MONTHLY SPECIAL * September 2001
 Lewis Carroll


A Tangled Tale


Goblin, lead them up and down

THE ruddy glow of sunset was already fading into the sombre shadows of night, when two travelers might have been observed swiftly--at a pace of six miles in the hour--descending the rugged side of a mountain; the younger bounding from crag to crag with the agility of a fawn, while his companion, whose aged limbs seemed ill at ease in the heavy chain armour habitually worn by tourists in that district, toiled on painfully at his side.

As is always the case under such circumstances, the younger knight was the first to break the silence.

"A goodly pace, I trow!" he exclaimed. "We sped not thus in the ascent!"

"Goodly indeed!" the other echoed with a groan. "We clomb it but at three miles in the hour."

"And on the dead level our pace is----?" the younger suggested; for he was weak in statistics, and left all such details to his aged companion.

"Four miles in the hour," the other wearily replied. "Not an ounce more," he added, with that love of metaphor so common in old age, "and not a farthing less!"

"'Twas three hours past high noon when we left our hostelry," the young man said, musingly. "We shall scarce be back by supper-time. Perchance mine host will roundly deny us all food!"

"He will chide our tardy return," was the grave reply, "and such a rebuke will be meet."

"A brave conceit!" cried the other, with a merry laugh. "And should we bid him bring us yet another course, I trow his answer will be tart!"

"We shall but get our deserts," sighed the elder knight, who had never seen a joke in his life, and was somewhat displeased at his companion's untimely levity. "'Twill be nine of the clock", he added in an undertone, "by the time we regain our hostelry. Full many a mile shall we have plodded this day!"

"How many? How many?" cried the eager youth ever athirst for knowledge.

The old man was silent.

"Tell me", he answered, after a moment's thought, "what time it was when we stood together on yonder peak. Not exact to the minute!" he added hastily, reading a protest in the young man's face. "And thy guess be within one poor half-hour of the mark, 'tis all I ask of thy mother's son! Then will I tell thee, true to the last inch, how far we shall have trudged betwixt three and nine of the clock."

A groan was the young man's only reply; while his convulsed features and the deep wrinkles that chased each other across his manly brow revealed the abyss of arithmetical agony into which one chance question had plunged him.



結び目 1  なおも高く




「思いまするに、相当な進み具合でございますな! 上りではこのように速くはございませんでしたが。」若い騎士は感嘆の声を上げた。














"… and such a rebuke will be meet."
(1)形容詞 meet「…に適当な、ふさわしい」→ 咎め立ても仕方あるまい。
(2)名詞 meat「食物」→ 咎め立てが食物であるだろう(料理はなくて)

→ 「老騎士は(1)の意味で言ったのだが、若い騎士は「食い物ならぬ小言を食う」と、洒落にとった。訳は「小言を食うのだな」とした。

"… his answer will be tart!"
(1)形容詞「(態度…言葉などが)辛辣な」→ きつい答えが返ってくるだろう
(2)名詞「タルト(小型オープンパイ)」→ 出してくれるのはタルト

→ 老騎士は(2)の意味だと思ったので「デザート」と言った。「出す料理などない」という予測される亭主の言葉と、「デザート」から、訳は『ナシ』とした。「無し」と「梨」。


Lewis Carroll (1832-98)

本名 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson。1855年から 1881年まで、母校 Oxford大学で数学を教えた。生涯を通じて独身、そのほとんどを学寮で過ごした。少女をこのうえなく愛したといわれる。

1862年、学寮長Dr. Liddellの3人娘を連れて彼と友人とでピクニックに出かけた際に、次女Aliceを主人公にした物語を即興で語って聞かせたのが、有名な Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) 『不思議の国のアリス』の原型である。


時の女王Victoriaが Lewis Carrollの作品に興味を持ち、さらに他の著作を所望したところ、届けられたのは数学の専門書であったという逸話が残っている。

A Tangled Tale (こんがらがった話)には、数学の問題を織り込んだストーリーが10編収められている。「Knot 1」など、章の番号に使われている「knot」には、「結び目」の他に「難題」の意味もある。それぞれのストーリーについて解答と解説があり、読者から寄せられた解答へのコメントも載せられている。



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