日本語

小さなろば

ENGLISH

The donkey


昔、王様とお后が住んでいました。二人は裕福で望む物は何でもありましたが子どもだけはいませんでした。お后はこれを日夜嘆いて、「私は何も生えない畑みたいなものだわ。」と言いました。とうとう神様がお后の願いを叶えてくださいましたが、子供が生まれてみると、人間の子供には似ても似つかない小さなロバでした。母親はそれを見ると、とても嘆き、泣き叫んで言いました。「ロバの子ならいっそ子どもがいない方がずっとよかったのに。こんな子は川に捨てて魚に食べさせればいいのよ。」しかし王様は、「いいや、神様がくださったのだ。この子はわしの息子で跡継ぎだ。わしが死んだら、玉座に座り、王冠を頂くのだ。」と言いました。

それでロバは育てられ大きくなり、耳は高くまっすぐ伸びました。朗らかな性格で、あちこち跳ねまわり遊びましたが、特に音楽が大好きでした。それで有名な音楽家のところに出かけて、「あなたのようにうまいリュートの弾き方を教えてください」と言いました。「まあ、ぼっちゃん」と音楽家は答えました。「君にはかなり難しいんじゃないかな、君の指はリュートにはあまり適していなくて、あまりにも大きすぎるから、弦がもたないと思うよ。」しかし、どんな口実も役に立ちませんでした。ロバはどうしてもリュートを弾くと言ってききませんでした。そうして辛抱強く熱心に練習したので、とうとう先生自身と同じくらいうまく弾けるようになりました。

あるとき、若い王子は考え事をしながら出歩いていて、泉に来ました。覗きこむと鏡のような水面に自分のロバの姿が見えました。それを見て王子はとても悲しくなり、広い世間に出て行き、ただ一人の忠実なお供だけ連れていきました。二人はあちこち旅をして、しまいには年とった王様が治めている国に入りました。王様にはただ一人の娘がいましたがとても美しい娘でした。ロバは、「ここにとどまることにしよう。」と言い、門をたたき、「ここに客が来てるぞ、門を開けて入れてくれたまえ」と言いました。

門を開けてくれないので、王子は座ってリュートを取り出し、二本の前足でとてもきれいに弾き始めました。すると、門番は目をみはって口をぽかんと開け、それから王様のところに走っていくと、「小さなロバが門の外にいて、名人のようにうまくリュートを弾いています。」と言いました。「それではその音楽家を中に入れよ。」と王様は言いました。しかしロバが入ってくると、みんなはそのリュート弾きを笑い出しました。

ロバは召使たちと一緒に座り食べるように言われると、嫌って、「僕は普通の家畜小屋にいるロバじゃありませんよ。僕は高貴なロバです。」と言いました。すると、みんなは「そういうことなら、兵士たちと一緒に座れ。」と言いました。「いいえ、僕は王様の隣に座ります。」王様は笑って機嫌よく、「よろしい、好きなようにするがよい、こっちへ来たまえ」と言いました。そのあと王様は、「ロバくん、娘をどう思うかね?」と尋ねました。ロバは娘の方に首を回し見て、頷き、「とてもおきれいです。お嬢さんほどきれいな方はお目にかかったことがありません。」と言いました。「そうか、じゃあ、娘の隣にも座るがよいぞ。」と王様は言いました。「それこそ望むところです。」とロバは言って、娘の隣に腰を下ろし、品よくきれいに作法を心得て、食べたり飲んだりしました。

王宮にしばらくとどまったあと、高貴な動物は(こうしていて何の役に立つというのか?やはり家に帰らないといけない)と思い、しょんぼりと頭をたれ、王様のところへ行って暇乞いを告げました。しかし王様は、ろばを好きになっていたので、「ロバくん、どうしたのかね?酢のつぼみたいに気難しい顔をしてるじゃないか、何でも望む物をやろう。金が欲しいのか?」と言いました。「いいえ」とロバは言って、首を振りました。「宝石や立派な服はどうだ?」「いいえ」「国を半分はどうだ?」「とんでもない」すると王様は言いました。「お前の気に入ることがわかればいいんだがなあ。わしのきれいな娘を妻にするのはどうだね?」「ええ、もちろん。」とロバは言いました。「是非お願いします」そして急にロバは元気に嬉しそうになりました。というのはそれこそロバが望んでいたことだったのです。

そうして盛大で華麗な結婚式があげられました。花嫁と花婿が寝室に案内された夕方に、王様はロバがりっぱに振る舞うか知りたくて、召使をそこに隠れさせました。二人が中に入ると花婿は戸にかんぬきをかけ周りを見回し、二人だけだと思ったので、ふいにロバの皮を脱ぎすて、ハンサムな王家の若者の姿で立ちました。「さあ」と若者は言いました。「君は僕の本当の姿を見たね。君にふさわしくないわけじゃないだろう?」すると花嫁は喜んで若者にキスし、心から愛しました。

朝が来ると、王子は跳び起きてまた動物の皮を着ました。それで皮の下にどんな姿が隠されているか誰もわからなかったでしょう。まもなく年とった王様がやってきました。「おや」と王様は叫びました。「ロバくんはもう起きてるのか。だけどお前はきっと悲しいだろうね、夫が普通の人間じゃないからな。」と娘に言いました。「そんなことないわ!お父様。私は世界で一番ハンサムな人のようにあの方を愛してるし、死ぬまで一緒にいるわ。」

王様は驚きました。しかし、隠れていた召使がやってきて、全てを明らかにしました。王様は、「本当か?そんなはずがない!」と言いました。「それでは今夜ご自身で見張ってください、するとご自分の目で確かめられます。それで、陛下、ロバの皮をとって火に投げ込めば、ロバは本当の姿を現すしかないでしょう」「よくぞ申した。」と王様は言いました。

その夜二人が眠っている間に王様は部屋に忍び込み、ベッドのところに行くと、月明かりで気高い顔の若者がそこにねているのが見えました。皮は床に広がっていました。そこで王様は皮をとって、外に大きな火をたかせ、皮をその中に投げ込んで燃え尽きて灰になるまで自分でそばにいました。

しかし、男が皮をとられてどうするか知りたかったので、一晩じゅう起きて寝ずの番をしました。若者は十分眠って朝の最初の光がさすと起きあがり、ロバの皮を着ようとしましたが見つかりませんでした。それで若者はびっくりし、悲しく不安になって、「もう逃げなくてはいけない。」と言いました。しかし、部屋の外へ出ると、王様が立っていて言いました。「息子よ、そんなに急いでどこへ行くのだ?何を考えておる?ここにいるのだ。お前はとてもハンサムな男だ。わしから去っていくな。もうお前に国の半分をやろう、わしが死んだあと国は全部お前のものになる。」「それでは、初め良ければ終わり良しですから、ここにいることにします。」と若者は言いました。

そうして王様は若者に国を半分与えましたが、一年経って王様が亡くなると国全体が若者のものとなりました。そして自分の父親が亡くなった後はもう一つの国も若者のものになり、栄えある生涯を送りました。
Once on a time there lived a King and a Queen, who were rich, and had everything they wanted, but no children. The Queen lamented over this day and night, and said, "I am like a field on which nothing grows." At last God gave her her wish, but when the child came into the world, it did not look like a human child, but was a little donkey. When the mother saw that, her lamentations and outcries began in real earnest; she said she would far rather have had no child at all than have a donkey, and that they were to throw it into the water that the fishes might devour it. But the King said, "No, since God has sent him he shall be my son and heir, and after my death sit on the royal throne, and wear the kingly crown." The donkey, therefore, was brought up and grew bigger, and his ears grew up beautifully high and straight. He was, however, of a merry disposition, jumped about, played and had especial pleasure in music, so that he went to a celebrated musician and said, "Teach me thine art, that I may play the lute as well as thou dost." - "Ah, dear little master," answered the musician, "that would come very hard to you, your fingers are certainly not suited to it, and are far too big. I am afraid the strings would not last." No excuses were of any use. The donkey was determined to play the lute; he was persevering and industrious, and at last learnt to do it as well as the master himself. The young lordling once went out walking full of thought and came to a well, he looked into it and in the mirror-clear water saw his donkey's form. He was so distressed about it, that he went out into the wide world and only took with him one faithful companion. They travelled up and down, and at last they came into a kingdom where an old King reigned who had an only but wonderfully beautiful daughter. The donkey said, "Here we will stay," knocked at the gate, and cried, "A guest is without open, that he may enter." As, however, the gate was not opened, he sat down, took his lute and played it in the most delightful manner with his two fore-feet. Then the door-keeper opened his eyes most wonderfully wide, and ran to the King and said, "Outside by the gate sits a young donkey which plays the lute as well as an experienced master!" - "Then let the musician come to me," said the King. When, however, a donkey came in, every one began to laugh at the lute-player. And now the donkey was asked to sit down and eat with the servants. He, however, was unwilling, and said, "I am no common stable-ass, I am a noble one." Then they said, "If that is what thou art, seat thyself with the men of war." - "No," said he, "I will sit by the King." The King smiled, and said good-humouredly, "Yes, it shall be as thou wilt, little ass, come here to me." Then he asked, "Little ass, how does my daughter please thee?" The donkey turned his head towards her, looked at her, nodded and said, "I like her above measure, I have never yet seen anyone so beautiful as she is." - "Well, then, thou shalt sit next her too," said the King. "That is exactly what I wish," said the donkey, and he placed himself by her side, ate and drank, and knew how to behave himself daintily and cleanly. When the noble beast had stayed a long time at the King's court, he thought, "What good does all this do me, I shall still have to go home again?" let his head hang sadly, and went to the King and asked for his dismissal. But the King had grown fond of him, and said, "Little ass, what ails thee? Thou lookest as sour as a jug of vinegar, I will give thee what thou wantest. Dost thou want gold?" - "No," said the donkey, and shook his head. "Dost thou want jewels and rich dress?" - "No." - "Dost thou wish for half my kingdom?" - "Indeed, no." Then said the King, if I did but know what would make thee content. Wilt thou have my pretty daughter to wife?" - "Ah, yes," said the ass, "I should indeed like her," and all at once he became quite merry and full of happiness, for that was exactly what he was wishing for. So a great and splendid wedding was held. In the evening, when the bride and bridegroom were led into their bed-room, the King wanted to know if the ass would behave well, and ordered a servant to hide himself there. When they were both within, the bridegroom bolted the door, looked around, and as he believed that they were quite alone, he suddenly threw off his ass's skin, and stood there in the form of a handsome royal youth. "Now," said he, "thou seest who I am, and seest also that I am not unworthy of thee." Then the bride was glad, and kissed him, and loved him dearly. When morning came, he jumped up, put his animal's skin on again, and no one could have guessed what kind of a form was hidden beneath it. Soon came the old King, "Ah," cried he, "is the little ass merry? But surely thou art sad?" said he to his daughter, "that thou hast not got a proper man for thy husband?" - "Oh, no, dear father, I love him as well as if he were the handsomest in the world, and I will keep him as long as I live." The King was surprised, but the servant who had concealed himself came and revealed everything to him. The King said, "That cannot be true." - "Then watch yourself the next night, and you will see it with your own eyes; and hark you, lord King, if you were to take his skin away and throw it in the fire, he would be forced to show himself in his true shape." - "Thy advice is good," said the King, and at night when they were asleep, he stole in, and when he got to the bed he saw by the light of the moon a noble-looking youth lying there, and the skin lay stretched on the ground. So he took it away, and had a great fire lighted outside, and threw the skin into it, and remained by it himself until it was all burnt to ashes. As, however, he was anxious to know how the robbed man would behave himself, he stayed awake the whole night and watched. When the youth had slept his sleep out, he got up by the first light of morning, and wanted to put on the ass's skin, but it was not to be found. On this he was alarmed, and, full of grief and anxiety, said, "Now I shall have to contrive to escape." But when he went out, there stood the King, who said, "My son, whither away in such haste? what hast thou in mind? Stay here, thou art such a handsome man, thou shalt not go away from me. I will now give thee half my kingdom, and after my death thou shalt have the whole of it." - "Then I hope that what begins so well may end well, and I will stay with you," said the youth. And the old man gave him half the kingdom, and in a year's time, when he died, the youth had the whole, and after the death of his father he had another kingdom as well, and lived in all magnificence.




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