中将姫物語

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Live and learn. 訳:長生きはするものだ.

Proverb ことわざ

THE LEGEND OF PRINCESS CHUJO

当麻寺中将姫像

  • Many, many years ago there lived in Nara, the ancient Capital of Japan, a wise State minister, by name Prince Toyonari Fujiwara. His wife was a noble, good, and beautiful woman called Princess Murasaki (Violet). They had been married by their respective families according to Japanese custom when very young, and had lived together happily ever since. They had, however, one cause for great sorrow, for as the years went by no child was born to them. This made them very unhappy, for they both longed to see a child of their own who would grow up to gladden their old age, carry on the family name, and keep up the ancestral rites when they were dead. The Prince and his lovely wife, after long consultation and much thought, determined to make a pilgrimage to the temple of Hase-no-Kwannon (Goddess of Mercy at Hase), for they believed, according to the beautiful tradition of their religion, that the Mother of Mercy, Kwannon, comes to answer the prayers of mortals in the form that they need the most. Surely after all these years of prayer she would come to them in the form of a beloved child in answer to their special pilgrimage, for that was the greatest need of their two lives. Everything else they had that this life could give them, but it was all as nothing because the cry of their hearts was unsatisfied.

    So the Prince Toyonari and his wife went to the temple of Kwannon at Hase and stayed there for a long time, both daily offering incense and praying to Kwannon, the Heavenly Mother, to grant them the desire of their whole lives. And their prayer was answered.

    A daughter was born at last to the Princess Murasaki, and great was the joy of her heart. On presenting the child to her husband, they both decided to call her Hase-Hime, or the Princess of Hase, because she was the gift of the Kwannon at that place. They both reared her with great care and tenderness, and the child grew in strength and beauty.

    When the little girl was five years old her mother fell dangerously ill and all the doctors and their medicines could not save her. A little before she breathed her last she called her daughter to her, and gently stroking her head, said:

    "Hase-Hime, do you know that your mother cannot live any longer? Though I die, you must grow up a good girl. Do your best not to give trouble to your nurse or any other of your family. Perhaps your father will marry again and some one will fill my place as your mother. If so do not grieve for me, but look upon your father's second wife as your true mother, and be obedient and filial to both her and your father. Remember when you are grown up to be submissive to those who are your superiors, and to be kind to all those who are under you. Don't forget this. I die with the hope that you will grow up a model woman."

    Hase-Hime listened in an attitude of respect while her mother spoke, and promised to do all that she was told. There is a proverb which says "As the soul is at three so it is at one hundred," and so Hase- Hime grew up as her mother had wished, a good and obedient little Princess, though she was now too young to understand how great was the loss of her mother.

    Not long after the death of his first wife, Prince Toyonari married again, a lady of noble birth named Princess Teruhinomae. Very different in character, alas! to the good and wise Princess Murasaki, this woman had a cruel, bad heart. She did not love her step-daughter at all, and was often very unkind to the little motherless girl, saving to herself:

    "This is not my child! this is not my child!"

    But princess Hase bore every unkindness with patience, and even waited upon her step-mother kindly and obeyed her in every way and never gave any trouble, just as she had been trained by her own good mother, so that the Lady Teruhinomae  had no cause for complaint against her.

    There was also now another reason why Princess Teruhinomae hated her step-daughter, for she had the good fortune to have a son born to her, and in her inmost heart she kept saying:

    "If only princess Hase were not here, my son would have all the love of his father."

    And never having learned to control herself, she allowed this wicked thought to grow into the awful desire of taking her step-daughter's life.

    So one day she secretly ordered some poison and poisoned some sweet wine. This poisoned wine she put into a bottle. Into another similar bottle she poured some good wine. It was the occasion of the Boys' Festival on the fifth of May, and Princess Hase was playing with her little brother. All his toys of warriors and heroes were spread out and she was telling him wonderful stories about each of them. They were both enjoying themselves and laughing merrily with their attendants when his mother entered with the two bottles of wine and some delicious cakes.

    "You are both so good and happy." said the wicked Princess Teruhinomae with a smile, "that I have brought you some sweet wine as a reward— and here are some nice cakes for my good children."

    And she filled two cups from the different bottles.

    Princess Hase, never dreaming of the dreadful part her step-mother was acting, took one of the cups of wine and gave to her little step brother the other that had been poured out for him.

    The wicked woman had carefully marked the poisoned bottle, but on coming into the room she had grown nervous, and pouring out the wine hurriedly had unconsciously given the poisoned cup to her own child. All this time she was anxiously watching the little Princess, but to her amazement no change whatever took place in the young girl's face. Suddenly the little boy screamed and threw himself on the floor, doubled up with pain. His mother flew to him, taking the precaution to upset the two tiny jars of wine which she had brought into the room, and lifted him up. The attendants rushed for the doctor, but nothing could save the child—he died within the hour in his mother's arms. Doctors did not know much in those ancient times, and it was thought that the wine had disagreed with the boy, causing convulsions of which he died.

    Thus was the wicked woman punished in losing her own child when she had tried to do away with her step-daughter; but instead of blaming herself she began to hate Hase-Hime more than ever in the bitterness and wretchedness of her own heart, and she eagerly watched for an opportunity to do her harm, which was, however, long in coming.

  • When princess Hase was 13 years old, the king (the master of her father) got a sick. The king ordered to princess Hase.
    "Hase, I can't sleep well because of the big splashy sound of running water. Your ears caught the murmuring of running water, didn't you? Hase, I understand that you are very good poetess, so, compose one poem for the god of the river. Lead calm the river sound."
    The princess Hase answered. "Yes my lord, I'll compose a poem and I'll sing it." She composed one poem immediately.

    The river Tatsuta, listen to me.
    You make your waves so roaring.
    Please lead it to be calm and make the sound of water tender
    Blow away worries of my lord. Please!

    Just then, the loud sound and a swell of the water became quiet down. The king was satisfied very much. He rewarded with the rank of  "Chûjô". From this time, the princess Hase was called "Chûjô-Hime" (Princess Chûjô)and respected and loved by all
    .
    On the other hand, her step mother was discontent to know it. She detested Princess Chûjô. She began to raise a hate more than more. Her flames of hate toward Chûjô-Hime burned into flames.
    One day, Teruhinomae gave one order to her servant. "Kill! Kill her! Take her away to Hibari-yama (the skylark mountain) and then kill her!"

    The servant took her away to the mountain against his heart. He could not kill her, because she was so beautiful and so sympathetic. The servant said, "Listen to me princess Chûjô. From your step mother, I was given one order of killing you, but it's impossible for me! I never can kill you, absolutely can't!"
    Princess Chûjô said, "I've got it. It's not your fault. It's mine, it's my fault undoubtedly. Tell to my mother-in-law that you surely killed me." After saying, she bowed her head down disappointedly.
    The servant said, "Oh, no! I can't leave you alone in such mountain lone. I'll stay here and I'll protect you. My wife and I will take care of you."
    Then the servant cut trees in the forest and constructed a simple house with a roof made of acanthus. These three persons lived ensemble in the lonely mountain Hibari-yama. A couple of servants cut down trees, picked wild flowers and gathered them. They brought them to the foot of the mountain for sale. They earned a little money to bring her up.

    "How poor my princess! If you were in the city, you could spend your time happily. Your step mother, Teruhinomae is really terrible." A couple of servants looked at each other's eyes filled with tears. Princess Chûjô said, "Don't be in sorrow, please. Thank a lot, I'm living peacefully like this."
    Princess Chûjô gathered brushwood, drew water form a torrent, though these were inexperienced works for her. After these works, Princess Chûjô passed her time peacefully reading Holy book of Buddhism.

    Prince Toyonari, after some weeks, came home, and was told by his wife that his daughter Hime had done something wrong and had run away for fear of being punished. He was nearly ill with anxiety. Every one in the house told the same story—that Hase-Hime had suddenly disappeared, none of them knew why or whither. For fear of scandal he kept the matter quite and searched everywhere he could think of, but all to no purpose.

    One day, trying to forget his terrible worry, he called all his men together and told them to make ready for a several days' hunt in the mountains. They were soon ready and mounted, waiting at the gate for their lord. He rode hard and fast to the district of the Hibari Mountains, a great company following him. He was soon far ahead of every one, and at last found himself in a narrow picturesque valley.

    Looking round and admiring the scenery, he noticed a tiny house on one of the hills quite near, and then he distinctly heard a beautiful clear voice reading aloud. Seized with curiosity as to who could be studying so diligently in such a lonely spot, he dismounted, and leaving his horse to his groom, he walked up the hillside and approached the cottage. As he drew nearer his surprise increased, for he could see that the reader was a beautiful girl. The cottage was wide open and she was sitting facing the view. Listening attentively, he heard her reading the Buddhist scriptures with great devotion. More and more curious, he hurried on to the tiny gate and entered the little garden, and looking up beheld his lost daughter Hase-Hime. She was so intent on what she was saying that she neither heard nor saw her father till he spoke.

    "Hase-Hime!" he cried, "it is you. my Hase-Hime!"

    Taken by surprise, she could hardly realize that it was her own dear father who was calling her, and for a moment she was utterly bereft of the power to speak or move.
    "My father, my father! It is indeed you—oh, my father!" was all she could say, and running to him she caught hold of his thick sleeve, and burying her face burst into a passion of tears. Her father stroked her dark hair, asking her gently to tell him all that had happened, but she only wept on, and he wondered if he were not really dreaming.

    Then the faithful old servant Katoda came out, and bowing himself to the ground before his master, poured out the long tale of wrong, telling him all that had happened, and how it was that he found his daughter in such a wild and desolate spot with only two old servants to take care of her.

    The Prince's astonishment and indignation knew no bounds. He gave up the hunt at once and hurried home with his daughter. One of the company galloped ahead to inform the household of the glad news, and the step-mother hearing what had happened, and fearful of meeting her husband now that her wickedness was discovered, fled from the house and returned in disgrace to her father's roof, and nothing more was heard of her.

    Princess Chûjô decided to enter a nunnery. "I want to be a pupil of Buddha and I want to see my deceased mother ." Her father didn't accept her wish. However, she never changed her mind. Princess Chûjô went to the temple Taima and passed through its gate. She became good nun. "Help me, my sky, leading me to my mother. Guide me to the heaven, please..."

    For the space of three years, she spent her time zealously reciting prays Buddhist. One night of those days, two nuns came to see Princess Chûjô. They said to her, "Gather a lot of threads of lotus as much as possible and load them on the back of hundred camels." Princess Chûjô gathered a lot of stems of lotus with her father's aid. Another evening, two nuns visited her again. They began to spin the stems into threads. The two nuns brought out these threads by the fountain in front of the temple and rinsed the thread of lotus in the fountain.
    At that moment, the threads of lotus emitted a shine dazzling. These threads of lotus were dyed in five colors. They were sparkling so magnificently. Two nuns brought them into the temple. And they began to weave something at the loom by their original ways.

    A flash, the five-color threads has changed into one beautiful textile. It was a twinkling textile! A shine of the morning entered the temple. Inside the temple began to bright having the morning sunshine. When the interior became more bright, two figures of nuns had vanished. "My God! Good gracious! How beautiful it is!" Princess Chûjô was so impressed.
    The shining textile was left here, which was woven by two nuns. This textile of lotus existed clearly. It sparkled, gleamed, and shimmered.
    She saw white lotus flowers in the motif of this textile. They were in full bloom in the morning air. In that space, she found two celestials playing on a flute and dancing on the white clouds. One celestial turned her eyes to the direction of Princess Chûjô. The celestial looked at her and veiled Princess Chûjô with her smile.
    "Oh! My mother!" Princess Chûjô recognized her. After, she kept silent, because she was touched amply. She admired this textile of lotus for a long time as if she were in a dream. The voice of the nun reached her ears. "Here, this is the country of Buddha, the Paradise: Gokuraku that you wanted to see. Over there, she is in that place. She is your mother. You can see your mother in the Paradise, can't you?" Princess Chûjô said to her, "Thank you, thank you from my heart." She prayed folding her hands and recited Buddhist scriptures.

    At noon, it was flowery day in spring. Princess Chûjô had her age 28 years. She was waiting messengers from the sky. From the west sky tinged with violet, a light was approaching her and it reached her. Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) appeared. And in the evening, Princess Chûjô rose to the sky through the fragrant air, through the singing of celestials.

    THE END

    中将姫の墓

    拡大は画像を左クリックする

    中将姫物語は、當麻寺(たいまでら)で買い求めた『中将姫物語』によると、平安時代の長和・寛仁の頃(1012〜20年)に出来た『諸寺縁起集』や鎌倉時代に成立した『当麻縁起絵巻』の詞書に出ているとのことで、謡曲などに取り入れられ、江戸時代になると、芝居や浄瑠璃でも非常にもてはやされ、社会的に大きな役割を果たしてきた。

    The temple Taima keeps "Mandara" of Princess Chûjô. Nowadays, people visit Temple Taima to pray and to admire a statue of Princess Chûjô.
    The legend says that the "Taima Mandara" is a kind of textile woven out of lotus threads. This textile symbolize the grace, the kindness, and the forgiveness. People worshiped and loved this textile.
    左の画像はマンダラです。画像をクリックして下さい。

                                                                       

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    Copyright (C) 1987-2006 All rights reserved. SHERINA英会話 since 1987 Osaka, Japan 最終更新日 : 2008/06/08 日曜日