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E-Books (english-e-reader), The Californian's Tale

The Californian's Tale

When I was young I went looking for gold in California. I never found enough to make me rich, but I did discover a beautiful part of the country. It was called the Stanislaus.

The Stanislaus was like heaven on earth. It had bright green hills and deep forests where soft winds touched the trees.

Other men, also looking for gold, had reached the Stanislaus Hills of California many years before I did. They had built a town in the valley with sidewalks and stores, banks and schools. They had also built pretty little houses for their families. At first, they found a lot of gold in the Stanislaw Hills, but their good luck did not last. After a few years the gold disappeared.

By the time I reached the Stanislaus all the people were gone, too. Grass now grew in the streets and the little houses were covered by wild rose bushes. Only the sound of insects filled the air as I walked through the empty town that summer day so long ago.

Then, I realized I was not alone after all. A man was smiling at me as he stood in front of one of the little houses. This house was not covered by wild rose bushes. A nice little garden in front of the house was full of blue and yellow flowers. White curtains hung from the windows and floated in the soft summer wind. Still smiling the man opened the door of his house and motioned to me.

I went inside and could not believe my eyes. I had been living for weeks in rough mining camps with other gold miners. We slept on the hard ground, ate canned beans from cold metal plates and spent our days in the difficult search for gold.

Here, in this little house my spirit seemed to come to. life again. I saw a bright rug on the shining wooden floor. Pictures hung all around the room, and on little tables there were sea-shells, books and China vases full of flowers. A woman had made this house into a home.

The pleasure I felt in my heart must have shown on my face. The man read my thoughts.

"Yes," he smiled. "It is all her work. Everything in this room has felt the touch of her hand."

One of the pictures on the wall was not hanging straight. He noticed it and went to fix it. He stepped back several times to make sure the picture was really straight. Then he gave it a gentle touch with his hand.

"She always does that," he explained to me. "It is like the finishing pat a mother gives her child's hair after she has brushed it. I have seen her fix all these things so often that I can do it Just the way she does. I don't know why I do it. I Just do it."

As he talked, I realized there was something in this room that he wanted me to discover. I looked around. When my eyes reached the corner of the room near the fireplace he broke into a happy laugh and rubbed his hands together.

"That's it!" he cried out. "You have found it! I knew you would. It is her picture."

I went to a little black shelf that held a small picture of the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. There was a sweetness and softness in the woman's expression that I had never seen before.

The man took the picture from my hands and stared at it.

"She was nineteen on her last birthday. That was the day we were married. When you see her - oh, just wait until you meet her."

"Where is she now?" I asked.

"Oh - she is away," the man sighed putting the picture back on the little black shelf. "She went to visit her parents. They live forty or fifty miles from here. She has been gone two weeks today."

"When will she be back?" I asked.

"Well, this is Wednesday," he said slowly. "She will be back on Saturday, in the evening."

I felt a sharp sense of regret. "I am sorry because I will be gone by then," I said.

"Gone? No, why should you go. Don't go, she will be so sorry. You see, she likes to have people come and stay with us."

"No, I really must leave," I said firmly.

He picked up her picture and held it before my eyes.

"Here," he said. "Now, you tell her to her face that you could have stayed to meet her and you would not."

Something made me change my mind, as I looked at the picture for a second time. I decided to stay.

The man told me his name was Henry. That night Henry and I talked about many different things, but mainly about her.

The next day passed quietly.

Thursday evening we had a visitor. He was a big gray-haired miner named Tom.

"I Just came for a few minutes to ask when she's corning home." he explained. "Is there any news?"

"Oh, yes," the man replied. "I got a letter. Would you like to hear it?"

He took a yellowed letter out of his shirt pocket and read it to us. It was full of loving messages to him and to other people - their close friends and neighbors.

When the man finished reading it, he looked at his friend.

"Oh, no, you are doing it again, Tom. You always cry when I read a letter from her. I'm going to tell her this time."

"No, you must not do that, Henry," the gray-haired miner said. "I am getting old and any little sorrow makes me cry. I really was hoping she would be here tonight."

The next day, Friday, another old miner came to visit. He asked to hear the letter. The message in it made him cry, too.

"We all miss her so much," he said.

Saturday finally came. I found I was looking at my watch very often. Henry noticed this.

"You don't think something has happened to her, do you?" he asked me.

I smiled and said that I was sure she was just fine. But he did not seem satisfied.

I was glad to see his two friends Tom and Joe coming down the road as the sun began to set. The old miners were carrying guitars. They also brought flowers and a bottle of whiskey. They put the flowers in vases and began to play some fast and lively songs on their guitars. Henry's friends kept giving him glasses of whiskey which they made him drink. When I reached for one of the glasses left on the table Tom stopped my arm.

"Drop that glass and take the other one," he whispered.

He gave the remaining glass of whiskey to Henry Just as the clock began to strike midnight. Henry emptied the glass, his face grew whiter and whiter.

"Boys," he said. "I am feeling sick. I want to lie down."

Henry was asleep almost before the words were out of his mouth. In a moment, his two friends had picked him up and carried him into the bedroom. They closed the door and came back.

They seemed to be getting ready to leave, so I said, "Please, don't go, gentlemen. She will not know me, I am a stranger to her."

They looked at each other.

"His wife has been dead for nineteen years," Tom said.

"Dead?" I whispered.

"That or worse," he said. "She went to see her parents about six months after she got married. On the way back on a Saturday evening in June when she was almost here the Indians captured her. No one ever saw her again. Henry lost his mind. He thinks she is still alive. When June comes, he thinks she has gone on her trip to see her parents. Then he begins to wait for her to come back. He gets out that old letter and we come around to visit, so he can read it to us. On the Saturday night, she is supposed to come home; we come here to be with him. We put a sleeping drug in his drink, so he will sleep through the night. Then he is all right for another year."

Joe picked up his hat and his guitar.

"We have done this every June for nineteen years," he said. "The first year, there were twenty-seven of us. Now just the two of us are left."

He opened the door of the pretty little house, and the two old men disappeared Into the darkness of the Stanislaus.

- THE END -


The Californian's Tale カリフォルニアの物語

When I was young I went looking for gold in California. 私は若い頃、カリフォルニアで金を探しに行きました。 I never found enough to make me rich, but I did discover a beautiful part of the country. It was called the Stanislaus. スタニスラウスと呼ばれた。

The Stanislaus was like heaven on earth. スタニスラウスは地上の天国のようでした。 It had bright green hills and deep forests where soft winds touched the trees. 明るい緑の丘と深い森があり、そよ風が木々に触れていました。

Other men, also looking for gold, had reached the Stanislaus Hills of California many years before I did. 同じく金を探している他の男性は、私より何年も前にカリフォルニアのスタニスラウス丘陵に到達していました. They had built a town in the valley with sidewalks and stores, banks and schools. 彼らは谷間に歩道や店、銀行、学校を備えた町を作った。 They had also built pretty little houses for their families. At first, they found a lot of gold in the Stanislaw Hills, but their good luck did not last. 最初、彼らはスタニスワフの丘でたくさんの金を見つけましたが、幸運は長続きしませんでした。 After a few years the gold disappeared.

By the time I reached the Stanislaus all the people were gone, too. 私がスタニスラウスに到着するまでに、すべての人々もいなくなっていました。 Grass now grew in the streets and the little houses were covered by wild rose bushes. 現在、通りには草が生え、小さな家は野生のバラの茂みに覆われていました。 Only the sound of insects filled the air as I walked through the empty town that summer day so long ago. そんな昔の夏の日、何もない街を歩いていると、虫の鳴き声だけが空気を満たしていました。

Then, I realized I was not alone after all. すると、やっぱり一人じゃないことに気づきました。 A man was smiling at me as he stood in front of one of the little houses. 小さな家の前に立っていた男性が私に微笑んでいました。 This house was not covered by wild rose bushes. この家は野生のバラの茂みで覆われていませんでした。 A nice little garden in front of the house was full of blue and yellow flowers. 家の前の素敵な小さな庭は青と黄色の花でいっぱいでした。 White curtains hung from the windows and floated in the soft summer wind. 白いカーテンが窓からぶら下がっていて、やわらかな夏の風に浮かんでいました。 Still smiling the man opened the door of his house and motioned to me. 男はまだ微笑んで家のドアを開けて私に向かって動いた。

I went inside and could not believe my eyes. 中に入って目を信じられませんでした。 I had been living for weeks in rough mining camps with other gold miners. 私は他の金鉱山労働者と一緒に荒い鉱山キャンプに何週間も住んでいました。 We slept on the hard ground, ate canned beans from cold metal plates and spent our days in the difficult search for gold. 私たちは固い地面で寝て、冷たい金属板から缶詰の豆を食べ、金を探すのに苦労して日々を過ごしました。

Here, in this little house my spirit seemed to come to. ここで、この小さな家で私の精神がやってきたようでした。 life again. 再び人生。 I saw a bright rug on the shining wooden floor. 輝く木の床に明るい絨毯が見えました。 Pictures hung all around the room, and on little tables there were sea-shells, books and China vases full of flowers. 部屋のあちこちに写真が飾られていて、小さなテーブルには貝殻、本、花でいっぱいの中国の花瓶がありました。 A woman had made this house into a home. 女性がこの家を家にしました。

The pleasure I felt in my heart must have shown on my face. 心で感じた喜びが顔に出たに違いない。 The man read my thoughts.

"Yes," he smiled. "It is all her work. Everything in this room has felt the touch of her hand." この部屋のすべてが彼女の手の感触を感じました。」

One of the pictures on the wall was not hanging straight. 壁の絵の 1 つがまっすぐにぶら下がっていませんでした。 He noticed it and went to fix it. 彼はそれに気づき、それを修正しに行きました。 He stepped back several times to make sure the picture was really straight. 彼は数回後退して、写真が本当にまっすぐであることを確認しました。 Then he gave it a gentle touch with his hand. それから彼はそれを手で優しく撫でた。

"She always does that," he explained to me. 「彼女はいつもそうしている」と彼は私に説明した. "It is like the finishing pat a mother gives her child's hair after she has brushed it. 「それは、母親が子供の髪をブラッシングした後に仕上げのパッティングをするようなものです. I have seen her fix all these things so often that I can do it Just the way she does. 彼女がこれらすべてを頻繁に修正するのを見たので、彼女と同じようにそれを行うことができます. I don't know why I do it. なぜそうするのかわからない。 I Just do it." 私はやるだけ。"

As he talked, I realized there was something in this room that he wanted me to discover. 彼が話していると、彼が私に発見させたい何かがこの部屋にあることに気づきました。 I looked around. When my eyes reached the corner of the room near the fireplace he broke into a happy laugh and rubbed his hands together. 私の目が暖炉の近くの部屋の隅に来ると、彼は嬉しそうに笑い始め、両手をこすり合わせました。

"That's it!" he cried out. "You have found it! 「あなたはそれを見つけました! I knew you would. 私はあなたがそうするだろうと知っていました。 It is her picture."

I went to a little black shelf that held a small picture of the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. 私は今まで見た中で最も美しい女性の小さな写真が入った小さな黒い棚に行きました。 There was a sweetness and softness in the woman's expression that I had never seen before. 女性の表情には今まで見たことのない甘さと柔らかさがありました。

The man took the picture from my hands and stared at it. 男は私の手から写真を取り上げ、じっと見つめた。

"She was nineteen on her last birthday. 「彼女は最後の誕生日に19歳でした。 That was the day we were married. When you see her - oh, just wait until you meet her." 彼女に会ったら、ああ、彼女に会うまで待っててね。」

"Where is she now?" I asked.

"Oh - she is away," the man sighed putting the picture back on the little black shelf. 「ああ、彼女は留守だ」男はため息をついて、写真を小さな黒い棚に戻しました。 "She went to visit her parents. They live forty or fifty miles from here. She has been gone two weeks today."

"When will she be back?" I asked.

"Well, this is Wednesday," he said slowly. "She will be back on Saturday, in the evening."

I felt a sharp sense of regret. Ich fühlte ein starkes Gefühl des Bedauerns. とてつもない悔しさを覚えました。 "I am sorry because I will be gone by then," I said. 「それまでに行ってしまうので、申し訳ありません」と私は言いました。

"Gone? No, why should you go. いいえ、なぜ行かなければならないのですか。 Don't go, she will be so sorry. Geh nicht, es wird ihr so leid tun. You see, she likes to have people come and stay with us."

"No, I really must leave," I said firmly. „Nein, ich muss wirklich gehen“, sagte ich fest. 「いいえ、私は本当に行かなければなりません」と私はきっぱりと言った。

He picked up her picture and held it before my eyes. 彼は彼女の写真を手に取り、私の目の前に置いた.

"Here," he said. "Now, you tell her to her face that you could have stayed to meet her and you would not." 「さて、あなたは面と向かって、彼女に会いに行くこともできたし、そうしなかったと彼女に言いなさい。」

Something made me change my mind, as I looked at the picture for a second time. Irgendetwas ließ mich meine Meinung ändern, als ich das Bild zum zweiten Mal betrachtete. 写真をもう一度見たとき、何かが私の心を変えました。 I decided to stay. Ich beschloss zu bleiben.

The man told me his name was Henry. That night Henry and I talked about many different things, but mainly about her.

The next day passed quietly.

Thursday evening we had a visitor. 木曜日の夕方、訪問者がありました。 He was a big gray-haired miner named Tom.

"I Just came for a few minutes to ask when she's corning home." "Ich bin nur für ein paar Minuten gekommen, um zu fragen, wann sie nach Hause kommt." 「私は、彼女がいつ家に帰るのか尋ねるために数分間来ました。」 he explained. "Is there any news?" 「何かニュースはありますか?」

"Oh, yes," the man replied. "I got a letter. 「手紙が来ました。 Would you like to hear it?"

He took a yellowed letter out of his shirt pocket and read it to us. It was full of loving messages to him and to other people - their close friends and neighbors. Es war voller liebevoller Botschaften an ihn und an andere Menschen – ihre engen Freunde und Nachbarn. それは、彼と他の人々、つまり親しい友人や隣人への愛のこもったメッセージでいっぱいでした。

When the man finished reading it, he looked at his friend.

"Oh, no, you are doing it again, Tom. 「ああ、いや、またやってるんだ、トム。 You always cry when I read a letter from her. 私が彼女からの手紙を読むとき、あなたはいつも泣く。 I'm going to tell her this time." 今度教えてあげよう。」

"No, you must not do that, Henry," the gray-haired miner said. "I am getting old and any little sorrow makes me cry. 「私は年を取り、少しの悲しみが私を泣かせます。 I really was hoping she would be here tonight." 彼女が今夜ここに来ることを本当に望んでいた」

The next day, Friday, another old miner came to visit. He asked to hear the letter. Er bat darum, den Brief zu hören. 彼は手紙を聞くように頼んだ。 The message in it made him cry, too. その中のメッセージも彼を泣かせました。

"We all miss her so much," he said.

Saturday finally came. I found I was looking at my watch very often. 私は自分の時計を頻繁に見ていることに気づきました。 Henry noticed this.

"You don't think something has happened to her, do you?" 「彼女に何かが起こったとは思いませんか?」 he asked me.

I smiled and said that I was sure she was just fine. 私は微笑んで、彼女は大丈夫だと確信していると言いました。 But he did not seem satisfied. Aber er schien nicht zufrieden zu sein.

I was glad to see his two friends Tom and Joe coming down the road as the sun began to set. 太陽が沈み始めると、彼の 2 人の友人であるトムとジョーが道を下って来るのを見て、私はうれしく思いました。 The old miners were carrying guitars. They also brought flowers and a bottle of whiskey. They put the flowers in vases and began to play some fast and lively songs on their guitars. 彼らは花を花瓶に入れ、ギターで速くて活気のある曲を演奏し始めました。 Henry's friends kept giving him glasses of whiskey which they made him drink. Henrys Freunde gaben ihm immer wieder Gläser Whisky, die sie ihm zu trinken gaben. ヘンリーの友達は彼にウィスキーのグラスを与え続け、それを彼に飲ませました。 When I reached for one of the glasses left on the table Tom stopped my arm. テーブルに残っていたグラスに手を伸ばすと、トムが私の腕を止めた。

"Drop that glass and take the other one," he whispered. 「そのグラスを落として、もう一方のグラスを取ってください」と彼はささやいた。

He gave the remaining glass of whiskey to Henry Just as the clock began to strike midnight. 時計が真夜中を打ち始めたちょうどその時、彼はヘンリーにウイスキーの残りのグラスを渡しました。 Henry emptied the glass, his face grew whiter and whiter. ヘンリーがグラスを空にすると、彼の顔はますます白くなった。

"Boys," he said. "I am feeling sick. I want to lie down."

Henry was asleep almost before the words were out of his mouth. ヘンリーは、その言葉が口から出る直前に眠っていた。 In a moment, his two friends had picked him up and carried him into the bedroom. They closed the door and came back.

They seemed to be getting ready to leave, so I said, "Please, don't go, gentlemen. She will not know me, I am a stranger to her."

They looked at each other.

"His wife has been dead for nineteen years," Tom said. »Seine Frau ist seit neunzehn Jahren tot«, sagte Tom. 「彼の奥さんは亡くなって19年になります」とトムは言いました。

"Dead?" I whispered.

"That or worse," he said. 「それかもっと悪い」と彼は言った。 "She went to see her parents about six months after she got married. 「彼女は結婚してから約半年後に両親に会いに行きました。 On the way back on a Saturday evening in June when she was almost here the Indians captured her. No one ever saw her again. Henry lost his mind. He thinks she is still alive. When June comes, he thinks she has gone on her trip to see her parents. 6月になると、彼女は両親に会いに旅行に行ったと思います。 Then he begins to wait for her to come back. He gets out that old letter and we come around to visit, so he can read it to us. Er holt diesen alten Brief heraus und wir kommen vorbei, um ihn zu besuchen, damit er ihn uns vorlesen kann. 彼はその古い手紙を取り出し、私たちが訪ねてきたので、彼は私たちにそれを読むことができました. On the Saturday night, she is supposed to come home; we come here to be with him. Am Samstagabend soll sie nach Hause kommen; wir kommen hierher, um bei ihm zu sein. 土曜日の夜、彼女は帰宅することになっています。私たちは彼と一緒にいるためにここに来ます。 We put a sleeping drug in his drink, so he will sleep through the night. Then he is all right for another year." そうすれば、彼はもう一年大丈夫です。」

Joe picked up his hat and his guitar.

"We have done this every June for nineteen years," he said. 「私たちはこれを19年間、毎年6月に行ってきました」と彼は言いました。 "The first year, there were twenty-seven of us. 「最初の年は 27 人でした。 Now just the two of us are left."

He opened the door of the pretty little house, and the two old men disappeared Into the darkness of the Stanislaus.

- THE END -