■白蛇(THE WHITE SNAKE)
グリム童話集：白蛇(THE WHITE SNAKE) 一部引用
A long time ago there lived a king who was famed for his wisdom through all the land.
Nothing was hidden from him, and it seemed as if news of the most secret things was brought to him through the air.
But he had a strange custom; every day after dinner, when the table was cleared, and no one else was present, a trusty servant had to bring him one more dish.
custom［名詞］習慣, trusty［形容詞］信頼できる, servant［名詞］召使い
It was covered, however, and even the servant did not know what was in it, neither did anyone know, for the king never took off the cover to eat of it until he was quite alone.
This had gone on for a long time, when one day the servant, who took away the dish, was overcome with such curiosity that he could not help carrying the dish into his room.
go on：続く, be overcome［他動詞］〜に駆られる, curiosity［名詞］好奇心, cannot help+ing：思わず..してしまう
When he had carefully locked the door, he lifted up the cover, and saw a white snake lying on the dish.
But when he saw it he could not deny himself the pleasure of tasting it, so he cut of a little bit and put it into his mouth.
pleasure［名詞］喜び, taste［他動詞］食べる, a little bit：少し
No sooner had it touched his tongue than he heard a strange whispering of little voices outside his window.
no sooner than〜：〜するや否や, whisper［自動詞］ささやく
He went and listened, and then noticed that it was the sparrows who were chattering together, and telling one another of all kinds of things which they had seen in the fields and woods.
sparrow［名詞］スズメ, chatter［自動詞］しゃべる, one another：お互いに
Eating the snake had given him power of understanding the language of animals.
Now it so happened that on this very day the queen lost her most beautiful ring, and suspicion of having stolen it fell upon this trusty servant, who was allowed to go everywhere.
it so happened that：たまたま...が起こった, suspicion［名詞］疑い
The king ordered the man to be brought before him, and threatened with angry words that unless he could before the morrow point out the thief, he himself should be looked upon as guilty and executed.
threaten［他動詞］脅す, morrow［名詞］翌日, execute［他動詞］処刑する
In vain he declared his innocence; he was dismissed with no better answer.
In his trouble and fear he went down into the courtyard and took thought how to help himself out of his trouble.
Now some ducks were sitting together quietly by a brook and taking their rest; and, whilst they were making their feathers smooth with their bills, they were having a confidential conversation together.
brook［名詞］小川, whilst［接続詞］=while, bill［名詞］くちばし, confidential［形容詞］秘密の
The servant stood by and listened.
They were telling one another of all the places where they had been waddling about all the morning, and what good food they had found; and one said in a pitiful tone: 'Something lies heavy on my stomach; as I was eating in haste I swallowed a ring which lay under the queen's window.'
waddle about：歩きまわる, pitiful［形容詞］痛ましい, stomach［名詞］胃, swallow［他動詞］飲み込む
The servant at once seized her by the neck, carried her to the kitchen, and said to the cook: 'Here is a fine duck; pray, kill her.'
'Yes,' said the cook, and weighed her in his hand; 'she has spared no trouble to fatten herself, and has been waiting to be roasted long enough.'
weigh［自動詞］重さをはかる, spare no trouble：骨身を惜しまない, fatten［他動詞］太らせる
So he cut off her head, and as she was being dressed for the spit, the queen's ring was found inside her.
be dressed：下ごしらえされた, spit［名詞］つば