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Where the Thermometer Freezes Up 温度计被冻僵的地方
 V. M. 希利尔(1875—1931),美国著名的儿童教育家、科普作家,创建了卡尔弗特教育体系。他为孩子们编写了一套趣味盎然的历史、地理、艺术读物,即《写给孩子看的世界历史》《写给孩子看的世界地理》《写给孩子看的艺术史》。本文选自《写给孩子看的世界地理》。
  Some thermometers have numbers down to forty degrees (40℃) below zero. There the numbers stop, for when the mercury gets down to that point it freezes up. But there are few places in the World where it ever gets as cold as that. The coldest place in the World is not at the North Pole; the coldest place in the World, where the thermometer does go below 40℃ and freezes up, is called Siberia.
  Siberia is a huge area north of China. In the north of Siberia the sun never rises all winter long. It is night, as it is in Norway and Sweden. But there is no Gulf Stream to warm the land, so it gets much colder than 40℃ below zero, and they have to use a different kind of thermometer to measure how cold it is. In one place it goes to 60℃ below zero. People can’t grow fur on their skins to keep themselves warm as animals can, so when they go outside they must cover themselves from top to toe with animal skins or they would freeze to death in a few moments.
  But all of Siberia is not like this. There is a top, a middle, and a bottom part. Few people live in the northern part, however. It is so cold that no trees grow there and the ground is frozen solid many feet down. In the summer it gets very warm, and the thermometer sometimes goes to above 30℃. The ground then thaws out on top and moss and a few other things grow for a short while, though the ground underneath still stays frozen. Siberia belongs to Russia, but there are people from other countries living there too.

  The middle part of Siberia is not nearly so cold, and there great forests have grown, and in the forests live wild animals such as foxes, wolves and sable, which have beautiful thick coats of fur to keep themselves warm. Trappers hunt these animals just for their furs, to be made into coats to keep people warm. One small animal, called the ermine, has a snow-white coat and a tail with a black tip. The ermine hates dirt or anything that will soil his white fur, so he keeps himself spotless. It is for this reason that the official robes of judges and kings are made of the fur of the ermine, as a sign that they must be pure and clean in heart and mind. The skins of many such animals are sewn together to make a single cape or coat, which then looks white with little black tails spotted regularly over it.
  The longest railway in the World is built through the bottom part of Siberia. It is so long it takes two weeks to go from one end of it to the other. One end of it on the Pacific Ocean is called Vladivostok and the other end in Russia is Moscow. It is called the Trans-Siberian Railway.
  Most of the people in Siberia live along this railway, and yet one may travel for hundreds of miles without seeing a town or even a house. Often the towns are far from the railroad, so that there is a long drive from the station to the town. In the early 20th century, the engines that draw the trains are fired by wood instead of coal, and along the railroad there are piles of wood at which the train stops to get fuel, as a car would stop to get gasoline. The chief Siberian cities end in “sk”. They are Omsk, Tomsk, and Irkutsk.
  A stranger once asked a man on the street of Irkutsk how far it was to the railway station. The man replied, “If you keep on going the way you are headed it is twenty-five thousand miles, but if you turn round it’s two blocks.”

 曾经一个外地人在伊尔库茨克的大街上问一个当地人火车站有多远。那个当地人回答道:“如果你朝现在面对的方向一直走,走25 000英里就能到。不过,如果你转个身,往回走,两个街区以外就是火车站。”
  How far do you suppose it is to Siberia from the US?—eight thousand?—ten thousand miles? As a matter of fact, it is only about fifty miles—yes, that’s right, fifty miles—for the short way is across to Alaska. Between Siberia and Alaska is a narrow strip of water called Bering Strait, and when this is frozen over, one could walk across from Asia to America. On the map there is also a long string of islands that look like stepping-stones, but one would have to be a giant to walk across that way. Some say that the Eskimos in Alaska and Indians in the US may have come across Bering Strait from Asia long, long ago, and that they look something like the Chinese because they once came from that country.
  Before World War I, when Russia had a czar, people who hated the czar or were supposed to hate the czar, or who had said anything against the czar, were made prisoners, torn away from their families and friends, and sent to far-off Siberia to work in the mines. Many of them perished before reaching there.
  你猜猜從美国到西伯利亚有多远——8 000英里,10 000英里?实际上,只有50英里。是的,没错,就是50英里。从西伯利亚到美国的阿拉斯加,是这两地之间相距最短的地方。这两个地方隔着一条窄窄的海峡,叫作白令海峡。白令海峡结冰的时候,人甚至可以从冰面上走过去——从亚洲走到美洲。在地图上,你还能在白令海峡上看到一连串的岛屿。这些岛屿看起来就像是漂浮在海面上的踏脚石,不过能走到上面的人一定得是个巨人才行。有人认为,阿拉斯加的因纽特人和美洲的印第安人就是在很久很久以前,在白令海峡结冰的时候,从亚洲走到美洲去的。这些人之所以看上去那么像中国人,就是因为他们来自中国。