日本語

兎とはりねずみ

ENGLISH

The hare and the hedgehog


この話は、ねえ、子供たち、どうも嘘みたいに思えるけど、本当の話なんだよ。だって、おじいさんからこの話を聞いたんだけど、おじいさんはこの話をしてくれるときいつも「息子や、それはきっと本当だよ、そうでないなら誰もお前に話せなかっただろうからね」と言ってたんだ。

話はこんなふうなんだよ。とり入れ時の日曜の朝、ちょうどそばの花が咲く時、太陽は空に明るく照って、東の風が切り株の上を暖かく吹いていました。ヒバリが空でさえずり、蜂はそばの間を飛びまわり、晴れ着を着た人たちがみんな教会へ行って、生きとし生けるものはみんな幸せでした。はりねずみも幸せでした。ところではりねずみは両手を腰にあてて戸口にたち、朝のそよ風を受けながら、ゆっくりと歌を口ずさんでいました。それは一般のはりねずみが日曜の朝いつも歌う歌より上手でも下手でもありませんでしたがね。

こうして半分声に出して歌っていたらふいに、かみさんが子供たちの体を洗ったり拭いたりしている間に畑へ歩いて行き、かぶがどんな様子かみてみようかな、と思いました。実はかぶは家のそばにあり、はりねずみ家族がそれをいつも食べていたので、自分のものだとみなしていました。思い立ったが吉日。はりねずみは家の戸を後ろ手に閉めて畑へ向かいました。家からあまり行かないうちに、かぶ畑へ入るため畑の外にあるスモモの茂みを回ったところで、同じような用事で、つまり、自分のキャベツを見に、出かけてきたうさぎに会いました。はりねずみはうさぎを見ると、お早うございます、と愛想良く言いました。

しかし、うさぎは、それなりに身分の高い紳士なのですが、恐ろしく横柄で、はりねずみの挨拶に返事をしないで、とても馬鹿にした態度をとって、「なんでこんなに朝早くここの畑で走り回ってるのかね?」と言いました。「散歩しているんですよ。」とはりねずみは言いました。「散歩?」とうさぎは笑いを浮かべて言いました。「君の脚はもっとましなことに使えそうだがね。」この言い草にはりねずみはひどく怒りました。というのははりねずみは何だって我慢できるのですが、脚のことを言われるのは我慢できないのです。なんせ生まれつき曲がっていますからね。そこで今度、はりねずみはうさぎに、「あんたは僕の脚より自分の脚の方が役に立つと思っているようだね。」と言いました。「まさにその通りだね。」とうさぎは言いました。

「それなら試してみようじゃないか」とはりねずみは言いました。「競走すれば僕が勝つ方に賭けるよ。」「そんな馬鹿な。お前の短い脚でか」とうさぎは言いました。「だけど、こっちの方は構わないよ。お前がそんなにひどくやりたいならね。何を賭けるかね?」「ルイドール金貨一枚とブランデー一本」とはりねずみは言いました。「結構だ。」とうさぎは言いました。「それで決まりだ。それじゃすぐに始めようぜ。」「いや」とはりねずみは言いました。「そんなに急ぐことはないよ。僕はまだ飯を食っていない。先に家に帰り、朝食を少し食べる。30分したらまたここに戻るよ。」このあとすぐ、はりねずみは帰っていきました。というのはうさぎがこの申し出にすっかり納得したからです。

家へ帰りながら、はりねずみは(うさぎは長い脚に頼っているが、こっちは頭を使って出し抜いてやる。あいつは偉い男かもしれないが、間抜けな野郎だ。言ったことに報いをうけてもらおうじゃないか。)と考えていました。

それではりねずみは家に着くと、おかみさんに言いました。「お前、早く服を着ろ、僕と一緒に畑へ行かなくちゃならないんだ。」「どうしたの?」とおかみさんはいいました。「うさぎとルイドル金貨一枚とブランデー一本で賭けをしたんだ。駆けっこの競走をすることになっている。それでお前がいなくてはだめなんだ。」「まあ、あなた」とおかみさんは叫びました。「頭がおかしいんじゃないの。すっかり分別を失くしちゃったの?一体なんでうさぎと競走したいと思うの?」「黙ってろ」とはりねずみは言いました。「これは僕の問題だ。男の問題に口出しするな。さあ服を着ておれと一緒に行くんだ。」おかみさんはどうしようもなく、いやおうなく亭主に従いました。

そうして二人が一緒に出かけた時、はりねずみはおかみさんに言いました。「いいか、おれが言うことをよく聞いてろよ。ほら、あの長い畑を競走のコースにするんだ。うさぎはひとつの溝を走る。それでやつがお前の反対側の溝の終わりに来たら、お前は『もう着いてるぞ』と叫ぶんだ。」そうして二人は畑に着き、はりねずみはおかみさんがいる場所を教え、自分は畑を上がっていきました。はりねずみが上に着くと、うさぎはもうそこに来ていました。「始めるか?」とウサギは言いました。

「いいとも。」とはりねずみは言いました。「じゃあ、すぐにな。」そう言ってそれぞれが自分の溝の位置につきました。うさぎが数え、一、二、三、で走りだし、畑をつむじ風のように駆け下りて行きました。ところがはりねずみは三歩だけ走り、あとは溝にしゃがみ込み、静かにそこにいました。それでうさぎが全速力で畑の下端に着くと、はりねずみのおかみさんが「もう着いてるぜ」という叫び声をあげてうさぎを迎えました。

うさぎはショックをうけ、少なからず不思議に思いました。うさぎは自分に呼びかけているのは他ならぬはりねずみ本人だと思ったのです。というのはおかみさんは亭主のはりねずみとそっくりだったからです。ところがうさぎは(これはどこかおかしい)と思い、「もう一度やろう」と叫びました。そしてもう一度嵐の中の風のようにびゅっと走ったので、飛んでいるように見えました。しかし、おかみさんは自分の位置に静かにいました。それで、うさぎが畑の上方に着いた時ははりねずみ本人が「もう着いてるぜ。」と叫びました。

ところが、うさぎは怒りですっかり我を忘れ、「もう一度やらなくちゃならん。もう一度走ろう。」と叫びました。「いいとも。」とはりねずみは答えました。「こっちは君が好きなだけ何回でも走っていいさ。」それでうさぎはそのあと73回走り、はりねずみはいつもうさぎに勝ち、うさぎが畑の上方か下方に着くたびに、はりねずみかおかみさんが「もう着いてるぜ」と言いました。しかし、74回目でうさぎはもうゴールできなくなりました。

畑の真ん中でうさぎは地面に倒れ、口から血が流れ出て、その場で死んでしまったのです。しかしはりねずみは勝ち取ったルイドール金貨とブランデーのびんを手にとり、おかみさんを呼んで溝から出し、二人いっしょに大喜びで家に帰りました。二人は死んでいなければまだそこに住んでいるはずです。これがはりねずみがうさぎとブックスフーデの荒れ野で駆けっこ競走をしてうさぎが死んだときの話です。ブックスフーデはハンブルグの近くの村です。それ以来、ブックスフーデのはりねずみと駆けっこをしたいと思ううさぎはいません。この話から教わることは、第一に、どんなに偉くても、目下の者を笑い者にしてはいけないということです。第二に、男が結婚するときは自分に見た目もそっくりで、同じ地位の妻を選ぶべきだということです。はりねずみは、はりねずみをおかみさんにするというふうにね。
This story, my dear young folks, seems to be false, but it really is true, for my grandfather, from whom I have it, used always, when relating it, to say complacently, "It must be true, my son, or else no one could tell it to you." The story is as follows. One Sunday morning about harvest time, just as the buckwheat was in bloom, the sun was shining brightly in heaven, the east wind was blowing warmly over the stubble-fields, the larks were singing in the air, the bees buzzing among the buckwheat, the people were all going in their Sunday clothes to church, and all creatures were happy, and the hedgehog was happy too.
The hedgehog, however, was standing by his door with his arms akimbo, enjoying the morning breezes, and slowly trilling a little song to himself, which was neither better nor worse than the songs which hedgehogs are in the habit of singing on a blessed Sunday morning. Whilst he was thus singing half aloud to himself, it suddenly occurred to him that, while his wife was washing and drying the children, he might very well take a walk into the field, and see how his turnips were going on. The turnips were, in fact, close beside his house, and he and his family were accustomed to eat them, for which reason he looked upon them as his own. No sooner said than done. The hedgehog shut the house-door behind him, and took the path to the field. He had not gone very far from home, and was just turning round the sloe-bush which stands there outside the field, to go up into the turnip-field, when he observed the hare who had gone out on business of the same kind, namely, to visit his cabbages. When the hedgehog caught sight of the hare, he bade him a friendly good morning. But the hare, who was in his own way a distinguished gentleman, and frightfully haughty, did not return the hedgehog's greeting, but said to him, assuming at the same time a very contemptuous manner, "How do you happen to be running about here in the field so early in the morning?" - "I am taking a walk," said the hedgehog. "A walk!" said the hare, with a smile. "It seems to me that you might use your legs for a better purpose." This answer made the hedgehog furiously angry, for he can bear anything but an attack on his legs, just because they are crooked by nature. So now the hedgehog said to the hare, "You seem to imagine that you can do more with your legs than I with mine." - "That is just what I do think," said the hare. "That can be put to the test," said the hedgehog. "I wager that if we run a race, I will outstrip you." - "That is ridiculous! You with your short legs!" said the hare, "but for my part I am willing, if you have such a monstrous fancy for it. What shall we wager?" - "A golden louis-d'or and a bottle of brandy," said the hedgehog. "Done," said the hare. "Shake hands on it, and then we may as well come off at once." - "Nay," said the hedgehog, "there is no such great hurry! I am still fasting, I will go home first, and have a little breakfast. In half-an-hour I will be back again at this place."

Hereupon the hedgehog departed, for the hare was quite satisfied with this. On his way the hedgehog thought to himself, "The hare relies on his long legs, but I will contrive to get the better of him. He may be a great man, but he is a very silly fellow, and he shall pay for what he has said." So when the hedgehog reached home, he said to his wife, "Wife, dress thyself quickly, thou must go out to the field with me." - "What is going on, then?" said his wife. "I have made a wager with the hare, for a gold louis-d'or and a bottle of brandy. I am to run a race with him, and thou must be present." - "Good heavens, husband," the wife now cried, "art thou not right in thy mind, hast thou completely lost thy wits? What can make thee want to run a race with the hare?" - "Hold thy tongue, woman," said the hedgehog, "that is my affair. Don't begin to discuss things which are matters for men. Be off, dress thyself, and come with me." What could the hedgehog's wife do? She was forced to obey him, whether she liked it or not.

So when they had set out on their way together, the hedgehog said to his wife, "Now pay attention to what I am going to say. Look you, I will make the long field our race-course. The hare shall run in one furrow, and I in another, and we will begin to run from the top. Now all that thou hast to do is to place thyself here below in the furrow, and when the hare arrives at the end of the furrow, on the other side of thee, thou must cry out to him, 'I am here already!'"

Then they reached the field, and the hedgehog showed his wife her place, and then walked up the field. When he reached the top, the hare was already there. "Shall we start?" said the hare. "Certainly," said the hedgehog. "Then both at once." So saying, each placed himself in his own furrow. The hare counted, "Once, twice, thrice, and away!" and went off like a whirlwind down the field. The hedgehog, however, only ran about three paces, and then he stooped down in the furrow, and stayed quietly where he was. When the hare therefore arrived in full career at the lower end of the field, the hedgehog's wife met him with the cry, "I am here already!" The hare was shocked and wondered not a little, he thought no other than that it was the hedgehog himself who was calling to him, for the hedgehog's wife looked just like her husband. The hare, however, thought to himself, "That has not been done fairly," and cried, "It must be run again, let us have it again." And once more he went off like the wind in a storm, so that he seemed to fly. But the hedgehog's wife stayed quietly in her place. So when the hare reached the top of the field, the hedgehog himself cried out to him, "I am here already." The hare, however, quite beside himself with anger, cried, "It must be run again, we must have it again." - "All right," answered the hedgehog, "for my part we'll run as often as you choose." So the hare ran seventy-three times more, and the hedgehog always held out against him, and every time the hare reached either the top or the bottom, either the hedgehog or his wife said, "I am here already."

At the seventy-fourth time, however, the hare could no longer reach the end. In the middle of the field he fell to the ground, blood streamed out of his mouth, and he lay dead on the spot. But the hedgehog took the louis-d'or which he had won and the bottle of brandy, called his wife out of the furrow, and both went home together in great delight, and if they are not dead, they are living there still.

This is how it happened that the hedgehog made the hare run races with him on the Buxtehuder heath till he died, and since that time no hare has ever had any fancy for running races with a Buxtehuder hedgehog.

The moral of this story, however, is, firstly, that no one, however great he may be, should permit himself to jest at any one beneath him, even if he be only a hedgehog. And, secondly, it teaches, that when a man marries, he should take a wife in his own position, who looks just as he himself looks. So whosoever is a hedgehog let him see to it that his wife is a hedgehog also, and so forth.




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