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Lion of Philosophy

Translations

Lion of Philosophy

Maria S. Mendes

「てつがくのライオン」

"Lion of Philosophy" (“Tetsugaku no Lion”)

 

 

ライオンは「てつがく」が気に入っている。

Lion is fond of "Philosophy".

 

かたつむりが、ライオンというのは獣の王で哲学的な様子をしているものだと教えてくれたからだ。

That's because Snail kindly told him that a lion is King of Beasts who should look philosophical.

 

きょうライオンは「てつがくてき」になろうと思った。

Today Lion thought he would be "philosophical".

 

哲学というのは座り方から工夫した方がよいと思われるので、尾を右にまるめて腹ばいに座り、前肢(まえあし)を重ねてそろえた。

He thought that this philosophy thing would seem better when one contrives a way to sit, so he sat on his belly with his tail curled to the right, and placed his paws on top of each other.

 

首をのばし、右斜め上をむいた。尾のまるめ具合からして、その方がよい。尾が右で顔が左をむいたら、でれりとしてしまう。

He then stretched his neck, and looked up to the right. This is a better way, judging from the way the tail is curled. If the tail goes right and the face goes left, he would end up looking spoony.

 

ライオンが顔をむけた先に、草原が続き、木が一本はえていた。

Beyond where Lion’s face was pointed to, there were miles of fields, with one lone tree standing.

 

ライオンは、その木の梢を見つめた。梢の葉は風に吹かれてゆれた。ライオンのたてがみも、ときどきゆれた。

Lion stared at the branches of the tree. The leaves on the branches swayed in the wind. Lion's mane also swayed from time to time.

 

(だれか来てくれるといいな。「なにしてるの?」と聞いたら「てつがくしてるの」って答えるんだ)

(I wish somebody would come. When they ask me "What are you doing?", I will reply, "I'm doing philosophy".)

 

ライオンは、横目で、だれか来るのを見張りながらじっとしていたがだれもこなかった。

Lion stayed still, watching in the corner of his eye if somebody would come, but nobody came.

 

 日が暮れた。ライオンは肩がこってお腹がすいた。

The dusk had fallen. Lion had stiff shoulders and he became hungry.

 

(てつがくは肩がこるな。お腹がすくと、てつがくはだめだな)

(Philosophy gives me stiff shoulders. When I'm hungry, philosophy is no good.)

 

きょうは「てつがく」はおわりにして、かたつむりのところへ行こうと思った。

He thought he'd finish with "philosophy" for today, and go over to Snail.

 

「やあ、かたつむり。ぼくはきょう、てつがくだった」

"Hi Snail. I was philosophy today."

 

「やあ、ライオン。それはよかった。で、どんなだった?」

"Hi Lion. That's great to hear. And how was it?"

 

 「うん、こんなだった」

"Yeah, it was like this."

 

ライオンは、てつがくをやった時の様子をしてみせた。

Lion showed him how he was when he did philosophy.

 

さっきと同じように首をのばして右斜め上を見ると、そこには夕焼けの空があった。

Just like a few moments ago, he stretched his neck and looked up to the right, and then there was the sunset sky.

 

「ああ、なんていいのだろう。ライオン、あんたの哲学は、とても美しくてとても立派」

"Oh how wonderful it is! Lion, your philosophy is so beautiful and so magnificent!"

 

「そう?・・・とても・・何だって?もういちど云ってくれない?」

"Really? You said what? Could you tell me that again?"

 

「うん、とても美しくて、とても立派」

"Sure, so beautiful and so magnificent!"

 

「そう、ぼくのてつがくは、とても美しくてとても立派なの?ありがとうかたつむり」

"Really? My philosophy is so beautiful and so magnificent? Thank you, Snail."

 

ライオンは肩こりもお腹すきもわすれて、じっとてつがくになっていた。

Lion forgot all about his stiff shoulders and hunger, and in a standstill, he has become philosophy.

 

 

Kudo Naoko, “Lion of Philosophy (Tetsugaku no Lion),” Tetsugaku no Lion. Tokyo: Risosha, 1982.

工藤直子、「てつがくのライオン」、『てつがくのライオン』

 


Akihiko Shimizu teaches Japanese at the University of Edinburgh. He also does research on Ben Jonson and early modern English literature. Years ago when Aki bumped into a three-line epigram by Jonson, he found it so baffling that he decided to find out what on earth the poem is on about. He ended up writing a PhD thesis, Ben Jonson and Character.