Danger! Danger! Translation in Progress

This is the unblog. I will post a translation of a short story little by little. This is the first draft. Warts and all.

This story recounts the Ako Incident from the perspective of the wife of Onodera Junai, one of the 47 Ronin.

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小野寺十内の妻

吉川英治

The Wife of Onodera Junai

Yoshikawa Eiji

 思い出もいまは古い、小紋《こもん》の小切れやら、更紗《さらさ》の襤褸《つづれ》や、赤い縮緬《ちりめん》の片袖など、貼板《はりいた》の面には、彼女の丹精が、細々《こまごま》と綴《つづ》られて、それは貼《は》るそばから、春の陽に乾きかけていた。

「この小紋も、はや二十年ほどになろう。良人《おっと》の十内《じゅうない》様が、江戸詰のおもどりに、長《なが》の留守居の褒美《ほうび》ぞと、お土産に買うて下されたもの。性《しょう》の抜けるほど、よう着た上、解いて頭巾《ずきん》になおしたり、お母様の胴着にもしたり……」

1

The memory was old now. Her picture of fine-patterned scraps, rags of printed cotton, and a sleeve of red crepe were meticulously sewn onto the surface of a fulling board. It was a picture of spring soba noodles curing in the spring sun.

"This pattern may be twenty years old. When Junai returned as a low-ranking Edo samurai. He bought me this souvenir as a reward to the wife who endured his long absence. Out of character, I wore it. I untied and fashioned it into a hood, and you Mother also wore it as a vest …"

 彼女は何かを楽しむように、貼り交ぜた小切れの数々をながめていた。十九の頃、いまの良人の十内に嫁《とつ》いだときの物すらある。小野寺家《おのでらけ》の新妻として、まだ客にも羞恥《はじろ》うていた時分の自分のすがたなど、思い出されて来る。

「おや、お母様。ほほほほ、お縁側から落ちるといけませんよ。御退屈なさいましたか」

 庭さきから、ふと、陽あたりのよい小書院の縁をふり顧《かえ》って、丹女《たんじょ》はあわてて、そこにいる老母のそばへ、起しに行った。

She looked with delight at the numerous, small pasted scraps. There were ones from when she was nineteen and married her husband Junai. She recalled her figure at that time when she was still bashful before guests as the new bride in the Onodera family.

"Oh, Mother. Ha, ha, ha, don't fall off the veranda. Are you bored?"

Tanjo glanced back at the edge of the small, sunny drawing room from the garden and hurried to the side of the old woman to wake her up.

 良人の老母は、ことしもう九十であった。——嫁よ、嫁よ、と呼ばれている丹女ですら、十内と添ってから三十余年、五十をすこし越えていた。

(わたくしが貼物《はりもの》をしているあいだ、ここのお蒲団《ふとん》にすわって、お花見をしておいで遊ばせ。東山《ひがしやま》や清水《きよみず》のあたりの山桜が、ここからちょうどよく眺められますから)

 と、子をあやす[#「あやす」に傍点]ように、老母の退屈をなだめて、茶や菓子なども、その側へおいて、時々、庭さきと縁側とで、話しながら貼物をしていたのであったが、いつか老母は、快《こころよ》げにそこで居眠りをしていたのだった。

Her husband's aged mother turned ninety that year. The woman who called Tanjo "Daughter" came with Junai over thirty years ago when she was a little older than fifty.

"While I am fulling, sit here on the futon and look at the cherry blossoms. The wild mountain cherry blossoms on Higashiyama and Kiyomizu can be seen from here."

She talked to her aged mother-in-law as if humoring a child to alleviate her boredom and placed tea and candy beside her. Sometimes, she fulled cloth while talking from the garden or the veranda, but the old woman always nodded off with a pleasant look on her face.

 眼をさますと、老母は、わけもなく笑って、 「嫁女《よめじょ》、十内はまだ帰りませぬか」  と、訊ねた。

「まだ、お戻りになりませぬが」  と彼女が答えると、

「今朝にかぎって、朝餉《あさげ》もひとりで済ませ、どこへ行ったのであろ? ……あの子は」  と、つぶやいた。

 九十の母から、いまもって、あの子はあの子はと呼ばれている丹女の良人は——小野寺十内といい、赤穂《あこう》の臣で百五十石、現職は京都留守役、年はことし五十九であった。

When she woke up, the old woman would smile for no reason and ask, "Daughter, has Junai come home?"

When she answered, "No, not yet," the old woman muttered, "Only this morning, he ate breakfast alone. Where could he have gone? … Oh, that boy."

Even now, the ninety-year-old mother called Tanjo's husband "that boy." His name was Onodera Junai. He was an Ako vassal worth 150 koku, held the post of ambassador to Kyoto, and was fifty-nine years old.

 たいがいな藩の留守役というものは、交際上、派手《はで》で門戸を張って、家族の生活までが、都風に化されていたが、小野寺家は、京の町中にありながら、殆ど、郷土《いなか》の風をそのまま、一|儒者《じゅしゃ》の住居ぐらいな小門と籬《まがき》の中に、ただ清潔と簡素を誇って暮していた。

「幸右衛門《こうえもん》様。……幸右衛門様は……?」

 と、いまそこの門を、息喘《いきき》って駈けこみながら、玄関へは訪《おとな》わず、家の横を、見まわしている娘があった。

2

Beyond diplomacy, the post of ambassador to another clan meant living in a fine house and even gave family life to a cosmopolitan flair. While the Onodera family lived in a town in the capital, they lived for the most part as they did back home. They lived with purity and simplicity in a small residence inside a bamboo fence like the abode of a Confucian scholar.

"Koemon-sama. … Koemon-sama?" called out a young woman as she ran breathing heavily through the gate and without stopping at the entryway ran to the side of the house while looking around.

 年老った仲間《ちゅうげん》の惣兵衛というのが、風呂桶へ水を汲みこんでいたが、

「お、お稲《いね》様か。……若旦那はそこのお書斎《しょさい》にいらっしゃいますよ」

 と、何か心得顔にうす笑いしながら教えた。

 お稲の声を知ると、幸右衛門はすぐ書斎をあけて濡《ぬ》れ縁《えん》に出て来た。幸右衛門はここの養子だった。小野寺十内の姉が嫁《とつ》いだ先の大高家《おおたかけ》に生れ、生家は兄の源吾《げんご》がつぎ、次男の彼は、叔父にあたる十内の養子となって、まだ部屋住《へやずみ》の身であった。

The elderly attendant Sobei filling the bath with water smiled and gave her a knowing look when he said, "Ine-sama? … The young master is in the study over there."

When he heard Ine's voice, Koemon immediately went up to the study and out to the open veranda. Koemon was the adopted son and heir at this house. He was born into the Otaka family that Onodera Junai's sister married into. In his birth family, his older brother Gengo was the heir, then he as the next brother became his Uncle Junai's adopted son and still lived here with his parents.



「何か、世間で、騒々しいうわさをしていますが、幸右衛門様は、まだ何もお聞きになりませんか」

 駈けて来たせいもあろうが、お稲の顔いろこそ、血の色に躁《さわ》いでいた。声を嚥《の》み、動悸《どうき》を抑えながら、告げるのだった。

「——ゆうべも、また今朝も、赤穂のほうへ、浅野家の方たちが、早駕《はやかご》にのって、次々に急いで行ったとやらで、町の衆が、いろいろ噂をしておりますが」

 お稲は、二条に住む歌人|金勝千秋《かねかつちあき》の娘だった。十内も妻の丹女も、風雅のたしなみがあるので、歌の会、茶の莚《えん》など、折々に招きあっている。——幸右衛門とお稲とも、その風交のあいだに知り初《そ》めただけのきれいな交わりに過ぎなかったが、それに恥じないにせよ、どっちの家も厳格なので、やはり葉がくれの花のように、人目は惧《おそ》れあっていた。

"What, Koemon-sama? A wild rumor is spreading throughout the world, but you still haven't heard?"

Ine's face was flushed probably from running and working up her blood. She gasped out her words as she caught her breath and settled her heartbeat.

"Last night and again this morning, people from the Asano clan rode fast palanquins and hurried one after the other to Ako. The townspeople are passing around many rumors."

Ine was the daughter of Kanekatsu Chiaki, a singer living in Nijo. Both Junai and his wife Tanjo had refined tastes and occasionally invited her for musical salons and tea parties. Koemon and Ine had done nothing more than exchange pleasantries and only beginning to get to know each other. Both families were strict and said, "Don't be an embarrasment." Like a flower hidden by a leaf, they avoided being seen.

「えっ、浅野家の早打ちが?」

 思い当る事があるらしく、幸右衛門がこう緊張を眸《ひとみ》に見せたとき、玄関の方で、養父の十内の声がした。

「あっ、養父《ちち》が帰って来た」

 出迎えに立つと、それを機《しお》に、お稲もすぐ帰って行った。もっと、訊ねもし、語りもしたい思いは、もちろんお互いにいっぱいだったが——。

"Hey, has an urgent message arrived from the Asano clan?" called out his adoptive father Junai from the entryway. Koemon noticed his nervous appearance like he something just came to mind.

"Ah, Father's back," said Koemon and went to greet him. Ine took this opportunity to promptly go home. She thought they had many questions and other reasons to talk in the future.


 常と少しも変りのない十内であったが、帰るとすぐ、

「於丹《おたん》、茶漬をくりゃれ」

 と、午《ひる》の食事を求め、

「ついでに、弁当をふたつ、調《ととの》えておけ」

 と、いいつけた。

「はい」

 と、丹女は、膳ごしらえに、すぐ台所へ入った。——良人の唐突《とうとつ》ないいつけに対しても、なぜ? とか、何しに? とか云うような問いは、良人から打明けられない限り、諄《くど》くは訊かないことが、この家《や》の慣《なら》わしであった。

3

Junai had not changed one bit from normal, right after coming home he asked for lunch, "Tanjo, tea over rice please. And prepare two bento boxes."

"All right."

Tanjo went to the kitchen to prepare a tray. The custom in this home was she did not ask her husband tedious questions like, Why do you need this? What are you up to? when he could not tell her.







(——云うにも云えぬ、公《おおやけ》の場合もある。男の肚《はら》というものもある。告げてよい事なら元より告げるが、語らぬことは、良人を信じて、自然、分って来る日なり、語れる日まで問わぬがいい)

 もう三十年も前、ここへ嫁《とつ》いで来たときに云われたことばを、その通り守って、その通り信じ合って、少しも疑いというものをその間に抱き合わずに来た夫婦である。

「於丹《おたん》、母上はどちらか」

「いま、お昼寝を遊ばしていらっしゃいます」

Some things are not spoken about openly. There is also a man's courage. If something can be told, it is told from the beginning. She had faith in her husband about what was left unsaid. Naturally, the day of understanding would come and nothing mattered until the day he could speak.

Over thirty years ago, the words spoken when the couple married were to protect and to trust each other. In this couple, one never embraced even the slightest doubt about the other.

"Tanji, where is Mother?"

"She's napping."

「そうか。……小袖、割羽織、脚絆《きゃはん》など、旅用のもの、そこへ揃えてくれい」

「お旅立ちでございますか」

「ウむむ。……急にの、お国許《くにもと》まで」

「幸右衛門をお連れ遊ばしますか。それとも、お供はやはり若党《わかとう》の佐平を」

「そうだな?」と、ふと考えこむふうであったが——「佐平にしよう。……幸右衛門をこれへ呼んでくれい」

 旅仕度をすましたところへ、幸右衛門が来た。その幸右衛門へも、妻の丹女へも、

「留守をたのむぞ。——仔細《しさい》は追々と、また便りするであろう」

 と、云ったのみである。

"All right. … Please pack my travel clothes, a short-sleeved, quilted kimono, haori jacket, and leggings."

"You're going on a trip?"

"Uh-huh. … I'm making a quick trip back home."

"Will Koemon be going with you? And your attendant will be the young samurai Sahei."

"I'm not sure," he said and was soon in deep thought, "Yes, he will be Sahei. … Please call Koemon here."

Koemon came as the travel preparations were nearly done. Junai only spoke to Koemon and his wife Tanjo, "I will be gone for a while. I will send the details by post as I gather more information."




 着《き》がえの帷子《かたびら》一枚、鎗《やり》一筋《ひとすじ》、鎧《よろい》一|領《りょう》——それだけを、供に担《にな》わせて、十内は、もういちど老母の部屋を窺《うかが》ってみた。

「よくおやすみらしい」

 つぶやきながら、十内は、襖《ふすま》の外に坐って、両手をつかえた。そして、

「行って参りまする」

 と、礼儀をして立った。高齢九十の老母は何も知らず熟睡《うまい》していた。

A clothes change of one thin kimono, a spear, and a suit of armor were carried by the attendant. Junai peeked into his mother's room one more time and whispered, "You seem to be fast asleep."

Junai sat outside the sliding partition and placed both hands on the ground, politely said, "Goodbye for now," and left. His elderly ninety-year-old mother was unaware of him and sound asleep.





 実に、不意も不意。

 鎗一筋、鎧一領を携《たずさ》えて、いかにも清々《すがすが》と立ってゆく良人の影を、門辺《かどべ》に佇《たたず》んで見送りながら、丹女の頬には春の世間をよそに、一すじの涙がわれ知らず流れていた。

「——武士の妻が」

 と、身に云い聞かせて、彼女はあわてて、家の中へかくれた。

In fact, this was unforeseen.

The shadow of her husband going away carrying his spear and armor was somehow invigorating. As she lingered near the gate to see him off, away from the world of springtime, a stream of tears instinctively flowed down Tanjo's cheek. "I'm a samurai's wife," she said and feeling distressed hid in the house.



 この日から、京都はおろか日本中が、江戸城中に起っていた稀有《けう》な大変事のうわさに持ちきっていた。

 浅野内匠頭《あさのたくみのかみ》の切腹も、忽ち伝わった。吉良家《きらけ》の混乱ぶりがなお話題になる。とりわけて、この後、浅野家の遺臣が、どうするか、赤穂城が、どうなるか、世間の耳目《じもく》は、挙げてその動向にそそがれていた。

「お宅様でも、どんなにお驚きなすったことかと、寔《まこと》にはや、胆《きも》がつぶれました。旦那様にも、即日、赤穂へお立ちとやら……。御内儀《ごないぎ》様の御心痛のほども、ほんとに、心から、お察し申しておりまする」

 訪《と》う人ごとに、留守の丹女は、こう見舞われた。

From that day on, Kyoto became the center of Japan, and conversations were only about a rare, serious incident that took place in Edo Castle.

Word of seppuku by Asano Takumi-no-kami spread immediately. The topic of conversation became the chaos that broke out in the Kira clan. What will the surviving retainers in the Asano clan do? What will happen to Ako Castle? These were the sorts of questions that flowed into the ears of the public.

Each visitor who came to see Tanjo, the wife of the chamberlain residing in Kyoto, would say, "This must have come as a surprise to you? It has all happened so fast. And your courage must be brittle. If your husband left for Ako on the same day …. From my heart, I truly feel your pain as his wife."

  • 小野寺十内の妻
  • 著者名: 吉川英治
  • 入力:川山隆
  • 校正:雪森
  • 翻訳者:シェリー・マーシャル
  • The Wife of Onodera Junai (in Japanese)
  • Author: Yoshikawa Eiji
  • Input by: Kawayama Takashi
  • Revised by: Yukimori
  • Translated by: Shelley Marshall
© 2019 Shelley Marshall