‘Those were splendid days,’ I said. ‘We didn’t know it then, of course, just how splendid they were. Children never do, I suppose.’
‘I have child,’ Akira said suddenly. ‘Boy. Five years old.’
‘Really? I’d like to meet him.’
‘I lose photo. Yesterday. Day before. When I wound. I lose photo. Of son.’
‘Now look, old chap, don’t get despondent. You’ll be seeing your son again in no time.’
He continued to stare for some time at the buffalo. A rat made a sudden movement and a cloud of flies rose up, then settled again on the beast.
‘My son. He in Japan.’
‘Oh, you sent him to Japan? That surprises me.’
‘My son. In Japan. If I die, you tell him, please.’
‘Tell him that you died? Sorry, can’t do that. Because you’re not going to die. Not yet anyway.’
‘You tell him. I die for the country. Tell him, be good to mother. Protect. And build good world.’ He was now almost whispering, struggling to find words in English, struggling not to weep. ‘Build good world,’ he said again, moving his hand through the air like a plasterer smoothing a wall. His gaze followed the hand as though in wonder. ‘Yes. Build good world.’
‘When we were boys,’ I said, ‘we lived in a good world. These children, these children we’ve been coming across, what a terrible thing for them to learn so early how ghastly things really are.’
‘My son,’ Akira said. ‘Five years old. In Japan. He knows nothing, nothing. He think world is good place. Kind people. His toys. His mother, father.’
‘I suppose we were like that too. But it’s not all downhill, I suppose.’ I was trying hard now to combat the dangerous despondency settling over my friend. ‘After all, when we were children, when things went wrong, there wasn't much we could do to help put it right. But now we're adults, now we can. That's the thing, you see? Look at us, Akira. After all this time, we can finally put things right. Remember, old chap, how we used to play those games? Over and over?  How we used to pretend we were detectives searching for my father?  Now we’re grown, we can at last put things right.’


註釈:

‘Those were splendid days,’ I said.

‘We didn’t know it then, of course, just how splendid they were. Children never do, I suppose.’
「it」は「Those were splendid days」を受けています。「just how splendid they were」はそれをもう一度念押ししています。「Children never do」は現在形ですので「現在の習慣」を表します(「子供には決して分からないものだ」)。「suppose」は「think」より意味が軽いと言われています(語調を和らげるだけ)。

‘I have child,’ Akira said suddenly. ‘Boy. Five years old.’
‘Really? I’d like to meet him.’
‘I lose photo. Yesterday. Day before. When I wound. I lose photo. Of son.’
著者の日本人の英語感がでています。「冠詞を無視する」「時として主語+動詞を省略」「時制を無視する」。

‘Now look, old chap, don’t get despondent. You’ll be seeing your son again in no time.’
「old chap」は「呼びかけ」。「despondent」はここでは「落胆した」。「in no time」は「直ぐに」。

He continued to stare for some time at the buffalo.
この作者の文体の特徴の1つだと思いますが、我々なら「He continued to stare at the buffalo for some time.」のように表現すると思います。

A rat made a sudden movement and a cloud of flies rose up, then settled again on the beast.
「a cloud of …」で「・・・の大群」。「beast」は「獣」。

‘My son. He in Japan.’
‘Oh, you sent him to Japan? That surprises me.’
‘My son. In Japan. If I die, you tell him, please.’

‘Tell him that you died? Sorry, can’t do that. Because you’re not going to die. Not yet anyway.’
「anyway」はここでは「いずれにせよ」。

‘You tell him. I die for the country. Tell him, be good to mother. Protect. And build good world.’

He was now almost whispering, struggling to find words in English, struggling not to weep.
「whisper」は「ささやく」。「struggle」はここでは「努力する」。「weep」は「泣く」。

‘Build good world,’ he said again, moving his hand through the air like a plasterer smoothing a wall.
「plasterer」は「左官」。

His gaze followed the hand as though in wonder. ‘Yes. Build good world.’

‘When we were boys,’ I said, ‘we lived in a good world. These children, these children we’ve been coming across, what a terrible thing for them to learn so early how ghastly things really are.’
「ghastly」はここでは「醜悪な」。

‘My son,’ Akira said. ‘Five years old. In Japan. He knows nothing, nothing. He think world is good place. Kind people. His toys. His mother, father.’

‘I suppose we were like that too. But it’s not all downhill, I suppose.’
「downhill」は「下り坂の」。

I was trying hard now to combat the dangerous despondency settling over my friend.
「despondency」は「落胆、失望」。

‘After all, when we were children, when things went wrong, there wasn't much we could do to help put it right.
「put … right」は「・・・を正常な状態に戻す」。

But now we're adults, now we can.

That's the thing, you see?
「that's the thing」は通例「それが問題だ」の意になりますが、ここでは文脈に合いません。ここでは「that's the thing I wanted to refer to(その事が言いたかったんだよ)」のニュアンス。

Look at us, Akira. After all this time, we can finally put things right. Remember, old chap, how we used to play those games? Over and over?  How we used to pretend we were detectives searching for my father?  Now we’re grown, we can at last put things right.’


『今日のイデイオム』

「a cloud of …」
「・・・の大群」

「put … right」
「・・・を正常な状態に戻す」