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AMERICAN STORIES - The Stradivarius - Part Two

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Now the weekly Special English program: "American Stories". Today we complete the story "The Stradivarius". It was written by Richard Thorman. Here is Larry West with the story.

Boon Elliot was the best car mechanic in Virginia. He was also a musician who loved to play the violin. One day, a stranger named Jesse McCord came to Boon's house with a fine old violin. He told Boon the violin was made by Antonio Stradivarius in Italy 200 years ago. McCord told Boon he needed to sell the violin to pay his child's medical bills. So Boon borrowed 1,500 dollars from a bank and bought the Stradivarius. It took Boom five years to pay the bank the money he had borrowed. But nothing in his life was as wonderful as playing that violin. He played it at dances and funerals; he played it in churches and in schools. Later, Boon remembered those years as the best in his life. He called them his golden time. Whenever Boon picked up his Stradivarius, he felt as if God's hand had touched his soul. His wife Molly enjoyed those years, too. She was very loving and he felt very close to her. Then Molly became sick and the golden time ended.

Boon took her to the hospital where the doctors operated on her. He needed a lot of money to pay her medical bills. So he decided he must sell his violin. Boon took his Stradivarius to the biggest music store in the city. He expected to get at least 10,000 dollars for her, but the store manager said the violin was not a real Stradivarius. He told Boon that every year he saw five or six of these imitation Stradivarius violins. He said they all came from a man named Jesse McCord. Boon could feel his face become hot. He picked up the violin and left the store. Boon promised himself he would find Jesse McCord if it took him the rest of his life.

Then Boon drove to the hospital to see Molly, but she had died a few minutes before he got there. The doctor said she died peacefully, but Boon did not believe him. For him, the whole world was full of liars now and all the lies began with McCord.

Two days later, Boon buried Molly. Molly's hospital bill was almost 10,000 dollars. Boon sold his home to pay it. He rented a small room in town and went to work fixing cars in Sam Bokerrite's Garage. When he saved 500 dollars, Boon quit his job at the garage. He got into his truck and drove away to look for McCord.

When he came to a town, he would ask if anybody there knew Jesse McCord. Near the end of August, during the second year of his search, he arrived in the town of Maryville Tennessee. He found a woman there who said she knew Jesse McCord. She told Boon where McCord lived. He got into his truck and followed a dirt road out of town. He drove for 15 kilometers to an old farmhouse. The house was so old that it looked ready to fall down. An old man wearing a dark wool cap and a dirty coat sat in front of the house. He seemed to be sleeping. Boon drove up to the house and got out of his truck. The old man opened his eyes. Boon looked at him closely. The man's skin was grey and dirty. A thick mustache of hair covered his upper lip. His face was thin and his chin was pointed.

"Are you Jesse McCord?" Boon asked softly.

"I am what is left of him," the old man said, "who the hell are you?"

"I'm Boon Elliot."

The old man stared at him. "Do I know you?"

"You sold me a fiddle."

McCord sighed. "I sold hundreds of fiddles. Have you come to thank me?"

Boon shook his head. "I have come to kill you."

The old man laughed weakly. "You are too late. I'm dead already. If I live through the night, it will be a miracle. I haven't eaten in two days."

Tears filled his eyes and rolled down his thin cheeks. "I have done a lot of bad things in my life," the old man said, "but I don't deserve to die like this. Please help me, Mister." McCord fainted.

Boon carried him into the house and tried to find a place to put him down. He walked into the bedroom. There were no sheets on the bed and the mattress was torn. Boon put McCord on the bed.

"I'm going to get some food," he said, "Don't die while I'm gone."

Boon climbed into his truck and drove back to town as fast as he could. He didn't want to help McCord, but once he started, he could not stop.

McCord was asleep when he got back to the farm. Boon looked down at him. Suddenly, he became very angry.

"I should have known you wouldn't die." He yelled.

Boon went into the kitchen and filled some large pots with water. He put the pots on the stove to heat up. When the water was hot, he brought one pot into the bedroom. He took off McCord's dirty clothing and washed the old man's body. He looked for clean clothes but there weren't any, so Boon took some of his own clothing out of his suitcase and put them on McCord. When he finished, he heated some soup and brought it to McCord. The old man was too weak to feed himself, so Boom fed him the soup.

The next morning, McCord was strong enough to sit up and feed himself. After he ate, McCord sat on the porch with Boon.

"How long have you been looking for me?" McCord asked.

Boon shook his head. "I don't remember."

"Have you still got the fiddle?" McCord asked.

Boon looked at the old man. "Of course, I have it. Who will I sell it to?"

McCord smiled. "Why don't you play me something on that fiddle?"

"I can't," Boon said, "Too much is happened. My wife died. I lost my home and all my money, and that all started because you sold me that fiddle for ten times of its real value."

"That may be true," McCord said, "but it is still the same fiddle. It isn't the fiddle that changed." He began to cough.

Boon leaned toward him. "Are you all right?" He asked.

"No," McCord said. He coughed some more and his eyes filled with tears.

McCord griped Boon's arm. "Don't bury me in the cemetery in town," he said, "I want to be buried in the old cemetery behind the church at the end of the road. Some of my people are there."

Boon stood over him. "Don't you have any family living around here?" He asked.

"No," the old man said, "you are the only person I have."

That night McCord coughed so much that Boon could not sleep. Later, there was a storm with thunder and lightening. Sometime during the storm, McCord stopped coughing and quietly died.

The next morning, Boon wrapped McCord's body in a sheet and buried him in the cemetery behind the church. A man should be buried where he wants, Boon thought. After he filled the grave with dirt, Boon went to his truck and took out the fiddle. He carefully toned the fiddle strings and began to play.

The first song was "Amazing Grace". He and Molly used to sing the song in church on Sundays. Then he played "The Tennessee Waltz", because he thought McCord would have liked it. And finally, he played "I Am Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes" for Molly, because he had not played any music at her funeral.

You have heard the final part of the story "The Stradivarius". It was written by Richard Thorman and adapted for Special English by Dorner Disecters. It was published in 1990 by Louisiana State University Press in the book "Hardly Working". Your storyteller was Larry West. This story is copyrighted, all rights reserved. For VOA Special English, this is Shirley Griffith.

网友的学习评论(5条):
作者:holly
太卡了,根本听不了,质量太次了,编辑看看看
作者:Billy Boy
连题目都不标出来?工作人员也太次了!
作者:Maggie
我听了没卡,就是上周那个小提琴故事的下半部分.
作者:tracy-sparrow
卡是你网速太慢,别怪别人,还有能免费听就不错了,别要求太高。
作者:huhai2006
AMERICAN STORIES - The Stradivarius - final part .I have desire for many days ,and encountered in here.so happy.I don't know why there is no title and words,I still like American story.I hope you can enjoy this story without words
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