Sunday, November 8, 2020

豊郷にお住まいのY.Nさんが夕方お見えになり「庭から採ってきました」とマーガレットに似た黄色が美しい花と、拳ほどの珍しい果物二つ持ってきてくださいました。この不思議な果物は「むべ」というそうです。聞いたことがあるようなないような…。それで漢字をお聞きすると「郁子」または「野木瓜」と書くとスマホを見せて下さいました。触った感じは意外に柔らかくフワフワです。後で調べると、この果物は天智天皇が近江の蒲生野で狩りをなさっている時に老夫婦に会い子供が8人もいるのに家族みんな病気一つしたことがないというので、その理由を聞くと老夫婦はこの果物を見せてこれが健康のもとであると応えました。そこで天皇も食べてみて「むべなるかな(もっともであるなあ)」とおっしゃったのが名前の由来で、不老長寿の果物として天皇に献上するようになったそうです。Y.Nさんによると、一回り大きいアケビは熟すと実が割れるけれどムベは割れないとのこと。またムベの葉は年中緑色だとネット情報にありました。滋賀にこんな謎めいた果物があること、初めて知りました。Ms. Y.N. who is a resident of Toyosato came to the cafe in the late afternoon. She brought a bouquet of beautiful yellow flowers and two fruits which were about the size of a fist for me. I have never seen this fruit and I learned it's called "MUBE". I asked Ms. Y.N. about the spelling in Kanji (Chinese letters), then she showed me through her smartphone how it is written. I was surprised when I touched them because they were soft unlike what they looked like. According to the net info., in ancient times, when Emperor Tenchi was hunting in Ohmi ( Shiga prefecture now), he met an old couple who had eight children and they were all very healthy and had never gotten sick. The Emperor asked the old couple the reason. They showed the fruit and said it might have been because of it. The Emperor ate the fruit and he thought it made sense. Since then, it was gifted to the Emperor as a fruit of perpetual youth and longevity. Ms. Y.N told me that there is a similar fruit called "Akebi" which is one size larger than Mube and while Mube keeps the shape after ripening, Akebi cracks when it gets ripe. The leaves of Mube remain green all year long. I learned about this mysterious fruit in Shiga for the first time.