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The Fairy Swan-Maidens

Once a year, in the autumn days, a great gathering was made of the men of Ulster, and from all parts men and women would come to share in the sports and marketing, and to meet their friends, and make merry. The place was joyous and full of gaiety with musicians making music on harps and fiddles, and singers singing, and jugglers plying their feats, and horse-racing in open spaces. The warriors, too, were to be seen exhibiting their trophies of war, and telling tales of their combats and victories, and all were dressed in their best, and feasting and eating was to be found in every part of the assembly.


plycomplyimply から接頭辞を取った語ですね。「……に精を出す」「(飲食物)を盛んに勧める」「(質問)を浴びせかける」「(道具)をせっせと使う」といった意味があります。


One day during an autumn feast, in the calm and quiet evening, Cuchulain and Emer his wife and a band of the brave men of Ulster who accompanied Cuchulain, and of the gently bred women who were Emer’s companions, were amusing themselves strolling and sitting beside a lake, apart from the people who were making merry, when they saw coming from a distance a flock of white, very beautiful swans, which settled down upon the lake, and began to swim out two and two. “How I wish,” Emer said, “that I could have two of those birds, one on each of my shoulders.” “All of us are longing for those birds,” cried her companions, and one woman said, “If only my husband were here”; and another woman said, “If only my husband were here, he would fetch me the birds.”

こうした秋のお祭りの最中のある日,穏やかで静かな夕方,クー・フーリンと妻エメル,そしてクー・フーリンに従うアルスターの勇士達,またエメルに同行する育ちの良い女性達は湖のほとりで,楽しんでいる民衆とは別に,散策したり座ったりして楽しんでいた。すると彼らの目には遠くから,白く非常に美しい白鳥がやって来て,湖に降りてきて,2羽ずつ泳ぎ始めているのが見えた。エメルは言った。「あの鳥たちの2羽を肩に1羽ずつ乗せたいものだわ」 彼女の仲間の女達は叫んだ。「あの鳥が欲しいとみんな思っていますわ」 そして1人の女が言った。「私の夫がここにいたら」 また別の女が言った。「私の夫がここにいたら,あの鳥たちを捕ってくるでしょうに」

How I wish は I wish の強調(感嘆文)で,「どんなに願うことでしょう!」ということですが,単に I wish...「……であればよいのに」の訳で良いと思います。

And Emer looked at Cuchulain, and said, “I think if anyone should have the birds, it is I who ought to have them first.”
But Cuchulain seemed to take no notice of what they were saying. And Emer was afraid to ask him, so she went to Laeg, his charioteer, and said, “Come thou and tell Cuchulain that the women are asking for the birds.” So Laeg spoke to Cuchulain: “The women wish that you should go and hunt the swans for them to-day.”



But Cuchulain looked angry. “Can the women of Ulster find no better occupation for me,” he said, “than to set me catching birds for their amusement? Let them set their own husbands to this business, for it is not a fitting sport for me.” “This is their fête-day,” said the charioteer, “and they would like a gift from you.”
“Bring me my chariot, then,” Cuchulain said; “a fine heroic deed it is to be taking birds for women, and worthy of a champion’s valour.”

しかしクー・フーリンは怒った表情を見せた。「アルスターの女達は,もっとマシな仕事を僕にさせられないのかね?」と彼は言った。「自分が楽しむために鳥を捕らせるなんてさ。自分らの旦那にやらせれば良いんだよ。僕にふさわしい仕事じゃない」 「彼女達にとってお祭りの日なんです」と御者は言った。「プレゼントを欲しがっているのですよ」



fête はフランス語由来で「祭り,パーティー」です。フランス語のように /fɛt/ と言うか,英語では /feɪt/ と言ったりします。

Angrily he went to the water’s edge, and pursued the swans in his chariot, bringing down a number of them with his sword and with stones, so that they fell, flapping their wings against the water. And he picked them up, and threw them down before the women, and returned to Emer, but to her he gave not any birds at all.



“Are you angry?” he said to her. “Certainly I am not,” said she; “you gave the birds to the women, and this was the same as though I myself had given them; right glad I am that you did this to please the women.” Then Cuchulain’s brow cleared, and he said, “Whenever birds come again on our plain, the two most beautiful of all I will bring down for you.”

「怒ったかい?」彼は彼女に言った。「いえ全く」彼女は言った。「貴方は鳥たちを女性たちに渡しました。これは私自身が渡したようなものです。女性たちを喜ばせるためにこれをやってくれて,私はとても嬉しいですわ」 するとクー・フーリンの顔は晴れ,彼は言った。「鳥がまたいつ僕達の平野にやって来ても,一番美しい2羽を君にあげよう」



Hardly were the words out of his mouth, than slowly sailing out of the far distance and bearing down towards them, they saw two noble swans, larger and more splendid than any of those that had been on the lake before. The birds were chanting a gentle, mystic song, that soothed all who listened to it to sleep; and they were linked together with a golden chain. White and soft was their plumage, and they seemed to have human reason, for they moved together, with one mind, towards Cuchulain and his wife.
“There are your birds, O Emer,” said Cuchulain, and he rose up to pursue them and fetch them down for her. But Emer was afraid. “Go not against those birds,” she said, “you shall get birds for me another day; there is some magic power in those birds, and you may come to harm.”


reason の「理性」という意味は重要です。

go against... は「……に不利なことをする」という意味でしょう。

come to harm については『ウィズダム英和辞典』に,come to no harm「ひどい目に合わない」が載っています。今回はその逆で「(白鳥の嫌がることをすると魔法で)ひどい目に合う」ということでしょう。

“I am not afraid of birds,” Cuchulain said, and laughed; “place a stone in my sling, O Laeg.”
So he took the sling and made a very careful aim, but for the first time in his life he missed his aim, and the stone went past the birds. “On my word,” said Cuchulain, “this is a strange thing; from the day on which I first assumed arms till now, never have I missed a mark. Give me another stone.”



(Upon) my word. は「あらまあ」です。

assume の本義は「取る」です。それで「考え方を取る」ということで「想定する,思い込む」が重要です。consume も「完全に取る」ということで「消費する」です。

Then he aimed again, more carefully than before, but again the stone went past them, and they sailed along unheeding. Then Cuchulain was angry, and he seized his spear, and flung it at the birds. And the aim was so good that it seemed as though the spear went through the swans, but for all that they flew away unhurt, save that the wing of one of them was broken. But when Cuchulain saw that the swans were taking flight, he flung off his mantle and ran after them, Laeg following hard behind. The swans flew slowly round the bend of the lake, and disappeared beneath the water; and when Cuchulain came after them round the point of land, he saw them no more, and though he gazed far out upon the water, and up to the passing clouds of heaven, he could not tell whither the birds were gone.


tell には「分かる,見分ける」の意味があり,通例 can と共に使います。There is no telling...「……は分からない」という定形表現がありますが,there is no Ving は you cannot V と同義です。

He looked about him, but he did not recognise the place in which he was, although he was on the Plain of Murthemne, in his own country.
“Where are the birds gone, and where are we, O Laeg?” said Cuchulain, for he was sore perplexed. And a strange weariness overtook him, and he leaned his back against a pillar stone that was hard by, and drowsiness fell upon him. But Laeg seemed to be asleep, for he gave no answer.


「ロイグ,鳥はどこへ行った? 僕らはどこにいる?」とクー・フーリンは言った。彼はひどく当惑していた。そして奇妙な疲労感が彼を襲い,すぐ近くにあった石柱に背でもたれ,眠気が彼を襲った。しかしロイグも眠っているようで,彼は返事をしなかった。

hard by は「すぐ近くに」という意味です。

Then in a vision Cuchulain saw two graceful women approach him, clad in fairy mantles of green and purple, and they had little switches of osier in their hands, and they began to strike him gently with the rods, first one and then the other, as though they played a game with him, and it seemed to Cuchulain that all his strength departed from him while they touched him with their rods.



switch「スイッチ」には「しなやかな小枝,軽い鞭」の意味があります。rod「棒,細枝,鞭,釣り竿(fishing rod)」は switch のパラフレースですね。 

Then he said, but his voice sounded to himself but far away and strange, “Who are ye, fair ladies, and what do ye want with me?” “We are come,” said the first, “out of Moy Mell, the Land of all Delight, the radiant Honey-Plain beyond the waves, to seek thy friendship. Liban am I, wife of Labra the Swift, the Wielder of the Sword, the monarch of that land. I come to bid thee welcome, if thou wilt succour him against his foes; for Senach the Spectral has challenged him to battle, and alone he is not strong enough to meet him and his gruesome phantom host. Come therefore to his help. Never until this day has monarch out of Fairy-land called for the help of any mortal man, but on the Plain of all Delights thy fame and thy renown are known; Cuchulain of the hundred feats is known.”


Liban は英語版Wikipedia に載っていました。次の段落に登場する Fand の姉妹のようです。


Labra (Labraid Luathlám ar Claideb) も載っていました。日本では「ラヴリド」という名で定着しているようです。


Moy Mell「モイ・メル」も Mag Mell「マグ・メル」(喜びの野)の形で載っていました。ギリシア神話のエリュシオン(エーリュシオン),北欧神話のヴァルハラに似ており,また同じケルト神話のティル・ナ・ノーグと関係が深そうです。



 ・are come (be come) は have come のことです。become や go も be の後に使うことがあります。

“We come,” said the second lady, “upon another quest. With Labra, called the Swift, the Wielder of the Sword, dwells beauteous Fand, betrothed to old Manannan of the Waves. Above the splendour of all women of this earthly world shines out the noble loveliness of Fand, Manannan’s chosen wife. Like the pure crystal clearness of a tear is the fairness of her face, and for that reason is she named Fand, that is, ‘a tear.’ Now tales of thy renown have come to Fand, the praise of young Cuchulain, Champion of Murthemne’s plain, and sore she longeth with her own eyes to look on thee, and see thy warlike, comely form. Therefore we come, that if thou wilt, we may conduct thee to the Honey-plain, the Land of all Delights. We are the swans that swam upon the lake, and see, with thy rough spear, how thou hast torn and hurt my hand.”


Fand は英語版Wikepedia に載っていました。別名 Fann「ファン」


“I am in no fit state to-day to contend with men or demon hosts,” Cuchulain said; “let Laeg go with you, and let him come again and tell me of your land. I am not strong or well to-day, and over and above all this, never would I, with any man or host do battle on the asking of a woman.”
“Come thou, then, Laeg,” she said; “I will take care of thee, and bring thee safely back. But it is woe and alas that thy master will not come.”
Indeed,” said Laeg, “never in all my life until to-day have I been put under a woman’s guard. This kind of woman’s rule, I vow, pleaseth me not at all.”





これで第20章の半分くらいです。どうやら Serglige Con Culainn (The Sick-Bed of Cú Chulainn;クー・フランの病とエメルのたった一度の嫉妬) という逸話のようです。クー・フーリンは動けるようになるでしょうか。次回をお楽しみに!


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