Two American Folk-Tales
(There are many American folk-tales which make fun of1 a fellow2 called Pat. But sometimes Pat makes fun of those who try to make fun of him.)
Pat and the Rattlesnake
Pat and Mike never saw any snakes. But they heard a lot about snakes: how dangerous3 they were, especially rattlesnakes4, and what a snake looked like. So they were very much afraid of snakes.
One day they decided to visit their friends who lived in the neighboring5 village. They started off but soon they lost their way. So they had to stop at a farm and ask the way. The old farmer told them how they had to go. Pat thanked him and they went on. The old man shouted6 after them, “Be careful, boys, when you go down. We killed a big rattlesnake down that way a few days ago.”
So they went on watching both sides of the path, frightened to death7. Soon they came to a fence. Mike was in front. He, looked at the fence, didn’t see anything and climbed over8. Then Mike turned around to examine the other side of the fence.
Pat was climbing over, and his big toe9 went through a knot-hole10 in the fence. Mike saw Pat’s toe and he shouted, “Pat! Stand still11! I see a rattlesnake!”
Pat was so frightened that he couldn’t move. Mike picked up a big stick and struck12 Pat’s big toe with it.
At this very moment Pat shouted, “Hit13 him again, Mike! He has bitten14 me!”
Pat and the City-Billies15
One day two city-billies were walking down the street. They saw Pat coming and decided to make fun of him. They stopped Pat and said,
“Pat, have you heard the news?”
“No, and what’s that?” Pat asked them.
“Why, the devil is dead16.”
Pat looked at them a minute. Then he reached in his pockets17, gave the city-billies a coin and went on.
The two fellows stood there looking at the coin in surprise. Then one of them shouted after Pat,
“What’s this for?”
Pat turned his head and said,
“In Ireland, where I come from, when the head of the family18 dies we always give something to the orphans19.”
1 to make fun of smb. – подсмеиваться над кем-л.
2 fellow – парень
3 dangerous – опасный
4 rattlesnake – гремучая змея
5 neighboring – (амер.) соседний
6 to shout – кричать
7 frightened to death – напуганные до смерти
9 to climb over – перелезать
9 toe – палец ноги
10 knot-hole – отверстие в доске от выпавшего сучка
11 Stand still! – стой на месте
12 to strike – бить
13 to hit – ударять
14 to bite – кусать
15 city-billies – городские шалопаи
16 Why, the devil is dead – ну как же, дьявол умер
17 reached in his pockets – порылся в карманах
18 the head of the family – глава семьи
19 orphan – сирота
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