ENGLISH

The little folks' presents

日本語

小人の使い


A tailor and a goldsmith were travelling together, and one evening when the sun had sunk behind the mountains, they heard the sound of distant music, which became more and more distinct. It sounded strange, but so pleasant that they forgot all their weariness and stepped quickly onwards. The moon had already arisen when they reached a hill on which they saw a crowd of little men and women, who had taken each other's hands, and were whirling round in the dance with the greatest pleasure and delight.
They sang to it most charmingly, and that was the music which the travellers had heard. In the midst of them sat an old man who was rather taller than the rest. He wore a parti-coloured coat, and his iron-grey beard hung down over his breast. The two remained standing full of astonishment, and watched the dance. The old man made a sign that they should enter, and the little folks willingly opened their circle. The goldsmith, who had a hump, and like all hunchbacks was brave enough, stepped in; the tailor felt a little afraid at first, and held back, but when he saw how merrily all was going, he plucked up his courage, and followed. The circle closed again directly, and the little folks went on singing and dancing with the wildest leaps. The old man, however, took a large knife which hung to his girdle, whetted it, and when it was sufficiently sharpened, he looked round at the strangers. They were terrified, but they had not much time for reflection, for the old man seized the goldsmith and with the greatest speed, shaved the hair of his head clean off, and then the same thing happened to the tailor. But their fear left them when, after he had finished his work, the old man clapped them both on the shoulder in a friendly manner, as much as to say, they had behaved well to let all that be done to them willingly, and without any struggle. He pointed with his finger to a heap of coals which lay at one side, and signified to the travellers by his gestures that they were to fill their pockets with them. Both of them obeyed, although they did not know of what use the coals would be to them, and then they went on their way to seek a shelter for the night. When they had got into the valley, the clock of the neighbouring monastery struck twelve, and the song ceased. In a moment all had vanished, and the hill lay in solitude in the moonlight.

The two travellers found an inn, and covered themselves up on their straw-beds with their coats, but in their weariness forgot to take the coals out of them before doing so. A heavy weight on their limbs awakened them earlier than usual. They felt in the pockets, and could not believe their eyes when they saw that they were not filled with coals, but with pure gold; happily, too, the hair of their heads and beards was there again as thick as ever.

They had now become rich folks, but the goldsmith, who, in accordance with his greedy disposition, had filled his pockets better, was as rich again as the tailor. A greedy man, even if he has much, still wishes to have more, so the goldsmith proposed to the tailor that they should wait another day, and go out again in the evening in order to bring back still greater treasures from the old man on the hill. The tailor refused, and said, "I have enough and am content; now I shall be a master, and marry my dear object (for so he called his sweetheart), and I am a happy man." But he stayed another day to please him. In the evening the goldsmith hung a couple of bags over his shoulders that he might be able to stow away a great deal, and took the road to the hill. He found, as on the night before, the little folks at their singing and dancing, and the old man again shaved him clean, and signed to him to take some coal away with him. He was not slow about sticking as much into his bags as would go, went back quite delighted, and covered himself over with his coat. "Even if the gold does weigh heavily," said he, "I will gladly bear that," and at last he fell asleep with the sweet anticipation of waking in the morning an enormously rich man.

When he opened his eyes, he got up in haste to examine his pockets, but how amazed he was when he drew nothing out of them but black coals, and that howsoever often he put his hands in them. "The gold I got the night before is still there for me," thought he, and went and brought it out, but how shocked he was when he saw that it likewise had again turned into coal. He smote his forehead with his dusty black hand, and then he felt that his whole head was bald and smooth, as was also the place where his beard should have been. But his misfortunes were not yet over; he now remarked for the first time that in addition to the hump on his back, a second, just as large, had grown in front on his breast. Then he recognized the punishment of his greediness, and began to weep aloud. The good tailor, who was wakened by this, comforted the unhappy fellow as well as he could, and said, "Thou hast been my comrade in my travelling time; thou shalt stay with me and share in my wealth." He kept his word, but the poor goldsmith was obliged to carry the two humps as long as he lived, and to cover his bald head with a cap.
仕立て屋と金細工師が一緒に旅をしていました。ある晩、太陽が山のかげに沈んでしまったとき、二人に遠くの音楽の音が聞こえてきて、だんだん音がはっきりしてきました。聞きなれない響きでしたが、とても楽しそうで、二人は疲れをすっかり忘れ、急いで先へ進みました。月がもう昇ってしまったころ、二人はある丘に着きました。その丘で、大勢の小人の男女がお互いの手をとって、とても楽しそうに喜んで踊り回っているのが見えました。小人たちは踊りに合わせてとてもすてきに歌っていて、二人の旅人が聞いた音楽はそれでした。小人たちの真ん中に他の人たちより背の高いおじいさんが座っていました。おじいさんはまだらの上着を着て、白いあごひげが胸の上までたれていました。二人は驚きのあまり立ったまま踊りを見ていました。おじいさんが二人に入るように合図をして、小人たちがすすんで輪を開けてくれました。金細工師は、こぶがあり、背中にこぶのある人が向う見ずなように、入っていきました。仕立て屋は初め少しこわくてひっこんでいましたが、みんなとても楽しそうなのを見ると、勇気を奮い起してあとをついていきました。輪はまたすぐ閉じ、小人たちは激しく跳びあがって歌ったり踊ったりし続けました。

ところがおじいさんはベルトに下げている大きなナイフをとり研いで、刃を十分鋭くすると、見知らぬ二人を見まわしました。二人はびくびくしましたが、あまり考えている暇はありませんでした。というのはおじいさんは金細工師をつかむとものすごい速さで頭の髪をつるつるに剃り落としたからです。それから同じことが仕立て屋にも起こりました。しかし、おじいさんが仕事を終えた後、二人がすすんでそれをやらせ、暴れなかったのは行儀がよかったぞ、とでも言うように二人の肩をやさしくたたいたので、二人はこわくなくなりました。おじいさんは片方にある石炭の山を指差し、ポケットにその石炭を詰めろと旅人に身振りで示しました。石炭が何の役に立つのか分かりませんでしたが、二人とも従いました。

そのあと二人は夜の宿を探して道を進みました。二人が谷に入ると、近くの修道院の時計が12時を打ちました。すると歌が止み、あっというまに全部消えてしまいました。そして丘は月明かりにひっそりとあるだけでした。

二人の旅人は宿を見つけ、わら布団に寝て上着で体をおおいましたが、疲れ果てていたのでそうするまえに上着から石炭をとるのを忘れました。手足に重さがかかって二人はいつもより早く目覚めました。ポケットの中を探ってみて、石炭ではなく純金でいっぱいなのを見て、自分の目が信じられませんでした。また幸いに頭の髪やあごひげも前と同じにふさふさになっていました。二人はもう金持ちになりましたが、金細工師の方が、欲張りな性格のとおり、ポケットに多く詰めていて、仕立て屋の2倍金持ちになりました。欲張りな男というのはたくさんあってももっと欲しがるもので、金細工師は仕立て屋に、もう一日待って、もう一度夜でかけて丘のじいさんからもっとたくさん宝をもらってこよう、と言いました。仕立て屋は断って、「これで十分で満足している。もう親方になってわが親愛なる人(と仕立て屋は恋人を呼んだのです)と結婚するよ。おれは幸せだ。」と言いました。

しかし、仕立て屋は金細工師に喜んでもらうためにもう一日とどまりました。夜になると、金細工師は、たくさん詰め込むことができるように肩に2,3袋をかけて、丘に続く道を行きました。前の夜と同じに、歌ったり踊ったりしている小人たちを見つけ、おじいさんはまた男の毛をつるつるに剃り、石炭をとるように合図しました。金細工師は、ためらうことなく早速、袋に入るだけたくさん詰め込み、すっかり喜んで戻り、上着で体をおおいました。「たとえ金が重くのしかかっても、喜んでがまんするよ。」と金細工師は言いました。そして、朝になったらものすごい大金持ちになって目覚めるんだという甘い期待を抱きながら、とうとう寝入りました。

目を開くと、急いで起きあがってポケットを調べました。しかし、何回手を入れても黒い石炭の他は何もポケットから引っ張り出せなかったときはなんと驚いたことでしょう。(前の晩にもらった金はまだそこにあるさ)と考え、行って持ってきました。しかし、それもまた元の石炭に変わっているのを見てどんなにおどろいたことでしょう。金細工師はほこりのついた黒い手で額を打ちました。そのとき自分の頭が全部毛がなくてつるつるなのに気づきました。ひげがあったところも同じでした。しかし災難はまだ終わりではありませんでした。いま初めて気づいたのですが、自分の背中のこぶに加えて、同じ大きさの2つ目のこぶが胸にできていました。それで、金細工師は自分の欲張りに罰がくだったのだとわかり、大声で泣き出しました。やさしい仕立て屋は、この泣き声で目を覚まし、できるだけこの不幸な男を慰め、「君は旅をしているときの仲間だ。僕と一緒にいて僕の財産を一緒に使おう。」と言いました。仕立て屋は約束を守りましたが、可哀そうな金細工師は死ぬまで二つのこぶをつけていなくてはならず、つるつる頭を帽子でおおっていなければなりませんでした。




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