ENGLISH

The moon

日本語




In days gone by there was a land where the nights were always dark, and the sky spread over it like a black cloth, for there the moon never rose, and no star shone in the obscurity. At the creation of the world, the light at night had been sufficient. Three young fellows once went out of this country on a travelling expedition, and arrived in another kingdom, where, in the evening when the sun had disappeared behind the mountains, a shining globe was placed on an oak-tree, which shed a soft light far and wide. By means of this, everything could very well be seen and distinguished, even though it was not so brilliant as the sun. The travellers stopped and asked a countryman who was driving past with his cart, what kind of a light that was. "That is the moon," answered he; our mayor bought it for three thalers, and fastened it to the oak-tree. He has to pour oil into it daily, and to keep it clean, so that it may always burn clearly. He receives a thaler a week from us for doing it."
When the countryman had driven away, one of them said, "We could make some use of this lamp, we have an oak-tree at home, which is just as big as this, and we could hang it on that. What a pleasure it would be not to have to feel about at night in the darkness!" - "I'll tell you what we'll do," said the second; "we will fetch a cart and horses and carry away the moon. The people here may buy themselves another." - "I'm a good climber," said the third, "I will bring it down." The fourth brought a cart and horses, and the third climbed the tree, bored a hole in the moon, passed a rope through it, and let it down. When the shining ball lay in the cart, they covered it over with a cloth, that no one might observe the theft. They conveyed it safely into their own country, and placed it on a high oak. Old and young rejoiced, when the new lamp let its light shine over the whole land, and bed-rooms and sitting-rooms were filled with it. The dwarfs came forth from their caves in the rocks, and the tiny elves in their little red coats danced in rings on the meadows.

The four took care that the moon was provided with oil, cleaned the wick, and received their weekly thaler, but they became old men, and when one of them grew ill, and saw that he was about to die, he appointed that one quarter of the moon, should, as his property, be laid in the grave with him. When he died, the mayor climbed up the tree, and cut off a quarter with the hedge-shears, and this was placed in his coffin. The light of the moon decreased, but still not visibly. When the second died, the second quarter was buried with him, and the light diminished. It grew weaker still after the death of the third, who likewise took his part of it away with him; and when the fourth was borne to his grave, the old state of darkness recommenced, and whenever the people went out at night without their lanterns they knocked their heads together.

When, however, the pieces of the moon had united themselves together again in the world below, where darkness had always prevailed, it came to pass that the dead became restless and awoke from their sleep. They were astonished when they were able to see again; the moonlight was quite sufficient for them, for their eyes had become so weak that they could not have borne the brilliance of the sun. They rose up and were merry, and fell into their former ways of living. Some of them went to the play and to dance, others hastened to the public-houses, where they asked for wine, got drunk, brawled, quarreled, and at last took up cudgels, and belabored each other. The noise became greater and greater, and at last reached even to heaven.

Saint Peter who guards the gate of heaven thought the lower world had broken out in revolt and gathered together the heavenly troops, which are to drive back the Evil One when he and his associates storm the abode of the blessed. As these, however, did not come, he got on his horse and rode through the gate of heaven, down into the world below. There he reduced the dead to subjection, bade them lie down in their graves again, took the moon away with him, and hung it up in heaven.
昔、夜はいつも暗く空が黒い布のようにおおっている国がありました。というのはそこには月が昇らず、星も暗闇に輝くことがなかったからです。世界を創造したときは夜の光は十分あったものですから。あるとき、四人の若者がこの国を出て旅にでかけ、よその国に着きました。そこでは太陽が山のかげに沈んでしまったあと、樫の木に光る玉が置かれ、あたりに柔らかい光を投げかけていました。このため、太陽ほどまばゆくはありませんでしたが、何でもとてもよく見えて、見わけがつきました。旅人たちは立ち止まって荷馬車で通りすぎていく村人に、「あれはどういう明かりですか?」と尋ねました。

「あれはお月さまですよ。」と村人は答えました。「私たちの村長が三ターラーで買って来て、それを樫の木に止めたんです。村長は、いつも明るく燃えるように毎日油を注いでやりきれいにしておかなくてはいけないんですよ。その分私たちは村長に毎週一ターラー払うんです。」村人が行ってしまうと、旅人の一人が「このランプは役に立つぜ。故郷にこれと同じくらい大きい樫の木が一本ある。そこに吊るせるよ。夜に暗闇を手さぐりしなくてよくなれば、楽しいだろうな。」「いいかい、こうしようよ」と二番目の若者が言いました。「荷車と馬をとってきて、お月さまを運んで行こう。ここの人たちはまた別のを買うだろうよ。」「おれは木登りがうまいぜ。あれをとってくるよ。」と三番目の若者が言いました。四番目の若者が荷車と馬を運んできて、三番目の若者が木に登ってお月さまに穴をあけそこに綱を通し、下に下ろしました。

輝く玉を荷車にのせると、誰にも盗んだものがみえないように布をかぶせました。それから、四人は自分の国に無事に玉を運び、高い樫の木に置きました。新しいランプがその光を土地じゅうにそそぎ、寝室や居間が光でいっぱいになると老いも若きもみんな喜びました。小人たちは岩のほら穴から出てきて、小さな赤い上着を着た小妖精が草原でいくつもの輪になって踊りました。四人はお月さまに油がきれないように注意し、芯をきれいにし、週間のターラーを受け取りました。

しかし、四人も年をとり、一人が病気になって死ぬ時が来たとわかると、お月さまの四分の一は自分の財産として自分と一緒に墓に入れるようにと言い残しました。それでこの人が死ぬと市長が木に登って、刈り込み鋏でお月さまの四分の一を切りとり、棺に入れました。お月さまの光は弱くなりましたが、まだ目に見えてわかるほどではありませんでした。二人目が死ぬとまた四分の一がこの人と一緒に埋められ、光が減りました。三人目も同じように自分の分を持って行ったので、その人が死んだあとは光はずっと弱くなりました。四人目が墓に入ったとき、また昔の暗闇に戻り、人々が夜にカンテラを持たないで外を歩くと頭をぶつけあいました。

ところが、お月さまの四つのかけらは、暗闇だけがいつも広がっていた地下の世界でまたお互いにくっついて元通りになりました。それで、死人がそわそわし、眠りから覚めました。死人たちはまた物がみえるようになりびっくりしました。死人たちには月明かりで十分でした。というのは目がすっかり弱っていたので、太陽の明るさには耐えられなかったのです。

死人たちは起きあがると陽気になり、前の暮らし方をしだしました。遊びに出かけ踊るものもあれば、飲み屋に急ぎ、ワインを注文し、酔っぱらって、怒鳴り合って喧嘩をし、果てはこん棒まで持ちだしてお互いに殴り合う者までいました。その騒ぎはだんだん大きく大きくなって、とうとう天国までとどきました。

天国の門を守っている聖ペテロは、下の世界で暴動が起こったと思い、天国の軍勢を集めました。その軍勢は、悪魔と仲間が祝福されている者たちの住まいに押し寄せたら追い返すために使われていたのです。ところが、悪魔たちがやってこなかったので、聖ペテロは馬に乗り、天国の門を通り抜け、下の世界に下りて行きました。そこで死人たちをおとなしくさせてまた墓に寝るように言いつけ、お月さまを一緒に持って帰り、天に吊るしました。




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