ENGLISH

The boots of buffalo-leather

日本語

水牛の革の長靴


A soldier who is afraid of nothing, troubles himself about nothing. One of this kind had received his discharge, and as he had learnt no trade and could earn nothing, he travelled about and begged alms of kind people. He had an old waterproof on his back, and a pair of riding-boots of buffalo-leather which were still left to him. One day he was walking he knew not where, straight out into the open country, and at length came to a forest. He did not know where he was, but saw sitting on the trunk of a tree, which had been cut down, a man who was well dressed and wore a green shooting-coat. The soldier shook hands with him, sat down on the grass by his side, and stretched out his legs. "I see thou hast good boots on, which are well blacked," said he to the huntsman; "but if thou hadst to travel about as I have, they would not last long. Look at mine, they are of buffalo-leather, and have been worn for a long time, but in them I can go through thick and thin." After a while the soldier got up and said, "I can stay no longer, hunger drives me onwards; but, Brother Bright-boots, where does this road lead to?" - "I don't know that myself," answered the huntsman, "I have lost my way in the forest." - "Then thou art in the same plight as I," said the soldier; "birds of a feather flock together, let us remain together, and seek our way." The huntsman smiled a little, and they walked on further and further, until night fell. "We do not get out of the forest," said the soldier, "but there in the distance I see a light shining, which will help us to something to eat." They found a stone house, knocked at the door, and an old woman opened it. "We are looking for quarters for the night," said the soldier, "and some lining for our stomachs, for mine is as empty as an old knapsack." - "You cannot stay here," answered the old woman; "this is a robber's house, and you would do wisely to get away before they come home, or you will be lost." - "It won't be so bad as that," answered the soldier, "I have not had a mouthful for two days, and whether I am murdered here or die of hunger in the forest is all the same to me. I shall go in." The huntsman would not follow, but the soldier drew him in with him by the sleeve. "Come, my dear brother, we shall not come to an end so quickly as that!" The old woman had pity on them and said, "Creep in here behind the stove, and if they leave anything, I will give it to you on the sly when they are asleep." Scarcely were they in the corner before twelve robbers came bursting in, seated themselves at the table which was already laid, and vehemently demanded some food. The old woman brought in some great dishes of roast meat, and the robbers enjoyed that thoroughly. When the smell of the food ascended the nostrils of the soldier, he said to the huntsman, "I cannot hold out any longer, I shall seat myself at the table, and eat with them." thou wilt bring us to destruction," said the huntsman, and held him back by the arm. But the soldier began to cough loudly. When the robbers heard that, they threw away their knives and forks, leapt up, and discovered the two who were behind the stove. "Aha, gentlemen, are you in the corner?" cried they, "What are you doing here? Have you been sent as spies? Wait a while, and you shall learn how to fly on a dry bough." - "But do be civil," said the soldier, "I am hungry, give me something to eat, and then you can do what you like with me." The robbers were astonished, and the captain said, "I see that thou hast no fear; well, thou shalt have some food, but after that thou must die." - "We shall see," said the soldier, and seated himself at the table, and began to cut away valiantly at the roast meat. "Brother Brightboots, come and eat," cried he to the huntsman; "thou must be as hungry as I am, and cannot have better roast meat at home," but the huntsman would not eat. The robbers looked at the soldier in astonishment, and said, "The rascal uses no ceremony." After a while he said, "I have had enough food, now get me something good to drink." The captain was in the mood to humour him in this also, and called to the old woman, "Bring a bottle out of the cellar, and mind it be of the best." The soldier drew the cork out with a loud noise, and then went with the bottle to the huntsman and said, "Pay attention, brother, and thou shalt see something that will surprise thee; I am now going to drink the health of the whole clan." Then he brandished the bottle over the heads of the robbers, and cried, "Long life to you all, but with your mouths open and your right hands lifted up," and then he drank a hearty draught. Scarcely were the words said than they all sat motionless as if made of stone, and their mouths were open and their right hands stretched up in the air. The huntsman said to the soldier, "I see that thou art acquainted with tricks of another kind, but now come and let us go home." - "Oho, my dear brother, but that would be marching away far too soon; we have conquered the enemy, and must first take the booty. Those men there are sitting fast, and are opening their mouths with astonishment, but they will not be allowed to move until I permit them. Come, eat and drink." The old woman had to bring another bottle of the best wine, and the soldier would not stir until he had eaten enough to last for three days. At last when day came, he said, "Now it is time to strike our tents, and that our march may be a short one, the old woman shall show us the nearest way to the town." When they had arrived there, he went to his old comrades, and said, "Out in the forest I have found a nest full of gallows' birds, come with me and we will take it." The soldier led them, and said to the huntsman, "Thou must go back again with me to see how they shake when we seize them by the feet." He placed the men round about the robbers, and then he took the bottle, drank a mouthful, brandished it above them, and cried, "Live again." Instantly they all regained the power of movement, but were thrown down and bound hand and foot with cords. Then the soldier ordered them to be thrown into a cart as if they had been so many sacks, and said, "Now drive them straight to prison." The huntsman, however, took one of the men aside and gave him another commission besides. "Brother Bright-boots," said the soldier, "we have safely routed the enemy and been well fed, now we will quietly walk behind them as if we were stragglers!" When they approached the town, the soldier saw a crowd of people pouring through the gate of the town who were raising loud cries of joy, and waving green boughs in the air. Then he saw that the entire body-guard was coming up. "What can this mean?" said he to the huntsman. "Dost thou not know?" he replied, "that the King has for a long time been absent from his kingdom, and that to-day he is returning, and every one is going to meet him." - "But where is the King?" said the soldier, "I do not see him." - "Here he is," answered the huntsman, "I am the King, and have announced my arrival." Then he opened his hunting-coat, and his royal garments were visible. The soldier was alarmed, and fell on his knees and begged him to forgive him for having in his ignorance treated him as an equal, and spoken to him by such a name. But the King shook hands with him, and said, "Thou art a brave soldier, and hast saved my life. Thou shalt never again be in want, I will take care of thee. And if ever thou wouldst like to eat a piece of roast meat, as good as that in the robber's house, come to the royal kitchen. But if thou wouldst drink a health, thou must first ask my permission."
恐れを知らない兵士は何事にもくよくよしません。こういう兵士の一人がお払い箱になって、何の手仕事も習いおぼえておらず何も稼げなかったので、あちこち旅をして親切な人たちの施しを求めました。背には古い雨合羽をまとい、まだ残っていた水牛の皮の乗馬靴を履いていました。

ある日、どこへ行くともなく野原をまっすぐ歩いていくと、とうとう森にやってきました。自分がどこにいるのかわからなかったのですが、立派な身なりをして緑の猟師の上着を着た男が、切り倒された木の幹に座っているのが見えました。兵士は男と握手してそばの草に腰を下ろし、脚を伸ばしました。「あんたはいい長靴を履いてるね。よく磨いてあるよ。」と兵士は猟師に言いました。「だけどおれのようにあちこち歩き回らなければいけないなら、その靴は長持ちしないだろうな。おれのを見てみろよ。水牛の皮でできてるんだ。長いこと履いてるんだが、これを履いてどんなところでも行けるんだ。」 しばらくして兵士は立ち上がり、「もういられないな。腹が減ってるから先へ行かなくちゃ。だけど、ピカピカ長靴の兄さん、この道はどこに行くのかね?」と言いました。「私にもわからないんだ」と猟師は答えました。「私は森で道に迷ったんだ。」「それじゃあ、あんたもおれと同じなんだな。」と兵士は言いました。「類は友を呼ぶ、一緒にいて道を探そうぜ。」猟師は少し笑いました。

二人はどんどん歩いていき、やがて夜になってしまいました。「森から出ないな。だけど向こうに明かりが光っているぞ。あそこで食べ物を見つけられるだろう。」と兵士は言いました。 二人は石の家を見つけ、戸をたたくと、おばあさんが戸を開けました。「おれたちは泊るところをさがしているんだ。」と兵士は言いました。「それから腹の足しになるものもね。なんせ、おれの腹は古い背のうみたいに空っぽなもんだから。」「ここに泊れないよ。」とおばあさんは答えました。「これは強盗の家だよ。連中が帰ってくる前に行っちまう方が賢いよ。さもないと命がないよ。」「それほどひどくないさ。」と兵士は答えました。「二日間何も食ってないんだ。ここでやられようが森で飢え死にしようがおれにとっちゃおんなじだよ。おれは入れてもらうぜ。」猟師はついていこうとしませんでしたが、兵士は袖を引っ張って一緒に猟師を引き入れました。「来いよ、兄さん、そんなにすぐには死なないだろうよ。」おばあさんは二人が可哀そうになり、「ここのストーブのかげにもぐっていなさいよ。連中が何か残したら、眠ってからこっそりあんたたちにやるから。」と言いました。

二人がすみに行った途端12人の強盗たちがどさどさ入ってきて、もう用意のできた食卓に座り、食べ物を持ってこいと怒鳴り散らしました。おばあさんが焼き肉の大皿を持って行くと強盗たちはうまそうに食べました。兵士は食べ物の匂いをかぐと猟師に言いました。「もう我慢できない。おれも座って一緒に食うよ。」「そんなことしたら殺されるぞ。」と猟師は言って、兵士の腕を抑えました。しかし兵士は大きな咳をし始めました。強盗たちはそれを聞くとナイフとフォークを放り出してパッと立ち上がり、ストーブのかげにいた二人を見つけてしまいました。

「おやおや、お二方、すみにいたんですかい?」と強盗たちは叫びました。「ここで何をしてるんだ?探りに来たのかい?ちょっと待ってろ、吊るし首にしてやるから。」「だけど礼儀にかなって願いますよ。」と兵士は言いました。「おれは腹が減ってるんだ。何か食わせてくれ。そのあと好きなようにすればいいよ。」強盗たちはびっくりしました。親分が、「お前は恐れを知らないと見える。そうだな、食べ物をやろう。だがそのあとで死ななくちゃいけないぞ。」と言いました。「どうなるかな」と兵士は言い、食卓に座り、勇ましく焼き肉を切り分けました。「ピカピカ長靴の兄さん、こっちへ来て食えよ。」と兵士は猟師に叫びました。「あんただっておれと同じく腹ペコだろ。家でこんなうまい焼き肉は食えないぜ。」しかし、猟師は食べようとしませんでした。強盗たちは兵士を驚いてながめ、「はっきりした野郎だぜ」と言いました。

しばらくして兵士は、「十分食ったな。今度はうまい飲み物をくれよ。」と言いました。親分はこれにも調子を合わせ、おばあさんに「地下室から一本もってこい。上等のやつをな。」と言いました。兵士は大きな音を立てて栓を抜き、ビンをもったまま猟師のところに行って「見てろよ。びっくりするものを見せてやるからな。おれはこれからやつらの健康を祝して飲むんだ。」と言いました。それから強盗たちの頭の上にビンを振りかざし、叫びました。「みんな長生きしろよ、だが、口を開け、右手を挙げろ」それからたっぷり一気に飲みました。

その言葉を言った途端、強盗たちはみな石でできているかのように動かなくなり、口を開け、右手が高く伸びました。猟師は兵士に、「別の芸当も知っているとは思うんだが、もう家へ帰ろう。」と言いました。「ほー、兄さん、だけど出かけるには早すぎるだろうよ。敵をやっつけたんだ。まず戦利品をとらなくちゃな。こいつら、口をびっくりして開いてしっかり座ってるぜ。だけどおれがいいって言うまで動けないさ。来いよ。食べて飲もう。」おばあさんに言って最上のワインをもうひと瓶持って来て貰い、3日はもつだろうと思うほど食べてしまうまで動こうとしませんでした。とうとう夜が明け、兵士は、「そろそろテントをたたむ時だな。長く歩かなくていいようにばあさんに町へでる近道を教えてもらおう。」と言いました。

町へ着くと、兵士は昔の仲間のところへ行き、「あっちの森で悪党どもの巣を見つけたんだ。おれと一緒に来てくれ。つかまえよう。」と言いました。兵士はみんなを案内し、猟師に「やつらの足をつかんだらどんなにばたばたするか見るから、あんたもまた戻らなくてはならない。」と言いました。兵士は強盗たちのまわりに仲間を配置して、それからビンを持って一口飲み、強盗たちの上に振りかざして、叫びました。「みんな長生きしろよ。」途端に強盗たちは動く力を取り戻しましたが、投げ倒されて、手足を綱で縛られました。それから兵士は、強盗たちをまるで袋のように車に投げ込ませて、「さあ、牢獄へまっすぐ連れて行け。」と言いました。ところで、猟師は男たちの一人を脇に呼んで、別の仕事も頼みました。

「ピカピカ長靴の兄さん」と兵士は言いました。「敵は無事に一掃したし、腹はいっぱいになった。もう仲間とはぐれたみたいにしてゆっくりあとから歩いていこう。」町に近づくと、たくさんの人が町の門からあふれでてきて、喜びの叫び声をあげ、緑の枝を振っているのが見えました。それから、近衛兵の一団が近づいてくるのが兵士に見えました。「いったいこれは何だ?」と兵士は猟師に言いました。「知らないのか?」と猟師は答えました。「王様は長い間国にいなかったんだ。それが今日戻ってくるんだ。それでみんな出迎えているわけさ。」「だけど王様はどこにいるんだ?」と兵士は言いました。「おれには見えないよ。」「ここにいるさ。」と猟師は答えました。「わたしが王だ。到着を知らせておいたんだよ。」そうして王様が猟師の上着を開いてみせると、王家の服が中に見えました。兵士はびっくりして膝まづくと、知らないこととはいえ、王様を同じ身分の者として扱い、あんなふうな名前で呼んでもうしわけございませんでした、と許しを願いました。しかし王様は兵士と握手して言いました。「お前は勇敢な兵士だ。私の命を救ってくれた。これからは不自由な思いをさせまいぞ。わしがお前の面倒をみよう。強盗の家で食べたようなうまい焼き肉を食べたくなったら、王室の台所にくるがよい。だが、健康を祝して飲むなら、先ずわしの許しを得なくてはならぬぞ。」




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