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西尾市岩瀬文庫の世界

ささやき竹物語 [江戸時代前期成立]

位の高い法師があるとき花見に訪れた美しい娘に一目ぼれをし、何とか自分のものにしたいと画策するお話し

 毘沙門堂の別当を勤める位の高い法師が、あるとき花見に訪れた美しい娘に一目ぼれをし、何とか自分のものにしたいと画策します。

ある夜、娘の両親のところへ忍び込んだ法師は、タイトルの由来となった、節を抜いた長ぁい竹筒を使い、寝ている両親の耳元へ、「私は毘沙門天である。お前たちの娘を毘沙門堂の別当に預けよ」と、お告げを装ってささやきます。

信心深い娘の両親は、法師のウソのお告げを信じてしまい、娘に毘沙門堂へ行きなさいと嫌がる娘を説得します。

巧くいったとほくそ笑む法師ですが、さすがに若い女性を正面きって迎え入れるのは外聞が悪いので、小僧さん二人に長櫃を持たせて娘の家へ遣わし、この中へ娘を入れて、荷物のように装って毘沙門堂へつれて来るようにと命じます。

娘を入れた長櫃を担いで毘沙門堂へ向った小僧さん二人、重たいし疲れるしで、途中で休憩して居眠りを始めてしまいました。

そこへ、鷹狩りにゆく貴公子が通りかかります。おやおやこんなところに不審な長櫃が…と思ってふたを開けてみると、中には悲しげな様子の美しい娘が押し込められているではありませんか。

かくかくしかじかといきさつを聞いた貴公子は、長櫃の中から娘を救い出し、とはいえ空っぽになっていたら逃げたとばれてしまうので、代わりに子牛を入れてふたを閉めておきました。

さてさて、居眠りから醒めた小僧さん、娘が子牛にすりかわったとも知らずに、再び長櫃を担いで毘沙門堂へと帰ります。待ち焦がれた法師がいそいそと長櫃を開けると、中からは愛しの娘ではなく子牛が飛び出してきてびっくり仰天。娘が子牛に変身してしまったと思い込み、元に戻ってくれるよう必死で祈りますが、娘に戻ろうはずもなく、子牛は暴れまわるのでした。

一方、助け出された娘は貴公子の家に迎えられ、貴公子と結婚し、子宝にも恵まれ、末永く幸せに暮らしました。

ささやき竹物語

嘘のお告げを吹き込む高僧

Tale of the Bamboo Whisperer
Early Edo Period
Author: Unknown

Once upon a time, a priest of high rank who was head of the Bishamondo Temple fell in love at first sight with a beautiful girl while he was viewing cherry blossoms (sakura) and immediately plotted to make her his own.

One night, the priest snuck into her house where her parents were sleeping and using a hollow piece of bamboo whispered into their ears, “I am the god Bishamon! You must send your daughter to the head of my temple!” The title of this tale comes from the priest’s whispering through the bamboo tube. The parents, fervent believers, are fooled by the priest’s false oracle and convince their unwilling daughter to go to the temple.

The priest, smiling inwardly at how his plan is apparently working, realizes it is impossible to have her brazenly walk into the temple through the front gate. So, he sends two young monks to her house with a long box for storing kimono, etc. They place the girl inside and take her to Bishamondo temple as if she were a package.
The two young monks carrying the girl in the box on their shoulders head to Bishamondo temple, but halfway there they get tired and decide to take a break and also start to fall asleep.

Just at this moment, a young nobleman hawk hunting happens upon the box. Thinking to himself, “what is this strange box doing here?” He opens the box only to find a beautiful girl sorrowfully squished inside.

Telling the nobleman how this had led to that and everything that had happened, he pulls her from the box. But if he leaves the box empty, they will know immediately that the girl has escaped. So in her place, the young nobleman puts a calf inside the box.

Finally, the two young monks awake from their nap and, without realizing the girl has been switched with a calf, pick up the box again and return to Bishamondo temple. The priest, anxiously awaiting the arrival of his prize, opens the box only to have a calf jump out, instead of his beloved girl. Thinking that the girl has been changed into a calf, he exhausts himself praying for her to return to her original shape. But there is no way that this calf is going to turn into a girl and simply runs around violently.

On the other hand, the girl who was saved by the young nobleman is taken into his house as a bride, bears him many children, and lives a long life of happiness.