ENGLISH

The shoes that were danced to pieces

日本語

踊ってすりきれた靴


There was once upon a time a King who had twelve daughters, each one more beautiful than the other. They all slept together in one chamber, in which their beds stood side by side, and every night when they were in them the King locked the door, and bolted it. But in the morning when he unlocked the door, he saw that their shoes were worn out with dancing, and no one could find out how that had come to pass. Then the King caused it to be proclaimed that whosoever could discover where they danced at night, should choose one of them for his wife and be King after his death, but that whosoever came forward and had not discovered it within three days and nights, should have forfeited his life. It was not long before a King's son presented himself, and offered to undertake the enterprise. He was well received, and in the evening was led into a room adjoining the princesses' sleeping-chamber. His bed was placed there, and he was to observe where they went and danced, and in order that they might do nothing secretly or go away to some other place, the door of their room was left open.
But the eyelids of the prince grew heavy as lead, and he fell asleep, and when he awoke in the morning, all twelve had been to the dance, for their shoes were standing there with holes in the soles. On the second and third nights it fell out just the same, and then his head was struck off without mercy. Many others came after this and undertook the enterprise, but all forfeited their lives. Now it came to pass that a poor soldier, who had a wound, and could serve no longer, found himself on the road to the town where the King lived. There he met an old woman, who asked him where he was going. "I hardly know myself," answered he, and added in jest, "I had half a mind to discover where the princesses danced their shoes into holes, and thus become King." - "That is not so difficult," said the old woman, "you must not drink the wine which will be brought to you at night, and must pretend to be sound asleep." With that she gave him a little cloak, and said, "If you put on that, you will be invisible, and then you can steal after the twelve." When the soldier had received this good advice, he went into the thing in earnest, took heart, went to the King, and announced himself as a suitor. He was as well received as the others, and royal garments were put upon him. He was conducted that evening at bed-time into the ante-chamber, and as he was about to go to bed, the eldest came and brought him a cup of wine, but he had tied a sponge under his chin, and let the wine run down into it, without drinking a drop. Then he lay down and when he had lain a while, he began to snore, as if in the deepest sleep. The twelve princesses heard that, and laughed, and the eldest said, "He, too, might as well have saved his life." With that they got up, opened wardrobes, presses, cupboards, and brought out pretty dresses; dressed themselves before the mirrors, sprang about, and rejoiced at the prospect of the dance. Only the youngest said, "I know not how it is; you are very happy, but I feel very strange; some misfortune is certainly about to befall us." - "Thou art a goose, who art always frightened," said the eldest. "Hast thou forgotten how many Kings' sons have already come here in vain? I had hardly any need to give the soldier a sleeping-draught, in any case the clown would not have awakened." When they were all ready they looked carefully at the soldier, but he had closed his eyes and did not move or stir, so they felt themselves quite secure. The eldest then went to her bed and tapped it; it immediately sank into the earth, and one after the other they descended through the opening, the eldest going first. The soldier, who had watched everything, tarried no longer, put on his little cloak, and went down last with the youngest. Half-way down the steps, he just trod a little on her dress; she was terrified at that, and cried out, "What is that? who is pulling my dress?" - "Don't be so silly!" said the eldest, "you have caught it on a nail." Then they went all the way down, and when they were at the bottom, they were standing in a wonderfully pretty avenue of trees, all the leaves of which were of silver, and shone and glistened. The soldier thought, "I must carry a token away with me," and broke off a twig from one of them, on which the tree cracked with a loud report. The youngest cried out again. "Something is wrong, did you hear the crack?" But the eldest said, "It is a gun fired for joy, because we have got rid of our prince so quickly." After that they came into an avenue where all the leaves were of gold, and lastly into a third where they were of bright diamonds; he broke off a twig from each, which made such a crack each time that the youngest started back in terror, but the eldest still maintained that they were salutes. They went on and came to a great lake whereon stood twelve little boats, and in every boat sat a handsome prince, all of whom were waiting for the twelve, and each took one of them with him, but the soldier seated himself by the youngest. Then her prince said, "I can't tell why the boat is so much heavier to-day; I shall have to row with all my strength, if I am to get it across." - "What should cause that," said the youngest, "but the warm weather? I feel very warm too." On the opposite side of the lake stood a splendid, brightly-lit castle, from whence resounded the joyous music of trumpets and kettle-drums. They rowed over there, entered, and each prince danced with the girl he loved, but the soldier danced with them unseen, and when one of them had a cup of wine in her hand he drank it up, so that the cup was empty when she carried it to her mouth; the youngest was alarmed at this, but the eldest always made her be silent. They danced there till three o'clock in the morning when all the shoes were danced into holes, and they were forced to leave off; the princes rowed them back again over the lake, and this time the soldier seated himself by the eldest. On the shore they took leave of their princes, and promised to return the following night. When they reached the stairs the soldier ran on in front and lay down in his bed, and when the twelve had come up slowly and wearily, he was already snoring so loudly that they could all hear him, and they said, "So far as he is concerned, we are safe." They took off their beautiful dresses, laid them away, put the worn-out shoes under the bed, and lay down. Next morning the soldier was resolved not to speak, but to watch the wonderful goings on, and again went with them. Then everything was done just as it had been done the first time, and each time they danced until their shoes were worn to pieces. But the third time he took a cup away with him as a token. When the hour had arrived for him to give his answer, he took the three twigs and the cup, and went to the King, but the twelve stood behind the door, and listened for what he was going to say. When the King put the question, "Where have my twelve daughters danced their shoes to pieces in the night?" he answered, "In an underground castle with twelve princes," and related how it had come to pass, and brought out the tokens. The King then summoned his daughters, and asked them if the soldier had told the truth, and when they saw that they were betrayed, and that falsehood would be of no avail, they were obliged to confess all. Thereupon the King asked which of them he would have to wife? He answered, "I am no longer young, so give me the eldest." Then the wedding was celebrated on the self-same day, and the kingdom was promised him after the King's death. But the princes were bewitched for as many days as they had danced nights with the twelve.
昔、どの娘も他の娘におとらないくらい美しい12人の娘がいる王様がいました。娘たちはみなベッドが並んでいる一つの部屋で一緒に眠っていました。そして娘たちがベッドに入ると王様は戸に鍵をかけかんぬきをしました。しかし、朝に戸の鍵をはずすと、王様は娘たちの靴が踊りですりきれているのがわかり、だれもどうしてそうなるのか発見できませんでした。それで、王様は、娘たちが夜どこで踊っているのか発見した者には娘の一人を妻に選ばせ、自分の死後王にする、但し、申し出て3日3晩のうちに発見できなかったものは命を差し出さねばならない、というお触れを出しました。

まもなく一人の王子が出て、この企てを引き受けると申し出ました。王子は暖かく迎えられ、夜には王女たちの寝室の隣の部屋に案内されました。王子のベッドはそこにおかれ、娘たちがどこへ行っておどるのか見ることになっていました。そしてこっそりと何かしたり他の場所に行かないように娘たちの部屋の戸は開けておかれました。しかし、王子のまぶたは鉛のように重くなり、眠ってしまいました。そして朝目覚めてみると、12人の娘はみな踊りに行ってきていました。というのは靴の底に穴があいていたからです。2日目と3日目の夜も違いがなく、それで王子の頭は情け容赦なくうちおとされました。

このあと他にもたくさんの人が来て、その企てを引き受けましたが、全員が命を落としました。さて、怪我をしてもう務めることができなくなった貧しい兵士が王様の住んでいる町の道を歩いていると、一人のおばあさんに出会いました。おばあさんが「どこへ行くんだい?」ときいたので、「自分でもはっきりしないんだ。」と答え、冗談に「王女様たちがどこで靴に穴があくまで踊るのか見つけて王様になる、っていう気も半分あったんだが。」と付け加えました。「それは大して難しくないよ。」とおばあさんは言いました。「夜に持ってこられる葡萄酒を飲まないで、ぐっすり眠っているふりをしてなくちゃいけないんだよ。」そう言いながら小さなマントを渡し、「これを着るとお前さんの姿がみえなくなるよ。そうしたら12人の姫君たちのあとをこっそりつけられるよ。」と言いました。

兵士はこういう良いことを聞いて、本気になりだし、元気づいて、王様のところに行き、求婚者として取り次ぎをお願いしました。兵士は他のみんなと同じく暖かく迎えられ、王家の服を着せられました。その晩寝る時間になると控えの間に通され、もう寝ようとしたところ、一番上の王女様が一杯の葡萄酒を運んできました。しかし、兵士はあごの下にスポンジを結わえておいて一滴も飲まず葡萄酒をスポンジに吸い込ませました。それから横になり、しばらく寝ていたあと、深く眠り込んだかのようにいびきをかき始めました。12人の王女たちはそれを聞いて、笑い、一番上の王女が、「あの人も命を大事にしておけばよかったのにね。」と言いました。そうして起きあがり、衣装ダンスやいろいろな棚を開けて、可愛いドレスを取り出し、鏡の前で着て、跳びはね、踊りに行く期待で喜んでいました。ただ一番下の王女だけは「どうしてだかわからないけど、お姉さまたちはみんなうれしそうだけど、私はとても変な気分なの。きっと何か嫌なことがおこるんだわ。」と言いました。「おばかだねぇ。いつだってびくびくして。」と一番上の姉が言いました。「もうどれだけ沢山の王子たちがここに来て、無駄骨を折ったか忘れたの?あの兵隊さんに眠り薬をだす必要なんてほとんどなかったわ。どっちにしてもあの間抜けは目が覚めなかったわよ。」

すっかり準備ができると、王女たちは注意深く兵士を見ましたが、兵士は目を閉じて微かにすら動きませんでした。それで娘たちは十分安全だと思いました。それから一番上の王女が自分のベッドにいき、軽くたたきました。するとベッドはすぐ地中に沈んでいき、その開いた穴を通って、一番上の娘を先頭に、次々と降りて行きました。兵士はすっかりこれを見ていましたが、もう愚図愚図しないで小さなマントを着ると、末の王女のあとから降りて行きました。階段を降りる途中で、末の王女のドレスをちょっと踏みつけてしまい、王女はびっくりして「キャッ!誰なの?私のドレスを引っ張っているのは誰?」と叫びました。「馬鹿言わないでよ。釘にひっかけたのよ。」と一番上の娘が言いました。それで降り切ってしまい底に着くと、すばらしくきれいな並木道にでました。木の葉っぱが全部銀でできていて、輝き、キラキラしていました。兵士は、「証拠の印を持って帰らなくちゃ。」と思って、一本の木から枝を折りとりました。それで、木がボキッと大きな音をたてました。また末の王女が「どこかおかしいわ。ボキッという音が聞こえなかった?」と叫びました。しかし一番上の王女が「喜びで撃たれた大砲でしょ、私たちがとても速く王子から抜け出したから。」と言いました。

そのあと、葉っぱが全部金でできている並木道にきて、最後にきらびやかなダイヤでできている3番目の並木道にきて、兵士はそれぞれから枝を折りとり、そのたびに大きな音がしたので、末の王女はこわくてビクッと飛び上がりましたが、一番上の王女はやはり祝砲だと言い張っていました。さらに進んで12艘の小さなボートがある大きな湖に着きました。そしてどのボートにもハンサムな王子が座って、12人の王女を待っていて、一人ずつ連れて行きましたが、兵士は末の王女のそばに座りました。すると王子が「どうして今日はいつもよりずっと重いのかな?渡るのに全力でこがなくちゃいけないな。」と言いました。「どうしてかしら?暑い気候のせい?」と末の王女が言いました。「僕もとても暑いよ。」湖の向こう側に豪華な光が明るくついたお城が立っていて、そこからトランペットやティンパニの楽しげな音楽が聞こえてきました。みんなはそこに漕いでいき、入って、それぞれの王子は自分の好きな娘と踊りましたが、兵士は見られずに一緒に踊りました。王女様の一人がワインを手に持っていたとき兵士はそれを飲み干してしまい、王女が口にもっていったときカップは空っぽでした。末の王女はこれに驚きましたが、一番上の王女がいつも黙らせました。王女様たちは午前3じまでそこで踊り、とうとう靴に穴が開きました。それでしかたなくお別れをして、王子たちが湖を渡ってまた漕ぎ戻り、今度は兵士は一番上の王女のそばにすわりました。 岸に着くと王女たちは王子たちにお別れを言い、次の夜戻ると約束しました。階段に着くと兵士は走って前に行き、ベッドに寝て、12人の王女たちがゆっくり疲れて上ってきたときは、もう大いびきをかいていたので、みんなその音が聞こえました。それで王女たちは「この人に関しては、私たちは無事ね。」と言いました。娘たちは美しいドレスを脱ぎ、片づけて、ベッドの下にすりきれた靴を入れて、横になりました。

次の朝、兵士は話さないで素晴らしい成り行きを見ようと決心し、2晩目も3晩目も王女たちと一緒にでかけました。そしてすべては最初の時と全く同じで、毎回王女たちは靴がすりきれてぼろぼろになるまで踊りました。しかし、3回目は兵士は証拠の印としてカップを持ち去りました。兵士は答えを言う時間が来ると、3本の枝とカップを持って王様のところへ行きました。王様が、「私の12人の娘は夜靴がすりきれるまでどこで踊っていたのかね?」と質問をすると、「12人のの王子たちと一緒に地下のお城に行ってました。」と兵士は答え、起こったことを語り、証拠の印を取り出しました。それで王様は娘たちを呼び寄せ、兵士は本当のことを言ったのかと尋ねました。娘たちは、秘密がもれてしまい嘘をつくことは役にたたないとわかって、すべて白状せざるをえませんでした。それで、王様が「どの娘を妻にしたいかね?」と尋ねると、「私はもう若くありません。だから一番上の王女さまをください。」と兵士は答えました。それで同じ日に結婚式が行われ、王様が死んだあとの王国が約束されました。しかし、王子たちは12人の王女たちと踊った夜と同じ日数のあいだ魔法にかけられたままでした。




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