牛奶舞,以及结了霜的老鼠 / Dancing With Milk, and Frosted Mice

牛奶舞,以及结了霜的老鼠

大约五年前,我和一位渔友去了一趟蒙古。在当地一家装备商的帮助下,我们乘坐一艘小橡皮筏沿着蒙古北部的德勒格尔河顺流而下,度过了一周的野营和飞钓之旅。当地的景色非常壮观,除了偶尔遇到的几位牧民,我们这一周几乎没在河边见过别人。

Dancing With Milk, and Frosted Mice

About five years ago I went to Mongolia with a fishing buddy of mine, and with the help of a locally based outfitter, we made a week-long camping and fly fishing trip, floating down northern Mongolia’s Delger River in small rafts. The scenery was spectacular, and apart from the occasional local herders, we saw virtually no one else during our week on the river.

 

那位装备商把他的狗也带上了 / The outfitter brought his dogs along

当时是8月底,我们所在的地方已足够靠北,以至于早上从帐篷里出来的时候,经常能看到地面上结了一层霜。而在大多数中午时段,天气又热得足以穿T恤衫。在这趟旅程中,我们经历了各种天气和温度变化,而这正是蒙古北部的典型气候,尤其是在夏末。

此行我们钓到了很多细鳞鲑、一条西伯利亚鳟鱼,还有河鳟和哲罗鲑(一种大型陆封鲑)。除了偶尔会将一两条细鳞鲑留做晚餐之外,我们把其余的都放生了。我们通常在皮筏上钓鱼,有时也会站在清澈透明的德勒格尔河水中钓鱼。

我们抓到的最大的鱼,是用一个大大的老鼠状飞钓饵钓到的。飞钓饵是一种手工制作的鱼饵,通常用皮子或羽毛做成,样子看起来像昆虫、小鱼、青蛙或老鼠。老鼠是蒙古当地的大鲑鱼和哲罗鲑最爱的食物。这类鱼专等老鼠和其他小型啮齿类动物泅渡过河,然后嗖的一声旋转出水,将猎物一口吞下。

在漂流的第六天,我们刚刚扎营,边喝“成吉思”啤酒(蒙古最好的啤酒,取名于成吉思汗)边休息,同时观赏着身后长满落叶松的山峦在斜阳映射下的美丽景色。

It was late August, and we were far enough north that there was often frost on the ground in the morning as we emerged from our tents. By noon on most days, it was warm enough to wear just a T-shirt; but in the course of the trip we experienced a wide variety of different temperatures and types of weather, which is typical of the northern Mongolian climate, especially in late summer.

We caught lots of lenok, a Siberian trout, as well as grayling and taimen, a large landlocked salmon. With the exception of the occasional lenok for dinner, we released the fish we caught. We fished from the rafts as well as by wading in the crystal clear waters of the Delger river.

We caught our biggest fish on large mouse flies. A fly is a hand-made type of fishing lure, often made from fur or feathers, resembling an insect, small fish, frog or mouse. In Mongolia, mice are a favorite food of the big local trout and taimen. The fish wait for mice and other small rodents to swim across the river, and then — garroomph! — they swirl up and gulp them down.

On the sixth evening of our float trip, we had just set camp and were relaxing over a few Chingghis (as in Chingghis Khan, a leading Mongolian brand) beers, watching a beautiful sunset over the larch-forested hills behind us.

 

我们在德勒格尔河边的一处营地 / One of our campsites on the Delger River

突然,一阵狂风自北方吹来,把营地周围凡是没有被固定住的东西都吹得七零八落,气温在几分钟内骤然下降。

这场风暴来袭后的几分钟,我们年轻聪明的蒙古厨师兼翻译、当时还在大学读英语专业的德吉走进被用作厨房的帐篷,出来时带着一大罐牛奶。

然后,她开始做法,向东、西、南、北四个方向各泼洒了一些牛奶。

我问她的同事兼同学江嘎,德吉到底是在做什么。江嘎解释说,这种“牛奶舞”(我的叫法)是蒙古族一种禳除天灾的传统仪式。

听到这儿我很高兴,一个原因是学到了相关知识,另一个原因则是这些话让我对剩下几天可能没有牛奶配咖啡感到好受了一些。换言之,在我们牺牲了部分珍贵的牛奶库存背后,显然有一个很好的目的。

大约10分钟后,我甚至感觉更高兴了——真的,我不骗你——大风渐渐停了下来,天气也恢复了原状。这些牛奶泼的真是划算。

这段趣事过后,我们围坐在篝火旁,享用了一顿晚餐,其中也包括下午抓到的一条美味的肥鳟鱼。吃饭时,我们谈论了蒙古人的风俗和信仰,还听到了很多萨满的故事。蒙古人相信,萨满具有特殊的力量,至今仍生活在偏远的山林里。我们还讨论了当地的一些迷信和有趣风俗。

第二天清晨,我醒来后发现,钓竿上系着的假鼠饵已经结了薄薄的一层白霜,看上去有点像个老头。至此,我们的蒙古冒险之旅渐近尾声。

All of a sudden, a fierce gale blew out of the north. Everything around the camp site which was not anchored down was scattered this way and that, and the temperature plummeted within a matter of minutes.

A few minutes into the big wind storm, our bright young Mongolian cook and translator, Degi, who was an English major in university at the time, went into the cook tent and emerged with a jug of milk.

She then began a kind of ritual, tossing a quantity of the milk to the north, south, east and west.

I asked her colleague and classmate Djanga what she was doing. He explained that the milk dance (my terminology) was a traditional Mongolian ritual for pacifying severe weather.

I was pleased to hear this, partly for the learning involved and partly because it made me feel better about the possibility of having no milk for my coffee for the rest of the trip. In other words, there was apparently a good purpose behind the sacrifice of some of our remaining inventory of precious milk.

I was even more pleased about 10 minutes later when — I kid you not — the gale force wind died down and the weather returned to its previous state. This had indeed been milk well spent.

After this episode we sat around the campfire and enjoyed a delicious meal, including a nice plump trout we’d caught that afternoon. Over dinner we discussed Mongolian customs and beliefs, and listened to stories of shamans believed to have special powers still living in remote forested mountain areas, as well as local superstitions, and interesting customs.

The next morning we awoke to find that the mice still attached to our fly rods were covered by a thin covering of white frost, which made them look a bit grandfatherly. Our Mongolian adventure was drawing to a close.


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