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The Old Man & the Devils

English ed. 1886(Meiji 19) Catalogue No. 12


French ed. 1897(Meiji 30) Catalogue No. 111


Spanish ed. 1914(Taisho 3) Catalogue No. 154



The Story of a Wen Taker
Matsumuro Yachizo Version 1900(Meiji 33)
Catalogue No.178

訳者:ジェイムズ C. ヘボン(Translator : James C. Hepburn)
絵師:不明(Illustrator : anonymous)

■ あらすじ
  鎌倉時代の『宇治拾遺物語』にも見られる古くから伝わる話で、江戸時代には笑話として普及し、明治時代の国定教科書にも取り上げられた。「ヘボン式ローマ字」で知られるJ. ヘボンは楽しい筆致で『宇治拾遺物語』の「鬼に瘤取らるる事」を忠実に英訳した。フランス語版、スペイン語版もそれに倣った訳だが、絵師の名はいずれも見当たらない。松室八千三<まつむろやちぞう>刊行版は挿絵が少なく、絵師の名も書かれていない。
Outline of this story
 An old man with a big lump on his right cheek was caught in a rainstorm in the mountain and took refuge in the hollow of an old tree. Before long, a great crowd of devils came along and began to enjoy a feast accompanied by a lot of songs and dances. In all the merriment, the old man could not bear to continue merely looking on, and started to dance himself. The devils admired his steps, and took the lump from his cheek as a pledge that he would come back again. Hearing this, another old man who lived next door and had a lump on his left cheek also went into the mountain to dance before the devils to have them get rid of his lump. But he was a clumsy dancer, and the disgruntled devils stuck the lump they had taken from the first old man on his right cheek.
 The story is an old one that also appears in the Tales from the Uji Collection, which was put together in the Kamakura era. It found widespread popularity as a comic tale in the Edo era, and was included in the government-authorized school textbook in the Meiji period. James Hepburn, who devised the main system of romanization for the Japanese syllabary, made a faithful translation of the Uji Collection version with a witty touch. The French and the Spanish editions follow his English edition. The name of the illustrator is not noted. The version published by Yachizo Matsumuro has few illustrations and does not credit any illustrator.