This article casts new light on the fifteenth-century “acolyte tale” Ashibiki (The mountain) as well as on the genre as a whole. In an archetypal acolyte tale, the protagonist (chigo)—often an avatar of a bodhisattva—dies a tragic death, awakening his surviving lover, a monk, to the emptiness of carnal desire. Perhaps due to the adversities the chigo endures in Ashibiki, previous scholarship has likened this tale to the archetype, although Ashibiki makes a stark contrast within the genre. By employing the “stepchild story” as a framework for re-interpretation, I argue that Ashibiki is a triumph story of a stepchild who is initiated into adulthood by surviving numerous hardships. Furthermore, based on careful analyses of several acolyte tales, this article challenges prevalent assumptions that chigo-monk relationships were inherently exploitative and acolyte tales were created for legitimating the institutional sexual abuse of adolescent boys.
僧と稚児の悲恋を描く稚児物語は、仏教寺院の組織的な少年虐待を正当化 する言説として解釈されがちだが、本稿は稚児制度がアプリオリに 性的搾取の構造 を持つという前提に依拠せず、『あしびき』の分析を通して、稚児物語の再検討を試 みるとともに、『あしびき』の継子譚としての構造を明らかにする。