出典:Project Gutenberg

By Lafcadio Hearn







A long time ago, in the province of Tamba , there lived a rich merchant named Inamuraya Gensuke. He had a daughter called O-Sono. As she was very clever and pretty, he thought it would be a pity to let her grow up with only such teaching as the country-teachers could give her: so he sent her, in care of some trusty attendants, to Kyoto, that she might be trained in the polite accomplishments taught to the ladies of the capital. After she had thus been educated, she was married to a friend of her father's family -- a merchant named Nagaraya;-- and she lived happily with him for nearly four years. They had one child, -- a boy. But O-Sono fell ill and died, in the fourth year after her marriage.

むかし丹波の国に稻村屋源助という金持ちの商人が住んでいた。この人にお園という一人の娘があった。お園は非常に怜悧で、また美人であったので、源助は田舎の先生の教育だけで育てる事を遺憾に思い、信用のある従者をつけて娘を京都にやり、都の婦人達の受ける上品な芸事を修業させるようにした。こうして教育を受けて後、お園は父の一族の知人- - ながらやと云う商人に嫁(カタヅ)けられ、ほとんど四年の間その男と楽しく暮した。二人の仲には一人の子- -男の子があった。しかるにお園は結婚後四年目に病気になり死んでしまった。

On the night after the funeral of O-Sono, her little son said that his mamma had come back, and was in the room upstairs. She had smiled at him, but would not talk to him: so he became afraid, and ran away. Then some of the family went upstairs to the room which had been O-Sono's; and they were startled to see, by the light of a small lamp which had been kindled before a shrine in that room, the figure of the dead mother. She appeared as if standing in front of a tansu, or chest of drawers, that still contained her ornaments and her wearing-apparel. Her head and shoulders could be very distinctly seen; but from the waist downwards the figure thinned into invisibility;-- it was like an imperfect reflection of her, and transparent as a shadow on water.

その葬式のあった晩にお園の小さい息子は、お母さんが帰って来て、二階のお部屋に居たよと云った。お園は子供を見て微笑んだが、口を利きはしなかった。それで子供は恐わくなって逃げて来たと云うのであった。そこで、一家の内の誰れ彼れがお園のであった二階の部屋に行ってみると、驚いたことには、その部屋にある位牌の前に点(トモ)された小さい灯明の光りで、死んだ母なる人の姿が見えたのである。お園は箪笥(タンス)すなわち抽斗(ヒキダシ)になっている箱の前に立っているらしく、その箪笥にはまだお園の飾り道具や衣類が入っていたのである。お園の頭と肩とはごく瞭然(ハッキリ)見えたが、腰から下は姿がだんだん薄くなって見えなくなっている - -あたかもそれが本人の、はっきりしない反影のように、また、水面における影の如く透き通っていた。

Then the folk were afraid, and left the room. Below they consulted together; and the mother of O-Sono's husband said: "A woman is fond of her small things; and O-Sono was much attached to her belongings. Perhaps she has come back to look at them. Many dead persons will do that, -- unless the things be given to the parish-temple. If we present O-Sono's robes and girdles to the temple, her spirit will probably find rest."

それで人々は、恐れを抱き部屋を出てしまい、下で一同集って相談をしたところ、お園の夫の母の云うには『女というものは、自分の小間物が好きなものだが、お園も自分のものに執著していた。たぶん、それを見に戻ったのであろう。死人でそんな事をするものもずいぶんあります- -その品物が檀寺にやられずにいると。お園の著物や帯もお寺へ納めれば、たぶん魂も安心するであろう』

I was agreed that this should be done as soon as possible. So on the following morning the drawers were emptied; and all of O-Sono's ornaments and dresses were taken to the temple. But she came back the next night, and looked at the tansu as before. And she came back also on the night following, and the night after that, and every night; -- and the house became a house of fear.

、出来る限り早く、この事を果すという事に極められ、翌朝、抽斗(ヒキダシ)を空(カラ)にし、お園の飾り道具や衣裳はみな寺に運ばれた。しかしお園はつぎの夜も帰って来て、前の通り箪笥(タンス)を見ていた。それからそのつぎの晩も、つぎのつぎの晩も、毎晩帰って来た - -ためにこの家は恐怖の家となった。

The mother of O-Sono's husband then went to the parish-temple, and told the chief priest all that had happened, and asked for ghostly counsel. The temple was a Zen temple; and the head-priest was a learned old man, known as Daigen Osho. He said: "There must be something about which she is anxious, in or near that tansu." -- "But we emptied all the drawers," replied the woman; -- "there is nothing in the tansu." -- "Well," said Daigen Osho, "to-night I shall go to your house, and keep watch in that room, and see what can be done. You must give orders that no person shall enter the room while I am watching, unless I call."

お園の夫の母はそこで檀寺に行き、住職に事の一伍一什を話し、幽霊の件について相談を求めた。その寺は禅寺であって、住職は学識のある老人で、大玄和尚として知られていた人であった。和尚の言うにそれはその箪笥の内か、またはその近くに、何か女の気にかかるものがあるに相違ない』。老婦人は答えた - -『それでも私共は抽斗(ヒキダシ)を空にいたしましたので、箪笥(タンス)にはもう何も御座いませんのです』- -大玄和尚は言った『宜しい、では、今夜拙僧が御宅へ上り、その部屋で番をいたし、どうしたらいいか考えてみるで御座ろう。どうか、拙僧が呼ばる時の外は、誰れも番を致しておる部屋に、入らぬよう命じておいていただきたい

After sundown, Daigen Osho went to the house, and found the room made ready for him. He remained there alone, reading the sutras; and nothing appeared until after the Hour of the Rat.   Then the figure of O-Sono suddenly outlined itself in front of the tansu. Her face had a wistful look; and she kept her eyes fixed upon the tansu.


The priest uttered the holy formula prescribed in such cases, and then, addressing the figure by the kaimyo of O-Sono, said: -- "I have come here in order to help you. Perhaps in that tansu there is something about which you have reason to feel anxious. Shall I try to find it for you?" The shadow appeared to give assent by a slight motion of the head; and the priest, rising, opened the top drawer. It was empty. Successively he opened the second, the third, and the fourth drawer; -- he searched carefully behind them and beneath them;-- he carefully examined the interior of the chest. He found nothing. But the figure remained gazing as wistfully as before. "What can she want?" thought the priest. Suddenly it occurred to him that there might be something hidden under the paper with which the drawers were lined. He removed the lining of the first drawer:-- nothing! He removed the lining of the second and third drawers:-- still nothing. But under the lining of the lowermost drawer he found -- a letter. "Is this the thing about which you have been troubled?" he asked. The shadow of the woman turned toward him, -- her faint gaze fixed upon the letter. "Shall I burn it for you?" he asked. She bowed before him. "It shall be burned in the temple this very morning," he promised;-- "and no one shall read it, except myself." The figure smiled and vanished.

和尚はかかる場合に誦するように定められてある経文を口にして、さてその姿に向って、お園の戒名を呼んで話しかけた。『拙僧は貴女のお助けをするために、ここに来たもので御座る。定めしその箪笥の中には、貴女の心配になるのも無理のない何かがあるのであろう。貴女のために私がそれを探し出して差し上げようか』。影は少し頭を動かして、承諾したらしい様子をした。そこで和尚は起ち上り、一番上の抽斗を開けてみた。が、それは空であった。つづいて和尚は、第二、第三、第四の抽斗を開けた - -抽斗の背後や下を気をつけて探した - -箱の内部を気をつけて調べてみた。が何もない。しかしお園の姿は前と同じように、気にかかると云ったようにじっと見つめていた。『どうしてもらいたいと云うのか?』と和尚は考えた。が、突然こういう事に気がついた。抽斗の中に張ってある紙の下に何か隠してあるのかもしれないと。そこで一番目の抽斗の貼り紙をはがしたが - -何もない! 第二、第三の抽斗の貼り紙をはがしたが - -それでもまだ何もない。しかるに一番下の抽斗の貼り紙の下に何か見つかった -- 一通の手紙である。『貴女の心を悩ましていたものはこれかな?』と和尚は訊ねた。女の影は和尚の方に向った - -その力のない凝視は手紙の上に据えられていた。『拙僧がそれを焼き棄てて進ぜようか?』と和尚は訊ねた。お園の姿は和尚の前に頭を下げた。『今朝すぐに寺で焼き棄て、私の外、誰れにもそれを読ませまい』と和尚は約束した。姿は微笑して消えてしまった。

Dawn was breaking as the priest descended the stairs, to find the family waiting anxiously below. "Do not be anxious," he said to them: "She will not appear again." And she never did.


The letter was burned. It was a love-letter written to O-Sono in the time of her studies at Kyoto. But the priest alone knew what was in it; and the secret died with him.


            THE END









upstairs to the room which had been O-Sono's