Curiosities of Lotus Asia/Chapter 13

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幻想郷の寒い冬が続いている。香霖堂は、それにも増して寒い。
店内に無数の幽霊が群がっているからだ。
幽霊は、とても冷たい。彼らが群をなすと、ただただ、凍りつくように寒いのだ。
困りはてる霖之助だが、そんな彼のもとを訪れる、うっかり者なお客があらわれて――。
落し物と拾い物をめぐる、ささやかな人生訓。
Gensokyo's cold winter continued, and Kourindo was even colder because of the countless phantoms that had gathered inside the shop. Phantoms are very cold, and a group of them can lower the temperature beyond the freezing point. Rinnosuke, completely at a loss, is suddenly visited by a careless-looking customer... This is a small life lesson about the cycle of lost-and-found items.
幽し光、窓の雪 Phantasmal Light, Snow on the Window [1]
 ……寒い。店内は、この世のものとは思えない (ほど) 冷え込んでいる。 ...It's cold. A chill not of this world has settled within the walls of my store.
 店の中央にはストーブが置かれている。寒さの厳しい幻想郷の冬を過ごす為の重要なアイテムだ。今年は、ストーブを危うく何の効果も持たない飾りにしてしまう所だったのだが、今は何とか動いている。 I have a heater placed at the center. It's an essential item for getting through Gensokyo's harsh winter. It was dangerously close to becoming no more than a mere decoration this year, but I got it working again somehow.
……それにしても寒い。寒いというか店全体が冷たいのだ。 ...But it's still cold. And when I say cold, I mean the entire shop is freezing.
 このストーブは外の世界の物であり、いつもなら、ありえない程の熱を持つ。今も、これでもかといわんばかりの外の (ほのお) があたりを照らしている。これで寒い筈が無いのだ。本来なら。 This heater is from the outside world and it usually gives off an unbelievable heat, bathing the room in the glow of the outside world's flame. There's no way it should be this cold. Normally.
でも……寒いのだ。というのも、朝から店内が幽霊でいっぱいになっていたから仕方がない。幽霊の温度は非常に低いからだ。店内はこの世のものではない (かす) かな光で包まれている。その光は窓の外の雪に反射し、店内を幻想的に演出していた。ストーブの現実的な光とは対照的である。 But... it's cold. And that is naturally because the shop has been full of phantoms since this morning. The temperature of phantoms is extremely low, you see. My store was engulfed in that otherworldly and ghostly light. This light would reflect off of the snow through the window and give a phantasmal mood to the whole place, as if contrasting to the very real light from the heater.
 生憎、僕はこれら幽霊たちの声を聴く能力を持たない。ここに居る無数の幽霊たちの目的を、知りたくても知る事が出来なかった。こういう事は僕の専門ではないのだ。 Unfortunately, I don't have any ability that would allow me to hear the voices of phantoms. As much as I want, I can't find out what these countless phantoms' purpose is. It's just not my specialty.
 ……この寒さのままでは、今年の冬は越せそうにない。少々荒い手段だが、専門家に幽霊退治をお願いするとしよう。荒い手段だと思うのは、これらの幽霊には悪意が感じられなかったからだ。 ...But if it stays this cold, I don't think I'll be able to get through the winter. So, even though it might be somewhat of an extreme measure, maybe I should ask a specialist to perform a phantom extermination. As for why I think it's an extreme measure, I don't sense any ill will from these phantoms.
 僕は神社まで出向くのが面倒だったので、店の中で退屈そうにしている幽霊に「神社に行って巫女を呼んできてほしい」と伝えてみた。ああ、なんて滑稽 (こっけい) な図だろう。僕は幽霊を退治する為に霊夢を呼ぶというのに。 Since going all the way to the shrine is a nuisance, I tried to communicate with a bored-looking phantom in the shop by telling it to go to the shrine and call the shrine maiden. Well, I guess it was a silly idea, considering that I wanted it to call Reimu here so she can exterminate them.
 でも、退屈そうな幽霊は二つ返事(といっても人魂 (ひとだま) の頭部分が上下に動いただけだが)で飛び出していった。どうやらこっちの声は聞こえているらしい。それにしても、ここにいる幽霊は陽気で気楽で非常に良い。冷たくなければもっと良いのだが。 However, said bored phantom happily replied (and by that, I mean it moved its head part up and down) and flew off. It seems they can hear my voice at least. Honestly, these phantoms are very nice and cheerful types. If they weren't so cold, that would be even better.
 幽霊の冷たさが世の役に立つのは、主に夏である。夏の暑い夜に、人間たちは好んで幽霊を探し、そして涼むのである。それが肝試 (きもだめ) しであり、肝試しが夏によく行われるのはそういう理由である。 A phantom's chill can actually be helpful, mainly in summer. During hot summer nights, humans would gladly look for phantoms in order to cool themselves, in what are called "tests of courage". That's the reason why they are more commonly done in summer.
 生きとし生ける者すべてが生の温度を持つ。人間でも妖怪でも同じなのだ。逆に道具の温度は周りと同じになる。幽霊が冷たいのは、生きている者とも道具とも違うという、幽霊の自己主張なのかもしれない。 All living things have their own living temperatures. Humans and youkai are the same in this aspect. On the other hand, objects always assume the temperature of their surroundings. But phantoms are cold, unlike both living things and objects. Maybe that is how phantoms assert themselves.
 ―――カランカラッ Ding-a-ling.
「いったい何よ? 霖之助さん。人を呼び出したりして」 “What happened that would make you call for help like that, Mr. Rinnosuke?”
霊夢が来た。あの幽霊はちゃんと役目を果たしてくれたようだ。 Reimu has arrived. It seems that phantom accomplished its task.
「何って、この状況を見れば判ると思うけど、君にこれらの幽霊を退治、いや追っ払ってもらおうかと思って」 “What do you mean? I thought you would be able to tell just by looking at the situation. I wanted you to exterminate – or rather, drive away – all these phantoms.”
「幽霊? でも、最近多いわよね。神社にも幽霊がいっぱい来るわ。困るのよねぇ」 “Phantoms? Well, there has been a lot of them lately. The shrine is full of phantoms, too. They're such a bother...”
 それは暗に「私では幽霊は退治出来ない」と言っているのだろうか。 Was she trying to imply something like “I can't exterminate phantoms myself?”
「寒いんだ。こいつらが居ると」 “It gets cold here with all of them around.”
「幽霊だからねぇ。でも、追っ払う前に何で集まっているのかを調べる方が先じゃないの?」 “Well, that's because they're phantoms, after all. But before driving them away, maybe you should figure out why they gathered here in the first place?”
「……寒いからなぁ。それは部屋が暖かくなってから調べられれば良い」 “...But it's cold. I'd rather investigate after the room gets a little warmer.”
「そんなもんかしら。そんなんじゃ根本的な解決には繋がらないと思うけどねぇ」 “Is that how it is? I doubt you'll find a way to get rid of them if you don't get to the root of the problem.”
 霊夢はそう言いながらお札の準備をしていた。幽霊 () けの護符 (ごふ) だろうか。 As Reimu spoke, she prepared some amulets. Phantom-warding talismans, perhaps?
「いくつかお札を貼っておくわよ。気休めにしかならないけどね」 “I'll put up some amulets, just to give you peace of mind.”
「ありがとう。でも直接手を出さないなんて霊夢らしくないな。幽霊は苦手かい?」 “Thank you. But taking such an indirect approach isn't like you. Do you dislike dealing with phantoms?”
「私は、妖怪退治をする人間よ。幽霊は妖怪ではないの」 “What I do is youkai extermination. And phantoms are not youkai.”
霊夢は店のあちこちにお札を貼っただけで帰ってしまった。なるほど、確かに幽霊が近づかなくなったようだ。ただし、お札のごく (わず) かの距離だけだが。店内は相変わらず幽霊だらけのままである。これではまるで意味が無いので、お札を自分の近くや寝床、大切な商品の近くに貼ることにした。 Reimu just stuck some amulets around the shop and went back. And in fact, it did seem like the phantoms couldn't get close to them. However, the range of the amulets was far too small. The shop's interior was just as full of phantoms as before. They were almost useless spread out like that, so I rearranged some of the amulets closer to me, my bed, and the more valuable merchandise.
 よく見ると、幽霊の一部は寒そうにしながらストーブの周りに集まっていた。寒いのは誰の所為 (せい) だ、と言いたくもなるが、冷たい幽霊も必ずしも寒いのが好きな訳ではないらしい。 Looking closely, some of the phantoms were crowded around the heater, looking as if they were cold. “Whose fault do you think this cold is?”, I wanted to say, but it seemed that even phantoms who are cold don't necessarily like being cold.
 それはそうだ。幽霊はもともと人間である場合も少なくないのだ。幽霊の好みや性格も生前と大きく変わらないのだろう。幽霊たちをよく観察してみると、興味津々と元気に動き回っている者、ストーブの周りから動かない者、幽霊同士で話し合っている(様に見える)者、様々である。 And that's a matter of course. Most phantoms were originally human. And so a phantom's tastes and character shouldn't really change much from when it was alive. Upon closer observation, I could see some curiously looking around the store, some that wouldn't move away from the heater, some that were chatting with their fellows (or so they seemed), and a few other types.
考え方だって様々であろう。でも、その様々な幽霊たちが何故、突然うちに集まって来たのか。そこだけは、意志が統一出来たのか。もし、幽霊の声を聴く事が出来たならば、どれだけ楽な事だろう。 They certainly have different ways of thinking. But then again, why were all these different phantoms gathering at my place all of a sudden? Did they all decide to do so as a group? If I could only hear their voices, it would be a lot easier.
 死者の声を聴くというと、イタコという職業を思い出す。ただ、 (ほとん) どの人間はイタコの能力を誤解している。イタコは死者の声を聴いているのではない。口寄せを依頼した人間から発する無意識を、イタコが言葉にして伝えるのだ。だから、依頼人と関係の薄い死者の声を聴く事は出来ない。また依頼人が目の前にいない状態で口寄せする事も出来ない。 When you think of hearing the voices of the deceased, an itako medium is what profession comes to mind. The thing is, most people misunderstand a medium's ability. They don't actually listen to the deceased voices. They let their unconscious be possessed by the the person they were asked to summon, and then transmit it in the form of words. That's why mediums can't hear the voice of anyone that is not closely related to the client. And if said client is not in front of the medium, they won't even become possessed.
 もし、依頼人の親子、夫婦、恋人以外の死者を呼び出していたら間違いなくインチキである。逆に、親子、夫婦、恋人であるのならば、たとえ死んでいなくても口寄せを行う事が出来る。 If a medium were to successfully contact a deceased soul that is neither family nor lover to the client, then it's most certainly a trick. On the other hand, if it is family or lover then she can perform it even if the person is not dead.
 巫女はイタコと同じ能力を持つと思われるが、少し違う所がある。巫女は、神の言葉を口にする。あらゆる物に神が宿るので、道具であろうと声を聞く事も出来る。ただ、その声は一方通行なのだ。いわば神の (ひと) り言をそのまま言葉にする様なものだ。 You may think that shrine maidens have the same ability as itako mediums, but they differ a little. A shrine maiden can give a mouth to a god's words. And, as there is a god to every thing, you could even hear an object's voice through that. But then again, since this communication only goes one way, it would be a, so to speak, god's monologue.
 外が静かである。雪が降っているのだろう。幽霊たちは、実は長い旅の途中で、外が雪だからここで小休止しているだけなのかも知れない。 It's quiet outside. Snowing, probably. It might just be that those phantoms were in the middle of a journey, and stopped here because it was snowing outside.
 霊夢がお札を貼っていっただけで積極的に退治しなかったのは、やはり幽霊と妖怪は異なるという事だろう。幽霊というだけでは退治するという理由にはならないのだ。妖怪とは違って。 Reimu only stuck her amulets around the shop, without doing any active extermination. Phantoms must truly be different from youkai. There's no real reason to exterminate phantoms, unlike youkai.
 僕は、ストーブを () けっぱなしにしたまま寝る事にした。幽霊だって寒かろう。……いや、僕が寒いのだが。 As for me, I just went to sleep, leaving the heater on. Even the phantoms would be cold. Well... at least I would be.
 ―――ドンドンドン! Bam! Bam! Bam!
 夜が明け、まだ日も昇ったばかりだというのに、扉を叩いている者がいる。 Daybreak. The sun has barely risen, but someone is banging on my door.
 雪はすっかり止み、雪の光と凍った空気で、幻想郷は白色で包まれていた。 The snowing has stopped. The light from the snow and the freezing air enveloped all of Gensokyo in white.
 ――ドンドンドン! Bam! Bam! Bam!
「すみませーん! ちょっと、貴方の店で調べたい事が有るのですがー!」 “Excuse me! I would like to check your shop for something!”
 ――ドドドド……ドサ Bam-bam-bam...flomp.
 あーあ、扉を叩いて店を () らし過ぎるから……。昨夜はあれだけ雪が降っていたし、店は一晩中ストーブを () けていたから、屋根の雪も (ゆる) んでいただろうし。 Ahh, the knocks on the door were making the whole shop vibrate... It was snowing all last night, and since I left the heater on, the snow on the roof must have loosened.
「まだ、開店まで随分と時間が有るんだが……いったい何の用だい?」 “There's still some time until I open the shop. Just what is your business here?“
 でも、扉を開けても誰も居ないじゃないか。 However, when I opened the door, there wasn't anyone there.
 いや、扉の前に雪の山がある。雪の山から二本の剣と片足が飛び出している。 No, there is actually a pile of snow just in front of the door. And protruding from this pile are two swords and a leg.
 これでは客も入って来られないだろう。後で雪かきをしないといけないな……ってそうじゃなくて。どうやら目の前の雪の山が「来客」らしい。 Customers won't be able to enter like this. I'll need to shovel away all this snow later... or not. It seems this snow pile in front of me is actually a “visitor.”
 雪かき用のシャベルは何処 (どこ) にあったかな、って中に柔らかいものが入っているようだから乱暴に掘り起こすのは危険かも知れない。 Just where did I put my snow shovel...? No, wait. There seems to be something soft within the pile, so it might be dangerous to push a shovel into it.
「うー……」 “Ooooh...”
 目の前の雪の山からうめき声が聞こえる。 I could hear a voice coming from the lump of snow.
「自分で出て来られるかね。いったい何の用だい? まだ朝も早過ぎて店を開けていないんだが」 “You can get out by yourself, I guess. But just what is it that you want? It's still too early in the morning; I haven't opened the store yet.”
「う、動けない……。少しくらい雪をどかすのを手伝ってくれてもいいでしょう?」 “I-I can't move... Can't you at least help remove a little of this snow?”
「声だけ聞こえれば取り敢えず用件は聞ける。手伝うのはその後でも良いんじゃないかな?」 “If you can at least hear my voice, then you can state your business, for starters. I can help you after that, all right?”
「うーっ、うー」 “Oooooh... Ohhhh...”
 僕は、声の聞こえた付近だけ雪をどけてみた。そこには来店一番に屋根の雪に反撃を受けた、間抜けな少女の頭が見えた。 I removed some of the snow from around where I heard the voice. And there appeared the head of a silly-looking girl, the first one to ever bear the brunt of the rooftop snow's counterattack.
「ぷぅ、冷たいー、って手足が動かないよぉ。雪を全部どけて下さいよー」 “Brr, it's cold... I can't move my arms and legs! Please move away the rest of the snow!”
「雪は、体を動かすと圧縮されて固まってしまう。だから」 “You moved around too much, which caused the snow to melt and freeze again. That's why you're stuck.”
「だから、じゃあなくて……」 “That doesn't matter...”
「で? いったい何の用だい?」 “So, what is your business here?”
「しくしく。貴方の店で調べたい事が有るの、しかも急ぎで。だから訪れただけなのに……」 Boo-hoo There's something I want to investigate in your shop, and it's urgent. That's why I came all this way...”
「調べたい事? もしかしてこの幽霊の事?」 “Something you want to investigate? Could it have something to do with the phantoms?”
「そうです」 “Yes, it does.”
「ならば話が早い。雪をどかしてあげよう」 “Why didn't you say so before? Let's get you out of there.”
「って、違う用だったらこのままだったの? あーもう……」 “...So, if it were another matter, you would've left me like this? Honestly...”
「今度からは、店には丁寧に訪れる様に」 “From now on, visit the store during normal operating hours.”
 しばらく雪をどかしたら、少女は動ける様になって、雪の山から出て来た。店の扉を開けると、ばつが悪かったのか、恥ずかしそうに僕の後をついて来た。 A little while after I began removing the snow, she was able to move again and she freed herself from the pile. Maybe it was because of the ordeal she just went through, but when I opened the door, she entered after me with an embarrassed look on her face.
 魂魄妖夢 (こんぱくようむ) という変わった名前を名乗った少女は、店に入るなり寒そうに震えていた。上下緑色の服を着ていて、広がったスカートは短くて寒そうだ。おかっぱ頭は必要以上に幼く見えるが、登場の仕方からしてやっぱり幼いだろう。もっとも特徴的なのは、背中に携えた背丈程もある長刀と腰の辺りの短刀である。店に来るのにこんな物騒 (ぶっそう) な物を持ち歩いているというのは、何というか……強盗 (ごうとう) だと思われてもおかしくない。そりゃ、店も拒絶するだろう。雪を落としたりして。 The girl, who goes by the strange name of Youmu Konpaku, started to shiver from the cold as soon as she entered the shop. She was wearing green from head to toe, with a broad and short skirt that seemed very chilly. Her bobbed haircut looked excessively childish, matching the way in which she showed up. But her most characteristic trait was the long sword that she carried on her back about as long as she was tall and the small sword by her hip. To walk into my store carrying such dangerous things, it wouldn't be strange to assume she was a thief. Maybe that's why the shop itself turned against her, by dropping snow on her and all.
「寒いのなら、そのストーブに当たると良い。昨日から () けっぱなしなので暖まり過ぎているくらいだから」 “If you are feeling cold, you should go over to the heater. It's been on since yesterday, so it must be rather warm.”
「あ、ありがとうございます。では早速」 “Ah, thank you very much. I will at once.”
 店に入るなり、丁寧な態度になった様な……。もともと「こういう」娘なのだろうか。 After she entered the shop, her behavior became very polite... She's probably “that kind” of girl.
「あ、熱過ぎるかも知れないから火傷 (やけど) には気を付ける様に……」 “It might be too hot, so take care not to get burned...”
 ストーブの方を見てみると、少女は (ゆる) んだ表情をしていた。割とだらしない。やっぱり霊夢たちと同類かな? When I glanced at the direction of the heater, she was there with a relaxed expression on her face, looking almost slovenly. I guess she's the same as Reimu and the others then.
 ストーブの上のやかんのお湯が (あや) うく蒸発しきる所だったので、外からつららと雪を持ってきて入れた。 As the water in the teapot on top of the heater was almost boiling, I put in some some snow and ice I brought from outside.
「そろそろ良いかな? まず、何の用かい? 君はこの幽霊の事を調べに来たと言っていたけど」 “Can we get started? First, what is your business? You said you came to investigate something about these phantoms...”
「そうですね。ここの幽霊って、なぜ集まっているのか判りますか?」 “Correct. Do you know why these phantoms are gathering here?”
「では、貴方が意図的に集めた訳ではないのですね」 “That means you didn't gather them here deliberately, I see.”
「判っていたらもっと面白い事をしているよ」 “If I did, we would be doing something more interesting.”
「では、貴方が意図的に集めたわけではないのですね」 “That means you didn't gather them here deliberately, I see.”
 集めてどうしようというのだろう。それはともかく、さっきから気になっているのだが、ひときわ大きな幽霊がいつの間にか入り込み、ストーブを独占するように鎮座している。 I wondered what I would even do with a bunch of phantoms. That aside, for the past little while I've had my eye on a conspicuously large phantom that had wandered in at some point, and is now monopolizing the heater as if it was enshrined there.
「幽霊が集まってくる前に、何か変わった事は有りませんでしたか?」 “Did anything strange happen before the phantoms started to gather?”
「その前に、君はいったい何者だい? その刀で幽霊の退治をするかい? それとも、ただの好奇心なのか……」 “Before I answer that, just who are you? Do you exterminate phantoms with that sword? Or maybe you are just curious about them?”
「ああ、申し遅れました。私はこの幽霊たちが集まっている原因に心当たりがあるのです。私はこう見えても幽霊なのです。半分だけですが……」 “Oh, forgive me for not mentioning it before. I happen to know something about the cause of these phantoms gathering here. As you can see, I'm also a phantom, if only half of one...”
 何だ、人間じゃないのか。じゃあ妖怪退治も幽霊退治もお願い出来そうにないな、って幽霊? What? So she isn't human? Well, it doesn't look like I'll be able to ask her to do either youkai or phantom extermin... wait, a phantom!?
「幽霊だって? いつから幽霊が君みたいな実体を持つ様になったんだい? 亡霊じゃあるまいし」 “Phantom, you say? But since when do phantoms have a physical body like yours? You can't possibly be a ghost, either.”
「ああ、もちろん私の『こっち』は人間部分ですよ。私の幽霊部分は『あっち』」 “Yes, of course this part of me ‘here’ is the human one. My phantom part is the one ‘there’.
 少女はストーブを独占している大きな幽霊を指した。 The girl pointed to the big phantom monopolizing the heater.
 幽霊使いみたいなもんか。なら幽霊の扱いには慣れているだろう。幻想郷には変わった職業もあるもんだ。 It seems like she's able to control phantoms. In this case, she may be used to dealing with them. There are such strange occupations in Gensokyo.
「ですから、もう一度 () きますが……。最近何か変わった事は有りませんでしたか? 例えば何かを拾ったとか……」 “So, allow me to ask you again... Did anything strange happen lately? Like picking up an object, for example...”
「ある日突然、幽霊が集まって来たよ」 “They just suddenly started to gather one day.”
 僕は少女のきき方で、彼女の意図が読めた気がした。 I was beginning to I figure out this girl's intention from the way she placed her questions.
「いや、それは判っていますので」 “Yes, I know that already...”
「君は、何か心当たりが有ると言っていたね。でも、こちらから原因を聞き出そうとしている。それはつまり、君にとって余り堂々と言える様な事ではないからなのかな?」 “You just said you had some knowledge about this. However, you are trying to get information out of me. In other words, you want me to say something that you don't want to admit yourself?”
「う。そ、そんな事はないですよ」 “Uh, i-it's nothing like that!”
「では、その心当たりを言えばいいじゃないか」 “In that case, can't you tell me what you already know?”
「そ、そうですね。……では率直に訊きますが、貴方は『人魂灯 (じんこんとう) 』を拾ったりしませんでしたか?」 “Y-yes, very well... I'll just ask you directly. Did you happen to pick up the ‘Soul Torch’?”
 人魂灯? そんなもの拾ったっけな。拾い物なんてたくさん有るから、つまらない物は覚えていない。 Soul Torch? Did I pick up something like that? I pick up a lot of stuff, so I don't remember the more commonplace objects.
「その人魂灯が有ると何だっていうんだい?」 “What exactly is this Soul Torch?”
「人魂灯は、無数の幽霊を誘導するのに使うもので、元々冥界にしか無い道具です。この道具の光は、どんなに離れていようと、障害物が有ろうと、幽霊には見る事が出来るのです。だからそれを見て集まって来てしまいます」 “The Soul Torch is an item used for guiding a countless number of souls; it is something that originally only existed in the Netherworld. The light from it can be seen by phantoms no matter how far away they are or how many obstacles are in the way. And when they see it, they flock to it.”
「あーそうか。人魂灯って……」 “Ahh... I see. So that's it...”
 そういえば、冬に入る前に無縁塚でそんな物を拾った様な気がするな。あれは何処 (どこ) に置いたっけ? Now that I think about it, I picked up something that looked like it in Muenzuka, just before winter started. Just where did I put it?”
「ここに有るのですね!? “So it's here!?”
 少女は何故 (なぜ) か嬉しそうだ。 For some reason, the girl seemed really happy.
「ああ、確か拾った気がしたよ。ずいぶんと前だけど……、でも () を入れた記憶は無い。ちょっと待ってな」 “Yes, I’m quite sure I picked it up. That was some time ago though... But I don’t remember bringing in a torch or lantern. Wait a moment.”
「良かったぁ」 “Thank goodness...”
去年の秋に拾った商品の山の中から、それっぽい物を見つけた。手のひらサイズの行灯 (あんどん) のような物だったが、確かに何故 (なぜ) か灯が点けられている。 I looked into the pile of lanterns that I picked up over the last autumn, and found something like it. It looked like a paper lantern the size of one’s palm, and it was indeed glowing somehow.
「これだね? 人魂灯は」 “This is the Soul Torch, right?”
 僕は道具の名前と用途を知る能力を持っているのだ。 I had the ability to know the name and utility of any item, after all.
「それです。それです。良かったですー」 “That’s it! That’s it! Ahh, what a relief...”
「勝手に灯が点いたみたいなんだけど……、この冷たい光は、人魂 (ひとだま) の光かな?」 “It seems like it started glowing by itself... Is this cold flame the light of a disembodied soul?”
「うう。そのへんはあまり気にしないで下さい。で、その人魂灯ですけど、それを捨てれば幽霊は集まらなくなります」 “Yes, but you don’t need to concern yourself about that. As long as you possess the Soul Torch, the phantoms will continue to gather here.”
 なるほどね、つまりはこういう事か。 I see, so that’s what it amounts to.
「君が店に来た理由が (ようや) く飲み込めたよ。僕は、君に幽霊が多いとは言ったが、困っているとは言っていない。この人魂灯は君がうっかり無くしてしまった物だね? 君は幽霊使いだから、これが無いと困るという訳か」 “I think I’m just now realizing the reason why you came to my shop. You see, I told you that the phantoms were gathering, but I didn’t say that they were being a bother. It was you who carelessly dropped it, wasn’t it? Maybe you could manipulate phantoms but once you lost it, you couldn't control them anymore?
「う。幽霊使いではないですが」 “No... I’m not able to manipulate phantoms...”
「本当は、この人魂灯が欲しいんだよね。本当の理由を言わないと渡せないなぁ」 “All this time, you really just wanted to get it back, right? If you don’t tell me the real reason why, I don’t think I will be able to give it to you.”
「うーしくしく」 “Ooooooh... boo-hoo
 少女は漸く、自分の来た理由を語り始めた。 So finally, she began to divulge her reason for coming.
 少女は、冥界にある大きなお屋敷で住み込みで働いてるらしい。人魂灯は、そのお屋敷のお嬢様から預かった大切な道具だった。だが、出先でうっかり落としてしまったらしい。この少女らしい気もする。 The girl apparently lived and worked at a large mansion in the Netherworld. And there she was entrusted by the mistress of the place with the custody of this important item, the Soul Torch. However, it seems that she carelessly dropped it while travelling. That does seem likely for this girl.
 無くした事に気が付いたのだが、既にいつ何処 (どこ) で落としたのかも思い出せなかったし、お嬢様にも相談出来ず途方に暮れていたそうだ。 (しばら) くは仕事の合間に探していたが、何の進展も無く、次第にその事を忘れてしまったという。この少女らしい、のか? When she realized she had lost it, she couldn't remember where she would've dropped it, and without bringing the matter to her mistress, she was at loss on what to do. She would search for it during breaks in her job for a while, but since she couldn't make any progress, she gradually forgot about it altogether. Likely of her, I suppose?
「結局、幽々子 (ゆゆこ) 様にバレてしまって……散々怒られたのです」 “In the end, Lady Yuyuko found out about it... and she was awfully mad at me.”
「それはそうだろうな」 “Well, that’s obvious.”
 怒られた理由が、無くした事なのか、それとも無くしたのを伝えなかった事なのか、彼女には判っているのだろうか。 But was the reason she got angry because she lost it, or because she didn’t tell her about it? I wonder if she knows herself.
「幽々子様は、どこにいてもその人魂灯を (とも) す事が出来るとおっしゃっていたので、それで幽霊の集まった所を探してこい、って」 “Lady Yuyuko said that she could make the Soul Torch shine no matter where it was, and that I should go look for where the phantoms were gathering.”
 何処に在っても灯す事が出来るのなら、きっと何処に有るのかも判っているのだろう。そんな都合良く「灯す事だけ」しか出来ないなんて事はあるまい。目の前の彼女に探せるつもりだったのだ。やはり、無くしたのを伝えなかった事に怒っていたのだろう。 If she can make it shine wherever it is, then I’m sure she would be able to know where it is too. It seems awfully convenient that she could only “make it shine”. She actually wanted this girl to go look for it. So what she was angry about was definitely not having been told about it.
 つまり、僕はこの道具を拾った所為 (せい) で、幽霊に囲まれて寒い思いをして、その上彼女の勉強のだしに使われたという訳だ。 What all this means is it’s because I picked up this item that I’m now surrounded by phantoms and frozen to the bone. And on top of that, I’m being used to teach a lesson to this girl.
「君は、捜し物が見つかってひと安心、って顔をしているが……。この人魂灯は、すでにうちの『商品』だよ。もちろん、ただでは渡せない。まだ店は開いていないけど、特別に売ってあげようじゃないか」 “I can see that you are extremely relieved that you found what you were looking for... But this Soul Torch is already ‘merchandise’, you see. I can’t give it away for free. I haven’t opened the shop yet, but maybe I can make a special sale for you.”
「え? そんなぁ! 返して下さいよう……」 “What!? No way! Just give it back, please...”
「おっと、この人魂灯に目を付けるとはお目が高い。これはなんと冥界の品で、なかなか手に入る物じゃないよ?値段もそれ相応だけど」 “Hold on. I got a good sense of this lantern’s value as soon as I saw it. Being an item from the Netherworld, it is not something that's easy to come by, right? So the price should fit the value...”.
 ―――カランカラン。 Knock, knock.
「よう! 昨日はすごい雪だったな」 “Yo! Wow, did it snow a lot yesterday or what?”
 店を開くなり、寒がりの魔理沙がやって来た。 The door opened, and the cold-sensitive Marisa entered.
「魔理沙か。扉は静かに開けないと危ないよ。屋根の雪がおちるから」 “Ah, Marisa? It’s dangerous, so open the door more quietly. The snow on the roof might fall, you know.”
「あれ? でも屋根に雪は無かったぜ。というか珍しいな」 “What? But there’s no snow on the roof. Which is kinda weird, actually.”
「何がだい?」 “And why?”
「香霖が屋根の雪下ろしをするなんてさ。いつもだったら、そういう体力仕事はやらないじゃないか」 “’Cause I really don't think ya took it off yourself. Ya never were one for manual labor, right?”
 今朝、少女が店を訪れてから既にかなりの時間が () っている。雪が降っていれば、積もる事も有り得るくらいの時間だ。逆に言えば、雪かきをすれば広範囲に渡って行う事が出来るだろう。 A good amount of time had already elapsed since that girl came to visit this morning. If it were still snowing, there would be time enough for a lot more to pile up. On the other hand, there would still be quite a bit of snow shovelling to be done.
「ああ、親切な人間が居てね。屋根雪も、店の周りも全部を雪をかいてくれたんだよ」 “Ahh, there was this kind person here, and she removed the snow from the roof and from around the store for me.”
「ふーん……あれ? 妖夢じゃないか、ここに来るなんて珍しいな。そんなにストーブに近づかなくても店内は暖かいだろう?」 “Hmm... Hey, izzat Youmu? How weird for her to come here. And the rest of the store is warm enough, so do ya really have to be so close to the heater?”
 彼女には朝から開店まで屋根の雪下ろしをしてもらったので、凍えていても仕方がない。 The girl spent the whole morning removing the snow from the roof for me, so obviously she was freezing.
「もう、体が冷え切って……。魔理沙っていつもこんな (ひど) い店主を相手にしているの?」 “Ohhh, my whole body's frozen stiff... Are you really friends with this cruel shopkeeper, Marisa?”
「ああ、してやっているぜ。酷い奴だろう?」 “Yup, you bet. He sure is cruel, ain't he?”
「それは聞き捨てならないな。酷いとは何だい? 君は物を買う為に店に訪れて、その上、手ぶらだって言うじゃないか。それでは幻想郷は生きていけないよ」 "That is something I cannot ignore. How was I cruel? You came to my store to buy something, and then you said you were empty-handed, right? You can't live like that in Gensokyo.”
「冥界と比べて、幻想郷は厳しい所です……」 “Gensokyo is such a strict place compared to the Netherworld...”
「あははー、そんな事ないぜ。これほど気楽な所もない。お前は、まんまと香霖に騙されて、雪かきをさせられたんだな」 “Ahaha, no way! There ain’t anywhere more relaxed than right here. I betcha got tricked by Kourin into shoveling away the snow, right?”
 何となく、この少女は、霊夢や魔理沙にいつもからかわれている様な気がした。それもこの少女の未熟さと真面目さ (ゆえ) だろう。雪かき程度、人生の勉強代としては安いもんだ。 Somehow, I got the impression that Reimu and Marisa must always be making fun of this girl. Probably because of her immatureness and earnestness. But shoveling snow is a small price to pay for a life lesson, if you ask me.

Notes[edit]

^ The chapter`s title is another instance of a ZUN wordplay. It's a reference to 蛍の光、窓の雪 (glow of fireflies, snow on the window "Hotaru no hikari, mado no yuki.") which is the Japanese version of Auld Lang Syne. The expression "snow on the window" means to study under adversities, and has its origins in the Chinese poet Chen Tzu-Lung (simplified Chinese: 陈子龍; traditional Chinese: 陳子龍; pinyin: Chén Zǐlóng), who was said to have to read his books at night in winter by the moonlight reflected on the window's snow, because his family was too poor to buy lanterns or candles. (Can anyone confirm this? In Japan, the reference is seen as simplified Chinese: 车胤; traditional Chinese: 車胤; pinyin: Chē Yìn)... )of the eighty-third volume (the fifty-third biography), Wikipedia:Book of Jin (simplified Chinese: 晋书; traditional Chinese: 晉書; pinyin: Jìnshū), which could be wrong...)) And of course, both a phantasmal light and a lesson hard-learned are references to what happens in the story.


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