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【おとぎ話・民話】Fairy tales and Folk tales

#1
A few months ago, I read Akutagawa Ryuunosuke's 猿蟹合戦 and 桃太郎 on a whim. For the former, I failed to understand the story completely until I looked it up and found out that it was satire of one of Japan's most famous folk tales. And for the latter story, I'm sure most people here would know at the very least that Momotarou is a boy that's born from a giant peach flowing down a stream, but like me, perhaps you aren't familiar with the latter half of the story. I admit I was terribly confused when the monkey in Akutagawa's version started, um, assaulting the female Oni.

In addition to being required reading material if you're planning to read the stories I've mentioned above or Osamu's お伽草紙 (I think?), stuff like this gets alluded to a lot in anything written by Japanese for Japanese, not just literature. Besides, these おとぎ話 and 昔話 are pretty good reading/listening material for learners of every level. Here's a site I found that has all of the major stories archived in text and audio form. The readers do an excellent job by t And if you think they're going to be childish because they're for kids, let's just say you're gonna be surprised at the amount of violence in them.

Here's the one that left the biggest impression on me:

Quote:
カチカチ山

 むかしむかし、おじいさんの家の裏山に、一匹のタヌキが住んでいました。
 タヌキは悪いタヌキで、おじいさんが畑で働いていますと、
「やーい、ヨボヨボじじい。ヨボヨボじじい」
 と、悪口を言って、夜になるとおじいさんの畑からイモを盗んでいくのです。
 おじいさんはタヌキのいたずらにがまん出来なくなり、畑にワナをしかけてタヌキを捕まえました。
 そしてタヌキを家の天井につるすと、
「ばあさんや、こいつは性悪ダヌキだから、決してなわをほどいてはいけないよ」
と、言って、 そのまま畑仕事に出かけたのです。
 おじいさんがいなくなると、タヌキは人の良いおばあさんに言いました。
「おばあさん、わたしは反省しています。
 もう悪い事はしません。
 つぐないに、おばあさんの肩をもんであげましょう」
「そんな事を言って、逃げるつもりなんだろう?」
「いえいえ。では、タヌキ秘伝(ひでん)のまんじゅうを作ってあげましょう」
「秘伝のまんじゅう?」
「はい。
 とってもおいしいですし、一口食べれば十年は長生き出来るのです。
 きっと、おじいさんが喜びますよ。
 もちろん作りおわったら、また天井につるしてもかまいません」
「そうかい。おじいさんが長生き出来るのかい」
 おばあさんはタヌキに言われるまま、しばっていたなわをほどいてしまいました。
 そのとたん、タヌキはおばあさんにおそいかかって、そばにあった棒(ぼう)でおばあさんを殴り殺したのです。
「ははーん、バカなババアめ。タヌキを信じるなんて」
 タヌキはそう言って、裏山に逃げて行きました。

 しばらくして帰ってきたおじいさんは、倒れているおばあさんを見てビックリ。
「ばあさん! ばあさん! ・・・ああっ、なんて事だ」
  おじいさんがオイオイと泣いていますと、心やさしいウサギがやって来ました。
「おじいさん、どうしたのです?」
「タヌキが、タヌキのやつが、ばあさんをこんなにして、逃げてしまったんだ」
「ああ、あの悪いタヌキですね。おじいさん、わたしがおばあさんのかたきをとってあげます」
 ウサギはタヌキをやっつける方法を考えると、タヌキをしばかりに誘いました。
「タヌキくん。山へしばかりに行かないかい?」
「それはいいな。よし、行こう」
 さて、そのしばかりの帰り道、ウサギは火打ち石で『カチカチ』と、タヌキの背負っているしばに火を付けました。
「おや? ウサギさん、今の『カチカチ』と言う音はなんだい?」
「ああ、この山はカチカチ山さ。だからカチカチというのさ」
「ふーん」
 しばらくすると、タヌキの背負っているしばが、『ボウボウ』と燃え始めました。
「おや? ウサギさん、この『ボウボウ』と言う音はなんだい?」
「ああ、この山はボウボウ山さ、だからボウボウというのさ」
「ふーん」
 そのうちに、タヌキの背負ったしばは大きく燃え出しました。
「なんだか、あついな。・・・あつい、あつい、助けてくれー!」
 タヌキは背中に、大やけどをおいました。

 次の日、ウサギはとうがらしをねって作った塗り薬を持って、タヌキの所へ行きました。
「タヌキくん、やけどの薬を持ってきたよ」
「薬とはありがたい。
 まったく、カチカチ山はひどい山だな。
 さあウサギさん、背中が痛くてたまらないんだ。
 はやくぬっておくれ」
「いいよ。背中を出してくれ」
 ウサギはタヌキの背中のやけどに、とうがらしの塗り薬をぬりました。
「うわーっ! 痛い、痛い! この薬はとっても痛いよー!」
「がまんしなよ。よく効く薬は、痛いもんだ」
 そう言ってウサギは、もっとぬりつけました。
「うぎゃーーーーっ!」
 タヌキは痛さのあまり、気絶してしまいました。

 さて、数日するとタヌキの背中が治ったので、ウサギはタヌキを釣りに誘いました。
「タヌキくん。舟をつくったから、海へ釣りに行こう」
「それはいいな。よし、行こう」
 海に行きますと、二せきの舟がありました。
「タヌキくん、きみは茶色いから、こっちの舟だよ」
 そう言ってウサギは、木でつくった舟に乗りました。
 そしてタヌキは、泥でつくった茶色い舟に乗りました。
 二せきの船は、どんどんと沖へ行きました。
「タヌキくん、どうだい? その舟の乗り心地は?」
「うん、いいよ。ウサギさん、舟をつくってくれてありがとう。・・・あれ、なんだか水がしみこんできたぞ」
 泥で出来た舟が、だんだん水に溶けてきたのです。


[Image: AC_12ILAV19.JPG]


「うわーっ、助けてくれ! 船が溶けていくよー!」
 大あわてのタヌキに、ウサギが言いました。
「ざまあみろ、おばあさんを殺したバツだ」
 やがてタヌキの泥舟は全部溶けてしまい、タヌキはそのまま海の底に沈んでしまいました。

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#2
Amazing that you have shared that website, I have known it for a year at least and it's very good indeed, I wish there was something like that in my native language for children, sadly, most of the old stories here in the west seem to be disappearing from our culture, when I was a young child though and there was almost no internet yet, there were still many books with the tales of old, my mother used to read them for me at night, I say Japanese children are fortunate to have such a site!

As for me, I really started to use the website just these days, I had attempted to read one of the stories one year ago but it was still a bit hard, they ARE still hard for me, but somehow I'm managing to pull through, I still miss a few sentence meanings though here and there, how do you manage to understand parts that you didn't get? In my experience, traditional grammar is of little help sometimes, because things are just too diluted in the sentence.

The first tale of the website that I fully read, just finished the other day, it's amazing, next one I wanna read is the peach boy:
http://hukumusume.com/douwa/betu/jap/03/01aa.htm

By the way, could you give me a tip on how to navigate the site to choose from stories with less kanji up to stories with most kanji?
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#3
(2016-11-04, 4:24 am)Iuri_ Wrote: By the way, could you give me a tip on how to navigate the site to choose from stories with less kanji up to stories with most kanji?
You read stories that have been sorted by elementary school level 1-6. If you don't have this link saved, you can find it by searching the left hand side of the homepage for テーマ別の昔話 in red text and then click 小学生童話 below it which will lead you to the the page I linked.

For example, here is the 1年 version of ももたろう which seems to contain no kanji vs the version with kanji.

There is also some stories that have English translations but the selection is limited.
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#4
(2016-11-04, 4:24 am)Iuri_ Wrote: I still miss a few sentence meanings though here and there, how do you manage to understand parts that you didn't get?

It happens sometimes that you look up all the words and all the grammar points and still can't make out the meaning of a sentence, either because there seem to be too many options (words with multiple meanings, particles that are used in multiple grammars, etc.) or else because you've stumbled across an idiom and the literal meaning of that idiom doesn't make sense.

Whatever the reason, when you're stuck like that you've really only got two choices... live with it and move on, maybe bookmark it to see if it makes sense in a few months ; or else... just ask someone else.

The "What's this word/phrase?" thread is a good place to ask if you're stuck. http://forum.koohii.com/thread-3249.html

Hukumusume is pretty well known so I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the advanced students around here have already read many of the stories on the site. I know I have. Certainly not all of them, but a good chunk of them, enough to be familiar with all the 'famous' stories and have a good sense for the mukashibanashi style of writing. In any case, I'm sure someone will be able to clear up the meaning of any sentence you get stuck on if you just ask.
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#5
I have read almost everything on Hukumusume.

The Aesops Fables were by far the easiest overall, so probably a good place to start. Some of the douwa were beginner-friendly, but most were a bit on the tricky side.
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#6
@RawrPk, thanks for the link, it's perfect for what I'm intending!


@SomeCallMeChris, I usually just ignore something that I don't understand and keep reading, either that or I try to figure it out through google translate(sometimes it can give you a hint of the meaning), but it's good to know there is a place here to ask such questions, i'll be sure to stope by there when I get really stuck. I think that it's as you said, either multiple possible meanings for words or idioms, when it comes to idioms it's no use, but at the beginning stages it's really hard to tell if you've encountered an idiom or not.

@anotherjohn, around how many stories are there on Hukumusume, and did you feel that your command of the language improved after you read them all?
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#7
For idioms, you could check them agains this list of yojijukugo.
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#8
(2016-11-04, 8:47 pm)Iuri_ Wrote: @anotherjohn, around how many stories are there on Hukumusume, and did you feel that your command of the language improved after you read them all?

It must be well over 1000, maybe over 1500. Several of the categories have a story for every day of the year.

I found it enormously beneficial language-wise, though much of the vocabulary is rather domain-specific.
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#9
Phew. Thanks for answering for me guys.
Edited: 2016-11-05, 9:40 am
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#10
@yogert909, that's an amazing resource, thanks!

@anotherjohn, that's good to know, I'm expecting to read these stories(although probably not all of them, as I like to read the same story several times until everything sticks) throughout the following year, it's nice to know that I have an improvement in my Japanese abilities to look forward to.
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