―― まえがき ――
A Japanese folk tale
Title: "The Blind Deity of Water"
Illustrated and translated by: Akanemachi Haruhiko.
Original author: Yanagida Kunio
―― ０１ ――
Once upon a time in Fukae village of Hizen province, there lived a Young Doctor only with his mother.
―― ０２ ――
One day, on the way to a place, the Young Doctor came across some children of the village.
Then, they caught a white eel and were just about to kill it.
The Young Doctor saved and released it.
―― ０３ ――
This story is similar to the folk tale of Mr. Yamurano Yasuke.
The eel turned a pretty traveling woman. And she visited the Young Doctor and became his wife.
After that, a baby boy was born. But, they found out who she really was. So, she had to go back.
―― ０４ ――
One day, his mother went to the room of his wife to ask something.
Then, his mother saw a great snake coiling around the baby.
And, the snake was sleeping with a snore.
―― ０５ ――
So, his wife could'nt stay there anymore.
And she politely asked them for the care of the baby and went back.
"It might be difficult to nurse our baby without a good wet nurse. If so, please visit the shore of the pond at Mt. Fugendake! And call me!" she said.
―― ０６ ――
After that, the Young Doctor took care of the baby. But, he was hard up for milk.
So, holding the baby, he visited the pond at the top of the mountain.
His wife appeared as promised.
She took a beautiful ball out. And she had the baby lick it.
"This is my eyeball. If you have our baby lick it, our baby will grow healthily. Please keep it with care!" she said.
And they separated.
―― ０７ ――
On the way home, the Young Doctor came across an officer on patrol.
The officer suspected his bulging pocket of the Young Doctor.
And the officer found that the Young Doctor had an extreamly strange and precious ball.
The officer took it away from him. And the officer offered it to the lord.
―― ０８ ――
Milk was scarce and the baby cried out again. But there was no way.
The next day, the Young Doctor came to the edge of the same pond again.
And then, his wife with only one eye appeared and listened to the details.
"I have one more ball. If I give it, I'll become blind. But, this is nothing to me because this is for our baby." she said.
She handed the remaining eyeball to the Young Doctor and returned back with tears.
―― ０９ ――
This ball was filled so much with the parent's love. But it was taken away again.
The lord and the officer were merciless without limit.
They said "This nice ball must be paired with the other. And we must present the pair to the king."
And the officer took the second ball away from him although it was especially given to him.
―― １０ ――
The great snake of Mt. Fugendake heard of this thing. She had a grudge and got extremely angry.
Many people say that the strong earthquake and the gigantic tidal waves at Shimabara area in the Kansei era were caused by the anger of this blind deity of the water.
If so, it was 140 to 150 years ago that the story of the eyeballs given by this great snake mother was woven into this tale.
But I think, this tale is acutually an older tale.
(Hizen province Minamitakakigun county)