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序言: 奇怪的小矮人 The Strange Little Man | 五毛钱的愿望
1 / 11
Here in Coven Tree we're no strangers to magic. I'm not talking about the rabbit-from-a-hat or coin-up-the-sleeve variety, either. I mean real magic.
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Witches have abounded in this part of New England since colonial days, when Cotton Mather held his witch trials in Salem to be rid of them. The very name of our village comes from the huge, twisted tree down at the crossroads where groups of witches -- covens, they're called -- used to meet. Imps and fiends and all the rest of Satan's spawn have appeared here from time to time, taking their pleasure from plaguing and frightening us poor mortals. Some folks even tell of seeing the Devil himself, walking about and looking for souls to claim when the mists hang low on the mountains.
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序言: 奇怪的小矮人 The Strange Little Man | 五毛钱的愿望
2 / 11
But I'd best tell the story from front to back, the way it ought to be told. Polly and Rowena and Adam were each a part of what went on, to be sure. But it's myself who knows the whole thing.
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Stew Meat's my name. I was christened Stew-art Meade, but the nickname was hung on me as a boy, and it stuck. I own the Coven Tree General Store. The people for miles around shop here, and sooner or later everything they have to tell reaches my ears. So who better to relate the entire tale of Thaddeus Blinn and the awful trouble he brought to our peaceful little village?
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序言: 奇怪的小矮人 The Strange Little Man | 五毛钱的愿望
3 / 11
The story of The Wish Giver begins on one such Saturday, with me wandering about, sampling a piece of cake here, and admiring some homemade jewelry there, and taking a general delight in seeing all the villagers decked out in their best clothes.
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At first the ragged, mildew-spotted tent down under the birch trees seemed like nothing more than a mound of earth with canvas thrown over it. I must have walked by it two or three times before even noticing the little sign hanging out in front:
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THADDEUS BLINN
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I CAN GIVE YOU WHAT EVER YOU ASK FOR ONLY 50¢
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序言: 奇怪的小矮人 The Strange Little Man | 五毛钱的愿望
4 / 11
"Blinn's the name, sir," he said with a tip of his derby. "Thaddeus Blinn, at your service."
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Something happened then that might have been just my imagining or a trick of the light.
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Thaddeus Blinn's eyes glowed for a brief moment, like those of a cat when lantern light reaches the dark corner where it's sitting. Even after the glow died, Blinn's eyes didn't appear quite human. The pupils weren't round, but long and narrow like the eyes of a snake.
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"If you don't come inside now, you'll not sleep tonight from wondering about me, Stew Meat," Blinn went on.
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I forgot all about his eyes when I heard that.
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序言: 奇怪的小矮人 The Strange Little Man | 五毛钱的愿望
5 / 11
Not that Polly was downright mean. She just said whatever popped into her head without a thought about whether the words she said hurt others. Honesty, Polly called it. But when honesty causes nothing but anger and hurt feelings, maybe there ought to be a limit. Polly, though, didn't know what that limit was.
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Next to Polly was Rowena Jervis. A giddy fifteen, Rowena was in love with love itself. She had her eye on Henry Piper, the young farm-machinery salesman who came to town twice a year. He'd make eyes at Rowena, and she'd go all soft inside and sigh deeply and write "Mrs. Henry Piper" in the dust on my store window.
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