芥川龍之介's story 片恋 begins with the following sentence:
Perhaps because 聞く can mean both "to hear" and "to ask", and also because of the causative conjugation of the verb, I'm not too sure of the correct interpretation of 友だちに〜聞かせられた. Would anyone be able to provide some clarification on how to parse this word? My guess would be to translate the passage as follows:
I heard this story one summer afternoon from a close friend with whom I had attended university, after we bumped into each other aboard a train from Yokohama.
聞かせられた appears to mean "was caused to hear". Is this as circumlocutious in Japanese as it would be in English? Could 聞かれた or 聞いた be used instead?