HE Flea, the Grasshopper, and the Skipjack1 once wanted to see which of them could jump highest; and they invited the whole world, and whoever
else would come, to see the grand sight. And there the three famous jumpers were met together in the room.
"Yes, I’ll give my daughter to him who jumps highest," said the King, "for it would be mean to let these people jump for nothing." The Flea stepped out first. He had very pretty manners, and bowed in all directions, for he had young ladies' blood in his veins, and was accustomed to consort
only with human beings; and that was of great consequence. Then came the Grasshopper: he was certainly much heavier, but he had a good figure, and wore the green uniform that was born with him. This person, moreover, maintained that he belonged to a very old family in the land of Egypt, and that he was highly esteemed there. He had just come from the field, he said, and had been put into a card house three stories high, and all made of picture cards with the figures turned inwards. There were doors and windows in the house, cut in the body of the Queen of Hearts. "I sing so," he said, "that sixteen native crickets who have chirped from their youth up, and have never yet had a card house of their own, would become thinner than they are with envy if they were to hear me." Both of them, the Flea and the Grasshopper, took care to announce who they were, and that they considered themselves entitled to marry a Princess. The Skipjack said nothing, but it was said of him that he thought all the more; and directly the Yard Dog had smelt at him he was ready to assert that the Skipjack was of good family, and formed from the breastbone of an undoubted goose. The old councillor, who had received three medals for holding
his tongue, declared that the Skipjack possessed the gift of prophecy
; one could tell by his bones whether there would be a severe winter or a mild one; and that's more than one can always tell from the breastbone of the man who writes the almanac. "I shall not say anything more," said the old King. "I only go on quietly, and always think the best." Now they were to take their jump. The Flea sprang so high that no one could see him; and then they asserted that he had not jumped at all. That was very mean. The Grasshopper only sprang half as high, but he sprang straight into the King's face, and the King declared that was horribly
rude. The Skipjack stood a long time considering
; at last people thought that he could not jump at all. "I only hope he's not become unwell," said the Yard Dog, and then he smelt at him again. "Tap!" he sprang with a little crooked
jump just into the lap of the Princess, who sat on a low golden stool.
Then the King said, "The highest leap was taken by him who jumped up to my daughter; for therein
lies the point; but it requires head to achieve that, and the Skipjack has shown that he has a head." And so he had the Princess. "I jumped highest, after all," said the Flea. "But it's all the same. Let her have the goose-bone with its lump of wax and bit of stick. I jumped to the highest; but in this world a body is required if one wishes to be seen." And the Flea went into foreign military service, where it is said he was killed.
The Grasshopper seated himself out in the ditch, and thought and considered how things happened in the world. And he too said, "Body is required! body is required!" And then he sang his own melancholy
song, and from that we have gathered this story, which they say is not true, though it's in print.
"对啦，谁跳得最高，我就把我的女儿嫁给谁！"国王说，"因为，假如让这些朋友白白地跳一阵子，那就未免太不像话了！" 跳蚤第一个出场。它的态度非常可爱：它向四周的人敬礼，因为它身体中流着年轻小姐的血液，习惯于跟人类混在一起，而这一点是非常重要的。 接着蚱蜢就出场了，它的确很粗笨，但它的身体很好看。它穿着它那套天生的绿制服。此外，它的整个外表说明它是出身于埃及的一个古老的家庭，因此它在这儿非常受到人们的尊敬。人们把它从田野里弄过来，放在一个用纸牌做的三层楼的房子里--这些纸牌有画的一面都朝里。这房子有门也有窗，而且它们是从"美人"身中剪出来的。"我唱得非常好，"它说，"甚至１６个本地产的蟋蟀从小时候开始唱起，到现在还没有获得一间纸屋哩。它们听到我的情形就嫉妒得要命，把身体弄得比以前还要瘦了。"跳蚤和蚱蜢这两位毫不含糊地说明了它们是怎样的人物。它们认为它们有资格和一位公主结婚。跳鹅一句话也不说。不过据说它自己更觉得了不起。宫里的狗儿把它嗅了一下，很有把握地说，跳鹅是来自一个上等的家庭。那位因为从来不讲话而获得了三个勋章的老顾问官说，他知道跳鹅有预见的天才：人们只须看看它的背脊骨就能预知冬天是温和还是寒冷。这一点人们是没有办法从写历书的人的背脊骨上看出来的."好，我什么也不再讲了！"老国王说，"我只须在旁看看，我自己心中有数！"现在它们要跳了。跳蚤跳得非常高，谁也看不见它，因此大家就说它完全没有跳。这种说法太不讲道理。蚱蜢跳得没有跳蚤一半高。不过它是向国王的脸上跳过来，因此国王就说，这简直是可恶之至。跳鹅站着沉思了好一会儿；最后大家就认为它完全不能跳。"我希望它没有生病！"宫里的狗儿说，然后它又在跳鹅身上嗅了一下。"嘘！"它笨拙地一跳，就跳到公主的膝上去了。她坐在一个矮矮的金凳子上。 国王说："谁跳到我的女儿身上去，谁就要算是跳得最高的了，因为这就是跳高的目的。不过能想到这一点，倒是需要有点头脑呢--跳鹅已经显示出它有头脑。它的腿长到额上去了！"所以它就得到了公主."不过我跳得最高！"跳蚤说。"但是这一点用处也没有！不过尽管她得到一架带木栓和蜡油的鹅骨，我仍然要算跳得最高。但是在这个世界里，一个人如果想要使人看见的话，必须有身材才成。"跳蚤于是便投效一个外国兵团。据说它在当兵时牺牲了。那只蚱蜢坐在田沟里，把这世界上的事情仔细思索了一番，不禁也说："身材是需要的！身材是需要的！"于是它便唱起了它自己的哀歌。我们从它的歌中得到了这个故事--这个故事可能不是真的，虽然它已经被印出来了。（１８４５年）