ENGLISH

The water of life

日本語

命の水


There was once a King who had an illness, and no one believed that he would come out of it with his life. He had three sons who were much distressed about it, and went down into the palace-garden and wept. There they met an old man who inquired as to the cause of their grief. They told him that their father was so ill that he would most certainly die, for nothing seemed to cure him. Then the old man said, "I know of one more remedy, and that is the water of life; if he drinks of it he will become well again; but it is hard to find." The eldest said, "I will manage to find it," and went to the sick King, and begged to be allowed to go forth in search of the water of life, for that alone could save him. "No," said the King, "the danger of it is too great. I would rather die." But he begged so long that the King consented. The prince thought in his heart, "If I bring the water, then I shall be best beloved of my father, and shall inherit the kingdom." So he set out, and when he had ridden forth a little distance, a dwarf stood there in the road who called to him and said, "Whither away so fast?" - "Silly shrimp," said the prince, very haughtily, "it is nothing to do with you," and rode on. But the little dwarf had grown angry, and had wished an evil wish. Soon after this the prince entered a ravine, and the further he rode the closer the mountains drew together, and at last the road became so narrow that he could not advance a step further; it was impossible either to turn his horse or to dismount from the saddle, and he was shut in there as if in prison. The sick King waited long for him, but he came not. Then the second son said, "Father, let me go forth to seek the water," and thought to himself, "If my brother is dead, then the kingdom will fall to me." At first the King would not allow him to go either, but at last he yielded, so the prince set out on the same road that his brother had taken, and he too met the dwarf, who stopped him to ask, whither he was going in such haste? "Little shrimp," said the prince, "that is nothing to thee," and rode on without giving him another look. But the dwarf bewitched him, and he, like the other, rode into a ravine, and could neither go forwards nor backwards. So fare haughty people.
As the second son also remained away, the youngest begged to be allowed to go forth to fetch the water, and at last the King was obliged to let him go. When he met the dwarf and the latter asked him whither he was going in such haste, he stopped, gave him an explanation, and said, "I am seeking the water of life, for my father is sick unto death." - "Dost thou know, then, where that is to be found?" - "No," said the prince. "As thou hast borne thyself as is seemly, and not haughtily like thy false brothers, I will give thee the information and tell thee how thou mayst obtain the water of life. It springs from a fountain in the courtyard of an enchanted castle, but thou wilt not be able to make thy way to it, if I do not give thee an iron wand and two small loaves of bread. Strike thrice with the wand on the iron door of the castle and it will spring open: inside lie two lions with gaping jaws, but if thou throwest a loaf to each of them, they will be quieted. Then hasten to fetch some of the water of life before the clock strikes twelve, else the door will shut again, and thou wilt be imprisoned." The prince thanked him, took the wand and the bread, and set out on his way. When he arrived, everything was as the dwarf had said. The door sprang open at the third stroke of the wand, and when he had appeased the lions with the bread, he entered the castle, and came to a large and splendid hall, wherein sat some enchanted princes whose rings he drew off their fingers. A sword and a loaf of bread were lying there, which he carried away. After this, he entered a chamber, in which was a beautiful maiden who rejoiced when she saw him, kissed him, and told him that he had delivered her, and should have the whole of her kingdom, and that if he would return in a year their wedding should be celebrated; likewise she told him where the spring of the water of life was, and that he was to hasten and draw some of it before the clock struck twelve. Then he went onwards, and at last entered a room where there was a beautiful newly-made bed, and as he was very weary, he felt inclined to rest a little. So he lay down and fell asleep. When he awoke, it was striking a quarter to twelve. He sprang up in a fright, ran to the spring, drew some water in a cup which stood near, and hastened away. But just as he was passing through the iron door, the clock struck twelve, and the door fell to with such violence that it carried away a piece of his heel. He, however, rejoicing at having obtained the water of life, went homewards, and again passed the dwarf. When the latter saw the sword and the loaf, he said, "With these thou hast won great wealth; with the sword thou canst slay whole armies, and the bread will never come to an end." But the prince would not go home to his father without his brothers, and said, "Dear dwarf, canst thou not tell me where my two brothers are? They went out before I did in search of the water of life, and have not returned." - "They are imprisoned between two mountains," said the dwarf. "I have condemned them to stay there, because they were so haughty." Then the prince begged until the dwarf released them; but he warned him, however, and said, "Beware of them, for they have bad hearts." When his brothers came, he rejoiced, and told them how things had gone with him, that he had found the water of life and had brought a cupful away with him, and had rescued a beautiful princess, who was willing to wait a year for him, and then their wedding was to be celebrated and he would obtain a great kingdom. After that they rode on together, and chanced upon a land where war and famine reigned, and the King already thought he must perish, for the scarcity was so great. Then the prince went to him and gave him the loaf, wherewith he fed and satisfied the whole of his kingdom, and then the prince gave him the sword also wherewith he slew the hosts of his enemies, and could now live in rest and peace. The prince then took back his loaf and his sword, and the three brothers rode on. But after this they entered two more countries where war and famine reigned and each time the prince gave his loaf and his sword to the Kings, and had now delivered three kingdoms, and after that they went on board a ship and sailed over the sea. During the passage, the two eldest conversed apart and said, "The youngest has found the water of life and not we, for that our father will give him the kingdom the kingdom which belongs to us, and he will rob us of all our fortune." They then began to seek revenge, and plotted with each other to destroy him. They waited until they found him fast asleep, then they poured the water of life out of the cup, and took it for themselves, but into the cup they poured salt sea-water. Now therefore, when they arrived home, the youngest took his cup to the sick King in order that he might drink out of it, and be cured. But scarcely had he drunk a very little of the salt sea-water than he became still worse than before. And as he was lamenting over this, the two eldest brothers came, and accused the youngest of having intended to poison him, and said that they had brought him the true water of life, and handed it to him. He had scarcely tasted it, when he felt his sickness departing, and became strong and healthy as in the days of his youth. After that they both went to the youngest, mocked him, and said, "You certainly found the water of life, but you have had the pain, and we the gain; you should have been sharper, and should have kept your eyes open. We took it from you whilst you were asleep at sea, and when a year is over, one of us will go and fetch the beautiful princess. But beware that you do not disclose aught of this to our father; indeed he does not trust you, and if you say a single word, you shall lose your life into the bargain, but if you keep silent, you shall have it as a gift."

The old King was angry with his youngest son, and thought he had plotted against his life. So he summoned the court together and had sentence pronounced upon his son, that he should be secretly shot. And once when the prince was riding forth to the chase, suspecting no evil, the King's huntsman had to go with him, and when they were quite alone in the forest, the huntsman looked so sorrowful that the prince said to him, "Dear huntsman, what ails you?" The huntsman said, "I cannot tell you, and yet I ought." Then the prince said, "Say openly what it is, I will pardon you." - "Alas!" said the huntsman, "I am to shoot you dead, the King has ordered me to do it." Then the prince was shocked, and said, "Dear huntsman, let me live; there, I give you my royal garments; give me your common ones in their stead." The huntsman said, "I will willingly do that, indeed I should not have been able to shoot you." Then they exchanged clothes, and the huntsman returned home; the prince, however, went further into the forest. After a time three waggons of gold and precious stones came to the King for his youngest son, which were sent by the three Kings who had slain their enemies with the prince's sword, and maintained their people with his bread, and who wished to show their gratitude for it. The old King then thought, "Can my son have been innocent?" and said to his people, "Would that he were still alive, how it grieves me that I have suffered him to be killed!" - "He still lives," said the huntsman, "I could not find it in my heart to carry out your command," and told the King how it had happened. Then a stone fell from the King's heart, and he had it proclaimed in every country that his son might return and be taken into favour again.

The princess, however, had a road made up to her palace which was quite bright and golden, and told her people that whosoever came riding straight along it to her, would be the right wooer and was to be admitted, and whoever rode by the side of it, was not the right one, and was not to be admitted. As the time was now close at hand, the eldest thought he would hasten to go to the King's daughter, and give himself out as her deliverer, and thus win her for his bride, and the kingdom to boot. Therefore he rode forth, and when he arrived in front of the palace, and saw the splendid golden road, he thought, it would be a sin and a shame if he were to ride over that, and turned aside, and rode on the right side of it. But when he came to the door, the servants told him that he was not the right man, and was to go away again. Soon after this the second prince set out, and when he came to the golden road, and his horse had put one foot on it, he thought, it would be a sin and a shame to tread a piece of it off, and he turned aside and rode on the left side of it, and when he reached the door, the attendants told him he was not the right one, and he was to go away again. When at last the year had entirely expired, the third son likewise wished to ride out of the forest to his beloved, and with her forget his sorrows. So he set out and thought of her so incessantly, and wished to be with her so much, that he never noticed the golden road at all. So his horse rode onwards up the middle of it, and when he came to the door, it was opened and the princess received him with joy, and said he was her deliverer, and lord of the kingdom, and their wedding was celebrated with great rejoicing. When it was over she told him that his father invited him to come to him, and had forgiven him. So he rode thither, and told him everything; how his brothers had betrayed him, and how he had nevertheless kept silence. The old King wished to punish them, but they had put to sea, and never came back as long as they lived.
昔、病気の王様がいましたが、誰も王様がその病気から回復すると信じませんでした。王様には3人息子がいて、王様の病気を悲しんで宮廷の中庭に降りて行き、泣きました。そこへおじいさんが来て、なぜ悲しんでいるのか、と尋ねました。息子たちは、父親の病いが重く、どうにも治しようがないので死んでしまうだろう、と言いました。するとおじいさんは、「私はもうひとつの薬のことを知ってるよ。それは命の水だ。それを飲めばまた良くなるが見つけるのが難しいんだ。」と言いました。一番上の息子は、「なんとか見つけてみせる。」と言い、病気の王様のところへ行き、命の水を探しに行くことをお許しください、それだけがお父さんを救えるのですから、とお願いしました。「だめだ」と王様は言いました。「危険が大きすぎる、それよりむしろ私は死んだ方がましだ。」

しかしあまりしつこく頼むので、王様は了承しました。王子は心の中で、「僕が水を持ってくれば、お父さんに一番かわいがられ、国を継ぐことになる。」と考えました。それで王子は出発し、馬で少し行くと、道に小人が立っていて、王子に呼びかけ、「急いでどこへ行くんだい?」と言いました。「馬鹿なチビめ」と王子は、とても傲慢に言いました。「お前に関係ないだろ。」そして馬で進みました。しかし小人は怒って悪い願かけをしました。この後まもなく王子は渓谷に入りましたが、行けば行くほど山同士が近づいていき、とうとう道がとても狭くなって一歩も前に進めなくなりました。また馬の向きを変えることも鞍から降りることもできなくて、まるで牢獄にいるかのようにそこに閉じ込められてしまいました。病気の王様は長い間王子を待ちましたが、王子は帰ってきませんでした。

すると二番目の息子が、「お父さん、水を探しに私を行かせてください。」と言いました。そして心で「もし兄さんが死んでいれば、国はぼくのものになる。」と思いました。初め王様は行くのをやはり許しませんでしたが、最後は折れました。それで王子は兄が行ったのと同じ道を出発し、兄と同じように小人に会いました。小人が王子をとめて、そんなに急いでどこへ行くのか、と尋ねると、「チビめ」と王子は言いました。「お前には関係ないだろ。」そして二度と見ないで先へ進みました。しかし、小人は王子を魔法にかけ、この王子もまた、兄のように、渓谷へ入って行き、前へも後ろへも行けなくなりました。傲慢な人々はそんな風になります。

二番目の息子も帰って来ないので、一番下の息子が水をとりに行かせてほしいと願い、ついに王様はこの息子も行かせるよりしかたがありませんでした。王子が小人に会うと、小人は「そんなに急いでどこへ行くんだい?」と尋ねました。王子は止まって、事情を説明し、「命の水を探しに行くところです。父が死ぬほどの病気なものですから。」と言いました。「じゃあ、どこで水が見つけられるか知っているのかい?」「いいえ」と王子は言いました。「お前は礼儀にかなったふるまいを身につけていて、不誠実な兄たちのようには傲慢でないから、どうしたら命の水を得られるか教えてやろう。命の水は魔法のかかった城の中庭にある泉から湧き出ている。だが、私が鉄の棒と2つの小さなパンをお前にやらなければ、お前はその城へ進んで行けないよ。城の鉄の扉をその棒で3回たたきなさい。そうすれば扉はぱっと開く。中には2頭のライオンが大きな口を開けている。だけど、それぞれのライオンにパンをひとつずつ投げれば、ライオンはおとなしくなるからね。それから12時になる前に急いで命の水をとってくるんだ。そうしないと扉がまた閉まってお前は閉じ込められてしまうぞ。」

王子は小人にお礼を言って、棒とパンを受け取り、道を進んで行きました。着いてみると全部小人の言った通りでした。扉は棒で3回たたくとぱっと開きました。王子はパンでライオンたちをなだめたあと、城に入り、大きく豪華な広間に着きました。そこに魔法にかけられた王子が何人かいたので、その指から指輪を抜いてはずし、剣とパンがそこにあったので、それを持ち去りました。このあと、王子は一つの部屋に入りました。その中には美しい乙女がいて、王子を見ると喜び、キスし、「あなたが私を救ってくれました。そして私の国は全部あなたのものになります。1年経ってあなたが戻れば私たちの結婚式が行われます。」と言いました。また、乙女は、どこに命の水の泉があるかを教え、12時前に急いで水をくまなければいけない、と言いました。それから王子はさらに進み、とうとう美しく新しいベッドがある部屋に入りました。王子はとても疲れていたので少し休みたいと思い、ベッドに寝て、眠り込みました。

目が覚めると12時に15分前でした。王子はびっくりしてぱっと跳ね起き、泉に走り、近くにあったカップに水を汲み、急いで立ち去りました。しかし、ちょうど鉄の扉を通りぬけているとき、時計が12時をうち、扉がバタンと閉まったので、王子のかかとが少しとれてしまいました。

しかし、王子は命の水を得て喜び、帰途に着きました。そしてまた小人に会いました。小人は剣とパンを見ると、「これをもって大きな財産を得たんだよ。剣でたくさんの軍勢をまるまる切れるし、パンは決して食べ尽きるということがないんだ。」と言いました。しかし王子は兄たちと一緒でないので父親のところへ帰る気になれなくて、「小人さん、私の兄たちがどこにいるかわかりませんか?二人は命の水を探しに私より前に出かけて、戻っていないのです。」と言いました。

「二つの山の間に閉じ込められているよ。」と小人は言いました。「あまり傲慢だから、私が二人をそこに閉じ込めたのさ。」それで王子はお願いして、小人に二人を解放してもらいました。しかし小人は、「二人に気をつけるんだよ、悪い心を持ってるからね。」と言いました。兄たちが来ると、王子は喜び、自分にあったことを話し、命の水を見つけてカップに1杯持ち帰ったこと、美しい王女を救ったこと、その王女が1年自分を待って、その時結婚式が行われ自分は大きな国を得る、ということを二人に話しました。

そのあと三人は一緒に馬を進め、戦争と飢きんに苦しんでいる国をたまたま通りがかりました。もうそこの王様は滅びるに違いないと思っていました。というのは食料がとても不足していたからです。それで王子は王様のところへ行き、パンを渡しました。それで王様は国じゅうの人々に食べさせ、おなかを満たしました。それから王子は剣も渡し、それで敵の集団を切り伏せ、安心して平和に暮らせるようになりました。それで王子はパンと剣を返してもらい、三人の兄弟はまた馬で進みました。しかし、このあと、三人は戦争と飢きんに苦しんでいるもう2つの国に入り、そのたびに王子は王様たちにパンと剣を渡し、こうして3カ国を救ったのでした。そのあと三人は船に乗り海を渡りました。航行中に二人の兄は二人だけで話し、「ぼくたちではなく弟が命の水を見つけた。それでお父さんは弟に国を譲るだろう。僕たちの国だよ。そして弟は僕たちの財産をみんな奪ってしまうんだ。」と言いました。それで二人は仕返しをしようとして弟をつぶす計画を相談しました。二人は弟がぐっすり眠るまで待って、カップから命の水を出して自分たちでとって、そのカップに塩辛い海水を入れました。

三人が家に着くと、一番下の息子は病気の父親が飲んで治るようにと、カップを持って行きました。しかし、塩辛い海水をほんの少し飲むとすぐに、王様は以前よりいっそう病気が悪くなりました。これを嘆いていると、二人の兄たちがやって来て、弟のことを父親に毒をもろうとしたと非難し、自分たちが本当の命の水を持ってきました、と言って、父親に渡しました。王様はそれを飲むとすぐ、病気が離れて行く感じがして、若い時のように健康で丈夫になりました。

そのあと兄たちは二人とも弟のところへ行き、嘲って「お前は確かに命の水を見つけたさ。だけどお前は骨折りをしただけ、僕たちは得をとったのさ。お前はもっと賢くなって目をしっかり開けておくんだったな。海でお前が眠っている時にお前からそれをとったんだよ。それで1年過ぎたら、僕たちのどっちかが美しい王女をもらいに行くよ。だけど、このことは何もお父さんにばらさないように気をつけろ。実際お父さんはお前を信用しないし、もし一言でも言えば命もおまけに失うことになるさ。だけど黙っていれば命は助けてやるよ。」と言いました。

年とった王様は末の息子が自分の命を狙ったと思い、怒っていました。それで裁判を召集し、息子に対して、密かに撃ち殺されるべきた、という判決が下されました。それであるとき、王子が、悪いことを何も疑わないで、馬で狩りにでかけました。王様の猟師が一緒に行くように言われていて、森で二人だけになったとき、猟師がとても悲しそうなので、王子は「猟師さん、どうしたの?」と言いました。猟師は「言えません。でも言うべきなんです。」と言いました。それで王子は「何なのかはっきり言ってごらん。お前を許すから。」と言いました。「ああ、私はあなたを撃ち殺すことになっています。王様がそう命令しました。」と猟師は言いました。それで王子はあっと驚いて、「猟師さん、殺さないでくれ。ほら、王家の服をやるよ、かわりにお前の粗末な服をくれ。」と言いました。猟師は「喜んでそうしますよ。全くあなたを殺さなくてよくなったのだから。」と言いました。それから二人は服を取り替え、猟師は家に帰り、一方王子は森に深く入って行きました。

しばらくして、金と宝石の荷馬車が末の息子を訪ねて王様のところにきました。それは、王子の剣で敵を倒し、王子のパンで国民を生かしておくことができた3人の王様たちが感謝の気持ちを示すために送ったものでした。年とった王様はそのとき「息子は無実だったのではないか?」と思い、家来たちに「あの息子がまだ生きていたらなあ。殺させてしまったのはなんと悲しいことだ。」と言いました。「まだ生きています。」と猟師は言いました。「王様のご命令を実行するのは忍びなかったのです。」そしてどういうことだったのか王様に話しました。それで王様の心から重荷がとれ、息子は戻ってよい、そして喜んで迎えられる、というお触れをあらゆる国に知らせました。

ところで、王女は宮殿につづく道をとても明るい金で作らせました。そして家来たちに、その道をまっすぐ自分のところに来る人がその当人だから入れてよい、しかし道のわきを通ってくる人は当人ではないから入れないように、と言いました。

時が近づいてきたので、一番上の王子は急いで王様の娘のところに行き、王女を救った人として名乗り、花嫁に迎え、おまけに国をいただこう、と思いました。それで馬ででかけ、宮殿の前に着き、見事な金の道を見ると、この上を馬で行くのは許しがたいことだ、と思いました。そして脇へ寄って道の右側を通りました。しかし、入口に来ると、家来たちは、当人ではない、立ち去るように、と言いました。

この後まもなく二番目の王子が出発し、金の道に来て馬が片足を道にのせたとき、許しがたいことだ、金が踏みつけられてはがれるかもしれないではないか、と考えました。それで脇へ寄って道の左側を通りました。しかし、入口に来ると、家来たちは、当人ではない、立ち去るように、と言いました。

とうとう1年がすっかり過ぎてしまったとき、三番目の息子も、森から出て愛する人のところへ行こう、そして娘と一緒にいて悲しみを忘れよう、と思いました。それで王子はでかけ、ずっと王女のことを考え速く会いたいとばかり思っていたので、金の道にまったく気づきませんでした。それで王子の馬は、道の真ん中を進み、入口に着くと扉が開かれ、王女が喜んで王子を迎え、「あなたが私を救ってくれた人です。そしてこの国のあるじです。」と言いました。二人の結婚式は大きな喜びでもって祝われました。式が終わると、王女は、あなたのお父さんがあなたを許してあなたを戻るように促していると王子に言いました。

それで王子は馬に乗ってそこへ行き、王様にすべて、兄たちが自分を裏切ったこと、それでも自分は黙っていたこと、を話しました。年とった王様は兄たちを罰しようと思いましたが、二人は海に逃げてしまって生きてる限り戻りませんでした。




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