eyes. He lay still in the bed and seemed very detached from what was going on.
I read aloud from Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates; but I could see he was not following what I was reading.
“How do you feel, Schatz?” I asked him.
“Just the same, so far,” he said.
I sat at the foot of the bed and read to myself while I waited for it to e time to give another capsule. It would have been natural for him to go to sleep, but when I looked up he was looking at the foot of the bed, looking very strangely.
“Why don’t you try to go to sleep? I’ll wake you up for the medicine.”
“I’d rather stay awake.”
After a while he said to me, “You don’t have to stay in here with me, Papa, if it bothers you.”
“It doesn’t bother me.”
“No, I mean you don’t have to stay if it’s going to bother you.” I thought perhaps he was a little lightheaded and after giving him the prescribed capsules at eleven o’clock I went out for a while.
It was a bright, cold day, the ground covered with a sleet that had frozen so that it seemed as if all the bare trees, the bushes, the cut brush and all the grass and the bare ground ahd been varnished with ice. I took the young Irish setter for a little walk up the road and along a frozen creek, but it was difficult to stand or walk on the glassy surface and the red dog slipped and slithered and I fell twice, hard, once dropping my gun and having it slide away over the ice.
We flushed a covey of quail under a high clay bank with overhanging brush and I killed two as they went out of sight over the top of the bank. Some of the covey lit in trees, but most of them scattered into brush piles and it was necessary to jump on the ice-coated mounds of brush several times before they would flush. Coming out while you were poised unsteadily on the icy, springy brush they made difficult shooting and I killed two, missed five, and started back pleased to have found a covey close to the house and happy there were so many left to find on another day.
At the house they said the boy had refused to let any one come into the room.
“You can’t come in,” he said. “You mustn’t get what I have.”
I went up to him and found him in exactly the position I had left him, white-faced, but with the top of his cheeks flushed by the fever, staring still, as he has stared, at the foot of the bed.
I took his temperature.
“What is it?”
“Something like a hundred,” I said. It was one hundred and two and four tenths.
“It was a hundred and two,” he said.
“Who said so?”
“Your temperature is all right,” I said. “It’s nothing to worry about.”
“I don’t worry,” he said, “but I can’t keep from thinking.”
“Don’t think,” I said. “Just take it easy.”
“I’m taking it easy,” he said and looked straight ahead. He was evidently holding tight onto himself about something.
“Take this with water.”
“Do you think it will do any good?”
“Of course it will.”
I sat down and opened the Pirate book and commenced to read, but I could see he was not following, so I stopped.
“About what time do you think I’m going to die?” he asked.
“About how long will it be before I die?”
“You aren’t going to die. What’s the matter with you?”
“Oh, yes, I am. I heard him say a hundred and two.”
“People don’t die with a fever of one hundred and two. That’s a silly way to talk.”
“I know they do. At school in France the boys told me you can’t live with forty-four degrees. I’ve got a hundred and two.”
He had been waiting to die all day, ever since nine o’clock in the morning.
“You poor Schatz,” I said. “Poor old Schatz. It’s like miles and kilometers. You aren’t going to die. That’s a different thermometer. On that thermometer thirty-seven is normal. On this kind it’s ninety-eight.”
“Are you sure?”
“Absolutely,” I said. “It’s like miles and kilometers. You know, like how many kilometers we make when we do seventy miles in the car?”
“Oh,” he said.
But his gaze at the foot of the bed relaxed slowly. The hold over himself relaxed too, finally, and the next day it was very slack and he cried very easily at little things that were of no importance.
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Schatz는 독일어로 ‘my pleasure’라는 사랑의 말이라고 한다. 자신을 그렇게 부르는 아버지가 자신의 죽음 앞에서 ‘Just take it easy’라고 말한다. 아홉 살 소년은 어땠을까? 소설이 아버지의 나래이션이기 때문에 아버지가 한 상황 해석이 써있는 그대로 맞다고 믿으면 안될 것 같다. 아버지는 아들이 좀 괜찮아졌다고 생각하고 밖에 나가 사냥을 하지만, 그동안 아들은 자신이 곧 죽을 거라고 생각하며 아버지를 하루종일 기다린다. 처음에는 아픈 꼬마 아이가 왜 저러나 궁금했는데 이야기를 두 번, 세 번 읽다보면 내가 그 아홉 살 아이가 되어 무섭고 두렵게 느껴진다.
아버지가 아들에게 읽어주는 Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates를 통해 이 작품을 읽은 essay가 하나 있다. Susan F. Beegel이 1993년에 쓴 글로서(Studies in Short Fiction, Fall, 1993, by Susan F. Beegel), 이 작품의 대화를 심리적/사회적으로 분석했다. 소년을 <킬리만자로의 눈The Snow of Kilimanjaro>에서 죽어가던 Harry와 비교한 부분, 해적 이야기를 읽어주는 아버지의 행동, 아들의 반응을 분석한 부분이 눈에 띈다. 특히 ‘you don’t have to stay here with me, Papa, if it bothers you / it doesn’t bother me’에서 아버지와 아들이 말한 ‘it’의 의미가 어떻게 달랐는지. 그래서 아들은 심적으로 어땠을런지를 노골적으로 번역translation했다. 영어에서 영어로 한 번역인데 그 둘이 말한 의미를 좀 더 직접적이고 새로운 단어로 다시 말했다. S. F. Beegel의 해석대로라면 아이와 아버지의 대화는 정말 소름끼친다. 어떻게 이 짧은 이야기를 읽고 몇 배나 긴 논문을 똑부러지게 잘 쓰셨는지… 위의 이야기를 다 읽은 사람에게 한번쯤 꼭 읽어보라고 추천하고싶다. 요거 → ‘Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates’ and male taciturnity in Hemingway’s “A Day’s Wait.” – Ernest Hemingway
실제로 나도 살다가 저 아이처럼 듣지는 않는지. 내가 받아들이는 세상에 대한 인식이 완벽하지 않다는 것을 알기 때문에 – 완벽할 수 없다, 완벽함이 뭔지도 모른다 – 아이의 공포는 충분히 공감하고도 남는다. 단지 섭씨와 화씨를 몰라서 생긴 일이라고 해버리면 아이에게 미안하다. 그게 아니다. 또 내가 아버지처럼 ‘아들을 위해’ 책을 읽어주고 약을 먹여주고 열을 재고 토닥토닥 하는 말들이 아들에 대한 충분한 이해를 바탕으로 한 것일까? 맨 마지막 문장은 ‘he cried very easily at little things that were of no importance’로 끝난다. 이 부분이 아버지의 아들 관찰지 결론이다. 간단명료하다, Schatz의 하루에 비해.