ENGLISH

The cunning little tailor

日本語

賢いちびの仕立て屋の話


There was once on a time a princess who was extremely proud. If a wooer came she gave him some riddle to guess, and if he could not find it out, he was sent contemptuously away. She let it be made known also that whosoever solved her riddle should marry her, let him be who he might. At length, therefore, three tailors fell in with each other, the two eldest of whom thought they had done so many dexterous bits of work successfully that they could not fail to succeed in this also; the third was a little useless land-louper, who did not even know his trade, but thought he must have some luck in this venture, for where else was it to come from? Then the two others said to him, "Just stay at home; thou canst not do much with thy little bit of understanding." The little tailor, however, did not let himself be discouraged, and said he had set his head to work about this for once, and he would manage well enough, and he went forth as if the whole world were his.
They all three announced themselves to the princess, and said she was to propound her riddle to them, and that the right persons were now come, who had understandings so fine that they could be threaded in a needle. Then said the princess, "I have two kinds of hair on my head, of what color is it?" - "If that be all," said the first, "it must be black and white, like the cloth which is called pepper and salt." The princess said, "Wrongly guessed; let the second answer." Then said the second, "If it be not black and white, then it is brown and red, like my father's company coat." - "Wrongly guessed," said the princess, "let the third give the answer, for I see very well he knows it for certain." Then the little tailor stepped boldly forth and said, "The princess has a silver and a golden hair on her head, and those are the two different colors." When the princess heard that, she turned pale and nearly fell down with terror, for the little tailor had guessed her riddle, and she had firmly believed that no man on earth could discover it. When her courage returned she said, "Thou hast not won me yet by that; there is still something else that thou must do. Below, in the stable is a bear with which thou shalt pass the night, and when I get up in the morning if thou art still alive, thou shalt marry me." She expected, however, she should thus get rid of the tailor, for the bear had never yet left any one alive who had fallen into his clutches. The little tailor did not let himself be frightened away, but was quite delighted, and said, "Boldly ventured is half won."

When therefore the evening came, our little tailor was taken down to the bear. The bear was about to set at the little fellow at once, and give him a hearty welcome with his paws: "Softly, softly," said the little tailor, "I will soon make thee quiet." Then quite composedly, and as if he had not an anxiety in the world, he took some nuts out of his pocket, cracked them, and ate the kernels. When the bear saw that, he was seized with a desire to have some nuts too. The tailor felt in his pockets, and reached him a handful; they were, however, not nuts, but pebbles. The bear put them in his mouth, but could get nothing out of them, let him bite as he would. "Eh!" thought he, "what a stupid blockhead I am! I cannot even crack a nut!" and then he said to the tailor, "Here, crack me the nuts." - "There, see what a stupid fellow thou art!" said the little tailor, "to have such a great mouth, and not be able to crack a small nut!" Then he took the pebble and nimbly put a nut in his mouth in the place of it, and crack, it was in two! "I must try the thing again," said the bear; "when I watch you, I then think I ought to be able to do it too." So the tailor once more gave him a pebble, and the bear tried and tried to bite into it with all the strength of his body. But no one will imagine that he accomplished it. When that was over, the tailor took out a violin from beneath his coat, and played a piece of it to himself. When the bear heard the music, he could not help beginning to dance, and when he had danced a while, the thing pleased him so well that he said to the little tailor, "Hark you, is the fiddle heavy?" - "Light enough for a child. Look, with the left hand I lay my fingers on it, and with the right I stroke it with the bow, and then it goes merrily, hop sa sa vivallalera!" - "So," said the bear; "fiddling is a thing I should like to understand too, that I might dance whenever I had a fancy. What dost thou think of that? "Wilt thou give me lessons?" - "With all my heart," said the tailor, "if thou hast a talent for it. But just let me see thy claws, they are terribly long, I must cut thy nails a little." Then a vise was brought, and the bear put his claws in it, and the little tailor screwed it tight, and said, "Now wait until I come with the scissors," and he let the bear growl as he liked, and lay down in the corner on a bundle of straw, and fell asleep.

When the princess heard the bear growling so fiercely during the night, she believed nothing else but that he was growling for joy, and had made an end of the tailor. In the morning she arose careless and happy, but when she peeped into the stable, the tailor stood gaily before her, and was as healthy as a fish in water. Now she could not say another word against the wedding because she had given a promise before every one, and the King ordered a carriage to be brought in which she was to drive to church with the tailor, and there she was to be married. When they had got into the carriage, the two other tailors, who had false hearts and envied him his good fortune, went into the stable and unscrewed the bear again. The bear in great fury ran after the carriage. The princess heard him snorting and growling; she was terrified, and she cried, "Ah, the bear is behind us and wants to get thee!" The tailor was quick and stood on his head, stuck his legs out of the window, and cried, "Dost thou see the vise? If thou dost not be off thou shalt be put into it again." When the bear saw that, he turned round and ran away. The tailor drove quietly to church, and the princess was married to him at once, and he lived with her as happy as a woodlark. Whosoever does not believe this, must pay a thaler.
昔、とても高慢な王女がいて、求婚者が来ても、なぞを出して解けなければ馬鹿にして追い返しました。王女はまた、なぞを解いたら誰でも自分と結婚できる、誰でも来てよい、というお触れも出させました。そういうわけで、しまいには三人の仕立て屋がそろってやってきました。年上の二人は、手先を使う仕事をこれだけうまくたくさんこなしたのだから、これも必ずやり遂げられるさと自信満々でした。三人目はチビで役立たずのお調子者で、自分の仕事さえできなかったのですが、これで運が開けるに違いない、そうでなければ運はどこからくるというんだ?と考えていました。そのとき他の二人はチビの仕立て屋に、「家にいろよ。お前のちっぽけな頭の程度では大したことができないさ。」と言いました。しかし、チビの仕立て屋はやる気をなくさないで、一度これをやってみようと決めたんだからやってみせる、と言って、世界じゅうが自分のものとでもいうふうに意気揚々と出かけていきました。

三人とも王女に申し出て、どうぞなぞを出してください、今こそふさわしい人がやってまいりました、とても細やかな頭の働きがあるので針に糸を通せます、と言いました。すると王女は、「私の頭には二種類の髪の毛があります。その色は何でしょう?」と言いました。「それだけなら」と最初の仕立て屋が言いました。「それは白と黒ですな。ゴマ塩と呼ばれる布と同じです。」王女は「はずれ。はい、二番目の者、答えてください。」と言いました。すると二番目の仕立て屋は、「白と黒でなければ、茶と赤です。私の父親のコートのようにね。」と言いました。「はずれです。」と王女は言いました。「はい、三番目の者、答えなさい。きっと答えを知っているように見えますから。」

それでチビの仕立て屋は堂々と前に出ていき、「王女様の頭には金と銀の髪の毛があります。それが二種類の色になります。」と言いました。王女はこれを聞いて青ざめ、恐ろしくて倒れそうになりました。というのはこの世の誰もわからないと王女は固く信じていたのに、チビの仕立て屋はなぞの答を当てたのです。気を取り直すと王女は言いました。「お前はそれだけでは私の夫になれません。まだ他にやらなければならないことがあります。下の小屋に熊がいます。その熊と一緒に一晩過ごして下さい。朝私が起きた時お前がまだ生きていれば、私と結婚していいことにします。」ところが、王女はこうして仕立て屋を厄介払いできると思っていたのです。というのは熊は自分の手に落ちた誰も生かしておかなかったからです。チビの仕立て屋は怖気づいたりしないですっかり喜び、「思い切ってやって、半分勝ったも同然だ」と言いました。

そこで、夕方になると、チビの仕立て屋は熊のところに連れて行かれました。熊はすぐにこのおチビちゃんに襲いかかり、手で心から歓迎しようとしました。「まあ、まあ、お手柔らかに」とチビの仕立て屋は言いました。「すぐにお前を静かにさせてやるよ。」そうして、すっかり落ち着きはらって、まるで世界に心配事がないかのように、ポケットからクルミをとりだすと割って実を食べました。熊はそれを見て、自分もクルミを欲しくなりました。仕立て屋はポケットの中をさぐり、熊に一握り差し出しました。しかしそれはクルミではなく石ころだったのです。熊はそれらを口に入れましたが、いくらかんでも、割ることができませんでした。「なんてこった!」と熊は考えました。「おれはなんて間抜け野郎なんだ。クルミを割ることもできないなんて。」それで熊は仕立て屋に言いました。「ほら、クルミを割ってくれよ。」「ほらね、お前はなんてバカだ!」と仕立て屋は言いました。「そんな大きな口をして、小さなクルミを割ることができないんだ!」

それから仕立て屋は石ころをうけとり、素早くクルミとすりかえて口に入れ、割ると、二つになりました!「もう一度やってみる」と熊は言いました。「お前を見ていたら、おれもやれそうに思ったよ」それで仕立て屋は熊にまた石ころを渡しました。熊は体全体に力を入れ、それに歯をたてようと何度も何度もやってみました。しかし、だれも熊がやりとげたと思わないですよね。

それが終わると、仕立て屋は上着の下からバイオリンをとりだし、一曲弾きました。熊はその曲を聞くと、踊りださずにはいられなくなりました。しばらく踊ったあと、熊はとても気に入ったので仕立て屋に言いました。「なあ、バイオリンは難しいのか?」「子供にだってできるさ。見てろよ。左手の指をこうおくだろ、右手はこうやって弓を持って弦をひくのさ。すると陽気に音が出て、ホップ、ササ、ビバラレラ!」「じゃあ」と熊は言いました。「バイオリンはおれも覚えたいな。そしたら好きな時に踊れるもんな。お前はどう思う?おれに教えてくれないか?」「喜んで教えてやるよ。」と仕立て屋は言いました。「もし才能があるようならな。だけど、お前の爪を見せてみろ。ひどく長いじゃないか。まず少し爪を切らなくちゃな。」そうして、万力を持って来て、熊が爪をそこに入れると、仕立て屋は固くねじをしめ、「さあ、鋏を持ってくるまで待ってな。」と言って、熊を好きなようにうならせておいて、すみのわらの上に寝転がり、眠ってしまいました。

王女は熊が夜の間激しく唸っているのを聞いて、熊が仕立て屋を殺して嬉しさのあまり唸っているとばかり思っていました。朝に王女は何の屈託もなく楽しい気分で起きました。しかし小屋を覗くと、仕立て屋が目の前にご機嫌で立っていて、水を得た魚のようにぴんぴんしていました。王女はみんなの前で約束したので、もう何も結婚式に反対して言えませんでした。王様は王女が仕立て屋と一緒に乗って教会へ行き結婚するために馬車をさしむけるよう命じました。

二人が馬車に乗った後、他の二人の仕立て屋は意地悪で、この仕立て屋の幸運を妬んでいたので、小屋に入り、熊を万力からはずしてしまいました。熊は猛然と馬車を追いかけて行きました。王女に熊が鼻を鳴らし唸っているのが聞こえたので、恐ろしくて、「ああ、熊が追いかけてくるわ。あなたをねらっているのよ。」と叫びました。仕立て屋は素早く逆立ちすると、両脚を窓から突きだして、「万力がみえるか?すぐに立ち去らないとまた万力に挟むぞ。」と叫びました。熊はそれを見ると、向きを変え、逃げて行きました。仕立て屋は静かに教会までいき、王女とすぐに結婚しました。仕立て屋は王女ともりひばりのように楽しく暮らしました。

この話を信じない人、一ターラー払いなさい。




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