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Help with a sentence - fantasy book

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10 Aug 2016
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I'm reading a fantasy book and am having trouble with this sentence:

木々をすかして沢を見おろすと 、下流のほうから 、すべる岩の上を 、おぼつかない足どりで必死に逃げてくる男の姿が 、ぼんやりと見えた 。

Looking down at the mountain stream through some trees, she could faintly see a man desperately running away from the direction of downstream over slippery stones with unsure footsteps.

Is this correct?

1. In dictionaries I've seen 沢 translated as swamp/mountain stream, is either usage more common and which do you think it's here? Since later we've got 下流 - downstream it seems more likely to me that it's a stream and not swamp.

2. Is the すべる here 滑る? If so is it acting as an adjective? Is it something like 立つ力 - strength to stand, so すべる岩 stone to slip on = slippery stone?


22 Sep 2016
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I can't quite answer number 1... That is a problem that a native speaker or an extremely good Japanese speaker would only know. However, based on a simple google search through google.co.jp, it seems that 沢 takes the form of stream more so than swamp.The presence of the word 下流, like you said, also indicates that it is a stream.

Try this link. It's Google, don't worry.

Number 2, however, seems to be a modified noun with a verbal clause (or some fancy name like that). The kanji 滑る is correct.Thus, you are correct.

This is the link to Tae Kim's dictionary explaining this.

My translation goes like this:
When I looked through the trees and over the stream, I saw the faint outline of a man from downstream fleeing my way in desperation, and with an unsteady step, running on slippery rocks. NOTE: I added the word "running" for effect.

(Lit: When I looked through the trees and over the stream, I saw the faintly visible form of a desperately fleeing man with unsteady footsteps on the slippery rock's tops from downstream.)

Feel free to use these translations for anything.
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