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集中营记(六)

空中投下的救援

戴爱美 著
曲拯民 译

 

  1945年八月十七日,那是星期五,到了下午,天气实在感到热不可当,老师決定提前停课纳涼。那天,我正患上腹泻,更感瘦弱,在二楼的病房里躺在用三个箱子拼湊而成,上加褥蓆的床铺上休息。
  日本已经投降的消息正在此刻传佈着,快似野火烧山林。俘虏们听了,兴奋得喘不过气来,也有人为此惊恐万分。对於投掷原子弹的事,我们毫不知情,只知在两天前日本已宣告投降,消息是经“竹制电台”传进来的。会真的吗?
  营中的日军主管闭口不言,对发问也不肯答覆。
  那天,大半上午我一直躺在床上,隐约中听见飞机嗡嗡,声音由远而近。我遽起身,直趋窗前,见天空有一架巨型飞机就在营上空盘旋,缓缓降低了高度,机身漆着鲜耀的美国旗,窗上有人向着地下招手。
  好像就要飞掠树梢了,银色的腹部裂开,我望着那些徐徐着陆的降落伞,感到非常惊讶。
  潍县集中营的人疯狂了。
  我的腹泻已勿药而愈,飞奔下楼,跑向大门,拥挤和吵叫混成一片的人群带着我潮水般向外涌,两腳几乎不用着地了。这时有人举拳高挥空中,有的哭泣,咒骂,拥抱,跳跃,更有的将嗓门喊得嘶哑。人群一波又一波经过岗兵,先我而去,齐奔营外的农田里。约一英里外,我们去接迎前来解救俘虏的美国伞兵七名,他们各配全副武器,在成熟待割的高粱田间被大家发现。
  快乐得如醉如癡已获自由的俘虏们,嘈杂而衣着褴褛,赤着腳,身体饿瘪而枯槁,爭将这七名伞兵抬起,扛在肩上,凯旋入营。


七名伞兵的其中二人

  营外的一座土丘上正有音乐传来:“欢乐之今日来临”,那是救世军乐队吹奏着胜利之曲。接着,就是“星条旗”之歌,全体寂靜。

  星条闪烁正飘扬,
  自由勇敢兴家邦!


潍县集中营(乐道院)钟楼上
高悬美国国旗

  那位皮肤晒得棕色的美军少校急从扛他的人的肩上滑了下来向国歌立正,行敬礼。前面土丘上乐队中吹奏拉管长号的一名美国青年乐极生悲,倒在地上呜咽起来。
  一夜之间,我们的世界已完全改观。银色巨型轰炸机每天在上空盘旋,每天腹部裂开就有救济物品随伞下降。这种运送方法利弊兼有:拋下的大油桶里满盛着罐头食品在营外的田野间继续着陆,有一次一箱“得律蒙”罐头蜜桃竟洞穿了营內廚房的屋顶。又一次,落在营外的一箱物品打坏了一名中国小孩子的头骨。
  老师命令我们,今后凡见有飞机接近,必须即刻回到宿舍里暂避。俘虏生活行将结束,此时万不可被落下的豬肉罐头一类的食品伤了性命。
  九月间的某星期六,闻飞机声之后我正跑向宿舍,我们房间一同伴对我高喊:“玛莉!玛莉!下次的飞机他可以走了!”
   週后,星期一,在营外的一条很短的跑道上,凯琳姊,雅各哥哥(即今日的戴绍曾博士,自1955年以来,他在远东各地从事宣教工作迄今。目前在星加坡主持Overseas Missionary Fellowship简称OMF,是继中国內地会在战后的新机构,工作重点在东南亚各国。同机构在美国和加拿大各有总部,是新加坡国际总部的后援,並互相呼应。─译者),小弟约翰,我们四人同登一架军机朝向中国內地飞去,将和违面五年半的父母聚首。
  飞机航行了六百英里,着陆后我们改乘火车,又行百英里。有一位中国基督徒来接,相伴同乘一古老式的骡车,距家还有十英里路。时值绵绵秋雨的季节,道路泥泞不堪,窄窄的木车轮有时深陷淤泥一尺之深,不时发生摩际声音,如泣如诉。速度之缓,道路之艰,旅途似乎漫长无尽。
  我们決定鼓起勇气,下车步行。来接我们的宋先生陪伴那辆装载我们行装的骡车竟落后面。田间和路边的农人对我们这四个在泥里掙扎浑身溼透的小洋鬼儿投以惊奇的眼光。
  单调,乏味的淤泥道两旁是一望无际已长成的高粱庄稼,里面有时会藏着伺机打劫的盜匪。此际,夜幕将垂,估料天晚后才能安全到达凤翔城。通常为保城里的安全,城门每於天黑即行关闭。姊,哥两人深明此事,为此犯了愁。我们能否在城门关闭前赶到?果已关闭,司阍人能否破例通融?
  那晚──九月十一日,奇蹟出现了,直到晚上八时城门仍是开着的。进城后,循两边高耸土牆的大街前行。既无电灯照耀,街上是漆黑一片,且寂无行人。
  凯琳忽见有黑影闪过,凯琳趋前,用礼貌的中国话问:“好不好你送我们到基督教堂去找戴牧师?”那人低声咕噜一句话,不理而去。在中国,良家女子是不可以对男子先发话的。同时,夜间在街上的也许更非良家女子。
  前行,凯琳试问第二人,发出同样的要求来。那人在暗中找到声音的出处,定睛一看,原来是四个白种孩子。他随即说,“好,跟我来!”
  原来这人是我父母主持下圣经学校的一名学生,他即刻认出来我们是戴家的孩子,因为,多年以还,学校全体曾为我们的安全祈祷纪念。他不期而遇到我们归来这场面,自然惊喜交集。
  前行不远,他引我们进了一圆形大门,这便是校园所在。我们黑暗中随他踉跄前行,好像要绊跤的样子。那边后窗上,我瞥见父母正在和学校同仁开着会。
  我不禁大喊一声,父亲抬头外看。
  我们到达前门,陪伴我们那学生抢先一步掀开竹帘子迈进门,嚷说:“戴师母,孩子们回来了!”
  已不顾溅得全身的泥浆,进门后我们一齐冲向父母的怀中,喊笑,拥抱,乐成一团。校务会议此时悄然而终。(全文完)


作者兄姊弟四人与父母在陕西欢聚后的合照
左起:作者,兄雅各(即戴绍曾博士),姊凯琳,弟约翰
下排:母亲,小弟,父戴永冕牧师

 

A Song of Salvation at Weihsien Prison Camp

Mary Taylor Previte

VI

It was Friday, Aug. 17, 1945 . A scorching heat wave had forced the teachers to cancel classes, and I was withering with diarrhea, confined to my mattress atop three steamer trunks in the second-floor hospital dormitory.

Rumors were sweeping through the camp like wildfire. The prisoners were breathless with excitement—and some with terror. Although we knew nothing of the atomic bomb, the bamboo radio had brought the news two days ago that Japan had surrendered.

Was it true?

Mr. Izu, the Japanese commandant, was tight-lipped, refusing to answer questions.

Lying on my mattress in mid-morning, I heard the drone of an airplane far above the camp. Racing to the window, I watched it sweep lower, slowly lower, and then circle again. It was a giant plane, and it was emblazoned with an American flag. Americans were waving at us from the windows of the plane!

Beyond the treetops, its silver belly opened, and I gaped in wonder as giant parachutes drifted slowly to the ground.

Weihsien went mad.

Oh, glorious cure for diarrhea! I raced for the entry gates and was swept off my feet by the pandemonium. Prisoners ran in circles and pounded the skies with their fists. They wept, cursed, hugged, danced. They cheered themselves hoarse. Wave after wave of prisoners swept me past the guards and into the fields beyond the camp.

A mile away we found them — seven young American paratroopers — standing with their weapons ready, surrounded by fields of ripening broom corn.

Advancing toward them came a tidal wave of prisoners, intoxicated with joy. Free in the open fields. Ragtag, barefoot, hollow with hunger. They hoisted the paratroopers’ leader onto their shoulders and carried him back toward the camp in triumph.

In the distance, from a mound near the camp gate, the music of “Happy Days Are Here Again” drifted out into the fields. It was the Salvation Army band blasting its joyful Victory Medley. When they got to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the crowd hushed.

O, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o’er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

From up on his throne of shoulders, the young, sunbronzed American major struggled down to a standing salute. And up on the mound by the gate, one of the musicians in the band, a young American trombonist, crumpled to the ground and wept.

Overnight, our world changed. Giant B-29s filled the skies each week, magnificent silver bombers opening their bellies and spilling out tons of supplies. While they provided us with desperately needed food, the B-29s were also a menace. Suspended from giant parachutes, monstrous oil drums crammed with canned food bombarded the fields around the camp. Once, a crate of Del Monte peaches crashed through the kitchen roof. Outside the walls, a falling container fractured the skull of a small Chinese boy.

Our teachers issued orders for us to run for the dormitories whenever we sighted bombers. They were not about to have us survive the war and then be killed by a shower of Spam.

One Saturday in September, as I was running for cover from the bombers, my dorm mate ran toward me, shouting, “Mary! Mary! You may be leaving on the next plane.”

The following Monday, on the tiny landing strip beyond the camp, Kathleen, Jamie, Johnny and I boarded an Army transport plane. After being separated from Daddy and Mother for 5 1/2 years, we were headed home.

We flew 600 miles into the interior, traveled 100 miles on a Chinese train, and found ourselves at last on an old-fashioned, springless mule cart for the final 10 miles of the trip, escorted now by a Chinese Christian friend. It was a rainy September day, and as the squealing wooden wheels of the cart sloshed a foot deep in the mud, it seemed to us that the journey would never end.

We finally decided to brave the world on our own, running ahead on foot while our escort, Mr. Soong, brought the baggage along after us in the mule cart. Chinese peasants in the fields along the road blinked in amazement at the four foreign devil children struggling through the mud, we were a soggy mess.

Along the lonely mud-clogged road the gao liang corn stood tall in the fields—the frequent hiding place for brigands and bandits to pounce on unwary travelers. Evening was coming, and off in the walled town of Fenghsiang , the giant city gates would be closing at dark—shutting for the night to protect the populace from bandits.

Kathleen and Jamie, who knew about these things, worried about the city gate. Would we reach Fenghsiang before it closed for night? If so, would the gatekeeper break the rule and open it to strangers?

But on that night of miracles—Sept. 11—at 8 o’clock , the city gate stood wide open as we approached. On we walked, through the gate and along the main street lined with packed mud walls. Without electricity, the town was black, the streets largely deserted.

Kathleen walked slowly toward a man who passed us in the darkness. “Would you take us to Rev. Taylor of the Christian Mission?” she asked in her most polite Chinese. The man muttered something and moved away. In China , no nice girl approaches a man. Neither does she walk in the street after dark.

Kathleen approached a second man. “Would you take us to Rev. Taylor of the Christian Mission?”

His eyes adjusted to the darkness as he looked at us. Four white children. “Yes. Oh, yes!” he said.

The man was a Bible school student of our parents, and he recognized at once that we were the Taylor children for whom the Bible school had prayed for so long. He was gripped by the drama of the situation.

Down the block, through the round moon gate and into the Bible school compound he led us, stumbling as we went. There, through a back window, I could see them—Daddy and Mother—sitting in a faculty meeting.

I began to scream. I saw Father look up.

At the front door, the student pushed ahead of us through the bamboo screen. “Mrs. Taylor,” he said, “the children have arrived.”

Caked with mud, we burst through the door into their arms—shouting, laughing, hugging—hysterical with joy. And the faculty meeting quietly melted away. (The End)

(英文原文经原作者同意在本报发表)

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