I found it in 吾輩は猫である in the sentence


After the cat has tried for several times to climb into the kitchen. Is that 三馬{さんま}を偸んで{ぬすんで} (3 horses stolen?) a fixed phrase? But I didn't find it on Google.

My own interpretation would be: During this, the response osan (the kitchen maid) gave me was as if (someone) has stolen her 3 horses, after that, (however) finally my worries were relieved.

Though, even so, I still don't get the proper meaning of the "から、" here. Thanks for your help!

1 Answer 1


「三馬{さんま}」 here means "a saury", which is a popular kind of fish. Cats are notorious for stealing sauries in Japan and they don't even say saury for stealing stuff from us humans.

In modern Japanese, it is written 「さんま」, 「サンマ」 or 「秋刀魚{さんま}」. So, 「三馬」 should be considered a sort of artistic ateji.

"I stole the maid's saury"

Please forget "three horses" altogether. We never, ever say 「三馬」 to mean "three horses" or 「三バナナ」 to mean "three bananas". You would need to use counters to say those things. Besides, how does a cat steal three horses in the first place?

「から」here means "since".

"Since I retaliated against the maid by stealing her saury the other day, I feel like I am relieved of the pressure on the chest."

This is a サンマ.

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