Danger! Danger! Translation in Progress

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

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

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

小野寺十内の妻

吉川英治

Onodera Junai's Wife

Yoshikawa Eiji

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

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

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

「まだ、お戻りになりませぬが」  と彼女が答えると、

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

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

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

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

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

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

「幸右衛門《こうえもん》様。……幸右衛門様は……?」

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

2

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

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

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

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

 と、何か心得顔にうす笑いしながら教えた。

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

「えっ、浅野家の早打ちが?」

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

「あっ、養父《ちち》が帰って来た」

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

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

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


 常と少しも変りのない十内であったが、帰るとすぐ、

「於丹《おたん》、茶漬をくりゃれ」

 と、午《ひる》の食事を求め、

「ついでに、弁当をふたつ、調《ととの》えておけ」

 と、いいつけた。

「はい」

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

3

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

"All right."

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







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

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

「於丹《おたん》、母上はどちらか」

「いま、お昼寝を遊ばしていらっしゃいます」

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

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

"Tanji, where is Mother?"

"She's napping."

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

「お旅立ちでございますか」

「ウむむ。……急にの、お国許《くにもと》まで」

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

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

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

「留守をたのむぞ。——仔細《しさい》は追々と、また便りするであろう」

 と、云ったのみである。

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

"You're going on a trip?"

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

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

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

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




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

「よくおやすみらしい」

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

「行って参りまする」

 と、礼儀をして立った。高齢九十の老母は何も知らず熟睡《うまい》していた。

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

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





 実に、不意も不意。

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

「——武士の妻が」

 と、身に云い聞かせて、彼女はあわてて、家の中へかくれた。

In fact, this was unforeseen.

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



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

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

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

 訪《と》う人ごとに、留守の丹女は、こう見舞われた。

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

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

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

 ——が、彼女は、客へ微笑《ほほえ》みをわすれなかった。と云うて、強《し》いて気づよい振りをしてみせるのでもない。 「平素から公《おおやけ》の事は、何も云わない良人でございますから、この度もいつもの通りに国許《くにもと》までというただけで、立って参りました。あとで人様から告げられて、さては、そういうことだったかと思い合せ、いまは良人の身ひとつに限らず、どうか御家臣御一統さま、すべてが、よい御処置をあそばすように、それだけを祈っているだけでございまする」

 しかし——そうは答えても、決して心は平静であり得なかった証拠には、もう乾きぬいて、風にも剥《は》がれかけている貼板《はりいた》の物を——さすがに彼女も二晩ほど仕舞い忘れていた。

 もっとも、次の日、また次の日と、客はたえまもなかった。良人の親友であり、また浅野家の藩医《はんい》でもある寺井玄渓《てらいげんけい》が、父子《おやこ》して来るかと思えば、めったに見えたこともない伊藤仁斎《いとうじんさい》の子息|東涯《とうがい》が来て、見舞ってゆく。

She did not forget to smile at the visitor. Her smile didn't look forced. "Because my husband normally does not speak on government matters, as always, this time he returned to his hometown. I've wondered about with others have said, but now I only pray for a successful resolution for not only for my husband but for all of the vassals."

Tanjo said that but as proof her heart was not at peace, for two nights, she forgot to finish the material on the felting board that had been dried by the wind and was beginning to peel.

As expected, the next day and the day after that, guests came without a break. Her husband's close friend and the Asano clan doctor, Terai Genkei, who could be thought of as a father figure, and the rarely-seen son Tougai of Ito Jinsai visited her.

 台所へ来る商人から、外で会う近隣の人々まで、彼女を見れば、そのはなしだった。ことば尽《つく》して、慰めもし、見舞いもしてくれるが、もうその心の裏には、 (急に、これから、御浪人となって、どうして暮してゆくんですか?)  と、探るような世間の通有性も、そろそろ彼女の顔いろを、姿を見まもり出していた。

「——おらるるかの、於丹《おたん》どのには」

「おお、十兵衛様でございましたか。さ、どうぞ」

「花も散ったが、お門辺《かどべ》は箒目《ほうきめ》立って、いつもおきれい。部屋も縁も、艶々《つやつや》と明るう、御主人が留守とも見えぬ。……いや、陰膳《かげぜん》まで」  と、客は、床《とこ》へ眼をやって、沁々《しみじみ》何か感じ入っている。

 十内の従兄弟《いとこ》で、京都の町|与力《よりき》を勤めている同姓の人、小野寺十兵衛だった。  よく留守を訪《おとの》うてくれる。またいろいろな消息を知らせてもくれた。きょうも袂《たもと》から一通の書面を出して、 「ただ今、赤穂からの飛脚がついた。十内どのの御消息じゃ、読むも涙……。急いでお目にかけに参った」  と、それを丹女にすぐ見せた。

If they saw her, she would become the topic of conversation from the merchants who came to the kitchen to the neighbors who met outside. They exhausted their words to comfort her and visited her, but behind their hearts, the shared sentiment of the public was the search for "How will her husband make a living after this?" They closely watched her complexion and her posture.

"Oh, my dear Lady Tanjo."

"Oh, Jubei? Welcome."

"The flowers have scattered, but the traces of raking around the gate always look beautiful. It didn't look like her husband was away with the glowing rooms and the veranda. … You've prepared a place at the table for him, praying for his safe return."

The guests spoke as they looked at the floor and experienced profound emotions.

Onodera Jubei was Junai's cousin and a man who shared the family name. He worked as town police sergeant in Kyoto. He often visited her when Junai was away and shared various bits of news. Today, he took a letter from his sleeve and showed her.

"This just came by messenger from Ako. It's news from Junai, but reading it will bring tears. … I glanced over it and came right away."

[#ここから2字下げ] ——何ものこらず、具足一領、鎗《やり》一本、白帷子《しろかたびら》ひとつ、挾箱《はさみばこ》に入れて下り申し候《そうろう》。

老母、妻にも、こころざしは申し聞けず、様子にて、覚《さと》り候も不知《しらず》、いよいよ相果《あいは》て候わば、母《はは》妻《つま》の儀、御芳志たのみ奉り候。たのみ上げ候上は、虫同然の小家の者共、お恨《うら》み申しあぐ可《べ》き訳も無之候《これなくそうろう》。

且《かつ》又《また》、此方共は、籠城して、途を開くべき為には無之《これなく》、ただ各※[#二の字点、1-2-22]城と共に自滅の覚悟にて候。妻より人|遣《つか》わし候わば、御大儀ながら御越し候て、この書中の通りを、よき程に読んでお聞かせ下さるべく、女子《おなご》でも、さのみ騒ぐまじく覚え有之《これあり》候あいだ、仰せ聞け下さるべく、猶々《なおなお》、一|分《ぶん》の事にいたりては、一家の名を下すようの事は之《これ》あるまじく候間、おこころ易《やす》かるべく候、以上。[#1段階小さな文字](略意)[#小さな文字終わり]

Leave nothing out. Please pack one suit of armor, one spear, and one white, single-layered kimono in a traveling box.

Don't discuss my plans with my elderly mother or my wife. I don't believe they understand the situation. Finally, if I die, I humbly ask for your kind intentions for the sake of my mother and wife. I also ask a you, a man living a humble and simple life, not to hold a grudge.

Additionally, everyone there should remain in the castle and not open it to the outside. In short, each person should prepare for self-destruction with the castle. My wife sending a messenger back and forth would be troublesome. Please read this letter carefully and respond. Although I'm aware of the fuss made by women, please tell them that this incident is a serious matter involving the name of the clan, but they should all remain calm …

「十兵衛様。おねがいがござりまする」

 その時、うしろの襖《ふすま》をあけて、両手をつかえた者がある。見ると、養子の幸右衛門《こうえもん》であった。

「わたくしも、ぜひぜひ赤穂へ下りとう存じます。部屋住の身とて、かくておるべき秋《とき》ではございませぬ。——が、今日までは、祖母や養母のみ気遣われて、じっと、怺《こら》えておりましたが、御家中の方々も、また養父の決意も、それと極りましたからは」

 兄の大高源吾も、姉の良人、岡野金右衛門も、その子九十郎も、すでに赤穂の城中にありと耳にしているのだ。——幸右衛門の気もちは察しることができる。

「どうぞ、十兵衛様からも、母上へお願いして下さい。主家あっての家名、主家なき今日、幸右衛門のつぐ家名はないと考えます。養父に死におくれては、一日とて、世上に面《おもて》は曝《さら》されません」

 と、若い血しおを圧し抑えて、努《つと》めて、慎《つつ》ましやかに云うのであったが、涙は滂沱《ぼうだ》として、畳をぬらしていた。

「よう云うて下された。支度は母がととのえてあります。あとのことは憂《うれ》いなく、いつなと赤穂へ……」

 丹女は立って、さながら出陣のそれにも等しく、すべて浄《きよ》らかな木綿《もめん》の肌着、腹巻、小袖、細々《こまごま》した旅の具《もの》まで、一揃いそこへ運んで来た。

"Jubei-sama, I'm depending on you."

At that moment, someone opened the rear sliding partition and placed both hands on the ground. She looked to see her adopted son Koemon.

"I must go back to Ako, too. As his dependent, I shouldn't be here. Until today, my adoptive father and mother have worried about me and been patient with me. The people in the clan and my adoptive father's resolve decided that."

He heard that his older brother Otaka Gengo, the husband of his older sister; Okano Kin'emon; and his son Kujuro were already in Ako Castle. Koemon's feelings could be imagined.

"Please, Jubei-sama is also asking you, Mother. I think the family name is the lord's family, and no family name is connected to me today without the lord. If I were to outlive my adoptive father by one day, I could not show my face to the world."

He spoke with caution while struggling to suppress his young blood. His tears flooded out and dampened the tatami.

"Yes, I understand. I will prepare. Don't worry about the future. When are you leaving for Ako? …"

Tanjo stood to pack as she did when there was war: clean cotton underwear, a belly band, and a quilted short-sleeved kimono to miscellaneous travel gear.

[#2字下げ]——六日、七日の文《ふみ》、おのおの一度に届き申し候《そうろう》。母様、何事のう御座なされ候|由《よし》、うれしく存じ候。ずいぶん心をつけて、朝夕の御食、うまきようにして進じ申さるべく候。そもじ、いよいよ無事、一段の事にて候。ここもとの儀、気づかいの由、もっともに候。さぞさぞと思いやり候。

 幸右衛門が赤穂へさして立ったのと行きちがいに来た十内からの手紙だった。さきに丹女から出した文の返しであることはいうまでもない。

 つづいて、数日の後、また便りが届いた。——旅に在る日とか、何かの公用で、夫婦離れてある日など、こうして妻から良人から、交※[#二の字点、1-2-22]《こもごも》に筆の便りを交わすことの仲のよさは——今に始まったことではない。

(およそ、はた目にも、羨《うらや》ましくもあり、見よいものは、小野寺夫婦じゃ)

 とは、同藩の者からも、長年、範《はん》として、云われていたものである。

 わけて今度は、その情も、さらに切なるものがある。十内のてがみには、また必ず、九十になる老母のことが書いてあった。 [#ここから2字下げ]

5

I received the letters dated the sixth and the seventh. Mother, I am happy for some reason. Please note that I have meals in the morning and evening. All is well. And finally, I am safe. Your concern over the original affair is justified. I certainly sympathize.

This letter from Junai just missed the one sent to Ako by Koemon. Needless to say, this was his response to an earlier letter from Tanjo.

Several days later, mail arrived again. This was not the first time for the friendly intimacy in the back and forth exchange of letters like on the days of a trip, when on official business, or the days a married couple is apart.

"There's a bit of envy from those on the outside, but the Onodera husband and wife are a pleasant sight to see."

They had been models to the people in their clan for many years.

More than anything, the sentiment this time was more earnest. Junai always mentioned his nonagenarian mother in his letters.

——存じの通り、われらは御家の始めより、小身ながら今まで代々百年の御恩にて、各※[#二の字点、1-2-22]を養い、身あたたかに一生をくらし申し候。 身《み》不肖《ふしょう》にも小野寺家の嫡孫《ちゃくそん》にて候、かようの時、うろつきては、家の疵《きず》、一門のつらよごし、時至らば、心よく死ぬべしと、思い極め申し候。

老母をわすれ、妻子を懐《した》わぬにてはなけれど、武士のぎりに命をすつる道、ぜひに及ばぬところと合点して、深くなげき給うべからず。母御さまにも、幾ほどの事もあるまじく候、いか様《よう》にもして、御臨終を見とどけて給わるべく候。

年月の心入《こころいれ》にて、じょさいあるべしとも、露ちり思わず、申すに及ばず候え共、たのみ参らせ候。わずかの金銀家財、これを有りぎりに養育しまいらせ、御命なお長く、たから[#「たから」に傍点]尽きたらば、共に飢《う》え死に申さるべく候。……[#1段階小さな文字](大略)[#小さな文字終わり] [#ここで字下げ終わり]

As you know, from our beginnings as a humble family, we have been nurtured by the favor of one hundred years of generations from the dawn of our family until this day and live a life with benevolence. The eldest son of the Onodera family is an unworthy son and is doing nothing at this time. Given the shortcomings of the family and the disgrace of the clan, if the time comes, I believe death should come easy. If I forget about my elderly mother and don't long for my wife and children, acceptance of the path of throwing away my life as a duty of a warrior should not be deeply grieved. How unworthy am I to my mother? Somehow, my last hour should be verified.

Needless to say, I have not been unaware and oblivious to your concerns over the years. As much as possible, grow up with small amounts of gold, silver, and household goods and live a long life. If the wealth is exhausted, then death should be by starvation. …"

 今にも赤穂|表《おもて》は合戦にでもなるような沙汰が聞えた。城受取の使者が幕府から向けられたという。籠城の赤穂の遺臣はおそらくただは渡さないだろうという。諸説、風声、区々《まちまち》であった。

 その中にも、十内から妻への便りは、絶えなかった。

[#2字下げ]——さてさて思いがけぬ世のありさま、昔語りにきく上也上人《くやしょうにん》の太平記ようの物にて見聞せし風情《ふぜい》、いま此身になりて、まことに風の前の燈火《ともしび》、葉ずえの露と争う命となり、日頃、よろずに就て深かりし慾を忘れ、心のきよきこと水の如くにて、禍《わざわい》は却《かえ》って、出離《しゅつり》の縁かと覚え候……。

 と見えたり、また、

[#2字下げ]そこ許《もと》の住居のことも、女の身としてなんぎの程、思いやられ候ていたわしく候。

 と、日頃からやさしい良人であった一面を見せていたりした。

「もう、この世での、家庭の日は」

 と、丹女の観念も、そこに行き着いていたが、赤穂表の情勢は、急転直下、開城退散ときまり、同志の密盟とかたちを変え、ために、思いがけなく、彼女はふたたび良人《おっと》十内のすがたを家に迎える日に会った。

Now, the public in Ako heard news like a battle was coming. The envoys received at the castle were sent by the shogunate. Perhaps, the surviving Ako retainers confined to the castle would not be transferred. Various opinions and nonsensical stories ran rampant.

During this time, the letters from Junai to his wife never stopped. They showed his usual kindness as a husband.

I've come to sympathize with the circumstances in an unforeseen world as depicted in Kuya Shonin's telling of the old stories in Taiheiki. Life becomes a struggle like lamplight in the wind or dew on the tip of a leaf. No matter what, always search deeply and abandon greed. Like water and a pure heart, disaster teaches you to separate from a lost world … Your home has as much sympathy and compassion as you experience the hardships of a woman.

"Our days as a family in this world are already …"

The thoughts of Tanjo reached him. All at once, the situation at Ako became surrender the castle and flee, a secret pledge, and the altered appearances of comrades. Then without warning, the day came to see her husband Junai at home again.


 所詮《しょせん》、前のような生活はしていられないので、十内が帰ると、すぐ家は引移《ひきうつ》った。

 東洞院《ひがしのとういん》の西、竹之辻《たけのつじ》という藪添《やぶぞ》いの手狭い浪宅だった。

 けれど、その年の夏から、翌元禄十五年の秋までの、一年余りの佗暮《わびぐら》しは、丹女にとって、もう一度|新《あら》たに十内へ嫁《か》して、百年《ももとせ》のちぎりを結び直したほど、欣ばしくもあり楽しくもあった。

 世間の眼は、ようやく、赤穂の遺臣の心根に猜疑《さいぎ》を向け、かげ口、露骨な誹《そし》り、蔑《いや》しみなど、冷たいものの中ではあったが、

(誰か知ろう万丈の雪)

 と、十内はいつも笑っている。また丹女も、貧苦とたたかい、そうした世間をひがみもせず、やがての日には、必ず相別れる良人を、いかにして一日でも機嫌よく送らせることができるか、また、自分も心残りなく楽しんで暮してゆけるか、それのみに心をくだいて、一日一日を愛《いと》[#ルビの「いと」は底本では「いど」]しんでいた。

6

In the end, their previous life could no longer be. When Junai returned, the family immediately moved.

In the west of Higashitouin, a narrow ronin house was in a thicket called Takenotsuji.

However, to Tanjo the serene year of living from the summer of that year until the fall of the next year, Genroku year 15 (1703), was a time she delighted in and enjoyed being married to Junai once again, as if they renewed their pledge for one hundred years.

In time, the world's eyes turned with suspicion on the true motive of the surviving Ako retainers and were cold from blame, slander, and scorn. But Junai always laughed because there's always someone who knows about snow at lofty heights. Tanjo also fought poverty and had an unbiased view of that world. Would she be able to send off her husband in good spirits on the inevitable sad day of parting or enjoy living her life without regrets? Only that would crush her heart, and she loved each day.


 遂に、その日は来た。九月となった末である。大石|内蔵助《くらのすけ》が山科《やましな》を引払った後、在京の同志も、前後して江戸へ下って行ったが、小野寺父子も、いよいよ都を立つことになった。

 竹之辻の浪宅では、一夜、極《ご》く内輪のものだけで、小《ささ》やかな別宴がひらかれた。忍びやかに会した客は、十内夫婦の和歌の友|金勝千秋《かねかつちあき》、論語の師伊藤|仁斎《じんさい》と東涯《とうがい》の父子、医師の寺井|玄渓《げんけい》など、ほんの八、九名であったが、手狭な一室はいっぱいになっていた。

 十内の姉の貞立尼《ていりゅうに》も、手伝いに来ていた。ことし九十一となった老母は、どんな思いを抱いているのか、或いは、世のあらゆる音騒《おんそう》色相《しきそう》をあたかも春秋の移りのように諦観しきっているのだろうか、子の十内と、孫の幸右衛門のあいだに、ちょこなん[#「ちょこなん」に傍点]と低く坐って、うす眼をふさいでいた。

Eventually, that day came. It was the end of September. After Oishi Kuranosuke left Yamashina, his comrades living in Kyoto went to Edo around the same time, too. The Onodera father and son finally left the city.

At the ronin house in Takenotsuji, an intimate farewell dinner of only the small inner circle was held one evening. The eight or nine guests, such as Kanekatsu Tsuchiaki, a friend interested in poetry of Junai and his wife, the Confucian philosopher Ito Jinsai and his son Togai, and the medical doctor Terai Genkei, crowded in secret into a small room.

Junai's younger sister Teiryuni also came to help. What thoughts burdened his elderly mother who turned ninety-one that year? Or was she resigned to the noisy tones of the world as she is to the transition of the spring and fall. She sat small and low between her son Junai and her grandson Koemon and slightly shut her eyes.

「ああこれは……てまえが一昨年、御母堂の九十の賀に書いてあげたものですな」

 仁斎は、床の一|軸《じく》を見て云った。瓶《へい》には黄菊が挿《い》けてある。墨の香と菊の香とが、薫々《くんくん》と和していた。

「父の詩ですか。父の仁斎は、まだかつて、人のために寿詩《じゅし》を作ったことがないのに、十内どのには、よくよく歓びを共にしたものとみえまする。わたくしが、吟《ぎん》じてみましょうか」

 子息の東涯は、酒杯《さかずき》をほして、虹《にじ》を吐《は》くように高吟した。

母子年高ク九十|強《キョウ》
無憂無病又無傷
老来ノ孝思誰カ能《ヨ》ク識《シ》ラン
膝下《シッカ》猶呼ンデ小郎トナス

 老母は、それにも寂然としていた。風を聴く老松のようだった。千秋は、自作の国風《こくふう》を朗詠し、風流な十内も、近ごろ覚えたという上方唄《かみがたうた》などを歌った。

"Aah, I … Last year, I wrote this to congratulate your beloved mother on turning ninety," said Jinsai when he spied the bed roll. Yellow chrysanthemums were inserted in a vase. The aromas of the ink and the chrysanthemums were in harmony.

"Was it Father's poem? Although Father Jinsai did not write congratulatory poems for people, he very much enjoyed doing so for Lord Junai. Shall I recite it?"

The son Togai emptied his sake cup and recited the poem with great reverence.

A mother over ninety years old
A life with no worries, no illness, no injuries
Anyone understands a son's devotion in old age
She may look like a mother but is still a child

The elderly mother was also lonely. Like an old pine tree, she listened to the winds. Chiaki recited his work The Nation's Customs. The refined Junai sung a song of Kyoto recently learned.

 興《きょう》も酔も、ほどよく座を繞《めぐ》った頃、奥の老母の部屋から、琴《こと》の音が流れて来た。人々は一様に、酒杯をおいて聴き惚《ほ》れた。ここにいる内輪の人々には、誰にもすぐ琴の主がわかっていた。宵《よい》から人知れず台所へ手伝いに見えていた千秋の娘のお稲《いね》にちがいない——と。

「みな様へ、この媼《ばば》から、おねがいがあるが」

 九十一の媼《おうな》が、初めて呟《つぶや》くように、云い出したので、何事かと、客の眼はみな、その唇《くち》元へそそがれた。

「あの娘《こ》がいとしい、可憐《いじ》らしい。これへ招いて、幸右衛門から杯などやって欲しい。十内どの、どうであろう。千秋様、思《おぼ》し召《めし》は、どうお座りましょうの」

 すると、座にいた幸右衛門は、顔を真っ赤にして、

「おばば様、御無用ですっ、なまじ、相見て別れるより、私は琴の音を聞いたのみで心が満たされている。おそらくあの人もそうでしょう。琴の返しに、私からも、一|首《しゅ》吟じて答えます」

とても世に
ながろうべくもあらぬ身の
かりのちぎりを
いかでむすばん

Around the time delight and drunkenness surrounded the party, the sounds of a koto harp flowed in from the elderly mother's room. They put down their cups of sake and were captivated. Everyone in the inner circle had no doubt who was playing the koto. She was Ine, Chiaki's daughter who had been quietly helping in the kitchen since the evening.

"This old woman has a favor to ask of all of you," said the ninety-one-year-old woman in almost a grumble. The eyes of all the guests asked, What? and watched her lips.

"That child is a dear, sweet thing. Invite her in to receive a cup from Koemon. What do you think, Junai? And you, Chiaki-sama?"

Koemon sat there blushing a bright red and said, "Grandmother, it's no use. Our break up was mutual. Hearing the koto filled my heart. Perhaps, she feels the same. To answer her koto, I will recite a verse."

In this world
My body cannot last for long
A fleeting pledge cannot be kept



 むかし楠木正行《くすのきまさつら》が吉野の宮居《みやい》で弁之内侍《べんのないじ》を賜《たま》わるとの勅《ちょく》を拝辞して詠《よ》んだという和歌である。時と人こそちがえ、人々は幸右衛門の心根を充分に酌《く》みとることができた。

「おう……おう……」

 老松のような媼《おうな》の面《おもて》にも、一すじの涙がながれていた。

 幸右衛門は、次の朝、家を立った。——十内もそれから七日ほどおいて同じ東の空へ向った。竹之辻の家には、丹女と九十一の媼と、ふたりきりになった。

Long ago in Yoshino Imperial Palace, this waka poem was spoken by Kusunoki Masatsura to decline an imperial order to marry the court lady Ben no Naiji whose life he saved. The time and the people were different, but those present understood Koemon's heart.

"Oh … oh …"

A stream of tears flowed down the face of the old woman like an old pine tree. Koemon left the house the next morning. Within seven days, Junai headed to the eastern skies. Tanjo and the ninety-one-year-old woman were alone in the house in Takenotsuji.

 江戸へ下る途中からも、十内は幾たびも、妻へ便りを送っていた。

[#ここから2字下げ]

ふるさとに
かくてや人の住みぬらん
ひとり寒けき

志賀の浦松

[#ここで字下げ終わり]

 だの、また、

[#ここから2字下げ]

かぎりありて
帰らんと思う
旅にだに
なお九重《ここのえ》はこいしきものを

[#ここで字下げ終わり]

 などと折々の詠草が、手紙の末にはかならず一首二首書きそえられてあった。

7

Oh his way to Edo, Junai sent many letters to his wife.

No one living back home
Shivering alone

Shiga no Uramatsu

and

All things end
I don't think I will go home
On a journey
I love you nine times more

He occasionally drafted a tanka poem or two to add at the end of his letters.









 この秋の暮、ふっと、燈《ひ》の消えるように、九十余の老母は死んだ。良人の帰らぬ旅立ちも、老母の死にも、いまは動じることのない丹女《たんじょ》であった。やがて辞すこの世の、夫婦一家のものが、長らく恩借《おんしゃく》していた国土に対して、あとの塵《ちり》を浄《きよ》めておくべく、間際まで散りやまぬ落葉をも余さず掃《は》いているような気持であった。

 師走《しわす》の十三日附で、江戸から来た良人の手紙には、

[#2字下げ]——忠義に死したるからだを、天下のもののふに示して、人の心を励《はげ》まさん事、却《かえ》って本望にて候《そうろう》。

 とあり、なお、

[#2字下げ]——ゆめゆめお気遣《きづか》いめされまじく候、もはや言うべき節《ふし》もなく、ただただそこもとの事、思いやるばかりにて候。

 と、見えた。そして、大石|主税《ちから》の短冊《たんざく》が一葉封じてあった。

 復讐の挙《きょ》は、翌十四日に決行され、一盟四十七士の大志は、貫徹《かんてつ》した。そして、次の消息は、大石内蔵助たちと共に、お預けとなった細川家の内から来た。

 翌年の二月初め——切腹のその日まで、十内と丹女との文通は、ひと目も羨《うらや》むほどだった。

At the end of autumn, like a light going out, the elderly mother, who had lived more than ninety years, died. Her husband left on a trip from which he would not return and his mother had died, but Tanjo remained serene. She felt the need to sweep up every last fallen leaf that had never stopped scattering on this land borrowed for a long time and dust their marital home in this world she would eventually leave.

On December 13, a letter arrived from her husband in Edo. He wrote

A body that dies for loyalty appears as a samurai in this world. Instead of discouraging a man's heart, this is a cherished desire.

He didn't seem worried at all. With nothing more to say, he only expressed his concerns about her.

A sheet of fancy paper of poems written by Oishi Chikara was sealed inside, too.

The day to carry out the act of revenge was decided to be the upcoming fourteenth. The great ambition of the alliance of forty-seven samurai was accomplished. Next, news came from inside the Hosokawa clan where Oishi Kuranosuke was also in custody.

At the beginning of February of the following year, until that day of seppuku, others noticed and were a bit envious of the letters exchanged between Junai and Tanjo.

 丹女からの手紙の端《はし》に書き送った歌——

[#ここから2字下げ]

ふでのあと

みるに泪《なみだ》の時雨《しぐれ》来て

いいかえすべき言の葉もなし

[#ここで字下げ終わり]

 は、義士たちの仲間にも、細川家の家士のあいだにも、評判となって、十内夫婦の仲は、まるで若夫婦でもあるように、人々から、からかわれた。

「そう、おからかい下さるな。せがれの幸右衛門は、まだ独《ひと》り身でござれば」  十内は、真顔になって、それへ答えた。

Tanjo composed this poem at the end of a letter she sent.

The trace of the writing brush
A rain of tears comes
And no words to respond

The judgment among the loyal retainers and the vassals of the Hosokawa clan was the relationship between Junai and Tanjo amused others because they behaved like young lovebirds.

"Please don't make fun. My son Koemon is still single," Junai answered their teasing with a serious look.





 倖い、同じ細川家へとお預けになったので、幸右衛門は、養母に代って、切腹の朝まで、養父の世話をよくした。十内が着物に綻《ほころ》びを切らすと、さっそく針と糸を借りうけて、それを縫うことまでしていた。

[#ここから2字下げ]

むさし野の
雪間も見えつ故郷《ふるさと》の
妹《いも》が垣根の草も萠《も》ゆらん

[#ここで字下げ終わり]

 二月三日付の手紙とこの歌が、十内の絶筆だった。同じ朝、四家に預けられていた義士ことごとく潔《いさぎよ》い切腹を果したのであった。

Happily, Koemon was held in custody by the Hosokawa clan. Thus, in his foster mother's place, he looked after his foster father until the morning of his death by seppuku. When Junai ripped a seam of his kimono, Koemon immediately borrowed needle and thread to repair it.

On Musashino plain.
Between the snow, patches of ground in my hometown peek out.
By the fence, potatoes and grass turn a light green.

This poem in a letter dated February 3 was the last composed by Junai. That same morning, the brave seppuku of each loyal retainer in the custody of the four clans was performed.


 丹女は、百ヵ日頃まで、家に籠《こも》っていたが、やがて一切の家事をきれいに片づけ、六月初め京都の本圀寺《ほんごくじ》へ行って食を断っていたが、その月十八日、高嶺《たかね》の雪のいつか消えるように逝いた。

[#ここから2字下げ]

夫「つま」や子の待つらんものを
急がまし
何かこの世に
おもいおくべく

[#ここで字下げ終わり]

 所持品とては、こう認《したた》めた一葉の短冊しかなかったとのことである。

Tanjo shut herself in her home for one hundred days but conscientiously kept her home clean. At the beginning of June, she went to Hongoku-ji Temple in Kyoto and fasted. On the eighteenth day of that month, she passed away like snow disappearing somehow from a high peak.

I rush to the soldier waiting for his wife and children
I should remember something of this world

This poem she wrote was her sole possession.








終わり

The End

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