Lesson 56 Our neighbour, the river河流，我们的邻居
Listen to the tape then answer the question below.
Why had the neighbours left their farm?
The river which forms the eastern boundary of our farm has always played an important part in our lives. Without it we could not make a living. There is only enough spring water to supply the needs of the houses, so we have to pump from the river for farm use. We tell river all our secrets. We know instinctively, just as beekeepers with their bees, that misfortune might overtake us if the important events of our lives were not related to it.
We have special river birthday parties in the summer. Sometimes were go upstream to a favourite backwater, sometimes we have our party at the boathouse, which a predecessor of ours at the farm built in the meadow hard by the deepest pool for swimming and diving. In a heat wave we choose a midnight birthday party and that is the most exciting of all. We welcome the seasons by the riverside, crowning the youngest girl with flowers in the spring, holding a summer festival on Midsummer Eve, giving thanks for the harvest in the autumn, and throwing a holy wreath into the current in the winter.
After a long period of rain the river may overflow its banks. This is a rare occurrence as our climate seldom guest to extremes. We are lucky in that only the lower fields, which make up a very small proportion of our farm, are effected by flooding, but other farms are less favorably sited, and flooding can sometimes spell disaster for their owners.
One had winter we watched the river creep up the lower meadows. All the cattle had been moved into stalls and we stood to lose little. We were, however, worried about our nearest neighbors, whose farm was low lying and who were newcomers to the district. As the floods had put the telephone out of order, we could not find out how they were managing. From an attic window we could get a sweeping view of the river where their land joined ours, and at the most critical juncture we took turns in watching that point. The first sign of disaster was a dead sheep floating down. Next came a horse, swimming bravely, but we were afraid that the strength of the current would prevent its landing anywhere before it became exhausted. Suddenly a raft appeared, looking rather like Noah's ark, carrying the whole family, a few hens, the dogs, cat, and bird in a cage. We realized that they must have become unduly frightened by the rising flood, for their house, which had sound foundations, would have stood stoutly even if it had been almost submerged. The men of our family waded down through our flooded meadows with boathooks, in the hope of being able to grapple a corner of the raft and pull it out of the current towards our bank. We still think it a miracle that they we able to do so.
夏天，我们为这条河举办特殊的生日宴会。有时，我们溯流而上来到我们喜爱的回水河汊举办；有时在船坞举办。那船坞是农场一位前辈在一块草地上盖的，草地紧 挨着一个专供游泳、跳水的深水池。天气炎热时，我们便选择在半夜举办生日聚会，这种聚会是最令人激动的。我们在河边迎接一年四季。春天在河边为最年轻的姑 娘戴上花冠，夏天在河边欢庆“仲夏前夜”，秋天在河边丰收而感恩，冬天往河中抛撒一个冬表花环。
有一年冬天，天气不好，我们眼看着河水浸没了地势较低的草场。所有的牲口已提前转移到畜圈里，没有造成什么损失。不过，我们很为我们的近邻担心。他们的农 场地势低洼，而且他们又新来乍到。由于洪水造成了电话中断，我们无法了解他们情况。从顶楼窗口看去，我们农场与他们农场接壤处的那段河流一览无余。在最紧 急的时刻，我们轮流监视那段河流的险情。灾难的第一迹象是一只死羊顺流而下，接着一匹活马勇敢地与水搏击。但我们担心，洪水力量将使它上岸之前就筋疲力尽了。突然，出现了一只筏子，看起来很像诺亚方舟，上面载着他们全家老小，还有几只母鸡、几只狗，一只猫与一只鸟笼，那里头有一只小鸟。我们意识到他们一定 是被不断上涨的洪水吓坏了。因为他们的房子地基牢固，即使洪水几乎灭顶也不会倒塌。我家的男人们手拿船篙过被水淹没草场，希望能够钩住筏子一角，将它拽出激流，拖回岸边。他们终于成功了。至今我们仍认为这是个奇迹。
New words and expressions 生词和短语
Notes on the text课文注释
1 Without it we could not make a living.没有它我们就无法生存下去。without it起非真实条件句的作用，make a living，谋生。
2 hard by…在…近旁。
3 in a heat wave，在大热天。
4 stand to lose，处于损失的境况之中。
5 put…out of order，使……出故障。
6 Noah's ark，诺亚方舟。这是摘自《圣经·旧约》《创世纪》中的典故。诺亚是故事中上帝用洪水消火人类后的新始祖;诺亚借助一方形大船，与他家属及每种动物雌雄各一逃脱了洪水之灾。
Lesson 56 课后练习和答案Exercises and Answer