August 14, 2016

The Tomb of the Wild Chrysanthemum, by Ito Sachio

Written in 1906.

The Japanese text is in the public domain and was copied from here.

The story is variously known by other names in adaptations and translations such as:

The following English translation was generated using a generative pre-trained transformer (GPT). I have done a single pass to find obvious mistakes and made corrections. This is not a proper translation and probably contains errors. I could not find an English translation available online, so this may be considered the closest available substitute to a proper translation, for English readers wishing to know this story, and Japanese language learners wishing to supplement their understanding of the original text.

日本語 English


The Tomb of the Wild Chrysanthemum

伊藤左千夫 by Ito Sachio
後の月という時分が来ると、どうも思わずには居られない。幼い訣とは思うが何分にも忘れることが出来ない。もはや十年余も過去った昔のことであるから、細かい事実は多くは覚えて居ないけれど、心持だけは今なお昨日の如く、その時の事を考えてると、全く当時の心持に立ち返って、涙が留めどなく湧くのである。悲しくもあり楽しくもありというような状態で、忘れようと思うこともないではないが、寧ろ繰返し繰返し考えては、夢幻的の興味を貪って居る事が多い。そんな訣から一寸物に書いて置こうかという気になったのである。 When the time of the later moon comes, I can't help but think about it. It may seem childish, but I simply cannot forget it. It's been more than ten years since those days, so I don't remember many of the details, but the feelings remain as vivid as if it were yesterday. When I think about it, I completely return to those emotions, and tears flow uncontrollably. It's a mix of sadness and joy. Although there are times when I try to forget, I often find myself repeatedly thinking about it, indulging in the dreamlike fascination it brings. That's why I felt the urge to write it down.
僕の家というのは、松戸から二里ばかり下って、矢切の渡を東へ渡り、小高い岡の上でやはり矢切村と云ってる所。矢切の斎藤と云えば、この界隈での旧家で、里見の崩れが二三人ここへ落ちて百姓になった内の一人が斎藤と云ったのだと祖父から聞いて居る。屋敷の西側に一丈五六尺も廻るような椎の樹が四五本重なり合って立って居る。村一番の忌森で村じゅうから羨ましがられて居る。昔から何ほど暴風が吹いても、この椎森のために、僕の家ばかりは屋根を剥がれたことはただの一度もないとの話だ。家なども随分と古い、柱が残らず椎の木だ。それがまた煤やら垢やらで何の木か見別けがつかぬ位、奥の間の最も煙に遠いとこでも、天井板がまるで油炭で塗った様に、板の木目も判らぬほど黒い。それでも建ちは割合に高くて、簡単な欄間もあり銅の釘隠なども打ってある。その釘隠が馬鹿に大きい雁であった。勿論一寸見たのでは木か金かも知れないほど古びている。 My house is located about two ri (approximately 7.8 kilometers or 4.8 miles) downstream from Matsudo. It is to the east, across the Yakiri ferry, on a small hill also known as Yakiri Village. The Saito family of Yakiri is an old family in the area. I heard from my grandfather that during the fall of the Satomi clan, a few members took refuge here and became farmers, and one of them was the ancestor named Saito. On the west side of the property, there are four or five shii trees, each about 1.5 to 1.6 jō (approximately 4.5 to 4.8 meters) in circumference, standing closely together. These trees form the most sacred grove in the village, envied by all the villagers. I was told that no matter how fierce the storms were, our house never lost its roof, thanks to this shii grove. The house itself is quite old, with all the pillars made of shii wood. These pillars are so covered with soot and grime that it is hard to distinguish what kind of wood they are made from. Even in the inner rooms, farthest from the smoke, the ceiling boards are so blackened with oil and soot that you can no longer see the wood grain. Despite this, the house is relatively tall, with simple transoms and copper nail covers. These nail covers, shaped like large wild geese, are so old and tarnished that, at first glance, it is hard to tell whether they are made of wood or metal.
僕の母なども先祖の言い伝えだからといって、この戦国時代の遺物的古家を、大へんに自慢されていた。その頃母は血の道で久しく煩って居られ、黒塗的な奥の一間がいつも母の病褥となって居た。その次の十畳の間の南隅に、二畳の小座敷がある。僕が居ない時は機織場で、僕が居る内は僕の読書室にしていた。手摺窓の障子を明けて頭を出すと、椎の枝が青空を遮って北を掩うている。 My mother, for instance, was very proud of this relic-like old house from the Sengoku period, as it was part of our ancestral heritage. At that time, my mother had been suffering for a long time from a blood-related illness, and the blackened inner room was always her sickbed. Next to that room, in the southern corner of the ten-tatami room, was a small two-tatami room. When I wasn't there, it was used as a weaving room, but when I was home, it served as my reading room. When I opened the shoji screens of the handrail window and stuck my head out, I could see the branches of the shii trees shading the northern sky and covering it with their green foliage.
母が永らくぶらぶらして居たから、市川の親類で僕には縁の従妹になって居る、民子という女の児が仕事の手伝やら母の看護やらに来て居った。僕が今忘れることが出来ないというのは、その民子と僕との関係である。その関係と云っても、僕は民子と下劣な関係をしたのではない。 Because my mother had been inactive for a long time, Tamiko, a girl who was a relative and technically my cousin, came from Ichikawa to help with the household chores and take care of my mother. What I cannot forget is the relationship between Tamiko and me. However, by 'relationship,' I do not mean that I had any vulgar relations with Tamiko.
僕は小学校を卒業したばかりで十五歳、月を数えると十三歳何ヶ月という頃、民子は十七だけれどそれも生れが晩いから、十五と少しにしかならない。痩せぎすであったけれども顔は丸い方で、透き徹るほど白い皮膚に紅味をおんだ、誠に光沢の好い児であった。いつでも活々として元気がよく、その癖気は弱くて憎気の少しもない児であった。 I had just graduated from elementary school and was fifteen years old, which meant I was thirteen years and several months by the lunar calendar. Tamiko was seventeen, but since she was born late in the year, she was just over fifteen by the same reckoning. Although she was slender, she had a round face, and her skin was so fair it seemed almost translucent, with a touch of redness. She was truly a child with a lovely, lustrous complexion. She was always lively and full of energy, yet she was also gentle and without a trace of malice.
勿論僕とは大の仲好しで、座敷を掃くと云っては僕の所をのぞく、障子をはたくと云っては僕の座敷へ這入ってくる、私も本が読みたいの手習がしたいのと云う、たまにはハタキの柄で僕の背中を突いたり、僕の耳を摘まんだりして逃げてゆく。僕も民子の姿を見れば来い来いと云うて二人で遊ぶのが何より面白かった。 Of course, Tamiko and I were very close friends. Whenever she said she was sweeping the room, she would peek into my place. Whenever she said she was dusting the shoji screens, she would come into my room. She would say she wanted to read books or practice calligraphy. Sometimes, she would poke my back with the handle of the duster or pinch my ear and then run away. Whenever I saw Tamiko, I would call her over, and the two of us playing together was the most enjoyable thing.
母からいつでも叱られる。 My mother would always scold us.
「また民やは政の所へ這入ってるナ。コラァさっさと掃除をやってしまえ。これからは政の読書の邪魔などしてはいけません。民やは年上の癖に……」 "Tamiko, are you in Masao's room again? Hurry up and finish the cleaning. From now on, don't disturb Masao's reading. Even though you're older, Tamiko..."
などと頻りに小言を云うけれど、その実母も民子をば非常に可愛がって居るのだから、一向に小言がきかない。私にも少し手習をさして……などと時々民子はだだをいう。そういう時の母の小言もきまっている。 She would frequently give such scoldings, but in reality, my mother was very fond of Tamiko, so her scoldings didn't have much effect. Sometimes Tamiko would complain, asking if she could practice calligraphy with me. My mother's response to that was always predictable.
「お前は手習よか裁縫です。着物が満足に縫えなくては女一人前として嫁にゆかれません」 "You need to focus on sewing rather than calligraphy. If you can't sew properly, you won't be able to get married and be a proper woman."
この頃僕に一点の邪念が無かったは勿論であれど、民子の方にも、いやな考えなどは少しも無かったに相違ない。しかし母がよく小言を云うにも拘らず、民子はなお朝の御飯だ昼の御飯だというては僕を呼びにくる。呼びにくる度に、急いで這入って来て、本を見せろの筆を借せのと云ってはしばらく遊んでいる。その間にも母の薬を持ってきた帰りや、母の用を達した帰りには、きっと僕の所へ這入ってくる。僕も民子がのぞかない日は何となく淋しく物足らず思われた。今日は民さんは何をしているかナと思い出すと、ふらふらッと書室を出る。民子を見にゆくというほどの心ではないが、一寸民子の姿が目に触れれば気が落着くのであった。何のこったやっぱり民子を見に来たんじゃないかと、自分で自分を嘲った様なことがしばしばあったのである。 At that time, I had no impure thoughts whatsoever, and I'm certain that Tamiko didn't have any unpleasant thoughts either. Despite my mother frequently scolding us, Tamiko would still come to call me for breakfast or lunch. Each time she called, she would hurry into my room, ask to see my books, borrow my brushes, and play for a while. Even when she returned from bringing my mother's medicine or running errands for her, she would always come into my room. On days when Tamiko didn't peek in, I felt strangely lonely and unsatisfied. Whenever I thought, 'What is Tamiko doing today?' I would wander out of my study room. Though I didn't consciously intend to go see her, just catching a glimpse of her would put me at ease. Often, I would mock myself, thinking, "In the end, didn't I come out just to see Tamiko?"
村の或家さ瞽女がとまったから聴きにゆかないか、祭文がきたから聴きに行こうのと近所の女共が誘うても、民子は何とか断りを云うて決して家を出ない。隣村の祭で花火や飾物があるからとの事で、例の向うのお浜や隣のお仙等が大騒ぎして見にゆくというに、内のものらまで民さんも一所に行って見てきたらと云うても、民子は母の病気を言い前にして行かない。僕も余りそんな所へ出るは嫌であったから家に居る。民子は狐鼠狐鼠と僕の所へ這入ってきて、小声で、私は内に居るのが一番面白いわと云ってニッコリ笑う。僕も何となし民子をばそんな所へやりたくなかった。 When a blind woman storyteller stayed at a house in the village, and the neighborhood women invited Tamiko to go listen, she would always find some excuse and never leave the house. Even when there was a festival in the neighboring village with fireworks and decorations, and the usual crowd of Ohama from across the way and Osan from next door made a big fuss about going to see it, and even when people from our house suggested that Tamiko go with them, she would refuse, citing my mother's illness as the reason. I also disliked going to such places, so I stayed home. Tamiko would sneak into my room and whisper, "I find it most enjoyable to stay at home," with a smile. For some reason, I too didn't want her to go to such places.
僕が三日置き四日置きに母の薬を取りに松戸へゆく。どうかすると帰りが晩くなる。民子は三度も四度も裏坂の上まで出て渡しの方を見ていたそうで、いつでも家中のものに冷かされる。民子は真面目になって、お母さんが心配して、見てお出で見てお出でというからだと云い訣をする。家の者は皆ひそひそ笑っているとの話であった。 Every three or four days, I would go to Matsudo to get my mother's medicine. Sometimes, I would return late. Tamiko would go out to the top of the back hill three or four times to look towards the ferry, and she was always teased by everyone in the house. Tamiko would earnestly explain that it was because my mother was worried and had told her to go and look. I heard that everyone in the house would secretly laugh about it.




Because of this situation, the servant woman, Omasa, intensely disliked Tamiko and would often say things like, "Tamiko always wants to go to Masao's place. She clings to him whenever she has a chance." This kind of talk spread, and even Osan from next door and Ohama from across the way started gossiping. Hearing this, my sister-in-law apparently advised my mother, and one day, my mother, with an unusually stern expression, called the two of us to her bedside and gave us a meaningful scolding.
「男も女も十五六になればもはや児供ではない。お前等二人が余り仲が好過ぎるとて人がかれこれ云うそうじゃ。気をつけなくてはいけない。民子が年かさの癖によくない。これからはもう決して政の所へなど行くことはならぬ。吾子を許すではないが政は未だ児供だ。民やは十七ではないか。つまらぬ噂をされるとお前の体に疵がつく。政夫だって気をつけろ……。来月から千葉の中学へ行くんじゃないか」 "Both boys and girls are no longer children once they reach fifteen or sixteen. People are talking about how you two are too close. You need to be careful. Tamiko, it is not proper for someone your age. From now on, you must not go to Masao's room. It's not that I don't trust my own child, but Masao is still just a boy. But Tamiko, you are seventeen. If there are pointless rumors, it will harm your reputation. Masao, you must also be careful... Next month, you'll be going to middle school in Chiba, won't you?"



Tamiko, realizing that her frequent visits to my room might be misunderstood given her age, looked extremely embarrassed, her face turning bright red as she bowed her head. Normally, even when my mother scolded her a little, she would complain quite a bit, but on this day, she just knelt down with her head bowed and didn't say a word. I, having done nothing wrong, felt very unjustly treated and protested,

"Mother, that's too unreasonable. No matter what people say, we've done nothing wrong, yet you're scolding us as if we've committed some terrible act. Haven't you always said that Tamiko and I are like siblings, that there's no difference in your eyes between us, and that we should get along well?"



My mother's concern was understandable, but since Tamiko and I never thought anyone would say such unpleasant things about us, my feelings of injustice were somewhat justified. My mother, suddenly becoming gentle, said,

"I know that there is nothing improper between you two, but people can be very talkative, so I'm just asking you to be a bit more careful from now on."



A loving smile, showing her genuine affection for us, gradually appeared on my mother's pale face. She then added, "Tamiko, please bring the medicine again and finish sewing the kimono by the end of the day. Masao, after you stand up, please cut some flowers and offer them at the altar. Are the chrysanthemums blooming yet? If not, then please cut some asters instead."
本人達は何の気なしであるのに、人がかれこれ云うのでかえって無邪気でいられない様にしてしまう。僕は母の小言も一日しか覚えていない。二三日たって民さんはなぜ近頃は来ないのか知らんと思った位であったけれど、民子の方では、それからというものは様子がからっと変ってしもうた。 Even though there was nothing going on between us, the things people said made it impossible for us to remain innocent. I only remembered my mother's scolding for one day. After a few days, I wondered why Tamiko hadn't come by lately. However, from that point on, Tamiko's demeanor completely changed.
民子はその後僕の所へは一切顔出ししないばかりでなく、座敷の内で行逢っても、人のいる前などでは容易に物も云わない。何となく極りわるそうに、まぶしい様な風で急いで通り過ぎて終う。拠処なく物を云うにも、今までの無遠慮に隔てのない風はなく、いやに丁寧に改まって口をきくのである。時には僕が余り俄に改まったのを可笑しがって笑えば、民子も遂には袖で笑いを隠して逃げてしまうという風で、とにかく一重の垣が二人の間に結ばれた様な気合になった。 Not only did Tamiko stop coming to my place entirely, but even when we met inside the house, she rarely spoke to me in front of others. She seemed very awkward and embarrassed, quickly passing by with a shy demeanor. When she did speak, it was no longer in the casual, unreserved manner of before; instead, she spoke with an overly formal politeness. Sometimes, if I laughed at her sudden formality, she would hide her laughter with her sleeve and run away. It felt as though an invisible barrier had been erected between us.
それでも或日の四時過ぎに、母の云いつけで僕が背戸の茄子畑に茄子をもいで居ると、いつのまにか民子が笊を手に持って、僕の後にきていた。 Still, one day after four o'clock, as I was picking eggplants in the backyard field on my mother's orders, I suddenly noticed Tamiko standing behind me with a basket in her hand.
「政夫さん……」 "Masao..."
出し抜けに呼んで笑っている。 She called out unexpectedly, smiling.
「私もお母さんから云いつかって来たのよ。今日の縫物は肩が凝ったろう、少し休みながら茄子をもいできてくれ。明日麹漬をつけるからって、お母さんがそう云うから、私飛んできました」 "I've also come on your mother's orders. She said today's sewing must have made my shoulders stiff, so I should take a break and help pick some eggplants. She needs them for making koji pickles tomorrow, so I rushed over."






Tamiko looked very happy and full of energy. When I asked,

"So you didn't know I was already here?"

Tamiko replied with a smile,

"I didn't know,"

and then began picking eggplants cheerfully.

茄子畑というは、椎森の下から一重の藪を通り抜けて、家より西北に当る裏の前栽畑。崖の上になってるので、利根川は勿論中川までもかすかに見え、武蔵一えんが見渡される。秩父から足柄箱根の山山、富士の高峯も見える。東京の上野の森だと云うのもそれらしく見える。水のように澄みきった秋の空、日は一間半ばかりの辺に傾いて、僕等二人が立って居る茄子畑を正面に照り返して居る。あたり一体にシンとしてまた如何にもハッキリとした景色、吾等二人は真に画中の人である。 The eggplant field, called 'nasubatake,' lies northwest of the house, beyond a single thicket from the base of the shii tree forest, in the rear ornamental garden. Since it is situated on top of a cliff, one can faintly see not only the Tone River but also the Nakagawa River, offering a panoramic view of Musashi Province. The mountains stretching from Chichibu to Ashigara and Hakone, as well as the lofty peak of Mount Fuji, are visible. Even what is said to be Ueno Forest in Tokyo appears distinctly. The autumn sky is clear as water, and the sun, about a ken and a half from the horizon, reflects directly on the eggplant field where the two of us stand. The entire area is enveloped in a profound silence and clarity, making us feel like figures within a painting.
「マア何という好い景色でしょう」 "What a beautiful view this is," she exclaimed.
民子もしばらく手をやめて立った。 Tamiko also stopped working for a moment and stood up.
僕はここで白状するが、この時の僕は慥に十日以前の僕ではなかった。二人は決してこの時無邪気な友達ではなかった。いつの間にそういう心持が起って居たか、自分には少しも判らなかったが、やはり母に叱られた頃から、僕の胸の中にも小さな恋の卵が幾個か湧きそめて居ったに違いない。僕の精神状態がいつの間にか変化してきたは、隠すことの出来ない事実である。この日初めて民子を女として思ったのが、僕に邪念の萌芽ありし何よりの証拠じゃ。 I must confess that at that moment, I was certainly not the same person I had been ten days earlier. We were no longer just innocent friends. I had no idea when such feelings had arisen, but it must have been around the time my mother scolded me that several small seeds of love began to sprout within my heart. It is an undeniable fact that my mental state had changed without me realizing it. The fact that I first thought of Tamiko as a woman on this day is the clearest evidence that the seeds of impure thoughts had begun to take root in me.
民子が体をくの字にかがめて、茄子をもぎつつあるその横顔を見て、今更のように民子の美しく可愛らしさに気がついた。これまでにも可愛らしいと思わぬことはなかったが、今日はしみじみとその美しさが身にしみた。しなやかに光沢のある鬢の毛につつまれた耳たぼ、豊かな頬の白く鮮かな、顎のくくしめの愛らしさ、頸のあたり如何にも清げなる、藤色の半襟や花染の襷や、それらが悉く優美に眼にとまった。そうなると恐ろしいもので、物を云うにも思い切った言は云えなくなる、羞かしくなる、極りが悪くなる、皆例の卵の作用から起ることであろう。 Seeing Tamiko bending over to pick eggplants, I suddenly noticed her beauty and charm as if for the first time. Although I had always thought she was cute, today her beauty deeply struck me. The graceful ear lobe surrounded by her glossy hair, the white and vibrant cheeks, the charmingly defined chin, the clean and elegant nape of her neck, the wisteria-colored half-collar, and the floral-patterned sash — all these elements stood out to me as exceedingly graceful. When such feelings arise, it becomes frightening; I could no longer speak boldly, I felt embarrassed and awkward, all of which must have been the effects of those feelings of infatuation.



For the past ten days, there had been a barrier between us, and we hadn't really talked. Normally, I wouldn't have thought anything of it, but today I felt that I needed to say something. At first, I casually called out to her, "Tamiko," but then I couldn't continue casually. My throat felt tight, and I couldn't speak. Tamiko, holding an eggplant in her hand, stood up and said,

"Masao, what is it...?"

「何でもないけど民さんは近頃へんだからさ。僕なんかすっかり嫌いになったようだもの」 "It's nothing, but lately, Tamiko, you've been acting strange. It's as if you don't like me anymore."
民子はさすがに女性で、そういうことには僕などより遙に神経が鋭敏になっている。さも口惜しそうな顔して、つと僕の側へ寄ってきた。 Being a woman, Tamiko was much more sensitive to such matters than I was. Looking upset, she quickly came over to me.
「政夫さんはあんまりだわ。私がいつ政夫さんに隔てをしました……」 "Masao, that's too much. When have I ever distanced myself from you...?"
「何さ、この頃民さんは、すっかり変っちまって、僕なんかに用はないらしいからよ。それだって民さんに不足を云う訣ではないよ」 "Well, lately, you've changed completely, and it seems like you don't care about me anymore. But it's not like I'm complaining about you."



Tamiko, sounding frustrated, said,

"Saying something like that is unfair, Masao. It's unreasonable. Didn't we both get scolded so harshly by your mother the other day? You, as a boy, might not mind, but I am older and a girl. Being scolded like that was truly humiliating for me. That's why I've been trying so hard to stay away. And yet, you say I've distanced myself from you, making me feel really insignificant..."



Tamiko looked at me with a face that seemed on the verge of tears. Feeling sorry for her, I said,

"I wasn't angry when I said that. Were you upset, Tamiko? I just felt lonely and sad because you suddenly stopped talking to me and coming to play. So please come to play from time to time. If Mother scolds us, I'll take the blame. It doesn't matter what people say."

何というても児供だけに無茶なことをいう。無茶なことを云われて民子は心配やら嬉しいやら、嬉しいやら心配やら、心配と嬉しいとが胸の中で、ごったになって争うたけれど、とうとう嬉しい方が勝を占めて終った。なお三言四言話をするうちに、民子は鮮かな曇りのない元の元気になった。僕も勿論愉快が溢れる……、宇宙間にただ二人きり居るような心持にお互になったのである。やがて二人は茄子のもぎくらをする。大きな畑だけれど、十月の半過ぎでは、茄子もちらほらしかなって居ない。二人で漸く二升ばかり宛を採り得た。 Being just kids, I said something so unreasonable. Hearing this, Tamiko felt a mix of worry and joy, but ultimately, joy won out. As we continued talking, Tamiko regained her usual bright, unclouded cheerfulness. Of course, I was also filled with happiness... it felt like we were the only two people in the universe. Soon, we started picking eggplants together. Though it was a large field, being mid-October, there weren't many eggplants left. We managed to pick about two shō (approximately 3.6 liters) each.
「まァ民さん、御覧なさい、入日の立派なこと」 "Tamiko, look at the beautiful sunset," I said.
 民子はいつしか笊を下へ置き、両手を鼻の先に合せて太陽を拝んでいる。西の方の空は一体に薄紫にぼかした様な色になった。ひた赤く赤いばかりで光線の出ない太陽が今その半分を山に埋めかけた処、僕は民子が一心入日を拝むしおらしい姿が永く眼に残ってる。 Tamiko had already placed her basket on the ground, clasped her hands in front of her nose, and was praying to the sun. The western sky had turned a soft purplish hue, with the deep red sun half hidden behind the mountains. Tamiko's devout figure praying to the sunset left a lasting impression on me.



As we chatted and walked back home, we saw Omasa standing idly outside the lattice fence at the back door, looking our way. Tamiko whispered,

"Omasa will have something to say again."

「二人共お母さんに云いつかって来たのだから、お増なんか何と云ったって、かまやしないさ」 "We came on Mother's orders, so it doesn't matter what Omasa says," I replied.
一事件を経る度に二人が胸中に湧いた恋の卵は層を増してくる。機に触れて交換する双方の意志は、直に互いの胸中にある例の卵に至大な養分を給与する。今日の日暮はたしかにその機であった。ぞっと身振いをするほど、著しき徴候を現したのである。しかし何というても二人の関係は卵時代で極めて取りとめがない。人に見られて見苦しい様なこともせず、顧みて自ら疚しい様なこともせぬ。従ってまだまだ暢気なもので、人前を繕うと云う様な心持は極めて少なかった。僕と民子との関係も、この位でお終いになったならば、十年忘れられないというほどにはならなかっただろうに。 Every event that brought us closer added another layer to the budding feelings of love between us. The exchange of mutual feelings provided immense nourishment to those budding feelings. Today's sunset was definitely one such moment, marked by significant signs of growth. However, our relationship remained at the stage of innocent affection. We didn't do anything inappropriate or shameful, and thus we still felt carefree, with little concern for appearances. Had our relationship ended here, it might not have become something I would remember for ten years.
親というものはどこの親も同じで、吾子をいつまでも児供のように思うている。僕の母などもその一人に漏れない。民子はその後時折僕の書室へやってくるけれど、よほど人目を計らって気ぼねを折ってくる様な風で、いつきても少しも落着かない。先に僕に厭味を云われたから仕方なしにくるかとも思われたが、それは間違っていた。僕等二人の精神状態は二三日と云われぬほど著しき変化を遂げている。僕の変化は最も甚しい。三日前には、お母さんが叱れば私が科を背負うから遊びにきてとまで無茶を云うた僕が、今日はとてもそんな訣のものでない。民子が少し長居をすると、もう気が咎めて心配でならなくなった。 Parents are all the same, always seeing their children as kids no matter how old they get. My mother is no exception. Since then, Tamiko occasionally comes to my study, but it seems she goes to great lengths to avoid being seen by others and never feels at ease when she visits. Initially, I thought she came reluctantly after I sarcastically invited her, but I was wrong. The mental state of the two of us has undergone significant changes in just a few days. My transformation is the most drastic. Three days ago, I recklessly told her to come over and play, saying that if mother scolds us, I would take the blame. But today, that's no longer the case. If Tamiko stays a little too long, I become anxious and worried.
「民さん、またお出よ、余り長く居ると人がつまらぬことを云うから」 "Tami-san, you should go now. If you stay too long, people might start saying unpleasant things."
民子も心持は同じだけれど、僕にもう行けと云われると妙にすねだす。 Tamiko felt the same way, but when I told her to leave, she became strangely sulky.
「あレあなたは先日何と云いました。人が何と云ったッてよいから遊びに来いと云いはしませんか。私はもう人に笑われてもかまいませんの」 "Didn't you just say the other day that it doesn't matter what people say, I should come over and play? I don't care if people laugh at me anymore."
困った事になった。二人の関係が密接するほど、人目を恐れてくる。人目を恐れる様になっては、もはや罪悪を犯しつつあるかの如く、心もおどおどするのであった。母は口でこそ、男も女も十五六になれば児供ではないと云っても、それは理窟の上のことで、心持ではまだまだ二人をまるで児供の様に思っているから、その後民子が僕の室へきて本を見たり話をしたりしているのを、直ぐ前を通りながら一向気に留める様子もない。この間の小言も実は嫂が言うから出たまでで、ほんとうに腹から出た小言ではない。母の方はそうであったけれど、兄や嫂やお増などは、盛に蔭言をいうて笑っていたらしく、村中の評判には、二つも年の多いのを嫁にする気かしらんなどと専いうているとの話。それやこれやのことが薄々二人に知れたので、僕から言いだして当分二人は遠ざかる相談をした。 Things had become troublesome. The closer our relationship grew, the more we feared being seen. With this fear of being watched, it felt as if we were committing a crime, causing both of us to become nervous and uneasy. Although my mother often said that boys and girls are no longer children when they reach fifteen or sixteen, that was just theoretical. In her heart, she still thought of us as mere children. Thus, when Tamiko came to my room to look at books or chat, even as my mother passed by, she showed no concern. The previous scolding had been prompted by my sister-in-law's complaints, not by any genuine anger from my mother. While my mother remained unconcerned, my brother, sister-in-law, and Omasu seemed to be laughing and gossiping behind our backs. The village rumor had it that I was planning to marry someone two years older than me. These various matters had gradually become known to both of us. Therefore, I suggested that we distance ourselves from each other for a while, and Tamiko agreed.
人間の心持というものは不思議なもの。二人が少しも隔意なき得心上の相談であったのだけれど、僕の方から言い出したばかりに、民子は妙に鬱ぎ込んで、まるで元気がなくなり、悄然としているのである。それを見ると僕もまたたまらなく気の毒になる。感情の一進一退はこんな風にもつれつつ危くなるのである。とにかく二人は表面だけは立派に遠ざかって四五日を経過した。 Human feelings are strange. Though our decision to stay apart was mutual and without resentment, Tamiko became unusually depressed, losing her usual energy and becoming despondent. Seeing this made me feel terribly sorry. Such emotional back-and-forth can make things complicated and precarious. Nevertheless, we managed to maintain our distance for four or five days.
陰暦の九月十三日、今夜が豆の月だという日の朝、露霜が降りたと思うほどつめたい。その代り天気はきらきらしている。十五日がこの村の祭で明日は宵祭という訣故、野の仕事も今日一渡り極りをつけねばならぬ所から、家中手分けをして野へ出ることになった。それで甘露的恩命が僕等両人に下ったのである。兄夫婦とお増と外に男一人とは中稲の刈残りを是非刈って終わねばならぬ。民子は僕を手伝いとして山畑の棉を採ってくることになった。これはもとより母の指図で誰にも異議は云えない。 On the morning of the 13th of the 9th lunar month, the air was so cold it felt like frost had settled overnight. However, the weather was sparkling clear. The 15th was the village festival, and the eve of the festival was the next day. Because of this, all the fieldwork had to be wrapped up today, so the whole family divided the tasks and headed out to the fields. This meant that a fortuitous opportunity came our way. My older brother and his wife, Omasu, and another man had to finish harvesting the remaining middle rice. Tamiko and I were assigned to pick cotton from the mountain field. This was, of course, at my mother's direction, and no one could object.
「マアあの二人を山の畑へ遣るッて、親というものよッぽどお目出たいものだ」 "Well, isn't it something to send those two to the mountain field? Parents can be really oblivious"



Omasu, who was shallow, and my twisted sister-in-law must have said that in unison. Of course, we were both happy deep down, but going together to the mountain fields in this situation made us feel awkward and embarrassed as if people might see us. Out of propriety, we couldn't appear eager to go. I didn't leave my study before breakfast, and Tamiko seemed to be dawdling and not getting ready either. It was annoying to think people might say we were excited. My mother got up and said,

"Masao, get ready. Tamiko, hurry up and get ready and go. If you two go together, it’s an easy day's work, but it’s far away, so you need to leave early to get back before dark. Try to be home before sunset. Omasu, prepare lunch for them. Use these ingredients..."



Such is a parent’s concern. If Tamiko prepared the lunch, she might not pack enough food for herself, so my mother specifically instructed Omasu to prepare it. I was dressed in my work clothes: trousers, tabi socks, bare feet, and a straw hat. My mother told Tamiko to wear hand guards and put on leggings, but Tamiko was hesitant. She came over to me and asked me to tell my mother that she didn’t need to wear the leggings. I told her to tell my mother herself. As we argued, my mother overheard and laughed.

"Tamiko, you're embarrassed because you’re from town and not used to leggings. I suggested it because I didn’t want your soft hands and feet getting scratched by the brambles and grass, but if you don’t want to, do as you like."

それで民子は、例の襷に前掛姿で麻裏草履という支度。二人が一斗笊一個宛を持ち、僕が別に番ニョ片籠と天秤とを肩にして出掛ける。民子が跡から菅笠を被って出ると、母が笑声で呼びかける。 So, Tamiko dressed in her usual work attire, with a work apron and hemp-soled sandals. We each took a bamboo basket, and I carried an additional shoulder pole and smaller basket. Tamiko followed behind, wearing a sedge hat. As she was about to leave, my mother called out with a laugh.
「民や、お前が菅笠を被って歩くと、ちょうど木の子が歩くようで見っともない。編笠がよかろう。新らしいのが一つあった筈だ」 "Tamiko, wearing that sedge hat makes you look like a mushroom. An Amigasa (braided hat) would be better. There should be a new one around here."
稲刈連は出てしまって別に笑うものもなかったけれど、民子はあわてて菅笠を脱いで、顔を赤くしたらしかった。今度は編笠を被らずに手に持って、それじゃお母さんいってまいりますと挨拶して走って出た。 The rice-harvesting group had already left, so there was no one to laugh at her, but Tamiko hurriedly took off the hat, blushing. This time, she held the Amigasa in her hand, said, "Mother, we’re off," and ran out.
村のものらもかれこれいうと聞いてるので、二人揃うてゆくも人前恥かしく、急いで村を通抜けようとの考えから、僕は一足先になって出掛ける。村はずれの坂の降口の大きな銀杏の樹の根で民子のくるのを待った。ここから見おろすと少しの田圃がある。色よく黄ばんだ晩稲に露をおんで、シットリと打伏した光景は、気のせいか殊に清々しく、胸のすくような眺めである。民子はいつの間にか来ていて、昨日の雨で洗い流した赤土の上に、二葉三葉銀杏の葉の落ちるのを拾っている。 The villagers had been gossiping, so it was embarrassing for the two of us to go together in front of people. To avoid being seen, I decided to leave a little earlier. I waited for Tamiko at the base of a large ginkgo tree at the bottom of the hill on the outskirts of the village. From there, I could see a small rice field. The scene of the late rice, yellowed and covered in dew, lying down gently, felt particularly fresh and uplifting to me. Before I knew it, Tamiko had arrived and was picking up the fallen ginkgo leaves on the freshly washed red soil from yesterday's rain.
「民さん、もうきたかい。この天気のよいことどうです。ほんとに心持のよい朝だねイ」 "Tamiko, you're here already. Look at this weather. It's really a refreshing morning, isn't it?"
「ほんとに天気がよくて嬉しいわ。このまア銀杏の葉の綺麗なこと。さア出掛けましょう」 "Yes, the weather is wonderful. Look at these beautiful ginkgo leaves. Let's go."
民子の美しい手で持ってると銀杏の葉も殊に綺麗に見える。二人は坂を降りてようやく窮屈な場所から広場へ出た気になった。今日は大いそぎで棉を採り片付け、さんざん面白いことをして遊ぼうなどと相談しながら歩く。道の真中は乾いているが、両側の田についている所は、露にしとしとに濡れて、いろいろの草が花を開いてる。タウコギは末枯れて、水蕎麦蓼など一番多く繁っている。都草も黄色く花が見える。野菊がよろよろと咲いている。民さんこれ野菊がと僕は吾知らず足を留めたけれど、民子は聞えないのかさっさと先へゆく。僕は一寸脇へ物を置いて、野菊の花を一握り採った。 The ginkgo leaves looked especially beautiful in Tamiko's lovely hands. We descended the hill and finally felt like we had emerged from the confined space into the open area. We walked while discussing how we would quickly finish picking the cotton today and then have lots of fun playing around. The middle of the road was dry, but the sides of the fields were damp with dew, and various grasses were in bloom. The taucogi was withering, and water pepper and knotweed were thriving the most. There were also yellow flowers of mugwort and the delicate blossoms of wild chrysanthemums. Without thinking, I stopped and said, "Tamiko, look at these wild chrysanthemums," but Tamiko, perhaps not hearing me, walked on ahead. I quickly placed my things down and picked a handful of wild chrysanthemums.
民子は一町ほど先へ行ってから、気がついて振り返るや否や、あれッと叫んで駆け戻ってきた。 Tamiko had walked about a block ahead before she noticed and, turning around, exclaimed, "Oh!" and ran back towards me.
「民さんはそんなに戻ってきないッたって僕が行くものを……」 "Tamiko, you didn’t have to come back; I was coming to you."
「まア政夫さんは何をしていたの。私びッくりして……まア綺麗な野菊、政夫さん、私に半分おくれッたら、私ほんとうに野菊が好き」 "Oh, Masao, what were you doing? I was so surprised... but these beautiful wild chrysanthemums, Masao, please give me half. I really love wild chrysanthemums."
「僕はもとから野菊がだい好き。民さんも野菊が好き……」 "I've always loved wild chrysanthemums. Do you like them too, Tamiko?"
「私なんでも野菊の生れ返りよ。野菊の花を見ると身振いの出るほど好もしいの。どうしてこんなかと、自分でも思う位」 "I feel like I'm a reincarnation of wild chrysanthemums. Seeing their flowers makes me shiver with joy. I wonder why that is."
「民さんはそんなに野菊が好き……道理でどうやら民さんは野菊のような人だ」 "You love them that much, Tamiko? No wonder you seem like a wild chrysanthemum."
民子は分けてやった半分の野菊を顔に押しあてて嬉しがった。二人は歩きだす。 Tamiko pressed her share of the wild chrysanthemums to her face and looked delighted. We started walking again.
「政夫さん……私野菊の様だってどうしてですか」 "Masao, why do you say I'm like a wild chrysanthemum?"
「さアどうしてということはないけど、民さんは何がなし野菊の様な風だからさ」 "Well, there's no specific reason, but you just have a quality about you that reminds me of them."
「それで政夫さんは野菊が好きだって……」 "So, Masao, you like wild chrysanthemums?"
「僕大好きさ」 "I love them."
民子はこれからはあなたが先になってと云いながら、自らは後になった。今の偶然に起った簡単な問答は、お互の胸に強く有意味に感じた。民子もそう思った事はその素振りで解る。ここまで話が迫ると、もうその先を言い出すことは出来ない。話は一寸途切れてしまった。 From then on, Tamiko let me take the lead while she followed. The simple exchange that had happened by chance held a strong, meaningful feeling for both of us. Tamiko also seemed to feel the same, which was evident from her demeanor. When the conversation reached this point, we could no longer continue speaking. The conversation just naturally paused.
何と言っても幼い両人は、今罪の神に翻弄せられつつあるのであれど、野菊の様な人だと云った詞についで、その野菊を僕はだい好きだと云った時すら、僕は既に胸に動悸を起した位で、直ぐにそれ以上を言い出すほどに、まだまだずうずうしくはなっていない。民子も同じこと、物に突きあたった様な心持で強くお互に感じた時に声はつまってしまったのだ。二人はしばらく無言で歩く。 Even though we were both inexperienced, we were now at the mercy of the god of love. When I told Tamiko she was like a wild chrysanthemum and said I loved wild chrysanthemums, my heart had already started to race. Yet, I was not bold enough to say more than that. Tamiko felt the same; when she sensed the intensity of our mutual feelings, her voice caught in her throat. We walked in silence for a while.
真に民子は野菊の様な児であった。民子は全くの田舎風ではあったが、決して粗野ではなかった。可憐で優しくてそうして品格もあった。厭味とか憎気とかいう所は爪の垢ほどもなかった。どう見ても野菊の風だった。 Indeed, Tamiko was like a wild chrysanthemum. Although she was entirely rural in manner, she was never coarse. She was delicate, gentle, and had a certain dignity. There wasn’t even a trace of malice or spite in her. No matter how you looked at it, she was like a wild chrysanthemum.
しばらくは黙っていたけれど、いつまで話もしないでいるはなおおかしい様に思って、無理と話を考え出す。 We were silent for a while, but it seemed awkward to continue walking without talking, so I forced myself to start a conversation.
「民さんはさっき何を考えてあんなに脇見もしないで歩いていたの」 "Tamiko, what were you thinking about earlier when you were walking without looking around?"
「わたし何も考えていやしません」 "I wasn’t thinking about anything."
「民さんはそりゃ嘘だよ。何か考えごとでもしなくてあんな風をする訣はないさ。どんなことを考えていたのか知らないけれど、隠さないだってよいじゃないか」 "That's a lie, Tamiko. You had to be thinking about something to walk like that. You don’t have to hide it. What were you thinking about?"
「政夫さん、済まない。私さっきほんとに考事していました。私つくづく考えて情なくなったの。わたしはどうして政夫さんよか年が多いんでしょう。私は十七だと言うんだもの、ほんとに情なくなるわ……」 "Masao, I'm sorry. I was really thinking earlier. I was deeply reflecting and felt so miserable. Why am I older than you? I'm seventeen, and it just makes me so sad."
「民さんは何のこと言うんだろう。先に生れたから年が多い、十七年育ったから十七になったのじゃないか。十七だから何で情ないのですか。僕だって、さ来年になれば十七歳さ。民さんはほんとに妙なことを云う人だ」 "What are you talking about, Tamiko? You were born earlier, so you're older. You’ve grown for seventeen years, so you’re seventeen. Why is that sad? Next year, I’ll be seventeen too. You really say the strangest things, Tamiko."
僕も今民子が言ったことの心を解せぬほど児供でもない。解ってはいるけど、わざと戯れの様に聞きなして、振りかえって見ると、民子は真に考え込んでいる様であったが、僕と顔合せて極りわるげににわかに側を向いた。 I am not so young that I cannot understand what Tamiko just said. I do understand, but I pretended to take it lightly and looked back at her. Tamiko seemed to be deep in thought, but when our eyes met, she turned away awkwardly.
こうなってくると何をいうても、直ぐそこへ持ってくるので話がゆきつまってしまう。二人の内でどちらか一人が、すこうしほんの僅かにでも押が強ければ、こんなに話がゆきつまるのではない。お互に心持は奥底まで解っているのだから、吉野紙を突破るほどにも力がありさえすれば、話の一歩を進めてお互に明放してしまうことが出来るのである。しかしながら真底からおぼこな二人は、その吉野紙を破るほどの押がないのである。またここで話の皮を切ってしまわねばならぬと云う様な、はっきりした意識も勿論ないのだ。言わば未だ取止めのない卵的の恋であるから、少しく心の力が必要な所へくると話がゆきつまってしまうのである。 When it comes to this, whatever we say brings the conversation to a standstill. If either of us had just a little more courage, the conversation wouldn't get stuck like this. We both understand each other’s feelings deeply, and if we had enough strength to tear through something as thin as Yoshino paper, we could move forward and express ourselves openly. However, we are both genuinely naive and do not have the push to break through that paper. We also do not have a clear awareness that this is the moment to break the ice. It's still a nascent, undefined kind of love that stalls when it requires a bit of emotional strength.



We walked several blocks, each of us starting conversations that quickly turned awkward and uncomfortable. Though we spoke few words, those words carried immense emotions for both of us, and amidst the awkward feelings, there was an indescribable deep joy. We walked with such light steps that we soon passed the fields and entered the mountain path. Tamiko seemed to have regained her spirits and said brightly,

"Masao, have we come halfway yet? You said it's about one ri to Oosakazaka, right?"

「そうです、一里半には近いそうだが、もう半分の余来ましたろうよ。少し休みましょうか」 "Yes, it's close to one and a half ri, but we should have come more than half by now. Shall we take a break?"
「わたし休まなくとも、ようございますが、早速お母さんの罰があたって、薄の葉でこんなに手を切りました。ちょいとこれで結わえて下さいな」 "I don't need to rest, but look, I got a cut from the pampas grass. Could you please bandage it for me?"
親指の中ほどで疵は少しだが、血が意外に出た。僕は早速紙を裂いて結わえてやる。民子が両手を赤くしているのを見た時非常にかわいそうであった。こんな山の中で休むより、畑へ往ってから休もうというので、今度は民子を先に僕が後になって急ぐ。八時少し過ぎと思う時分に大長柵の畑へ着いた。 The cut was small, about the middle of her thumb, but it was bleeding more than expected. I quickly tore a piece of paper and bandaged her cut. Seeing Tamiko's hands all red made me feel very sorry for her. Instead of resting here in the mountains, we decided to push on to the field and rest there. This time, Tamiko led the way, and I hurried after her. We arrived at the Oosakazaka field a little after eight o'clock.
十年許り前に親父が未だ達者な時分、隣村の親戚から頼まれて余儀なく買ったのだそうで、畑が八反と山林が二町ほどここにあるのである。この辺一体に高台は皆山林でその間の柵が畑になって居る。越石を持っていると云えば、世間体はよいけど、手間ばかり掛って割に合わないといつも母が言ってる畑だ。 About ten years ago, when my father was still healthy, he was asked by a relative from the neighboring village to reluctantly buy this land. It includes eight tan of fields and about two cho of forest. In this area, the highlands are all forested, and the fields lie in the valleys between them. My mother always says that owning the land might look good to others, but it's more trouble than it's worth.
三方林で囲まれ、南が開いて余所の畑とつづいている。北が高く南が低い傾斜になっている。母の推察通り、棉は末にはなっているが、風が吹いたら溢れるかと思うほど棉はえんでいる。点々として畑中白くなっているその棉に朝日がさしていると目ぶしい様に綺麗だ。 The field is surrounded by forest on three sides, with the south side open and connected to other fields. The land slopes down from north to south. As my mother had guessed, the cotton is nearing the end of its season but is still plentiful, as if it could burst with a gust of wind. The morning sun shining on the white patches of cotton across the field made it look exceptionally beautiful.



“My, it’s growing so well. I'm glad we came to pick it today,” Tamiko said happily, delighted by the sight of the flourishing cotton, as one might expect from a woman. In the middle of the field, there were two paulownia trees with their leaves beginning to fall, providing enough shade to withstand the October heat. We gathered some millet stalks around us and set up camp. We hung our lunch bundles on the branches. The weather was nice, but we had hurried along the mountain path, so we were sweaty and hot. We each took off a layer of clothing, letting the breeze cool us as we stretched out and rested. The sky was a deep blue, the pine forest a vibrant green, and somewhere, a shrike was singing. The mountains were so quiet that its song echoed. There we were, in the middle of a vast field, talking amidst the peace between heaven and earth.
「ほんとに民子さん、きょうというきょうは極楽の様な日ですねイ」 “Tamiko, today feels like paradise, doesn’t it?”
顔から頸から汗を拭いた跡のつやつやしさ、今更に民子の横顔を見た。 I looked at her now, her face and neck still glowing from wiping off the sweat.
「そうですねイ、わたし何だか夢の様な気がするの。今朝家を出る時はほんとに極りが悪くて……嫂さんには変な眼つきで視られる、お増には冷かされる、私はのぼせてしまいました。政夫さんは平気でいるから憎らしかったわ」 “Yes, it does. I feel like I’m dreaming. When we left the house this morning, I felt so embarrassed... My sister-in-law gave me strange looks, and Omasu teased me. I was so flustered. You seemed so calm, and it made me a little envious.”
「僕だって平気なもんですか。村の奴らに逢うのがいやだから、僕は一足先に出て銀杏の下で民さんを待っていたんでさア。それはそうと、民さん、今日はほんとに面白く遊ぼうね。僕は来月は学校へ行くんだし、今月とて十五日しかないし、二人でしみじみ話の出来る様なことはこれから先はむずかしい。あわれッぽいこと云うようだけど、二人の中も今日だけかしらと思うのよ。ねイ民さん……」 “I wasn’t calm at all. I didn’t want to meet anyone in the village, so I left early and waited for you under the ginkgo tree. But anyway, Tamiko, let’s really have fun today. I’m going to school next month, and there are only fifteen days left this month. It’ll be hard to find time to talk like this again. It might sound sentimental, but today might be the last day we can spend like this together. Don’t you think so, Tamiko?”
「そりゃア政夫さん、私は道々そればかり考えて来ました。私がさっきほんとに情なくなってと言ったら、政夫さんは笑っておしまいなしたけど……」 “That’s right, Masao. I was thinking about that the whole way here. When I said earlier that it made me sad, you just laughed it off, but…”



Even though we said we'd have fun, whenever we started talking, it always ended up like this. It seemed like Tamiko was wiping away tears. Just then, a horse appeared. From the mountain path on the west side, we heard the sound of bamboo leaves rustling. A man with a cloth wrapped around his head, leading a horse loaded with firewood, emerged. To my surprise, it was Tsunekichi from the village. This guy had once persistently asked Tamiko to go out and play with him. I thought, "What an annoying guy to show up now."

“Hey, Masao. What a beautiful day we have. Are you two out here picking cotton as a couple? How charming. Hahaha!”

「オウ常さん、今日は駄賃かな。大変早く御精が出ますね」 “Oh, Tsune, are you out earning some money today? You're really working hard, aren't you?”
「ハア吾々なんざア駄賃取りでもして適に一盃やるより外に楽しみもないんですからな。民子さん、いやに見せつけますね。余り罪ですぜ。アハハハハハ」 “Well, for us, earning a bit of money and having a drink is the only pleasure we have. Tamiko, you're really showing off. It's almost a sin. Hahaha!”
この野郎失敬なと思ったけれど、吾々も余り威張れる身でもなし、笑いとぼけて常吉をやり過ごした。 I thought, "What a rude guy," but since we weren’t in a position to confront him, we just laughed and played dumb until Tsunekichi passed by.
「馬鹿野郎、実に厭なやつだ。さア民さん、始めましょう。ほんとに民さん、元気をお直しよ。そんなにくよくよおしでないよ。僕は学校へ行ったて千葉だもの、盆正月の外にも来ようと思えば土曜の晩かけて日曜に来られるさ……」 “What an idiot. He's really an annoying guy. Alright, Tamiko, let’s get started. Really, cheer up. Don’t worry so much. Even when I go to school, it's only in Chiba. I can come back for the Bon festival, New Year’s, or even just for a weekend.”
「ほんとに済みません。泣面などして。あの常さんて男、何といういやな人でしょう」 “I’m really sorry for showing such a sad face. That Tsunekichi is such an unpleasant person.”



Tamiko tied up her sleeves, and I took off my shirt and got to work. In about three hours, we had finished about seventy percent of the work. Since there wasn’t much left, we decided to have lunch and went back to the shade of the paulownia tree. I took out the water bottle I had prepared.

“Tamiko, I’ll go get some water. Please keep watch here. On the way back, I’ll gather a lot of 'ebizuru' and 'akebi' as souvenirs.”

「私は一人で居るのはいやだ。政夫さん、一所に連れてって下さい。さっきの様な人にでも来られたら大変ですもの」 “I don’t want to stay here alone. Please take me with you, Masao. If someone like Tsunekichi comes by, it would be terrible.”
「だって民さん、向うの山を一つ越して先ですよ、清水のある所は。道という様な道もなくて、それこそ茨や薄で足が疵だらけになりますよ。水がなくちゃ弁当が食べられないから、困ったなア、民さん、待っていられるでしょう」 “But Tamiko, the fresh water is beyond the next mountain. There isn't a proper path, and it’s full of brambles and tall grass that will scratch your feet. Without water, we can’t eat lunch. Can’t you wait here?”
「政夫さん、後生だから連れて行って下さい。あなたが歩ける道なら私にも歩けます。一人でここにいるのはわたしゃどうしても……」 “Masao, please, I beg you. If you can walk the path, I can too. I really can’t stay here alone…”
「民さんは山へ来たら大変だだッ児になりましたネー。それじゃ一所に行きましょう」 “Tamiko, you've turned into quite the scaredy-cat in the mountains. Alright, let’s go together.”
弁当は棉の中へ隠し、着物はてんでに着てしまって出掛ける。民子は頻りに、にこにこしている。端から見たならば、馬鹿馬鹿しくも見苦しくもあろうけれど、本人同志の身にとっては、そのらちもなき押問答の内にも限りなき嬉しみを感ずるのである。高くもないけど道のない所をゆくのであるから、笹原を押分け樹の根につかまり、崖を攀ずる。しばしば民子の手を採って曳いてやる。 We hid our lunch in the cotton field, put our clothes back on, and set out. Tamiko was smiling constantly. To an outsider, it might have looked ridiculous or unpleasant, but for us, there was endless joy even in our silly banter. The path wasn’t very high, but since there was no actual trail, we had to push through bamboo grass, hold onto tree roots, and climb cliffs. I often took Tamiko's hand to help her.
近く二三日以来の二人の感情では、民子が求めるならば僕はどんなことでも拒まれない、また僕が求めるならやはりどんなことでも民子は決して拒みはしない。そういう間柄でありつつも、飽くまで臆病に飽くまで気の小さな両人は、嘗て一度も有意味に手などを採ったことはなかった。しかるに今日は偶然の事から屡手を採り合うに至った。這辺の一種云うべからざる愉快な感情は経験ある人にして初めて語ることが出来る。 In the past few days, our feelings for each other had grown to the point where if Tamiko asked for something, I couldn’t refuse, and if I asked for something, Tamiko wouldn’t refuse either. Despite this closeness, we were both still very timid and never once had we meaningfully held hands. Today, however, by chance, we ended up holding hands frequently. Only someone who has experienced this kind of indescribable joy can understand it.
「民さん、ここまでくれば、清水はあすこに見えます。これから僕が一人で行ってくるからここに待って居なさい。僕が見えて居たら居られるでしょう」 “Tamiko, once we get to here, you can see the spring water over there. From here, I’ll go alone, so wait here. You’ll be able to see me from here.”
「ほんとに政夫さんの御厄介ですね……そんなにだだを言っては済まないから、ここで待ちましょう。あらア野葡萄があった」 “I’m really being a bother... I shouldn’t be so stubborn, so I’ll wait here. Oh look, there are wild grapes!”
僕は水を汲んでの帰りに、水筒は腰に結いつけ、あたりを少し許り探って、『あけび』四五十と野葡萄一もくさを採り、竜胆の花の美しいのを五六本見つけて帰ってきた。帰りは下りだから無造作に二人で降りる。畑へ出口で僕は春蘭の大きいのを見つけた。 On my way back after getting water, I tied the water bottle to my waist, looked around a bit, and gathered four or five akebi and a bunch of wild grapes. I also found five or six beautiful gentian flowers. On the way back down, it was easier, so we descended together without any trouble. At the edge of the field, I spotted a large haran plant.
「民さん、僕は一寸『アックリ』を掘ってゆくから、この『あけび』と『えびづる』を持って行って下さい」 “Tamiko, I’ll dig up this 'akkuri' for a moment. Please carry these akebi and wild grapes.”
「『アックリ』てなにい。あらア春蘭じゃありませんか」 “What’s 'akkuri'? Oh, it’s haran, isn’t it?”
「民さんは町場もんですから、春蘭などと品のよいこと仰しゃるのです。矢切の百姓なんぞは『アックリ』と申しましてね、皸の薬に致します。ハハハハ」 “Since you’re a city girl, you call it the elegant name 'haran'. But here in the countryside, we call it 'akkuri' and use it as medicine for chapped hands. Haha!”
「あらア口の悪いこと。政夫さんは、きょうはほんとに口が悪くなったよ」 “Oh, such rude words. Masao, you’re really being cheeky today.”
山の弁当と云えば、土地の者は一般に楽しみの一つとしてある。何か生理上の理由でもあるか知らんが、とにかく、山の仕事をしてやがてたべる弁当が不思議とうまいことは誰も云う所だ。今吾々二人は新らしき清水を汲み来り母の心を籠めた弁当を分けつつたべるのである。興味の尋常でないは言うも愚な次第だ。僕は『あけび』を好み民子は野葡萄をたべつつしばらく話をする。 When it comes to having a meal in the mountains, the locals generally find it to be one of life’s pleasures. There may be some physiological reason behind it, but in any case, everyone agrees that eating lunch after working in the mountains tastes incredibly good. Now, we two are enjoying a lunch prepared with our mother's heartfelt care, with fresh spring water we fetched. It's needless to say that our enjoyment is extraordinary. I savor the akebi while Tamiko eats wild grapes, and we chat for a while.



Tamiko, laughing, said, “Masao, are you really going to bring that 'akkuri' medicine for chapped hands to school? It would be funny if you got chapped hands at school...”



I replied seriously, “No, this is for Omasu. She must have chapped hands by now. The other day when she came to stoke the fire for the bath, she was in a lot of pain, so I told her I would bring her some 'akkuri' if I ever went to the mountains.”
「まアあなたは親切な人ですことね……お増は蔭日向のない憎気のない女ですから、私も仲好くしていたんですが、この頃は何となし私に突き当る様な事ばかし言って、何でもわたしを憎んでいますよ」 “My, how kind you are… Omasu is a straightforward and kind woman, so I always got along with her, but lately, she keeps saying things that seem to clash with me. It feels like she resents me for some reason.”
「アハハハ、それはお増どんが焼餅をやくのでさ。つまらんことにもすぐ焼餅を焼くのは、女の癖さ。僕がそら『アックリ』を採っていってお増にやると云えば、民さんがすぐに、まアあなたは親切な人とか何とか云うのと同じ訣さ」 “Haha, that's because Omasu is jealous. Women tend to get jealous over trivial things. Just like how you immediately say I’m kind when I bring her 'akkuri', it's the same thing.”
「この人はいつのまにこんなに口がわるくなったのでしょう。何を言っても政夫さんにはかないやしない。いくら私だってお増が根も底もない焼もちだ位は承知していますよ……」 “When did you become so cheeky? I can’t compete with you, Masao. Even I know that Omasu’s jealousy is unfounded…”
「実はお増も不憫な女よ。両親があんなことになりさえせねば、奉公人とまでなるのではない。親父は戦争で死ぬ、お袋はこれを嘆いたがもとでの病死、一人の兄がはずれものという訣で、とうとうあの始末。国家のために死んだ人の娘だもの、民さん、いたわってやらねばならない。あれでも民さん、あなたをば大変ほめているよ。意地曲りの嫂にこきつかわれるのだから一層かわいそうでさ」 “The truth is, Omasu is a pitiable woman. If her parents hadn’t met such a fate, she wouldn’t have to work as a servant. Her father died in the war, and her mother died from illness brought on by grief. Her only brother is a delinquent, which led to this outcome. Since her father died for the country, Tamiko, we must be kind to her. She praises you a lot, you know. She is pitied all the more because she is bossed around by a mean sister-in-law.”
「そりゃ政夫さん私もそう思って居ますさ。お母さんもよくそうおっしゃいました。つまらないものですけど何とかかとか分けてやってますが、また政夫さんの様に情深くされると……」 “Masao, I think the same. Mother also said so. I do what I can to share things with her, but when you are so compassionate towards her…”
民子は云いさしてまた話を詰らしたが、桐の葉に包んで置いた竜胆の花を手に採って、急に話を転じた。 Tamiko trailed off and changed the subject by picking up the gentian flowers wrapped in paulownia leaves.
「こんな美しい花、いつ採ってお出でなして。りんどうはほんとによい花ですね。わたしりんどうがこんなに美しいとは知らなかったわ。わたし急にりんどうが好きになった。おオえエ花……」 “What beautiful flowers! When did you pick these? Gentians are truly lovely. I never realized how beautiful they are. I suddenly like gentians very much. Such beautiful flowers…”
花好きな民子は例の癖で、色白の顔にその紫紺の花を押しつける。やがて何を思いだしてか、ひとりでにこにこ笑いだした。 Tamiko, a flower lover, pressed the deep blue flowers to her fair face as was her habit. Then, as if remembering something, she started smiling to herself.
「民さん、なんです、そんなにひとりで笑って」 “Tamiko, why are you smiling like that?”
「政夫さんはりんどうの様な人だ」 “Masao, you are like a gentian.”
「どうして」 “Why?”
「さアどうしてということはないけど、政夫さんは何がなし竜胆の様な風だからさ」 “Well, there’s no particular reason, but you have a gentian-like air about you.”
民子は言い終って顔をかくして笑った。 Tamiko finished speaking and hid her face, laughing.
「民さんもよっぽど人が悪くなった。それでさっきの仇討という訣ですか。口真似なんか恐入りますナ。しかし民さんが野菊で僕が竜胆とは面白い対ですね。僕は悦んでりんどうになります。それで民さんがりんどうを好きになってくれればなお嬉しい」 “You’ve become quite mischievous, haven’t you? Is this your way of getting back at me for earlier? I’m flattered. But Tamiko being a wild chrysanthemum and me a gentian makes for an interesting contrast. I’ll gladly be a gentian. And I’d be even happier if you came to like gentians as well.”
二人はこんならちもなき事いうて悦んでいた。秋の日足の短さ、日はようやく傾きそめる。さアとの掛声で棉もぎにかかる。午後の分は僅であったから一時間半ばかりでもぎ終えた。何やかやそれぞれまとめて番ニョに乗せ、二人で差しあいにかつぐ。民子を先に僕が後に、とぼとぼ畑を出掛けた時は、日は早く松の梢をかぎりかけた。 The two were delighting in such trivial conversations. With the short days of autumn, the sun was already starting to set. At a signal, they began picking the cotton. Since there wasn’t much left to pick in the afternoon, they finished in about an hour and a half. They gathered everything together, loaded it onto a carrying pole, and the two of them took turns carrying it. With Tamiko in front and me behind, we trudged out of the field just as the sun was starting to dip behind the pine treetops.
半分道も来たと思う頃は十三夜の月が、木の間から影をさして尾花にゆらぐ風もなく、露の置くさえ見える様な夜になった。今朝は気がつかなかったが、道の西手に一段低い畑には、蕎麦の花が薄絹を曳き渡したように白く見える。こおろぎが寒げに鳴いているにも心とめずにはいられない。 By the time we thought we had covered half the distance back, the thirteenth-night moon had risen, casting shadows through the trees, illuminating the pampas grass, and making the dew visible in the stillness of the night. I hadn’t noticed this morning, but the fields to the west of the road, slightly lower in elevation, looked white as if draped with fine silk from the buckwheat flowers. The chirping of crickets, sounding cold, was impossible to ignore.
「民さん、くたぶれたでしょう。どうせおそくなったんですから、この景色のよい所で少し休んで行きましょう」 "Tamiko, you must be tired. Since it’s already late, let’s rest for a bit in this beautiful spot."
「こんなにおそくなるなら、今少し急げばよかったに。家の人達にきっと何とか言われる。政夫さん、私はそれが心配になるわ」 "If it was going to get this late, we should have hurried a bit more. The people at home will surely say something. Masao, I’m worried about that."
「今更心配しても追つかないから、まア少し休みましょう。こんなに景色のよいことは滅多にありません。そんなに人に申訣のない様な悪いことはしないもの、民さん、心配することはないよ」 "It’s too late to worry about it now, so let’s just rest a bit. This scenery is rarely this beautiful. We haven’t done anything so bad that it can’t be explained. Tamiko, you don’t need to worry."
月あかりが斜にさしこんでいる道端の松の切株に二人は腰をかけた。目の先七八間の所は木の蔭で薄暗いがそれから向うは畑一ぱいに月がさして、蕎麦の花が際立って白い。 We sat on the stump of a pine tree by the side of the road, where the moonlight slanted in. Seven or eight paces ahead, it was dark under the trees, but beyond that, the moonlight bathed the field, making the buckwheat flowers stand out starkly white.
「何というえい景色でしょう。政夫さん歌とか俳句とかいうものをやったら、こんなときに面白いことが云えるでしょうね。私ら様な無筆でもこんな時には心配も何も忘れますもの。政夫さん、あなた歌をおやんなさいよ」 "What a beautiful scene. Masao, if you did poetry or haiku, you could say something wonderful at a time like this. Even for someone as unlettered as me, a scene like this makes me forget all my worries. Masao, you should do poetry."
「僕は実は少しやっているけど、むずかしくて容易に出来ないのさ。山畑の蕎麦の花に月がよくて、こおろぎが鳴くなどは実にえいですなア。民さん、これから二人で歌をやりましょうか」 "Actually, I do a bit, but it’s difficult and not easy to do well. The moon over the buckwheat flowers in the mountain fields, with the crickets chirping, is truly wonderful. Tamiko, how about we start doing poetry together from now on?"
お互に一つの心配を持つ身となった二人は、内に思うことが多くてかえって話は少ない。何となく覚束ない二人の行末、ここで少しく話をしたかったのだ。民子は勿論のこと、僕よりも一層話したかったに相違ないが、年の至らぬのと浮いた心のない二人は、なかなか差向いでそんな話は出来なかった。しばらくは無言でぼんやり時間を過ごすうちに、一列の雁が二人を促すかの様に空近く鳴いて通る。 The two, both harboring a shared concern, had much on their minds but spoke little. Their future, uncertain and filled with unspoken thoughts, weighed on them. While Tamiko likely wanted to talk even more than I did, the youthfulness and lack of experience of both of us made it difficult to have such a conversation face-to-face. As we spent some time in silence, lost in thought, a line of geese flew overhead, honking as if urging us on.
ようやく田圃へ降りて銀杏の木が見えた時に、二人はまた同じ様に一種の感情が胸に湧いた。それは外でもない、何となく家に這入りづらいと言う心持である。這入りづらい訣はないと思うても、どうしても這入りづらい。躊躇する暇もない、忽門前近く来てしまった。 As we finally descended into the rice fields and saw the ginkgo tree, a similar feeling welled up in our hearts. It was an inexplicable reluctance to go home. Even though there was no real reason to feel this way, we couldn’t help but hesitate. Without much time to ponder, we soon found ourselves near the gate.
「政夫さん……あなた先になって下さい。私極りわるくてしょうがないわ」 "Masao... please go first. I feel so embarrassed, I can't stand it."
「よしとそれじゃ僕が先になろう」 "Alright, I’ll go first then."
僕は頗る勇気を鼓し殊に平気な風を装うて門を這入った。家の人達は今夕飯最中で盛んに話が湧いているらしい。庭場の雨戸は未だ開いたなりに月が軒口までさし込んでいる。僕が咳払を一ツやって庭場へ這入ると、台所の話はにわかに止んでしまった。民子は指の先で僕の肩を撞いた。僕も承知しているのだ、今御膳会議で二人の噂が如何に盛んであったか。 Mustering all my courage and pretending to be completely at ease, I walked through the gate. The family was in the middle of dinner, and it sounded like they were having a lively conversation. The shutters of the garden room were still open, letting the moonlight spill in up to the eaves. As I cleared my throat and entered the garden room, the conversation in the kitchen abruptly ceased. Tamiko lightly tapped my shoulder with her fingertip. We both knew what it meant; we were well aware of how much we had been the topic of lively discussion at the dinner table.
宵祭ではあり十三夜ではあるので、家中表座敷へ揃うた時、母も奥から起きてきた。母は一通り二人の余り遅かったことを咎めて深くは言わなかったけれど、常とは全く違っていた。何か思っているらしく、少しも打解けない。これまでは口には小言を言うても、心中に疑わなかったのだが、今夜は口には余り言わないが、心では十分に二人に疑いを起したに違いない。民子はいよいよ小さくなって座敷中へは出ない。僕は山から採ってきた、あけびや野葡萄やを沢山座敷中へ並べ立てて、暗に僕がこんな事をして居たから遅くなったのだとの意を示し無言の弁解をやっても何のききめもない。誰一人それをそうと見るものはない。今夜は何の話にも僕等二人は除けものにされる始末で、もはや二人は全く罪あるものと黙決されてしまったのである。 Since it was the night of the festival and the Thirteenth Night, everyone gathered in the main room, and my mother came out from the back room. Although she scolded us lightly for being so late, she didn't say much more. However, her demeanor was entirely different from usual. She seemed to be harboring some thoughts, not relaxing at all. Previously, she would scold us but didn't genuinely suspect anything, but tonight, even though she said little, she undoubtedly harbored deep suspicions about us. Tamiko shrank further and didn't come out into the room. I laid out the akebi and wild grapes I had collected in the mountains all over the room, implicitly trying to show that this was why we were late and silently defending myself, but it was all in vain. No one interpreted it that way. Tonight, we were entirely excluded from the conversation, and it was silently decided that we were both guilty.
「お母さんがあんまり甘過ぎる。あアして居る二人を一所に山畑へやるとは目のないにもほどがある。はたでいくら心配してもお母さんがあれでは駄目だ」 "Mother is too lenient. To send those two to the mountain field together like that is just blind. No matter how much we worry, if mother is like that, it's hopeless."



This seemed to be the consensus of the kitchen meeting. My mother, who had always thought of us as children, must have realized her mistake tonight, thinking it was her fault. Now, it was too late to scold us. She seemed to have decided that once I went to school, everything would be resolved.

"Masao, I had planned to send you to school at the beginning of November, but it's not beneficial for you to just hang around like this. So, go to school right after the festival. Go on the 17th... Alright? Prepare yourself accordingly."

学校へゆくは固より僕の願い、十日や二十日早くとも遅くともそれに仔細はないが、この場合しかも今夜言渡があって見ると、二人は既に罪を犯したものと定められての仕置であるから、民子は勿論僕に取ってもすこぶる心苦しい処がある。実際二人はそれほどに堕落した訣でないから、頭からそうときめられては、聊か妙な心持がする。さりとて弁解の出来ることでもなし、また強いことを言える資格も実は無いのである。これが一ヶ月前であったらば、それはお母さん御無理だ、学校へ行くのは望みであるけど、科を着せられての仕置に学校へゆけとはあんまりでしょう……などと直ぐだだを言うのであるが、今夜はそんな我儘を言えるほど無邪気ではない。全くの処、恋に陥ってしまっている。 Going to school had always been my wish, so whether I left ten or twenty days earlier or later didn't really matter. However, being told to leave tonight under these circumstances made it clear that we were being punished as if we had already committed a crime. This was very troubling for both Tamiko and me. In reality, we hadn't fallen that far, so being condemned outright felt somewhat strange. Yet, it wasn't something we could easily explain, nor did we have the right to speak out strongly about it. If this had happened a month ago, I would have immediately protested, saying, "Mother, that's unreasonable. While I do want to go to school, being sent as a punishment for a crime we didn't commit is too much." But tonight, I wasn't innocent enough to make such selfish demands. In truth, I had fallen in love.




I had come to the point where I was hiding things from the mother who had always cared for me, creating a distance between us, unable to express my true feelings. Naturally, I became more conscious of others, and in front of people, we made a point to act distant. With such personal feelings growing, how could I speak confidently? I could only reply with a single word:


I said nothing more and had no choice but to blindly obey my mother's orders.

「僕は学校へ往ってしまえばそれでよいけど、民さんは跡でどうなるだろうか」 "I'll be fine once I go to school, but what will happen to Tamiko afterward?"
不図そう思って、そっと民子の方を見ると、お増が枝豆をあさってる後に、民子はうつむいて膝の上に襷をこねくりつつ沈黙している。如何にも元気のない風で夜のせいか顔色も青白く見えた。民子の風を見て僕も俄に悲しくなって泣きたくなった。涙は瞼を伝って眼が曇った。なぜ悲しくなったか理由は判然しない。ただ民子が可哀相でならなくなったのである。民子と僕との楽しい関係もこの日の夜までは続かなく、十三日の昼の光と共に全く消えうせてしまった。嬉しいにつけても思いのたけは語りつくさず、憂き悲しいことについては勿論百分の一だも語りあわないで、二人の関係は闇の幕に這入ってしまったのである。 Thinking this, I glanced at Tamiko. She was sitting behind Omasu, who was shelling edamame, with her head down, twisting her apron strings in silence. She looked so forlorn, and maybe it was the night, but her face seemed pale. Seeing Tamiko like that made me suddenly sad, and I felt like crying. Tears welled up in my eyes, blurring my vision. I didn't know exactly why I felt so sad, but I just couldn't help feeling sorry for Tamiko. The happy relationship between Tamiko and me did not last until that night. With the light of the Thirteenth Day, it completely vanished. Despite our joy, we couldn't fully express our feelings, and regarding our sorrow and sadness, we didn't share even a hundredth of it. Our relationship disappeared into the darkness.
十四日は祭の初日でただ物せわしく日がくれた。お互に気のない風はしていても、手にせわしい仕事のあるばかりに、とにかく思い紛らすことが出来た。 The fourteenth was the first day of the festival, and it was so busy that the day quickly came to an end. Even though we pretended to be indifferent, the busy work kept our minds distracted.
十五日と十六日とは、食事の外用事もないままに、書室へ籠りとおしていた。ぼんやり机にもたれたなり何をするでもなく、また二人の関係をどうしようかという様なことすらも考えてはいない。ただ民子のことが頭に充ちているばかりで、極めて単純に民子を思うている外に考えは働いて居らぬ。この二日の間に民子と三四回は逢ったけれど、話も出来ず微笑を交換する元気もなく、うら淋しい心持を互に目に訴うるのみであった。二人の心持が今少しませて居ったならば、この二日の間にも将来の事など随分話し合うことが出来たのであろうけれど、しぶとい心持などは毛ほどもなかった二人には、その場合になかなかそんな事は出来なかった。それでも僕は十六日の午後になって、何とはなしに以下のような事を巻紙へ書いて、日暮に一寸来た民子に僕が居なくなってから見てくれと云って渡した。 On the fifteenth and sixteenth, with nothing to do except eat, I stayed in the study. Leaning against the desk, I did nothing in particular, not even thinking about what to do with our relationship. My mind was completely filled with thoughts of Tamiko, and I couldn’t think about anything else. During these two days, I saw Tamiko three or four times, but we couldn't talk or even exchange smiles; we could only express our loneliness through our eyes. If we had been a bit more mature, we might have been able to discuss our future during these two days. However, we were so naive that we couldn't even think about such things. Nonetheless, on the afternoon of the sixteenth, I wrote the following on a roll of paper and gave it to Tamiko when she came by at dusk, asking her to read it after I had left:





"Since this morning, I've been here, unable to feel like doing anything. I don't feel like going out, reading books, or doing anything else. I just keep thinking about you, Tamiko, over and over. Being with you feels like being held by God and riding on clouds. I wonder why I feel this way. Since I need to study, I will go to school, but in my heart, I don't want to be separated from you, Tamiko. You seem worried about your age, but I don't think about it at all. I intend to do as you wish, so please think the same. I will leave early tomorrow. I look forward to coming back during the winter break to see you again.

October 16th


To Tamiko"



Even though I was going to school, the fact that I was being sent away early due to some perceived wrongdoing made me overly sensitive to people's laughter and conversations. It felt like everyone was mocking us. I wanted to go to school as soon as possible. Once I made up my mind, I began to feel more energetic. That night, my mind cleared a bit, and I ate dinner with a better appetite. I discussed various things about school with my mother. Even after going to bed, I kept thinking, "What a foolish thing, for a fifteen-year-old kid to be so preoccupied with a girl... Yes, yes, I will go to school first thing tomorrow morning. Poor Tamiko... but I won't think about it anymore. There's no point in worrying about it. School, school..."
独口ききつつ眠りに入った様な訣であった。 Mumbling to myself, I eventually fell asleep.
船で河から市川へ出るつもりだから、十七日の朝、小雨の降るのに、一切の持物をカバン一個につめ込み民子とお増に送られて矢切の渡へ降りた。村の者の荷船に便乗する訣でもう船は来て居る。僕は民さんそれじゃ……と言うつもりでも咽がつまって声が出ない。民子は僕に包を渡してからは、自分の手のやりばに困って胸を撫でたり襟を撫でたりして、下ばかり向いている。眼にもつ涙をお増に見られまいとして、体を脇へそらしている、民子があわれな姿を見ては僕も涙が抑え切れなかった。民子は今日を別れと思ってか、髪はさっぱりとした銀杏返しに薄く化粧をしている。煤色と紺の細かい弁慶縞で、羽織も長着も同じい米沢紬に、品のよい友禅縮緬の帯をしめていた。襷を掛けた民子もよかったけれど今日の民子はまた一層引立って見えた。 Since I planned to take the boat from the river to Ichikawa, on the morning of the 17th, despite the drizzle, I packed everything into a single bag and was seen off by Tamiko and Omasu to the Yagiri ferry. We were going to ride on a village cargo boat that had already arrived. Though I wanted to say, "Tamiko, well then..." my throat tightened and I couldn't speak. After handing me the package, Tamiko didn't know what to do with her hands, stroking her chest or collar while looking down. She turned her body away to hide her teary eyes from Omasu. Seeing Tamiko in such a pitiful state, I couldn't hold back my own tears. Tamiko, perhaps thinking this was our final farewell, had her hair done neatly in a ginkgo leaf style and wore light makeup. She was dressed in a sober-colored and navy blue fine Benkei stripe kimono, both the haori and the long garment made of the same Yonezawa tsumugi, with an elegant Yūzen crepe obi. Though Tamiko looked good with her sleeves tied back, she appeared even more striking today.
僕の気のせいででもあるか、民子は十三日の夜からは一日一日とやつれてきて、この日のいたいたしさ、僕は泣かずには居られなかった。虫が知らせるとでもいうのか、これが生涯の別れになろうとは、僕は勿論民子とて、よもやそうは思わなかったろうけれど、この時のつらさ悲しさは、とても他人に話しても信じてくれるものはないと思う位であった。 Perhaps it was just my perception, but since the night of the 13th, Tamiko seemed to have become more and more haggard day by day, and on this day, her appearance was particularly heartbreaking. I couldn't help but cry. Whether it was intuition or something else, neither Tamiko nor I imagined that this would be our final farewell, but the pain and sadness at that moment were beyond what anyone else would believe.
尤も民子の思いは僕より深かったに相違ない。僕は中学校を卒業するまでにも、四五年間のある体であるのに、民子は十七で今年の内にも縁談の話があって両親からそう言われれば、無造作に拒むことの出来ない身であるから、行末のことをいろいろ考えて見ると心配の多い訣である。当時の僕はそこまでは考えなかったけれど、親しく目に染みた民子のいたいたしい姿は幾年経っても昨日の事のように眼に浮んでいるのである。 Tamiko's feelings were undoubtedly deeper than mine. While I still had four or five years to graduate from middle school, Tamiko, being seventeen, faced pressure from her parents about marriage proposals, which she couldn't refuse easily. She had many worries about the future. At the time, I didn't consider these things, but the image of Tamiko's pitiful figure remains vividly in my mind even after many years.
余所から見たならば、若いうちによくあるいたずらの勝手な泣面と見苦しくもあったであろうけれど、二人の身に取っては、真にあわれに悲しき別れであった。互に手を取って後来を語ることも出来ず、小雨のしょぼしょぼ降る渡場に、泣きの涙も人目を憚り、一言の詞もかわし得ないで永久の別れをしてしまったのである。無情の舟は流を下って早く、十分間と経たぬ内に、五町と下らぬ内に、お互の姿は雨の曇りに隔てられてしまった。物も言い得ないで、しょんぼりと悄れていた不憫な民さんの俤、どうして忘れることが出来よう。民さんを思うために神の怒りに触れて即座に打殺さるる様なことがあるとても僕には民さんを思わずに居られない。年をとっての後の考えから言えば、あアもしたらこうもしたらと思わぬこともなかったけれど、当時の若い同志の思慮には何らの工夫も無かったのである。八百屋お七は家を焼いたらば、再度思う人に逢われることと工夫をしたのであるが、吾々二人は妻戸一枚を忍んで開けるほどの智慧も出なかった。それほどに無邪気な可憐な恋でありながら、なお親に怖じ兄弟に憚り、他人の前にて涙も拭き得なかったのは如何に気の弱い同志であったろう。 To an outsider, it might have seemed like a childish, pathetic scene of tears from young love, but to us, it was a truly sorrowful and pitiful farewell. We couldn't even hold hands or talk about the future. In the drizzling rain at the ferry, we parted forever without exchanging a single word, stifling our tears for fear of being seen. The merciless boat quickly drifted downstream, and within ten minutes, within five blocks, our figures were obscured by the rainy mist. How could I ever forget the forlorn image of poor Tamiko, who stood dejected and downcast? Even if the gods were to strike me down for thinking of Tamiko, I couldn't stop thinking about her. In hindsight, I sometimes think about what I could have done differently, but back then, we had no such clever plans. While Yaoya Oshichi might have thought she could meet her beloved again if she set fire to her house, we didn't have the wisdom to even discreetly open a single door. Despite our innocent and pure love, we were so timid and afraid of our parents and siblings, that we couldn't even wipe our tears in front of others.
僕は学校へ行ってからも、とかく民子のことばかり思われて仕方がない。学校に居ってこんなことを考えてどうするものかなどと、自分で自分を叱り励まして見ても何の甲斐もない。そういう詞の尻からすぐ民子のことが湧いてくる。多くの人中に居ればどうにか紛れるので、日の中はなるたけ一人で居ない様に心掛けて居た。夜になっても寝ると仕方がないから、なるたけ人中で騒いで居て疲れて寝る工夫をして居た。そういう始末でようやく年もくれ冬期休業になった。 Even after I went to school, I couldn't stop thinking about Tamiko. I'd scold myself, wondering what good it was to dwell on such things while at school, but it was all in vain. No sooner had I tried to push those thoughts away than they'd come rushing back. When I was surrounded by people, I managed to distract myself somewhat, so I made sure not to be alone during the day. At night, knowing it was futile to lie awake thinking, I tried to tire myself out by staying with others and engaging in lively conversation until I could fall asleep. Somehow, I made it through the year and into the winter break.
僕が十二月二十五日の午前に帰って見ると、庭一面に籾を干してあって、母は前の縁側に蒲団を敷いて日向ぼっこをしていた。近頃はよほど体の工合もよい。今日は兄夫婦と男とお増とは山へ落葉をはきに行ったとの話である。僕は民さんはと口の先まで出たけれど遂に言い切らなかった。母も意地悪く何とも言わない。僕は帰り早々民子のことを問うのが如何にも極り悪く、そのまま例の書室を片づけてここに落着いた。しかし日暮までには民子も帰ってくることと思いながら、おろおろして待って居る。皆が帰っていよいよ夕飯ということになっても民子の姿は見えない、誰もまた民子のことを一言も言うものもない。僕はもう民子は市川へ帰ったものと察して、人に問うのもいまいましいから、外の話もせず、飯がすむとそれなり書室へ這入ってしまった。 When I returned home on the morning of December 25th, I found the yard covered with drying rice husks, and my mother was sitting on the veranda sunbathing with a futon. Her health seemed much improved lately. She mentioned that my brother and his wife, a worker, and Omasu had gone to the mountains to gather fallen leaves. I nearly asked about Tamiko but held my tongue. My mother, perhaps out of spite, didn't mention anything about her either. It felt awkward to ask about Tamiko right after returning home, so I simply tidied up my usual study room and settled there. I waited anxiously, hoping that Tamiko would return by dusk. However, even as evening fell and it was time for dinner, there was no sign of her, and no one mentioned her at all. Concluding that Tamiko must have returned to Ichikawa, I didn't bother asking about her, feeling it would be too frustrating. After dinner, I retreated to my study room without saying much to anyone.
今日は必ず民子に逢われることと一方ならず楽しみにして帰って来たのに、この始末で何とも言えず力が落ちて淋しかった。さりとて誰にこの苦悶を話しようもなく、民子の写真などを取出して見て居ったけれど、ちっとも気が晴れない。またあの奴民子が居ないから考え込んで居やがると思われるも口惜しく、ようやく心を取直し、母の枕元へいって夜遅くまで学校の話をして聞かせた。 I had been eagerly anticipating meeting Tamiko today, but this turn of events left me feeling deeply disheartened and lonely. With no one to share my anguish, I took out Tamiko's photograph to look at, but it did little to lift my spirits. Worried that others might think I was brooding over Tamiko's absence, I forced myself to gather my thoughts. I went to my mother's bedside and talked about school until late at night.
翌くる日は九時頃にようやく起きた。母は未だ寝ている。台所へ出て見ると外の者は皆また山へ往ったとかで、お増が一人台所片づけに残っている。僕は顔を洗ったなり飯も食わずに、背戸の畑へ出てしまった。この秋、民子と二人で茄子をとった畑が今は青々と菜がほきている。僕はしばらく立って何所を眺めるともなく、民子の俤を脳中にえがきつつ思いに沈んでいる。 The next day, I finally got up around nine o'clock. My mother was still asleep. When I went to the kitchen, I found that everyone else had gone to the mountains again, leaving Omasu alone to tidy up. I washed my face and, without eating breakfast, went out to the backyard garden. The garden, where Tamiko and I had picked eggplants this autumn, was now lush with green vegetables. I stood there for a while, lost in thought, reminiscing about Tamiko.



"Masao, what are you thinking about so deeply?" Omasu said, suddenly coming up behind me. When I gave a vague response, she took my hand and led me to sit on a pile of straw.
「政夫さん……お民さんはほんとに可哀相でしたよ。うちの姉さんたらほんとに意地曲りですからネ。何という根性の悪い人だか、私もはアここのうちに居るのは厭になってしまった。昨日政夫さんが来るのは解りきって居るのに、姉さんがいろんなことを云って、一昨日お民さんを市川へ帰したんですよ。待つ人があるだっぺとか逢いたい人が待ちどおかっぺとか、当こすりを云ってお民さんを泣かせたりしてネ、お母さんにも何でもいろいろなこと言ったらしい、とうとう一昨日お昼前に帰してしまったのでさ。政夫さんが一昨日きたら逢われたんですよ。政夫さん、私はお民さんが可哀相で可哀相でならないだよ。何だってあなたが居なくなってからはまるで泣きの涙で日を暮らして居るんだもの、政夫さんに手紙をやりたいけれど、それがよく自分には出来ないから口惜しいと云ってネ。私の部屋へ三晩も硯と紙を持ってきては泣いて居ました。お民さんも始まりは私にも隠していたけれど、後には隠して居られなくなったのさ。私もお民さんのためにいくら泣いたか知れない……」 "Masao... Tamiko really has it tough. My sister is truly spiteful. She's so mean-spirited that I can hardly stand living here. Even though she knew you were coming back yesterday, she said all sorts of things and sent Tamiko back to Ichikawa the day before yesterday. She kept making snide comments like, 'There must be someone waiting for you,' and 'Someone must be eager to see you,' making Tamiko cry. I heard she also said many things to Mother, and eventually, she sent Tamiko away before noon the day before yesterday. If you had come the day before yesterday, you would have seen her. I feel so sorry for Tamiko. Since you left, she has spent her days in tears, unable to send you a letter because she couldn't write well herself. She brought ink and paper to my room three nights in a row, crying. At first, she tried to hide it from me, but eventually, she couldn't anymore. I cried so much for her as well..."
見ればお増はもうぽろぽろ涙をこぼしている。一体お増はごく人のよい親切な女で、僕と民子が目の前で仲好い風をすると、嫉妬心を起すけれど、もとより執念深い性でないから、民子が一人になれば民子と仲が好く、僕が一人になれば僕を大騒ぎするのである。 Seeing her, Omasu was already shedding tears. Omasu was essentially a very kind and gentle woman. She would feel jealousy when she saw Tamiko and me getting along well in front of her, but she was not inherently resentful. When Tamiko was alone, Omasu was friendly with her, and when I was alone, she was kind to me.





Omasu then went on to tell me about how Tamiko had been severely scolded by my mother after I left. The story went as follows:

No matter what my spiteful sister-in-law said, my mother’s love for Tamiko never wavered. However, it seemed she had decided that it would never do for Tamiko, who was two years older than me, to become my wife. The sister-in-law had said many things, and if Tamiko were not to be my wife, they needed to find ways to separate us. With this mindset, both my mother and sister-in-law had subtly tried to dissuade Tamiko from thinking about me, hinting that it was futile.

Despite this, Tamiko constantly fretted over our relationship, making it obvious to others. Occasionally, she would forget things or be slow to respond when called, which frequently irked my mother. About twenty days after I left, at the beginning of November, Tamiko was supposed to join the others in the fields. My mother had instructed her to clean around the sitting room with a cloth and then put away the mats spread out in the yard before heading to the fields. Tamiko cleaned but forgot to put away the mats, and it rained that day, soaking about ten of them. Realizing her mistake only after it started raining, Tamiko returned home and apologized to my mother, who, harboring the usual grievances, said:

"It's not that I regret losing ten mats, but this happened because you take my instructions lightly. You weren’t like this before. Thinking only of yourself, you don't even listen to what others say..."

These scolding words were quite harsh. Tamiko went close to my mother’s bedside and apologized profusely, but my mother scolded her for apologizing so formally, saying she didn’t need to act like a stranger. Overwhelmed, Tamiko burst into tears. Had she stopped crying after a while, things might have settled down, but she cried all night, appearing with red eyes the next morning. My mother, who had awakened occasionally during the night, heard Tamiko crying continuously. This made my mother very angry, and she called both Omasu and Tamiko, her voice trembling:

"Omasu, listen carefully in case I say something unreasonable. Tamiko cried all night. She must have been unbearably upset by what I said."



Though Tamiko protested, saying that wasn't the case, my mother ignored her and continued:

"Perhaps I did say too much, but Tamiko didn't need to take it so badly. When I think about it, I feel heartbroken. Not to boast, but although she isn’t my real child, Tamiko has always been at our home since she was a baby. She and Masao were nursed together, each given one of my breasts. Even after Omasu came, I treated them equally, giving each of them the same clothes. Tamiko has always considered me her true mother, and everyone thought of them as siblings. Despite all this, Tamiko resented a single scolding enough to cry all night. If the people in Ichikawa hear about this, they will think I mistreated her terribly. I feel so betrayed to think that all my care for her over the years could be forgotten over one scolding. Are humans really this fickle? Omasu, tell me honestly, was I wrong or was Tamiko?"



With tears in her eyes, my mother looked at us. Tamiko, utterly devastated, clung to Omasu's knees, crying and pleading:

"Omasu, please explain to Mother. It’s not that I was being rebellious. I cried so much last night because it was all my fault, because I was lacking. Omasu, please explain this to her..."



Then Omasu, also in tears, said:

"Mother, your anger is understandable, but I think there might be some misunderstanding. You’ve known Tamiko for many years and understand her nature. I've been living here for a year now, and I can see that Tamiko is truly kind and gentle. She's not the type to resent a little scolding from you. I hate to say this, but since Masao and Tamiko were suddenly separated, she's been incredibly sad. She sighs at the rustling leaves and tears up at the cawing crows. It’s no wonder she cried uncontrollably when you scolded her. Mother, I truly believe that Tamiko didn’t cry out of resentment. She’s just been so heartbroken since Masao left, and your scolding was the final straw. It’s too harsh to scold someone as gentle as Tamiko in such a way."



Moved by Omasu's words, my mother, who never truly disliked Tamiko, softened her expression and said:

"Now that you mention it, Omasu, I might have misunderstood. Thank you for clarifying. I feel much better now. Tamiko, stop crying. You've been through a lot. Masao will return at the end of the year. Omasu, please take a break today and prepare something delicious."

その日は三人がいく度もよりあって、いろいろな物を拵えては茶ごとをやり、一日面白く話をした。民子はこの日はいつになく高笑いをし元気よく遊んだ。何と云っても母の方は直ぐ話が解るけれど、嫂が間がな隙がな種々なことを言うので、とうとう僕の帰らない内に民子を市川へ帰したとの話であった。お増は長い話を終るや否やすぐ家へ帰った。 That day, the three of them spent a lot of time together, preparing various treats and enjoying tea, having pleasant conversations all day. Tamiko laughed heartily and seemed more cheerful than usual. Though my mother quickly understood and came around, my sister-in-law continued to say all sorts of things. Eventually, they sent Tamiko back to Ichikawa before I could return. As soon as she finished her long story, Omasu went home.
なるほどそうであったか、姉は勿論母までがそういう心になったでは、か弱い望も絶えたも同様。心細さの遣瀬がなく、泣くより外に詮がなかったのだろう。そんなに母に叱られたか……一晩中泣きとおした……なるほどなどと思うと、再び熱い涙が漲り出してとめどがない。僕はしばらくの間、涙の出るがままにそこにぼんやりして居った。その日はとうとう朝飯もたべず、昼過ぎまで畑のあたりをうろついてしまった。 I see, so that's how it was. If not only my sister but even my mother felt that way, then any faint hope was as good as gone. With no outlet for my loneliness, I could only cry. To think that Tamiko was scolded so harshly by my mother, crying all through the night... I realized, and once again, hot tears welled up uncontrollably. I stood there dazed for a while, letting the tears flow freely. That day, I ended up not eating breakfast and wandered around the fields until well past noon.
そうなると俄に家に居るのが厭でたまらない。出来るならば暮の内に学校へ帰ってしまいたかったけれど、そうもならないでようやくこらえて、年を越し元日一日置いて二日の日には朝早く学校へ立ってしまった。 Suddenly, I found it unbearable to stay at home. If I could have, I would have returned to school before the end of the year, but I couldn't. I endured it and finally left for school early on the morning of the second day, after New Year's Day.
今度は陸路市川へ出て、市川から汽車に乗ったから、民子の近所を通ったのであれど、僕は極りが悪くてどうしても民子の家へ寄れなかった。また僕に寄られたらば、民子が困るだろうとも思って、いくたび寄ろうと思ったけれどついに寄らなかった。 This time, I traveled overland to Ichikawa, and from there I took a train. Although I passed by Tamiko’s neighborhood, I felt so awkward that I couldn't bring myself to visit her house. I also thought that if I visited, it would trouble Tamiko, so despite wanting to, I never stopped by.



Reflecting on it, people's circumstances truly do change. Up until a year before, if Tamiko wasn’t at my place, I would visit her house every Sunday. When I went to Tamiko's house, I had no business with anyone else. I would always say, "Grandmother, where's Tami?"
そら「民さんは」が来たといわれる位で、或る時などは僕がゆくと、民子は庭に菊の花を摘んで居た。僕は民さん一寸御出でと無理に背戸へ引張って行って、二間梯子を二人で荷い出し、柿の木へ掛けたのを民子に抑えさせ、僕が登って柿を六個許りとる。民子に半分やれば民子は一つで沢山というから、僕はその五つを持ってそのまま裏から抜けて帰ってしまった。さすがにこの時は戸村の家でも家中で僕を悪く言ったそうだけれど、民子一人はただにこにこ笑って居て、決して政夫さん悪いとは言わなかったそうだ。これ位隔てなくした間柄だに、恋ということ覚えてからは、市川の町を通るすら恥かしくなったのである。 It was known that I would come asking for her. One time, when I visited, Tamiko was picking chrysanthemum flowers in the garden. I called her over and, rather forcibly, took her to the back yard. Together, we carried a two-step ladder, placed it against a persimmon tree, and I climbed up to pick six persimmons while she held the ladder. Tamiko only took one, saying it was enough, so I took the remaining five and left through the back without any further ado. Apparently, this time even the whole Tomura household criticized me, but Tamiko just smiled and never said a bad word about me. That's how close we were. Yet, after falling in love, it became embarrassing even to pass through Ichikawa.
この年の暑中休みには家に帰らなかった。暮にも帰るまいと思ったけれど、年の暮だから一日でも二日でも帰れというて母から手紙がきた故、大三十日の夜帰ってきた。お増も今年きりで下ったとの話でいよいよ話相手もないから、また元日一日で二日の日に出掛けようとすると、母がお前にも言うて置くが民子は嫁に往った、去年の霜月やはり市川の内で、大変裕福な家だそうだ、と簡単にいうのであった。僕ははアそうですかと無造作に答えて出てしまった。 That year, I did not return home during the summer break. I also planned not to go back at the end of the year, but I received a letter from my mother urging me to come back, even if just for a day or two. So, I returned on the night of December 30th. I heard that Omasu had left that year, so I no longer had anyone to talk to. When I was about to leave on the second day after New Year's, my mother casually mentioned, "I should tell you, Tamiko got married last November, also in Ichikawa, to a very wealthy family." I simply replied, "Oh, really?" and left.
民子は嫁に往った。この一語を聞いた時の僕の心持は自分ながら不思議と思うほどの平気であった。僕が民子を思っている感情に何らの動揺を起さなかった。これには何か相当の理由があるかも知れねど、ともかくも事実はそうである。僕はただ理窟なしに民子は如何な境涯に入ろうとも、僕を思っている心は決して変らぬものと信じている。嫁にいこうがどうしようが、民子は依然民子で、僕が民子を思う心に寸分の変りない様に民子にも決して変りない様に思われて、その観念は殆ど大石の上に坐して居る様で毛の先ほどの危惧心もない。それであるから民子は嫁に往ったと聞いても少しも驚かなかった。しかしその頃から今までにない考えも出て来た。民子はただただ少しも元気がなく、痩衰えて鬱いで許り居るだろうとのみ思われてならない。可哀相な民さんという観念ばかり高まってきたのである。そういう訣であるから、学校へ往っても以前とは殆ど反対になって、以前は勉めて人中へ這入って、苦悶を紛らそうとしたけれど、今度はなるべく人を避けて、一人で民子の上に思いを馳せて楽しんで居った。茄子畑の事や棉畑の事や、十三日の晩の淋しい風や、また矢切の渡で別れた時の事やを、繰返し繰返し考えては独り慰めて居った。民子の事さえ考えればいつでも気分がよくなる。勿論悲しい心持になることがしばしばあるけれど、さんざん涙を出せばやはり跡は気分がよくなる。民子の事を思って居ればかえって学課の成績も悪くないのである。これらも不思議の一つで、如何なる理由か知らねど、僕は実際そうであった。 Tamiko got married. When I heard those words, I was surprisingly calm. My feelings for Tamiko remained undisturbed. There might be some reason for this, but the fact is that I believed, without any doubt, that no matter what situation Tamiko was in, her feelings for me would never change. Whether she was married or not, Tamiko would still be Tamiko, and just as my feelings for her remained unchanged, I believed hers would too. This belief was so solid, like sitting on a great rock, that I had not the slightest fear. Therefore, hearing that Tamiko had married did not surprise me at all. However, new thoughts emerged that I had never considered before. I couldn't help but think that Tamiko must be listless, emaciated, and always melancholic. The idea of poor Tamiko only grew stronger. As a result, when I returned to school, my behavior completely reversed from before. Previously, I tried to be among people to distract myself from my suffering, but now I avoided people as much as possible, finding solace in thinking about Tamiko. I reminisced about the eggplant field, the cotton field, the lonely breeze of the thirteenth night, and the time we parted at the Yagiri ferry, repeatedly comforting myself with these memories. Whenever I thought about Tamiko, I felt better. Of course, I often felt sad, but after crying my heart out, I always felt better. Thinking about Tamiko even seemed to improve my academic performance. This was another mystery to me, but it was the truth.
いつしか月も経って、忘れもせぬ六月二十二日、僕が算術の解題に苦んで考えて居ると、小使が斎藤さんおうちから電報です、と云って机の端へ置いて去った。例のスグカエレであるから、早速舎監に話をして即日帰省した。何事が起ったかと胸に動悸をはずませて帰って見ると、宵闇の家の有様は意外に静かだ。台所で家中夕飯時であったが、ただそこに母が見えない許り、何の変った様子もない。僕は台所へは顔も出さず、直ぐと母の寝所へきた。行燈の灯も薄暗く、母はひったり枕に就いて臥せって居る。 As time passed, on the unforgettable day of June 22nd, while I was struggling with an arithmetic problem, a messenger brought a telegram from home, placing it on the edge of my desk before leaving. As usual, it was a message urging me to return immediately. I quickly informed the dormitory supervisor and returned home that very day, my heart pounding with apprehension. When I arrived, the twilight house was surprisingly quiet. It was dinnertime in the kitchen, but everything seemed normal except for the absence of my mother. I didn’t show my face in the kitchen and went straight to my mother’s room. The lantern’s light was dim, and my mother was lying down, resting on her pillow.
「お母さん、どうかしましたか」 "Mother, what happened?" I asked.
「あア政夫、よく早く帰ってくれた。今私も起きるからお前御飯前なら御飯を済ましてしまえ」 "Oh, Masao, I'm glad you came back so quickly. I will get up now, so if you haven't eaten yet, go and have your dinner," she replied.
僕は何のことか頻りに気になるけれど、母がそういうままに早々に飯をすまして再び母の所へくる。母は帯を結うて蒲団の上に起きていた。僕が前に坐ってもただ無言でいる。見ると母は雨の様な涙を落して俯向いている。 Despite my anxiety, I ate quickly as she suggested and returned to her room. My mother was sitting up on the futon, tying her sash, silent even when I sat in front of her. She was shedding tears like rain, her head bowed.
「お母さん、まアどうしたんでしょう」 "Mother, what’s wrong?" I asked again.



Encouraged by my words, my mother finally wiped her tears.

"Masao, forgive me... Tamiko is dead... It's as if I killed her..." she said.



"When did this happen? How did she die?" I asked frantically.

My mother sobbed, covering her face with her hands.

「始終をきいたら、定めし非度い親だと思うだろうが、こらえてくれ、政夫……お前に一言の話もせず、たっていやだと言う民子を無理に勧めて嫁にやったのが、こういうことになってしまった……たとい女の方が年上であろうとも本人同志が得心であらば、何も親だからとて余計な口出しをせなくもよいのに、この母が年甲斐もなく親だてらにいらぬお世話を焼いて、取返しのつかぬことをしてしまった。民子は私が手を掛けて殺したも同じ。どうぞ堪忍してくれ、政夫……私は民子の跡追ってゆきたい……」 "You will think I am a cruel parent when you hear everything, but please bear with me, Masao... Without saying a word to you, I forced Tamiko, who adamantly refused, into marriage... Even if the woman is older, if the couple agrees, parents should not interfere unnecessarily. But this foolish old mother, pretending to be a concerned parent, meddled and made an irreversible mistake. It’s as if I killed Tamiko with my own hands. Please forgive me, Masao... I wish I could follow Tamiko..."
母はもうおいおいおいおい声を立てて泣いている。民子の死ということだけは判ったけれど、何が何やら更に判らぬ。僕とて民子の死と聞いて、失神するほどの思いであれど、今目の前で母の嘆きの一通りならぬを見ては、泣くにも泣かれず、僕がおろおろしている所へ兄夫婦が出てきた。 My mother was now openly sobbing. I understood only that Tamiko had died, but I couldn't grasp the details. The news of Tamiko's death hit me so hard I almost fainted, but seeing my mother's intense grief right before my eyes, I couldn’t even cry. I was in a daze when my brother and his wife came in.



"Mother, crying won't change anything," my brother said.

But my mother, sobbing uncontrollably, kept saying, "Let me cry, let me cry," and there was nothing we could do.

その間で嫂が僅に話す所を聞けば、市川の某という家で先の男の気性も知れているに財産も戸村の家に倍以上であり、それで向うから民子を強っての所望、媒妁人というのも戸村が世話になる人である、是非やりたい是非往ってくれということになった。民子はどうでもいやだと云う。民子のいやだという精神はよく判っているけれど、政夫さんの方は年も違い先の永いことだから、どうでも某の家へやりたいとは、戸村の人達は勿論親類までの希望であった。それでいよいよ斎藤のおッ母さんに意見をして貰うということに相談が極り、それで家のお母さんが民子に幾度意見をしても泣いてばかり承知しないから、とどのつまり、お前がそう剛情はるのも政夫の処へきたい考えからだろうけれど、それはこの母が不承知でならないよ、お前はそれでも今度の縁談が不承知か。こんな風に言われたから、民子はすっかり自分をあきらめたらしく、とうとう皆様のよい様にといって承知をした。それからは何もかも他の言うなりになって、霜月半に祝儀をしたけれど、民子の心持がほんとうの承知でないから、向うでもいくらかいや気になり、民子は身持になったが、六月でおりてしまった。跡の肥立ちが非常に悪くついに六月十九日に息を引き取った。病中僕に知らせようとの話もあったが、今更政夫に知らせる顔もないという訣から知らせなかった。家のお母さんは民子が未だ口をきく時から、市川へ往って居って、民子がいけなくなると、もう泣いて泣いて泣きぬいた。一口まぜに、民子は私が殺した様なものだ、とばかりいって居て、市川へ置いたではどうなるか知れぬという訣から、昨日車で家へ送られてきたのだ。話さえすれば泣く、泣けば私が悪かった悪かったと云って居る。誰にも仕様がないから、政夫さんの所へ電報を打った。民子も可哀相だしお母さんも可哀相だし、飛んだことになってしまった。政夫さん、どうしたらよいでしょう。 Listening to my sister-in-law speak between sobs, I gathered that there was a family in Ichikawa, a certain wealthy household with more than twice the assets of the Tomura family, who were very eager to marry Tamiko. Despite knowing the character of the previous man, the matchmaker, who was someone the Tomura family often relied on, insisted on this arrangement. Tamiko was vehemently against it, and while her reasons were well understood, it was clear that the Tomura family, including their relatives, strongly preferred the match with this wealthy family due to the age difference and the long-term future considerations for me, Masao. Eventually, the decision was made to seek the advice of the Saito family's mother. Even after several discussions, Tamiko continued to refuse, only crying. Finally, the mother said to her, "You might be holding out because you want to be with Masao, but I cannot approve of that. Do you still refuse this match?" Feeling completely resigned, Tamiko eventually agreed, saying she would comply with everyone's wishes. From that point on, she followed everything as instructed, and the marriage celebration took place in mid-November. However, since Tamiko’s acceptance was not wholehearted, her in-laws sensed her reluctance. Though she became pregnant, she miscarried in June. Her health declined severely afterward, and she passed away on June 19th. During her illness, there was talk of informing me, but it was decided against, thinking there was no face left to show Masao. The mother from our house stayed with Tamiko in Ichikawa and cried incessantly as Tamiko’s condition worsened. She kept saying that she had essentially killed Tamiko. As it was uncertain what would happen if she remained in Ichikawa, they sent her back home by carriage yesterday. Every time she talks, she cries, repeatedly saying it was her fault. Unable to manage the situation, they sent a telegram to me. Tamiko’s fate was tragic, and our mother’s grief is immense. What should we do, Masao?
嫂の話で大方は判ったけれど、僕もどうしてよいやら殆ど途方にくれた。母はもう半気違いだ。何しろここでは母の心を静めるのが第一とは思ったけれど、慰めようがない。僕だっていっそ気違いになってしまったらと思った位だから、母を慰めるほどの気力はない。そうこうしている内にようやく母も少し落着いてきて、また話し出した。 I understood most of the situation from my sister-in-law’s explanation, but I was still at a loss as to what to do. My mother was almost half-insane with grief. While I thought the most important thing was to calm her down, there was no way to console her. I felt like I was losing my mind too, and I didn’t have the strength to comfort her. Amid this, my mother finally began to calm down a little and started to speak again.
「政夫や、聞いてくれ。私はもう自分の悪党にあきれてしまった。何だってあんな非度いことを民子に言ったっけかしら。今更なんぼ悔いても仕方がないけど、私は政夫……民子にこう云ったんだ。政夫と夫婦にすることはこの母が不承知だからおまえは外へ嫁に往け。なるほど民子は私にそう云われて見れば自分の身を諦める外はない訣だ。どうしてあんな酷たらしいことを云ったのだろう。ああ可哀相な事をしてしまった。全く私が悪党を云うた為に民子は死んだ。お前はネ、明朝は夜が明けたら直ぐに往ってよオく民子の墓に参ってくれ。それでお母さんの悪かったことをよく詫びてくれ。ねイ政夫」 "Masao, listen to me. I am utterly disgusted with my own cruelty. Why did I say such horrible things to Tamiko? It's too late to regret now, but I told her this: 'I cannot approve of you and Masao becoming husband and wife, so you must marry elsewhere.' Seeing no other choice, Tamiko resigned herself to her fate. Why did I say such heartless things? I did such a terrible thing to her. It’s entirely my fault that Tamiko died because of the terrible things I said. Masao, at dawn tomorrow, please go to Tamiko's grave. Apologize sincerely for your mother’s wrongdoings. Will you do that for me, Masao?"
僕もようやく泣くことが出来た。たといどういう都合があったにせよ、いよいよ見込がなくなった時には逢わせてくれてもよかったろうに、死んでから知らせるとは随分非度い訣だ。民さんだって僕には逢いたかったろう。嫁に往ってしまっては申訣がなく思ったろうけれど、それでもいよいよの真際になっては僕に逢いたかったに違いない。実に情ない事だ。考えて見れば僕もあんまり児供であった。その後市川を三回も通りながらたずねなかったは、今更残念でならぬ。僕は民子が嫁にゆこうがゆくまいが、ただ民子に逢いさえせばよいのだ。今一目逢いたかった……次から次と果てしなく思いは溢れてくる。しかし母にそういうことを言えば、今度は僕が母を殺す様なことになるかも知れない。僕は屹と心を取り直した。 I finally broke down and cried. Regardless of the circumstances, they could have let us meet one last time when all hope was lost. It was so cruel to inform me only after her death. Tamiko must have wanted to see me too. Even though she might have felt there was no point once she got married, at the very end, she surely would have wanted to see me. It's truly heartbreaking. In hindsight, I was too childish. Passing by Ichikawa three times without visiting her is something I deeply regret now. It wouldn't have mattered whether she married or not; I just wanted to see her one more time. These thoughts keep flooding my mind without end. However, if I were to express these feelings to my mother now, it might end up killing her with grief. So, I pulled myself together and said:
「お母さん、真に民子は可哀相でありました。しかし取って返らぬことをいくら悔んでも仕方がないですから、跡の事を懇にしてやる外はない。お母さんはただただ御自分の悪い様にばかりとっているけれど、お母さんとて精神はただ民子のため政夫のためと一筋に思ってくれた事ですから、よしそれが思う様にならなかったとて、民子や私等が何とてお母さんを恨みましょう。お母さんの精神はどこまでも情心でしたものを、民子も決して恨んではいやしまい。何もかもこうなる運命であったのでしょう。私はもう諦めました。どうぞこの上お母さんも諦めて下さい。明日の朝は夜があけたら直ぐ市川へ参ります」 "Mother, it is indeed very sad for Tamiko. But there’s no point in lamenting over what cannot be changed; we should just focus on honoring her memory now. You keep blaming yourself, but I know your intentions were always for Tamiko and me. Even if things didn't turn out as you hoped, neither Tamiko nor I hold any grudge against you. Your intentions were always out of kindness and concern. I am sure Tamiko didn't resent you either. Everything happened as fate intended. I have accepted it now. Please, Mother, try to find peace too. I will go to Ichikawa first thing in the morning."



My mother continued, "Indeed, perhaps everything happened as it was meant to, but this time I truly regret my actions. There's a saying about foolish parents, and this foolish parent did something terribly wrong. Parents often think they know best, but that’s a grave mistake. I can only rely on Buddha now for salvation. Masao, take care of yourself. Tamiko never once defied me in all those years. She was such a gentle child, and that makes my actions even more regrettable. It's unbearably sad. I want to tell you about her last moments, but I can't bring myself to do it."
などとまた声をくもらしてきた。もう話せば話すほど悲しくなるからとて強いて一同寝ることにした。 Her voice choked with emotion again. The more we talked, the sadder we became, so we all decided to force ourselves to sleep.
母の手前兄夫婦の手前、泣くまいとこらえてようやくこらえていた僕は、自分の蚊帳へ這入り蒲団に倒れると、もうたまらなく一度にこみ上げてくる。口へは手拭を噛んで、涙を絞った。どれだけ涙が出たか、隣室の母から夜が明けた様だよと声を掛けられるまで、少しも止まず涙が出た。着たままで寝ていた僕はそのまま起きて顔を洗うや否や、未だほの闇いのに家を出る。夢のように二里の路を走って、太陽がようやく地平線に現われた時分に戸村の家の門前まで来た。この家の竃のある所は庭から正面に見透して見える。朝炊きに麦藁を焚いてパチパチ音がする。僕が前の縁先に立つと奥に居たお祖母さんが、目敏く見つけて出てくる。 In front of my mother and brother's family, I held back my tears, barely managing to suppress them. But once I crawled into my mosquito net and collapsed onto my futon, the emotions overwhelmed me. I bit down on a towel to stifle my sobs and let the tears flow. I cried endlessly, unable to stop, until I heard my mother's voice from the next room, telling me that dawn had broken. Still in the clothes I had worn, I got up, washed my face, and left the house while it was still dim outside. I ran the two-mile route as if in a dream, and by the time the sun began to rise over the horizon, I had arrived at the gate of the Tomura household. From the garden, I could see straight through to where the hearth was, and the crackling sound of burning straw could be heard. As I stood on the porch, the grandmother, who had keen eyesight, spotted me and came out.
「かねや、かねや、とみや……政夫さんが来ました。まア政夫さんよく来てくれました。大そう早く。さアお上んなさい。起き抜きでしょう。さア……かねや……」 "Kane, Kane, Tomiya... Masao-san is here. Oh, Masao-san, you came early. Please, come in. You must be up early. Come on... Kane..."
民子のお父さんとお母さん、民子の姉さんも来た。 Tamiko's father, mother, and sister also came out.
「まアよく来てくれました。あなたの来るのを待ってました。とにかくに上って御飯をたべて……」 "Oh, thank you for coming. We were waiting for you. Please, at least come in and have some breakfast..."



I stood there in silence, not entering or sitting down, and finally managed to say,

"I've come to visit Tamiko's grave."



The earnestness in my voice left the four of them speechless. After a moment, Tamiko's father spoke,

"Even so, you should have a quick meal before you go... Ah, I see. In that case, we should all go together... No need to change clothes."



The women, already sniffing back tears, stood up and began gathering things—water, incense, and plenty of flowers from the garden, including knapweed, globe amaranth, and dahlias. Passing under the persimmon tree, we exited through the back gate into the pine forest. Walking between peach and pear orchards, we reached a small field. Beyond it, in a corner of the pine forest, lay a grove of mixed trees where numerous graves could be seen. The Tomura family cemetery was marked by four or five holly trees, distinguishing an area of about six square yards. The freshly made grave there was Tamiko's final resting place. As it had not rained since her burial, the grave was still pristine, with paper ornaments that seemed newly tied. The grandmother went ahead and said,

"Masao-san, please, do everything yourself for Tamiko. Your offerings of incense and flowers, Masao-san, are truly worth more than the prayers of a thousand monks for her. Please, make a heartfelt visit... Today, Tamiko must be rejoicing from the other side... Oh, if only we could have let you meet her one last time before she passed... if only we could have let you meet her, even just once..."

三人は眼をこすっている様子。僕は香を上げ花を上げ水を注いでから、前に蹲って心のゆくまで拝んだ。真に情ない訣だ。寿命で死ぬは致方ないにしても、長く煩って居る間に、あア見舞ってやりたかった、一目逢いたかった。僕も民さんに逢いたかったもの、民さんだって僕に逢いたかったに違いない。無理無理に強いられたとは云え、嫁に往っては僕に合わせる顔がないと思ったに違いない。思えばそれが愍然でならない。あんな温和しい民さんだもの、両親から親類中かかって強いられ、どうしてそれが拒まれよう。民さんが気の強い人ならきっと自殺をしたのだけれど、温和しい人だけにそれも出来なかったのだ。民さんは嫁に往っても僕の心に変りはないと、せめて僕の口から一言いって死なせたかった。世の中に情ないといってこういう情ないことがあろうか。もう私も生きて居たくない……吾知らず声を出して僕は両膝と両手を地べたへ突いてしまった。 The three people seemed to be rubbing their eyes. After offering incense, flowers, and pouring water, I knelt in front of the grave and prayed to my heart's content. It was truly heartbreaking. Dying from natural causes is inevitable, but during her long illness, I wished I could have visited her, even just once, to see her. I wanted to see Tamiko, and she must have wanted to see me too. Although she was forced into marriage, she probably felt too ashamed to face me afterward. The thought was unbearably sad. Gentle Tamiko, how could she refuse when pressured by her parents and relatives? If she had been a stronger person, she might have taken her own life, but she couldn't do that because she was so gentle. Even after she got married, I wanted to at least tell her that my feelings for her hadn't changed, so she could have died with some comfort. Is there anything in the world more pitiful than this? I don't want to live anymore... I unknowingly cried out and collapsed onto the ground, hands and knees in the dirt.



Seeing my condition, the people behind me cried deeply. Realizing I wasn't alone, I finally stood up. Someone among the three said,

"Why didn't Tamiko mention anything about Masao-san?"

「それほどに思い合ってる仲と知ったらあんなに勧めはせぬものを」 "If we had known how deeply they felt for each other, we wouldn't have pushed her so much."
「うすうすは知れて居たのだに、この人の胸も聞いて見ず、民子もあれほどいやがったものを……いくら若いからとてあんまりであった……可哀相に……」 "It was somewhat known, but without asking his feelings, they forced Tamiko despite her strong reluctance. It's too much, even for young people... How pitiful."



The three of them offered incense and flowers and poured water. The grandmother then said,

"Masao-san, please tie these paper streamers. Tie many of them. Tamiko will rely on the strength of your love in the afterlife. Namu Amida Butsu, Namu Amida Butsu."

僕は懐にあった紙の有りたけを力杖に結ぶ。この時ふっと気がついた。民さんは野菊が大変好きであったに野菊を掘ってきて植えればよかった。いや直ぐ掘ってきて植えよう。こう考えてあたりを見ると、不思議に野菊が繁ってる。弔いの人に踏まれたらしいがなお茎立って青々として居る。民さんは野菊の中へ葬られたのだ。僕はようやく少し落着いて人々と共に墓場を辞した。 I tied all the paper streamers I had brought. At that moment, a thought struck me. Tamiko loved wild chrysanthemums; I should have brought and planted some here. I decided to dig some up and plant them immediately. As I looked around, I was amazed to see wild chrysanthemums growing abundantly. Though they had been trampled by mourners, they stood tall and green. Tamiko was buried among the wild chrysanthemums. Feeling slightly more at peace, I left the graveyard with everyone else.



"I don't want anything. Not food, not tea. Please, let me go. I have to leave early tomorrow," I said, trying to leave, but the entire household insisted I stay. Tamiko's mother seemed on the verge of breaking down.

"Masao-san, if you leave like this, we won't be able to bear it. We fully understand how unpleasant this must be for you. It was our lack of understanding that caused Tamiko such a pitiful death and left you with no way to make amends. We will apologize to you in any way we can. If you feel pity for Tamiko, please stay and listen to her final words. We have been waiting eagerly, hoping you would come today or tomorrow. Please..."

そう言われては僕も帰る訣にゆかず、母もそう言ったのに気がついて座敷へ上った。茶や御飯やと出されたけれども真似ばかりで済ます。その内に人々皆奥へ集りお祖母さんが話し出した。 Hearing this, I couldn't just leave. I remembered my mother's words and decided to stay. I went up to the sitting room. Though they brought tea and food, I only pretended to eat. Soon, everyone gathered in the back room, and Tamiko's grandmother began to speak.
「政夫さん、民子の事については、私共一同誠に申訣がなく、あなたに合せる顔はないのです。あなたに色々御無念な処もありましょうけれど、どうぞ政夫さん、過ぎ去った事と諦めて、御勘弁を願います。あなたにお詫びをするのが何より民子の供養になるのです」 "Masao-san, regarding Tamiko, we all feel deeply apologetic and ashamed to face you. There must be many things that have left you with a heavy heart, but please, Masao-san, consider it a thing of the past and forgive us. Apologizing to you is the best way we can honor Tamiko's memory."
僕はただもう胸一ぱいで何も言うことが出来ない。お祖母さんは話を続ける。 My heart was so full that I couldn't say anything. The grandmother continued speaking.
「実はと申すと、あなたのお母さん始め、私また民子の両親とも、あなたと民子がそれほど深い間であったとは知らなかったもんですから」 "The truth is, starting with your mother and including myself and Tamiko's parents, we didn't realize how deep the relationship was between you and Tamiko."
僕はここで一言いいだす。 At this point, I interjected.
「民さんと私と深い間とおっしゃっても、民さんと私とはどうもしやしません」 "Even if you say Tamiko and I had a deep relationship, there was nothing really between us."
「いイえ、あなたと民子がどうしたと申すではないのです。もとからあなたと民子は非常な仲好しでしたから、それが判らなかったんです。それに民子はあの通りの内気な児でしたから、あなたの事は一言も口に出さない。それはまるきり知らなかったとは申されません。それですからお詫びを申す様な訣……」 "No, we are not saying that anything happened between you and Tamiko. It was just that you and Tamiko were very close from the beginning, and we didn't understand that. Tamiko was such a shy child that she never spoke about you. It's not that we were completely unaware, which is why we are apologizing."
僕は皆さんにそんなにお詫びを云われる訣はないという。民子のお父さんはお詫びを言わしてくれという。 I told them there was no need to apologize to me, but Tamiko's father insisted on making an apology.
「そりゃ政夫さんのいうのは御もっともです、私共が勝手なことをして、勝手なことをお前さんに言うというものですが、政夫さん聞いて下さい、理窟の上のことではないです。男親の口からこんなことをいうも如何ですが、民子は命に替えられない思いを捨てて両親の希望に従ったのです。親のいいつけで背かれないと思うても、道理で感情を抑えるは無理な処もありましょう。民子の死は全くそれ故ですから、親の身になって見ると、どうも残念でありまして、どうもしやしませんと政夫さんが言う通り、お前さん等二人に何の罪もないだけ、親の目からは不憫が一層でな。あの通り温和しかった民子は、自分の死ぬのは心柄とあきらめてか、ついぞ一度不足らしい風も見せなかったです。それやこれやを思いますとな、どう考えてもちと親が無慈悲であった様で……。政夫さん、察して下さい。見る通り家中がもう、悲しみの闇に鎖されて居るのです。愚かなことでしょうがこの場合お前さんに民子の話を聞いて貰うのが何よりの慰藉に思われますから、年がいもないこと申す様だが、どうぞ聞いて下さい」 "Masao-san, what you say is understandable. We acted selfishly, saying selfish things to you, but please listen. This is not just a matter of logic. It may be inappropriate for me, as a father, to say this, but Tamiko gave up her life for her parents' wishes, even though she had deep feelings that couldn't be replaced. Though she felt she couldn't defy her parents' wishes, it was unreasonable to expect her to suppress her feelings completely. Tamiko's death was entirely due to this. As parents, we feel so regretful and remorseful. Just as you say that you and Tamiko have done nothing wrong, from a parent's perspective, this makes it all the more pitiful. Tamiko, being so gentle, accepted her fate with resignation and never showed any dissatisfaction. When we think about this, it feels as though we were unfeeling parents. Masao-san, please understand. As you can see, our entire household is now shrouded in the darkness of sorrow. It may be foolish, but telling you Tamiko's story seems to be the greatest comfort we can get in this situation. So, though it may be unseemly, please, listen to our story."
 お祖母さんがまた話を続ける[#「続ける」は底本では「読ける」]。結婚の話からいよいよむずかしくなったまでの話は嫂が家での話と同じで、今はという日の話はこうであった。 The grandmother continued her story. The tale of how the marriage discussion became increasingly difficult until it reached a climax was similar to what my sister-in-law had described at home. However, she elaborated on what happened in the final moments.
「六月十七日の午後に医者がきて、もう一日二日の処だから、親類などに知らせるならば今日中にも知らせるがよいと言いますから、それではとて取敢ずあなたのお母さんに告げると十八日の朝飛んできました。その日は民子は顔色がよく、はっきりと話も致しました。あなたのおっかさんがきまして、民や、決して気を弱くしてはならないよ、どうしても今一度なおる気になっておくれよ、民や……民子はにっこり笑顔さえ見せて、矢切のお母さん、いろいろ有難う御座います。長長可愛がって頂いた御恩は死んでも忘れません。私も、もう長いことはありますまい……。民や、そんな気の弱いことを思ってはいけない。決してそんなことはないから、しっかりしなくてはいけないと、あなたのお母さんが云いましたら、民子はしばらくたって、矢切のお母さん、私は死ぬが本望であります、死ねばそれでよいのです……といいましてからなお口の内で何か言った様で、何でも、政夫さん、あなたの事を言ったに違いないですが、よく聞きとれませんでした。それきり口はきかないで、その夜の明方に息を引取りました……。それから政夫さん、こういう訣です……夜が明けてから、枕を直させます時、あれの母が見つけました、民子は左の手に紅絹の切れに包んだ小さな物を握ってその手を胸へ乗せているのです。それで家中の人が皆集って、それをどうしようかと相談しましたが、可哀相なような気持もするけれど、見ずに置くのも気にかかる、とにかく開いて見るがよいと、あれの父が言い出しまして、皆の居る中であけました。それが政さん、あなたの写真とあなたのお手紙でありまして……」 "On the afternoon of June 17, the doctor came and said that she had only a day or two left. He advised that if we wanted to inform relatives, we should do so immediately. So, we quickly informed your mother, who came rushing the next morning on the 18th. That day, Tamiko's complexion looked better, and she spoke clearly. When your mother arrived, she said, 'Tamiko, you must not lose heart. You have to believe that you can recover once more. Please, Tamiko...' Tamiko smiled and even showed a slight grin, saying, 'Mother from Yakiri, thank you for everything. I will never forget your kindness, even in death. But I don't think I have much time left...' Your mother urged, 'Tamiko, you must not think such weak thoughts. Everything will be fine. You must be strong.' After a while, Tamiko replied, 'Mother from Yakiri, I am content to die. Dying is fine...' She seemed to murmur something else, which must have been about you, Masao-san, but we couldn't make out the words. She didn't speak again and passed away at dawn that night... And then, Masao-san, this is what happened... When the morning light came, we moved her pillow to straighten it, and her mother noticed something. Tamiko was holding a small object wrapped in red silk in her left hand, with that hand resting on her chest. We all gathered around, wondering what to do. Although it felt like an intrusion, we couldn't leave it unopened. Tamiko's father suggested that we open it in front of everyone. When we did, Masao-san, we found it was a photograph of you and a letter from you..."
お祖母さんが、泣き出して、そこにいた人皆涙を拭いている。僕は一心に畳を見つめていた。やがてお祖母さんがようよう話を次ぐ。 The grandmother started crying, and everyone present was wiping their tears. I stared intently at the tatami mat. Eventually, the grandmother continued her story.
「そのお手紙をお富が読みましたから、誰も彼も一度に声を立って泣きました。あれの父は男ながら大声して泣くのです。あなたのお母さんは、気がふれはしないかと思うほど、口説いて泣く。お前達二人がこれほどの語らいとは知らずに、無理無体に勧めて嫁にやったは悪かった。あア悪いことをした、不憫だった。民や、堪忍して、私は悪かったから堪忍してくれ。俄の騒ぎですから、近隣の人達が、どうしましたと云って尋ねにきた位でありました。それであなたのお母さんはどうしても泣き止まないです。体に障ってはと思いまして葬式が済むと車で御送り申した次第です。身を諦めた民子の心持が、こう判って見ると、誰も彼も同じことで今更の様に無理に嫁にやった事が後悔され、たまらないですよ。考えれば考えるほどあの児が可哀相で可哀相で居ても起っても居られない……せめてあなたに来て頂いて、皆が悪かったことを十分あなたにお詫びをし、またあれの墓にも香花をあなたの手から手向けて頂いたら、少しは家中の心持も休まるかと思いまして……今日のことをなんぼう待ちましたろ。政夫さん、どうぞ聞き分けて下さい。ねイ民子はあなたにはそむいては居ません。どうぞ不憫と思うてやって下さい……」 "O-tomi read the letter, and everyone began to cry out loud at once. Tamiko's father, though a man, cried loudly. Your mother was beside herself, wailing as if she might lose her mind, lamenting how they had wronged you both by forcing Tamiko into a marriage she didn't want. 'Oh, how wrong we were, how pitiful it was. Tamiko, forgive us. I was wrong, so please forgive me,' she cried. The commotion was so intense that neighbors came over to ask what had happened. Your mother wouldn't stop crying, so we worried for her health and sent her home by carriage after the funeral. Now that we understand the depth of Tamiko's resignation and the true extent of her feelings, we are all tormented by guilt for forcing her into that marriage. The more we think about it, the more we realize how pitiful she was, and we can't find peace. We thought that if you could come, hear our apologies, and offer incense and flowers at her grave, it might ease the family's suffering a little. We've waited so long for today, Masao-san. Please understand. Tamiko did not betray you. Please think of her with pity..."



Each word and phrase was filled with tears, and I, too, broke down crying for a time. Did Tamiko say that dying was her true wish? If she said that, it is no wonder my mother is tormenting herself with such grief. I said,

"Grandmother, I understand well. I know Tamiko's feelings. Even when I heard last spring that she had married, I never doubted her for a moment. No matter what happens, my feelings for her remain unchanged. My mother, too, is deeply lamenting, but it's not out of ill will. I, and I'm sure Tamiko as well, do not hold any grudges. I accept it as fate. I will visit her grave every day for the time being..."

話しては泣き泣いては話し、甲一語乙一語いくら泣いても果てしがない。僕は母のことも気にかかるので、もうお昼だという時分に戸村の家を辞した。戸村のお母さんは、民子の墓の前で僕の素振りが余り痛わしかったから、途中が心配になるとて、自分で矢切の入口まで送ってきてくれた。民子の愍然なことはいくら思うても思いきれない。いくら泣いても泣ききれない。しかしながらまた目の前の母が、悔悟の念に攻められ、自ら大罪を犯したと信じて嘆いている愍然さを見ると、僕はどうしても今は民子を泣いては居られない。僕がめそめそして居ったでは、母の苦しみは増すばかりと気がついた。それから一心に自分で自分を励まし、元気をよそおうてひたすら母を慰める工夫をした。それでも心にない事は仕方のないもの、母はいつしかそれと気がついてる様子、そうなっては僕が家に居ないより外はない。 We talked and cried, crying and talking, endlessly. Concerned for my mother, I left the Tomura household around noon. Tamiko's mother, worried for my well-being after seeing my grief at Tamiko's grave, escorted me to the entrance of Yagiri. The sorrow for Tamiko was overwhelming, no matter how much I thought about it or cried. However, seeing my mother, tormented by regret and believing herself to be a great sinner, I realized I could not afford to mourn for Tamiko indefinitely. If I continued to wallow in sorrow, it would only deepen my mother's suffering. Aware of this, I resolved to encourage myself and put on a brave face to comfort my mother. Yet, it's difficult to pretend, and my mother seemed to sense it. Realizing this, I understood that staying at home was not an option.
毎日七日の間市川へ通って、民子の墓の周囲には野菊が一面に植えられた。その翌くる日に僕は十分母の精神の休まる様に自分の心持を話して、決然学校へ出た。 For seven days, I visited Tamiko's grave in Ichikawa, planting a field of wild chrysanthemums around it. The next day, I spoke earnestly to my mother, explaining my feelings and assuring her of my resolve, and then I decisively returned to school.
* * * * * *
民子は余儀なき結婚をして遂に世を去り、僕は余儀なき結婚をして長らえている。民子は僕の写真と僕の手紙とを胸を離さずに持って居よう。幽明遙けく隔つとも僕の心は一日も民子の上を去らぬ。 Tamiko, forced into an unavoidable marriage, has left this world, while I, too, forced into an unavoidable marriage, continue to live. Tamiko held onto my photograph and my letter close to her heart until the end. Though we are separated by the realms of the living and the dead, not a day goes by that my thoughts do not dwell on Tamiko.

Thank you,