Through the fire ブログトップ

Through the fire (1) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (1)

LITTLE Jack sat alone by the fire. He was seven years old, but so small and pale that he looked little more than five.

He had no brothers or sisters, and he was nearly always alone, for his mother, who was a widow, went out all day to teach music, and often in the evening also play at children's parties.

They lived on the third floor of a small house in a dull old street in London in Victorian times.

Tonight he felt sadder than usual, for it was Christmas Eve, and his mother had gone to a child's party.

" It's a shame, " he said, and the tears rose to his eyes.
" A dreadful shame. I think it's too bad ! " and he seized the poker and gave the fire a great dig.

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" For pity's sake, don't do that again, " said a small voice from the flames ; " it's enough to break one to bits. "

Jack stopped crying and looked into the fire. There he saw a little figure, the strangest he had ever beheld, balancing itself skilfully on the top of a piece of burning coal.

Mary De Morgan(24 February 1850 – 1907) さんの作品です。
※Through the fire です。    

Through the fire (2) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (2)

It was just like a little man, not more than three inches high, dressed from head to foot in orange-scarlet, the colour of flame, and wearing on his head a long pointed cap of the same colour.

" Who are you ? " said Jack.

" I'm a fire-fairy. "

" But I don't believe in fairies, " said Jack.

The little man laughed.
" You'd never have a fire but for us; we light them and keep them in. If I were to go away, your fire would be out in an instant. "

" But how is it you don't get burnt up ? " asked Jack.

" Burnt up ! " said the little man scornfully; " why, we breathe fire and live in it; we should go out at once if we weren't surrounded by it. "

Jack was silent for a little, then he said, " I wonder I never saw you before. "

" I have always been there; so it has been only your own stupidity, " said the gnome.

" I wish I could get into the fire with you, " said Jack; " I should so much like to see what it's like. "

" Ah, that is worth seeing ! " said the fairy, thrusting one arm over a burning coal and skilfully balancing himself in a little jet of flame.
" All round the palace where our King lives there's flame, and the Princess's windows look out on to burning hills. If there is any one who ought to be happy, it's the Princess Pyra. "

" Isn't she happy ? " asked Jack.

The little man shook his head gravely.
" The King and Queen sent her to school for a year in a burning mountain, thinking it would give her a chance to see more of the world than if she always remained at home. It was a great mistake. One day the Water King's son, Prince Fluvius, came and looked over the top of the mountain and saw our Princess; and they fell in love with each other, and the Princess has never been happy since. "

" Why can't they be married ? " asked Jack.

" Why, you ought to be know that it's impossible, " replied the little man.
" They can't go near each other lest he should be dried up or she should be put out. "


Through the fire (3) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (3)

" Little man, " said Jack coaxingly, " Take me with you and show me Fireland. "

" I don't see how it can be done, " answered the little man.
" Besides you'd he frightened. "

" I wouldn't ! I wouldn't indeed ! " said Jack.

" Wait a minute, then, " and the little red figure disappeared the brightest part of the fire. In a few seconds he appeared again, carrying a little red cap and suit and boots.

" Put these on, " he said, throwing them into Jack's lap.

No sooner had Jack touched them than he found himself growing smaller and smaller, until the clothes seemed the right size for him, and he easily slipped into them.

" Now, " said the fire man.
" Climb over the bars and see how you like it. "

Jack scrambled over the fender, and helping himself with the fire-irons, climbed on to the first bar.  


The red man leant down and gave him his hand to help him.
What a hot hand it was ! It burned like flames.
Jack scrambled over the bars right into the midst of the fire.

He stood in the middle of rich, red-growing hills, from which spouted jets of flame, like trees.
Here and there was a black mountain which smoked and hissed.

" Well, " said the red man, " how do you feel now ? "

" It's warm, " murmured poor Jack.

" If you can't bear this, you won't be able to stand Fireland, " said the fairy.


Through the fire (4) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (4)

" I daresay soon. I shall feel quite used to it, " said Jack, making an effort.
" How does one get to Fireland ? "

" I'll show you, " said the little man, and dug into the coal beneath his feet till he had made a good-sized hole.
Then he took from his pocket some little marbles, and dropped them one by one into the hole which gradually began to grow larger and larger until it was an immense black gulf.

" Now come along, " said the red man, sitting on the edge with his legs swinging over.
" Get on to my shoulder and put your legs round my neck. Give me your hands, and I'll take you quite safely. "

Jack did as he was told, and they went down ー down - down.
It was pitch dark.

At  last he saw a faint red light growing larger and brighter every moment.

" There's Fireland, " said his guide.

As they passed from the darkness into the light through a kind of archway, Jack looked about him.
There were great hills, and they were every shade of red and orange, some pale, some bright, and on the hillsides were lakes of fire.

The sky was one mass of flame. On they went until they came in sight of a large city with tall spires and bridges, and a little way out of it stood a palace made of red-hot iron and glistening with precious stones.

" That's the King's palace, " said the fire-man.
" We'll go there first. "


Through the fire (5) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (5)

" Shall I see the Princess ? " asked Jack eagerly.

" Most likely she’ll be in the palace garden. "

They stopped in front of the gate, and the fire-fairy told Jack he could go in.

It was the queerest palace and garden.

Jack now saw that what he had at first supposed to be precious stones were were nothing but different coloured fires, spouting out all  over the palace.

There was blue fire, and red fire, and green fire, and yellow fire, shining against the palace walls just like jewels.

At first Jack thought that the garden was full of beautiful flowers, but when he drew near he saw that they were fireworks in the forms of flowers. There was every sort of Catherine-wheel turning round as fast as possible, throwing offs parks; and every now and then a brilliant rocket went up into the air and fell in shining stars.

A group of ladies came slowly down the path. In there midst walked the Princess.
Her long, bright, golden hair fell almost to her feet.
Her face was very pale with a very sad expression.   

She wore a shining, flame-coloured dress with a long train, and one pale blue and silver Catherine-wheel fixed in her hair.

Jack, seeing her so unhappy, burst out;
" Oh, poor Princess ! "


Through the fire (6) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (6)

At this the Princess raised her eyes ー such bright eyes they were, shining just like stars.

" Who speak ? " said the Princess in a low, sad voice.

Despite the red fire-man, who did his best to hold him back, Jack stepped in front of the Princess and said;
" If you please, your Royal Highness, I did. "

" And who you are ? " asked the Princess kindly.

" I'm a little boy, and my name is Jack. "

" How did you came here ? "

" I came with him, " said Jack, pointing to the red fire-man.
" Please don't be angry with him. "

" I am not in the least angry, " said the Princess.
" But I want to know why you pity me. "

" I think it's a very sad for you to be parted from your Prince, " said Jack.


Here all the ladies crowded round him and tried to stop him speaking, but the Princess said;
" Silence ! It does no harm for me to hear him. "

And just as the Princess spoke, a cloud of smoke was seen rolling over the hills and the ladies cried;
" The King !  The King ! "    


Through the fire (7) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (7)

" Go ! Go ! " cried the Princess to Jack; and the fire-man, without more ado, seized him, and placing him on his shoulders flew through the air with him at a great rate, and was far from the palace before Jack could get breath to speak.

" A fine mess you nearly go t me into ! " grumbled the little man.
" What would have happened to me if the King had come up and heard you talking to the Princess of the very subject he had forbidden us all to mention ! "

Jack dared not say a word as his companion was so angry and on they went at a dreadful pace until they reached the long dark tunnel, and when they again came towards the light, the little man took Jack from his shoulders and flung him away with all his force, and he remembered nothing more till he found himself lying on the hearth-rug in his own room.

The fire had gone out  and the only light in the room came from the street-lamps.

Jack jumped up and searched everywhere for any trace of the little man but could fine none.

He ran to the fireplace and called, but there was no answer, and at last he went shivering and cold to bed to dream of the Princess and the strange bright country underground. 


Through the fire (8) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (8)

New Year's Eve came, and once again Jack's mother had to go and leave him.

It was raining and the wind blew in great melancholy gusts.

Jack sat by the window and looked out on the wet street and the driving clouds.

" Little jack ! " called a low, singing voice from the grate.

Jack stared, and ran to the fireplace.
The fire was almost out.

There was only a dull red glare in the coals, but kneeling in it, holding on to the bars, was the Fire Princess.
She was paler than before and looked quite transparent .

Jack could see the coals plainly through her.  


" Put on some more coal, " she said, shivering.
" There is not enough for me to burn here, and if you don't keep a good blaze I shall go out altogether. "

Jack mended the fire, then sat down on the hearth-rug and staredat the Princess.

Her long, bright hair fell over the bars, and through her face looked very small and pale, her eyes were immense, and glittered like diamonds.

" I want you to do me a favour, " she said.

" What is it ? " asked Jack.

" Let the Prince come here and speak to me. "

" How am I to bring him ? "

" I will show you. Is it raining to-night ? "

" Yes, fast. "

" That is very lucky; some of his people are sure to be about. Then all you must do is open the window and wait. "         

Through the fire (9) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (9)

So Jack threw open one of the windows.

A great gust of wind into the room and blew the cold wet rain into his face.

" Now, little Jack, look on the window sill. "

Just outside, seated on the sill in a little pool of water, was a tiny man dressed in dull green.
He had long wavy hair that looked heavy and wet, and his clothes were shiny with water.

" Tell him, " whispered the Princess, " that he must bring Prince Fluvius here; " and Jack repeated her message to the water fairy.

The water fairy at once disappeared.

Suddenly the room began to grow dark.

" He is coming, " said the Princess.

" Then there floated up outside the window a white cloud which rested on the sill. The cloud opened, and from it stepped the figure of a young man, gorgeously dressed in silver and green.

His eyes were a deep blue, just the colour of the sea.

At sight of Princess Pyra, he would have dashed right up to the bars, had she not begged him, for both their sakes, not to come inside the window.

" At least we should perish together, " sighed the Prince.

" No, " said the Princess. "
" Since I last saw you I have learned that there is only one person in  the world who can help us ,  and that is the old man at the North Pole. " 


Through the fire (10) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (10)

" But how are we to send to him, " said the Prince.
" If you were to go, the sea would surely quench you, and I should be frozen. As for the wind-fairies, they are such silly little things they could never remember a message. "

" Little Jack, " cried the Princess, " you will go for us, will you not ? "

" I ? " cried Jack in alarm. He looked at the Prince sitting on the window-sill, then at the Princess kneeling on the glowing coals, and they both looked so sad  that he could not bear to refuse.

" Then it is settled, " said the Princess, smiling.
" Listen very carefully. The old man at the North Pole is very cunning and of one thing you must be very careful. You must not ask him more than one question. The first question he is asked he is bound to answer truthfully, but if you ask him more than one, he will at once seize you and keep you under the ice.
" I come from the Fire Princess Pyra, and she is in love with Prince Fluvius, the Water Prince, and wants to know how they are to be married; "
and then shut your lips and do not speak again. Go to the window and you'll see the wind-fairy who is to take you. "

There stood a little man dressed in light dust-coloured clothes which hung on him loosely and whenever he moved there came a violent gust of wind.

" Sit on his shoulders, " said Prince Fluvius, " and he will take you quite safely, " and he touched Jack lightly on the top of his head.

Jack felt himself growing smaller and smaller.



Through the fire (11) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (11)

" Come on, then, " said the wind-fairy in an old gusty voice and off they went, the rain beating into Jack's face as they flew over the tops of the houses and among the chimney-pots.

He held on tightly to the wind-fairy's neck, and at last they came in sight of the sea.

" I hope I shan't tumble in, " said Jack.

" I shall keep tight held of you, " replied the wind-fairy.

The sea danced and sparkled beneath them.

On they went, and it began to grow very cold.

" We had better stop here, " said the wind-fairy, placing Jack on a great lump of floating ice.
" I will get out the fire-ball  which Princess gave me to keep you warm. " 


Through the fire (12) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (12)

" See, " said the wind-fairy, taking up jack again.
" I have sent the fire-ball on before us. Now we are in the ice-world. That is the North Pole and you can see the light from the old man's lantern. Now say you have to say to him quickly, and then I'll take you back. "


It was such a strange scene !
The little old man nursed his knees with his arms and hugged a huge llantern He wore a big brown cloak, and on hinhead a small skull-cap., from beneath which fell fell his long straight white hair.

He was a very ugly old man ; there was no doubt about that.
he seemed to be asleep, for his head hung over on one side and his eyes were shut. 


Through the fire (13) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (13)

He might have remained so for ever if the wind-fairy had not blown a tremendous gust which made the pink light in the lantern flicker and the old man start up and open his eyes.

" Who are you ? " he asked.
" Come to ask a question, eh ? What is it ?  What do you want ?  Speak out ! "

Jack tried to remember what the Princess had told him to say.

" I'm come from the Fire Princess, and she wants to marry the Water King's son, and they're afraid of touching each other, lest he should dry up, or she be put out. So, please, they want to know what to do. "

Jack stopped because the old man was shaking so with laughter that he feared he would tumble off the Pole altogether.  

" Oh, the stupidity of people ! And all this time they are afraid of doing the very thing they ought to do. Of course it's impossible for them to marry till he is dried up and she is put out. What put out fire but water ? What dries up water but fire ? ー You had better go back to Prince Fluvius  and tell him to give her a kiss. Now what do you want to ask next ? Let it be something for yourself this time. "


Through the fire (14) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (14)

A dozen questions flashed into Jack's mind at once, but he remembered the Princess's warning and held his tongue.

" Come, now, " said the old man coaxingly; " you'll never go back after asking only one question !" and the old man caught his wrist and held him firmly.

But Jack gave a violent wriggle which knocked over the old man's lantern. It fell with a crash which brought the wind-fairy to Jack's side  in an instant.
He took Jack on his shoulders and flew off with him without a word.

" The fire-ball is gone out, " he said to Jack after they had gone a little way.
" If you feel sleepy you may as well as well go to sleep. "

Jack did fall into a doze, although he woke every now and then to ask if they were getting near home.

At last the fairy said; " Now we are over London. "

" I hope my mother isn't come home yet, " said Jack.
" She'd be so frightened if she came back and didn't find me. "

" Why, it isn't twelve o'clock yet, " laughed the fairy, " and the New Year is not come in. Here is the street, where you live. "

From outside, Jack could see the Prince waiting on the window sill, and when the wind-fairy left him in the middle of the room, there was Princess with her golden hair falling over the bars of the grate. 


Through the fire (15 ) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (15 なのですが、あと1回続きます)

" Well, " they cried together, " what did he say, little Jack ? "

Jack repeated carefully what the old man had said ; " What put out fire but water ? What dries up water but fire ? Tell him to give her a kiss ! "

" It is as I thought, " said the Prince, with a sigh.
" He means that there is no hope for us, and that we must perish together. "

" Why, no, " cried the Princess, " I think now I begin to understand him. "
And she stepped lightly from the grate on to the floor, in a halo of shining flame.

In the same moment the Prince swept down from the window and a flood of water splashed on to the floor.
Without a word, the two rushed into each other's arm.


The room seemed to be filled with a thick mist through which jack could see nothing; then as it slowly cleared away, he heard the soft voice of the Princess.

She was no longer surrounded by flames, and the weird brightness had passed from her face and dress.
Her eyes no longer seemed to burn or her hair to glitter.

Beside her stood Prince Fluvius, no less changed.
His eyes were bright and his hair had lost its wet gloss.

At that moment, the clock began to strike twelve and all the bells in the great city  rang out to tell the world that the New Year was born.

As they rang, the room was filled with the strangest forms.
Fairies, goblins, elves floated in at the open window and pressed around the Prince and Princess, filling every nook and corner of the room.


With every stroke of the clock, with every clash of the bells, their number increased, but at the sixth stroke, the young couple moved towards the window.

" Good-bye, little Jack; we shall never forgot you ! " called the Princess.
" Good-bye, little Jack, " echoed the Prince, " we shall come if ever you want us ! "

And at the last stroke of twelve, they were gone.
The room was left empty and cold, and little Jack was alone. 

(15/15 しかし、ラストあと1回続きます。) 

Through the fire (16) [Through the fire]

Through the fire (16)

A whole year had passed had Jack had seen nothing of his fairy friends.

Christmas had come round again, but this was a very different Christmas for little Jack was very ill.

Christmas week passed, and New Year's Eve came, and still Jack lay in bed.
" This time last year I saw the Princess, " he sighed.

" Little Jack ! " called a low, sweet voice, and there at the window, standing in a moonbeam, were the Prince and Princess.

" Now see what we have brought you, " said the Princess.
" This is a magic belt. You must put it on and it will make you strong again. No one will know it is there, for directly it is upon you it will become invisible. "

The Prince and Princess slipped the belt over Jack's head and fastened it round his waist, but when it was on he could neither feel nor see it.

" Farewell, dear little Jack, " they said.
" This time we part for ever. "
Then both Prince and Princess floated up on the moon beam.

From the very next day Jack began to get well, but when he told his mother about the Princess and the wonderful belt he wore, she only shook her head and said with a smile; " Dear boy, you have had a dream. I am glad it was such a pleasant one. "

Years afterwards, he often felt for the belt but never could find it, but when his mother rejoiced that he had grown to be such a tall, strong boy, he smiled to himself and said, " It all came of my going to the North Pole for the Fire Princess. "

(16/16 完) 

Through the fire ブログトップ