I recently managed to reach level 10 in WK and decided to start trying to read some native material. Floflo.moe brought to my attention the short story 大きなかに from Aozora Bunko and I decided to give a try.
There I ran into the following sentence that is giving a hard time to figure out.
(Some context: this is something that the main character, Tarou, thinks to himself when he gets worried because his grandfather has not returned home yet and it is snowing heavily)
Here’s my breakdown of how I understand things so far:
おじいさんは、 => Grandfather (+topic particle)
どうなさったのだろう => polite version of どうしたの (what’s wrong / what’s the matter) + だろう (conjecture / puzzlement)
So the first part, in my understanding, translates as “What could have happened to grandfather?”.
Things start to get confusing in the next part:
きつねにでもつれられて => きつね (fox) に (particle) でも (but) + …
I have two theories about つれられて:
Either, it is the passive conjugation of 連れる (to bring along) + te form, or… it is simply the te-form of 釣られる (to be lured). So, Tarou seems to be either thinking:
“Even if grandfather is being accompanied by the fox” or
“Even if grandfather was lured by a fox”
I feel the second option makes more sense since there was no mention of grandfather going out with a fox at the start of the story when he leaves, nor is it common for foxes to be companions. Then again, this is kind of folk tale, so I cannot completely discard the first option, I guess.
どこへかゆきなされたのではないかしらん => どこ (where) へ (direction particle) かゆき (!?) なされた (polite version of to do + passive conjugation + past tense) の (normalizer) ではない (is not) かしらん (wonder / puzzlement).
Figuring out what かゆき is seems to be the key to understand this phrase. jisho.org doesn’t have an entry for かゆき, though it points me to かゆい (itchy); however, I am having trouble thinking かゆき can be an adjective since there doesn’t seem to be a noun it could be describing.
In a big stretch of my imagination and my meager understanding of grammar, I could theorize かゆき is the noun “itch”, and かゆきする, the verb to “to itch” or maybe “to be itchy”. However, I cannot see how being itchy fits in with the previous sentence about the fox, or why the particle へ, which is usually associated with movement / direction, is being used there.
Any help figuring this out is greatly appreciated
On a side note… isn’t it ironic that when a sentence is completely in hiragana it is actually harder to understand than when it has Kanji in it, even if you are not familiar with those kanji? I feel pure hiragana makes it way more difficult to parse a sentence >.<