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THE TINDER-BOX (mixi05-u459989-200812162227)


※TINDER-BOX (ほくち箱)ってなんなのか






a soldier came marching down the road --- left,right! left, right! He had his pack upon his back and a sword by his side, for he had been to the wars and was now on his way home. On the road he met an old witch : she was so ugly her nether-lip hung right down upon her breast. 'Good evening, soldier!' she said. 'That's a fine sword you've got there, and a great pack, too?- you look a proper soldier, if ever there was one! And now, if you do as I say, you shall have as much money as you like!'

Thanks very much, old witch!' said the soldier.

'Do you see that big tree?' said the witch, as she pointed to the tree that was standing by their side. 'It's quite hollow inside. Climb up to the top of the trunk and you'll see a hole you can slip through. Then you can drop right down into the tree. I'll tie a cord round your waist so that I can hoist you up again when you shout for me!'

'What have I got to do when I'm down in the tree?' asked the soldier.

'Fetch the money!' said the witch. 'When you get down to the bottom of the tree, you'll find yourself in a large passage. It's quite light, for there are more than a hundred lamps burning there. Then you'll see three doors: you can open them because the keys are in the locks. Go into the first room and you'll see in the middle of the floor a big chest with a dog sitting on it. He's got a pair of eyes as big as tea-cups --- but don't let that worry you! I'll give you my blue-checked apron: you can spread it out on the floor, go boldly up the dog, take hold of him and set him down on my apron. Then open the chest and take out as much money as you like. It's all coppers; but if you'd rather have silver, you'll have to go into the next room. The dog that sits there has a pair of eyes each as big as a millstone, but don't let that worry you--- put him on my apron and help yourself to the money! If you want gold, however, you can get that, too---and as much as you can carry---when you go into the third room. But the dog that sits on the money-chest there has two eyes each as big as the Round Tower in Copenhagen. He's a real dog, you can take it from me! But don't you worry about that! Just put him down on my apron and he'' do you no harm. And then you can take as much gold as you like from the chest!'

'That doesn't sound so bad!' said the soldier. 'But what have I got to give you, old witch? I'm pretty certain you want something out of it!'

'No,' said the witch, 'not a single penny do I want! All you have to do is to fetch me an old tinder-box my grandmother left behind the last time she was down there!'

'Well, let me get the cord round my waist!' said the soldier.

'Here it is!' said the witch. 'And here's my bluechecked apron!'

so the soldier climbed up the tree and dropped down the hole. There he stood, just as the witch had told him, down below in a large passage where hundreds of lamps were burning.

Then he unlocked the first door. Ooh!---There sat the dog with eyes as big as tea-cups glaring at him.

'Nice dog! Good boy!' said the soldier. He put him on the witch's apron and took as many coppers as he could carry in his pockets: then he shut the chest, put the dog back again and went into the second room. Whew! --- There sat the dog with eyes as big as millstones!

'You shouldn't look at me so hard!' said the soldier. 'You might get eyestrain!' And so he put the dog on the witch's apron, but when he saw the mass of silver coins in the chest, he threw away all the coppers he had taken, and filled his pockets and his pack with nothing but silver. Then he went into the third room! Oh, it was terrible! The dog there really did have two eyes each as big as the Round Tower--- and they were turning round in his head just like wheels!

'Good evening!' said the soldier and touched his cap, for he had never seen a dog like that before. But when he had looked at him a bit, he thought he had better get a move on, so he lifted him on to the floor and opened the chest. Heavens above, what masses of gold there were! With that he could buy the whole of Copenhagen, and all the sugar-pigs, tin soldiers, whips, and rocking-horses in the world as well! That was something like money! And now the soldier threw away all the silver coins he had filled his pockets and his pack with, and took the gold instead --- yes, he filled all his pockets, his pack, his cap, and his boots so that he could hardly walk! He the chest, slammed the door to, and shouted up the tree, 'Haul me up now, old witch!'

'Have you got the tinder-box?' asked the witch.

'Strewth!' said the soldier. 'I've clean forgotten it!' Then he went and fetched it. The witch hauled him up, and so he stood upon the road once more with pockets, boots, pack, and cap all crammed full of money.

'What do you want with that tinder-box?' asked the soldier.

'That's nothing to do with you!' said the witch. 'You've got your money---now give me my tinder-box!'

'Rubbish!' said the soldier. 'Either tell me right now what you want with it, or I'll draw my sword and hack your head off!'

'No, I won't!' said the witch.

So the soldier cut her head off. And there she lay. Then he tied all his money up in her apron, heaved the bundle on to his back, put the tinder-box in his pocket, and marched straight off to the town.

It was a fine town, and he took himself into the finest inn, where he booked the very best rooms, and ordered all the things he liked best to eat, for he was rich now with all that money.

The boot-boy who took his boots to clean thought it decidedly odd that such a rich gentleman should have such an old pair. He had not yet bought himself new ones, but the next day he got new boots and fine new clothes to wear! The soldier had now become a gentleman of note, and people told him about all the fine things to be found in their town, and about their king, and what a lovely princess his daughter was.

'How can you get to see her?' asked the soldier.

'It's quite impossible to get to see her!' everybody said. 'She lives in a great castle made of copper, with ever so many walls and towers round it! No one but the king dare go in and out to her, because it's been foretold that she'll marry an ordinary common soldier, and the king doesn't like the idea at all!'

'I'd very much like to see her!' thought the soldier, but that was something he would certainly never get leave to do!

He was living a life of pleasure now, going to plays, riding in the royal gardens, and giving a great deal of money to the poor --- and that was noble of him! He knew well enough from the old days how wretched it can be not to own a penny! He was rich now, he had fine clothes, and he made very many friends who all said he was a rare fellow, a proper gentleman---and that pleased the soldier greatly! But since he was spending his money every day and not getting a penny to replace it, he was left at last with no more than two shillings, and he had to move from the beautiful room where he had been living up to a narrow little attic right under the roof. He had to brush his own boots and mend them with a darning-needle, and none of his friends would come to visit him because there were far too many stairs to go up.

It was quite dark in the evening, and he could even buy himself a candle, but then he remembered that there was a little stump in the tinder-box he had taken from the hollow tree the witch had helped him to go down. He got the tinder-box and took out the candle-end, but just as he was striking a light and the sparks were flying from the flint, the door sprang open, and the dog with eyes as big as tea-cups, which he had seen down under the tree, stood before him and said, 'What are my master's commands?'

'What on earth!' said the soldier. 'This tinder-box is certainly something, if I can get what I want like this! Fetch me some money!' he said to the dog. He was off in a flash. In another flash he was back again, holding a big bag full of coppers in his mouth!

The soldier now knew wat a delightful tinder-box it was! If he struck once, the dog that sat on the chest of copper coins came; if he struck twice, the one that had the silver coins came; and if he struck three times, the one with the gold came. And now the soldier moved down into his beautiful rooms again and went about in good clothes, and so all his friends recognized him immediately, and they were very fond of him....

Then one day he thought, 'It's a very rum thing, though, that you can't get to see the princess! They all say how lovely she must be! But what's the good of that when she's always shut up in that great copper castle with all those towers! Can't I get to see her somehow? ... I've got it! --- Where's my tinder-box!' And so he struck a light, and in a flash there was the dog with eyes as big as tea-cups!

'I know it's the middle of the night,' said the soldier, 'but I would so love to see the princess, just for a second!'

The dog was outside the door at once, and before the soldier had time to realize it, he saw he was back again with the princess. She was sitting sound asleep on the dog's back, and she was so lovely anyone could see she was a real princess. The soldier could not stop himself---he had to kiss her, for he was a real soldier.

Then the dog ran back again with the princess, but when the morning came and the king and queen were pouring out tea, the princess said she had had such a strange dream during the night about a dog and a soldier. She had ridden on the dog, and the soldier had kissed her.

'That's a fine story, I'm sure!' said the queen.

One of the old ladies-in-waiting now had to keep watch by the princess's bed the next night to see whether it were really a dream or what else it could be.

The soldier longed terribly to see the lovely princess again, and so the dog came during the night, took her and ran off as fast as he could. But the old lady-in-waiting put her wellingtons on, and ran just as hard after him. When she saw them disappear into a large house, she thought, 'Now I know where it is!' And she drew a large cross on the gate with a piece of chalk. Then she went home and lay down, and the dog came back, too, with the princess. But when he saw that a cross had been drawn on the gate where the soldier lived, he took a piece of chalk, too, and marked crosses on all the gates throughout the whole town. And that was a clever thing to do, for now the lady-in-waiting would certainly not be able to find the right gate when there were crosses on all of them.

Early in the morning the king and the queen, the old lady-in-waiting, and all the officers of the court went to see where it was the princess had been to.

'There it is!' said the king when he saw the first gate with a cross on it.

'No, my dear husband, it's there!' said the queen, who was looking at the second gate with a cross on.

But there's one there---and one there!' they all cried together, and wherever they looked there were crosses on the gates. Then they could see it was not any use trying to find it.

Now the queen was a very clever woman, who could do other things besides riding in a coach. She took her big pair of gold scissors, cut out some pieces of silk, and made a pretty little bag from them. She filled it with fine small grains of buck-wheat, tied it on the princess's back, and when that was done, she clipped a little hole in the bag so that the grains would be sprinkled all the way along where the princess went.

During the night the dog came again, took the princess on his back, and ran off with her to the soldier, who was so very fond of her and wished so much he had been a prince so that he could have her for his wife.

The dog did not notice the grain sprinkled all along the road from the castle right up to the soldier's window, where he leapt up the wall with the princess. But in the morning the king and queen saw quite clearly where their daughter had been, and so they seized the soldier and threw him into prison.

And there he sat. Oh, how dark and miserable it was---and added to that they said to him, 'Tomorrow you must be hanged!' That was not at all funny---and he had left his tinder-box behind at the inn. In the morning he looked between the iron bars of his little window and could see people hurrying out of town to see him hanged. He heard the drums and saw the soldiers marching by. Everybody was off to watch, and among them was cobbler's boy wearing his leather apron and a pair of slippers. He was trotting along at such a gallop that one of his slippers flew off and landed against the wall where the soldier sat peering out between the iron bars.

'Hi, you cobbler's boy! There's no need to be in such a hurry,' the soldier said to him. 'There won't be anything doing before I get there! Just run along to where I live and fetch me my tinder-box, and I'll give you a shilling! But you must make good use of your legs!' The cobbler's boy was anxious to have his shilling and scurried off after the tinder-box. He gave it to the soldier---and now we shall hear what happened!

Outside the town a great gallows had been built, and all round it stood the soldiers and hundreds of thousands of people. The king and queen were sitting on a beautiful throne immediately opposite the judge and the whole Council.

The soldier had already mounted the ladder, but just as they were going to fasten the rope about his neck, he said that a wrong-doer was always granted a harmless request before he underwent his punishment. He would deadly love to smoke a pipe of tobacco---it would be his last pipe in this world.

Now the king could not say no to that, and so the soldier took his tinder-box and struck a light---one, two,three! And there stood all the dogs, the one with eyes as big as tea-cups, the one with eyes like millstones, and the one that had eyes as big as the Round Tower!

'Now help me, so that I shan't be hanged!' said the soldier, and so the dogs pounced upon the judge and the whole Council, took one by the legs and one by the nose, and hurled them many fathoms up in the air so that when they fell down they were smashed to pieces.

'I will not...!' said the king, but the biggest of the dogs seized both him and the queen, and hurled them up after the rest of them. The soldiers were terrified, and all the people cried out, 'Little soldier, you shall be our king and have our lovely princess!'

So they sat the soldier in the king's coach, and the three dogs all frisked about in front of him and shouted, 'Hurray!' And the boys whistled through their fingers, and the soldiers presented arms. The princess left the copper castle and became queen --- she liked that! The wedding lasted a week, and the dogs sat with them at table, their eyes wide with astonishment.

出展 2008年12月16日22:27 『THE TINDER-BOX』