Tue, Jun 10, 2008 - Page 14 News List

Great olive mystery baffles Australian farmers 澳洲橄欖離奇消失之謎

A farmer harvests olives in Maussane-les-Alpilles, France, on Nov. 13, 2007.
去年十一月十三日,法國莫桑村的一位農夫在採收橄欖。
照片:法新社

PHOTO: AFP

The quiet community of boutique wineries and upmarket guesthouses of Lovedale in Australia’s Hunter Valley has been gripped by mysterious goings-on in its olive groves at night.

Around eight tonnes of olives disappeared without a trace from hundreds of trees on five properties in the popular tourist destination virtually overnight last month, residents said.

The first Quentin von Essen heard about it was when a neighbor telephoned to say that when pickers turned up to strip his 120 trees, they found them bare of olives.

“We promptly went and checked our larger grove of 400 trees around a boutique guest house,” von Essen said. “All except two, which had a spotlight on them, had been stripped of their olives.”

What made the disappearance particularly strange was its thoroughness.

“It takes six people about three days to pick our groves, and we don’t bother with the top of some of the higher trees, but these guys stripped the trees from top to bottom and they even took the olives off the ground.

“That I really just don’t understand — I find it incredibly bizarre, it’s like they just vacuumed them off the trees and vacuumed them off the ground at night,” he said.

Ruling out birds, bats and any other creature — “no droppings, you’d need a helluva lot of them and why would they leave two trees” — von Essen describes the event as “a bit extraterrestrial.”

Pressed for the most likely explanation, von Essen said he guesses that it was a “very, very large team” of thieves.

“The police were called, came and looked and scratched their heads and are on the case and taking it seriously,” von Essen said.

(AFP)

澳洲獵人谷的「愛之谷」是個以精緻葡萄酒莊及高檔民宿為主的寧靜社區,最近這裡的居民都對橄欖園晚上發生的神秘事件議論紛紛。

OUT LOUD 對話練習

Colleen: What are you so upset about?

May: Jeff still isn’t talking to me. I don’t know how much longer I can handle this.

Colleen: Why don’t you try offering him an olive branch.

May: Like what?

Colleen: Make dinner for him. That’ll show that you still care about him. Besides, you know how much he likes to eat.

柯林:你為什麼那麼難過?

梅:傑夫到現在還不理我,我不知道我還能忍多久。

柯林:你何不試著釋出善意呢?

梅:好比說?

柯林:做晚�?L吃啊,那代表你還是很在乎他,而且你又不是不知道他有多愛吃!

offer an olive branch 釋出善意

To offer an olive branch is to make a gesture that shows you want to end an argument. For example, “Leonard offered an olive branch by planting new flowers in the garden.”

「offer an olive branch」的意思就是釋出想結束爭執的善意,例如:「里奧納在花園裡種新花,以釋出善意」。


這處熱門觀光景點的居民表示,上個月五座橄欖園內的數百棵橄欖樹,竟在一夜之間憑空消失了八公噸左右的橄欖。

昆丁.艾森是直到一個鄰居打電話來說,他發現有小偷摘光了他一百二十棵樹上的橄欖後,才知道這件事。

艾森說:「我們立刻跑到我們位在某豪華民宿附近的大橄欖園去檢查,結果我們種的四百棵橄欖樹中,除了被路燈照到的兩棵倖免外,其餘樹上的橄欖全都被摘走了。」

這樁橄欖消失事件最離奇的地方就在於,樹上的橄欖「一顆不剩」。

「我們需要六名人力花三天的時間才能採收完這些橄欖園,而且有些較高樹叢的頂端我們會放著不摘。但這些小偷除了把每棵樹從上到下都摘個精光外,連掉到地上的橄欖也不放過。」

他說:「我實在是搞不懂—我覺得這實在是太不可思議了,好像他們趁夜把樹上和地上的橄欖全都吸走了似的。」

排除鳥類、蝙蝠和其他生物的可能性,艾森形容這是一起「超自然」事件。「一顆不剩!既然需要這麼多橄欖,那為什麼又獨漏兩棵樹?」

被問及最有可能的解釋時,艾森說他猜這是個「非常非常大的竊盜集團」所為。

艾森說:「我們報了警,警察來檢查後搔了搔頭,然後就開始認真辦案。」

(法新社�翻譯:袁星塵)

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