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第9回 Thumbelina (1) [Thumbelina]

Thumbelina (1)

Once there was a tiny girl.

She was sweet and pretty and no taller than your thumb.
So Thumbelina was her name.

Every night Thumbelina slept in a bed made from a walnut shell, with a violet-petal mattress and a rose-leaf coverlet.

Every day Thumbelina played in a samll garden, where she rowed her tulip-petal boat floating on a tiny pond.

She made a most charming sight. And she went along in her boat, she sang in the sweetest little voice you never heard.

One night as Thumbelina lay sleeping in her pretty bed, a great ugly toad came hopping by and saw the lovely maiden. 

' She would make just the wife for my son '  thought the toad.
So she snatched up Thumbelina and hopped back to her home in the muddy bank of a brook.

She put the sleeping Thumbelina on a water-lily leaf.

In the morning, when poor Thumbelina woke up and saw where she was, she cried most bitterly:The big green leaf had water all around it, so she could not possibly escape.
(つづく 1/5)      

Thumbelina (2) [Thumbelina]

Thumbelina (2)

The little fishes that swam in the water below heard Thumbelina crying.

They had caught sight of the ugly mother toad and knew what she had in mind.

So they swamed arund the tough green stalk that held Thumbelina's leaf and gnawed it through with their teeth.(Stalk=茎)

Then,with Thumbelina on it, the leaf floated down the brook, far from the toad and her son.

At last the leaf boat swirled to stop against a mossy bank in a strange forest world.

All through the summer, Thumbelina lived quite alone in that  enormous wood.

From blades of grass she wove a bed. She hung this bed neatly under a large leaf, which sheltered her from rain.

For food she had honey from the flowers; for drink, the morning dew on the leaves.

And so she passed the summer and autumn.

Then came winter ーthe bitter winter.

All the birds flew away.
The flowers withered.
The leaf under which she had lived shriveled up and turned to a faded yellow.

As Thumbelina serched for a new shelter, it began to snow.
And every time a snowflake fell on her, it was as if a whole shovelful snow were thrown on one of us ーso delicate and tiny was she.

At last, on the fringe of the wood, she came to a field mouse's  door.

" You poor thing " said the kindly mouse when she found Thumbelina shivering at the door.
" Come into my warm room and have a bite with me "

The mouse took a liking to Thumbelina at once and invited her to stay for the winter.
" just so you keep my rooms tidy and tell me stories, " she said.

Thumbelina happly agreed.

(つづく 2/5)  

Thumbelina (3) [Thumbelina]

Thumbelina (3)

In the evenings, the field mouse's neighbor often came to call.
He was tiresome old mole.

" But his house is even snugger than mine, the mouse said,
" and he wears such a lovely black velvet coat. If only you could get him for a husband, you'd be well off indeed."

Thumbelina had no intention of marrying the mole. He could't bear the sunshine and flowers that Thumbelina loved so much, and he said all sorts of rude things about them.

One day, in the long passage to the mole's house, Thumbelina found a bird.
It was a swallow, numb with cold and almost dead.

She wove a fine blanket of hay for the swallow and covered him with it.
She brought him water in the petal of a flower and took care of him all winter long.

When she was not caring for a swallow, Thumbelina spent her time spinning and weaving her trousseau, with the help of spiders.

For the tiresome mole had proposed to her, and the mouse decided they should be married soon.

Poor Thumbelina !

She grew sadder and sadder as the wedding day drew near.
She would have to say good-bye to the sun and the flowers, since the mole did not care for them.

When spring arrived, Thumbelina opened a hole in the roof of the passage, and the swallow stepped out into the sunshine.

How happy the swallow was to be free !

But Thumbelina was not happy at all. she is suppsed to marry the mole tomorrow. It's her wedding day.
She watched him with tears in her eyes.

(つづく 3/5)

Thumbelina (4) [Thumbelina]

THumbelina (4)

" Come with me, Thumbelina, " begged the swallow, for he could not bear to have her marry the mole and live forever underground.

" We shall fly away to the warm countries, where it is always summer and there are lovely flowers. "

" Yes ! " cried thumbelina," I will come with you. "

She climbed onto the bird's back and tied her sash firmly to his feathers.

Then the swallow flew high up into the air, over lakes and forest, over mountains of everlasting snow.

At last they reached the warm countries, where grapes grew on sunny the warm countries, where grapes grew on sunny walls and oranges ripened in groves.

The swallow flew on.

They came to an ancient palace of shining marble, which stood among green trees beside a blue lake.

Here the swallow flew down with Thumbelina.

In the Place garden he placed the tiny maiden on a broad flower petal.

(つづく 4/5) 

Thumbelina (5) 完 [Thumbelina]

Thumbelina (5) 完 

There, in the middle of the flower、was a little man no bigger than Thumbelina.

He was the King of the spirits of flowers.

" Oh My, how handsome he is ! " thought Thumbelina.

The little King was equaly enchanted at the sight of Thumbelina.

He asked her what her name might be and if she would be his wife.

" Yes, I will, " said Thumbelina shyly.

So the King took the crown from his own head and placed it on hers.

At that moment, from every flower a tiny lady or gentleman appered, bringing a gift for the new queen.

Her favorite gift of all was a pair of beautiful wings from a white butterfly. These are fastened to her back so that she could flit from flower to flower.

She rejoiced in their happiness.

And flying close to the happy couple was the swallow, who sang for their happiness with all his loveing heart.

(おわり 5/5)  
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