―― まえがき ――
A Japanese folk tale
Title: "Mr. Yamurano Yasuke"
Illustrated and translated by: Akanemachi Haruhiko.
Original author: Yanagida Kunio
―― ０１ ――
Once upon a time in Shinshu province, there lived a young sharecropper, who took a good care of his parent.
His name was Yamurano Yasuke.
He was an honest and hardworking man.
But, his family was in poverty.
―― ０２ ――
At the end of a certain year, he went shopping to the year-end market for the new year's preparation, having a bit of money.
―― ０３ ――
On the way to the market, he came across a pheasant at the roadside.
The pheasant was caught in a trap and was flapping
―― ０４ ――
He thought that he would save it.
He loosened the string of the trap and released the pheasant.
―― ０５ ――
He was sorry that he released the pheasant with nothing to the owner of the trap.
And so, instead of the pheasant, he put the rope of holed coins carried in his hand on the trap.
―― ０６ ――
He retruned back empty-handed because he didn't need to go shopping anymore.
―― ０７ ――
His mother was also kindhearted and said "You did a right thing."
The mother and the son spent a new year holidays with nothing.
―― ０８ ――
After that, a strange young woman visited them.
"I'm a traveler and I have trouble in snowing. Please let me stay here until next spring! I'll do any work."
―― ０９ ――
She did a lot of the household matters for the old woman. She was very obedient and pretty.
His mother had a talk with her.
"You seem to have no parents nor relatives. Would you live in this house and become my son's wife?"
Then, she delightedly agreed with this offer and became his wife.
―― １０ ――
After that, they lived together happily for several years.
―― １１ ――
In those days, a demonic monster often appeared at Mt. Ariakeyama.
―― １２ ――
The government commanded General Tamura to destroy the monster.
Mr. Yamurano Yasuke was an expert in using a bow.
So, he had to go with General Tamura for destroying the monster.
―― １３ ――
Then, his wife secretly called him and told like this:
The monster of Mt. Ariakeyama is called Gysyky.
Nobody can shoot it to death with a normal bow and arrows.
You should fix pheasant's tail feathers having thirteen knots to an arrow. If you shoot the arrow, you can destroy the monster with only a single arrow.
Because of the greatest matter in your life, I'll give the feathers to you.
Several years ago, I was caught in a trap at the year-end. And I was saved by you. I'm the pheasant.
―― １４ ――
And she flew away somewhere with tears.
―― １５ ――
Beautiful pheasant's tail feathers having thirteen knots were left.
―― １６ ――
So, the monster of Mt. Ariakeyama was destroyed.
―― １７ ――
Then, the Japan Alps became a peaceful mountain. This was truly Yamurano Yasuke's achievement.
Yasuke was given plenty of rewards for the achievement.
And, his fame was remembered in the mountainous region of Shinshu province for a long time.
(Shinano province Minamiazumigun county)