いよいよ明日は、その里親の所へ連れられてゆくという日の夜、母は、安らかな小さな寝息をたてて、重ね布団に眠るわが児を、涙ながらにじっと見つめていました。「……不運な星の下に生まれたわが身にふりかかる悲しみも知らず、私から去ってゆくこの子よ。里親となる父母はどんな人たちであろう。お金だけを目当てにする人ではあるまいか。お金だけを着服して、乞食(こじき)にでもやってしまうのではなかろうか。……人気ない山の中に埋めて……。菰(こも)包みにして川に……。たとえ親切な乞食に育てられても、物ごころのつくころになって、村祭りの時など家々の門に立って、一握りの飯を求めるのではあるまいか。……たえられない。もう我慢ができない。そうだ。そうだ。身を粉にしてもいいではないか。母と娘とふたりの旅路。どんなに険しくても手に手を取って一生歩きつづけよう。」[英訳を表示]
As I slept, breathing softly on my blanket on the eve of the day when I was to be brought to the foster parents’ house, my mother stared at me with tears in her eyes. “This child is leaving me without knowing the sorrow that surrounds her birth under such an unlucky star. I wonder what kind of people her new parents are going to be? Are they in it just for the money? Will they pocket the money and then leave her with a beggar? Or bury her on a quiet mountain in an unmarked grave? Or wrap her in sackcloth and throw her in the river? Even if she were raised by a kindly beggar, I wonder if she would have to stand at the house gates of other people during village festivals, begging for handfuls of rice, when she had reached the age of discretion with a dawning sense of the things around her. I can’t stand it. I can be patient no longer. I’ve got it. I’ve got it. Even if I have to work myself to the bone, that is okay. The journey of a mother and her daughter. No matter how hard it is, I will take my daughter by the hand and go forward in this life.”
母の愛は、遂に私をその手許につなぎ止めました。しかし、「……この子には金50円をつけてやる。そして親子の縁は今日限りだ。後でどんなことがあっても父の私には一切関係はない。何らの責任も負わない。」として縁を断ち切られた孤立の母のふところに入った私の将来に、何の幸せが約束されていたでしょうか。[英訳を表示]
Thus, my mother’s love kept us together. However, doubts assailed her. “How will I even manage to give my daughter fifty yen? This day marks the end of any connection between me and this child. Hereupon, regardless of events, I will have nothing more to do with her. We have no more responsibility toward each other.” I wonder what kind of happiness the future could hold for a mother and a child cut off and isolated from each other in this way.