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Makapu Bystander

マカプーの傍観者

 

by Rodney E.J. Chang

 

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                Hawaiian legend is that Pele, the goddess of volcanic eruptions, centuries ago resided on Oahu, spending time close to the waters off Makapu.  Here rose black lava cliffs that towered over the sea, raging and deep blue in the vicinity.  Lore is that Pele used to sit on a lava formation that fronted a magnificent view of the tumultuous ocean, which mirrored her personality.  Makapu, storytellers claim, was the last spot that Pele lived before moving permanently to the Big Island.  As the islands' deity of volcanoes, the action was no longer on Oahu.  All it's craters were now extinct.  Oahu got old.  It was time for Pele to move on to the youngest island, still growing on its borders from lava flow pouring into the sea and solidifying, thereby expanding its coastline. 

                   ハワイの伝説では、ペレと呼ばれる火山噴火の女神様がオアフーの沖:マカプーに住んでいたと言われています。この沖は波が怒りに満ちたかのように、または永遠に底の無い迷宮かのように、黒薔薇の火山崖に叩き当たった。伝説によると、ペレはその海の見える崖に住んで自分と同じな海をよく見ていたとの事。このマカプーは、ペレが本島に住み着く前の最後の家だった。ペレは火山の女神様;しかしオアフーではもう火山活動も必要がありません。そのため、ペレはもっと若い、元気な火山に近づいた。

                 But before hopping landmasses, legend recounts of how Pele climbed one last time to occupy “her” lava mound that was shaped into her chair.  To the goddess it was more than just a seat with the best view (and facing eastward, towards the younger, erupting island); it was her temporary throne.  (By the way, the chair-like mound of lava rock is still visible from Kalanianole Highway, on the ocean side of the Makupu hiking trail that leads upward to a view of the coastal lighthouse.)

        でもその移住する前にペレは住んでいた島の火山に溶岩の“椅子”を作り、最後に思い出を語った。この椅子からの眺めは天下一品だった(和解、元気な火山がよく見えた)。でも、この椅子は一時的に使う椅子(この椅子は今でもカラニアノール高速道路マカプーハイキングコースの沿岸の灯台がある海側からよく見える。)

               As a farewell to Oahu, the goddess by night made her way by foot to the formation one last time, only to find a fisherman sitting in it!  There on the rocky flat surface it was convenient, with the help of his coconut oil-lit torch, to prepare his fishing gear before hiking further as well as closer to the cliff's edge to fish.

          オアフーと最後のお別れをするために、女神は夜中の暗闇に囲まれた中、椅子に歩いたが、なんと漁師が自分の椅子に座ったいるではないか!漁師はココナッツの油で作られた炎が暗闇の中、たった一つの光だった。この光を使い漁師は崖に行き量を始める準備をしていた。

                 The dark complexion, white-haired Hawaiian man felt a chill engulf his body.  He shivered, thinking the sensation to be so strange since it was a windless and balmy summer evening.  Then his goose pimples due to the frigidness instantly disappeared, the result of the warmth of a soothing sensation induced by the sweet aroma of plumeria blossoms. 

          肌黒い、白髪染めの髪をした漁師はいきなりぞぞぞっと寒気を感じた。“こんな風一つ無い夏の爽やかな日に変だな”塗料師は思った。でもそんな悪感も暖かい安心するプルメリアのアロマが和らげた。

                 Where, he wondered, was the fragrance coming from?  There were no such trees growing on this barren area of lava cliff, composed of solid rock that was devoid of any soil.

          この匂いはいったいどこから来てるんだ?と漁師は思った。こんな溶岩石の崖には植物が育つための土ももちろん無い。

                Keliho, still occupying the lava seat, did not have to look up and around.  He momentarily shuddered and the hair on his neck stood on end when, at this place of isolated cliffs and in night’s darkness, he felt a human hand touch his shoulder.

             ケリホは全く周りを気にしないで椅子に座っていた。でも、さすがに真っ暗山の中、音もしないでいきなり肩に人間の手二触られた時は、悪感が戻った。

                Panic dissipated as quickly as it had materialized when he turned and saw the face of the beautiful maiden.  Now he knew where the flowery aroma was coming from.  The shapely lass had a wreath of fresh white blossoms gracing her forehead.  The band of petals seemed to glow and faintly pulsate.  Maybe, thought the fisherman, the visual effect was because of the harsh light of his torch, or his failing old eyes.  The intruder was the first to speak.

          でも振り返ると、何とも美しい乙女ではないか。匂いの元もやっと分かった。この乙女は白花の冠を冠っていた。この冠は気のせいか拍動しているように見えた。いや、気のせいだな、俺もずいぶんと年を取ったようだ、トーチの光で拍動しているように見えてるだけだな、塗料師は思った。侵入者が最初に口を開けた

               “About to go fishing, are you?” she said, in a kindly, alluring voice.

               “Yes, I'm almost ready to head out.  As you can see, I'm just completed tying aku fish belly to my fishhook.” 

          “漁に行くの?”やさしい、魅力的な声が喋った。

          “はい。見てのように、餌も釣り針に付け終わりました。”

 

               The entrails stunk.  For a moment the visitor held her breath.  Then she advised,

          餌はとても臭かった。真夜中の来客は息を止めた。そして、こう言った、

               “You have the wrong bait for this particular night.” 

               “How can you say that?  I've been coming here for decades; I know the area well....  And you're so young...and a woman.”

          “この餌では、今夜あまり釣れません”

          “なんでそう思うんだい?私は何十年もここに来て釣りをしているよ。しかも君は若い女性ではないか”

               Hearing this remark, the interloper's voice became gruffer, sounding older and more assertive.

          この返答には少し声が荒くなった。

               “Suit yourself.  And where do you plan to try and catch fish on this moon-lit night?” Passing clouds interloped with the visibility of the moon, alternating lunar illumination with nocturnal blackness.

          “好きなようにすれば。この月光の中、どこに釣りに行くの?”雲が風に乗って月光が妨げられる。そしてまた雲が動くと、月光が戻る。

               Extending an arm and pointing, the native said, “To the right, about a quarter hour's walk along the ledges.”

          “あっちに行くつもりです。”崖の右側、およそ十五分くらいある所に指を指した。

                “There's nothing swimming there tonight.”

               “How would you know?”

               “Because I am a woman and so young?” said the stranger, ridiculing the old man's past discriminatory comment.

          “そこは何も釣れませんよ”

          “どうして君が分かるんだい?”

          “若い女のくせに?”とまるで漁師を馬鹿にするかのように言った。

               “Well, no,” answered the veteran fisherman of the area.  “But because you don't look like a fisherman and I've never seen you around this area, let alone at night when the fish do bite.”

        “いや違うよ。でも君は漁師にはとても見えない。この周りでは見かけないし、夜中によく釣れる時間はもちろん観た事がない。”

               “OK, have it your way.  It's a long night.  When you realize you have been wasting your time, go the other way, or left from this spot in which you are sitting.”

          “好きにすれば。釣れないと分かったら逆側、今座っている場所の左に行けば良い。”

               Keliho, the life-long angler, didn't know how to respond to what seemed like ridiculous advice from the unfamiliar intruder.  As a regular he had never seen the woman at cliff’s edge, scouting below during daylight for the location of fish, as a seasoned angler would.  Besides he had tried the recommended area and usually found it void of fish.

        ケリホーは人生、ずっと釣りをしていた。こんな馬鹿げた話は聞いた事が無い。一度も見た事の無い女に言われる筋は無い。女が言う場所では一度も釣れた事も無い。

               “But be assured you still won't catch anything by following my directions, unless you change your bait to a big piece of octopus.”  She could smell the strong odor of the mollusk from within his sack.  So she knew he had some and that it was fresh.  In fact he had just speared it that afternoon along the shoreline and a few of its arms were still moving in his woven knapsack.   For a squirming mass with eight outstretching tentacles that has avoided evolution for million upon millions of years, the slimy stuff is hard to still.

          “でも、私が言った場所に行って釣るなら、タコ一匹位の餌を使わなきゃ。”漁師のかばんの中から臭った。新鮮なタコだ。漁師はここに来る前に、タコを釣っていた。

               Before the old man could refute her suggestion, the woman suddenly vanished.  He heard her last words, like from a distant voice up in the sky:

          返事をする前に、女はなんといきなり消えた。そして静かな夜中に、女性の声が響き渡る。

               “And you dare to have sat on this sacred throne of rock.  Such an act is disrespectful and won't be taken lightly unless an offering is made.”  Confused, he thought nothing about the nebulous message.  He had other more important things on his mind – like hauling in some big fish.  Plus he was a bit tipsy.

          “貴様はこの神聖な溶岩石の帝位に居座った。そんな無礼な行動、捧げをくれなければ、最高の罰を下さられる。”

          わけの分からない言葉に、漁師は無視をした。漁師はもっと大事な釣りの用意をしていた。少し酔っぱらっていたのもある。

                Maybe, Keliho thought, he shouldn't have drunk so much kava before heading out.  Perhaps the appearance of this woman, he reasoned, was a hypnotic narcotic effect from the intoxicating native drink.  He had imbibed more than the usual before heading out this night, to dull the argument he just had with his wife.  He dismissed the thought of the maiden and went about the business for which he had come.  The fisher, a man of habit, walked in the direction that he had planned and customarily took, and used the aku belly bait that he had already spent the time to attach to his white, bony hook.  Long ago, sharp hooks were carved out of fish bones.  Keliho simply followed his usual routine.

        カヴァー茶飲みすぎたかな、と思ったケリホー。この女性も飲み過ぎの幻覚か。家を出る前に妻とけんかをしていて、いつもより飲んだケリホー。乙女の声を無視し、準備を続けた。普段通りの通路に行った。

                 After an hour at different spots in the area, the fisherman did not feel a single nimble.  Only then did he decide to venture to the other location where the woman had recommended. 

          しかし、何の反応もない。釣れないどころか、魚の気配もない。ふと女性の言葉を思い出し、言ってみる事にした。

               I was going to try there next anyway, he convinced himself. I am deciding where to fish next, not that pestering woman.

          どうせこの後あそこに行くつもりだった。自分に言い聞かせた。あの女性の言う事聞いているわけではない。

               After a half hour in the new spot, still nothing took the bait.  In the intermittent, bright moonlight he could see the surface of the sea with rolls of waves splashing at the base of the cliff below.   Such ocean conditions with sporadic moonlight always suggested the presence of roving fish within its depths.

          三十分経っても、釣れる気配がない。月光が水の表面を射す。こういう崖・いい天気・海が元気な日は、魚がうようよいるはず。

                 I might as well switch to some long legs of the octopus, he next thought.  That's why I brought along something else; in case the aku smelly belly failed to interest fish during this particular night.  ...I'm changing bait because I decided to.

          しょうがない、たこ足を使ってみるか。どうせつれなかったら使うつもりだったんだ。あの女の言う事おきいているわけではない。また自分に言い聞かせた。

               On the first dunk with the newly baited hook, squirming with impaled slimy tentacles, the pole bent mightily. 

          新しい餌をつけた竿を使い、投げ込むと、いきなり竿が引っ張られる。

               It worked!  And whatever that is on the hook is huge!  In fact, so big that he heard his long wooden pole start to crack.  That meant the fish had to be over a couple hundred pounds.  Keliho was old but still a big and strong, muscular Hawaiian.  Without thinking, he wrapped the line made of twine around one forearm and squatted in order to rein in with both hands.  He went closer to the edge to get ready to haul up the prize and to also catch a glimpse of his strapping opponent.

          タコが効いた!でかいのが釣れるぞ!あまりにもでかい魚は、竿にひびを入れ始めたではないか。こんなに強力な魚は数十キロに違いない。ケリホーは老人だったが、力強いでかいハワイ人。考える間もなく、腕の周りに釣り糸を巻いた。体制を整え引っ張り始めた。崖側に近づき、魚の大きさを見ようとする。

                The silvery streak of the side of the fish, as it powered forward, slicing through the water leaning sideways in its attempt to escape, was dazzling in the moonlight.

          魚の銀の鱗が月光に当たり、水面をまるで切りさばいてるかのように見えた。

               Wow!  That's the largest ulua (jackfish) I've ever seen in my life!  I just have to catch it! It could feed the whole village for a week!  He then considered the conciliatory thought, That would also make my wife proud.

        凄いぞ!人生最大のウルウアだ!釣らなければ!村全員、一週間は食べられる。村人のありがたみをもう感じ始めた。妻も許してくれるだろう。

               The mighty monster was pulling hard but strong-willed Keliho was determined to be victorious.  The combative fisherman got more daring, moving precariously close to the ledge to get into the best position to force the fish up to the surface.  All the muscles of his body bulged as he resisted the fighting behemoth.  Keliho momentarily loss his concentration as he batted an eye to get dust out of it – it was windy on that ledge, just as the powerful fish dived forcefully, exerting such strength that it caused the already distracted fisherman to slip.  Keliho lost his balance, and fell over the ledge – right into the dark and turbulent sea that waited below.

          巨大な魚は引っ張り続けたが、ケリホーも負けないで引っ張る。さらに強く引っ張れるように、崖にさらに近づく。体全体の筋肉を使い、猛獣と戦う。誇りが目に入り、一瞬力が抜けてしまった。その瞬間、風に吹き飛ばされ、魚も引っぱり、ケリホーは海に落ちた。

               The 500 lb. fish kept plunging downward, taking the 250 lb. fisherman with it, unfortunate to still have a forearm entangled with the line twine.  Keliho, needing to breathe, gasped for air, only to gulp and swallow seawater.  He began choking uncontrollably with water now invading his lungs.

          巨大な魚は数十キロある糸に絡まってるケリホーを軽々と海底へ連れて行く。ケリホーの行きが切れてきてしまって、息をしようとしても、海水を飲み込むだけ。溺れてしまう。

                 His eyes widened when he saw that further down, the fish had stopped next to the woman that he had met earlier in the evening.  It was her alright, but now her eyes were as bright as glowing balls of hot coal.  In the water, her long hair appeared like flames of fire, wavering like strands of burning seaweed in the undercurrent.  Drowning next to her, he looked up at her angelic face.  Moonlight from the surface backlit her head, producing a glowing halo of prismatic colors.  It made the plumeria blossoms on top glow for the dying man.  The woman is a goddess! was his last thought.

          ケリホーは凄まじい光景を目撃した。何と、さっきの乙女ではないか。でもちょっと違う;目は太陽そのものが照らしている明るさ、髪は炎のように見える。でも確実に、さっきの乙女だ。あの女は女神だったのか!

                 Before Keliho lost consciousness, the old Hawaiian telepathically heard the woman say to the fish,

          ケリホーは意識が薄れる。ペレは魚と話した。

                 “Hmm, this octopus is fresh.  Thank you for delivering this treat to me.  I didn't particularly care for that stinky aku belly.  Now if this man had only offered some to me when we were above…”

             “新鮮なタコ。ありがとう。あの臭い魚のえさはあまり欲しくなかったの。この人間も水面にいるときにくれればよかったのに。。。”

              

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