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奇迹的价格

A Brother’s Miracle

Tess was a precocious eight-year-old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor’s bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, “Only a miracle can save him now.”

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to the pharmacy with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good.

Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it! “And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you,” the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.”

“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago. “One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.”

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents-the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.”

He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neurosurgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. “That surgery,” her Mom whispered. “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost…one dollar and eleven cents…plus the faith of a little child.

  奇迹的价格

  苔丝八岁那年就已经很懂事了。有一天,她听见爸爸妈妈在说她弟弟安德鲁的事。她只听到说弟弟病得很重,而家里一点钱也没有了。他们下个月就得搬到公寓楼去住,因为爸爸已经付不起医药费和房子的月供了。现在弟弟需要接受一个费用昂贵的手术才有可能保住性命,可是看起来没有人会借钱给他们。她听见爸爸用绝望的口气,轻轻地对泪痕满面的母亲叹道:“现在只有奇迹才能救得了他。”

  苔丝走到自己的卧室,从壁橱里一个隐蔽的地方翻出一只玻璃果酱罐子。她把里面所有的零钱都倒出来摊在地板上,仔细地数起来。数了三遍结果都一样。总数必须得相同,不能出半点错。她小心翼翼地把硬币放回罐子里,旋上盖子,然后溜出后门,向六个街区外的药店走去,那家店门上有一个很大的红色的印第安酋长标志。

  她耐心地等着药剂师过来招呼,可是那时他太忙了。苔丝扭动双脚在地面上摩擦着,弄出很大的声响来,没人理她。她使劲用最招人厌烦的声音清了清嗓子,还是没用。

  最后她从罐子里取出一枚25美分的硬币,猛地往玻璃柜台上一拍。这次奏效了。“噢,你想要什么?” 药剂师问道,“我正跟我从芝加哥来的弟弟说话呢,我们已经有好几年没见了。”他只是随口一问,并没有等苔丝回答他。

  “嗯,我想跟你讲讲我弟弟的事,”苔丝也用同样生气的语调回敬他,“他病得非常、非常重……所以我想买一个奇迹。”

  “你说什么?” 药剂师问。

  “他的名字叫安德鲁,他的脑子里长了一个坏东西。爸爸说现在只有奇迹才能救得了他。那奇迹多少钱一个呢?”

  “小姑娘,我们这没有奇迹卖,非常抱歉,我帮不了你。” 药剂师说,声音稍微柔和了下来。

  “你听我说,我付得起钱。要是不够的话,我再去拿。你只要告诉我一个奇迹要多少钱。”

  那个药剂师的弟弟穿着非常体面。他弯下腰,问这个小姑娘:“你弟弟需要一个什么样的奇迹呢?”

  “我不知道,”苔丝的眼泪涌了出来,“我只知道他病得很重,妈妈说他需要动手术,可是爸爸拿不出钱,所以我想用自己的钱。”

  “你带了多少钱?”那个从芝加哥来的人问道。“一美元十一美分。”苔丝回答,声音低得几乎听不见,“我现在只有这么多,不过需要的话我还可以再去拿。”

  “哇,真是太巧了,”那人笑了起来,“一美元十一美分,给弟弟用的奇迹正好是这个价格。”

  他一手接过钱,用另一只手抓过她的手,说:“带我去你家,我要看看你弟弟的情况,见见你的父母。看看我这儿是不是有你需要的奇迹。”

  那个穿着体面的人叫卡尔顿?阿姆斯特朗,是一位神经外科医生。他免费给安德鲁做了手术,没过多久安德鲁就痊愈回家了。

  事后,苔丝的父母开心地谈到过去,那一连串事情的发生才让他们有了今天。“那天的手术,”她母亲小声说,“的确是个奇迹,我真想知道那得花多少钱。”

  苔丝露出一丝微笑,她知道奇迹的准确价格是――一美元十一美分,再加上一个孩子执着的信念。

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