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THE GOLDEN LOTUS
A X I )
OTHER LEGENDS OF JAPAN
AUTHOR OF "YOUNG AMERICANS IN JAPAN," "THE WONDK IlKI'I. (ITY OF TOKIO," ETC.,
ONE OF THE TRANSLATORS OF THE .TAl'AXKfE U1STOHK A I.
ROMANCE "THE LOYAL KONIXS"
^; ^f^Vwl;^ Svau-n by the Author
LEE AXD SIIEl'AKD. PUBLISHERS
CHARLES T. I) I L L I X < . II A M
THE NEW YORK
ASTOR LENOX AND
BY LEE AND SHEPARD.
All rights reserved.
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ELECTROTYPES AND PRINTED BY ALFRED JIUDGE AND SON
"^HE Japanese say, "The boza [priest] and the /m/m.s-////,,/ [pro-
fessional story-teller] can pick a man's pocket with their
tongues"; i.e., the stories told by those men are so amusing and
admirable that the people empty their purses in order to re\v:ml
the priest for his sermons and the vagabond for his reeitntions.
In this book I have endeavored to reproduce some of the
"Legends o,f ,th.e , Land of, the , Rising Sun," as related by the bozu
and hanasfi, '/<!, la .Mldiino^,. i have assumed the role of
and described sc.O.ie.? ' i tin lii'e of the modern Japanese.
20 EAST SEVENTEENTH STREET, NEW YORK.
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LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN L<> r n>
THE TOAD or TOMIOKA
THE HAXASHIKA (Professional st<n-ii-T< //</)
LEGEND OF LU-AVEN, THE WOOD-CUTTER
.A JAPANESE DELICACY
A LEGEND OF THE RAIN
STREET SCENES IN TOKIO .
A VISIT TO A JAPANESE THEATRE
LEGENDS OF THE Goo-Fox
No GAKU (Ancient Oj>< m <>
SlIINDA USAGI-UMA (LujLial f tin. J)nl
LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN LOTUS.
HEAVY drops of rain were plashing upon the
dusty surface of the broad avenue of Shilia,
Tokio. The pilgrims, who but a few moments before
thronged the place, had vanished like " water in sand '
into the adjoining restaurants; and the sellers of nonde-
script trifles, located beneath the magnificent trees, were
anxiously glancing skyward, and hurriedly covering their
wares with sheets of oiled paper.
My companion, a charming old Japanese gentleman,
knitted his bushy eyebrows, bowed, smiled, and said in
a gentle tone, "A hundred thousand pardons! I believe
we are about to have a down-pour. I regret very much
this inhospitable weather. Would you like to partake
of a cup of tea?''
While he was speaking the rain began to descend in
a torrent; whereupon we sought refuge in the nearest
cliaya, which was crowded with men and women in
We seated ourselves in a retired corner, and as we
sipped our tea, listened to the babel of conversation
( vii )
8 LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN LOTUS.
around us. Presently a young bozu (priest) entered,
and after shaking the moisture from his robes, said,
" It is almost time for the ho-dan (sermon) ; you,
good people, ought not to miss such a great benefit."
He was a plump, mild-featured lad, and his head was
so closely shaven that it almost pained one to look at it.
The pilgrims, who, upon his entrance, had bowed
their foreheads to the mats, murmured respectful replies,
and rising, awaited his departure.
To my surprise he turned to my companion, and said,
' All men ought to know of Buddha. It would be
a benevolent act for you to induce that foreign gentle-
man to listen to the golden words. Who knows but
that he might be led into the true path?''
My friend, who blushed to the tips of his ears, made
a respectful gesture of caution, and whispered behind
his fan, f Reverend sir, this gentleman understands
what you say."
The boziij not at all disconcerted, bowed politely and
invited me to accompany him, remarking, : We have
many of your preachers in our country: surely you
will not object to listen to one of ours."
I replied that I had long wished to have such an
opportunity, and that I should be most happy to accept
"While we were waiting for the shower to pass over,
LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN LOTl>. 9
we had quite an interesting conversation; and when i
hinted that his class had neglected to teach the masses
the pure doctrines of Buddhism, and had allowed tin-
people to remain in a shocking state of idolniry. In-
said, "I think you have been misinformed, or do m>t
quite understand the movement that, is taking place- in
our religious circles. It is true, before the arrival <>!'
you foreign gentlemen, there was great laxity among
some of our sects; now all of us are doing our best to
instruct our people in the Great Truth": adding. " The
rain has ceased, honorable sir from afar: will von
please accompany me and listen to the imperfect teach-
ing of a humble follower of Shaka?"
It was a novel sensation to find myself one of a
procession of pilgrims, while the conversation of our
devout companions severely taxed my gravity.
" Hai [yes]," said a weather-beaten dame, "th*
dark-eyed to-jin [foreigners] are always more- amen-
able to reason than the oid [imps] with bine eyes. In
fact, they are more human n (utterly disregarding the
cautioning signals of my friend). r l am one of tho-,
who speak my mind. Nobody frightens me by >co\vl-
? Pray excuse her," whispered the \vorthy old gen-
tleman. :? Some people are so religions that they have
enough faith for half a dozen. Such persons have NTV
10 LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN LOTUS.
little sense"; adding sotto voce, "but then, she is only
After a short walk we reached a shed-like building
connected with one of the temples. Our guide ushered
us in and saw us seated comfortably on the clean
matted floor, then retired behind a screen at the upper
end of the apartment.
The pilgrims behaved very much like our country
folks at a church meeting. Some prayed, others stared
about them, and a few yawned as though they con-
sidered the affair a bore.
After a brief interval an ascetic-visaged l)ozu glided
from behind the screen, and advancing to a platform
slightly raised above the level of the floor, knelt,
bowed, and murmured the Buddhist prayer; then sit-
ting up on his heels, glanced round at the congregation
until he discovered me. This action reminded me of
an incident I had once witnessed in a place of worship
in far-off Massachusetts, and I smiled.
The 'bozu regarded me sorrowfully, after which he
began his discourse in a low, musical voice, saying,
"Man is born without a knowledge of Amida
[Buddha], therefore it is the teacher's duty to instruct
everybody, not only in the true doctrine, but also to
enlighten people concerning the life of the Lord Shaka-
LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN LOTUS. 11
'I will not insult your intelligence by telling you
who Shaka was. Every child knows that'' (glancing
slyly at me). : The wonderful story of his life has been
translated into all the languages of the world. Every-
body knows how the king gave up his title and became
a beggar, that he might give the true light to the world.
!t Of late years we have had strange teaehers coming
from various foreign countries, offering us their reli-
gion" (slyly) "and their merchandise. What can they
give yon more precious and delightful than the Golden
Lotus?' (In a chatty tone.)
:? A few days ago I met a pilgrim who said to me,
? Holy Father, tell me about the Golden Lotus. I do
not understand why the Lord Shaka is seated upon
that beautiful flower.'
: This ignorance amazed me; however, after I had
told him the truth, I thought, c Possibly there may be
many in our land as ignorant as he,' therefore I made
up my mind, the next time I spoke to the people, to
explain this portion of the life of Shaka-ni-yorai."
(Very solemnly, with half-closed eyes.)
The merciful Lord Shaka had concluded his medi-
tations on the mountain of Dan-doku, and was descend-
ing the rocky path on his way toward the city. Xight
was approaching, the shadows were deepening, and no
sound disturbed the stillness of the hour.
12 LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN LOTUS.
r? As ho reached a plateau at the crest of the last
turn iu the road, he heard some one exclaim in a loud
voice, ? Shio-giyo mu-jiyo! [The outward manner
is not always an index to the natural disposition.] '
The Lord Shaka was amazed and delighted, think-
ing 1 , ? What manner of being is this ? I must question
him and learn more.'
? He then approached the edge of the precipice, still
hearing the voice repeating the wonderful sentence.
On glancing down into the valley he beheld a horrible
tatsu [dragon], which regarded him threateningly."
The ~bozu changed his tone into a confidential one,
and glancing at me, said,
? I will now explain the meaning of the dragon's
:? Man is naturally disposed to sin, and if he were left
without teaching would descend to the lowest depths
of degradation. The Lord Shaka came into the world
to teach humility, gentleness, forbearance, and patience.
Those who listen to his words will gradually lose their
natural disposition to sin and approach one step nearer
to the Golden Lotus. This is the true explanation of
f Shio-giyo mu-jiyo. 7 '
(Resuming his solemn manner.) ' The Lord Shaka
seated himself upon the edge of the rock, and addressing
the monster, said, r How came you to learn one of the
LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN LOTUS. 13
higher mysteries of Buddhism? Although I have been
studying ten years, I have never heard this sentence. I
think you must know others. Please tell them to me.'
* The dragon coiled itself tightly round the base of the
rock, then said in a thunderous tone, * Z<-*]iin metsu-
po! [All living things are antagonistic to the law
of Buddha.] ' "
(Resuming his confidential manner.) 'This truth is
eternal. How sad it is to know that every year millions
of people die ignorant of the teachings of the Lord
Shaka! I beseech you to keep the laws of Buddha, and
to close your ears to the words of false priests who
come from outside the civilized world to encourage the
worst inclination of human nature,- -that is, the viola-
tion of the Buddhistic law."
This covert allusion to our missionaries was much
relished by the old woman who had spoken her mind so
freely. " Ilai [yes]," she exclaimed, glancing fixedly
at me, " yes, yes, yes, that is so !
The preacher again resumed his earnest manner,
" ' Ze-sliio metsu-po /' roared the dragon, regarding
the sacred one. Then it held its peace for a space,
whereupon the Lord Shaka said, 'That is very good;
now pray tell me the next sentence.'
'' Shio-metsu metsu-i! [All living things mu-t die.] '
14 LEGEXD OF THE GOLDEX LOTUS.
"The Lord Shaka bowed and answered, 'That sen-
tence is better than the last; I would very much like to
hear the next.'
" The dragon looked up at him with a hungry expres-
sion, and said, i The next truth is the last and most pre-
cious, but I cannot speak it until my hunger is appeased.
I have not eaten since daybreak, and am very weak.
Give me some food and I will tell you the last of the four
" J I will give you anything you wish,' replied the Lord
Shaka. ' You have such great wisdom that I will deny
you nothing. What do you demand? '
" ' Human flesh,' was the response.
" The Lord Shaka regarded the dragon pityingly, and
said, ' My religion forbids me to destroy life; but as I
must, for the sake of the people, hear the final sen-
tence, I will give myself to you. Now tell me all you
" The monster opened its enormous mouth, and as it
did so, said, ' JaJku-metsu I-rciku ! [The greatest hap-
piness is experienced after the soul has left the body.] '
" The Lord Shaka listened, then bowed his sacred
head and sprang into the gaping mouth of the tatsu.
"When he touched the dragon's jaws they split into
eight parts, and changed into the eight petals of the
LEGEND OF THE (IULDK.V LOTUS. 1 . ')
(Earnestly and solemnly.) " As the Lord Shaka
trusted himself to the horrible monster, so you musl
trust to His teachings. If you do so, and earnestly
strive to attain perfection, you will, most assuredly,
some day, learn the full meaning' of the sentence, ' Jakn-
A collection was made for the benefit of the preacher,
after which the congregation silently dispersed.
When we reached the avenue, my companion remarked,
" Although I am only an ignorant man, I cannot help
making comparisons. After all, there is not much dif-
ference between our religions. You hope for a crown
of glory, and I to some day take my place upon a
THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA,
A BOUT seven miles from Yokohama, down the
.1JL picturesque bay of Yedo, is the famous holiday
resort of Tomioka, much frequented by overworked
merchants fleeing from the brain-wearying excitement of
the tea business, blase globe-trotters, and ruddy-faced
sea-captains anxious to learn something of the inner
life of the Japanese; for in that delightfully retired
spot, cliaya (tea houses) are plentiful, the attendants
are obliging, and the air is surcharged with ozone and
asceticism. The visitor sleeps in a temple, bathes in
the blue waters of the bay, and when he takes his
meals listens alternately to the pretty conceits of his
cherry-lipped servitor and to the soothing drone of the
l)ozu (priests) repeating their monotonous prayer,
'* Namu Amida Bidsuf (Hail, Omnipotent Buddha!)
One spring morning I was lying prone upon the soft
mats of a rear apartment in the temple of Cho-sho,
enjoying the delightful sensations resulting from a
plunge in the surf and the contemplation of one of
those wonderful examples of Japanese patience, a
><! miniature garden." Before me, in a space about
THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA. 17
six feet by four, was a charming landscape containing
hills, dales, and a mountain stream and lake; the for-
mer dotted with tiny clumps of feathery bamboo, artis-
tically interspersed with gnarled, twisted, dwarfed
matsu (pine-trees), and the latter spanned by a stone
bridge, the approach to which was ornamented with
two diminutive granite toro (lanterns). In the dis-
tance, standing out in bold relief against the blue sky,
was a model of :? glorious Fuji-yama," whose white
peak towered so naturally above the greenery that I
almost imagined I was looking at the mountain itself.
As I gazed upon the pretty scene, I noticed some-
thing move at the base of a beetling cliff on the left,
and presently beheld an enormous toad, which, slowly
emerging from its cool retreat, came hopping down a
winding path that had evidently been made for its
It was a solemn-looking creature, with a rich brown
and yellow skin and a body as plump as the l)ozn, my
landlord, who took such minute pains with the flower-
less paradise in which the Icawadzu resided.
Although'the Japanese devote much time and labor
to producing arboreous monstrosities, they seldom at-
tempt to reduce the size of :c nature's gems," or to
introduce them among their mimic landscapes, deeming
blossoms to be out of place amid such surroundings.
18 THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA.
The toad hopped a short distance toward me, then,
halting abruptly, " corrected its attitude," as the Japan-
ese terra it, i. e., sat up in a respectful position,
and eyed me askance, evidently comprehending that I
was a to-jin (foreigner). At first it gaped slightly,
as though amazed; after which it recovered its usual
placidity, and slowly winked one eye as much as to say,
: This is my hour for feeding, and I do not intend to
postpone my enjoyment for any one."
Once more advancing, it came flop, flop, flop down
the winding path, and on landing upon the little bridge
sat up as before, closed its eyes, and appeared to listen
to the droning prayer of the Itozu.
"While I was watching the creature, O Fuji-nami
(Miss Waves-of-the-wistaria-blossom) , one of the
waitresses of the chaya from which I procured my
meals, noiselessly entered the apartment, knelt beside
me, placed a tray upon the floor, and bowing her head
to the mats, murmured, >r Honorable Mister from afar,
your breakfast is served."
O Fuji-nami was a gentle-mannered, sweet-tem-
pered girl of sixteen, with large brown eyes, and a
well-shaped oval face which, according to custom, was
liberally covered with bismuth, while on the centre of
her pouting lower lip was a dab of carmine that con-
trasted painfully with the dazzling whiteness of her
THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA. 19
complexion. She was dressed quite gayly in silk and
crepe kimono (garments), and brilliant obi (girdle),
and was a charming specimen of her class.
Upon hearing her voice I half rose, turned my face
toward her, leaned my cheek upon my hand, and bid-
ding her good morning, inquired if she had ever seen
Instead of replying immediately, she sat up on her
heels, sighed, glanced downward until her long eye-
lashes veiled her beautiful eyes, and thus remained, as
though thinking over some very painful incident; then,
after a pause, said in a gentle, sad voice, : Yes, I
know the unfortunate O Momo [Miss Peach]. Alas!
that one so lovely should be compelled to assume
such a garb and " (shuddering) " to cat flies."
This speech aroused my curiosity, and I begged her
to explain herself; when she whispered, as though
afraid the toad would overhear her,
: Three years ago a foreign sama [gentleman], with
hair like the sunset in August, came to stay here. He
was very kind, and we all liked him because he ad-
dressed us by our proper names, and never called us
r AYay-tare ' or ' Kome-ear.' My friend, O Momo, was
a very beautiful girl, and was quite romantic. One day
I discovered her weeping, and upon inquiring the cause,
learned that she was in love with our golden-haired
20 THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA.
visitor. Oh! Charlie Smith Sama was very handsome.
Perhaps yon know him."
I explained that Smith was not an uncommon name
in the States; whereupon she sighed, shook her head
sadly, and continued,
? He remained here long after the other to-jin [for-
eigners] had departed."
Then she paused, covered her face with the ample
sleeves of her kimono, and wept softly.
The term to-jin (literally " a Chinaman " ) is not con-
sidered a respectful one, and is seldom used by the
Japanese when speaking to a foreigner. It is, however,
so commonly employed by them in their ordinary con-
versation, that they in familiar talk with us often
employ the Avord without thinking of its contemptuous
meaning. It is sometimes applied to objectionable
things, such as new diseases, strange insects, etc.
After O Fuji-nami had recovered from her emotion,
' r Only the gods know what causes women to love as
they do. Poor O Momo ! When Smith Sama left us,
he vowed to return the following summer; but though
she was always on the watch when the boats from
Yokohama landed their passengers on the beach below,
the golden-haired stranger came not, and her heart
sank. She, who had always been merry, grew sad and
THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA. 21
lost her beauty. The unhappy one waited until the
leaves of the maples changed to the color of Charlie
Smith Sama's hair; then one night, when the moon was
smiling on the water of the bay, she filled her sleeves
with stones and sought peace beneath the silvery waves.
Two days afterward her body returned to us for burial.
"We girls subscribed for a sake tub [commonly used
as a coffin among the lower orders of Japanese], and
the good bozu performed the services for half their
usual fees. Alas that her spirit should now inhabit
the body of that toad ! "
f How? " I inquired.
'Yes! ' (in a very low tone, glancing at the reptile,
which still appeared to be listening to us,) T you may
think it strange, but yonder kaivadzu is poor O Momo.
On the day of her burial she appeared in that place,
and she has never left the spot" (very sadly). "She
is waiting for Charlie Smith Sama to return. I be-
lieve he was a wizard."
Her grief was too genuine and her manner too earnest
to provoke a smile; so I comforted her by saying I
would take every care of the toad, and endeavor to
discover the destroyer of poor O Momo's peace of mind.
As I was speaking my attention was attracted by the
reptile, which was sitting motionless on the bridge
with its mouth slightly open, ' yanking " in the flies
22 THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA.
that were dancing merrily in the sunbeams overhead.
It looked so serene and self-satisfied that I could not
believe it had ever liked any object more romantic than
a fat bine-bottle.
? Is she not beautiful?" murmured O Fuji-nami.
r How hard she must have found it to acquire a taste
for such food ! '
Just then a big miller fluttered on to the scene and
settled upon one of the dwarf matsu (pines). Presto!
a long, thin, red tongue darted from between the parted
jaws of the toad, and in a second the moth was trans-
ferred to the cavernous mouth.
It required more faith than I had to imagine that the
spirit animating the fat, overgorged Tcawadzu had ever
inhabited the pretty " soul-case ' of O Momo, though
O Fuji-nami evidently believed such to be a fact.
It was a comical scene : the reptile mechanically
blinking at us, with the wings of the miller protruding
from its mouth and a smug expression on its features;
the girl, with big tears coursing down her bismuth-
coated face, sadly regarding the ugly brute ; and myself
sympathizing with her and pretending to believe her
While I ate my breakfast she related some wonder-
ful tales concerning the Tcawadzu, which she assured
me was gifted with almost supernatural wisdom.
THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA. 23
rf O Momo can foretell an earthquake or a storm, can
indicate how long- you have to live and whether you will
be lucky or unlucky in your affairs."
" Oh, yes, Sama ! she is the dearest, wisest, most
gentle being in the world, and is known far and near as
the Toad of Tomioka."
When I finished my frugal meal, O Fuji-nami knelt,
bowed her head to the mats, returned the bowls to the
tray, and rising, retired with her burden, leaving me to
think about her story and to watch the reptile.
Away down on the beach I could hear the laughter
of the bathers, and nearer, in the main hall of the
temple, the dull hum of the bozu at their prayers ;
while in the little garden all was still save the before-
mentioned flies, and they were one by one rapidly dis-
appearing down the capacious throat of the motionless
As I was lazily contemplating the creature, a small
shadow flashed across the landscape, and something
alighted among the greenery and vanished behind the
feathery bamboos, from whence presently proceeded a
low " buzz," evidently music to the ears of the gentle
It turned, sat up, looked at me over the back of its
head, and rolled its goggle eyes as though saying,
24 THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA.
" Listen, my friend from afar. That is the song of a
" Buzz-wuzz-wum! ' :
The new-comer hummed among the landscape, but
did not reveal itself; finding which, the toad once more
turned politely toward me, closed its mouth and eyes,
and appeared to be slumbering.
" Buzz-wuzz-wuzz! " went the unseen insect.
There was something very soothing in the hum of the
new arrival, and I presently became affected by it; then,
all of a sudden, I awoke with a start, and beheld O
Momo capture a large insect, the action being so rap-
idly executed that I had no opportunity of ascertaining
the species of its victim. All I saw was the toad with
its cheeks distended, winking knowingly and panting
In another instant a change came over the counte-
nance of the kawadzu: its eyes protruded, the corners
of its mouth assumed a downward curve, and it slowly
opened its jaws until it looked like a hungry squab
gaping for a worm.
As it did so, O Fuji-nami entered with towels and a
brass bowl containing warm water. On seeing the
gestures of the toad, she quickly deposited the articles
on the floor, knelt by the window-sill, clasped her hands
palm to palm, and tearfully exclaimed,
THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA. 25
l( * Ye gods ! she is dying ! r
The kawadzu shook its head, tried to insert its hind
toes in its mouth, turned over on its back, sat up
against one of the lanterns like a puppy learning to
beg, and made a wheezing noise; then, happy thought!
endeavored to dislodge its victim by spitting. I have
witnessed some very lame attempts, but never more im-
potent ones than those made by that toad, which, spite
of the popular belief, " could n't spit worth a cent."
Meanwhile the imprisoned insect was working away
like a woodpecker.
" Oh, what shall I do? " moaned the waitress. " Poor,
poor O Momo ! She will be killed, and perhaps have to
be a snake in her next state."
"While she was sobbing and lamenting, one of the
bozu, an ascetic-faced old fellow, looked in at the door
and inquired the cause of her agony. On ascertaining
the trouble he entered the room, knelt, bowed his head
to the mats, and sitting upon his heels, said,
" Probably the amiable creature is bewitched."
Knowing this was meant for me, and not being desir-
ous of earning fame as a wizard, I asked him to exam-
ine the reptile. He took a pair of lictslii (chopsticks)
from a shelf, advanced to the edge of the mats, reached
forward, dexterously grasped the toad with the instru-
ments, raised it from the ground, and peered into its
26 THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA.
gaping 1 month. Turning his shaven head toward me,
he smiled until his face resembled an animated cobweb
and I could scarcely see his twinkling eyes ; then once
more bowing, said,
:f See how weak women are. When this miserable
creature was in the more perfect state, she became
enamored of a red-headed to-jin; now' (chuckling)
"she has mistaken a to-jin liai r (foreign fly) "for a
blue-bottle. JVamu Amida Butsu !"*
He placed the toad upon its back on the mats,
inserted the liaslii in its mouth, and released the
cause of its emotion, a big, vigorous yellow-jacket.
These pests are said to have been introduced into
Japan by foreigners, hence their name.
The wasp lay for a moment all of a heap, with its
wings adhering to its slender limbs and striped body;
after which it stretched itself, vibrated its flying appara-
tus, and crawling to the window-sill, buzzed derisively,
soared across the little landscape, and vanished over the
peak of Fuji into the blue distance.
The ~bozu directed O Fuji-nami to bathe the toad in
the warm water; having done which he retired to his
cell, murmuring as he went, " Namu Amida Butsu! '
Upon looking at the girl I saw she was weeping, and
on my inquiring the cause, she said,
f l wish I were a man! Everything is against us
THE TOAD OF TOMIOKA. 27
women. I believe that to-jin lud was Charlie Smith
Sama! Not contented with causing 1 poor O Memo's
death in her former life, he has returned to torment her
in this. Alas! alas! men know not how to love! '
After a while the kawadzu sat up and eyed me
reproachfully, as though I were the cause of its
swollen head; then it slowly hopped up the pathway
and disappeared into its retreat beneath the rocks.
That was the last I saw of the Toad of Tomioka.
THE sun was beating fiercely upon the heavily tiled
roof of the temple of Sen-so, the ever-merciful
Kuwannon, in Asakusa, one of the most celebrated
places in the ancient city of Tokio. From amid the
cool recesses of the carved and gilded beams of the
porch came the soft cooing of the opal-breasted doves,
which were dreamily enjoying the delights of their
shady retreat; and from the interior of the dimly
lighted structure issued thin blue clouds of incense,
and a gentle murmur like the drone of bees hovering
over flowers, the voices of the bozu (priests) at their
No other sounds disturbed the holy cairn of the place,
and no pilgrims were to be seen on the broad flagged
pathway leading to the main edifice. The girls who
sold beans and rice for the sacred birds and animals
were dozing by their stands; the dealers in rosaries,
dolls, prayer-books, novels, sacred pictures, photo-
graphs of the Mikado and of celebrated actors, in-
THE HAXASHIKA. 29
cense, and bay rum, were slumbering with one eye
open, in order to enjoy a brief repose and at the same
time watch the thieves who infest the spot. The
withered crones, who had all the morning been howling
prayers to attract the attention of the charitable, were
resting from their labors and employing their toothless
gums in the mastication of their frugal meal of cold
I had spent several hours in the temple, had my
fortune told by the priests, inspected the well-polished
image of Bindzuri (one of the Jin-roku Rakan, sixteen
disciples of Buddha reputed to have the power of cur-
ing all disease), and gazed on the shrine said to contain
the little image of Ivuwannon that, twelve centuries
ago, was fished out of the Asakusa River by Hashi-no
Xakatomo, who founded the original edifice.
Truth to tell, I was tired of the Buddhist show and
anxious to listen to something more exciting than the
monotonous prayer of the priests; so, quitting the neigh-
borhood of the temple, I wandered into the shady
grounds and presently found myself before an open
booth, on the floor of which squatted a group of people
listening to the recital of a professional story-teller.
Notwithstanding the counter attractions of the
modern stage, cheap sensational literature, and the
introduction of daily newspapers, the lianasliika holds
30 THE HANASHIKA.
his own in the affections of the masses, and is as popular
as he was a thousand years ago ; for while relating one
of the tales of old Japan, the story-teller can covertly
criticise passing events and express sentiments that find
a warm response in the hearts of his hearers.
When the man had ended his narrative, I slipped off
my shoes and joined his patrons; noticing which, he
bowed respectfully and bade his attendant serve me
He was seated on a low rostrum at the back of
the booth, which was made of split bamboo mats laid
on a framework of light poles, and was admirably
arranged to exclude the sun and admit the air. Before
him stood a tsukuye (table) about six inches high,
upon which he rapped, drummed, or rattled to em-
phasize the more thrilling portions of his recitals;
and on his right was a lower platform occupied by
his attendant, who replenished the charcoal in the
hibachi (fire bowl), supplied his master with tea, and
handed around the fan for contributions.
The audience was composed of pilgrims, merchants
out for a day's enjoyment, and boys of various ages.
All were grave in their demeanor, polite to one another,
and inveterate smokers.
After a considerable sum in brass tempo (oval coins
worth less than a cent) and cash (clio-moku) had been
THE HANASHIKA. 31
collected lyy the attendant, the lianasliika bowed until
his forehead touched the low table, then said, -
" Honorable sirs, you doubtless imagine you are about
to receive great pleasure for your trifling outlay of money,
and expect that I will alternately cause you to gape with
amazement, shudder with terror, and laugh until you
exhibit the roots of your tongues. Yes, yes, I mean to
give you the full value of your money. My stories are
jetsu-roku [true history] , not like zu-zan [so called from
Zu, a notorious Chinese who forged historical records] ;
my art, like the silken cord of the rosary, connects facts
and makes them a harmonious whole, illustrating the
virtues of fidelity, patriotism, and valor. Now listen
attentively, and endeavor to understand the full mean-
ing of my narrative."
He closed his fan, once more saluted gravely, then
began in a musical voice, " The night guard over the
gates of the sacred city of Kioto had grown negli-
gent, and the oni [demons] frequently entered the
precincts and carried off persons who were unfor-
tunately compelled to be abroad after sunset : (In
a significant aside.) " We no longer have any neces-
sity for guards over our city gates: the latter have been
removed, and the oni can enter and depart at all hours.
Hail [yes] this is truly a period of change. However,
let us be thankful for all things sent by the gods."
32 THE HAXASHIKA.
This covert hit at foreigners caused his audience to
murmur approvingly and to throw him a shower of
coins. The lower orders of Japanese do not love us,
and though exceedingly polite, delight in slyly express-
ing their feelings. Having put his patrons in a good-
humor, and shown that while tolerating my presence,
his heart was filled with Yamato damashi (the spirit of
Japan), he rapped the table with his fan, and bowing,
recommenced, plunging boldly into his story :
" The night was cool and the sky was clouded when
Watanabe Tsuna, one of the faithful soldiers of Raiko,
chief captain of the imperial guard, started for the Rajo
gate at the southwestern entrance to the palace of
Kioto. The wind demons skulked amid the branches
of the pines, and shrieked menacingly as the brave
soldier strode along the deserted path which was over-
shadowed by the massive battlements; but AVatanabe
knew no fear, for he carried at his side a wonderful
sword forged by the great Yukihira.
" Upon reaching his post he examined his weapons, and
taking an amulet from his sleeve, wound it about the hilt
of his Tcatana [long sword], then exclaimed defiantly,
' Hundred million demons advance ! ' The oni heard this
and trembled; for his face was illuminated with the glow
of courage, and they also feared the power of the sacred
charm. The demons consulted, like old women who
THE IIANASHIKA. 33
had heard bad news, and gnashed their teeth. They
had sworn to enter the city that night and carry off a
beautiful virgin who was coveted by the hideous, red-
haired-monster, Shu-ten-doji, their master.
" ' AYuit, wait, wait,' murmured one of their number,
an old oiii with only one eye and teeth like a dragon's
claws. ' If we keep quiet, TTatanabe will soon fall
asleep; then we can attack and kill him, and accom-
plish our task.'
" The others thought this advice was good, and held
their breath ; so Watanabe heard nothing but the amorous
chirping of the night cricket and the love song of the
frogs ' cloaping ' in the moat below. ' Ah ! ' he thought,
* if I only had my tablets in my sleeve, I would write a
" ' High in the matsu [pine] chirps what?
Low in the moat sings what?
The eager lover.'
" Watanabe, like many great warriors, was a poet ;
and as composing verses absorbs the soul, he w T as
presently lost in deep thought and soon slumbered.
At that moment the one-eyed oni crept to the gate,
reached its long, hairy arm round the door-post, grasped
Watanabe by the helmet, and
Here the hanasJiika paused, and bowing respectfully,
murmured, " Five tempo, honorable sirs, and I will coii-
34 THE HAXASHIKA.
tinue the story. For the mean and trifling sum of five
tempo yon shall learn what the oni did to "Watanabe."
He closed his fan, signalled to his attendant to hand
him a cup of tea, and leaning his elbows upon the table,
watched the faces of his audience. The pilgrims fum-
bled in their pouches and sent their coins spinning on
the mat before him, shouted " Yuke " (go on) , and looked
as eager as a lot of school-boys listening to a ghost
story. After the last coin had fallen, he squirted the
tea from his mouth and continued in a low, " creepy '
'The oni endeavored to raise Watanabe from the
ground. Meanwhile the clouds had gathered around
them, the demons were hurrying to their comrade's aid,
and the sky was filled with their exultant cries." (Rat-
tling his fan on the tsukuye.) " The undaunted soldier
raised his left hand and grasped the oni's wrist, then
quickly drawing his sword, made a cut that whistled
like the autumn wind among the trees, and severed his
assailant's arm. The monster, howling with pain,
sprang upon a cloud, and with its companions vanished,
leaving "Watanabe regarding his bloody trophy. When
morning dawned he returned to the castle, and laying
the arm at Kaiko's feet, murmured, ? Accept this as a
proof of my watchfulness.'
" Raiko commended him highly, and observed, ' It is
THE HAXASIIIKA. 35
said if you keep an oni's limb apart from its stump for
a week, it will no longer have power to reunite itself to
the creature's body. Guard that carefully; for as long-
as you possess it, the demons will be unable to enter our
Watanabe bowed, conveyed his prize home and
placed it in a stone chest, which he securely bound with
a rope of rice straw procured from a neighboring tem-
ple. He watched his treasure day and night, and grew
red-eyed with his vigil. On the third evening he heard
a faint noise outside his house, and the voice of his old
olxt [aunt] , exclaiming, < Let me in, Tsuna ! I wish to
see the arm of the oni, and to compliment you upon
: Watanabe, who greatly venerated the aged, drew
aside the sliding door, and admitting her said, ' Honor-
able aunt, much as I would like to gratify you, I cannot
exhibit my treasure until the expiration of a week.'
? Alas ! ' exclaimed his visitor, who was no other
than the oni disguised as his relative, f I fear I shall not
be able to see you then: I have come a long distance,
and my limbs are very weak.'
"As she spoke, her tears fell in torrents." (Slyly,
speaking satirically from the left corner of his mouth.)
' Honorable masters, beware of a woman who cries too
easily : she is usually an oni in disguise."
36 THE HANASHIKA.
>r Hai [yes] ," shouted the audience.
'"Watanabe again expressed his sorrow at not being
able to comply with her request; on hearing which she
beat her wrinkled breast and tore her scanty hair until
he, moved by her grief and despair, yielded." (Speak-
ing 1 out of the left corner of his mouth.) f Never be
deceived by a woman's tears: the man who commits
such an act of folly is lost. Of course I except the hon-
orable mother: always obey her, but" (slyly) "be firm
with your wives, your sisters, cousins, and aunts, and
the rest of the deceitful sex." (Lowering his voice and
speaking in a mysterious tone.) ' Watanabe approached
the box, removed the straw rope, and partly slid aside
the lid, when the crone, who had watched him with eager
eyes and trembling limbs, thrust forth her left hand,
and grasping the prize, shouted, ' This is my arm ! '
T Uttering a derisive yell she flew out of the open
door, and as she vanished into the western sky resumed
her true form.
>f The warrior, furious at being tricked, would have
destroyed himself, but his chief persuaded him to live
and to assist in killing Shu-ten-doji.
T Raiko dreamed that the possession of a celebrated
sword forged by Ohara Tarndaiyu, Yasutsuna no
Hoki, which had been placed in the sacred shrine of
Ise by the shogun Tamura, would enable him to over-
THE HANASIIIKA. 37
come the dreaded demon. After obtaining the weapon,
he, "Watanabe Tsuna, and two others disguised them-
selves as komusu [begging priests], and tracking the
demon's course by the blood-marks, followed it to the
pathless mountain of Oye, in Tango.
They climbed some distance up its sides, when they
came to a rivulet in which a beautiful young girl was
washing the monster's garments. Raiko questioned
her, and found that the oni devoured all the men and
the old women they captured, and spared the young,
whom they compelled to act as their attendants. She
told the heroes how to find the cave, then resumed her
"As they warily advanced, they heard a strange,
crackling noise." (Rattling his fan lightly on the
table.) '"Was it the rustling of the dried leaves"
(hoarsely and earnestly) , : ' or the step of a demon
creeping stealthily toward them, with gleaming eyes
and gaping mouth? Raiko grasped the hilt of his
sword. His companions followed his example, and
though their hearts beat like drums, their souls were
filled with true courage and they strode forward to meet
the unseen. Tramp, tramp, tramp! In another moment
they turned a bend in the pathway and beheld "
By that time the eyes of his excited audience were
protruding with horror, their mouths were gaping like
38 THE HANASHIKA.
fishes out of water, and their fingers were clasped palm
to palm; noticing which he stopped, and bowing said,
r For a few tem2)o I will relate the rest of this interest-
ing story. I have an aged mother to support, and a
family of little ones."
He calmly lighted his pipe, closed his eyes, and puffed
complacently, while his audience fumbled for their cash
and eagerly awaited the continuation of his recital.
He was a thorough artist and a keen judge of human
nature, and it was a study to watch him contemptuously
elevate his pug nose when the coins were not produced
' The best is to come," he carelessly remarked. " If
my efforts are properly stimulated with plenty of tempo,
I will alternately fill your souls with terror and cause
you to shout with joy. Only ten more cash and I will
resume my story."
Finally, when the spectators began to howl with
indignation, he assumed a horrified expression of face
and continued in a hoarse, affrighted voice,
T Raiko and his companions trembled, for they per-
ceived that the crackling noise came from a demon cook,
who r (rattling his fan) "was breaking the bones of a
human body to make soup for Shu-ten-doji.
: This sight enraged Raiko : his eyes flashed fire, his
breath came quickly " ; (in a loud, rapid voice) " he as-
THE HANASIIIKA. 39
cended the hill with tremendous strides, and followed by
his faithful companions, soon reached the cave, the en-
trance to which was as ragged as the mouth of a dragon."
(Quietly.) Then the hero paused and composed the fol-
lowing poem :
" ' Defeats man}' warriors what?
Destroys mail}' pleasures what ?
r? After doing this he became calm, and entering the
cavern, beheld Shu-ten-doji seated on a pile of silken
cushions, picking his huge teeth with a bone. Around
him were grouped his hideous followers, while young
damsels, beautiful as mermaids, were coming and going
with steaming dishes of human flesh cooked in a hun-
dred stvles. Before each oni was a skull filled with
blood, and ' (hoarsely) " as these were emptied, they
were refilled from tubs containing the crimson liquid.
? Raiko and his three trusty friends bowed low; then
Shu-ten-doji, being too dainty a demon to eat a priest,
invited them to enter and enjoy the feast.
r The visitors complied, and in order to entertain the
oni, amused them by dancing; after which Raiko pro-
duced a bottle of drugged sake and politely invited their
host to drink.
' AVhen the chief demon had swallowed a skullful
he passed the flask to his followers, and like them
40 THE HANASHIKA.
quickly yielded to its soporific effects." (In a loud voice.)
" Soon their snores sounded like thunder, and the earth
shook with the vibrations ; hearing which ' (excitedly
using his fan as if it were a sword), " Raiko and his com-
rades threw off their disguises, and drawing their keen
weapons, cut off the GUI'S heads until the floor of the
cavern was waist-deep in blood, and the torrent poured
over the mouth and descended into the valley " (rattling
his fan in imitation of a falling stream) .
: When Kaiko attacked Shu-ten-doji, his sword was
miraculously lengthened, his eyes flashed like spear-
heads in the sun, he uttered a tremendous shout, and
raising the blade aloft, brought it to bear upon the hairy
neck of the ghoul. As the dissevered head touched the
floor of the cave, Raiko called to Watanabe to help him
secure it, when to their astonishment it swelled until it
became larger than the shi-shi no kubi [lion's head] of
Kanda Miojin." (Excitedly.) " Then followed a scene
that gladdened the gods, for each of the warriors fought
like a hundred thousand men, cut, slash! cut, slash!
After fighting several hours, for all the oni on our
sacred islands came to the rescue of their friends, the
warriors despatched the last of the imps, and releasing
the prisoners, recovered the treasure hidden in the cave
and returned in triumph to Kioto, carrying the enormous
head of Shu-ten-doji in procession through the streets."
THE HANASHIKA. 41
(Bowing.) " Honorable sirs, such is the story of Raiko.
Ah ! in those good days Japan had brave men to kill the
wicked demons that tormented the people." (Signifi-
cantly.) " Now the red-headed oni torment us as they
please and we have to suffer, for there is no one among
us powerful enough to overcome them. Venerated be
the memory of the immortal Raiko ! '
f Ilai, liai" approvingly murmured the audience.
I lingered until the last of his native patrons had
retired, then inquired why he was so bitter against
At first he protested that I was mistaken ; but on dis-
covering I understood the double meaning of his story,
he frankly said,
:? Some of your countrymen come here with a new
religion, which they assure us is better than ours; and
others, rendered furious by the demon of drink, roam
our streets day and night, and cruelly assault innocent
persons. Why do you not, instead of inflicting your
faith upon us, endeavor to convert your Shu-ten-doji?
I beg that on your return to your honorable land you
will explain this to your countrymen, and " (bowing low)
" pardon the free tongue of an ignorant lianasliika,?
THE LEGEND OF LU-WEN, THE WOOD-
MANY of the most beautiful stories told by the
lianasliika are of Indian or Chinese origin, and
are as old as the hills. Among the most popular and
charming is the legend of Lu-wen, the wood-cutter,
which bears such a striking resemblance to Irving's
"Kip Tan Winkle' 1 that the latter appears to be a
plagiarism of the Oriental tale. The following is the
Japanese version :
"The priests say, ' Pray continually : for every prayer
uttered in this state you will escape a moment of pain
in the next.' While this is well enough for persons
who have nothing to do but to supplicate the gods, it is
a bad doctrine to teach those who have families to
support; in proof of which I will relate the story of
Lu-wen, who, many centuries ago, dwelt in the shadow
of the sacred mountain of Tendai, the highest peak of
the Nanlin range [China] .
" The wood-cutter, like most poor people, was blessed
with many children, whose necessities compelled him
to labor from daylight until dawn; notwithstanding
THE LEGEND OF LU-WEN, THE WOOD-CUTTER. 43
which he was always cheerful, and contrived to keep
the rice-pot well filled.
" One afternoon, while he was engaged in felling a
tree, a begging priest interrupted him and inquired
wliether he had ever thought of a future state. The
wood-cutter eyed the ~bozu askance, and curtly replied,
" ' I have no time to attend to such things. If you
had to work for your living, as I do, and had a large
family to support, you would not trouble yourself about
the future. I find it hard enough to attend to the pres-
ent. Please stand out of the way, or this tree may fall
" The TJOZU, who had a ' golden tongue ' and was used
to hearing such plain talk, bowed and said, -
" ' My son, you must not forget that you owe some-
thing to yourself. Every hour you devote to prayer
w r ill save you a hundred years' torture hereafter. Pray
and work; then will your life be happy, and when the
end of your present state approaches, you will close
your eyes satisfied that you have attained one step
toward eternal perfection. Think how terrible it
would be to pass countless ages in various forms, each
lower than the last, or to have your restless spirit
wandering for millions of years amid the horrible lab-
yrinths of hell. Would you suffer torments that no
tongue can describe, thirst that even an ocean of water
44 THE LEGEXD OF LU-WEN, THE WOOD-CUTTER.
could not quench, hunger that no food could satisfy?
Think of this, my son, and remember that for a present
miserable outlay, a little self-sacrifice, and a few hours
spent in holy contemplation, you may avert almost all
these calamities, and will finally attain a seat on the
sacred flower in the calm heaven of tranquillity and
" At first Lu-wen turned a deaf ear to his tempter's
pleadings. However, being only a poor, ignorant fel-
low, he could not resist the sophistries of the learned
man, who, after filling the wood-cutter's soul with appre-
hension, and emptying his pouch of the savings of a
lifetime, retired, leaving the unhappy forester a prey to
the most dismal forebodings.
" From that hour Lu-wen became a changed being,
and instead of working with his axe, wasted his time
in religious disputation with all who would listen to
him, and in meditation and prayer.
" When winter came he wo\ild crouch over the scanty
fire and count his beads, and during the rainy season he
occupied the sheltered side of the hut, and compelled
his children to stand in the puddles. Like all ascetics,
he w r as mild of speech, inoffensive of manner, and will-
ing to receive anything from anybody. As time rolled
on his family increased, and their means of subsistence
dwindled to nothing.
THE LEGEND OF LU-WEN, THE WOOD-CUTTER. 45
" At first his wife, who was an industrious, frugal
woman, silently submitted to his eccentricities and
turned a deaf ear to the advice of her neighbors, who
did not fail to plainly express their opinions of her
husband's conduct; but at last, unable to withstand the
pitiful cries of her children, she determined to remon-
strate with him. One morning, after he had dreamily
swallowed the only food there was in the house, and
was preparing to ascend the mountain in order to enjoy
his devotions undisturbed, she approached him, pros-
trated herself, bowed respectfully, and murmured,
" i I desire to say something important to you.'
" ' Be quick,' he returned, ' do not worry me with
your foolish gossip. I have my prayers to say.'
" This unkind reply stung her to the quick; and
rising, she excitedly exclaimed,
" ? Honorable husband, listen to me. I can no longer
contain my indignation, or bear the sight of our little
ones' misery. Are you blind and deaf ? Cannot you
see that their stomachs are adhering to their back-
bones, and do you not hear them moaning for food?
I have worked until my fingers are worn to the bone,
and my strength is exhausted. I think it is time you
again took your axe and did something more important
than mumble prayers.'
" For a while he could not credit the evidence of his
46 THE LEGEXD OF LU-WEX, THE WOOD-CUTTER.
ears; however, he presently recovered from his amaze-
ment, and replied sternly,
'Woman, the gods are before everything! Your
words shock me ! See, our children are listening, and
will be led astray by your thoughtless expressions.
You forget that I am known as the most pious man in
? Pious! pious!' ejaculated the heart-broken crea-
ture, as she glanced around the miserable home and saw
nothing but hungry faces and empty vessels. : Your
prayers do not fill our rice-pot ! '
You are a vile creature ! ' he wrathfully answered.
? I will not waste my breath in endeavoring to change
your nature. Consider yourself divorced. After this
I will have none of you ! '
* He snatched his axe from the corner where it had
so long rested, and without deigning to look behind
him, strode up the mountain-side, entered a mist cloud,
and disappeared from her sight. As he vanished she
dried her eyes, and indignantly exclaimed,
'You may go your way: I am satisfied. I would
rather bear the stigma of divorce than struggle to
support such a lazy, dreamy, good-for-nothing vaga-
bond! May the foxes punish you for your unnatural
behavior to your offspring ! '
" Although the woman had in her anger expressed
THE LEGEND OF LU-WEN, THE WOOD-CUTTER. 47
the feelings that agitated her soul, she presently, like
a true wife, began to reproach herself for having been
so disrespectful to her husband; and when a neighbor
looked in and inquired after her health, she sighed and
' I fear I have driven Lu-wen away for good. Oh,
what shall I do?'
" The visitor smiled, and glancing at her, said in a
'Even ascetics must eat. Don't worry yourself:
your husband will hurry back when he imagines he
smells the burnt rice.'
r Lu-wen slowly ascended the mountain, and as he
walked beheld the sun goddess drive back the dragon
of the mist. Upon reaching his usual retreat, he seated
himself on a shelf of rock and murmured a prayer.
Overhead was the blue sky; behind him the glorious
peak of Tendai, with its snowy crest glistening like a
cone of silver; and at his feet the lovely valley, green
with early rice and swarming with men and women
busily engaged in cultivating the soil. The feathered
pines gave out sweet odors, that, mingling with the
perfume of ten thousand flowers, floated around him
and charmed his senses : and as he listened to the song
of the peli-liny, lark [called hundred-spirit bird], he
smiled and said,
48 THE LEGEND OF LU-WEX, THE WOOD-CUTTER.
' What fools men are to toil and sweat in order to
amass the dross of this earth ! "When will they learn
that to acquire happiness it is only necessary to aban-
don material things and to pray to the gods? Here all
is peace, and one is not tormented with the chatter of
a woman's tongue.'
r Having thus expressed himself, he yielded to the
soothing influences around him, and closing his eyes
enjoyed the ecstasy of holy contemplation. While
thus employed he heard a noise in the undergrowth,
and arousing himself, saw a fox dart before him and
vanish into a thicket of bamboo grass. Although not
fond of hard work, he had a keen love of the chase;
so he seized his axe, and rising, started nimbly in pur-
suit, thinking as he beat the covert, : When the
winter storms howl around the base of Tendai, it will
be good to have a fox-skin to protect one's head.'
:t He saw the creature's tail several times, but failed
to run it down; and finally, after a prolonged chase,
was about to give up the hunt and return to his devo-
tions, when, entering a clear space, he to his amazement
beheld two court ladies seated on a finely woven mat
playing sho-gi [chess].
: The wood-cutter squatted respectfully, rested the
head of his axe on the ground, and placing his chin on
the but, watched the progress of the game, his soul
being filled with a new emotion.
THE LEGEND OF LU-WEN, THE WOOD-CUTTER. 49
'Ah!' he murmured to himself, Mf one of those
glorious creatures would but notice me ! '
: The pious Lu-wen, utterly forgetful of his good
wife and starving children, continued to gaze upon the
lovely ladies until the hours melted into days, the days
into weeks, the weeks into months, the months into
years, and the years into centuries; devoured by his
passion and oblivious of all save its objects.
The spring rains which saturated his decaying gar-
ments glanced harmlessly off the robes of his charmers,
who neither heeded them, the sun of summer, nor the
snows of winter, but played on f as calmly as gods ' a
game that appeared endless.
? Lu-wen, utterly unconscious of the lapse of time
and the changes that had taken place in his appear-
ance, eagerly watched every move made by the mys-
terious ladies. After three hundred years he detected
one of them in a false move, when he cried, f Wrong,
most beautiful woman ! '
T In an instant the dames changed into foxes, and
vanished among the brushwood; seeing which he
thougkt, : When the winter storms howl round the
base of Tendai, it will be good to possess two fox-skins
instead of one. I will secure them.'
:? As he moved his chin from its resting-place, and
rose to resume the chase, he discovered that his limbs
50 THE LEGEND OF LU-WEN, THE WOOD-CUTTER.
were stiff; while the handle of his axe, which had been
made of kaslii [the hardest kind of wood], crumbled
into pimky fragments and scattered about his feet.
With a tremendous effort he contrived to stand erect,
when to his horror he found, in lieu of a shaven face,
he possessed a flowing white beard, and that his head
was covered with long, silvery hair.
r Five hundred gods!' he cried, raising his hand
and clutching his snowy locks. ' What has come over
me ? Ah, I understand! I have been bewitched by
'He passed his trembling fingers slowly over his
wrinkled features, and glanced with a dazed expression
at his withered limbs and time-worn garments; then,
bent like a bow, hobbled down the mountain path.
? Although he easily found the main street of his
native village, everything in it was changed. Saplings
had grown into trees, the giant monsters that formerly
shadowed the road were leafless and decayed, and he
beheld new houses and strange faces; while the awed
children, who peeped at him around the corners, whis-
pered to one another, 'Who is that mountain spirit?
Is he of the demons or of the ancient gods?'
c Presently he paused to rest, and shading his eyes
with his palsied hands, quavered, r How different every-
thing is from what it was this morning! '
THE LEGEND OF LU-WEX, THE WOOD-CUTTER. 51
r? After a while he reached the spot which had once
been occupied by his hut, when he beheld an aged
woman, who appeared to rise out of the ground, and
who was as ragged and weird as himself. He alter-
nately surveyed her and the wonder-stricken crowd
that had gathered around them, then querulously
demanded what had become of his home; adding,
? Surely I am not dreaming; this is the village of
r The crone regarded him with a penetrating glance,
and replied, ' Yes, this is Yu-peen. What is your
'I am Lu-wen, the wood-cutter,' he mumbled.
'This morning I quitted home, and ascended yonder
mountain in order to pray undisturbed, and while thus
employed was bewitched by foxes.'
This morning ! this morning ! ' she cried. f If you
are Lu-wen, who left your wife and little ones to starve,
vou have been absent from here three hundred years.'
r Three hundred years! ' he gasped, placing his
hands palm to palm in agony. : Woman, surely you
must be jesting ! '
r No, I speak the truth,' she bitterly replied. The
gods, to punish you for neglecting your little ones, have
prolonged your life until there is not a Lu-wen left to
burn incense at your tomb.'
52 THE LEGEXD OF LU-WEX, THE WOOD-CUTTER.
? Lu-wen led the way through the village past the
old temple, the only building that he recognized, and
entered the cemetery where rested the bones of his
The shadows of evening were falling, and the peo-
ple followed the aged pair with awed faces and bated
>? Slowly, for the patriarch walked with great diffi-
culty, the weird ones advanced until they arrived at the
moss-covered tablets erected in memory of generations
of Lu-wens, when the woman pointed significantly to a
hillock, and said, r There rest the bodies of your unfor-
tunate children, who perished miserably through your
:t As he gazed on the neglected graves, big tears
coursed down his withered cheeks and moistened his
snowy beard, and he covered his eyes with his hands as
though he could not bear the sight. After a while he
turned toward the tombs of his ancestors, prostrated
himself, and for a few moments remained like one who
The by-standers, pitying his age and infirmities,
brought incense and assisted him to make his offerings;
at the conclusion of which he rose, and addressing the
c My children, do not follow the advice of the bozu
THE LEGEND OF LU-WEN, THE WOOD-CUTTER. 53
when they tell you to pray continually. Prayer i- good
and the gods are merciful, but we must consider othci^
as well as ourselves. For thinking solely of my own
future I have been condemned to lose the happiest por-
tion of my life, - - my manhood. The foxes justly pun-
ished me for my inhuman behavior to my offspring. Re-
member my last words, Work and pray. Farewell !
Thus speaking, he turned away sorrowfully and
moved slowly in the direction of the mountain, followed
at a respectful distance by the strange old woman, who,
as he vanished into the gloaming, uttered a triumphant
laugh and melted into air.
'" Although some unbelieving persons assert that the
foregoing is merely an idle legend, invented by story-
tellers to frighten lazy persons who pretend to be pious
in order to avoid labor, it is most certain that if you visit
the mountain of Tendai when the moon is at its full, you
will encounter the spirit of Lu-wen, the wood-cutter/ 1
A JAPANESE DELICACY.
OK the street called Okiyo-koge (High Resting-
Place of the Mikado) , in Tokio, is a restaurant
c where persons can enjoy the supreme delight of broiled
eels." This establishment is kept by a man named
Maroki, and is well worth a visit.
Most foreigners profess to dislike native food, and
will not attempt to overcome their repugnance; while
others boldly taste everything offered them, and soon
learn to enjoy the perfect cookery and dainty service of
the Japanese, and to prefer their dishes to the eternal
sameness of our own.
One afternoon in April I was strolling about the
streets, engaged in watching the interesting occupa-
tions of the people, when I met a young Japanese who
had been educated at Harvard, and who appreciated a
slice off the breast of a canvas-back duck and a tender-
loin steak as perfectly as :? one to the manor born."
Having politely saluted me, he said,
'I am on my way to Maroki's. Would you like to
A JAPANESE DELICACY. 55
join me in a feast of broiled eels? It is said that this
month the unagi is a fit morsel for the gods."
? Unagi? r> I replied, with a somewhat dubious shake
of the head. f I never was very fond of those marine
f Probably you have never tasted them prepared by
my countrymen," he slyly returned. ? I remember once
eating some at Delmonico's ' (shuddering). They
were soft, flavorless morsels, enclosed in a quivering jelly.
Come along with me and partake of a dish the taste of
which will be pleasantly remembered long after you
return to America. You, who are half a Japanese,
ought not any longer to remain ignorant of one of our
Summoning a jin-riki-sha, we squeezed into it in the
economical native fashion, and after a brief ride turned
into the Okiyo-koge machi, and alighted at the entrance
to Maroki's establishment, a two-story building, the
lower apartment of which was furnished with grated,
prison-like windows. In the entrance were the pro-
prietor and his wife, who, as we paid our jin-riki-sha
man, prostrated themselves, bowed their heads on the
boards, and murmured, ' Thousand welcomes to our
humble place " ; then, rising, awaited our pleasure.
"Are the eels good to-day?' patronizingly inquired
my friend. ? I have heard that their flavor is not quite
56 A JAPANESE DELICACY.
what it used to be. Do you procure them from the
city canals, or are they from the Sumida River? ' ;
The proprietor again bowed, twitched the left corner
of his mouth, after the fashion of a Japanese uttering a
joke, and answered,
r Honorable sir, do you for a moment imagine I would
offer canal-bred eels to such a judge as yourself? No,
no ! you know that I have a high reputation, and buy
nothing but the most beautiful fish that come from the
Sumida. Remembering that the time was near for you
to pay us a visit, I have saved some of my finest eels
for you. "Would you like to come into the kitchen and
r Hai" gently added his wife, who had listened to
his speech with downcast eyes, "that is so. "We have
some unagi fit for a daimio."
What do you say?" inquired my companion, turn-
ing to me. ' Would you like to visit the culinary
c Not until I have dined," I answered, sniffing sus-
piciously at the unmistakable odor of daikon (pickled
radish) that issued from a rear apartment. : You
know the old proverb, ? Do not make the acquaintance
of the cook until the feast is over'? If I relish the
eels, I may feel like learning how they are prepared for
A JAPANESE DELICACY. 57
We slipped off our shoes and followed our hostess up
a broad ladder to the floor above, which was divided by
sliding screens of paper into a number of apartments.
Here we were greeted by a score of chubby-faced,
cherry-lipped, neatly dressed attendants, who knelt and
welcomed us with profound bows.
Which room do you prefer? ' said the mistress.
'This is not a busy hour, so most of the apartments are
My companion thought awhile, as though deciding
an important matter; then haughtily replied, ' AVe will
occupy the one over the extension. I always feel at
The woman led the way, and we entered a neatly
matted room, about ten feet by twelve, the sole adorn-
ment of which were two kakemono (hanging pictures)
representing Ebisu and Dai-koku, gods of luck.
Placing cushions on the floor, she invited us to seat
ourselves upon them, prostrated herself, bowed gravely,
and retired. In a few moments a black-eyed waitress,
w r hose hair was polished like ebony and decorated with
a single pin, entered with a tabakobou (box) containing
live charcoal for our pipes. She deposited the appara-
tus on the floor between us, knelt, bowed, sat upon her
heels, glanced modestly downward, and awaited our
58 A JAPANESE DELICACY.
My friend, who was what we term rather :f airy,"
being a junior official in the foreign office, glanced
patronizingly at the girl and said,
" Bring us some trifles with which to amuse ourselves,
then serve the broiled eels as fast as we require them.
Mind, we don't want fish that have been cooked an
hour. My guest is a gentleman who appreciates hot
food. "What wine have you on tap ? ' :
The waitress, who, in spite of her drooping lashes
and humble pose, was slyly watching me out of the
corners of her eyes and laughing to herself at his affec-
tation of importance, replied,
: We have the fuku-boten, the muso-ichi, the otari,
yebisii-tai, and the unrivalled hanazakari, which is the
one I suppose your Exalted Excellency will order."
: Yes," he nodded. "Of course we want the most
expensive. Bring us some hanazakari: I never drink
such stuff as fuku-boten. Hurry up."
When she had retired I remarked, "Do 3^011 not notice
a strange odor in this place? It makes me feel quite sick."
He sniffed once or twice in an unconcerned man-
ner, lighted his pipe, blew the smoke through his nos-
trils, and regarding me with an amused expression,
* After you have been in Tokio as long as I have,
you will be used to these trifles. I suppose you per-
A JAPANESE DELICACY. 59
ceive the perfume which arises from the sewer outside
the window. If you so desire, we will change to
Upon my replying that I very much wished to do so,
he summoned the attendant, who conducted us to an
apartment overlooking the street, then retired for a few
moments, and returned bearing two small trays contain-
ing little covered bowls and a bottle of the f flower in
She knelt near us, filled two tiny cups with the sate,
and proffered them to us, murmuring, The wine is
As I sipped the delicious liquor I glanced at the
pretty waitress, who was sitting on her heels, holding
the bottle in her hand ready to replenish our cups.
'What is your name? ' I asked.
f Kiku [chrysanthemum] ."
: What food is there on this tray? '
She reached forward, and uncovering the bowls,
said as she revealed their contents, ' :<r Sliced daikon [a
rank-smelling radish], niko-go-ri [cakes of fish jelly],
sliced raw tai [carp] , ginger root, and seven kinds of
r Please give me some shoyu [soy] ."
Away she went, and soon was back with a red-
lacquered tray, on which were two tiny, shallow saucers
and a small teapot containing the sauce.
60 A JAPANESE DELICACY.
She served each of us with some of the relish, then
again sat upon her heels and modestly cast down her
The liaslii (chopsticks) of fragrant red cedar, resting
on the trays, were unsplit at the top, showing they had
never been used, and that the restaurant was a first-class
Taking up my pair I pulled them apart, and grasp-
ing them in the regulation fashion, proceeded to enjoy
the food, my companion, who politely waited until I
had tasted it, following my example.
The daikon was hot, hard, and salt, and I did not rel-
ish it; but the fish jelly, cakes, raw tai, and vegetables
were exceedingly nice.
: These are only introductions to the real feast," re-
marked my friend. r Do not eat too freely, or you will
be unable to enjoy the delicacy of the season."
When we had emptied the bowls, the waitress re-
moved them, and quickly returned with some trays
containing square black lacquered boxes, bearing the
signs of the house and a number. Placing one before
each of us, she removed the tightly fitting lids and re-
vealed the contents, which were sections of nicely
browned eels, skewered together, that gave out a most
The girl smiled as she watched my looks, and replen-
A JAPANESE DELICACY. 61
ishing my saucer with slioyu, placed it near me, mur-
muring 1 , " I think you will find the unagi very pleas-
ing to your taste."
I took my liaslii in my right hand, inserted the points
in the fish, broke off a morsel, and ate. Ye gods, it was
delicious ! rich, tender, delicately flavored, and boneless !
I drew my box toward me, nodded approvingly at
the attendant, and enjoyed the delectable food.
The smiling girl brought in box after box, the con-
tents of each being nicer than the last.
I have partaken of fried oysters at home, broiled fish
in all countries, and the delicacies of ever} 7 clime, but
have never more thoroughly enjoyed any dish than I
did those unagi.
At last I laid down my chopsticks, and glancing at
my friend, exclaimed, : You were right in saying that
this is a dish for the gods ! We ought to introduce it
in the States."
The waitress bowed in acknowledgment of my praise,
and inquired if we would like some rice.
Yes," nodded my companion, " I think I could empty
a bowl or two."
The girl left us, and after a brief delay returned
bearing a large tray, on which was a covered wooden
tub containing hot rice, two lacquered bowls, a teapot,
and some tiny cups.
62 A JAPANESE DELICACY.
I ate one portion of the delicious, well-cooked cereal ;
then lighted my pipe and watched my friend, who had
his bowl refilled a dozen times, and who moistened his
food by saturating it with tea.
r How do yon contrive to render the skin of the fish
so tender?" I asked the girl.
r l do not know," she answered, glancing timidly
at the mats. : The cooks never permit ns to learn their
secrets. If you would like to visit the kitchen, they
will no doubt explain everything to you."
"O Kiku, bring something to help us digest our
food," said my companion. T I am afraid the eels will
disagree with us."
The girl quitted the room and soon reappeared with
a tray, on which was a lacquer cup containing some
seeds of the xantlwuylon piperitum, called by the Jap-
anese sanclio, which tastes like orange peel.
: Try those," he said ; :t if you feel any inconvenience
from your dinner, they will quickly relieve you."
!Not having emptied a tub of rice, I did not require
the medicine. However, I asked the waitress if she
would put up a few of the seeds for me to take home to
" ]STow for the bill," said my companion, refilling his
pipe. " Altogether you have given us a very tolerable
A JAPANESE DELICACY. 63
In a few moments she came back, carrying a small
scoop-like tray, in which was placed a slip of paper
inscribed with the reckoning 1 . She pushed this along
the mat toward him, then bowed and remained with her
face close to the floor, Avhile he minutely scrutinized
the document. Taking his purse from his sleeve, he
dropped some paper money into the tray, and remarked
in a low tone, " You may keep the change " (ten cents).
His munificence almost overpowered the waitress,
who bowed repeatedly and murmured gratefully, " Your
generosity resembles that of a foreigner. Any one can
see that you have travelled."
After we had smoked awhile, he asked me whether I
would like to visit the kitchen; and on my replying in
the affirmative, summoned the landlady, who said, " You
honor us too greatly"; offering me a small package,
"Please accept this sancho"', adding, "My husband
will show you how we prepare the eels."
"We rose, quitted the room, and descending the lad-
der-like stairway, the steps of which were polished as
smooth as glass, slipped on our foot coverings and
entered the kitchen. On the hard earthen floor were
rows of little charcoal furnaces, provided with iron rods
that served as rests for the skewered eels. Maroki,
who had a weakness for bowing and politely sucking
in his breath between his speeches, led the way, and
64 A JAPANESE DELICACY.
was exceedingly attentive. Pointing to a range of tubs
containing fine specimens of anguilla tenuirostrii, he
: These were caught this morning. They were the
most expensive fish in the Nippon Bashi market. Are
they not worth looking at?"
? How do you contrive to so completely extract their
bones?" I demanded. rt Our cooks cannot accomplish
He motioned to a lightly clad servant and said,
" Some customers have just come in. Prepare an eel
in the presence of these gentlemen."
The man, who evidently took great pride in his work,
selected a vigorously squirming fish, struck its head
smartly upon a wooden block placed upon the floor,
and squatting by it, grasped the creature's neck, in-
serted a knife in the left side of the vertebras, and
dexterously ran it down to the tail; then rapidly ap-
plied his instrument to the other side of the backbone
and repeated the process, leaving the eel split open.
Holding up the head, to which were attached the
vertebras and lateral bones, enclosing the intestines,
he bowed and said, : There is not a splinter left in
: That is so," proudly remarked the proprietor. f l
only employ the most skilful men and cooks."
A JAPANESE DELICACY. 65
The operator washed clown the block, chopped the
flattened eel into three-inch lengths, and shouted to a
cook, who advanced and removed it on a dish.
The next process was a mysterious one, and was
performed behind a screen, from whence the platter of
eels was handed out to one of the broilers. My opin-
ion is that the fish had simply been plunged into boiling
water, to make the skin tender.
"We advanced to a range and saw a cook skewering
the pieces of eel on long bamboo splints. Then he
placed them on the rods over the glowing coals, and
when one side was browned, dexterously picked them
up with a pair of iron chopsticks and turned them.
After they were thoroughly cooked, he seized the fish
with the same instrument and plunged it into a vessel
containing old shoyu, which was as thick and dark as
The steaming unagi were then drained, placed in a
lacquer box, and sent up- stairs to the customer.
: We never prepare our eels until they are ordered,"
remarked the proprietor. ? Xo matter how busy we
may be, I will not have the fish killed beforehand."
'What do you do with the bones?" I asked.
: We boil them down into the delicious jelly you
have already tasted. Nothing is wasted in this estab-
lishment. We think of the seven virtues."
66 A JAPANESE DELICACY.
I thanked him and gave the chief cook a gratuity.
When we quitted the establishment, Maroki with his
wife and the attendants were assembled in the en-
trance, boAving and exclaiming, " Iro, iro ariyato! Say-
onara, sayonara! [Many thanks! Farewell, farewell!] '
As we strolled up the street my companion said,
T I hope you have enjoyed my poor entertainment."
: Yes," I responded. C I shall not soon forget
Maroki's broiled eels; they are indeed a Japanese
A LEGEND OF THE RAIN.
ANE afternoon in March, while I was seated on the
matted floor of a friend's house in Sarngadai, in
Tokio, chatting with the charming mother of my host,
the rain suddenly began to patter upon the roof of the
veranda; noticing which the old lady glanced into the
garden, and said in a reflective tone, : To-day is the
fifteenth of the month. Hush,, little Ume \vaka is
Her observation puzzled me. However, I bowed
respectfully and remarked in a complimentary manner,
: What a difference there is between an American and
a Japanese child! When our youngsters shed tears
they generally howl at the top of their voices. Little
Umewaka must be a model boy."
This speech quite overcame the studied politeness of
my entertainer, who, after vainly endeavoring to refrain
from smiling, laughed merrily and said, :f Have you
never heard the beautiful story of Umewuka-maru? I
thought you were acquainted with all our legends."
68 A LEGEND OF THE EAIN.
"Oh, he is dead, is he?" I replied. 'I understand:
you spoke figuratively. I thought you were referring
to one of your neighbors' children."
Her lips twitched, and she said, ' ' To-day the anni-
versary commemorative service is held in the little tem-
ple at Muko-jiina, on the left bank of the Sumida River.
You and my son ought to visit the place. It is a very
As she concluded, my friend entered and said, f l
have overheard my mother's suggestion. What do you
say? shall we order our j in-riki-sha ? ' :
Upon my acquiescing, he directed his servant to sum-
mon the conveyances, which were presently brought
to the " mouth of the house."
Bidding my hostess adieu, I stepped into my car-
riage; and when I was seated, the jin-riki-sTia man
stooped, grasped the shafts, raised them breast high,
and set off at a rapid pace, my companion being a short
The jin-riki-sha (man-power carriage) is a vehicle
shaped like a baby wagon, and is usually roomy enough
to accommodate two adults. It is drawn by one or
more men, who are clad in tightly fitting blue cotton
lower garments and short tunics of the same material,
decorated with large white characters. These little,
sturdy fellows earn from two to four dollars a week, for
A LEGEND OF THE RAIN. 69
which sum they are expected to do the work of a horse,
to act as a guide, drag from one hundred and fifty to
three hundred pounds of humanity, to run from thirty
to forty miles a day, and be sober, honest, good-humored,
polite, and attentive to their patrons.
The shower was over, the sun was shining, and the
keen, bracing air made our runners " feel good," so they
rushed us along at a break-neck speed, turned the cor-
ners with a suddenness that almost deprived us of
breath, ran helter-skelter down the steep hill of Saruga,
and rattled us over the bridge of the canal; then, when
their exuberant spirits were somewhat exhausted, set-
tled down to a regular trot and began to thread the
labyrinth of streets leading to our destination.
Most foreigners, upon first arriving in Japan, feel a
repugnance to being trundled about in a vehicle drawn
by a lightly clad human being; but the jin-riki-sha is
so easy to enter and quit, and runs so pleasantly, that
the novice soon overcomes his dislike and adopts the
My runner was a lively fellow, who appeared desirous
of showing how narrowly he could shave every obstacle
in his way. Whenever he saw a woman with a child
on her back nervously crossing the road, a hen or a dog
enjoying the warm sunshine, or a coolie resting his
heavy burden in our path, he would utter a savage
70 A LEGEND OF THE RATX.
whoop and charge right at them ; then, when within an
inch or two of his terrified victim, would suddenly
swerve to the right or left, repeat his fierce cry, and
continue upon his wild career.
As we were passing one of the gates of the Kaga
Yashiki, an aged cat, lying in the road, rose, elevated
its back, raised its stumpy tail, and spat at my man,
who, unable to check his speed, ran his vehicle over the
defiant animal. The poor creature uttered an agoniz-
ing warro, regained its feet, clambered up a stack of
bamboos that rested against a neighboring house, and
vanished; while my jin-riki-sha-jin, regardless of the
owner's cries, kept right on, shouting, "' Hai, hai, lial!
[Get out of the way]."
A little farther on I beheld one of the vehicles of
the Tokio Rapid Transportation Company bearing
down upon us. It was a creaking, lumbering, dilapi-
dated, condemned Broadway stage, drawn by two
spavined horses, and driven by a wild-eyed, shock-
headed youth, who cracked a long whip and loudly
adjured his cadaverous animals. By his side sat a
fat little ragamuffin armed with a tin horn, which he
blew in a demoniacal fashion. The conveyance was
tightly packed with lower-class Japanese, yelling as our
country folks do when they are coming from camp
A LFGEXD OF THE RAIX. 71
The driver noticed me, said something to the horn-
blower, whipped up his sorry team, and charged right
at ns ; noticing which, my runner responded with a fierce
* Hai-hai" and deliberately collided with the skeletons.
The frightened creatures shied, the man lashed them
and swore in mingled pigeon English and Japanese, the
passengers shrieked, and the spectators waited for the
climax which soon came.
Yeli-yeli!' snarled the coachman, sawing at the
poor brutes' heads and vigorously plying his whip upon
their trembling bodies. ? Yeh-bakka ! *
In another moment they were backing furiously; then
the off wheels sank into a gutter, the axles snapped, the
body of the stage toppled over and landed in an oil
dealer's shop, and the animals, released from their bur-
den, trotted off neighing joyfully.
My jin-riki-slia man, who had stopped to watch the
result of his act, wiped his perspiring forehead and said
in a comical aside, :? People never get anything by run-
ning against me."
The scene that followed beggars description. The
terrified passengers screamed, trembled with fear,
prayed, and uttered imprecations; while the oil dealer
and his shopman, who were hidden from view, vigor-
ously boosted the obstacle, and finally moved it suffi-
ciently to permit of their quitting the premises. Mean-
72 A LEGEND OF THE RAIN.
while the thieves gathered from all quarters and eagerly
watched for an opportunity to ply their trade. After
the last passenger had been rescued from the over-
turned stage, a policeman, wearing the inevitable spec-
tacles, appeared from a neighboring station-house and
made his presence known by belaboring some of the in-
nocent by-standers, whose cries added to the infernal din.
At length the proprietor of the store advanced to the
officer, and bowing respectfully, said, " Honorable offi-
cial, what am I to do? Yonder carriage has no busi-
ness in my shop. It is injuring my trade. Will you
please order it to be removed?''
"Here, why don't you take your coach out of that?' 1
blustered the policeman, addressing the crestfallen
driver, who had just returned to the place, leading
his runaway animals. " Are you aware that your em-
ployers will have to pay for your clumsiness?' 1
"Yes, that they will," pompously remarked the oil-
man, regarding the culprit severely. "In addition to
the damage to my fixtures, my business is ruined for
the day. I shall have a very long bill for the Tokio
Rapid Transportation Company."
The coachman ruefully scratched his ear, and pros-
trating himself, said, " Honorable sirs, you are aiming
at the wrong object"; then, rising, scowled fero-
ciously, and pointing at me, cried, " He did it ! He did
A LEGEND OF THE RAIN. 73
it ! ' On hearing this speech, my runner stepped be-
tween the shafts of my vehicle, picked them up, and
started at a rapid pace, shouting, u Hal, hai, licdT
In vain the policeman yelled at us to stop: my man
was deaf to his commands, and threaded in and out the
gaping crowd until we were at a safe distance, when he
halted, and regarding me slyly, murmured, " This sort
of work makes one very thirsty." I gave him a few
cash, and when he had refreshed himself, he resumed
his place in the shafts and ran as nimbly as ever.
I did not rejoin my friend before we reached the ap-
proach to the Ogawa-bashi, a broad, well-built bridge
over the Sumida River. After crossing the structure,
we alighted and entered an avenue of eherry-trees
ruddy with the rising sap. As we walked slowly along
the bank of the river, which was alive with men and
boys angling for minute fish, my companion halted, and
pointing to one of the trees, said, " When I look at the
red bark of the saltum [cherry], I remember the beau-
tiful poem written by Ivojima: -
[" l Ten loosen ivo horobosu ncikare
Toki ni Hanrei naki ni shimo aradzu.
[O Heaven ! destroy not Koseu,
While Hanrei still lives.' "] *
"This translation is quoted from "The Mikado's Empire," by Prof. W. E.
74 A LEGEND OF THE RAIN.
He uttered the foregoing in the monotonous sing-
song affected by the Japanese when repeating poetry,
and covertly alluded to the approach of spring ; though
a foreigner, ignorant of the peculiarities of Japanese
thought, would have been greatly puzzled to understand
the double meaning of the stanza.
At the end of the long avenue we found the little
temple, the object of our pilgrimage, which was
crowded with women, who were listening attentively
to the droning of some shaven-headed bozu (priests).
Finding it impossible to enter the building, we retired
to a neighboring cliaya (tea-house) and ordered re-
freshments. While we were enjoying ourselves, a trav-
elling salmon (begging story-teller), holding in his
hand a wooden instrument which he jingled like a
sleigh-bell, approached us, knelt, bowed his head to the
ground, and said, " Honorable gentlemen, would you
like to hear the beautiful story of Umewaka's tears?'
"Yes," I replied; "but do not collect a crowd. "We
will pay you for your entertainment."
"You had better ask him in," said my companion.
" If he remains outside he will soon attract people ;
for he cannot refrain from using his clapper."
I followed this suggestion, and invited the saimon to
enter. At first the vagabond pretended to be too bash-
ful; however, he presently arose, stepped into the room,
A LEGEND OF THK EAIX. 75
squatted at the regulation distance from us, bowed re-
spectfully, and commenced his story :-
" \Yhat is stronger than a mother's love? Though
demons may part a woman from her son, she will search
for him everywhere. The gods blessed women by im-
planting maternal affection in their hearts. Every one
should pay respect to the honorable mother.
" The sakura shading the mansion of Yoshida-no-
sho-sho, in Kioto, were in full bloom, and the moon-
goddess was illuminating them with her silvery light.
The attendants of little Umewaka-maru, attracted by
the glorious scene, had one by one quitted their posts,
and he was left alone. Stealthily as a tiger advances
upon its prey, a masked figure, nude as a wrestler,
enters the apartment. Is it an oni [ghoul], a demon
from another world, or one of those wretches who tor-
ture the hearts of parents by stealing children? Alas!
it is a Icado-mukashi [kidnapper] .
" The fiend moves warily, pauses frequently, listens
anxiously to the murmur of the voices in the garden,
creeps onward and stoops; then, placing his right hand
over the mouth of the sleeping boy, inserts his left be-
neath the child's body, raises him in his arms, once more
listens with breathless attention, and vanishes.
" The time passed so pleasantly that the attendants
forgot all about their duty, and it was not until the
76 A LEGEND OF THE RAIN.
temple-bell sounded the hour of the ox [2 A.M.], and
the moon was retiring behind a bank of clouds, that
they remembered their young master, and returned to
resume their watch over him. As they reached the
apartment they beheld his mother, who had been awa-
kened from her sleep by a terrible dream, and who, after
surveying the empty bed, inquired, ? Where is my son?
Wretches, what have you done with him? '
:r Although they searched every nook and corner of
the house and grounds, they failed to discover the boy,
and from that hour never again beheld him.
? His mother, rendered frantic by grief, cut off her
hair, and assuming the garb of a nun, roamed from
province to province, eagerly seeking for her lost dar-
ling. Meanwhile the poor boy was carried to the
North, and subjected to the most cruel treatment.
" One night a party of men, accompanied by a lad
about thirteen years old, arrived on yonder spot " (point-
ing to the little temple at the end of the avenue).
: They were loud of voice, savage of aspect, and con-
tinually urged him to quicken his steps.
? Honorable sirs,' he faintly pleaded, r I am too
weary to go any farther. I pray you to let me rest
awhile, or my spirit will depart from my body.'
1 This speech enraged the wretches, who replied to
his prayer with kicks and blows, and left him in a ditch
A LEGEND OF THE EAIX. 77
" When they were out of sight he contrived to clap
his hands twice to summon the kami [gods], whom he
thus addressed :
f Host of deities, give ear to my humble petition.
In consequence of heavy crimes committed in a former
state, I am justly punished in this. Still, gods of the
high celestial plains, I beseech you to have pity upon
my youth and misery, and to let me once more behold
the face of my honored mother.'
: Then he became unconscious, and the Icami merci-
fully sent an old farmer to his aid. This good man,
whose features were knotted like the roots of a bamboo,
had dreamed that he saw the boy in the ditch, and on
awakening had taken his lantern, and gone to learn if
the gods had visited him in his sleep. On seeing
Umewaka he wept and said,
: What demons some people are ! This poor child
doubtless has a father and mother; he has apparently
been the victim of kidnappers. I will do my best to
: The dying child wearily opened his eyes, and gazing
at the farmer, pitifully exclaimed, r Oh, spare me ; I
cannot rise! Indeed, indeed, I am not pretending!
Oh, do not strike me again ! '
r Merciful Buddha! this is shocking!' sobbed the
aged man, kneeling and placing his arm under the
78 A LEGEND OF THE RAIN.
sufferer's head. ? Fear not, my son : though I am only
a poor farmer, I have enough for you and myself. I
will adopt you, and treat you well. Be comforted:
the good hour has come.'
"As he spoke the tears trickled down his rugged
cheeks, and fell upon the features of Umewaka. The
latter, somewhat revived by the kind words, regarded
his new friend and said,
" ? Listen, honorable sir : the thread of my existence
will soon be snapped, and before it parts I have much
to say. Though clad in rags, I am Umewaka, the son
of Yoshida-no-sho-sho of Kioto. I pray you will com-
municate with my parents, and tell them of my sad
'I swear to do all you wish,' huskily replied the
good man. f Have you any other commands for me?'
: Yes, yes,' feebly responded Umewaka. f Bury me
in this spot, and plant a yanagi [willow] over my grave,
which will show my honorable mother that I am always
weeping for her'; adding, ? Yanagi no yeda ni uki
orewa nasliil [The snow does not break the branches
of the willow] .' "
The salmon paused and sounded his clapper from
force of habit, when my friend testily remarked, " Go
on, go on! You will get your pay in a lump, after
your narrative is finished."
A LEGEND OF THE RAIN. 79
The story-teller regarded us slyly and murmured,
' The close atmosphere of this apartment has produced
a painful dryness in my throat. I have heard that sake
[wine] is a good thing for such a complaint/'
I ordered the refreshment to be brought him; and
when he had partaken of several cups, he continued :
: The farmer bowed respectfully, and said to the dying
boy, f Honorable master, rest assured that your command
shall be obeyed. I will select a vigorous young tree,
and choose an auspicious day for planting it. While
I go to seek your honorable parents, my neighbors will
watch your grave, and see that 110 evil insect attacks
'Umewaka endeavored to reply, but his strength
failed him. In a few moments he sighed gently and
closed his eyes, and the thread of his existence was
snapped in twain. The good old man faithfully kept
his promise, and after performing the proper ceremonies,
set out for Kioto.
"On arriving at the house of Yoshida-no-sho-sho, he
discovered that its mistress was absent; and as no one
could tell whither she had gone, he returned to this
place and resumed his usual occupation.
: The willow grew miraculously, and within a few
months attained a great height, and had beautiful
pendulous branches, the rustling of which was asserted
80 A LEGEND OF THE RAIN.
by the villagers to resemble the words okka-san
r? On the 15th of March, the anniversary of Ume-
Avaka's death, Avhile the farmer and his neighbors Avere
Aveeping OA~er the simple grave, a lady dressed in a
religions garb approached the group, and after Avatch-
ing them for a Avhile said, 'My soul is strangely
agitated. I be- you Avill tell me for Avhom you are
O O */ /
: The aged man bowed and answered, ? For Ume-
Avaka-maru, the son of Yoshida-no-sho-sho.'
rf On hearing this the nun swooned, and remained
unconscious until nightfall, Avhen she begged the peo-
ple to leave her to commune Avith the spirit of her
"At the hour of the rat [midnight], Umewaka-maru
appeared and saluted her respectfully, saying, r Hon-
orable mother, my tears have not been shed in vain.
For a year my soul has inhabited this tree. The
merciful kami have heard my prayer, and sent A T OU
to this spot.'
r The trembling lady clasped her hands palm to palm
and said, f I have wandered thousands of miles; my feet
have been cut by the sharp rocks of the mountain, and
lacerated \w the thorns of the forest. I have suffered
the pangs of hunger and thirst, and have traA^elled by
LEGEND OF THE RAIX. 81
day and night searching everywhere for yon, and hop-
ing to behold you in this life. Although the gods have
denied my prayer, I feel happy at being permitted to
see you thus. What can I do to give your wearied
? Pray with me to the Tc.ami. ~Novr that they have
granted my desire, they will doubtless mercifully release
me from my present state.'
"Spirit and mortal then prostrated themselves, and
remained for some hours silently petitioning the im-
'* As the day dawned the beloved form vanished, and
the lady beheld only the weeping yanagi, the branches
of which, agitated by the morning breeze, seemed to
murmur 4 OTcka-san! Okka-san ! "*
:? She caused yonder temple to be erected to the
memory of Umewaka, and bequeathed money for the
annual celebration of a service in his memory. It is
said that when her spirit quitted her body it assumed
the form of a white stork, which returns every year
and listens to the prayers offered for the repose of her
The salmon paused, solemnly rattled his clapper,
and added, r When it rains on the 15th of March, the
people say, ? Hush ! little Umewaka is weeping.' :
STREET SCENES IN TOKIO.
OF the many novel objects in the wonderful city of
Tokio, none are more interesting 1 to the foreigner
than the people who earn their living on the streets.
These industrious creatures come and go at stated
periods, have their regular haunts, attract attention by
their peculiar dresses and strange cries, and play an
important part in the comedy of city life.
At dawn, long before the shopkeepers have quitted
their mats, the Icami-kudzu-liiori (paper scrap collector)
emerges from his squalid hut and commences his
rounds. He is usually an old, old man, clad in patches
and shreds, and wears a very broad-brimmed reed hat,
while for sanitary or other reasons his nose and mouth
are covered with a ragged blue towel. Upon his left
side he carries a huge but light basket, and in his right
hand two long bamboo rods, used like tongs. He sel-
dom speaks to any one, goes about his work in a system-
atic manner, and is to Tokio what the rag-picker is to
New York; though, unlike his foreign brother, he gen-
erally confines himself to the collection of waste paper,
not a scrap of which escapes his ferret-like eyes.
STREET SCENES IN TOKIO. 83
Having formerly belonged to the despised Eta class,
he is very humble, and from force of habit bows to all
the well-dressed persons he encounters. As he silently
moves along the street he carefully turns over every
little pile of rubbish with his sticks, picks out the pieces
of paper, and jerks them into his capacious receptacle.
It is wonderful how dexterously he handles the instru-
ments: one moment using them to tear a fluttering frag-
ment of placard from a fence, and the next inserting
them between the bars of a window and filching a book
carelessly left in sight by its owner. He is a wary?
thievish old rascal, and many a boy's kite and servant-
girl's novel that have mysteriously disappeared from the
house have found their w r ay into his basket. In addi-
tion to having a bad reputation for appropriating all
kinds of paper, he is said to be a dog-stealer. Apropos
of this I will relate a somewhat amusing incident.
One morning, having risen earlier than usual, I took
my seat by the grated window of my chamber and
watched the passers. Presently a gentle-faced old
lady, followed by a dog, came in sight, and encounter-
ing a friend, bowed low and began an animated conver-
sation. While they were thus employed a kami-kudzu-
liiori stealthily approached her from behind, and after
striking the dog upon the head, picked up the insensible
creature with his sticks, threAV it into his basket and
84 STREET SCENES IN TOKIO.
covered it with the contents, then coolly proceeded to
examine some rubbish deposited by the wayside. The
old lady soon missed her pet and began to call for him;
meanwhile the paper collector continued his occupation
in an unconcerned manner, as though guiltless of the
: ' Have you seen my beautiful little dog? ' : inquired
the woman, regarding him suspiciously.
'Dog, dog?" he answered, bowing servilely. 'Hon-
orable lady, do you take me for a thief ? '
r Yes; I believe you have stolen him," she indig-
nantly replied. ' I suppose you want to make a few
cash by turning his beautiful skin into a drumhead."
'Honorable lady, indeed you are mistaken," mur-
mured the rascal, shifting his basket on to his back,
crouching to the ground, and bowing his head. "' It is
true, I am only a miserable Tcami-lcudzu-Jiiori; still, I am
strictly honest. I have not set eyes upon your amiable
animal. If vou will describe him and tell me where you
live, I may meet him in my walks, when I will restore
him to you."
' My little Chin has a black-and-white coat, and he
wears a red-and-yellow cotton frill round his neck.
Although you pretend to be so simple, I believe you
know something about him."
' The gods will bear witness to my innocence," mur-
STREET SCENES IN TOKIO. 85
mured the rascal, with his face close to the ground.
11 It is hard enough to be poor without being charged
While he was speaking the animal recovered its
senses, wriggled from beneath the paper scraps, leaped
upon the thief s back and barked at his overjoyed mis-
tress, who, taking him in her arms, uttered shrill cries
of " Police ! "
The Icami-kudzu-hiori rose hurriedly and was darting
off, when he ran into the arms of a long-haired, spec-
tacled policeman, who was clad in a tight blue foreign
uniform, and who had been attracted by the woman's
cries. The officer clubbed the fellow until he ceased to
offer resistance, then sternly inquired what the man had
done, and on learning the truth, marched the offender
to the police office. The ladies followed, scolding the
thief at the top of their voices, and as they went, ex-
plaining his crime to the passers-by.
Though the Itami-kudzu-liiori have a bad reputation
and are objects of scorn, many of them are honest fel-
lows, who work from dawn to dusk to earn the pitiful
amount they receive for their collections. When they
have filled their baskets they proceed to the dealer in
waste paper, who is, compared with them, a man of
wealth, and who treats them in a hau'htv and disdain-
ful manner, often saying, ' I have no use for such rub-
80 STREET SCENES IN TOKIO.
bish as you have brought me. "Why don't you secure
something really valuable?"
The ragged wretch bows, and exhibiting the con-
tents of his basket, replies, "You are mistaken. I have
here a very fine lot of paper. Please weigh it and give
me my money."
After squabbling over the price, the dealer produces
a wooden balance, inserts the hook in the basket, raises
it from the ground, moves the stone weight along the
yard, and gravely announces the number of kin (about
one pound and three quarters).
The decision is usually disputed by the seller, who
utters piteous outcries and vows that the man is rob-
bing him. Finally, when they come to terms, the
tradesman takes up his soroban (counting-board), and
after making a calculation with the beads, draws a
money-bag from his sleeve and drops a few copper rin
(mills) into the trembling hands of his customer. The
latter then carefully counts and examines every coin;
having done which he bows low, rises, slings his basket
over his back, and resumes his weary round.
As the sun peeps over the housetops the tradesmen
begin to take down the shutters of their stores, and the
tortoise-sellers, pipe-menders, candy-makers, and peri-
patetic venders appear upon the streets.
The dealer in objects of natural history squats on the
STREET SCENES IX TOKIO. 87
ground behind some tubs containing goldfish and little
tortoises; above the vessels being a sort of bamboo
gallows, from which are suspended a number of the
patient reptiles, that move their clawed feet and wave
their horny tails in a most helpless fashion. He is
generally an inoffensive, middle-aged individual, with
peculiar ideas on the subject of zoology, for he will
gravely assure his customers that his leather-backed
stock will, if properly treated, attain the age of a thou-
sand years, and that the possession of one of the stupid
creatures Avill insure long life and happiness.
The pipe-mender does not remain any length of time
in one place, but moves from street to street, carrying
his tools in a long, narrow box that serves him for a
bench. He takes his stand in some convenient nook
apart from the crowd and utters a series of howls, which
persons profoundly versed in Japanese translate as
follows: :f Old pipes made new again."
His patrons, who are of the poorest class, bring him
dilapidated specimens of the tiny-bowled smoking in-
struments, and haggle about the price he asks for his
After carefully examining a worn pipe, the bamboo
stem of which requires renewing, he will say to the
ow r ner, ' ( My charge for replacing this old stick Avith an
elegant new one is only five Tin."*
88 STREET SCENES IN TOKIO.
f - Five rin! " screams his patron. f Do you think I am
made of money? I can go into the country and cut all
the pipe-stems I want. I do not intend you shall make
your day's rice out of me. The old tube will last yet
The mechanic utters an exclamation of disgust, and
responds satirically, "I suppose you expect me to mend
your pipe for nothing. I do not steal my bamboos,
like some people."
This retort, which is highly relished by the crowd,
turns the laugh against the customer, who haughtily
replies, "Go on with your work! I will find you in
food for the next week or two."
The operator takes a tiny hammer and removes the
bowl and mouthpiece of the pipe; then, selecting a
bamboo, proceeds to fit it, carefully saving the rejected
stick and the fragments that he saws from the new one
to help boil his rice-pot at night. He is at infinite
pains to make the joints air-tight, and as he works,
delivers a comical lecture to the admiring crowd col-
lected about him.
:? See the wisdom that animates the owner of this
pipe! Some men would have thrown it aside or dis-
posed of it to a second-hand dealer" (closing one eye
and looking down the stem to ascertain if it were
straight) . :t For the pitiful sum of five rin, I have
STREET SCENES IN TOKIO. 89
renewed the beauty of this useful instrument" (taking
out a piece of soft paper and a little powder, and pol-
ishing; the mouthpiece). The economical gentleman
has a soul full of wisdom ; still, one can be too saving.
For instance, if you have an old pipe and the artist
who repairs it demands five rin for his labor, it is
meanness to offer him four, because he will only give
you an inferior stem that will crack and will not last a
Then, grimacing at the spectators and politely bow-
ing and handing the pipe to his customer, he adds,
" I ought to charge you ten rin for this excellent piece
of workmanship. HoAvever, I always keep my agree-
ment, so will be content with what you have promised.
Five rin, if you please."
Japanese children, like our own, are very fond of
sweets, and the stands of the moji-yaki (literally <T let-
ter burners") and ameya (modellers of rice extract),
and the little canopied wagons of the masked Icompeito
(candy) pedlers, are always surrounded by eager
crowds of boys and girls.
The moji-f/fd'i is a great favorite with the youngsters,
who watch his actions with dilated eyes. He is usually
seated in a recess between two houses, behind a porta-
ble counter on which are placed a small bowl of live
charcoal, some little copper griddles, and a vessel filled
90 STREET SCENES IX TOKIO.
with thick sirup. He generally knows the names of
all his patrons, whom he addresses after the following
rf Hcd-yciku-licd! [Hundred bows, a respectful
form of salutation.] Honorable master boys, my
bosom opens as I once more behold your faces. You
all know I am the only man in Tokio who can make a
sugar fish lifelike enough to deceive the kawasemi
[kingfisher]. Now produce your money and I will
begin my manufacture."
Having secured a customer, he places one of his
griddles upon the glowing embers, and proceeds to
pour some of the liquid sugar upon it; then taking the
handle, runs the melted mass evenly upon the mould,
and dabs it with patches of brilliant color. When it
is crisp, he dexterously peels off the candied figure,
fastens it to a splinter of bamboo, and hands it to his
customer, saying, : Taro ' : (or "O Momo"), :<: you
know a good article when you see it. One Tin.
Thank you. "Who is my next honorable customer?''
The ameya is a more accomplished individual than
the " letter burner," he combining modelling with paint-
ing. Like his brother artist, he occupies a small bench,
over which is erected a bamboo frame for the exhibition
of his manufactures, while the lower part is furnished
with drawers containing his stock in trade. He is
STREET SCENES IN TOKIO. 91
usually a shrewd old man who has failed in business,
and taken to the trade of ameya, which requires very
little capital. After singing a short ditty to collect the
children, he smiles benevolently, bows, and says,
' Tell me what I can do for you. Give me some-
thing really difficult to make. I am tired of modelling
ducks and frogs. Don't be bashful, or expect that I
shall empty your purses: I only charge two rin each
for my wares."
rr Please make me a monkey hanging from a tree,"
timidly requests a brown cheeked little fellow, blushing
at his own forwardness.
The ameya thinks for a moment, blinks his eyes
merrily, and replies, " Oh, that is too easy! Give me
a task that will enable me to display my ability."
1 Two monkeys," suggests a little girl, who carries
a great baby on her back, and whose complexion is
completely hidden with bismuth.
You are not paying for this, miss," he answers
sharply, taking a bamboo tube and dipping it into some
thick, opaque rice gluten. r? Master Taro ordered me
to make one monkey; if you want two, I will attend to
you as soon as I have complied with his wishes."
He applies the other end of the bamboo to his mouth,
dilates his cheeks, and inflates the viscid substance.
The little ones anxiously watch him, and as the soft
92 STREET SCENES IN TOKTO.
mass swells, he punches it here and there, dexterously
pulls out and models the arms, and presently produces
a very good representation of a monkey ; seeing which
the children shout gleefully, and the one who has given
the order holds out his hand for the prize.
" One moment, my fat little master," cries the ameya,
transferring the soft figure to a little stick, to which it
clings in a very lifelike manner. 'Let me complete
He smiles blandly, takes a number of brushes from
a drawer in the stand, inserts them between his fingers,
and charges their points with color. In a few seconds
the animal's face is adorned with a pair of goggle-eyes;
blue bars are painted to indicate its nose, a red line is
added for the grinning mouth, and the paws and feet
are developed with streaks of black. Then the old
fellow exhibits it triumphantly, and exclaims, "Master
boy, I advise you to be very cautious not to tease
this, or it may bite you." (Handing it to the little
fellow.) : 'Take my advice: kill the saru [monkey],
and eat it at once; then you will become as big and
strong as a wrestler."
After receiving his fee, he turns to the other children
and says, " AYhat shall I make next? A mouse nibbling
a daikon [radish] , a string of rats chasing one another,
or a gourd for your father's sake [wine] ? ' :
STREET SCENES IN TOKIO. 93
Although I have often watched the ameija, I never
saw his customers eat their purchases; but I have
been told that the children, after keeping the pasty-
looking, highly colored figures until they become hard,
devour them with the greatest satisfaction.
The kompeito seller, who is not a manufacturer,
attracts his customers by wearing a grotesque white
mask representing the head of a god Fox. He is also
provided with a small taiko (drum), which he beats
continuously, as he does so singing a short stanza in
praise of the deity who watches over the safety of the
city. His stock in trade consists of the kompeito (little
candies covered with spine-like protuberances, and
flavored with peppermint, ginger, and an essential oil
that tastes like wintergreen), burnt peas and beans
coated with suger, lozenges and cakes of bean-flour,
and a brilliant array of candies, the names of which
are only known to Japanese children. Each kind is
exposed in a neatly made box, and the collection is
carried in a little wagon, with a tent-like roof of paper,
the sides of the vehicle being furnished with screens
of split bamboo to protect the delicacies from thieves.
He moves all over the city, but has regular hours for
visiting certain places, where he halts, beats his tam-
bour, lowers his mask, executes a sort of break-down,
and repeats his song in praise of the god Fox, which
94 STREET SCENES IN TOKIO.
brings the rin from the sleeves of the mothers and
enables him to gain a good living.
The foregoing describes only a few of the many
quaint objects that may any day be seen upon the
streets of Tokio.
A YISIT TO A JAPANESE THEATRE.
WHEN" a Japanese gentleman visits the theatre, he
does not purchase tickets at the box office, but
proceeds to a neighboring chaija (tea-house), the pro-
prietor of which selects the seats required by his pa-
tron, escorts him to the temple of the drama, takes care
of his sandals, and during the entertainment furnishes
him with refreshments.
Early one morning in May, I went with some friends
to see the performance at a second-class shibai (thea-
tre) in Asakusa. The street was thronged with pleas-
ure seekers out for the day, and contained more than
one place of amusement, the employes of which ea-
gerly solicited the crowd and loudly vaunted the supe-
riority of their respective establishments.
We entered a chaija, ascended to the upper floor,
and summoning the host, inquired Avhich company w r as
the best, and the names and natures of the plays.
The man bowed respectfully, politely sucked in his
breath, and replied, " The theatre over the way has no
rival in the world. It is conducted by persons of great
ability, who employ only the very highest order of talent.
96 A VISIT TO A JAPANESE THEATRE.
Yon have arrived upon an auspicious day, and will
witness the performance of two first-class pieces. I can
guarantee you the most comfortable seats in the house."
We ordered tea, bade the man secure two boxes for
us, and while he was gone watched the scene on the
street. The front of the theatre was covered with large
framed pictures, representing terrible scenes of blood-
shed; and ranged over the shed-like projections of the
wide entrances w r ere a number of grotesque life-size
portraits of the leading members of the troupe. On the
right was the gallery ticket office ; in the centre, one for
the persons who paid the second price and had seats on
the floor of the house; and upon the left the place of
honor were sold the billets for the boxes.
After we had enjoyed the tea, our host returned and
said, " This way, honorable gentlemen : the maye-Tcio-gen
[opening dance] is about to begin."
Descending the stairs, we quitted the cliaya and fol-
lowed the man across the road into the theatre; then as-
cended the matted, stair-like ladder and were conducted
along a narrow corridor. When about midway, our
guide pushed two sliding doors aside, and bowing, said,
" Honorable sirs, these are your places. See, they are
provided with elegant cushions and cloths to protect
your clothes from dust. Shall I bring you tea or sake?"
We gave our orders and proceeded to squat upon the
A VISIT TO A JAPANESE THEATRE. 97
floors of the sajiki (boxes), which were nothing more
than sections of the first balcony, separated by low rails.
The "gods'' 1 occupied the shikifune, a raised gallery
behind the central row of boxes facing the stage, and in
the same part of the house was an enclosed space re-
served for the officials of the theatre.
The udzura (floor of the building) was divided into
compartments, in which squatted the middle class of
patrons, and which was intersected by two broad plat-
forms, extending from the entrance to the stage, termed
liana-michl (flower paths). The building, above the
first floor, was open at the sides; the absence of win-
dows rendering the ventilation perfect, and admitting
numerous " dead-heads ' : in the shape of swallows,
doves, and butterflies. None of the woodwork was
painted, and the interior had an ancient, cobwebbed,
bare look, that contrasted strongly with the gaudy pic-
ture on the malcu (curtain) veiling the stage, which
represented a branch of cherry blossoms and bore the
following inscription :
" Presented by Xarita Nurigome, who sells unrivalled
sakt near this theatre."
Every temple of the drama has a number of such cur-
tains, furnished by tradesmen as advertisements for
their wares, it being understood that the gifts shall be
exposed at least once during every performance.
98 A VISIT TO A JAPANESE THEATRE.
After we were comfortably seated, the geza (orches-
tra), which was partly hidden from view in a hut-like,
barred structure on the left of the proscenium, frantically
began its wild performance. The flutes tooted, the slw
wailed, the samisen twanged, the Tcokiu (three-stringed
violins) squeaked, and the drums rumbled. Meanwhile
the spectators smoked, chatted at the top of their voices,
and shouted derisively to new-comers who were anx-
iously searching for friends among the sea of faces.
About eight o'clock the maku concealing the stage
was drawn aside, and we beheld a box scene represent-
ing the interior of a tea-house. The central portion
rested on a turn-table, level with the rest of the plat-
form; the wings did not extend as high as the drops,
and there was only one of the latter.
The audience murmured approvingly and eagerly
scanned the scene; then the to-dori (living play-bill)
advanced to the footlights and announced the title of
the drama and names of the actors. When he had
retired, a party of men dressed as the " Seven Lucky
Ones " bounded upon the stage and danced the maye-
kio-yen, which greatly delighted my friends; though I
soon grew tired of it and felt glad when the grotesque
beings made their exit, and the play was commenced by
the entrance of a young samurai (gentleman) followed
by a geisha (singing girl). The youth was blind and
A VISIT TO A JAPANESE THEATRE. 99
was desperately in love with the girl, who also had an
admirer of an humbler order. A very excruciating love
scene followed, in which the actors hugged themselves
instead of one another, and the girl frequently veiled
her features with her sleeves and wept.
During the entire performance kirrtiuibo (boys clad
in black robes, with hoods like those worn by the In-
quisitors) attended upon the actors and arranged their
dresses, then retired on all fours up the stage and
squatted like monkeys with their backs to the audience,
who were supposed not to be cognizant of their pres-
ence. It was very comical to see the imps crawling
about and handing the leading people their pipes, etc.
The action of the play was as follows :
The blind samurai (gentleman) promises to marry
the geisha (singing girl). The heavy villain, her lover,
who is a gambler, finding that he is about to lose his
sweetheart, determines to rob the samurai's house and
to kill him. The stage revolves, new wings are pushed
forward, and we behold a garden and the outside of a
mansion with the moon shining upon the scene. The
girl's lover enters silently, accompanied by his wild-
eyed comrades. They indulge in long, bombastic asides
and much pantomime, indicative of what they intend
to do; then stealthily approach one of the paper win-
dows of the dwelling, push it aside, crawl in and make
100 A VISIT TO A JAPANESE THEATRE.
their exits to delirious music, expressive of murderous
designs. A crash is heard inside the house, then a suc-
cession of dull thuds, and one after the other the " bold,
bad men" are artistically "fired" back into the garden.
As the last of the robbers falls sprawling upon the
stage, the blind samurai appears in the opening and
delivers a speech out of the right corner of his mouth,
describing how he was awakened by his assailants, and
how he had "clubbed the crowd '' with a weapon that
belonged to his honorable deceased father. He steps
down upon the stage, pirouettes, and defies unseen
enemies to tread on the hem of his kimono. Meanwhile
the robbers recover their senses and retire, menacing
him in pantomime. Enter geisJia tinkling her guitar.
Blind samurai pauses and listens.
"Ah! 'tis my beloved O Cho-cho [Miss Butterfly]."
Another love passage ensues, he speaking tenderly
out of the left corner of his mouth, and amorously
clasping his arms, and she responding in a shrill fal-
setto, and significantly hugging her guitar, while the
orchestra indulges in Wagner-like strains. Naughty
geisha leads the confiding samurai towards a pillar-like
stone lantern, bids him a tearful farewell, gives a signal
to her lover, and retires, waddling like a duck. Orches-
tra executes more savage music. Re-enter heavy vil-
lain followed by a fresh detachment of assassins, who
A VISIT TO A JAPANESE THEATKK. 101
silently surround the brave youth. The aet now rapidly
approaches its climax; the audience listens with breath-
less interest, and gazes fixedly at the performance.
Though the gallant samurai is hedged in with glitter-
ing, naked weapons, he defiantly utters a long speech
that causes the lady patrons to sob and rock them-
selves, and the men to murmur and suck in their breath
approvingly. Suddenly he draws his sword, twirls upon
his toes, delivers blows with lightning rapidity, and
severs limbs with a dexterity amazing to behold. Heads
fly about like cannon balls and land in extraordinary
places. One drops on the top of the toro (stone lan-
tern), where it continues to wink and blink at the spec-
tators; another falls on the summit of a post and rolls
its eyes ferociously at its conqueror. The stage is
smothered with blood, and soon all the assailants are
liors de comltat. Then the girl re-enters, coolly surveys
the remains, and makes a speech of about fifteen lines,
in which she laments having attempted to betray such
a brave samurai. The latter struts up and down the
" flower paths " and exhibits his costume to the admir-
ing maidens among the audience, who devour him with
their glances. At the conclusion of the geishas speech
he stamps alternately with his right and left foot and
shouts ferociously :
" Yeh! yeh! I hear a voice."
102 A VISIT TO A JAPANESE THEATRE.
Naughty geisha cowers and trembles until the boards
vibrate beneath her. Young samurai, who is still full
of fight, imagines that she is one of his assailants and
rushes upon her. In despair she utters his name ; too
late! The keen blade is thrust, under her left arm;
she falls. Tableau. He discovers who she is, hugs
himself, sobs passionately, tears round the stage to the
wildest music that ever tortured human ears; withdraws
the sword from the costume of the prostrate geisha;
poses dramatically, rolls his sightless orbs, " speaks a
piece " occupying about thirty minutes in its delivery,
stabs himself, and expires " like a little man." The
black demons then advance with large cloths, which
they hold before the bodies of the slain, while the
latter make their exits on all fours, and the orchestra
indulges in low, wailing sounds, descriptive of deep
woe. The stage is cleared, and the young samurai and
girl, miraculously restored to life, figure prominently
in five more acts, after which they commit suicide, pre-
sumably on account of having had too much of each
The acting was most excellent, and, notwithstanding
the absence of plot, the piece was a great hit, moving
the audience to tears and laughter, and often causing
them to shout, r Yerai " (wonderful) and " Nipon-iclii ''
(literally, first-rate Japanese).
A VISIT TO A JAPANESE THEATRE. 103
Between each act a different malcu [curtain] was
exhibited, and at the conclusion of the drama a gor-
geously decorated screen was drawn before the stage,
on which signal the people in the body of the house
produced their picnic boxes and lighted their pipes, and
the proprietor of our chaya entered, followed by his
servants bearing trays of refreshments.
: Would you like to go round and inspect the
stage?' 1 he asked politely. The proprietors are my
very good friends, and I can take you over any part of
"We accepted his offer, and, having eaten our lun-
cheon, accompanied him behind the scenes, where we
were received by the managers, who, after bowing and
sucking in their breath, led the way below.
The circular portion of the stage was pivoted, and
its outer edge rested on a groove filled with well-
greased, wooden balls. At a signal from one of the
officials, twelve nude men grasped the tie-pieces and,
bending nearly double, caused the platform to revolve
We returned to the upper world and inspected the
property-room and its contents, then were conducted
np-stairs and introduced to the za-yasliira (star). On
learning that I was a dramatist, he asked me a hundred
questions about our theatres, and expressed a great
104 A VISIT TO A JAPANESE THEATRE.
desire to visit the States. All the actors were men, as
the Japanese do not care to see women on the stage.
The star and leading people had commodious dressing-
rooms, their changes of costume were arranged on pegs
upon the walls, and they were attended by dressers
and barbers just like our own actors, the only difference
being that they squatted on the floor while making
their changes, and used metal mirrors instead of glass
The inari macld (supers) dressed in a common room
and were the apprentices of the various actors. There
was nothing novel in the arrangements behind the
scenes, everything being as inflammable and bare look-
ing as in our own places of amusement. "While we
were chatting, the signal was given for the curtain to
be drawn, hearing which we bade adieu to the actors
and managers and returned to our boxes, where we
remained until the entertainment concluded.
The second piece was of even a more sanguinary
nature than the first, and I felt heartily glad to behold
the last head severed and the gallant hero close his
eyes in mimic death.
As we emerged upon the street the bell of a neigh-
boring temple began to toll, and on consulting my
watch I found that I had spent twelve hours in a
LEGENDS OF THE GOD-EOX.
IN a secluded part of the Kaga Yashiki, Tokio, stands
a magnificent sngi (cedar), beneath the shadow of
which is a dismantled shrine of Inari (the god of rice).
Beside the ruin, half buried in the rank grass, lie two
stone foxes, that formerly guarded the sacred spot, and,
though once the object of profound veneration, now
serve as " horses " for the children of the foreign pro-
fessors who dwell within the walls of the yasTiiki. The
red torii (archway) that spanned the approach was
long ago converted into kindling by the momban (gate-
keeper), the pathways are choked with weeds, and,
save the before-mentioned little ones, few persons fre-
quent the picturesque nook. Twenty-five years ago,
when I first visited Yedo (Tokio), the Lord of Kaga
and his ten thousand retainers lived in the yasJiiki, and
the shrine and its guardians were kept in repair; now
the noble is in retirement, the grounds contain a hos-
pital and the residences of foreign teachers, and his
brave retainers are scattered all over the empire, earn-
ing precarious livings by following peaceful occupa-
106 LEGENDS OF THE GOD-FOX.
tions, starving, or pulling the jin-riki-slia of the hated
One afternoon, while I was sitting beneath the tree,
musing on the changes that had taken place in the Land
of the Rising Sun, a Japanese, dressed in the garb of a
pilgrim, approached, and noticing me, bowed and said,
:t A thousand pardons for thus intruding upon your
honorable presence. I was once a retainer of the Lord
of Kaga, and resided in this yctsliikL I now live in my
old province many ri from here."
Understanding that he had come upon a pilgrimage
to the place, I arose to retire and leave him to his
prayers, when he begged me to remain, saying,
r I would like to ask a favor of you. My honorable
mother, who is at the point of death, desires to have a
stone from this shrine. Would you object to my re-
moving a portion of it?"
I explained that I was only a visitor, and, therefore,
had no power to grant his request, adding,
' There is nobody looking. If the possession of a
fragment of the ruin will benefit your honorable parent,
why not help yourself ? "
This appeared to please him greatly, and after praying
fervently at the shrine, he removed a section of one of
the moss-covered pillars, tied it in a square of blue cot-
ton, lighted his pipe, and sitting upon his heels, said,
LEGENDS OF THE GOD-FOX. 107
' Inari is a very powerful god, and this spot was
formerly the resort of many pilgrims and pious persons.
I could tell you some wonderful stories concerning the
god and his servants. You doubtless are curious to
know why my honorable mother is so anxious to have
a relic from this shrine. I will tell you. Though she
had been married many years, and had prayed to the
gods and continually made offerings, her petitions re-
mained unanswered. One evening when she was pass-
ing this place, she thought she would supplicate the
benevolent Inari." (In a low voice, regarding the over-
turned images.) T As she concluded her prayer, those
god-foxes wagged their tails and the snow began to
descend. Accepting the omens as favorable ones, she
returned to her residence, on reaching which she was
accosted by a miserable yeta [beggar], who, prostrating
himself, cried piteously for something to eat. It so
happened that the only food in the house was some
red bean rice, which my mother had saved for her own
consumption ; however, her benevolence overcame every
other feeling, and she generously presented the dish to
the man, who immediately vanished taking the vessel
with him. The next day, as my father was passing
this shrine, he saw the platter lying on the ground
before it, and on reaching home told my mother of
the circumstance, whereupon she said,
108 LEGENDS OF THE GOD-FOX.
: The yeta was the god-fox. ~Now I am a happy
? From that time she daily returned thanks to Inari
and his servants. When I Avas old enough to under-
stand, she brought me here and assisted me to make
my first offering. All my life I have been under the
protection of the god-fox."
He relighted his pipe, regarded me complacently and
? I suppose you do no believe in such things? Well,
everybody has his faith. You think one way and I
another. Inari is a very powerful god and a very
reliable one, and his servants are most kind and benev-
olent to those who worship him."
He spoke in a serious manner, and evidently believed
what he said.
:? Can you tell me something else about the god-fox ? r
r I could give you a thousand proofs of his goodness
to those who believe in Inari. Have you ever heard of
the conversion of RaikoV' :
r No" I answered.
* Ah!" (knocking the ashes from his pipe and regard-
ing me with a compassionate air,) " you are to be pitied.
"Well, it is said that the gods will not condemn those
who have never been taught the truth. I believe, after
LEGENDS OF THE GOD-FOX. 109
you have heard what I am about to relate, you will ven-
erate Inuri and his attendants."
He relighted his pipe, puffed at it for a few seconds,
and continued :
Raiko was a very great man in his village. ~No
one had such a long train of servants, such large rice-
fields, or extensive plantations; notwithstanding which,
and though everything he undertook was a success, he
was miserably stingy. He carried his money in his obi
[girdle], and his meanness in his face; and no yeta
[beggar] ever thought of soliciting him for a rin [mill],
Raiko's visage being like a sign-board that warns tres-
passers from a field of grain Oh! he was a miserable
fellow; still, because of his riches, the neighbors paid
the man great respect and consulted him upon every
important matter. As he grew older, he became more
miserly and began to rack his brains how to save a few
" One night, when he lay awake hugging his treas-
ure, he counted the number of his servants on his fin-
gers, then muttered,
' It is very foolish for a poor person like myself to
support such a greedy, lazy crowd. I will dismiss
them, and in future will attend to my own wants. What
a wasteful fool I have been ! '
' This thought so preyed upon his mind that he was
110 LEGENDS OF THE GOD-FOX.
presently seized with a fever, which grew worse and
worse, and threatened to burn up his very bones. His
faithful servants watched him most tenderly, and did
not heed his bad-tempered, reproachful utterances.
? Ah!' he would exclaim, ? if I had been wiser, you
would not have caused me to suffer this horrible sick-
"The fever lasted for several days, during which his
spirits were low and his body became reduced to a
shadow. On the tenth night, as he was rolling from
side to side on his bed, a poorly dressed ~bozu suddenly
appeared by his pillow, and, kneeling, regarded him
sternly, then said,
? Hello, Biiiko, how do you feel? Are you no bet-
ter? I scarcely expected to find you here.'
'Why not?' growled the sufferer.
r I thought the oni [imps] would have carried you
off by this time,' coolly responded the l)ozu.
r AVho are you, who come thus unannounced into
my bedchamber?' angrily demanded the sick man.
r As for the imps, they are no worse than you, Itozu. I
have never troubled you or entered your temples; so
now, I beg you will walk out of my house. I know
what you have come after. You always wait until peo-
ple are sick, then threaten them with the torments of
hell. You need not imagine you will ever see the glit-
ter of my money.'
LEGENDS OF THE GOD-FOX. Ill
'' The bozu, instead of being angry, laughed heartily,
" ' Listen, Raiko, I do not covet any of your ill-got-
ten gains. We bozu are very particular whose money
we handle. We live to perform good deeds, not to ac-
cumulate wealth. Do you wish to be cured of your
sickness? Oh, you need not turn your back upon me!
I know a sovereign remedy for your disease.'
' I suppose, if you cure me, you will want to be paid
for it,' snarled Raiko.
'Not a rin, not a rinj laughingly answered the
bozu. ' You are so mean that you imagine every one is
the same. Shall I tell you the cure, or leave you to die?'
' Raiko half rose in bed, and, surlily regarding the
' If you promise not to ask any recompense, I will
hear your remedy.'
'It is this,' said the visitor. 'Loosen your obi
[girdle], you miserable, selfish man, and let your wealth
fall for those who need it. If you still keep it bound
about you, it will cause your death.'
'IV?/' furiously exclaimed Raiko, snatching a dag-
ger from his bosom. Though you are a priest, I will
kill you ! I will never part with my hard-earned money.'
' The bozu uttered a derisive laugh, and retreating a
few paces, said,
112 LEGENDS OF THE GOD-FOX.
1 "Wretch ! I will now tell you the truth. I over-
heard your mean resolve to dismiss your faithful
servants, and have nightly visited you, and drained a
portion of your life-blood. Now I will finish you,
and strangers shall enjoy your carefully hoarded
:t As he uttered these words, he blew out the light,
and Raiko felt some dreadful object advance and attack
him. The miser, thinking only of his money, vigor-
ously defended himself, and as he did so, uttered loud
cries that attracted the attention of his servants, who
crowded into the room and anxiously inquired the cause
of his alarm.
? Bring me a light, quickly!' he cried. 'I have
wounded that bozu, who, I believe, was a robber in
: When lanterns were brought Kaiko beheld the
hairy, horny claw of a monster lying by the side of his
mat, seeing which he said,
: Whatever that is, follow and kill it. You ought
to be ashamed of yourselves for leaving me here alone.
I have nearly met my death.'
' The faithful men bowed respectfully, and tracing
his assailant by the tiny drops of blood on the mats, fol-
lowed it into the furthermost part of the garden, where,
scooped out of a little artificial yama [mountain], they
LEGENDS OF THE GOD-FOX 113
discovered a large hole, from whence protruded the
head and shoulders of an enormous spider, who thus
' Do not seek to attack the gods, but retire and per-
suade your master to atone for his sin of covetousness,
which has almost destroyed him.'
: The trembling listeners prostrated themselves and
promised obedience, then returned to the house and
delivered the message to Raiko. The latter heard them
respectfully, and felt remorse for his conduct. He re-
pented and gave large sums of money to the bozu and
pooi 1 , and lived to a good old age."
Then the speaker stopped, regarded me significantly,
r Now, what do you think of the god-fox? '
' I do not quite see what he had to do with it," I
The man looked at the overturned stone figures, and
once more lowering his voice, continued,
? Don't you understand? The spider was one of the
many shapes assumed by the god-fox."
Finding that he was in a humor to continue his
stories, I begged he would relate something more con-
cerning his favorite deity; hearing which he smiled,
bowed, and said,
c There was another covetous man who lived in the
114 LEGENDS OF THE GOD-FOX.
same town as Raiko. This fellow was a carpenter,
who used to say,
r If I only had a second pair of hands, how much I
would accomplish and how rich I would grow! '
>f One night he prayed to the gods to give him a
second pair of hands, and on awakening in the morn-
ing discovered that his petition had been granted.
Delighted with the benevolence of the deities, he went
to work with a will and performed the labor of two peo-
ple. After a while his meanness overcame his delight,
and he thought,
" r If I onlv had six hands, how much more work I
could do. Oh ! for six hands.'
T Again the grasping wretch petitioned, and once more
his request was granted; but, by and by, he once more
began to sigh and moan, and finally he asked the gods
to give him eight hands, promising he would be satisfied
with that number. To his delight the additional bless-
ings were vouchsafed him, and for a while he was really
contented. One day a travelling showman appeared
before the carpenter's shop, and after regarding him
' What a foolish fellow you are to work as you do!
If you Avill come with me I will exhibit you, and will
make your fortune while you are winking. I know
millions of people who would give all they possess to
behold such a curiosity as you are.'
LEGENDS OF THE GOD-FOX. 115
' He talked so pleasantly and used such skilful argu-
ments, that the covetous dupe yielded and crawled into
the cage provided by his tempter. As soon as the
foolish fellow had entered the trap, the showman locked
him in and conveyed his prize from village to village.
Instead of reaping a golden harvest, the many-handed
man w r as half starved and was exhibited for a few rin to
every person who wished to gape at him. When he
expostulated, his master prodded him with a pointed
stick and made him feel sore all over, in addition to
which his tormentor told people that his victim was an
Aino from Yezo."
The pilgrim then paused, elevated his eyebrows,
regarded me slyly, and murmured,
'' Of course you understand that the showman was
: Why do you permit your gods to lie there in such a
disgraceful position?' 1 I inquired. f If I were you I
would place them upright."
This suggestion appeared to please him greatly, and
he advanced, set the stone foxes upon their bases,
bowed to each, picked up the cloth containing the relic
from the shrine, gravely saluted and retired, leaving me
listening to the shrill notes of the semi (tree locust)
chirping in the boughs of the old suyi, and pondering
over the legends of the god-fox.
(AXCIEXT OPEKA OF JAPAX.)
DUKIXG my last visit to Toldo, I was invited to
witness a no performance, given by the members
of the Maple Club, an association of Japanese gentle-
men who own a beautiful place at Royokwan in Shiba.
The no gciku is of very ancient origin, and is a com-
bination of slow pantomime, dancing, and high-flown,
long-drawn sentences, intoned in a language as unin-
telligible to the ordinary Japanese as Italian is to the
mass of our people.
As a relic of the primitive forms of opera and drama,
it is highly interesting, but were it not for the com-
paratively modern farces called no-kio-gen, that are
introduced between the no gcik.u, the entertainment
would be exceedingly wearisome to the foreigner.
One charming afternoon in May I accompanied some
American friends to Kovokwan, where we were received
and welcomed by the officials of the club. After visit-
ing the handsomely decorated rooms of the main build-
ing, we were conducted to the theatre, a neatly built,
NO GAKU. 117
shed-like structure of white-wood, which was filled
with Japanese of the better class, who like ourselves
were guests of the members. A gentlemanly com-
mittee-man, dressed in full American evening costume,
minus the shoes, which are never worn indoors,
showed us to our chairs in the front row, and presented
each of our party with a lithographed programme in
The native portion of the audience squatted on the
matted floor of the centre and left wing of the building,
while the ladies and children were accommodated in a
separate shed on our right. Before us was a roofed
platform of white-wood, enclosed with railings of the
same material, the back being furnished with a screen
on which was painted a gnarled matsu (pine-tree).
This and an oblong, lacquered tablet, inscribed with
the characters J\ r o Gaku (no opera), and decorated
with two massive scarlet silk tassels, was the only
ornamentation of the stage, the entire arrangement
being exquisitely simple and restful to the eyes.
T'pon our left was the actors' dressing-room, which
was connected with the stage by a bridge of unpainted
white-wood, furnished with a simple railing of the same
About four o'clock the curtain veiling the entrance
to the dressing-room was raised by elevating its corners
118 NO GAKU.
on poles, and five musicians entered silently, crossed
the bridge, crouched at the back of the stage, pros-
trated themselves and performed the respectful saluta-
tion, after which, sitting upon their heels, they remained
as motionless as statues.
In a few moments the chorus, consisting of ten
amateurs clothed in gray silk robes, and wearing the
Icamisliimo (wing-shaped upper garment), entered, and
moving like spirits over the bridge, knelt in two rows
on the left of the stage, then saluted in the same
manner as the musicians had done.
* Now," said a Japanese friend on my left, producing
a pocket edition of the plays, which he politely proffered
to me, ? prepare to be delighted. All the characters
will be represented by celebrated no performers.''
The entertainment commenced by the flute player
executing some weird staccato passages, then a lean
singer on his left contorted his visage and proceeded
to indulge in most agonizing howls. He whooped,
imitated a person suffering from pangs of seasickness,
and strained himself in a manner painful to behold, his
efforts being vigorously seconded by his next neighbor,
a fat little fellow with a head as bald as a polished
Although their exertions nearly caused the foreign
portion of the audience to choke with suppressed
NO GAKU. 119
laughter, the Japanese spectators evidently enjoyed the
demoniacal sounds, for they listened with grave and
interested countenances, just as lovers of Italian sing-
ing do to a tour deforce of one of our operatic stars.
At the conclusion of the infernal sounds, the Tsud-
zumi uchi (player on a small drum, shaped like an
hour-glass), and an operator on a little sieve-shaped
drum, beaten with two long sticks, who had been
eagerly Avatching the soloists, as though waiting for
their cue, struck their instruments vigorously, and
shrieked approvingly, Yee-Jiaa ! '
When they had repeated this thrice, the chorus began
a low, musical Gregorian-like chant that, after the bar-
barous noises to which we had been treated, sounded
like a heavenly song.
While they were intoning, the curtain of the dress-
ing-room was raised, and a stern-looking man, cos-
tumed in the garb of a priest, wearing a zu-Jcin (white
head-dress, shaped like a mob-cap), and having the
lower portion of his face covered with a towel, slowly
advanced upon the bridge, and halting, regarded us
:t with glittering eyes." His garments were drawn up
about his waist, exhibiting his bare limbs and white
tcibi (socks), and over his left shoulder he carried a
naga-nata (long spear), the staff of which was beauti-
fully decorated and lacquered.
120 NO GAKU.
That is Musashibo-benkei," whispered my friend.
1? Now you will hear something good. The gentleman
who takes that part is one of our most talented no
The actor advanced slowly, like a school-boy sum-
moned to receive chastisement, and upon reaching the
front of the stage executed a stately dance, then
chanted in a deeply tragic voice, ? I am Musashibo-
benkei, the priest of Saito Kitadani. In fulfilment of
a vow I have been in the Ginsenji for seven days, and
to-night I go to Kitano on my Avay to Ushinotoki-
mari." (Calls his servant.)
Chorus, responding for the latter: 'I think you had
better not go to-night."
Benkei, in a guttural, dramatic voice: TVhy so? r
Chorus : rf Last night, when we were passing the
Tojo bridge, a young fellow, twelve or thirteen years
old, attacked us with a small sword. He was as quick
as a butterfly in his movements, and threatened to kill
us; so beware of him."
Benkei, in a contemptuous voice, singing out of the
left corner of his mouth : ' Though he were as quick as
a butterfly, you should have surrounded him and cut
Chorus : r When we surrounded him he sprang over
our heads, and our blows fell upon each other."
NO GAKU. 121
Benkei (derisively) : ''If you had attacked him act-
ively yon must have slain him."
Chorus: 'He is a supernatural being 1 . Indeed, no
one could kill him. Though this is a great city, it has
no other such extraordinary being as he in it."
Benkei (thoughtfully aside) : : Then I think I will
not start for Ushinotoki-mari to-night."
Chorus: " That will be excellent."
Benkei (slowly and bombastically) : ? It shall never
be said that Musashibo-benkei was frightened by stories
of brigands. To-night I will take my stand, alone,
upon the bridge and conquer that extraordinary per-
Then he slowly raised his spear and with it performed
a number of wonderful evolutions, sometimes remaining
several minutes in one pose, during which the chorus
intoned a long description of the hero Ushiwaka (a
name of Yoshitsuni), and ended with the following :-
" At the hour of midnight, the bell of Santo rang out
clear upon the air. All was still and the moon shone
brightly. When the sound of the bell had ceased,
Benkei advanced upon the bridge. He was dressed in
his loose armor of black leather, and carried over his
shoulder his favorite naya-nata. His appearance would
have frightened demons, and he was well satisfied with
122 NO GAKU.
Benkei (in a deep, tragic tone) : ? I am Musashibo-
benkei. I fear no one."
Chorus : r Benkei slowly paced the bridge and trod
heavily upon the planks."
Benkei (in a hoarse, deep voice) : ' I am Musashibo-
benkei. TVho dares to cross weapons with me?"
He stamped alternately with his right and left foot,
scowled ferociously and moved majestically up the
stage, while the flute player began a weird air and his
eccentric companions again imitated persons suffering
from mal-de-mer. During this excruciating perform-
ance, the curtain of the dressing-room was once more
raised, and a youth clad in silken upper garments and
immensely wide Jiakama (trousers) of white silk, the
size of which was made more conspicuous by the in-
sertion of a broad stiffening, glided across the bridge
and descending the stage, began to deliver a speech in
a high-pitched monotone.
He was a chubby-faced, brown-skinned, good-looking
young gentleman, and w r as fully impressed with a sense
of his own ability. His coarse, black hair, worn in the
modern foreign style, was bound with a white fillet, the
long ends of which floated down his back, and in his
obi (girdle) he carried a short and a long sword.
After indulging in a prolonged speech, he turned
suddenly and revealed the expansive back of his lower
NO GAKU. 123
garment. This action, though intended to be highly
dramatic, excited the risibility of the foreign portion of
the audience, heedless of which he strutted, stamped,
and gestured defiantly, while the chorus intoned,
f Ushiwaka rejoiced to see Benkei, and covering his
face with a thin cloth, stood still."
The young actor veiled his features, and slowly
advanced up the stage; while at the same time Benkei
descended it, eying him askance and chanting in a
significant tone, " I am a priest, therefore I will not look
As he passed Ushiwaka, the latter extended his foot
sideways, and kicked the end of the old man's naga-
nata (spear), whereupon the warrior scowled and
chanted in thundering tones, " Impolite creature, I will
frighten you ! r
He raised his weapon and made a pass with it, seeing
which Ushiwaka turned, threw aside his veil, and draw-
ing his sword, stood on the defensive. Then followed
an ideal combat; the Japanese, in their stage battles,
mimicking instead of delivering blows.
Chorus: ' Benkei was the inferior in the art of war
and was gradually driven back."
Benkei (pausing and regarding Ushiwaka from under
his bushy eyebrows) : ; There is no reason why I
should be beaten by such a youth as this."
124 NO GAKU.
Chorus (during which the two actors slowly illus-
trated the recitative) : r Benkei cut transversely at
Ushiwaka, but the latter jumped aside. Then he
slashed at the young man's legs, when Ushiwaka sprang
into the air. As Benkei delivered a blow at his oppo-
nent's head or neck, the youth crouched upon the ground.
At last Ushiwaka, tired of acting on the defensive,
attacked Benkei, and wounding his hand, caused him
to drop his spear. Finding himself disarmed, the old
man tried to close with his assailant; but so skilfully
did Ushiwaka use his sword that he was unable to get
Benkei (in a tremulous, enraged tone) : rf I know not
what to do! Tell me your name."
Ushiwaka: f I will confess the truth." (Proudly.) '' I
am Minamoto no Ushiwaka."
Benkei (falling upon his knees) : ' The son of Yoshi-
tomo ! ' (Bowing his head to the ground and yielding.)
Ushiwaka (grandly surveying him) : : Who are
you? ' :
Benkei (respectfully sucking in his breath, and reply-
ing with his head close to the boards, in a low mono-
tone) : " I am Saito no Musashibo-benkei."
Chorus (bowing low and singing in a loud, triumph-
ant manner) : r? Benkei begged pardon for his rudeness,
and went to Ivujo with Ushiwaka."
NO GAKU. 125
At the conclusion of this song, the younger actor
slowly strutted off the stage and across the bridge, fol-
lowed at a respectful distance by the conquered Benkei.
As the actors disappeared behind the curtain, the musi-
cians once more indulged in their wild strains and the
solo singers again treated us to their soul-moving per-
formances, after which they and the chorus rose and
The next piece was a no-kio-gen (farce) called " Ishi-
A woman who has a drunken husband and desires to
be separated from him consults the nakato (middle-man)
who had brought about their marriage. The go-be-
tween, who is a waggish fellow, tells her to relate her
troubles to the god Ishigami ; then seeking the husband,
gives him the mask and robe of the deity, and instructs
him what to do. The wife goes to a thanksgiving fes-
tival in honor of Ishigami, and approaching the figure,
which is her husband in disguise, kneels, and after bow-
ing respectfully, pours out her sorrows, recounting such
a list of complaints that the husband pushes the mask
on to the top of his head and regards her with comical
amazement, saying in a sly aside, f l did not know that
I Avas half as bad as she makes out."
: Yes, yes, he is a thoroughly mean fellow," cries the
woman, with her head still bowed. :<: He is a lazy, shift-
126 NO GAKU.
less, good-for-nothing nordkura-mono [vagabond], and
I have had about enough of him."
This speech caused the meek god to grind his teeth
and to replace his mask with a quick gesture, as though
desirous of shutting out her voice. After treating him
to much plain talk, she assumed an upright position,
gazed tearfully and pleadingly at the goggle-eyed visor,
and folding her hands palm to palm, continued, " Great
Ishigami, what do you advise me to do?"
: Woman," he replied in a hollow voice, " while load-
ing your husband with ten thousand crimes, you forget
it is your conduct that has driven him to seek consola-
tion in the sake cup. Your tongue sounds like a bird
rattle agitated by the breeze. You ought to have
drowned yourself instead of coming here and so shame-
lessly denouncing your lord and master."
On hearing these harsh words she again bowed her
head, and tearfully replied,
f I know I am very weak; still it is hard to bear with
a man who drinks like a shojo [river demigod who is
fond of sake\ . I admit that I have allowed my tongue
to run somewhat freely. Pardon me, merciful Ishi-
While she was speaking, he once more pushed up his
mask, and placing his arms akimbo, chuckled triumph-
antly to himself. In the midst of his merriment she
NO GAKU. 127
suddenly raised her head to apply her sleeves to her
eyes, whereupon he once more jerked down the mask,
refolded his hands, and assumed a godlike pose, say-
K Some people are never satisfied. "Woman, what do
you want? Have you not a handsome young husband,
who is the admiration of all your friends and neighbors?
You ought to be united to some poor, miserable, surly-
tempered, withered old fellow, who would make you
slave from morn till night, and never give you a holiday.
~No wonder you weep with shame."
This caused her to sob worse than before, and to bury
her face in the sleeves of her kimono. During the prog-
ress of her lamentations he turned adroitly on his seat,
and shifting his mask to the back of his head, waited
for her reply.
Presently she raised her tear-moistened face to the
visor, and not perceiving the change in his position,
;r Powerful Ishigami, do not overwhelm me with your
wrath. You know not how bad it is to have a drunken
brute come home at night and break things. I have
borne this until my bosom is wellnigh closed with
grief. Look kindly on me and relieve me from my
Then, hysterically raising her voice, she once more
recounted her husband's imperfections; upon hearing
which he silently rose, placed his lingers in his ears,
and retreated up the stage. For several moments she
continued to address the block on which he had been
seated, while he stood at the upper part of the stage,
and expressed his delight in the most comical panto-
mime. At length she discovered his absence, and after
gaping some time at the empty seat, rose and gazed
about her with a terrified countenance, whereupon he
quickly turned and presented his back to her. She
moved alter him, bowing at every step, and drying her
eyes on her sleeves, shrieked her complaints as volubly
as before; but whenever she neared him he nimbly re-
treated. Sometimes he crouched, and slipping the visor
on to the top of his head, presented it toward her and
pretended to listen; then he would adroitly turn and
place the mask over one of his ears, as he did so grim-
After a long* chase, he resumed his seat and said,
'I never had such a persistent suppliant. If you worry
vour husband as much as vou have done me, I am not
surprised at his indulging in an extra cup of sakt. You
ought to make a vow to abstain from talking during the
remainder of vour life."
This advice appeared greatly to affect the woman,
who, throwing herself at his feet, once more began to
weep bitterly. "While she was lamenting, lie
the ma^k from his face, calmly fanned him-elf with it,
regarded her triumphantly, and finally, becoming care-
lc--, uttered a ^niekrr of satisfaction. IJefore he could
replace his visor, she raised her head and discovered the
cheat that had been put upon her; whereupon she
-eolded furiously and drove him round and round the
stage, he alternately laughing and pretending 1o be very
penitent. "When she had thoroughly exhausted her
anger, he coaxed her back into a good-humor; then,
making a significant grimace, said,
? Xo\v we will go home and live peaceably- After
unburdening your soul, you will feel more comfortable.
I here solemnly vow to Ishigarni never again to drink
more than one cup of sake at a time"; adding in a sly
aside, 'I have only one mouth, and an empty cup can
always be refilled."
The by-play of the performers was excellent, and their
points were made quietly, without glancing significantly
at the audience. During the farce the orchestra and
chorus were absent from the stage, but on its conclu-
sion they returned silently.
The next piece was called Momijigari (hunting
among the maples) : a very old play, in which Taira
Korimochi, a general of the eleventh century, meets an
oni (ghoul) disguised % as a beautiful woman, and is
130 NO GAKU.
drawn into conversation with her. Warned of her true
nature by the god Hachiman (chorus), he kills her and
escapes. The costume of Korimochi and the masks and
dresses of the spirit and her attendants were most elab-
orate and gorgeous; but their tedious speeches proved
almost too much for the foreign portion of the audience,
and we were g'lad when the Momijigari was concluded,
and the stage cleared for a farce called Hanaori (the
flower plucking), the plot of which was as follows:
An old bozu, going on a journey, charges his assist-
ant not to admit any one to see the cherry blossoms in
the temple grounds. Xo sooner has the aged man de-
parted than a crowd (represented by five people) clamors
at the gate and asks to be permitted to see the flowers.
Finally, the young bozu good-humoredly admits them,
and partakes of sake, until he becomes intoxicated and
tumbles on to -the boards; when the people rob the
cherry-trees (represented by a branch placed in a
wooden frame) and retire, chanting a bacchanalian song.
All the action of the piece was in pantomime; the per-
formers pretended to drink sake from their fans and to
admire imaginary sakura (cherry) trees, represented by
the artificial branch.
The most amusing portion was when the old priest
returned and discovered his disciple prone on the ground.
He approached him with an expression of the greatest
NO GAKU. 131
amazement, and, bending, sniffed suspiciously; then,
applying his thumb and forefinger to his nostrils, mut-
tered the single word "sr//r " (rice wine), and made an
exit worthy of a first-class comedian.
The last play, while apparently interesting to the Jap-
anese, was wearisome to the foreign guests, some of the
speeches occupying twenty minutes in their delivery.
The principal performers were a red-headed shojo, who
moved like an automaton, and Kofu, a sake seller.
They strutted, howled, mouthed, and ranted, very much
after the fashion of our old-time actors, and appeared
as though they intended to talk all night. The sun was
setting when the demon made his exit, and the chorus,
after reciting a short epilogue, wound up to the accom-
paniment of the flute and drum and the unearthly
whooping of the soloists.
I believe, though the young nobles of Nihon profess
to admire the mechanical acting and the inflated deliv-
ery affected by the performers, they infinitely prefer
the elaborate feast, good wine, graceful dancing, and
lively modern songs of the geisha that usually follow
the no yaku.
(LEGEND OF THE DEAD ASS.)
AMONG the many tales exposing the craft of the
Buddhist priests, none is more witty and effective
than that of the Shinda Usagi-uma, which is said to be
over fifteen hundred years old. It is often recited by
Japanese story-tellers, but it has never before, to my
knowledge, been told in English.
The lianasliika who related the following was a
wrinkled, sly-looking fellow, who perfectly understood
his profession, and could at will excite his audience to
laughter, tears, or outbursts of indignation.
Having sent round his fan for the preliminary collec-
tion, he bowed respectfully, and commenced in a quiet,
somewhat monotonous voice,
The ancient philosophers asserted that there was a
sliinda usagi-uma [dead ass] in every faith. This I
will prove to you by the story of the Chinese priest;
therefore listen, honorable sirs, and let me illuminate
'' Many years ago a pious bozu dwelt in a little temple
SHINDA USAGI-UMA. 133
in the province of Honan. He was considered to be
almost a saint, so perfect was his life, so calm, so ascetic
the appearance of his face." (In a comical tone.) : " Oh,
it is so easy to be serene of countenance when there are
plenty of credulous people to find you in rice and wine ! '
'//a*/' (an ejaculation like "yes! ") from the audi-
ence. '* Hai! liai! haif
The hanashika sipped a mouthful of water, bowed,
and continued in his ordinary voice,
Yes, he was a pious man. Pie rose before day-
break, prayed continually, listened patiently to the fool-
ish stories of the girls and old women who crowded to
his retreat, and chuckled inwardly when he heard the
coins fall into the money-box. He was a perfect ex-
ample of his class; his life being passed in" (satirically)
''- doing nothing.
r In the rear of the little altar of the temple was a
tomb, carefully protected by a wooden grating, through
which the faithful thrust their hands to touch the slab
covering the bones of the saint, and thus rid themselves
of the hundred million curses of humanity. Wonderful
is the power of a dead saint." (Slyly.) r Wait until I
die, honorable sirs: my bones will cure your diseases
better than any patent medicine."
* Hai! ' (Laughingly, by the audience.) '
The lianasliik.a closed his twinkling eyes and said,
'The bozu, like all his brotherhood, had an assistant;
he also kept a white ass to carry his disciple when the
latter visited the faithful who resided afar. You know
that it is impossible for a holy being, who is praying
continually, to use his limbs like a jin-riki-sha man.
In our cities the bald-heads [derisive term for a Buddh-
ist priest] are carried in litters; but in China they
ride on asses, - - a sign of humility, for as everybody
knows, the lyozu are very meek and humble.
f As the years passed, the fame of the shrine and its
guardian increased. Indeed, it was whispered abroad
that the miraculous power of the sacred relics had
become communicated to the person of the bozu, and
that many pious believers had been relieved of their
infirmities by simply gazing on the old man's face or
touching the hem of his robe." (Chuckling.) 'For my
part, I prefer to seek the advice of a physician. The
touch-cure never did me any good.
The faithful brought wine, roasted ducks and pigs,
and sweetmeats for the gods, and the altar was laden
with offerings. "When the bozu and his disciple ate their
frugal meal of rice, and drank water from the spring,
the deities smiled approvingly. It was wonderful how
much sake the images drank, and how eagerly they
gobbled up the offerings, never so much as leaving a
SIIINDA USAGI-UMA. 135
grease mark or the odor of Avine in the A^essels to
gratify the noses of their attendants." (Slyly.) ' But
then, bozu do not thirst after intoxicating drink, or
desire to eat forbidden food like us sinners; no, indeed!
they are holy beings Avho have burnt moxa on their
heads, and A'owed to abstain from all nice things. Oh!
honorable sirs, who would be a bozu, to exist on rice,
never so much as sniff at a Avinecup or look admiringly
on a pretty flower? You remember the proverb, r Those
Avho serve the gods must be contented with the fra-
grance of the offerings.' The happiness arising from
a holy life makes the bozu sleek."
The audience roared their approval of his sarcasm, and
showered the brass cash upon the mat before him.
Then he boAved graA r ely and resumed his story :
' The bozu grew fat through sanctity, and his disci-
ple waxed lusty from the same cause, when, alas! a
famine swept over the province. Pious persons were
no longer able to bring offerings to the gods; and the
younger bozu, not being endowed Avith miraculous
poAvcr, became as thin as a crane's leg, and as Aveak as
thrice-diluted sake, Avhile the old one remained as plump
as a Avell-fed mouse.
"One morning, when they were mechanically repeat-
ing their prayers, a sudden faintness overpowered the
disciple, who, forgetting his vows, exclaimed abruptly,
136 SHIXDA USAGI-UMA.
r Look here, I have had about enough of this! How
do you contrive to keep fat without eating?'
r For some minutes his superior was too much amazed
to reply. However, he presently resumed his usual
ascetic manner and said, f My son, you must have more
faith. Thrice a day I touch the bones of the sainted
one resting under the slab at the back of the altar, and
am sustained. Namu Amida Butsu! [Hail, Omnipo-
tent Buddha!] '
' The lad pondered over this speech, and resolved to
test the efficacy of the relics. That afternoon, when his
superior was listening to the pitiful stories of some
starving women, he crept to the sacred spot, and pros-
trating himself, inserted his hands between the bars,
when, to his astonishment, he touched a '
Here the hanashika paused, and bowing, said, " Hon-
orable sirs, if you will give me a few tempo, I will
continue my story ; but if your purses are exhausted, I
can wait until another day.''
:r Goon!' yelled his delighted audience, liberally re-
sponding to his request, " go on ! go on ! go on ! '
He sipped a cup of tea, gathered up the contribu-
tions, and when he had slipped the last coin into his
sleeve, said in a sly, satirical voice,
" The disciple touched a gourd like those used by pil-
grims. ' Benevolent gods!' he murmured, 'this -must
SHIXDA USAGI-UMA. 137
be a relic of the immortal saint. Probably its miracu-
lous contents have enabled my superior to retain his
strength and look so nice and fat. What is good for
the dog is excellent for the puppy.'
:? Shaking the vessel and applying his snub nose to
the stopper, he continued, There can be no harm in
my tasting this holy water.'
? He reverently removed the wooden plug from the
neck of the vessel, raised the latter to his parched
lips, closed his eyes, and was sustained! That
night, when he thought his superior was slumbering,
he rose from his mat and returned to the tomb. He
was about to resume his devotions, when he discovered
the bozu seated on the grating with the empty gourd in
' My son,' said the aged man, in a voice husky with
emotion, 'the revenue of the temple will no longer
hie sustain two of us ; the thistles are daily becoming
scarcer, and our faithful hie animal will soon be as
hie thin as we are. You must take him and go to
a country where there is no famine. Leave me here to
die at my hie post ! '
'Then, weak with fasting and prayer, he sank upon
the tomb and slumbered like an infant on its mother's
rf At daybreak the disciple rose and was about to set
138 SHIXDA USAGI-UMA.
out on his journey, when he heard the voice of the bozu
calling feebly, e Come back ! come back ! I must give
you my blessing, or you will never prosper.'
r The lad returned and knelt while the old man blessed
him, thinking, r Every moment I remain here increases
my hunger. I want to depart and to seek a new retreat,
where I can practise our holy faith in its purity. How
prone men are to deceit! '
' Though he thought this, he murmured in response
to his superior's blessing, ? Namu Amida Batsit!''
' After saving farewell he mounted the ass, and turn-
\j <_.> /
ing his back upon the little temple, started upon his
journey into the unknown country, sighing -t the du-
plicity of his master and feeling certain that the gods
would punish the old man for his impiety.
"'Ah!' he sighed. f Would that I were able to
carry off the sacred relics and enshrine them in a spot
where I could sit and meditate from dawn till eve! I
fear, spite of his reputation, my venerated teacher is ?t
heart a hypocrite, and that he, not the gods, drank
the wine brought by the faithful.'
:? Meditating thus, he rode on and on, until he reached
a country where there was no famine, where the men
walked with their stomachs projecting, the women were
pious and kind to holy persons, and his steed revelled in
the sweet grass growing on the roadside.
SHIXDA USAGI-UMA. 139
"One day, when the sun was high in the heavens,
the animal, heretofore so sturdy and vigorous, suddenly
began to tremble, and presently, dropping npon its
knees, c uttered its last prayer ' and died. This unex-
pected calamity rendered the young bozu almost speech-
less with grief. All he could do was to kneel beside
the motionless form, clasp his hands palm to palm, and
ejaculate, c Nainu Amida Butsu ! Namu Amida Butsu ! '
: While he was thus employed, a man wearing the
peculiar collar denoting that he was favored of the gods
[insane or idiotic] approached him, and after listening
awhile, derisively exclaimed,
'How remarkable! A bozu earnestly and rever-
ently calling on Buddha! A quack swallowing his own
medicine! Here, take my collar and give me your Jsesa
[sacred scarf]. If you do not know what to do with
your dead brother, I will tell yon. You should be the
fool and I the I)ozu.' >
' I fail to comprehend your words,' said the agitated
one. ' What can I do if Buddha does not restore this
poor creature to life? '
5 The fool approached close to the mourner and slyly
whispered, f Make a good living out of its carcass.'
? I do not understand you.'
" < No ! Ha, ha ! Which of us is the fool ? >
' How can I make a livelihood out of a dead ani-
140 SHINDA TJSAGI-UMA.
mal ? ' demanded the mourner. f If this were a holv
person, I might, --but an ass- (Sighing.) * Namu
Amida Bids a! JVamu Amida, Bidsu! '
: The fool littered a cry of derision, then said, "We
certainly ought to change places. Listen to me! I
will teach you your business. Cover that body with
earth, kneel at a respectful distance from it, address
Buddha in your usual senseless manner, and between
your prayers say to the passers-by, T If you would
spare yourselves torment in a future state, contribute
a few coins toward building a temple over this sinless
The TJOZU gaped with amazement, then demanded,
'Well, what good will that do? '
You dull-head,' angrily returned the fool, r where
have you been trained? Do you not understand there
arc plenty of credulous, ignorant believers in Buddha,
who, imagining that to be the body of a saint, Avill give
you any amount of money? Thousand gods! I Avish I
had your chance. I shall burst my liver laughing at
your stupidity! '
' He then made a gesture of contempt and walked on.
' When the simple one was out of sight, the bozu care-
fully covered the animal with earth, and kneeling at a
few paces from the mound, placed his bowl before him,
and alternately prayed to Buddha and cried to the spec-
SHIXDA USAGI-UMA. 141
lalors, ? If you would spare yourselves torment in a future
state, contribute a few tempo toward raising a tomb
over this sinless one.'
' AVhen the shadows of evening- fell, the bowl was
heaped with money, and that night the bozu ate and
drank like any sinner. The next morning he resumed
his place by the body, and excited the fears -and charity
of the wayfarers by his whining petitions. Toward
evening, as the sun was casting long shadows, he saw a
poor carpenter slowly returning from a hard day's toil.
My son,' he said, f ~ if you would save yourself from
a thousand years of torment, build a fence round the
remains of this sinless one.'
''In vain the unfortunate man pleaded that he was
almost worn out. The pains of a thousand years in
hell avoided by a few hours' work to-night,' said the
'Ere the bell in the neighboring temple struck the
hour of the rat [midnight], the dupe had enclosed the
remains with a neat railing and had gone home to die
'"Within a month from that time, bricks had taken the
place of wood, and the lozu had built himself a hand-
some residence near the spot. Later on, a small temple
was erected over the remains, the shrine was decorated
with gilding and lacquer, and it soon became a famous
142 . SHIXDA USAGI-UMA.
place of pilgrimage; for, strange to say, the bones of
the r sinless one ' worked miracles, often causing the
deaf to hear, the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the
dumb to speak.
"All this w r as not accomplished in a day; meanwhile
the bozu grew as fat as dai-koku-jin, and when he
walked looked not upon the ground, and when he ate
and drank partook of more invigorating sustenance than
rice and water. Around him gathered pious persons of
both sexes, and it was said that no one could resist his
f One day, when he was meditating upon the hollow-
ness of the world and upon the joys of celibacy, he re-
membered his aged superior, the bozit of Honan, and
determined to pay him a visit, thinking, f I will show
him the folly of the sage's teaching, "* Admirable is
the wisdom of age, absurd the stupidity of youth." I
once thought him deceitful because he kept his wine
gourd in the saint's resting-place. Ah! he was a
poor, simple-minded old man, and was only guilty
of one sin, while I have committed many, and de-
ceived millions of pious people. It will be an act of
reparation to visit him and to take the good father
some fine sake.'
T In a few days he set out on his pilgrimage, accom-
panied by a multitude of religious persons, who, while
SHIXDA USAGI-UMA. 143
paying the expenses of his trip, were deluded into the
belief that they were getting rid of a load of sin. The
glorious orb of light was sinking behind the vermilion
curtain when the cortege arrived at the little temple
where the TJOZU had spent the peaceful hours of his
novitiate. In the porch stood the attenuated superior,
shading his blinking eyes with his withered shaking
? Ah ! ' murmured the old man, as the cavalcade
drew near and the fat bozu dismounted. ' AVhat have
we here? A bishop conveying a company of pious
.nuns upon a pilgrimage? N~amu Amida Butsu !"
* As he spoke the stranger approached, and kneeling,
said, f Holy Father! I am your humble disciple. Have
you forgotten my insignificant existence?'
f " He merely uttered these words for the sake of effect,
he feeling a contempt for one who, for so man} 7 years,
had been contented to remain in such a wretched place.
Then he rose, ordered his servants to carry some gold-
lacquered cases into the sanctuary, and said to his com-
panions, r Retire to the neighboring tea-houses until I
join you. I desire to be alone with this venerable father.'
' The latter led the way to the sacred spot, and when
the servants had left them, seated himself near the tomb,
and inviting his visitor to follow his example, said, ? My
son, Buddha has indeed blessed you.'
144 SHINDA USAGI-UMA.
; The fat ~bozu withdrew a flask of liana-zakari [the
flower in full bloom] from a case, extricated the plug
from its neck with his teeth, poured out two cups of
the generous liquid, and proffered one of them to his
superior; after Avhich he seated himself and related his
adventures. In his haste he omitted to tell about, meet-
ing with the fool, and took all the credit of the idea to
himself. During the progress of the recital, his host
listened with half-closed eyes, and repeatedly exclaimed,
c Admirable is the wisdom of youth, absurd the stupid-
ity of age'; then extended his cup to be refilled, and
'The visitor, flattered by his words, grew bold and
ridiculed his former teacher, saying, ? After all, the sages
were very ignorant men. It requires the keenness of
youth to invent anything. While you have been eking
out a miserable existence upon the relics of a genuine
saint, I have lived in splendor on those of an ass. Con-
fess, O holy father, that your disciple has been able to
teach you something ! '
: The ascetic glanced keenly at him, and gravely re-
plied, ' My son, I do not envy you your grand temple,
your dazzling shrine, your eloquent tongue, your suc-
cess in making converts, your overflowing money
chest, or your beautiful disciples : you are welcome to
the fruits of your labor ' ; (once more extending his cup,)
SHIXDA USAGI-UMA. 145/
? I no longer care for anything but attaining perfection.
However, be not too greatly exalted by your own clev-
erness; and above all, do not imagine you know so
much more than I do. What you deem to be a new
idea is as old as the hills, and exists in some shape in
all faiths and in all countries.'
:t Then, lowering his voice to a whisper, he pointed
his lean forefinger toward the tomb, and smiling until
he exhibited the roots of his two fang-like teeth, added,
' My son, the mother of your ass lies buried there ! '
2O EAST SEVENTEENTH STREET,
Between Union Square and Fifth A venue.
1\/IY collection of Ancient and Modern Oriental
Porcelain, Japanese Lacquers, Bronzes, Ivory Carvings,
Kakemono, Screens, Curios, and Decorative Fabrics is open
to the public from 10 A. M. to 5 P. M.