ENGLISH

The seven ravens

日本語

七羽のカラス


There was once a man who had seven sons, and still he had no daughter, however much he wished for one. At length his wife again gave him hope of a child, and when it came into the world it was a girl. The joy was great, but the child was sickly and small, and had to be privately baptized on account of its weakness. The father sent one of the boys in haste to the spring to fetch water for the baptism. The other six went with him, and as each of them wanted to be first to fill it, the jug fell into the well. There they stood and did not know what to do, and none of them dared to go home. As they still did not return, the father grew impatient, and said, "They have certainly forgotten it for some game, the wicked boys!" He became afraid that the girl would have to die without being baptized, and in his anger cried, "I wish the boys were all turned into ravens." Hardly was the word spoken before he heard a whirring of wings over his head in the air, looked up and saw seven coal-black ravens flying away.

The parents could not recall the curse, and however sad they were at the loss of their seven sons, they still to some extent comforted themselves with their dear little daughter, who soon grew strong and every day became more beautiful. For a long time she did not know that she had had brothers, for her parents were careful not to mention them before her, but one day she accidentally heard some people saying of herself, "that the girl was certainly beautiful, but that in reality she was to blame for the misfortune which had befallen her seven brothers." Then she was much troubled, and went to her father and mother and asked if it was true that she had had brothers, and what had become of them? The parents now dared keep the secret no longer, but said that what had befallen her brothers was the will of Heaven, and that her birth had only been the innocent cause. But the maiden took it to heart daily, and thought she must deliver her brothers. She had no rest or peace until she set out secretly, and went forth into the wide world to trace out her brothers and set them free, let it cost what it might. She took nothing with her but a little ring belonging to her parents as a keepsake, a loaf of bread against hunger, a little pitcher of water against thirst, and a little chair as a provision against weariness.

And now she went continually onwards, far, far to the very end of the world. Then she came to the sun, but it was too hot and terrible, and devoured little children. Hastily she ran away, and ran to the moon, but it was far too cold, and also awful and malicious, and when it saw the child, it said, "I smell, I smell the flesh of men." On this she ran swiftly away, and came to the stars, which were kind and good to her, and each of them sat on its own particular little chair. But the morning star arose, and gave her the drumstick of a chicken, and said, "If you thou hast not that drumstick thou canst not open the Glass mountain, and in the Glass mountain are thy brothers."

The maiden took the drumstick, wrapped it carefully in a cloth, and went onwards again until she came to the Glass mountain. The door was shut, and she thought she would take out the drumstick; but when she undid the cloth, it was empty, and she had lost the good star's present. What was she now to do? She wished to rescue her brothers, and had no key to the Glass mountain. The good sister took a knife, cut off one of her little fingers, put it in the door, and succeeded in opening it. When she had gone inside, a little dwarf came to meet her, who said, "My child, what are you looking for?" - "I am looking for my brothers, the seven ravens," she replied. The dwarf said, "The lord ravens are not at home, but if you will wait here until they come, step in." Thereupon the little dwarf carried the ravens' dinner in, on seven little plates, and in seven little glasses, and the little sister ate a morsel from each plate, and from each little glass she took a sip, but in the last little glass she dropped the ring which she had brought away with her.

Suddenly she heard a whirring of wings and a rushing through the air, and then the little dwarf said, "Now the lord ravens are flying home." Then they came, and wanted to eat and drink, and looked for their little plates and glasses. Then said one after the other, "Who has eaten something from my plate? Who has drunk out of my little glass? It was a human mouth." And when the seventh came to the bottom of the glass, the ring rolled against his mouth. Then he looked at it, and saw that it was a ring belonging to his father and mother, and said, "God grant that our sister may be here, and then we shall be free." When the maiden, who was standing behind the door watching, heard that wish, she came forth, and on this all the ravens were restored to their human form again. And they embraced and kissed each other, and went joyfully home.
昔、息子は7人いるのに、どんなに望んでも娘は1人も生まれない男がいました。とうとう再び妻のお腹が大きくなり、生まれてみると女の子でした。喜びは大きかったのですが、子供は病弱で小さかったので、その弱さのため個人で洗礼をうけさせねばなりませんでした。父親は息子の1人を大急ぎで洗礼の水を取りに泉に行かせました。他の6人も一緒に行き、それぞれが一番に水を入れたがったので、水入れが井戸に落ちました。みんなそこに立ち尽くし、どうしたらいいかわからなくて、誰もあえて家に帰りませんでした。なかなか帰ってこないので、父親は我慢できなくなり「悪い子たちだ、何か遊んでいるうちにきっと忘れてしまったに違いない」と言いました。女の子が洗礼を受けないで死ななければいけないだろうと恐れて、怒りにまかせて、「あの子たちがみんなカラスに変えられたらいいのに。」と叫びました。その言葉を言うやいなや、頭上で翼の羽ばたきが聞こえ、見上げると7羽の真っ黒なカラスが飛んで去っていくところでした。

両親はその呪いの言葉を取り返すことはできませんでした。七人の息子を失ってどんなに悲しくても、まだ幾分か小さな娘に慰められました。その娘はやがて健康になり日増しに美しくなっていきました。長い間、娘は自分に兄弟がいたとは知りませんでした。というのは両親は娘の前で息子たちのことを言わないよう注意していたからです。しかし、ある日、誰かが自分のことを話し、「あの子は確かに美しいね、でも本当はあの子のせいで七人の兄たちが災難にあったんだよね。」と言ってるのを聞いたのです。そのとき、娘はとても困惑し、父母のところへ行くと、「私に兄弟がいるって本当なの?兄たちはどうなったの?」と尋ねました。両親はもうあえて秘密を守ろうとしませんでしたが、「お前の兄たちに振りかかったことは天の思し召しだよ。お前が生まれたのが原因だというのはあてはまらないよ。」と言いました。しかし、娘は毎日そのことを心にとどめ、兄弟を救わなければいけないと考えました。心が休まらずじっとしていられなくて、どんな犠牲を払おうと兄弟を探し自由にしようと、とうとうこっそり家を出て、広い世界にでかけました。形見として両親のものである小さな指輪、空腹を避けるためのパンを一つ、喉が渇いたときのための水を水差し1杯分、疲れたときの準備としての椅子、だけ持っていきました。それで、どこまでも進み続けて、世界の果てまで行きました。太陽のところに着くと、あまりに熱くて恐ろしく、また子供をとって食べるので、大急ぎで逃げ、月まで走りました。しかし、あまりに寒くて怖く、悪意に満ちていて、娘を見ると、「匂うぞ、匂うぞ、人間の肉の匂いがするぞ」と言うので、素早く逃げました。そのあと、星たちのところにくると、親切でやさしくしてくれました。星の1人1人が自分の特別な小さな椅子に座っていたのですが、朝星は立ち上がって、鶏の脚をくれ、「その脚をもっていなければガラスの山を開けられない。ガラスの山にお前の兄弟はいますよ。」と言いました。

娘は脚を受け取り、布に注意深く包み、再び進み続け、ガラスの山に着きました。そして、扉が閉まっていたので脚をだそうと思いました。しかし、布をほどくと空っぽでした。親切な星の贈り物を失くしてしまったのです。さあどうしたらいいのでしょう。兄弟を救いたいのに、ガラスの山の鍵がないのです。やさしい妹はナイフをとって指の一本を切り落とし、ドアに差し込んで開けることに成功しました。中に入ると、小人が出迎えて、「子供よ、何を捜しているんだい?」と言いました。「私の兄弟の7羽のカラスを捜しているのです。」と娘はこたえました。「主人のカラスたちはいま留守です。戻るのを待つつもりなら、入ってください。」と小人は言うと、カラスの夕食を中に運び入れて、7つの小さな皿にのせ、7つの小さなグラスに入れました。そして、妹はめいめいの皿から1口ずつ食べ、めいめいのグラスから1口ずつすすりましたが、最後の小さなグラスに家から持ってきた指輪を落としました。

突然、翼の旋回する音や空気を切る音が聞こえてきました。すると小人が「主人のカラスたちが飛んで帰ってきます。」と言いました。それからカラスたちは帰ってきて、飲んで食べようと小さな皿とグラスを探しました。それから、次々と、「誰が私の皿からとって食べたんだ?誰が私のグラスから飲んだんだ?人間の口だぞ。」と言いました。そして7番目のカラスがグラスの底まで飲むと、指輪が転がって口にぶつかりました。それで、それを見ると、父母の指輪だとわかったので、「妹がここにきたら、そのとき私たちは自由になりますように。」と祈りました。娘は、様子を見ながら扉の陰に立っていたのですが、その願掛けを聞くと、前に出て行きました。そして、これによってカラスたちは皆、もとの人間の形に戻されました。そして、お互いに抱き合い、キスし、喜んで家に帰りました。




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