―― まえがき ――
A Picture Book
"A Model Soldier" (the first volume)
Illustrated and translated by : Akanemachi Haruhiko
Original author : Yumeno Kyusaku
―― ０１ ――
After the revolution, bricks came into fashion.
Then, the village leader sold off a half of the huge heap of red clay.
The huge heap was placed along a river and was about 2 kilometers upstream from the village.
―― ０２ ――
The empty lot turned into a copse.
And, spring water was gushing out from there.
A small community of beggars formed around the spring before the village people knew it.
The village people called the small community "Upstream".
―― ０３ ――
The small community had only 4 or 5 miserable shanties.
But, mail and money orders were delivered.
―― ０４ ――
And, medicine peddlers dropped in them.
―― ０５ ――
Further, in those days, the village people suddenly began to pay attention to the small community because a soldier in uniform visited there every Sunday.
There were romors that the ruin of noble persons might have lived there.
―― ０６ ――
A postman said that the soldier was called Private Westmoreland.
Private Westmoreland was good-looking.
And, he was a mild-mannered young man like an actor.
―― ０７ ――
But, he was a newcomer to the small community.
So, he built a shanty a short distance away from the other shanties.
And, he made a woman live there.
She was sick in bed.
―― ０８ ――
They couldn't clearly see her face.
But, she seemed to be about 40 years old.
Her graceful face was so pale that they felt eerie.
They saw Private Westmoreland giving a present to her.
Then, she worshiped it with her hands together and she receved it in tears.
The above information was told by babysitters of the village.
―― ０９ ――
After that , his reputation was growing higer and higher.
"Who is the woman for Private Westmoreland?"
Various romors went around.
―― １０ ――
In the village, only the household goods store took a newspaper regularly.
It carried a great article of Private Westmoreland with his photograph.
―― １１ ――
Private Westmoreland was born into a wealthy family in the Eastnorth area as an only son.
But, his father died when he was 13 years old.
And, his family was broken up.
―― １２ ――
He and his mother left for Nagasaki prefecture to meet their relatives.
On the way, they lost all their money and became beggars.
After that, they wondered various places for seven years.
―― １３ ――
Last spring, his mother got tuberculosis.
It was difficult for her to walk.
So, they settled down in the small community "Upstream".
―― １４ ――
Just then, he reached the age to serve in the armed forces.
He was called to a physical examination for the draft.
He passed it at the highest level.
―― １５ ――
Private Westmoreland entered the service.
He never lived in luxury.
―― １６ ――
He spent no money from his salary.
When he was on cleaning duty, he gathered buckles and buttons on the ground around the barracks. And he stored them.
He sold them to his colleagues who had lost such things and had been in trouble.
He charged 1 cent for a piece. And he deposited the obtained money in a post office.
―― １７ ――
He was really looking forward Sundays.
And every Sunday, he went back to comfort his mother.
In his regiment, he had good reputation about this.
―― １８ ――
And finally, he received an award from the Colonel.
You are extremely docile and gentle in nature.
You have a good attitude in the service.
You are well-behaved.
Your performance is very good.
... etc ...
... etc ...
―― １９ ――
After that, the reputation of Private Westmoreland reached its peak.
Every Sunday, the babysitters of the village went out to "Upstream" enthusiastically.
They gathered around the small community.
And, they watched him taking care of his mother.
―― ２０ ――
Private Westmoreland was washing dirty clothes of the sick woman at the river in a frost morning together with his shirts.
The babysitters were gazing at the sight.
"I'd like to marry and help him."
Some babysitters were moved to tears.
―― ２１ ――
Soon, donations arrived at the newspaper company or the regiment one after another.
One of the donations was big money "50 dollars" from a woman.
―― ２２ ――
Private Westmoreland seemed to have become rich suddenly.
He got help from the community members. And he rebuilt his shanty, where his mother had been sick in bed.
His newly-built shanty looked like a house with sheets of corrugated iron.
―― ２３ ――
"Well, you should take good care of your parents. Something good will happen to you!"
The village people sighed with each other.
―― ２４ ――
But soon, an incident occured.