小栗判官の物語

美女に化けた大蛇を懐妊させた後に隠れた罪で、常陸の国(茨城県)に流された美男子、小栗。そこで、美しい照手姫に出会い、強引に婿入りしたところ、怒った父親に小栗は毒殺され、照手姫は川に流されてしまう。一命をとりとめた照手姫は人買いに売り飛ばされ、美濃の国(岐阜県)でこき使われるように。

一方、死んだ小栗は、えんま様の裁きで「熊野の湯に入ればもとの姿に戻ることができる」と上人に宛てた手紙とともに現世に送り返される。餓鬼阿弥となって歩けない小栗は「この車を引く者は供養になるべし」と書かれた荷車に乗せられ、多くの人に引かれて美濃へ。

美濃にいた照手姫は、小栗と知らずに5日間にわたって車を引き、ついに熊野に到着。つぼ湯で49日間湯治を行って、みごと元の姿に黄泉がえった小栗は、晴れて照手姫と一緒に。その後、小栗は蘇生する英雄として、照手姫は結びの神として祀られた。

The Legend of Oguri Hangan

After rejecting many women for marriage, the handsome Oguri finally fell in love with a beautiful woman who was, in fact, a disguised snake.  In anger, his father banished him to modern-day Ibaraki Prefecture, where he pursued the beautiful princess Terute and forced her to marry him.  

Her brother and father plotted revenge and sent a man-eating horse after Oguri, but he easily tamed it.  So they poisoned him, and he descended to hell.  Terute was thrown in the river, only to be saved and then sold into slavery.

The king of hell decieded to bring Oguri back to life, and sent him back to a disceased body with a sign that said, “Only by being bathed in Yunomine will this man regain his former health.”  Over the next 144 days, scores of people pulled him in a cart toward Yunomine; as he passed the land where Terute was enslaved, she came to pull the cart to gain merit, not knowing it was her husband.  

Finally he reached Yunomine, and after bathing for 49 days he was cured and returned to Kyoto, where his parents welcomed him.  He became the mayor of the land where Terute lived, and they were reunited and lived together forever after.   

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