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Full text of "Tama"

3 1822 01 18 0346 




IHt 

UNIVERS 



LIBKAKT 



3 1822 01118 0346 



Social Sciences & Humanities Library 

University of California, San Diego 
Please Note: This item is subject to recall. 



Date Due 



DEH 2 2 1QQ7 



Cl 39 (5/97) 



UCSD Lib. 




THE FOX-WOMAN AMONG THE LOTUS 



TAMA 



BY 



ONOTO WATANNA 



ILLUSTRATED BY 

GENJIRO KATAOKA 




NEW YORK AND LONDON 
HARPER & BROTHERS 
PUBLISHERS H MCMX 



BOOKS BY 
ONOTO WATANNA 

TAMA Illustrated. Crown 8vo, net $1.60 

A JAPANESE NIGHTINGALE. . Ill d. 8vo, net 2.00 
THE WOOING OF WISTARIA . Ill d. Post 8vo. 1.50 
THE HEART OF HYACINTH. Ill d in Tint. 8vo, net 2.00 
A JAPANESE BLOSSOM . . Illustrated. 8vo, net 2.00 

HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, N. Y. 



Copyright, 1910, by HARPER & BROTHERS 

Published October, 1910. 
Printed in the United States of America 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

THE FOX-WOMAN AMONG THE LOTUS Frontispiece 
WELCOME TO TOJIN-SAN . . .Fatingp. 1 6 
"TOUCH HER NOT, BELOVED SENSEI ! 

SHE is ACCURSED, UNCLEAN!" 106 

TAMA AT THE TEMPLE TOKIWA . " iSS 



TAMA 



TAMA 



FUKUI was in an unwonted state of 
excitement. For days the people had 
talked of but one event. Even the 
small boys, perilously astraddle the 
bamboo poles, the scullery wenches 
of the kitchen, the very mendicants 
of the street, the highest and lowest 
of the citizens of Fukui talked of the 
coming of the O-Tojin-san (Honor 
able Mr. Foreigner). 

For at last the exalted Daimio of 
the province had acceded to the 
pleadings and eager demands of the 
students of the university, and, at 



TAMA 

great expense and trouble, a foreign 
professor had been imported. 

Signs of preparation were every 
where visible. Vigorous houseclean- 
ing was in evidence. The profession 
al story-tellers, who took the place 
of newspapers in these days, reaped 
small fortunes in their halls. Some of 
them opened booths on the streets and 
regaled their auditors with strange 
accounts of America and its people. 

Already the Tojin-san s house and 
household had been chosen for him, 
from the Daimio s high officer and the 
four samourai body-guard, who were 
to protect him from any possible 
Jo-i (foreign hater), down to his body- 
servant. 

An enormous old historical Shiro 
(mansion), two hundred and seven 
years old, was assigned as his resi 
dence, and was now undergoing cer 
tain remarkable changes. For heavy 



TAMA 

woollen carpets, with flowers and fig 
ured designs, were being nailed down 
over the ancient matting in the chief 
rooms. Strange articles of furniture, 
massive and heavy as iron, were 
pushed into the great chambers, un 
der the supervising hand of a dapper, 
rosy -cheeked young samourai who 
was to serve as interpreter to the 
Tojin. His name was Genji Negate, 
and he had already lived among for 
eigners in the cities of Tokyo and 
Yokohama. He spoke the English 
language very well indeed, and his 
knowledge of the white man and his 
ways was extraordinary. 

Now, as he ordered this or that 
article set in place, his full red lips 
curled smilingly under his little bris 
tly mustache. He called the ser 
vants in one by one, lecturing each in 
turn in regard to his especial duties. 
Incidentally he regaled them with 
3 



TAMA 

tales of the habits and desires of the 
white man. 

Food sufficient for six ordinary 
mortals must be prepared for his in 
dividual consumption. Raw meat 
and game, slightly scorched before 
fire, were essential. A never-failing 
spring of what the original American 
had aptly called "fire-water" must 
be constantly flowing at and between 
meals and day and night. Such was 
the thirst of the white man. Brooms 
must be in readiness to follow the 
trail of the dust and mud-laden boots 
of the professor, since he would not 
remove them even in the house. 
Finally, his supreme favor could be 
won by having at hand always the 
sweetest and prettiest maidens to en 
tertain and caress him. And so on 
through a strange list. 

If the students of the college where 
the Tojin-san was to teach were 
4 



TAMA 

elated at the prospect of his coming, 
their joy was hardly shared by his 
household. It was in a flutter of ex 
cited fear. Even the stolid, impas 
sive-faced samourai guard discussed 
in undertones among themselves the 
degrading service to which they were 
reduced in these degenerate days. 
To guard the body of a mere Tojin! 
Well, such was the will of the Daimio 
of Echizen, and a samourai is the right 
hand of his Prince. His the task to 
obey even the caprice of his lord, or 
take his own life in preference to ser 
vice too far beneath his honor. 

In the humbler regions of the Shiro, 
however, the servants discussed the 
matter less pessimistically. Some ru 
mor of the generosity and wealth of 
foreigners had floated across the vague 
tide of gossip. Anyhow, the prepara 
tions for his coming went blithely on 
here, and already odors of vigorous 
5 



TAMA 

advance cooking were being wafted 
from the kitchen regions, warming and 
savoring the great chambers, and 
awakening into noisy life the vast 
army of rats and bats which had long 
made their homes in the eaves and 
rafters of the old deserted mansion, 
now for the first time in years to be 
occupied by a tenant. 

Everything was quite in readiness 
when the cook s wife s baby s nurse 
(for his entire family were, of course, 
also domiciled in the Shiro) missed a 
portion of her rice. She had turned 
about to give better attention to mas 
ter baby-san, when, so she averred, a 
"white hand " reached out of nowhere 
and seized the remnants of her supper. 
She ran squealing with her tale to her 
mistress, who, in turn, rushed with it 
to her lord, the cook. He put aside 
his apron and sought Genji Negato, 
who solemnly called a council of war. 
6 



TAMA 

To the four samourai guard the en 
tire household looked for a solution 
and ending of the impending trouble. 

Measures should be taken at once, it 
was unanimously decided. It would 
be to their Prince s everlasting dis 
grace should the exalted foreign devil 
also become a victim of the dreaded 
Fox Woman of Atago Yama, for, un 
doubtedly, this mischievous and ir 
repressible sprite of the mountains 
was at her tricks again. In the names, 
therefore, of the august Tojin-san, 
nay, in the very name of the Imperial 
Daimio of Echizen, it was the duty 
of the honorable samourai to spare 
in no wise the witch should she be 
caught trespassing upon the estate 
of the Prince s guest and pro 
tege. 

They fell to telling weird tales of the 
latest doings of the fox-woman. A 
Tsuruga child had followed the witch- 
7 



TAMA 

girl into the mountains, believing her 
glittering hair to be the rays of the 
sun, and stretching out his tiny hands 
to touch and hold it. To propitiate 
the dread creature, the parents had 
set out daily food at the foot of the 
mountains, and thus, for a time at 
least, the hunger of the fox-woman 
had been satisfied, but the child had 
never been the same again, fretting 
and ending constantly for the "Sun 
Lady." As its peevishness continued, 
the parents revenged themselves upon 
its abductor, and ceased to set out the 
nightly repast, bravely facing down 
their fear of the witch s certain anger 
and retaliation. 

Since then she had been forced 
to seek her sustenance elsewhere. A 
basket of fish disappeared overnight 
from a vendor s locked stand. A bag 
of rice was found on the mountain 
side of the river, as if the thief, find- 
8 



TAMA 

ing it too heavy, had dropped it in 
her flight. 

And now could it be possible that 
the most distinguished (though au- 
gustly degraded) guest Fukui had 
known in years was to suffer by the 
depredations of the fox- woman? 

Samourai Iroka voted in favor of 
killing the witch outright. But not 
by the means of his own personal 
sword, for he was unmarried and had 
no descendants to pray for his soul 
should it be forced to pass along on a 
journey. 

Samourai Asado feared for the 
safety of his wife and family in the 
event of his honorable sword being 
stained by the blood of the witch-girl. 
Once a similar goblin had torn the 
head and arms from the body of a 
sleeping babe, in revenge for the mere 
pin-prick of a samourai sword. 

Samourai Hirata suggested refer- 

2 9 



TAMA 

ring the matter to the Daimio himself ; 
but was urged against this by the 
others, for was not the fox- woman 
the one black blot upon the escutch 
eon of their exalted Prince, seeing she 
was indeed, and alas! of his own 
blood? 

Finally, Samourai Numura, an an 
cient, grizzled warrior of the most 
stolid common sense, gruffly insisted 
that the matter was the affair of the 
Tojin himself, and from him alone 
should they receive commands upon 
the matter. It was agreed, there 
fore, that they should wait for the 
coming of the Tojin-san. Out of his 
vaunted western wisdom certainly 
should he be able to suggest the solu 
tion of the problem. 

And, in the Season of Greatest Cold, 

while the snow whirled in feathery 

flakes over all the Province of Echizen, 

and the winds blew in laughing, 

10 



TAMA 

whispering murmurs through the glis 
tening camphor and pine trees, across 
the sacred bosom of Lake Biwa, and 
over the snow -crowned mountains 
between, the Tojin-san came to Fukui, 
the "Well of Blessing." 



II 



THE room was so large that even 
with the seven lighted andon and the 
three ancient takahiras glimmering 
dully where they hung from the 
raftered ceiling overhead, it was 
chiefly in shadow. Set at intervals 
against the sliding walls were a few 
large pieces of heavy black -walnut 
furniture, grotesque objects in the 
otherwise completely empty chamber. 
The room itself was cold, but a ko- 
tatsu in the centre of the room had 
been filled with live coals, and over 
this the Tojin-san crouched. He sat 
upon the floor, close to the fire-frame, 
his knees drawn up, his hands en 
circling them. 

12 



TAMA 

After a long and tortuous journey 
over land and water, by boat, by 
horse, by kurumma, and often on 
foot a never-ending, long- winding, 
cold journey, the Tojin-san was at 
last at home! This was Fukui, where 
he had contracted to live for seven 
years of his life; this vast, empty, 
bleak mansion was his house. 

He had started upon the journey 
with an alert and quickened pulse, and 
an ardent ambition to serve, to raise 
up, to love this strange people to 
whom he had pledged himself. A 
short sojourn was made in Tokio 
and Kioto days of sheer delight in 
a charm so new it intoxicated. Then, 
leaving the open ports, under the 
escort sent by the Prince of Echizen, 
he had taken finally that plunge 
into the great unknown country itself, 
where only half a dozen foreigners 
had been before him. 
13 



TAMA 

The journey had been one of many 
weeks. Crossing waters in a fragile 
craft, which tossed and heaved with 
every tide, he had come to know the 
true meaning of the Japanese saying 
that "a sea voyage is an inch of hell." 

For days his party had been snow 
bound on a desolate mountain, far 
from even the smallest village or 
town, and, when finally they had 
issued forth, it was only to encounter 
new perils, in savage-souled ronins 
who hung about the vicinity of the 
Tojin-san s party, their narrow, wick 
ed eyes intent upon his destruction. 
How many white men before him had 
started upon a similar journey, in 
other provinces of Japan, and met 
the then common fate a stab in the 
back, or in the dark! And the pun 
ishments, the indemnities, the hu 
miliations forced upon the govern 
ment by the foreigners, but added to 
14 



TAMA 

the hatred and malice of the Jo-i 
(foreign haters). 

But the Prince of Echizen was of 
the most enlightened school. No 
foreign teacher or guest within his 
province should suffer the smallest 
hurt! His edicts in the matter were 
so emphatic that they reached even 
the humblest of the citizens, and the 
Tojin-san, did he but know it, was 
practically immune from attack. In 
deed, his pilgrimage was in the nature 
of one of triumph. Whatever their 
inner feelings toward the intruder, 
the people met him with smiles and 
expressions of welcome. Every little 
town and hamlet sent to him on its 
outskirts deputations of high officials. 
There had been feasts here and ban 
quets there, and always and every 
where about him he saw the same 
brown face, the same glittering eye, 
the same elusive smile. 



TAMA 

Now the last Daimio s officer was 
gone, the last officious minister of his 
Prince had chanted his singsong poem 
of welcome, and the Tojin-san was 
alone! 

Even the individual members of 
his household had dispersed. They 
had come in one by one in solemn 
procession, led by the samourai guard, 
who, as they prostrated themselves, 
sucked in their breath fiercely, ex 
pelling it in long, sibilant hisses. The 
cook, his assistants, and wife and 
family formed a small procession of 
their own, one behind the other, 
executing a series of such comical 
bows and bobs that the stern lips 
of the Tojin-san had softened in spite 
of himself, particularly so, when the 
tiniest one, a toddling baby no more 
than two years old, had solemnly 
brought its diminutive shaven pate 
to the floor, and had almost capsized 
16 




WELCOME TO TOJIN-SAN 



TAMA 

in a somersault in its efforts to emu 
late its elders politeness. 

Now the weary, half-closed eyes of 
the Tojin-san were seeing other faces, 
his mind travelling backward over 
other scenes, very far away. He 
saw a great, green campus, over- 
shadow T ed by towering elms. Bright- 
eyed, white-skinned boys were singing 
huskily as they swept across the lawns 
into the tall stone buildings, which 
seemed to smile at them with maternal 
indulgence. The Tojin-san was seated 
at a desk, looking across at that sea 
of boyish faces. Strange how they 
had repulsed him; how he had even 
felt a bitterness that was almost 
hatred for them in that other time 
and place ! And now ! Now he caught 
himself thinking of them with a 
tenderness which almost stifled. 

Then the jaded mind of the Tojin- 
san wandered out into another scene 
17 



TAMA 

of the past, and out of a longer, 
darker memory a woman s cold, un 
smiling face mocked him. 

"Marry you!" she had cried, and 
not even her native courtesy could 
suppress the note of horror in her 
voice. "Oh h!" she had cried out, 
covering her eyes shudderingly, "if 
you could but see yourself!" 

The Tojin-san had indeed seen 
himself that night. Glaring back at 
him in a tragic grimness his own fear 
ful face had looked at him from the 
mirror. Not that he had not known 
the blight upon him ; but he had been 
dull, stupid, slow to realize its full 
horror. 

Time was when the Tojin-san was 
as other men, smooth-skinned, level- 
eyed, very good to look upon. But 
in a God and Man forsaken little town 
crushed between the mountains and 
the sea, a young and ardent doctor 
18 



TAMA 

of long ago had given himself up to 
a sublime heroism. Shoulder to 
shoulder with a few one or two only 
beside himself they had fought the 
plague of smallpox. From this fight 
the Tojin-san had emerged marked! 
With the optimism and blindness of 
youth, however, he had gone back to 
the woman he loved, and she had 
struck at him! 

There is a Japanese proverb which 
says: "The tongue three inches long 
can kill a man six feet tall." The 
Tojin-san thought of this now. A 
woman s tongue, the mere brutal 
smiting of her words, had wrought a 
curious effect upon his entire life. 
From that time on he had avoided 
women as he had not a vile plague. 
He led the life of an ascetic, wrapped 
in his books and sciences, making 
few friends, avoiding others, with the 
sensitive fear upon him that the whole 
19 



TAMA 

world avoided and shrank also from 
him. And while still a young man 
under forty they had named him 
"Old Grind" at the university. 

Then upon him suddenly had come 
a new upheaval, a pent-up, passionate 
longing to break away from the dull 
hopeless treadmill to which he seemed 
bound. 

"Old Grind!" So age was to be 
clapped upon him while the vital fires 
of youth still throbbed in an agony 
in his blood. There was a new life, 
an exhilarating, more inspiring life 
to be led, out in that old-new world 
across the seas! It beckoned to those 
of adventurous souls and those who 
were weary of a drowsy, torpid exist 
ence, wherein hope of a new daw r n 
had vanished beyond memory. The 
Tojin-san panted for this new life. 
He wanted to swing his arms in a 
wilder world, to breathe less vitiated 

20 



TAMA 

air, to feel himself alive again! He 
had made of himself, for half a life 
time, a mummy for the sake of a 
woman he had not even really loved. 
It was fantastic! 

Out of this curious rebellion against 
Fate which had swept upon him like 
a tidal wave, the Tojin-san had 
broken his bonds. 

He was in the strange wild land 
he had yearned for, strange faces 
peered at him askance, and strange 
gods mocked him from their temples 
with their sphinx-like impenetrability. 
And he crouched, shivering, over a 
kotatsu in a great, historical yashiki, 
cold and empty as a very mausoleum, 
and the strong man within him recog 
nized and fought the weakness come 
upon him the aching, longing, pray 
ing, for the mere sight of a white, 
familiar face! 

So still was the night, even the 

21 



TAMA 

glide of a gaki (spirit) across the 
cracking snow without must have 
been heard. A breeze just trembled 
through the frost-incrusted bough of 
a camphor-tree, and it bristled and 
broke, the twigs snapping and bounc 
ing down on the frozen ground 
beneath. 

Something crept out of the shadows 
of the woods at the foot of the moun 
tains, leaped like a fawn across the 
wide arm of the castle moat, and slid 
over the grounds between it and the 
shiro Matsuhaira. An army of crows 
which lodged in the attic of a dilapi 
dated ruin of what had once been a 
go - down (treasure - house) suddenly 
began to flap their wings, calling to 
each other querulously and making 
short, futile, terrified flights. A rat 
fled from the go-down interior and 
scuttled across to the kitchen in the 
rear of the mansion, and the Tojin- 

22 



TAMA 

san raised a startled face, listening to 
a new sound. 

It was as if one without were 
tapping or scratching ever so faintly 
upon the amado (winter walls). He 
did not move, but fastened his gaze 
upon the point whence he had fancied 
the sound proceeded. Now it came 
from another direction and tapped 
lightly, timidly again, as a child might 
have done. 

The Tojin-san came to his feet 
with a bound. He flung wide the 
screens of his chamber, now on this 
side, now on that, and now those 
opening upon the grounds. Not a 
soul was visible. Nothing but the 
white, still snow, glittering like silver 
under the moon-rays. He looked up 
at the outjutting eaves, felt along 
them with his hand, though a curious 
instinct told him insistently that the 
touch upon his screens had been 
23 



TAMA 

intelligent and human. Slowly he 
drew them into place again, and, as 
he did so, a voice, low as a sigh, 
called to him across the bleak snow: 

1 To-o jin-san ! To-o-o-jin san ! 
To-o-o-jin san! To-o-o !" 

To jin-san! That was the name 
he had heard everywhere. The one 
they had given him. Some one was 
calling him, wanted him, needed him, 
perhaps! 

It was a step only down to the 
gardens below. He took it at a leap, 
crossed the intervening lawn and 
plunged into the wooded grove be 
yond. On and on he followed the 
sound of the voice, still sighing across 
to him, now pleading, now wistful, 
now wild and now mocking, with 
the tone of a teasing sprite which 
laughed through a veil of tears. 

Suddenly he stopped, white-lipped. 
He had been within a step of the but 
24 



TAMA 

half-frozen moat. One more, and he 
would have plunged into it. A shud 
dering sense of horror, of shock, seized 
him, and held him there rooted to 
the spot, bewildered, stunned, his 
ears still strained listening to the 
drifting voice, which had vanished 
across the heights and lost itself in 
the white looming shadows of the 
mountains. 



Ill 

"YOUR excellency, though he live 
a million honorable years, could not 
estimate the augustly degraded cha 
grin experienced by my exalted Prince 
in my humble and servile person." 

So spoke the Daimio s high officer, 
through the interpreter, Genji Negato. 

The American held his shaking 
hands over the replenished kotatsu 
as the Daimio s officer, hastily sum 
moned by the guard, set himself the 
distasteful task of explaining to him 
the existence of the fox- woman. 

A fox-woman, so he explained sol 
emnly, was a female human being 
into whose body the soul of a fox 
had entered. In Japanese mythology 
26 



TAMA 

the fox occupies an important posi 
tion, and the fox-woman is a creat 
ure greatly to be feared. Her face 
and form, so said the Japanese, were 
of a marvellous whiteness and a 
beauty so dazzling that a mortal 
must cover his eyes to escape blind 
ness. Her hair resembled the sun- 
rays, so bright and glittering its color 
and effect. Gifted with this beauty 
of face and form, but devoid of soul, 
she had but one ruling and controlling 
ambition. She spent her days and 
nights lurking about the mountain 
passes, behind and within rocks and 
caves, luring men aye, and women 
and children, too! to destruction. 

Something in the half - skeptical 
smile on the taciturn face of the 
Tojin-san stopped the officer s recital. 
His expression became troubled, re 
vealing a sensitive pride unduly 
wounded. Plainly the foreign Sensei 
27 



TAMA 

looked upon his explanations in the 
light of a fairy-tale. 

"Your excellency disbelieves our 
legend of the fox- woman ?" he queried 
courteously. 

"Legends," said the Tojin-san slow 
ly, "belong to literature, and are 
tales to charm and beguile adults 
and deceive children. In the West 
we no longer heed them. We name 
them superstitions, and we ve burned 
out our superstitions as we did our 
witches in the early days." 

The Japanese sat up stiffly, and in 
the chilly room he waved his fan 
regularly to and fro. 

"You deny the existence of spirits 
in the West?" 

"At least we do not create them 
out of our fancy or thought," said the 
American gravely. 

The officer said vehemently: 

"They exist actively in Japan, 
28 



TAMA 

honorable sir. Though you ignore 
them, they will force themselves 
upon you as to-night, excellency!" 

The Tojin-san frowned slightly. 
Then, thoughtfully, he emptied his 
pipe on the old bronze hibachi. 

"You wish me to believe that my 
visitor to-night was a spirit?" 

"She was worse," said the officer 
earnestly, for she was invested with 
at least the form of a human being." 

"How do you know she is not 
human?" 

It was the Japanese s turn to frown. 
His narrow eyes drew sternly to 
gether. His voice was stubborn. He 
spoke as if determined to justify some 
indisputable course he had taken. 

"She is unlike us in any way, 
exalted sir. No human being ever 
was created with such fiendish beauty. 
Her acts are those of the gaki, more 
over. She is mischievous, impish, 
29 



TAMA 

wicked, delighting as much in tor 
turing and frightening the poor as 
well as the rich, little children as well 
as their elders. The birds of the air 
come at her calling and follow her 
whithersoever she bids them. De 
graded dogs and cats, forlorn beasts 
of the mountains and the forests are 
her body-guard, defying mere human 
beings to molest or take her. Her 
home is among the tombs of Sho Kon 
Sha. She is of the Temple Tokiwa, 
long forsaken of men and accursed by 
the gods." 

The Tojin-san raised himself with 
a show of more interest. 

"A temple housing your dreaded 
fox- woman!" he exclaimed, whim 
sically. 

"Yes, alas so, excellency," ad 
mitted the Japanese miserably . Her 
mother was Nil no Ama (noble nun 
of second rank) and kin to our august 
30 



TAMA 

Prince. She broke her vows to the 
Lord Buddha, desecrated and dis 
graced his temple. The gods visited 
their wrath upon her offspring. They 
gave it a body only no soul, save 
that of the fox. She is beyond the 
pale, honored sir, and no clean being 
may look upon or touch her." 

The Tojin-san, sitting up erectly 
now, was holding his lower lip 
thoughtfully between thumb and fore 
finger. 

"Your fox-woman then is some 
sort of outcast, who has lived all her 
life avoided by her kind?" 

"She had the company of her de 
graded parents," said the officer 
gruffly, "until she was the age of ten. 
Then a zealous band of former Danka 
(parishioners) assaulted the temple 
by fire and sword. The parents of 
the fox- woman met a deserved death, 
being literally torn to pieces before 



TAMA 

the very altar of Great Shaka him 
self." 

The Daimio s officer paused, his 
little black eyes glittering with a 
fanatical light. Then the exhilara 
tion dropped from his voice. 

"But the ways of the Lord Buddha 
are strange. How could the devoted 
Danka conceive that Shaka would 
turn his wrath upon them also, for 
thus scorching his altar with unclean 
blood. Since the Restoration, ex 
cellency, our city s history has been 
one of blood and poverty. Some 
assert the province is doomed. Others, 
more optimistic, that it is but passing 
through its new birth pains, and that, 
as of old, its history will be glo 
rious." 

The Tojin-san puffed at his re 
lighted pipe in meditative silence. 
Then, very quietly, he asked: 

"Do you lay the misfortunes of 
32 



TAMA 

your province upon this fox-woman, 
as you call her?" 

"Aye!" said the officer almost 
fiercely. The hand of Fate fell heav 
iest upon us after the assassination 
of the intruder. We have never re 
covered from the humiliations heaped 
upon us by the countries of the 
West. The bombardment of beloved 
Kagoshima by the allied forces of the 
western nations followed almost in 
stantly after the death by violence 
of" 

He stopped abruptly, and coughed 
in gruff alarm behind his now shelter 
ing fan. He had been upon the verge 
of telling what had been forbid 
den. 

The Tojin-san looked puzzled, 
baffled. 

"I do not see the connection," he 
said. 

"Yet it is so," said the Japanese 
33 



TAMA 

vaguely, shifting his eyes from the 
averted faces of the samourai guard. 
Said the American forcefully: 
"It seems to me an amazing thing 
that to-day when you are frankly 
hoping to join the nations of en 
lightenment, you still give yourselves 
up to barbarous persecution because 
of what, after all, is nothing but a 
legend fit for children only. For my 
part, I intend to sweep from my house 
vigorously the absurd belief I find 
actually seated on my hearth-stone." 
The Japanese said solemnly: 
"There are several things in life 
it is impossible to do, exalted sir. 
We cannot throw a stone to the sun, 
or scatter a fog with a fan. We 
cannot build a bridge to the clouds. 
With this little hand I cannot dip 
up the ocean. We bow to the ele 
vated wisdom of the West your 
excellency has come to teach us in 
34 



TAMA 

honorable chemistry and physics, but, 
though we humbly solicit pardon for 
thus stating, there is nothing your 
augustness can tell us of our own 
beliefs and knowledge." 

He made a slight, stiff sign to his 
attendants and they assisted him to 
arise. The American stood up also. 
He was smiling grimly. 

"When the snows melt," he said, 
"I shall ask for guides of your ex 
cellency, and personally make a pil 
grimage to the lair of this dreaded 
fox- woman of the mountains." 

At that the Daimio s officer s face 
distinctly paled. His impassive feat 
ures were anxious, troubled. 

"What does your augustness seek 
to do? regenerate one without a 
soul?" 

"I wish merely to see her. She 
must be an interesting specimen of 
her kind." 

35 



TAMA 

" Making an idol does not give it 
a soul, " quoted the Daimio s officer, 
solemnly. "Honored sir, a snake has 
its charm to some, and the vampire 
is kin to the snake. In Japan we 
believe the fox-woman one form of 
vampire. Condescend, exalted sir, 
to beware." 

The Tojin-san laughed shortly, con 
temptuously. He was a man of gi 
gantic stature, and as he stood there 
towering above his gleaming-eyed 
visitor there was something about his 
attitude careless, indifferent, fearless, 
and beyond the understanding of the 
Oriental. With a morbid recollection 
of specific instructions from his Prince, 
the officer restrained his fingers, turned 
almost automatically toward the two 
short swords hanging at his side. 

It is my duty, excellent sir," he 
said with forced courtesy, "to con 
vince you of the danger wherewith 
36 



TAMA 

you seek to play. Condescend to 
permit the humble one once again to 
be seated." 

"By all means," said the American, 
hospitably, and, in a moment, they 
were back seated upon their respec 
tive mats, their pipes refilled at the 
hibachi. 



IV 

"You have stated, honored sir, that 
the Fox- Woman of Atago Yama is but 
a superstition worthy of a child, and 
you have laughed, Mr. sir, at the 
possibility of danger from proximity 
with the forsaken creature. Thus 
spoke and laughed another before 
your time in Fukui. We of Echizen 
do not forget the very recent fate of 
Gihei Matsuyama." 

"And pray who was Gihei Matsu 
yama, and what was his fate?" asked 
the Tojin-san, good-humoredly. 

The fanatical fire was back in the 

eyes of the officer. He had thrust 

forward his thin, yellow face and was 

regarding the Tojin-san with an al- 

38 



TAMA 

most venomous glance. His words, 
however, were pacific, and, as he 
talked, the American showed a greater 
interest with every moment. 

"We sent seven of our youths to 
the universities of the West. They 
were chosen from the most intelligent 
and noblest of our families. Gihei 
Matsuyama was one of these, and in 
him we had particular interest, for 
he was of Fukui. After two years 
sojourn in Europe he returned for 
service in Dai Nippon, and we gave 
him a position of honor and housed 
him in an honorable yashiki hard by 
Atago Yama. 

"As a youth as a child, he had 
known the story of the fox-woman. 
His honorable sire and other male kin 
had participated in the slaughter of 
the parents of the creature. Now 
with this new wisdom he had acquired 
in the West, as fresh as new-spread 
39 



TAMA 

varnish upon him, Gihei laughed to 
scorn the stories of her fiendish origin, 
and boasted he would dissipate them 
as the air does the steam. Making 
a bold and ingenuous wager that he 
would enslave the sprite, he set him 
self the task of tracking her. Un 
aided by even the counsel of the 
priests of neighboring temples, he 
blithely followed the trail of the 
witch over the river, through the 
woods and mountains and in and out 
of the cemeteries, until he had driven 
her to her final refuge the Temple 
of Tokiwa, wherein no man had 
stepped since the accursed blood spilt 
before the eye of the eternal Lord." 

Here the Daimio s high officer 
reverently bowed to the floor, ere he 
continued his narrative, his eyes 
gleaming more fiercely as he pro 
ceeded. 

"As he hesitated upon the thresh- 
40 



TAMA 

old, divided between a desire to 
penetrate its mysteries, and an in 
stinct which peremptorily bade him 
depart, she came forth from the 
temple doors dancing, as the nuns of 
old danced for the gods, with her 
wild, unbound hair outmatching the 
sun, and her hungry, vivid, smiling 
lips scarlet as the deadly poppy. He, 
having looked upon her face, became 
blinded to all else on earth. In 
fatuated and maddened, he sought to 
touch, to seize the creature, when 
she fled suddenly before him, mock 
ing him with the silver laughter of 
the sea-siren and hiding her face in 
the glimmering veil of her hair. 

"Thus they sped on, she ever be 
fore him, with her luring hair stream 
ing like a gilded cloud in the wind, 
springing as lightly as a breeze 
from rock to rock, over brooks and 
slender streams that melted in be- 
4 41 



TAMA 

tween, up this cliff and down that 
dell and through this valley, on and 
on she led the infatuated seeker. 

"Suddenly, while his dazzled eyes 
were fastened solely upon her, and he 
reached forth a hand to seize her, she 
darted like a nymph over some un 
seen chasm of the mountains. He 
stumbled in her tracks, reached out 
vainly to seize her, saw not the gulf 
at his feet, and plunged headlong 
down into the abyss." 

The mask-like face of the Daimio s 
officer quivered. He wiped his face 
with a hand that shook visibly. 
Then, rejecting his breath in that 
hissing fashion so peculiar to the 
Japanese, he added fiercely: 

"This, honorable sir, is the story 
of Gihei Matsuyama and the Fox- 
Woman of Atago Yama. It belongs 
not to the lips only of the children, 
as you name them, but is true, well- 
42 



TAMA 

authenticated history, which any one 
in Fukui can prove to you." 

The Tojin-san was silenced. He 
had followed the officer s story with 
unabated interest. He had no word 
now in defense of this Japanese 
Lorelei. His voice was grave, stern: 

"What did she do when the boy 
disappeared?" 

"There are different stories, hon 
ored sir. Some say she not even 
stopped in her flight. Others that 
she came of nights and hung over 
the edges of the chasm, shrouding her 
mouth in her hands and calling to her 
victim beneath as if she had the 
power to lure him back. But we 
have no certain version of this part 
of the tragedy. For the first part, 
we have the tale, four times repeated, 
from the body-servants of Gihei Mat- 
suyama, who dutifully had followed 
their master upon his wild quest." 
43 



TAMA 

The Daimio s high officer arose and 
made several profound obeisances to 
the Tojin-san. His face had resumed 
its immobile melancholy. As he was 
backing formally toward the exit, 
bowing at every step, the American 
suddenly remembered his name. He 
took a step toward him, his hand 
impetuously outstretched : 

"Pardon me, the boy you speak 
of was near and dear to you, was 
he not?" 

Slowly the officer raised his head. 
Not a quiver broke the stony im 
passivity of his face. His eyes met 
the To jin s blankly: 

"He was my son!" he said. 



V 



THE sense of discouragement and 
gloom which had seemed to take full 
hold upon the Tojin-san on his first 
night in Fukui was, after all, but 
temporary. He awoke the following 
morning, feeling refreshed and in 
vigorated. The sun was pouring into 
his room, gilding even the farthest 
corner with a friendly touch. He 
jumped out of bed, donned a warm 
bath-robe and shoved his feet into 
fur slippers. Crossing the room in 
a few quick strides, he threw open one 
of the latticed sliding doors. 

It was a clear, cold day, but the 
snow, enshrouding trees and ground, 
glistened with the warm sun upon it. 
45 



TAMA 

The army of crows on the roof of the 
go-down were chattering and fighting 
among themselves like magpies, and a 
monkey, swinging by one foot from a 
camphor bough, shook its fist play 
fully in his direction, screwing up its 
face in apparent derision. 

From the direction of the narrow 
river, which threaded its ribbon-like 
way in the valley below, a rollicking 
voice was heard in song, and, pres 
ently, the owner of the voice climbed 
up the crest of the slope, skirted the 
sunken garden hard by the Tojin-san s 
windows and moved across the lawns 
toward the kitchen regions in the 
rear. She was a great, fat girl, whose 
enormous, muscular arms were bal 
ancing on either side huge pails of 
water. As she waddled along, wheez 
ing and singing, she resembled, to the 
Tojin-san s humorous sense, a bag 
of jelly, her bosoms and thighs shak- 
46 



TAMA 

ing at every step, her fat soft cheeks 
keeping time in unison. Close upon 
her heels, and, himself carrying two 
smaller pails of water, the cook s 
diminutive heir toddled solemnly 
after her. 

It was he who first perceived the 
Tojin-san at the opened door, and he 
promptly dropped his pails upon the 
serving-maid s heels, causing her to 
kick backward in squalling alarm as 
the cold water splashed about her 
bare legs and drenched her scanty 
skirts. Doubtless she would have 
punished her small charge, had she 
not at this juncture also perceived 
the Tojin. Her thick red lips fell 
instantly agape. She stared at him 
in a stunned wonder. Then her 
knees began to wabble, and she 
attempted to make an obeisance. 
With every kowtow she essayed, the 
waters from her pails bounced up 
47 



TAMA 

and merrily splashed her. The Tojin- 
san burst into hearty laughter, and 
after a moment maid and youngster 
joined in his mirth. They then 
scuttled off like a pair of panic- 
stricken rats, their shining, wet heels 
flashing like snowballs in the sun 
behind them. 

This simple domestic incident put 
the Tojin-san into an excellent humor 
at once. As he looked after the 
comical pair, and then turned back 
to gaze, entranced, at the magnificent 
view on all sides of him, his garden 
exquisite even in its winter dress, he 
marvelled at his gloom of the previous 
night. Then his glance went upward, 
travelled across the pure blue sky, 
and rested upon the snowy bosoms 
of Atago Yama and Hakusan. Sud 
denly he thought of the fox-woman. 
There was something chill, forbidding, 
sinister in those great, beautiful 
48 



TAMA 

mountains of snow, looming out there 
in the sunny sky. He pictured this 
forsaken creature threading her bleak 
way under the towering frost -in- 
crusted pines. The gloom of the 
previous night fell upon him again 
like a shadow. Shivering, he went 
indoors, snapping the closed latticed 
doors behind him. 

A fine horse had been provided for 
the American teacher, and he rode 
abroad through the streets of Fukui, 
under an escort sent by the Prince of 
Echizen himself. Everywhere the 
friendly and curious citizens ran out 
to see the white-faced teacher, and 
bows and smiles were the general 
rule on all sides. 

Occasionally, however, he met the 
scowling, threatening glance of some 
roving samourai, who, the interpreter 
explained, under the new order of 
things, was out of office and conse- 
49 



TAMA 

quently a ronin. It was one of the 
unfortunate effects of the Restoration 
that so many men of the sword, who 
had previously been supported by 
the people as retainers in the service 
of princely houses, now found them 
selves without aristocratic employ 
ment, and, too proud to turn to 
trade, or other equally debasing labor, 
they wandered about the provinces, 
voicing their discontent of the order 
of things, picking quarrels on the 
slightest provocation, and prophesy 
ing dread things for the empire when 
it should fall under the dominion and 
patronage of the nations of the West. 
The ronins were all Jo-i (foreign 
haters), and they alone the Tojin-san 
need fear. Happily the Prince of 
Echizen had furnished an adequate 
guard for his protection, and the 
students of the college, themselves 
samourai, or sons of samourai, were 
So 



TAMA 

all pledged to protect the Tojin-san 
from harm. 

Presently they arrived at the 
school, an enormous building, once 
the citadel of the Castle, and here 
nine hundred students received the 
Tojin-san with a veritable ovation. 

As he stood straightly before them, 
looking across at that sea of bright 
friendly faces, is it any wonder he 
recalled another scene in America, so 
similar, yet dissimilar, and that his 
heart went out yearningly to the 
youths facing him ? 

These intelligent, eager- faced boys 
were looking to him to guide and lead 
them. And, in turn, already they 
had pledged themselves to be his 
vital friends and allies. He felt em 
boldened, courageous, proud, elated. 
Not for a moment would he have 
retraced his steps to that other land 
he had regretted. 



VI 



IN the Tojin-san s absence several 
aggravating accidents had happened 
in his house. While little Taro, the 
cook s youngest child, was sitting on 
the doorstep in the sun, nibbling 
on a sammari sembei (thunder cake), 
suddenly from behind an adjacent 
pine-tree the fox-woman had appeared, 
and before the frightened child could 
open its mouth to scream she had 
pounced upon him, nipped the cake 
cleanly from his hand and was off. 

The child s nurse (who was none 
other than the fat wench of the 
morning), who adored her charge, 
and had already herself suffered at 
the hands of the mountain witch, 
52 



TAMA 

rushed out valiantly at the child s 
loud cry of alarm. Her fury getting 
the better of her fear, she started in 
pursuit of their tormentor. 

The latter she discovered serenely 
seated upon the topmost bough of a 
bamboo -tree, where she was demol 
ishing the rice cracknel at her leisure. 
From this perch she threw white 
pebbles, with which her sleeves 
seemed loaded, down upon the head 
of the irate Obun, and while the latter 
was execrating her and calling upon 
Ema (the Lord of Hell) to come to 
her assistance the fox -woman slid 
down the bamboo trunk so swiftly 
and so silently she was beside the 
terrified serving-maid before the latter 
knew. She felt her arms caught in 
a sudden squeezing grip. Sharp fin 
gers sank into her thick, fat flesh, crept 
up along her arms to her shoulders, 
nipped at her breast, her neck, her 
53 



TAMA 

cheeks, her great muscular legs, and 
with a last vicious tweak at her nose, 
the fox- woman had again vanished. 

The kitchen was in an uproar, the 
cook s wife in hysterics, and Obun 
herself reduced to such a state of 
stunned terror it was impossible to 
get her to stir from a corner of the 
kitchen whither she had fled like a 
whipped dog for refuge. 

The Tojin-san, as master of the 
house, was besought to lend his 
honorable assistance and advice. He 
ordered that Obun be brought before 
him. 

After some delay there was a sound 
as of scuffling and shoving in the hall, 
and presently the perspiring face of 
the cook was seen through the parted 
screens. He was pushing something 
which looked like a great soft ball 
along before him, and, in turn, order 
ing and pleading with the object in 
54 



TAMA 

question to stand upon its feet and 
help itself. He was assisted in his 
pushing endeavors by a small army 
of lesser menials of the kitchen, who 
took turns in pushing and shoving 
the unwilling Obun into the presence 
of her dread master, the Tojin-san. 
Presently she was at his feet, her face 
hidden on the floor. 

"Come, come!" said he, suppress 
ing his inclination to laugh. "Stand 
up, my good girl." 

This was translated in sharp per 
emptory tones by his interpreter: 

"Thou worm of a slattern! Rise 
to thy degraded and filthy feet. 
How dare thee bring agitation into 
the chamber of the Guai-koku-jin 
[outside countryman] guest and pro 
tege of His Imperial Highness the 
terrible Prince of Echizen." 

Whereupon Obun came trembling 
ly to her feet, and shaking from head 
55 



TAMA 

to foot, raised a pair of eyes that 
rolled with terror to the face of the 
Tojin-san. What she saw there must 
have reassured her. The rugged feat 
ures of the giant foreigner were soft 
ened humorously. In the keen gray 
eyes bent upon her she saw nothing 
but kindness and understanding. In 
stantly she began to whimper, like 
a great baby unexpectedly comforted. 

"You are in trouble, my good 
girl," said the Tojin, in his deep, 
kindly voice. "Pray tell me what 
ails you." 

And the interpreter translated: 

"Repeat to your terrible and in 
flexible master the incidents of the 
morning, and arouse not his dreadful 
wrath with vain exaggerations and 
lies." 

She opened her lips to speak, en 
couraged by his smile, closed them 
again, and mutely uncovered first 
56 



TAMA 

her arms, then her neck, and finally 
her great soft breast. 

The Tojin-san, his brows now drawn 
in a slight frown together, examined 
the girl s wounds, and with the quick 
eye of a surgeon instantly perceived 
their nature. She had been pinched 
sharply by little relentless fingers 
which had evidently flown with light 
ning swiftness from one portion of the 
hapless maid s body to the other, and 
finally with a last mischievous tweak 
had left their mark upon the round 
bit of putty which served Obun for 
a nose . The To j in-san whistled under 
his breath. Obun had certainly been 
the victim of a most curious and 
spiteful antagonist. 

He gave some brief directions for 
healing the wounds, and then turning 
gravely to his interpreter admonished 
his servants for their excitement and 
foolish fears. 

5 57 



TAMA 

Undoubtedly, Obun had got the 
worst of her fight with this fox- 
woman, as they chose to name her; 
but probably, had she not permitted 
herself to be overcome with fears, she 
might have left her own mark upon 
her assailant also. It was vain and 
foolish to regard this troublesome one 
who annoyed them so often in the 
light of a spirit or witch or ghost, as 
they believed her to be. There were 
no such things in the world. 

The interpreter repeated these in 
structions with personal embellish 
ments, and the little army of servitors 
with sidelong glances of wonder and 
awe at their master sucked in and 
expelled their breaths, and, with final 
servile bumping of heads to the floor, 
retreated kitchenward. 

The Tojin-san remained for a mo 
ment apparently plunged in puzzled 
thought. Suddenly he turned toward 
58 



TAMA 

his interpreter, who was regarding 
him with popping eyes of interest. 
Indeed no move, no word, no action 
of the white man escaped the notice of 
Genji Negato, who found him an 
object of absorbing interest and won 
der. His manner of eating, his man 
ner of sleeping, his manner of thinking, 
talking all things about him, were 
a source of wonder and entertainment 
to the young samourai, who was 
more than satisfied with this interest 
ing position he had obtained. 

"Genji," now said the Tojin-san 
abruptly, "you have seen something 
of the world. At all events you have 
lived in the open ports among people 
of other lands. You speak English 
excellently and must have read con 
siderably. Tell me what is your 
opinion of this fox-woman?" 

Genji Negato was all flattered 
smiles. He drew up his well-groomed 
59 



T A M A 

shoulders in a profound French 
shrug. 

"It would give me supreme pleas 
ure to agree with your excellency," he 
said ambiguously, and smiled apolo 
getically. 

"I see," said the Tojin-san, "you, 
too! Why?" 

The stiff expression on the inter 
preter s face relaxed. In a blurt of 
confidence he said: 

"I have felt the fox-woman s touch 
also, honored sir," and blushed like 
a boy at the admission. 

The Tojin-san was smiling broadly. 

"Ah! When?" 

"The first night in your service, 
excellency a month before your 
coming." 

"Indeed. Tell me about it." 

"I was changing duty with Sam- 
ourai Hirata. As a large amount of 
provisions had been put in the store- 
60 



TAMA 

rooms it was necessary to mount 
guard at various points of the Shiro 
and the grounds. I was assigned by 
the Daimio s officer to the lodge gates, 
and there, to my humiliating con 
demnation be it said, I fell asleep. I 
carried with me a box containing my 
rations for the night, and this was 
strapped upon my back. I am ad 
dicted to sleeping on my honorable 
belly, which your excellency is aware 
is the proper position for all sleeping 
animals to which kingdom I un 
worthily belong. 

"While I slept, I dreamed I was 
climbing down a mountain-side when 
suddenly an avalanche of rock and 
earth swooped down upon my de 
fenceless back, pinioning me to the 
ground with the excess of its weight. 
I sought to throw off the burden, 
shaking my shoulders from side to 
side, and as I cast back my hands, 
61 



TAMA 

the better to seize it, something 
caught them in a quick, elastic grip. 
I rolled over bodily, and, as I opened 
my eyes, perceived the fox- woman 
leaning over me. She had cut loose 
the straps of my luncheon-box and 
was drawing it from under my back 
when, with a cry of rage, I caught 
her by the shoulders and pulled her 
down upon me in a vise-like grip. 
The blood rushed to her unearthly 
white face, her piercing wild eyes 
blazed upon mine till my own eye 
balls felt afflicted as if with fire. I 
felt her breath, sweet as the Spring, 
coming yet nearer and nearer to my 
face. I was like one inebriated by 
sake", with but one impulse, one 
desire, to feel the actual touch of her 
unhuman face against my own. As 
finally we touched cheek to cheek, 
honored excellency, my fingers re 
leased their grip. Just as they did 
62 



TAMA 

so a sharp pain stabbed me in the 
cheek. Before I could regain my 
wits the witch was gone." 

He passed his hand nervously 
across his cheek. 

For weeks afterward my face was 
marked with the imprint of teeth sharp 
as a marmoset s, your excellency." 

"And the luncheon?" queried the 
American, smiling in spite of himself. 

"Gone, too," said the interpreter, 
aggrievedly. 

The Tojin-san laughed. 

"What a curiously greedy elf it is! 
All its expeditions among mere mor 
tals seem to be solely for the purpose 
of food-getting." 

Genji opened his little black eyes 
with an expression of surprise. 

"But that is natural. Even a fox- 
woman needs sustenance." 

"Come to think of it, a fox-woman 
has the body of a human?" 
63 



TAMA 

"Certainly." 

"Then why not make proper pro 
vision, and thus protect yourselves 
from her pilfering?" 

"Your excellency forgets that the 
fox-woman s origin is malign. No 
clean Japanese would undertake to 
nourish an evil spirit. The priests 
of our temples give us certain charms 
which protect us, to a certain extent, 
and we heed their advice, which is 
ever to avoid and forsake her." 



VII 

THEY had told the Tojin-san in 
Tokyo that he was to be the first 
white man to set foot upon Echizen 
soil since that historical period when 
the Jesuit fathers in the sixteenth 
century had come near to Christian 
izing the nation. The subsequent 
edicts which expelled all foreigners 
from the empire and made the study 
of Christianity a crime to be pun 
ished with fire, crucifixion or torture, 
had had their due effect. All this 
was long before the coming of the 
Tojin, however, and Japan had broken 
its hermit-like seclusion, and now 
was fearfully and curiously holding 
out a grudging hand to the West- 
65 



TAMA 

ern nations pressing her on all 
sides. 

The foreigner was already a familiar 
figure in the open ports, but so far, 
in the interior at least, no white faces 
were to be seen. It was therefore 
with amazement that the Tojin-san 
first discovered signs that one of his 
race had lived recently in Fukui 
before him. 

It was in the Season of Rain-water, 
the end of February, a dreary period, 
when the inexhaustible store of driz 
zling gray rain dribbled unceasingly 
from the skies. To break up the mo 
notony and depression of the period 
he had undertaken, with three favor 
ite students, a short pilgrimage up 
the Winged Foot River for the pur 
pose of examining a cave at the base 
of the mountains wherein, they said, 
had once been a curious image. The 
country people had believed it to be 
66 



TAMA 

the image of Buddha s mother, with 
her babe in her arms, and pilgrimages 
were made from all parts of the coun 
try because of its supposed healing 
abilities. 

As the Tojin-san examined the 
cave, with the interest and eagerness 
of the born scientist and archaeologist, 
the youths explained to him the fate 
of the image in question. A learned 
Bonze of the Nichiren sect had 
recognized it as an image of the 
"Criminal Faith," and, in an excess 
of rage, had broken it into fragments. 

Over the entrance of the cave a 
large board was nailed, and on this 
was emblazoned the same notice the 
Tojin had seen wherever he had 
travelled in every city, town or 
hamlet, at every entrance to temple 
or palace, roadside or mountain-pass. 
He had often inquired what the notice 
was, but his questions had always 
67 



TAMA 

been politely evaded, and once he 
was somewhat curtly told it was 
simply one of the laws of old Japan, 
now rapidly becoming obsolete. Now 
he turned abruptly upon the young 
students, who were all deeply devoted 
to him, and imbued with the new 
spirit and thirst for knowledge sweep 
ing like a fever over all the empire. 
They, at least, would answer him. 

"Higo, just what is this notice? 
Translate it for me, will you not?" 
for the three youths accompanying 
him spoke the English language with 
fluency. 

Higo replied with a slight flush of 
embarrassment : 

"It simply refers to the Criminal 
God, your excellency." 

The Criminal God ? You are very 
vague." 

"Condescend to pardon the al 
lusion, honored sensei," said the 
68 



TAMA 

boy, apologetically. "To-day, we are 
ready to repel all such unworthy 
references to your exalted nation s 
faith." 

"Indeed," put in earnest-eyed Jun- 
zo, "we are not prepared to name 
any religion or god criminal. Our 
august Emperor has set us a divine 
example, since he has honorably 
thrown open the doors to any and all 
sects, however odious." 

"And for my part," contributed 
Nunuki in his brusque and somewhat 
surly manner, "I agree with our an 
cient philosopher: Dogma is a box in 
which small minds are kept. 

"Dogma is a form of superstition," 
said Junzo, "and superstition awak 
ens the meaner, crueler passions. Do 
you not agree with me, honored 
sensei?" 

But the latter, his brows drawn in 
puzzled wonderment, was examining 
69 



TAMA 

something which had been cut into 
the wood of the board on which the 
notice appeared. 

"What " he began, when in a 
singsong voice, after a slight shrug 
of his shoulders, Higo began trans 
lating the text: 

"It reads thus, honored teacher: 
The evil sect called Christians is 
strictly prohibited. Suspicious per 
sons should be reported to proper 
officers and rewards given, but be 
not afraid," he added hastily, "for 
it is an old law, and even if still in 
force to-day your excellency is ex 
empt." 

"I am trying to decipher what is 
written under it in English!" said 
the Tojin-san slowly. He took out 
and applied a magnifying glass to the 
board. 

A swift, oblique look passed from 
one student to the other; but when 
70 



TAMA 

the American turned toward them 
for enlightenment, their faces were 
as impassive as their feudal ancestors. 

"It appears to me," said he, 
thoughtfully, "as though some one 
had cut words into the woodwork, 
and that there are marks as if an 
attempt had been made to blot out 
the words. Now let us see: On 
this Thomas Mor 18 Why, it 
is recent within the last ten years!" 

He turned about in a state of 
intense excitement. Something in 
the averted faces of his companions 
increased his curiosity and suspicions. 
Ere he could frame another question, 
Nunuki spoke up abruptly: 

"It is well you should know the 
truth, Mr. Teacher. A Guai-koku-jin 
[outside countryman] lived in Fukui 
before your time." 

"Recently?" demanded the Tojin- 
san eagerly. 



TAMA 

"Seven years since," said the boy 
shortly. 

The Tojin-san drew a great breath. 
His eyes kindled. He looked wonder 
fully pleased. 

"Then that is why some of you 
students speak English so credit 
ably?" 

"No, teacher. Many of us studied 
in Yokohama. Many have learned 
by the book alone. After the coming 
of your exalted Lord Perry, it became 
the chief ambition of all thoughtful 
men of the New Japan to learn the 
English language and its sciences." 

Higo volunteered the above in 
formation, but the gruff Nunuki 
quickly followed him: 

"Be not deceived, excellent sensei, 
in regard to the baku [fool] who was 
here before you. He was not like 
you, honored sir." 

"No? What was he, then?" 
72 



TAMA 

"He was damyuraisu," blurted 
the boy angrily. 

The Tojin-san burst into laughter. 
It was a colloquial word well known 
in the open ports, and was applied 
to the foreign sailor of whatever 
nationality. It was the Japanization 
of the sailor s favorite expression: 
"Damn your eyes." 

Suddenly his face went grave, re 
membering how the sailors of the 
white nations had misrepresented 
their nations! How, in a constant 
condition of drunkenness, they rioted 
around the open ports. The gravity 
in his face was reflected in that of the 
students. 

"It is a subject," said Junzo gent 
ly, "ignored by common consent in 
Fukui, because it is painful to our 
Daimio. He was the fellow s patron 
and protector till the time when the 
honorable beast betrayed him. Pray 
6 73 



TAMA 

thee, honored sensei," he added al 
most pleadingly, "do not seek to know 
further in the matter." 

"At least tell me what became of 
him." 

"Your excellency s honored feet 
are surely tired. Your honorable 
insides must be entirely empty. Food 
is good in that event. Let us call the 
kurumma." 

They were moving along the road 
toward the waiting vehicles, which 
were to carry them back to the little 
boat that had brought them down 
the river. It was indeed chilly and 
dreary, and their rubber -coats and 
hats of straw were dripping. The 
Tojin-san, his arm linked in that of the 
gentle Junzo, cast a look back at the 
dimly shadowed mountains, and, as 
he did so, the boy dreamily remarked: 

"The Fox- Woman of Atago Yama 
will find wet passage back to Sho Kon 
74 



TAMA 

Sha this night. It is said the streams 
and rivers are all billowing over, and 
not even a sprite may spring across 
them." 

"Have no fear," said Nunuki gruff 
ly, looking back over his shoulder. 
"The fox-woman will find wings 
suitable to her degraded feet. She ll 
not lack the shelter so illy de 
served." 

The words were so brutal, the tone 
of the boy so full of animus and hatred 
that the Tojin-san stopped abruptly. 
He laid a firm, kindly hand on either 
lad s shoulder. 

"Who was it spoke this afternoon 
of superstitions engendered by a 
fanatical dogma?" 

For a moment neither of the stu 
dents answered, then growlingly Nun 
uki snarled: 

" It is hard to spit against the wind. 
Facts cannot be altered." 
75 



TAMA 

"By facts you mean the fox- 
woman?" 

"Her origin, learned sir. It is 
impossible for the offspring of so vile 
a union to be otherwise than unclean, 
as says the law." 

The Tojin-san said solemnly, his 
hand emphasizing with its pressure 
on their shoulders his words: 

"I know nothing of her origin, but 
to quote a favorite proverb of your 
own Japan, remember: The lotus 
springs from the mud! 

The Japanese were silenced, deeply 
moved. 



VIII 

IT became common knowledge in 
Fukui that the fox-woman had taken 
up her residence on the Matsudaira 
estate. The palace grounds covered 
nearly twenty acres, and were sur 
rounded like a veritable wall on all 
sides of the estate by smaller build 
ings, which had once housed the 
retainers of the Daimio, but which 
had not been occupied for years and 
were in a dishevelled and forlorn con 
dition of ruin and decay. Two of 
these dwellings had been put in order, 
and these were occupied by the 
samourai guard, the aged gateman 
who guarded the road leading to the 
mansion and the family of the Tojin- 
77 



TAMA 

san s interpreter, who, himself, how 
ever, had an apartment in the Shiro. 

It was, therefore, quite possible 
for the fox-woman to find lodging in 
almost any of the remaining struct 
ures, and she could, if she desired, 
move from one to the other, and 
when unduly pressed, return to her 
old refuge of the woods and foothills 
of the mountains that bounded them 
on two sides of the estate. 

More than one of the household 
had thought they had seen and recog 
nized her. On a still, hazy night, 
when the golden moon barely showed 
an inquiring face in promise of the 
summer nights to come, Genji Negato 
had shown her to the samourai 
guard. Just a white, fleeting face 
glimmering out like that of some 
hunted thing between the slender, 
towering trunks of a grove of bam 
boo. A moment only under the 
78 



TAMA 

streak of moonbeam, and then it had 
vanished like a mist at twilight. 

Was it a dream, they asked them 
selves, or indeed a manifestation of 
the just anger of the Buddha for sins 
committed in a former state. Were 
they henceforth to be harassed, 
goblin-haunted ? 

And in the dawn, before the sun 
had barely shown its first glimmer of 
light across the eastern sky in the 
misty, dewy, clammy dawn the maid 
Obun had again come face to face 
with her. 

Obun was bent upon her usual 
task of the morning, the bringing of 
water from the pond to the house. 
Her eyes were swollen with sleep, 
she yawned cavernously, and as she 
stooped to dip the first of the pails 
into the water, something stirred the 
other side the pond, and she looked 
across to gaze, with fascinated eyes, 
79 



TAMA 

at the fox-woman, whose long, sunlit 
hair dripped in and out among the 
lotus and the water-lilies, as if she 
bathed it in their perfumed purity. 
Through this dripping veil of hair her 
face gleamed whitely. Her lips fell 
apart as though she listened, her eyes 
were startled, wild, and looked not at 
but through and beyond the dumb 
struck serving -maid as though she 
saw her not at all. Slowly, stealthily, 
the fox- woman came to her feet, 
still with that weird, seeking, listening 
look upon her face, and thus with 
backward, shivering glances, she re 
treated to the bamboo grove. 

To his own amused dismay, the 
Tojin-san found himself constantly on 
the watch for her. He had never 
seen the witch, but he had heard and 
felt her. She crept upon him in the 
evenings when he strolled about his 
garden, and she seemed to follow his 
80 



TAMA 

footsteps with the stealthiness of a 
wildcat, disappearing as fleetly as 
the wind at his mere turning. 

He was aware of her constant near 
ness if he merely stepped out of his 
house. Once when something brushed 
his cheek he was startled to find him 
self believing at once that it was she 
who had touched him. He plunged 
into the brush at his side, and, in the 
dark, thrust back the branches of the 
low-growing trees and bushes only to 
find himself up to his knees in water 
where he had stepped unawares into 
an overgrown rookery and fish-pond. 
As he floundered helplessly about 
he heard her softly laughing in a 
weird, mocking voice, which nev 
ertheless seemed to overrun with 
tears. 

Holding his breath unconsciously 
he found himself straining his ears to 
listen to the sound, which indeed was 
81 



TAMA 

so faint a whisper of a laugh he could 
have believed he dreamed it. 

Sometimes as he drove abroad 
through the country she called to 
him from behind sheltering hillocks, 
and sometimes it seemed her voice 
floated down to him from some 
height some giant tree-top, heavy 
laden with foliage ; for it was the time 
of "Little Plenty" (May) and all the 
land was green and warm. 

He found himself listening for her 
call stopping, waiting for it, and 
returning with a sense of bitter dis 
appointment when he heard it not. 
The servants gossiped, the samourai 
whispered among themselves. They 
said the fox-woman had put a spell 
upon him. Genji Negato repeated 
this to him, and was rewarded by a 
look of startled contempt and anger. 

"Spell!" The man of science re 
pelled the very thought ; but he began 
82 



TAMA 

to avoid the mountain - sides of his 
estate, and turned in preference to 
the river-road, whither she could not 
follow unless she revealed herself. 

Late that month, with no advance 
warning of its coming, whatever, a 
typhoon swept venomously across the 
province, leaving in its wake a shat 
tering storm that shook and beat upon 
the aged Shiro for a day and night; 
and, in the night, one encountered 
the shadow of the fox-woman in the 
great deserted halls of the Matsu- 
haira mansion. 

A wildly shrieking housemaid, call 
ing "Hotogoroshi!" (murder) at the 
top of her voice, gave the alarm, and 
from all parts of the palace the 
menials scuttled like frightened rats, 
taking refuge in the great kitchen in 
the rear. 

Even Genji Negato, with blanched 
face and shaking knees, followed the 
83 



TAMA 

last agitated obi into this dubious 
shelter. Here fortifying himself with 
heavier, if not trustier, implements 
than his swords he recovered his wits 
sufficiently to attempt to rally the 
panic-stricken army of servitors. 
Each in turn was ordered, urged, be 
sought to go to the Tojin-san s apart 
ment. It was dastardly, so he averred, 
to leave the foreigner alone to face 
the unknown peril menacing him. 
For plain it was to be seen that she 
who had hitherto confined her malign 
activities to the large outdoors, had 
stepped at last across the threshold 
of the doomed palace. Undoubtedly, 
the typhoon which had crushed half 
the city so cruelly had been sum 
moned by the witch in token of her 
power over them. Something horri 
ble, sinister, was about to happen. 
Who could tell exactly what; but 
the signs were evil, evil! 
84 



TAMA 

He forgot the difference in his 
state and rank to these creatures of 
the kitchen, and found himself con 
fiding to them his worst fears. 

The Tojin-san slept from north to 
south, the position proper for a 
corpse alone! Genji Negato had 
pleaded with him to change, but the 
foreigner had laughed and insisted 
it was the true, scientific position, 
from pole to pole, in harmony with 
the electric currents of the atmos 
phere. 

The night before all four of the 
samourai guard had heard the plain 
tive howling of a dog; an owl was 
seen black athwart the moon; a tail 
less cat fled under the Uki (goblin- 
tree). The samourai had dutifully 
reported all these happenings to the 
Tojin-san, and now, when the blow 
seemed about to fall upon him, 
this stalwart guard, provided by their 
85 



TAMA 

prince, were sleeping comfortably in 
their yashiki on the very edge of 
the estate. It was the workings of 
the gods! 

Goto, the cook, found his fluttering 
tongue. 

"This very morning," said he, "I 
trod thrice upon an egg-shell." 

"I miserably entangled my obi 
when dressing," said another. 

"And I, alas! bit my tongue when 
eating. My mistress said it was a 
sign some one begrudged me my food. 
Who indeed but this spiteful fiend of 
the mountains?" 

"Twice this week," wailed the 
cook s wife, "little Taro broke his 
chopsticks when eating." 

She fell to sobbing violently into 
her sleeve. 

"Condescend to hush!" said Genji 
Negate. "Remaining silent is good." 
The interpreter s yellow face had 
86 



TAMA 

turned ashen, his hair appeared to 
stand almost on end, as he listened 
with suspended breathing. 

Outside the wild rain beat against 
the wind-swept trees, and dashed 
peltingly against the ancient Shiro. 
Jagged flashes of lightning zigzagged 
across the skies showing clearly 
through the walls, though the amado 
were in place. It was not, however, 
to the sound of the tempest that the 
interpreter was giving ear. Some 
where within the Shiro itself new 
sounds were heard. It was as if a 
wind passed along the great halls 
and corridors and close upon its soft- 
footed flight there dashed something 
heavy, pursuing. 

Suddenly the main sliding screen 
or door, which led into the halls, 
fell inward with a crash. Over it 
something bounded like a ball of 
fiery light, passed through the kitchen 
87 



TAMA 

swift as a lightning flash and shot out 
into the storm, letting in a gust of 
rain and wind and thunder through 
the shaking doors. 

A moment later only, and panting 
like an animal in the chase, the great 
Tojin burst into the chamber. He 
stopped short, staring as if con 
founded at the group shuddering 
against the farthermost wall. Slowly 
his gray face relaxed its tension. He 
tried to speak normally, but in spite 
of himself his voice shook, though his 
words were terse, commanding. 

"There is nothing to be afraid 
of," he said. "Translate that, if you 
please, to the servants," he sternly 
ordered his interpreter. 

The latter s teeth were chattering. 
He could barely speak. 

"Your excellency you yourself 
have seen " 

"I saw nothing," said the Tojin- 
88 



TAMA 

san, doggedly, "save the figure of a 
woman!" 

"A woman!" cried the interpreter, 
almost in tears at the evident stub 
bornness of this fool-white-man. 
"Ah, most high-up sir, would you 
have condescended pursuit of a mere 
female creature?" 

The Tojin-san looked care-worn, 
haggard, as if he struggled within 
himself. His deep, stern voice quiv 
ered in spite of himself. 

"She was pressed against my wall, 
and fled fleetly as a wild thing when 
I threw the doors open. The halls 
were unlighted. I could barely see 
her. My eyes were dazzled at the 
sudden darkness. I may have been 
mistaken. And yet and yet it 
seemed to me her hair was gold! 1 

7 



IX 

"I AM determined to satisfy my 
call it curiosity if you will in regard 
to this fox- woman," the Tojin-san 
told the three students who were his 
almost constant companions outside 
the school. 

"I can get no help whatever from 
my servants and less from the guard. 
Genji Negate is worse than a woman, 
and the Daimio s officer has point 
blank refused to give me a guide to 
direct me to her home on Atago 
Yama." 

He paused and looked at the em 
barrassed faces of the students. They 
were devoted to him he knew, eager 
to serve and please him; yet even 
90 



TAMA 

they, sons of the new, sane Japan, 
feared the fox-woman. He was de 
termined to win them over. 

"So I want your help, Junzo, and 
yours, and yours, Nunuki and Higo. 
You can help me if you will." 

In what way ?" demanded Nunuki 
cautiously. 

"In any way you wish. Devise 
some scheme to trap this creature of 
the mountains." 

"Can we trap the north wind when 
it raves over the wilderness ? Can we 
trap even the gentlest zephyr when 
it dances across sunlit paths?" asked 
Junzo, wistfully. 

But the fox- woman is neither the 
rough north wind, nor the playful 
zephyr of the south. She has a 
physical body, which even you will 
admit. The wildest thing of the wild 
est forest can be caught," and he add 
ed , half under his breath ," and tamed ." 



TAMA 

Higo was considering, his young 
patrician face very thoughtful and 
intent; but Junzo with a burst of 
boyish pity put his hand timidly, 
affectionately into that of the Tojin s. 

"Ah, dear sensei," he said, "you 
are tortured, obsessed by this 
wretched witch. She has put her 
evil spell upon you." 

"Nonsense," said his teacher, al 
most roughly, releasing his hand. 
"This is not helping me, Junzo." 

"But you have never heard the 
story of Chuguro. It happened in 
Yedo, many years ago, your excel 
lency. He was in the service of a 
Hatamoto named Suzuki, and seemed 
like any other contented and healthy 
ashigaru. Then came a time when 
his comrades missed him in the night, 
and they would not again see him 
till just before the dawn, when he 
would creep back to his quarters 
92 



TAMA 

looking very strange and white and 
exhausted. He became weaker and 
weaker from day to day, and at last 
was unable to leave his couch at all, 
though he pleaded and begged to be 
carried to the foot of a little bridge 
not far from the main gateway. But 
his friends were obdurate. They 
called in a great Chinese surgeon, who 
made an examination of the dying 
man and declared his veins had been 
literally drained dry of blood! All 
declared it was the fox- woman; but 
the Chinese doctor said: It was a 
frog, which took to the soldier s eyes 
the form of a woman. The boy 
paused, eying his teacher wistfully. 
"It is only a legend you will say, 
sensei, but I beseech thee, honored sir, 
to avoid contact with even a stray 
fly, a spider, any crawling thing that 
may beat its way into your yashiki. 
Who knows what form this dread- 
93 



TAMA 

ful fox-woman may take to lure 
you." 

Higo broke in impatiently: 

"If indeed our sensei is tortured, 
why waste words on idle tales of the 
past? It is our duty to conceive 
some sensible scheme by which to 
rid his excellency of the torture." 

He began to talk swiftly and eagerly 
to his friends in Japanese, and gradu 
ally their resisting and doubting faces 
changed. With boy -like zeal they 
discussed the adventure proposed by 
Higo. Then the latter turned ab 
ruptly back to the Tojin-san. 

"You will permit us free access 
to your grounds at all and any 
hours?" 

Most certainly. I will so instruct 
the gateman." 

"And, if necessary, we may call 
upon the guard for assistance?" 

The Tojin-san slightly smiled. 
94 



TAMA 

"Come now, surely you don t an 
ticipate so hard a task?" 

"We cannot tell. Even the guard 
may prove insufficient, but with 
Shaka s aid we may succeed!" 

A look of alarm came to the Tojin- 
san s face. 

"I wish no harm whatever to be 
fall her. If you can surprise her upon 
one of her nightly peregrinations in 
our neighborhood, and induce her 
gently but firmly to accompany you, 
it will be gratifying. Once brought 
face to face with other people for I 
am convinced she is the same as we 
are I hope to be able to lay this 
bugaboo of a fox-woman." 

"As for that, impossible to say," 
said Higo vaguely. "Now sinking, 
now floating, thus is life says the poet. 
If disaster befall us in the undertak 
ing it will be as decreed of the gods. 
All things are beforehand ordained." 
95 



TAMA 

"You anticipate hazard in the 
adventure?" 

"We would not attempt it other 
wise," proudly asserted Nunuki, his 
hand unconsciously caressing his 
sword-hilt, for these boy - samourai 
all wore the sword. Higo indeed was 
of a princely house, and kin to Echi- 
zen himself. 

As the American looked at them, 
nerving themselves thus bravely for 
an encounter which to them at least 
was a deadly one, he suddenly thought 
of that frail, fleeing shadow which 
had gone before him in the gloom of 
the unlighted halls, and, unconscious 
ly, he smiled. Why, boys as they 
were, any one of them could surely 
have crushed her between the palms 
of his sinewy young hands. If there 
were a real risk to run, he knew he 
would be the first to thrust himself 
in their way. But no! The under- 
96 



TAMA 

taking was worth while, necessary, 
indeed, if only for the purpose of 
demonstrating the foolishness and 
cruelty of superstition. Even the 
melancholy tones of his favorite pupil, 
chanting almost monotonously the 
Buddhist text : 

"Brief is the time of pleasure, and 
quickly turns to pain, and whatsoever 
is born must necessarily die," failed 
to move him. 

Young heroic fatalists! His heart 
went out to them overwhelmingly. 



X 



THEY had dug a trench hard by the 
castle moat. Over this they spread 
a net made of stout hempen rope, 
the edges of which were threaded in 
and out with elastic of great strength. 
This was stretched out and pinned, 
not too firmly, till it encircled and 
covered the pit. Then the sod and 
leaves and flower petals were care 
fully, though thinly, replaced, and the 
trap was ready for the Fox- Woman of 
Atago Yama. 

Over all the Matsuhaira Shiro a 
tense, silent excitement pervaded. 
Though the students had worked in 
secret, swiftly and silently on a 
dusky, rainy night, when their prey 
98 



TAMA 

would not be likely to be abroad, 
nevertheless no smallest menial on 
the place but knew that measures 
had been taken to entrap the fox- 
woman. They shivered deliciously 
over the dreadful prospect, for dire 
things had been promised them by 
the too garrulous Genji Negate, should 
any slightest inkling of the plans leak 
out from the Shiro itself. 

Even the Tojin-san, who had been 
kept in complete ignorance of the 
actual methods they had taken to 
entrap her, was affected by that name 
less feeling of uneasiness and unquiet, 
of repressed excitement and strained 
fear, which animated every other 
individual of his household. 

Throughout the evening he paced 
his great chamber in a moody, 
wretched silence. The sense of alone- 
ness, of homesickness that sometimes 
came upon him in this land, seemed 
99 



TAMA 

somehow this night to be deeper, 
more depressing. For days, indeed, 
he had been affected by a feeling 
of impending gloom and disaster. 
He had been restless, dissatisfied, 
nervous unconsciously listening and 
waiting for something he seemed to 
expect was about to happen. Now 
he found himself analyzing this sick 
sense of depression which had per 
vaded his whole being these latter 
days, and seemed to reach its culmina 
tion on this silent night. 

Was it something in the look or 
tone of a student who recalled one of 
his own people, or was it the letters 
that had come to him from across the 
seas that made him realize they had 
cared for him more in that other 
country than he had realized ? No 
he faced the situation. This was not 
what had awakened the fever within 
him. 

100 



TAMA 

It was something deeper, some 
thing very beautiful and mystic. 
It was the golden hair of this Japanese 
Lorelei which had ensnared his long 
ing! He could not banish its glitter, 
its "sun" as they called it here, its 
wild appeal from his mind. What 
was this creature of the mountains 
then, whom the gentlest of people 
had outcast? And what was this 
spell they said she had cast upon him ? 
The words seized upon his fancy, 
writhed his lips into a tortured smile. 
He, whom a mere woman had scorned, 
under the spell of a witch a wild 
creature of these Japanese mountains 
whose face he had never even seen! 
It was preposterous fantastic ! And 
yet! 

The blood forsook his face, his lips. 
For days, for weeks, aye, for months 
he had thought of little else. Through 
half the luminous nights he had 

101 



TAMA 

watched and waited for her had 
sought her desperately, hungrily. 
Day and night he had been waiting 
for her waiting and listening, always 
listening, for that appealing voice of 
mockery and anguish that called to 
him insistently to him alone! What 
mad fancies were these that had 
woven themselves like a subtle 
spider s web into his clear, sane mind ? 
It was the country, the people! He 
was in a land of gods and spirits ! 

The night was very still and humid. 
The rain was gone, but its wet touch 
still clung in the air and was moist 
upon the grass and trees. The shoji 
of the chamber had been removed 
entirely on the garden side, so that 
he practically was out-of-doors in 
an open pavilion or verandah. He 
could see the moon-tipped branches of 
the trees under whose shade myriad 
fireflies flickered in and out, rivalling 

IO2 



TAMA 

the distant stars above them in brill 
iancy. 

A cherry grove, from which blew 
fairy flakes, like confetti at a carnival, 
was at the extremity of the garden, 
and ever and anon a shower of these 
dancing - petals blew into his apart 
ment, giving it an almost festive air. 
Great drifts of them lay in the 
corners of the room, like snow, and 
upon his couch, his tables, chairs and 
other furnishings, marking them with 
a white touch. In the shadow of a 
bamboo grove an uguisu thrilled forth 
its liquid song, and the wind-bells on 
the eaves tinkled musically back and 
forth in a faint breeze, as if in unison 
with the song of the wood-bird. 

From across the mountains came 
the gentle booming of the temple 
bells, telling the hour of the night, 
and, as if they were a signal listened 
for, the fox-woman crept out of the 
103 



TAMA 

dense bamboo grove and felt her way 
among the shadows till she came 
to the brink of the castle moat. 
Along its edge she wended her fleet, 
cautious way, till she came to a nar 
row wing, and over this she stepped 
silently. In the vague light of the 
moon, she seemed indeed a wraith, 
in her clinging gown of white, en 
shrouded in the wild veil of her hair. 
On and on she moved, as though she 
travelled over known and familiar 
paths. 

Suddenly, piercingly, in the still 
moonlight sounded the cry of the 
fox -woman, and, as suddenly, a si 
lence fell, still as death itself. It was 
as if every living thing had paused to 
listen to that appealing cry of agony 
and terror. 

Silence ! No one stirring. No one 
breathing. 

Then, as if brought violently into 
104 



TAMA 

life, the Tojin-san bounded to his 
feet, and in the light of the swinging 
takahiras, for a moment his great 
form loomed up menacingly. From 
all parts of the estate now came 
the sound of movement, and he saw 
the samourai guard, their gleaming 
swords drawn fully and flashing eerily 
in the moonlight, charge down blindly 
in the direction of the cry. Within 
the woods came the sound of battle, 
the rumble of men s savage, tri 
umphant voices a wild stirring 
and crying, and then again the 
silence! 

Presently from out the brush they 
came, bearing their burden stalwart 
men of war, all with their hands upon 
her. Out along the whitewashed 
paths, across the green-clipped lawns 
and through the garden of fragrant, 
blowing flowers they carried the fox- 
woman into the cherry-petalled cham- 
8 105 



TAMA 

her of the Tojin-san. There they set 
her down, still entangled, like a wild 
beast of the woods, in the net they 
had made to snare her. 

Unmoving she lay, as one indeed 
in whom life was extinct; but when 
the Tojin-san moved with an impulse 
of passionate yearning toward her, 
the boy Junzo, who loved him, sprang 
in his path. 

"Touch her not, beloved sensei! 
She is accursed, unclean!" 

He put the boy roughly, savagely 
aside, and in a moment was kneeling 
above her. It was the task of a 
minute to cut free the bonds that 
bound her. Still she did not move. 
With hands that trembled in spite of 
themselves, gently, softly, he put 
back from her face the glittering 
veil of her hair, and as he did so his 
heart came up in his throat in a great, 
suffocating bound for the face he 
106 




TOUCH HER NOT. BELOVED SENSEI! SHE IS ACCURSED, UNCLEAN!" 



TAMA 

uncovered was that of a white wo- v 
man! 

So perfect, so exquisite the small, 
sensitive face, he could only gaze 
upon it spell-bound. The great pur 
ple eyes, wide open, and shadowed 
with their long, gilded lashes; the 
thin little nose ; the lips red as a new 
blown rose, and as sweet! and crown 
ing it all, the golden glory of her 
hair. 

In this land where only the brown 
face and densely black hair and eyes 
had been known for centuries, was it 
strange that this creature of the 
mountains seemed as of another 
world a sprite indeed. This perse 
cuted, hunted creature, whom they 
had trapped with ropes, as the hunter 
does the wild animals of the forests; 
this fragile, trembling, quivering little 
child of his own skin and blood 
this was the fox-woman! 
107 



TAMA 

She spoke not at all, though her 
wide-open eyes never moved from 
the Tojin s face. Something in their 
glassy stare, their curious look as of 
a mist before them, brought an 
exclamation to his lips. He bent 
nearer to her, looked deeply, keenly 
into those unflickering eyes, and an 
imprecation swept his lips. 

"And blind! My God!" he cried. 

As if his voice had moved her 
spirit into a sudden life, the fox- 
woman stirred soundlessly as a cat 
would have done. Suddenly she leap 
ed blindly in the face of the Tojin. He 
stood unmoving, a great stolid wall 
against which she might hurl her 
puny strength in vain. 

Presently, gasping, exhausted, she 
drew backward, her fluttering hands 
crushed upon her heart as if to stop 
its frantic beating. A sound that 
had the vaguest, most piteous of 
1 08 



TAMA 

human notes came from the fox- 
woman s lips, and suddenly, with the 
motion of a lost child in despair, 
she buried her face in the fragile 
shelter of her hands. 



XI 

SHE was the daughter of the 
damyuraisu (foreign sailor) and of 
the Nii-no-ama (Noble Nun of second 
rank). Bit by bit he drew forth her 
history from the students, who re 
mained with him throughout the 
night. There was little enough they 
could tell him, beyond the fact of her 
parentage. Her father had betrayed 
his friend and benefactor, an Echizen 
prince; her mother had broken her 
vows to the Lord Buddha. And the 
creature herself! Now the Tojin-san 
could see for himself that the tales 
told about her were by no means 
chimerical. 

She was free to go, for he had cut 
no 



TAMA 

the ropes that bound her. Though 
blind, she could have found any 
exit of the chamber unaided. She 
made not the slightest move to go. 
Crouched back there against the 
farthest wall she stayed, with her 
wild flushed face peering out from 
between her parted hair, the eyes wide 
open, unblinking, scarcely moving. 
If she understood what they spoke, 
she made no sign; yet her face had 
a strained, listening look as though 
she heard strange sounds that both 
baffled and troubled her. 

The dawn crept into the chamber, 
murky and sunless, and found them 
still there on guard as it were, with 
the distance of almost the entire 
room between them and the fox-wom 
an, but watching her with unabated 
emotion. It was the Tojin-san who at 
last approached her. She sensed his 
coming and shrank back farther, if 
in 



TAMA 

that were possible against the wall. 
Now he stood directly before her, 
studying her in a profound silence. 

Slowly, cautiously she raised her 
self to her knees, and then to her 
feet. Now she stood fairly facing him, 
her back against the wall. A thin, 
searching little hand felt blindly be 
fore her, touched him. With a quick, 
animated movement her fingers now 
flew from his hand, up along his arm 
and shoulder, paused upon his pitted 
cheek, moved to his lips and rested 
there, soft as a feather, fragrant as a 
flower. 

Never in all the days of his life had 
he looked upon such a face as hers. 
Every quivering, sensitive feature 
seemed alive with the quickened, 
subtle sense of the blind. Even the 
little feeling fingers, how mortally 
alive they were, as they swept with 
their light, electrical touch across him ! 

112 



TAMA 

When he put his great, firm hands 
upon her shoulders, he felt the shock, 
the startling tremble that agitated 
her. She stood poised for flight, 
uncertain, fearful, with the wild de 
fiance of her nature only in part 
checked ; but as his deep, compassion 
ate voice addressed her, she became 
gradually passive and very still. 

"You may not understand my 
words," he said, "but you will their 
meaning. I want to help you. I am 
your friend." 

Her eyes became curiously blue, 
and the misty look faded like a 
shadow from their depths. Across 
the tremulous, scarlet lips a smile 
crept like the dawn. She moved a 
step nearer to him, and as he regarded 
her, fascinated, thrilled, the student, 
Junzo, broke the spell of silence. He 
had thrust himself forward with an 
impetuous, imploring motion. 



TAMA 

" Sense! ! honored sir, teacher !" 

She turned her head craftily in the 

direction of the new voice, then slowly 

back to the Tojin-san. There was a 

low, accusing note in her voice : 

"To-o-jin-san! Thou too !" she said. 



XII 

THE Palace Matsuhaira, wherein 
the courteous Prince of Echizen had 
housed the foreign teacher, had lost 
all but two of its tenants. The odor 
ous kitchens where but lately the 
army of servants had happily and 
noisily labored were now quite empty. 
So were the vast, cool halls, and the 
great, bare chambers. Like an army 
of rats, one and all, they had deserted 
the place, leaving the Tojin-san alone, 
save for that unseen one, who alter 
natively teased and entreated him. 

Even the faithful students, who 
had brought about her capture, had 
ceased to visit the Shiro, having 
vainly implored the Tojin-san to 



TAMA 

abandon the place. With a grim 
and stubborn patience, he kept dog 
gedly to the course he had set him 
self. 

All over the house he found traces 
of her. Now she had slept in this 
chamber, now in that. Here she had 
prepared her diminutive, stolen meal 
of fruit, honey, and rice. 

He was aware of her constant 
nearness, and had he so desired, at 
almost any moment, he could have 
again seen her; but he was taking a 
more subtle means this time to en 
trap her. She must come forth of 
her own free will; then he would 
know he had her confidence, that 
she knew him for a friend. He found 
himself talking to her, sometimes 
sternly, in the chiding, coaxing tone 
one uses to a child. He would move 
from screen to screen as he talked, 
until he knew behind which one she 
116 



TAMA 

pressed; but he made no effort to 
force her from her hiding-place. 

Never a word would she speak in 
response until he was seated far re 
moved from the sheltering screens, 
then she would begin reiterating the 
one appealing, accusing sentence: 

"Tojin-san, thou too! thou too!" 

It was as if she knew no other words 
of her father s language. He pon 
dered their meaning. What was it 
she asked of him? Of what accused 
and reproached him? Did she hold 
him responsible for the manner of 
her capture its cruelty ? He told her 
in slow, forceful words that he had 
known nothing of this, and waited 
in anxiety for some word or sound 
from her to indicate that at least she 
understood. She only laughed, that 
soft, mocking, tremulous little laugh 
with its inner sound of tears. 

The burning, humid days of June 
117 



TAMA 

slipped by on drowsy wing. School 
was closed for the season, and the 
foreign sensei was at liberty to travel 
if he wished upon his vacation. The 
samourai body - guard were anxious 
to attend him upon any expedition 
that would take them away from the 
Shiro. Genji Negato was available, 
outside the place. Every cringing, 
fearful, cowardly servant, who still 
drew wages from the Daimio s high 
officer, was anxious again to serve 
him. They made up deputations 
and committees, which fearfully ap 
proached the mansion, and threw 
their messages in little balls that 
pelted against the paper summer 
walls of the shoji and pierced their 
way into the Tojin-san s apartment. 
And still not once did he venture 
forth. 

Every sliding door and screen he 
had himself put in place. He did not 
118 



TAMA 

venture outside the house, even to 
step into the grounds. And a strange 
restless rumor began to float about 
the little town below, which told of 
the spell which chained the white 
man. 

Meanwhile within the mansion it 
self, the Tojin-san was winning a 
strange victory. Timidly, like a fas 
cinated wild bird, now approaching, 
now retreating, nearer and yet nearer, 
had come the fox-woman. There 
came a day when, though he did not 
turn to look at her, fearing instantly 
to lose her, she stood at last revealed. 
Only a few paces from him, there of 
her own free will, timorous, trembling, 
but unafraid. 

Her name was Tama (Jewel). She 
told it to him voluntarily, her hand 
upon her breast. He had not even 
asked her, nor did he by the slightest 
motion reveal the eager emotion her 
119 



T A M A 

words aroused when he found they 
were spoken in his own tongue. 
Haltingly, uncertainly, like a child 
for the first time feeling for its words, 
she essayed to speak. 

"I am Tama," softly she said, and 
then, as if enchanted by her ability 
to speak actual words to one who 
might hear and understand, she 
lapsed into excited, trembling speech, 
wholly unintelligible to the Tojin-san, 
for it was a medley of both her 
father and her mother tongue, nei 
ther of which she could properly 
speak. 

Suddenly she stopped abruptly, as 
if affrighted by her own bravado, 
and her fears again besetting her 
panically she retreated behind the 
screens. For the rest of that day, 
as least, he saw nothing further of 
her. But he was well pleased with 
matters as they were. It was worth 
1 20 



TAMA 

waiting for this, he told himself. As 
he paced his chamber, he made no 
effort to curb the exhilarating excite 
ment that pervaded his whole being. 

9 



XIII 

Two days later she again came 
forth from her hiding-place. He had 
been aware of her hovering nearness 
all through the morning, but made 
no effort to induce her to come to 
him. One may entrap a wild bird; 
one cannot make it sing. He knew 
the course he was taking with her 
was right; he was exuberantly, boy 
ishly happy at its evident success. 

Shyly, trustingly, of her own free 
will, again she had come to him. On 
the sensitive questioning face there 
was scarcely a trace of the wild, 
impish defiance that had seemed on 
that first day its only expression. 
She even smiled tentatively, pleading- 

122 



TAMA 

ly, as though she sought in this wise 
to win his approval. He spoke to 
her quietly, as though her presence 
there were but natural: 

"Won t you be seated?" he said. 

She hesitated a moment, sat a 
moment, rose to her knees uncer 
tainly, and gradually subsided to the 
mat. Her face was down -drooped, 
the little white hands folded meekly 
in her lap. 

"You are not Japanese," said the 
Tojin-san, gently. It was a simple, 
clear statement. If she understood 
anything of his language, it would be 
plain to her what he meant. A mar 
vellous flush spread over her eager 
little face. The humid, misty eyes 
were clear as blue-bells now. A 
sound like an excited sob, half laugh, 
escaped her. 

Nipponese ?" she said. No me ? 
I am To-o-jin-san!" 
123 



TAMA 

Her hands went out to him in a 
sudden impulsive motion. She moved 
on her knees nearer to him. 

"Ah," she cried, "speag those 
words of my father! Thas beauti 
ful!" 

He was deeply moved, and took 
the little hands closely in his own. 
They were soft and small, clinging 
and confiding as a child s. How they 
trembled and fluttered at first; then 
rested still, as if with a joyous new 
confidence. 

He could not bear to look at her 
beseeching face. In all the days of 
her life he knew he was the first she 
had not held at bay. She knew 
mankind only as creatures of prey. 
Was this the mocking sprite of the 
mountains, who even when entangled 
in the ropes of the hunter had fought 
so desperately, so savagely? What 
could he say to her, what words of 
124 



TAMA 

assurance that would penetrate her 
full understanding? As he pondered 
the matter, he saw the startled change 
that swept suddenly across her face. 
The hands in his own grew tense, 
rigid, clung to his own in a passionate 
frenzy of fear. 

"You are afraid of something? 
What is it?" 

The old hunted, listening look was 
upon her face again. She was shiver 
ing, trembling violently. Her voice 
came in a whispering gasp: 

"I hear those sound!" she said, 
her head uplifted. 

Only a lazy breeze was stirring, and 
moving the wind - bells to and fro. 
Suddenly he saw the silhouetted 
shadow on the shoji wall. It moved 
silently, cautiously. Then the screens 
were slid soundlessly open, and the 
student Junzo appeared. For a mo 
ment he remained staring down upon 
125 



TAMA 

them, his young face becoming gray 
and stern. 

Sensei ! Then it is true !" he burst 
out, and the look of despair on his 
face deepened. 

The Tojin-san arose to his full gigan 
tic height. His hand fell like a heavy 
weight upon the shoulder of the youth. 
His voice was rough, commanding. 

"Look at this child, Takemoto 
Junzo. What is there you see in her 
to fear to hate?" 

"Ah, you, beloved sensei," cried 
the boy passionately, "are bewitched, 
enchanted. Do I not see with my 
honorable eyes the change that has 
befallen you ? It is spoken of all over 
Fukui that you are in the toils of 
this siren. I could not longer bear it, 
and, against my honorable parent s 
stern command, I came here to see 
for myself. Alas, it is too true! You 
are bewitched, obsessed!" 
126 



TAMA 

The Tojin-san curbed his temper. 
His voice, though stern, was calm, 
as though he sought to humor the 
boy. 

"What is the change you observe 
in me then?" 

"Your eyes are weak and soft like 
the dove s. There is a melting, ten 
der look unfit for man upon your 
face. Your voice is gentle, like unto 
a woman s. It is as if as if the 
enamored weakness of a love pos 
sessed you!" 

"A love!" repeated the Tojin-san, 
as though the very word were new 
to him. Suddenly a look of anguish 
came into his face, giving it a poig 
nant, withering expression. 

The fox-woman had crept softly 
across the room. Now she leaned 
upon the farthest shoji, her head 
lifted in a dreaming trance. 

"Leave this accursed place with 
127 



TAMA 

me to-day," urged the boy entreat- 
ingly. "My honorable father will 
gladly receive you as our honored 
guest. Throw off the burden of this 
foul witch of the mountains. She can 
only soil your excellency, and Fukui 
is prepared to mete out to her at last 
her proper fate." 

"I am a white man," said the 
Tojin-san slowly, in a deadly voice, 
and never had his student seen such 
an expression upon his face before. 
"As such I protect, not abandon, the 
women of my race. It will not be 
well for Fukui if harm comes to either 
me, your guest and teacher, or to her, 
whom I choose to befriend." 

"Sayonara, then, excellent sensei," 
said the boy brokenly, "I have done 
my best." 

As he pushed back the doors, the 
fox-woman glided soundlessly across 
his path. The boy found himself 
128 



TAMA 

looking directly into that shining 
face that had distracted all who had 
gazed upon it. Breathing heavily, 
almost as if he sobbed, he drew back 
ward from her, his young face drawn 
and shaken. She spoke not at all, 
though she touched him with a timid, 
questioning hand. Something in the 
expression of the upturned face, in 
the tears that stood like dew in the 
wide, sightless eyes, aroused a new 
strangling emotion in the Japanese 
youth reached at last his innermost 
sense of chivalry. He threw up his 
arm, with a sudden motion almost as 
of defense. Then, without a word 
or look backward, he jumped into the 
garden below, and fled along its paths. 



XIV 

THE days stole by with light tread. 
Without the Shiro Matsuhaira events 
of great national import were taking 
place. Fukui was disrupted, torn by 
the new tide of events that was to 
alter its destiny, for the Yaku doshi 
(evil years) were again upon them. 

No longer were the provinces to be 
ruled by individual princes, for one 
and all had come under the dominion 
of the Emperor. 

People were packing their house 
hold goods in haste and wending their 
ambitious ways toward the greater 
cities. In a single month Fukui lost 
half its population, and those left 
behind seemed to move about the 
130 



TAMA 

affairs of life as if in a dream, from 
which presently they would awake. 

Thus the political upheaval served 
for a time, at least, to distract the 
people s mind from the Tojin and the 
fox- woman. It was but a temporary 
distraction. A whispering, sinister 
voice was at work. It ran in and out 
the houses of Fukui, and breathed its 
suggestive message to the disaffected, 
impoverished ones, and pointed out 
the cause of the calamity that had 
befallen them; for so sudden and 
drastic a change of government was 
bound to react disastrously upon the 
people at first, no matter how for 
tunate its ultimate end. The people 
of Fukui, like those of other feudal 
strongholds, were at present feeling 
only the first blighting, threatening 
touch of coming poverty. 

For hundreds of years the samourai 
and their families had been dependent 



TAMA 

aristocrats, who shared the rich for 
tunes of their lords. Now they found 
themselves suddenly thrust out of 
service; in the same position as the 
despised merchant or farmer, forced 
to seek employment no matter how 
repugnant or menial. Many of them 
chose what they considered the no 
blest and most heroic solution of the 
problem suppuku! The entire de 
struction of themselves and families. 
Many sought the larger cities intent 
on obtaining lucrative positions under 
the new government; many families 
were reduced to the direst poverty, 
and became dependents upon their 
own servants and tradespeople. 

Fukui had known the noblest of 
princes, and it was with a feeling of 
despairing confidence that the people 
awaited his return from Tokio. He 
was high in the councils of the Im 
perial Government. He could and 
132 



TAMA 

would he must do much to save 
his beloved province from disaster. 
So they waited patiently, helplessly. 
Hope is at best but the comforter of 
despair, and as the days passed 
drearily by a new feeling took its 
place. 

A sullen, rebellious hatred for the 
white nations who had brought this 
new state of affairs about a murder 
ous, resentful impulse of revenge. It 
was the same feeling that had ani 
mated the misguided patriots of 
Satsuma, when they fought the allied 
fleet at Kagoshima, but it was uglier, 
meaner, for its force was directed 
upon two individuals, who, to the 
Fukui mind, represented the detested 
nations of the West. One of these, 
so Fukui firmly believed, was directly 
responsible for the disaster. She, the 
accursed outcast, who had descended 
from the mountains and taken up her 



TAMA 

abode in their very midst; who had 
laid her spell upon the great Tojin- 
san, who had been their friend! 

Many a samourai s itching hand 
crept stealthily to the forbidden 
sword, for, by the new law, they were 
not permitted to wear the sword, as 
he measured his misfortunes through 
the blighting nearness of the fox- 
woman. Many a distracted mother 
crooned a promise to her sleeping 
babe that the dread gagama (goblin) 
of Atago Yama that had menaced 
them for so long was at last to be ex 
tinguished. 

And meanwhile, in the Shiro Mat- 
suhaira, another kind of dream was 
unfolding its rose-lined wings. 



XV 

"To what are you listening, 
Tama?" 

He had come upon her pressed 
closely against a latticed screen, 
whose opening looked out upon the 
river leading to the city below. 

She started at his coming, and 
turned toward him, her back against 
the screen. 

"I listen to the noise of thad 
river," she said, and there was a con 
ciliating, pleading note in her voice. 

"You cannot hear the river from 
here. It is very shallow barely stirs. 
There is something else you are list 
ening to?" 

"It is the uguisu," she said quickly, 



TAMA 

as though she sought to disarm his 
fears. It no longer sings, Tojin-san. 
I listen for hees voice again." 

"It never sang, my child, save at 
night. What is it that troubles you ? 
You seem always to be listening, 
waiting so fearfully so anxiously. 
You are afraid of something. Tell me 
what it is ? 

His deep, lowered voice was as 
caressing and tender as a mother s. 
She faltered, turned from him. Her 
voice overran with vague sighs. 

"I hear even those mos sof of hon 
orable whisper. I hear some noise of 
trobble! I am afraid for you 
kind Tojin-san." 

"For me! I am amply protected 
here in Fukui. I have a body-guard 
of samourai, besides Genji Negato, 
who will come back quickly enough 
when he has mastered his foolish 
fears." 

136 



TAMA 

"The samourai gone," she said, 
simply. 

He was silent a moment, realizing 
there was nothing to be gained by 
attempting to deceive her. How, 
when or where she learned of these 
matters he never knew ; but she knew 
perhaps more than he did of what 
was happening in Fukui. 

"Even if it is so," he finally said, 
"and the samourai too are gone, you 
have nothing to fear. Less than a 
week ago a courier brought word to 
me from Tokio. I am expecting 
friends in Fukui very shortly now." 

"Frien?" she repeated wistfully. 
"Like unto you, kind Tojin-san?" 

"Yes white men, and Japanese, 
too, for that matter. I have good 
friends in Tokio. They are coming 
here to see you, my child." 

"Alas!" she said, shrinking slightly 
from him, "Why do they come ?" 
10 137 



TAMA 

"I asked them to come," he said, 
very gravely. "I feel I am right, 
and that by a simple operation we 
will be able to make you see, as other 
people do, my child." 

The word appeared to trouble her. 

"I see already, Tojin-san," she 
said. 

"What do you see, Tama?" he 
asked her huskily. 

The words came floodingly, tumult- 
uously to her lips. The misty eyes 
were blue as the sea and as beautiful. 

"I see thee, Tojin-san. Thou art 
beautiful ad my sight, lig unto the 
gods." 

A look of suffering left its mark 
upon the face of the Tojin. He gazed 
at the kindling face of the girl before 
him, and the old strangling, yearning 
emotion swept over him. 

"Give me more sight if it is your 
honorable wish," she said, "bud 
138 



TAMA 

already I see I know!" She pressed 
her fingers impetuously to her eyes. 

"I see the light the dark. It is 
a worl of shadows on my eyes, and 
shadows are lig unto our dream 
mos beautiful of all!" 

His voice was firm, almost solemn. 

You have been wandering around 
in a black wilderness all of your life; 
you do not know what it is, my poor 
little one, to see the sun! But, with 
God s good help, I am going to lead 
you out of the wilderness into the 
light!" 

"You are the light!" she said, 
throbbingly, and slipped to her knees, 
putting her face against his hand. 

Something bounded against the 
wall and came whistling through the 
shoji. It grazed the cheek of the 
kneeling fox -woman, and imbedded 
itself against the woodwork of the 
opposite wall. She put up her hand 



TAMA 

with a quick, startled movement, but 
though she turned a questioning, 
fearful face upon the great Tojin, 
she could not see how deathly white 
he had become. He bent suddenly 
above her. 

"Make me a promise. Repeat 
after me, that no matter what might 
befall us, you will remain with me 
you will not desert me!" 

With her face pressed against his 
hand, her eyes fervently closed, she 
repeated the words as a veritable 
prayer. 



XVI 

IN the sunken garden directly be 
neath his rooms he saw that sinister 
thing below, waiting in a throbbing 
silence. It seemed as if his gardens 
were alive with them. Who had 
summoned them? For what were 
they waiting? 

From his elevation above them he 
spoke, his clear voice booming out 
above their heads. 

"Genji Negate, I desire your ser 
vices." 

From somewhere in the shadows 
the voice of the interpreter came back 
at him like a cold slap in the face. 

"When the evil spirit of Atago 
Yama shall have left the abode of the 
141 



TAMA 

exalted Tojin-san, Genji Negate will 
humbly return for service." 

The Tojin-san s incisive, perfectly 
controlled voice continued coldly: 

"By command of the Prince of 
Echizen you are in my service. In 
his name, I order you to control 
your foolish fears, or take the con 
sequences of your Prince s displeas 
ure." 

A strange voice, rumbling, sneering, 
responded to this statement. Like 
a flash, upon the retort, came the 
Tojin s ringing order to the inter 
preter: 

"Translate the words just spoken, 
if you please." 

"He says, your excellency, that the 
Prince of Echizen has been summarily 
called to Tokio. If the new law is 
indeed enforced he may not re 
turn." 

For a moment the far-seeing mind 
142 



TAMA 

of the Tojin staggered before this 
appalling news, which, if true, meant 
the possibility of his being suddenly 
cast adrift and left to protect himself 
from the Jo-i menace, against which 
Echizen himself had taken such pre 
cautions in his behalf. While his 
mind revolved all the possible perils 
of his position, a new voice sprang 
ringingly out of the shadows of his 
garden a boy s clear, unfaltering 
voice with its reassuring note of 
loyalty and affection. 

"Beloved sensei, we, your students, 
offer ourselves in place of your guard." 

"What may babes know of a 
sword s honor?" snarled the samou- 
rai, who had already spoken. Upon 
what strength may the foreign devil 
lean for his new support?" he de 
manded with cutting sarcasm. 

The burly laugh that followed was 
suddenly stopped, as the student 
143 



TAMA 

Higo flung himself defiantly before 
them all. 

"I, Higo, kin of your absent Prince, 
will answer you. There are nine 
hundred students, samourai them 
selves, and sons of a thousand sam 
ourai before them. All of these are 
loyal to our teacher. They will pro 
tect and fight for him, if necessary." 

Now the answering voice snarled 
merely in explanation. 

"Who spoke of harm to your 
sensei? It is not him we seek. We 
have come for the Fox -Woman of 
Atago Yama, who blights our fort 
unes, who brings sickness, poverty, 
and disaster upon our ancestors and 
our children, and whose doom has 
been spoken by Fukui. You have 
trapped her, young sirs of the college, 
like any other female beast of the 
woods. Let older, more experienced 
hands finish your honorable work. 
144 



TAMA 

There are those of us whose hands 
performed a like service upon the 
debased parents of the gagama, and 
whose palms itch now to mingle her 
blood with her sire s. Let but the 
Tojin-san eject this siren of the moun 
tains, and we will be satisfied." 

"It cannot be done," frantically 
cried the boy Junzo. "I myself have 
touched the wretched, helpless one, 
and, as the gods in heaven hear me, 
she is but human, as ourselves!" 

A roar of derision greeted the boy s 
passionate outcry, and there was a 
concerted movement toward where 
the Tojin-san stood towering above 
them, his arms crossed, his keen, 
stern eyes regarding them piercingly. 

Some one pushed forward the in 
terpreter, and the craven, agitated fel 
low now faced his master. He made 
several ineffectual efforts to speak, 
gulped at the lump which rose per- 



TAMA 

sistently in his throat. Before him 
loomed the grim, sardonic face of this 
west - countryman he had always in 
wardly feared and respected; behind 
him the rabble of dissatisfied ronin. 

Gasping, trembling, he repeated to 
the Tojin the verdict of the mob. 
They called upon him to deliver into 
their hands the fox-woman. Failing 
to do that, they would storm the Shiro 
and take her by force. Whiningly, 
pleadingly, he begged his master to 
hurl from his house the wretched 
spirit he was harboring. 

To this demand the Tojin-san re 
turned slowly, as though he carefully 
chose his words, that if one hair upon 
the head of the one he protected were 
touched, the whole Fukui should 
feel a vengeance such as never had 
befallen it before. He, the Tojin-san 
a citizen of a mightier country than 
this was the guest of one of their 
146 



TAMA 

princes. Not alone his friends at 
home, but those here the very 
Emperor himself, who had pledged 
himself publicly to uphold the new 
enlightened laws, borrowed from the 
West would avenge insult and wrong 
done to him the Tojin. 

His answer, translated by Negato, 
raised a turmoil of angry discussion, 
and that one who seemed to be the 
leader of the company, sprang head 
long forward, as if to show the way 
to those who hesitated. He climbed 
half-way up the steps to where the 
Tojin stood, and quick as a cat drew 
forward his swords. 

Every eye was turned upon the To- 
jin-san. He was standing tautly erect, 
his heavy, pugnacious chin thrust 
out. As the sword of the samourai 
touched him he drew slightly back 
ward, then with a swift, merciless 
bound sprang headlong upon his as- 
147 



TAMA 

sailant, his great white fists flashing 
more vividly than the steel had done. 
Backward went the samourai, his 
swords flying out of either hand. 
Without a cry, he fell upon the grass 
path beneath. 

And the Tojin-san was back in his 
place, facing them, waiting for them, 
calm, still unmoved, but very terrible 
and mighty to look upon. 

In the deadly silence that followed, 
the student Nunuki passed the castle 
gates, followed by his valiant, stal 
wart little army of fellow -students. 
They moved in a line steadily onward, 
spread out on all sides and com 
pletely surrounded the house of the 
Tojin. 

Ere the samourai could realize it 
they found themselves encircled by 
an army four times their own in 
number. Their leader lay before 
them, unmoving; and above them 
148 



TAMA 

towered the grim, terrible figure of 
this west - countryman, who repre 
sented in his gigantic person all the 
power and strength they had come 
to know and superstitiously believe 
belonged to the West. 

One by one, they moved toward 
the gates, broke into smaller groups, 
passing the long line of student 
warriors without a word or sign of 
war. 

Presently the Tojin moved a step 
lower down into the garden. He 
stood a moment, staring frowningly 
at the still form lying at his feet. 
Then slowly, unwillingly he stooped, 
and turned it over. A deep breath 
escaped him. For a moment things 
swam dazedly before him, for the 
white, agonized face upturned was 
that of the Daimio s high officer, the 
Samourai Gihei Matsuyama! 



XVII 

As a mother seeks a lost child, 
so the Tojin-san frantically scoured 
every nook and corner of the Shiro 
Matsuhaira for the fox-woman. 

In the interval in which he had 
faced that threatening, blood-hungry 
mob, she had gone! He was torn 
with sick forebodings of the fate that 
might have befallen her. That she 
had gone of her own free will, he 
could not believe no, not after the 
promise she had made him! 

And so, with his wound untended, 

his brain swimming in vertigo, he 

staggered from room to room, until 

the morning dawned dim and gray, 

150 



TAMA 

and the sun crept over the horizon 
with its bright, hard eye. 

Wild and haggard-eyed, shaking 
as though he were afflicted with ague, 
he came finally back to his own 
chamber. Here his students awaited 
him, eager to show him their good 
will, to congratulate him and gossip 
over the certain punishment that 
would overtake those who had mo 
lested him. But he heard no word 
that they spoke, and presently they 
seemed to realize that something was 
wrong with the great Tojin, and they 
drew apart, whispering, and regarding 
him with awed glances. 

The maid, Obun, snivelling and 
shaking with fear, crept into the vast, 
deserted kitchen and fell to putting it 
in order. In another wing of the 
house the voice of the lately craven 
Genji Negato was heard, and out 
along the road, loaded down with 



TAMA 

their belongings, trailed the little 
caravan of menials, creeping humbly 
back to their old employment. 

Oh, these were dark, impoverished 
days for Fukui! Who could refuse 
remunerative employment such as 
this ? The honorably enlightened stu 
dents of the university had van 
quished the disgruntled, fighting ones ; 
Samourai Matsuyama, their leader, 
was desperately sick, shorn of his 
power, and deserted even by his 
friends. 

And the fox-woman was gone ! No 
one knew how or when she had gone. 
They told, in whispers, of her ghostly 
vanishing, and some said the bottom 
less lake of Matsuhaira, with its white, 
chilly lotus, held a secret all its own. 
But "The Lotus tells no tales," as 
the proverb has it, and how should 
they know, and why should they 
care whether the fiendish gagama, 
152 



TAMA 

who had haunted their master for 
so long, floated beneath the smiling 
water-flowers or not? 

They gathered together, these gab 
bling, faithless servants, and dis 
cussed ways and means to propitiate 
the Tojin-san. Following the lead 
of Genji Negate, finally, they took 
their courage into their hands and 
came to his apartment. Barely had 
they entered the room, however, ere 
they fled again. 

One look only at the distorted face 
was enough. Like a pack of startled 
sheep they turned tail and fled from 
his presence, leaving him once more 
alone, pacing and repacing, with 
staggering, irregular steps, the floor, 
crunching his great hands together 
as if in some mortal agony. 

What weakness was this that rob 
bed him of his manhood! What 
anguish that pierced to his very 



TAMA 

marrow? Was this what the son of 
the Daimio s high officer had endured 
when he had followed the fox-wom 
an out into the mountains ? Persist 
ently, dazedly he thought of Gihei 
Matsuyama, and he asked himself 
repeatedly why why? Suddenly it 
was clear he knew why. He had 
killed the Daimio s high officer! With 
his own mighty hands he had killed 
the father of Gihei Matsuyama! 

A Chinese doctor, brought by the 
students Junzo and Higo, examined 
him at a safe distance, and he said 
the foreign sensei was afflicted with 
a malady of the brain. 

Outside in the summer gardens, 
serious-eyed, grave-faced boys looked 
at each other with startled glances, 
and in the city people were telling 
in the streets of the dreadful punish 
ments certain to be meted out to 
those who had molested the guest of 



TAMA 

their absent Prince; for word had, at 
last, come from Tokio that he had 
started on his way back to Fukui. 

The day with its sun and fragrance 
passed away unseen to the great, 
blank-minded Tojin. But when the 
night came, with a whispering breeze 
about the ancient Matsuhaira, he 
raised a listening head. 

As on that first night in Fukui, 
plainly, distinctly he heard the flutter 
ing, human knocking upon his shoji. 
Holding his breath, treading on tiptoe, 
he found his way to the doors, drew 
them apart and looked out into the 
dusky woods beyond. How his ears 
tingled now, straining for that old 
caressing call: 

"T-o-o jin-san! Too-jin-san!" 

Gently, softly, wooingly, he an 
swered the fox-woman, breathing her 
name into the still air about him : 

"Tama! Tama!" 



TAMA 

And, as on that other night, again 
he dropped down into the garden. 
Over the green-clipped lawn he went, 
across the wing of the moat, into the 
bamboo grove, and on and on. in to the 
beckoning, luring woods of Atago 
Yama. 



XVIII 

To awaken on an afternoon in 
summer upon a bed of moss and 
fragrant leaves; to rest tired, aching 
eyes upon a clear, pale sky, which 
smiled divinely through interlacing 
boughs of towering pines and hem 
locks; to hear the whistling calls of 
the wood-birds ; the murmuring, sob 
bing laughter of some fairy brooklet 
close at hand ; to feel the touch of a 
fugitive gentle breeze upon one s 
brow this was the fate of the Tojin- 
san! 

For how long he could not have 
told he lay unmoving, staring dream 
ily at the sky above him, a sense of 
contentment, of rest, of comfort - 



TAMA 

such as one might feel after a long, 
exhausting race, permeating his whole 
being. 

Then suddenly upon his conscious 
ness there stole another sense the 
dim, exquisite feeling of a loved pres 
ence close at hand, and he raised 
himself slowly, weakly upon his el 
bow. It was like music in his ears, 
that faint, caressing voice he had 
listened for for so many days : 

"To-o-jin-san! Goran nasai!" (au 
gust glance deign). 

She was kneeling by his side, her 
questioning, wistful face hovering 
above his own; her soft, timid little 
fingers touching his brow, his eyes, 
his lips. 

He felt himself falling backward 
again, as if in some delicious swoon, 
from which there could be no awaken 
ing. Then like the dimly remembered 
scenes of a vague dream, he seemed 
158 



TAMA 

to recall a time wherein he had wan 
dered through some unending woods, 
seeking, seeking! Now the dream 
had ended in this this that was part 
of the dream itself! 

She stirred ever so slightly, and as 
if he feared she might vanish by her 
mere stirring, he reached up the great, 
once mighty arms, and sought to 
envelop her within them. 

Her hair had the odor of the pine 
woods; upon her lips there was the 
breath of some sweet incense. She 
remained passive within his grasp, 
but presently her voice, with its 
tremulous tone of tears, broke the 
spell between them reached him 
with the gentle appeal of a child dis 
tressed. 

"Honorable water good for thirsty 
throat," she said. 

Now he released her, and she drew 
back to find the little cup beside her. 



TAMA 

He let her raise his head and bring the 
cup to his lips, and with his eyes still 
hungrily upon her he drank the water. 

He was content merely to gaze at 
her, though it troubled him that she 
no longer smiled. She said in a very 
stricken voice: 

"August food also good for Tojin- 
san. Bud, alas! I god nudding bud 
rice! Thas good enough for Tama 
bud nod for you, Tojin-san." 

Even in his weakness he laughed 
joyously at the mere notion of food 
fit for her being unfit for him, and 
at the sound of his low laughter her 
face lighted up wonderfully. 

"You gittin better!" she exclaimed 
joyously. "Now I bring you thad rice. 
Too bad bud thas all I got! I go 
ad grade temple at top those hill. 
Priest too fat run quick to catch at 
me." She laughed with an element 
of her old mischievous defiance. 
1 60 



TAMA 

As he did not speak, too intent 
upon gazing at and marvelling on 
the fairness of her face, her ex 
pression changed to one of melting 
anxiety. 

"I am lig unto those foolish 
karasu [crow], who mek chatter all 
thad time. Condescend forgive me, 
Tojin-san. I nod speag agin mebbe 
for for twenty hour yaes?" 

No one had ever kissed her hands 
before. The sound, the touch aroused 
her wonder, her apprehension. She 
drew her hands instinctively from 
his, and for a moment held them up 
before her, almost as if she looked 
at them. Then with an impetuous, 
laughing little sob she thrust them 
back upon him: 

"Do agin ad my hands, Tojin-san! 
I lig those," she said. 

It was not alone the pallor of bodily 
illness, but of some mental pain that 
161 



TAMA 

swept over his face, as he set the 
little hands back into her lap, rever 
ently, gently. 

Later, when strengthened with the 
simple meal she made for him, she 
told him how the night before she 
had come upon him in the Atago 
Yama woods. It was but two days 
since the terrible events at the Shiro 
had driven them both forth into 
this enchanted wilderness. He had 
been ill but a night ; yet it seemed to 
him many days. 

No, she had not heard him calling 
her, nor had she called him. This, 
too, was part of the dream ; but some 
thing louder than any human cry 
had reached her in her hiding-place 
in the mountains, the intuitive, cer 
tain sense of the blind. She had 
retraced her steps down the moun 
tain-side, and had gone cautiously 
seeking in the woods for him; and 
162 



TAMA 

the gods had guided her aright. Ah! 
to his very feet. 

She humbly begged him to pardon 
her for leaving him; but she had 
thought this was the only way she 
could save him from those who hated 
her. Now now she wished to repeat 
the prayer and promise she had made 
him down in the old Shiro. Never 
again would she desert him. She 
would always abide by his side. She 
humbly entreated that he would per 
mit her to remain with him, even if 
she must follow him throughout the 
world as a slave, the meekest and 
lowliest of servants. 

He did not reply, so obsessed was 
he still with the vision of her loveli 
ness. Throughout the golden after 
noon he lay there watching her every 
little movement, her slightest change 
of expression; thrilling under the 
touch of her hands, the sound of her 
163 



TAMA 

voice; obeying her slightest request; 
permitting her to serve him as 
if he were a babe and she his 
mother. 

Gradually the murmuring of the 
crickets in the grass, the soft chirp 
ing of the birds, even the babbling of 
the brook, the sighing of the gentle 
breezes seemed to soften their tone 
to one concerted murmuring lulla 
by. A veil crept gently over the 
sky, shutting out the sun and its 
light. 

She put a pillow of pine needles 
beneath his head, and she covered 
him over with a downy, silken mantle 
that smelled of temple incense and 
was gorgeous beyond words with the 
golden embroidery of some sacred 
order. 

And presently as he drowsed de- 
liciously under the warm fragrant 
silk, he felt her stirring at his feet, 
164 



TAMA 

and her tired little voice came whis 
pering to him as if from very far 
away : 

Sayonara, To j in-san ! Imadzuka ! 
(Now we rest). 



XIX 

ONE does not always count the 
gilded days of summer in the moun 
tains. It might have been a month, 
a week, or a few days in which the 
Tojin-san and the fox-woman wan 
dered over Atago Yama. But the 
season of Little Heat passed into 
that of the Great Heat, and they did 
not know it. 

The mountains were cool; there 
was a green wonder world about 
them. Soft shadows flickered across 
the sun-burned paths; intangible 
breezes fanned them with their 
scented breaths. They trod a car 
peted paradise that was all beauty, 
all harmony. They felt like the 
166 



TAMA 

birds which blew over them, or came 
shyly, timorously at her calling to 
share her morsel of rice and ber 
ries. 

Even had he desired to do so, the 
Tojin could not have found his way 
back to the city. Seven-eighths of 
the province is mountain land, and 
she had led him over paths she alone 
knew, and indeed had made narrow, 
hidden little paths that traced their 
unending way in and out the densest 
portion of the wooded mountains. 

They passed no humblest lodge, no 
smallest temple even, though he 
knew that there were many in the 
mountains, and the music of their 
bells reached them at times like the 
tingling call of a familiar voice very 
far away. 

She knew every secret corner of the 
mountains. The purest springs, hid 
den pools and lakelets, caves of un- 
167 



TAMA 

believable wonder and beauty, she 
showed now to the Tojin-san. 

Clouds of sacred pigeons followed 
her as if they knew her. They were 
of her own Temple Tokiwa, she told 
him, and were part of her heritage 
from the ancestors of her mother 
who had founded the temple. She 
knew them all every single bird, so 
she told him proudly ; knew, too, why 
they were wandering thus far from 
home. They were seeking her, their 
guardian, who had been gone for so 
many, many days. 

For the first time she recoiled from 
him when he suggested that they 
utilize the birds for food. Up till 
then they had depended entirely 
upon the seemingly inexhaustible 
stores of rice she seemed to have 
hidden in a hundred different places 
in the mountains, and upon the fish 
trapped in the streams, the fruit and 
1 68 



TAMA 

wild vegetables which were plentiful 
enough. She had never dreamed of 
the pigeons as an addition to their 
diet, and her expression was quite 
tragic and piteous. 

"They are of the temple," rever 
ently she said . The gods love them , 
and I I may not eat the forbidden 
meat." 

"Forbidden meat?" 

She looked at him timidly with a 
new expression in her face. It was 
as if a flame had crept into her eyes 
and set its touch upon her lips. She 
had crossed her hands upon her 
bosom. 

"I, too, am Ni-no ama, like unto 
my mother," she softly said. "For 
both our sin I got mek thad atone 
ment unto Buddha!" 

He regarded her in a spellbound 
silence. There was something about 
her words, her actions, withal their 
12 169 






TAMA 

simplicity, that held a sacredness. 
She, against whom the hostile hands 
of an entire Buddhist community 
had been raised, a priestess of the 
Buddha! It was impossible, prepos 
terous! She had been but a child 
when her parents were killed. What 
could they have taught her thus 
early ? 

She seemed to realize from his 
silence his doubts, and suddenly she 
stepped back, raising her hands high 
above her head, bringing the tips of 
the fingers together. A moment she 
stood with her face upraised, her eyes 
closed. 

"For you, oh Tojin-san, I will 
danze ! It is as my mother have tich 
me the danze for the gods. Haiken 
suru ! (Adoringly look) . 

From side to side she swayed, her 

small, exquisite hands moving in the 

i 1 languorous motions of the dance. 

170 



TAMA 

Never in even the greatest temples of 
Kioto or Nikko had he seen a priest 
ess perform as she was doing. He 
thought of the glittering robes of the 
hundred nuns chanting their splendid 
ritual before some gorgeous altar, of 
their impassive, stony faces, their 
ebony hair, their narrow, inscrutable 
eyes. But she, with her unbound 
hair of gold, her bosom and face of 
snow! 

Yes, they were right, they of 
Fukui ! She was an incarnation of the 
Sun Goddess, tripping like the Spring 
upon the earth, and inspiring in the 
hearts and eyes of all who saw her 
sensations of adoration, and of those 
who dared not look, of fear fear and 
hatred! 

She had stolen the face and vest 
ments of the goddess, so they had 
said; but her soul was that of a fox! 

There burst upon him suddenly a 
171 



TAMA 

realization of the impassable gulf be 
tween them, and with the knowledge 
came an overwhelming sense of rev 
olution, the mad, irresistible passion 
of the primitive man who knows only 
his desires. 

But a moment later she was at his 
feet, her pure, trusting face smiling 
appealingly up at him. 



XX 

Now came the Season of White 
Dew. The days were unbelievably 
beautiful. The first russet touch of 
the autumn barely cast its shadow 
upon the green about them, the yellow 
tints of leaf and flower mellowed into 
a dull crimson glory. 

But the nights turned chill, and 
in the early mornings there was the 
heavy print of the frosted dew upon 
the ground. 

Unconsciously they quickened their 
lagging footsteps, and turned into 
shorter paths that would bring them 
sooner to Sho Kon Sha, the cemetery 
of "Soul Beckoning Rest," which was 
to be the end of their journey. This 



TAMA 

was her home, so she said the gar 
dens of the temples of her ancestors. 
Only a few hill -lengths from the 
cemetery was the Temple Tokiwa, 
deserted, almost in ruins, but her 
home! 

There her parents had lived and 
died! Here she had been happy in 
her solitary childhood, hidden and 
sheltered by fearful but loving par 
ents. Here her mother had taught 
her to dance for the gods and entreat 
them with her prayers; here her 
father had told her of another God, 
another heaven. After her parents 
were gone, the aged temple had been 
her only sure place of refuge, a 
sanctuary wherein even the stoutest 
of hunters dared not penetrate; for 
the wrathful gods still stared with 
their dreadful eyes upon the affronted 
altar, and at the very portals the 
demons Ni-o, guarding the sacred 



TAMA 

gates, might no longer be propiti 
ated. 

Now confidently, happily, with the 
pride of a child thither she was lead 
ing the Tojin, eager to show him this 
beautiful shelter she wished to share 
with him forever. But, ah! how 
sweet had been the mountain paths 
this summer, and why need they 
hasten ? The restless, vindictive little 
city was very far away, and the fox- 
woman trod upon territory all her 
own, hers by right of every instinct, 
and by the very law of the land, did 
she but know it, which made her 
proper heir to her ancestors property. 

Now they were very near to the 
temple, and soon she would spread 
forth her arms and say to the Tojin: 

Behold, dear exalted one, here is 
my honorable home. Condescend to 
step upon its floor." 

And in her mind she fancied the 



TAMA 

face of the Tojin would shine with a 
great light of happiness. 

Now he said to her dreamily, as he 
followed her through a shadowy by 
path which crept into a sunlit forest 
of dripping willow-trees: 

"Some day I shall awake. It can 
not be true that I am here with 
you alone in these wild mountains, 
wandering along in this aimless 
bliss!" 

Because she put back her hand, 
and he took it perforce in his own, 
he continued in his low, wooing 
voice : 

"And when I wake, little Tama, I 
will know the truth of what you 
once said to me : that our dreams are 
the most beautiful of all." 

She stopped and turned back to 
him, with the tall foliage and grass 
almost burying her in its thick 
ness: 

176 



TAMA 

"You god no udder dream more 
beautiful?" she questioned wistfully. 

"No other," he answered softly. 
"Have you?" 

"No. This is mos bes dream of 
all jost be lone wiz you ad those 
mountains! Thas bes dream in all 
the whole worl , Tojin-san!" 

In the silence that fell between 
them, and as he still clasped her 
hands, a momentary shadow flitted 
across her face, and she stood wide- 
eyed, as though she saw a vision. 

"Alas!" she said in such a mourn 
ful tone: "Dreams like unto thad 
mist. Now here so sweet, so so 
beyond our touch. Next hour gone 
gone perhaps foraever! Nod even 
the gods know where they gone!" 

He scarcely knew his own voice, so 
full of a deep encompassing tender 
ness and yearning was it: 

Our dream is to be different from 
177 



TAMA 

others," he said solemnly. "It will 
never end. Not for a lifetime, little 
Tama!" 

"It surely goin last foraever ad 
this worl ?" she asked with sceptical 
wistfulness. 

"If you wish it," said he huskily. 

When the sun was dipping down in 
the west, and but half its red face 
showed above the shadowy hills of 
Hakusan, the fox-woman felt the 
fears seize her in their throttling grip 
again. 

She stood like one under some 
spell, her back against the trunk of 
a giant oak, her hair like a veritable 
aureole above her. 

Down in a little ravine, but a few 
feet from where she stood, the Tojin- 
san was gathering dried sticks to 
build their evening fire. She could 
hear him as he moved from point to 
178 



TAMA 

point. Sometimes he whistled softly 
to himself, sometimes hummed vague 
snatches of song. 

Farther away at a distance be 
yond her sight, even if she could have 
seen she knew, with that intuitive 
certainty of the blind, that others 
were passing over their tracks. 

Her hand sought her heart, and 
clung to it, as if to stop its beating. 
Fear lent sudden wings to her feet, 
as with a little gasping cry she fled 
downward to the hollow where the 
Tojin labored. She was beside him 
before he had heard or seen her, and 
now in surprise he looked at her white 
little face of anguish. 

"Tama!" 

"You speag right," she said, and 
could not smile with her white lips 
so tremulous, "thas only beautiful 
dream. Thad mist gone away!" 

"Dream! No, it s a beautiful real- 
179 



TAMA 

ity. We are here, together, and 
nothing in the world shall ever tear 
us apart again." 

"Nothing in the worl ," she re 
peated. 

Suddenly she covered her eyes, as 
if the light pained them. From be 
hind her little sheltering hands came 
her voice, still with that note of 
pleading terror: 

"They come tear you way from 
me now, Tojin-san! All the way 
how many miles I kinnod say I see 
them! In my heart I know! Ad my 
ears I hear! Those feet ah, cannot 
you hear them also, kind Tojin-san? 
Listen!" 

She put up her hands, and they 
stood in a silence, straining for the 
sound that only she could hear, or 
believed she did. 

He knew she was right. Her in 
stinctive sense was keener than mere 
1 80 



TAMA 

sight . Simply, with a tender strength 
that could not be resisted, he took 
her little hand in his. 

"Come, Tama. We must reach 
Sho Kon Sha to-night." 

"Yaes," she murmured, and now 
there was a note of plaintive weari 
ness in her voice. "I thought she 
said the gods were good, an that 
perhaps they goin forgit us here in 
those mountains." 

She sighed and moved along step 
by step beside him. 

"Now I know," she said, "I god 
new visitor ad my heart!" 
"What is it, little Tama?" 
"Fear," she said, "for you!" 
"What blessed nonsense!" 
"You are Tojin, like unto my 
father," she said, in a voice of anguish, 
"and oh, all those days my life how 
I kin forgit what happen unto my 
father!" 

181 



TAMA 

"That was many years ago," he 
said. "It is a New Japan we live 
in to-day, and I have friends even 
in Fukui!" 



XXI 

A NEW impulse drew them now 
more closely together. Side by side, 
pressed closely to each other, they 
travelled swiftly toward Sho Kon Sha. 
They dared not wait to eat, to sleep, 
to rest but a moment, and the night 
found them still moving onward. 

They spoke scarcely at all to each 
other; but she rested like a child in 
the curve of his arm, her head against 
his breast. Once she sighed, ever so 
faintly a little breath of weariness 
that escaped her almost unconsci 
ously. 

Instantly he stopped, lifted her face 
in his hands, and, in the dark woods, 
anxiously examined it. 
183 



TAMA 

"You are crying, Tama." 

"No-o," she said. 

"But your face is wet." 

"It is the dew upon my face," she 
said. 

Again they moved onward. About 
them towered the giant trees, sil 
houetted against the starlit skies. 
Sometimes as the ascent became 
more steep, they clung to out jutting 
shrubs and bushes, and once when he 
fancied her footsteps slightly dragged, 
he lifted her bodily in his arms and 
carried her for a space. But she 
begged to be permitted to walk. 
There was still a great distance to go. 
He must not be hampered by her 
burden. She wished to help not 
hinder him. 

The night grew more still, and a 

penetrating chill descended about 

them. He drew off his coat, to put 

about her; but she showed him where 

184 



TAMA 

she had strapped to her back, with 
the string of her obi, the quilt. He 
had thought it part of her sash, and 
was all compunction that he had per 
mitted her to carry even so slight a 
load. She laughed in her little trem 
ulous way, and challenged him to 
untie the knot. In the dark his big, 
clumsy fingers picked at it in vain. 
Again she laughed, caressingly, with 
a teasing tenderness, and she drew 
the little bundle round in front. It 
fell at her feet in a soft, silken heap. 

He was for wrapping it several 
times around her; but she insisted 
she would not proceed even the frac 
tion of a step unless he shared the 
quilt with her. And so, his arm again 
about her, under the down-padded 
temple quilt, they moved along in 
the chilly darkness, defying with the 
new warmth of their hearts and 
bodies the cold of the autumn night. 
13 185 



TAMA 

Thus all night long they travelled, 
their feet moving mechanically, but 
never unwillingly, pausing not at all 
to look backward over the paths they 
had followed, but pressing steadily 
onward toward their goal. And the 
first pale streak of dawn found them 
climbing up the last height, within 
the very sight of Sho Kon Sha. 



XXII 

As the laggard sun crept stealthily 
out of the east, a vision of extra 
ordinary loveliness burst upon them. 
There, within but the length of a 
single hill and field from them, the 
ragged peaks of the old Temple To- 
kiwa raised a lordly head above the 
sun-flecked pines. 

Stripped of its wealth, but not its 
beauty, showing the ravages of fire 
and assault upon its burnished walls, 
deserted, falling to the decay of neg 
lected age, it was more compellingly 
majestic than any of the famous 
structures the Tojin-san had seen. 

The approach was over terraces 
made of countless stone steps, many 
187 



TAMA 

of them now loose and entirely over 
grown with grass and weeds. 

The pagoda was of seven stories, 
its crimson eaves still fringed with 
shattered wind-bells. 

A swarm of pigeons flew about its 
eaves and roof, and came to meet 
them in a voluble, almost intelligent 
cloud. She ran to meet them, hold 
ing out her arms and calling and 
chirping to them. Dipping into her 
long sleeves, she brought up handfuls 
of the rice she had not forgotten to 
bring with her, and threw it gener 
ously among them. They pecked at 
her hand, seeking scoldingly for the 
food, and sprang upon her shoulders, 
her head, her hands. Presently, chid- 
ingly, she drove them off, shaking her 
sleeves at them and waving them back. 

Now she drew the Tojin into the 
temple, pushing back its rusty doors 
with a careful hand. 
1 88 




TAMA AT THE TEMPLE TOKIWA 



TAMA 

He was struck with the empty 
majesty of the interior. It had been 
stripped of all its treasures, save the 
great stone images, which still sat 
inscrutably upon their thrones. 

The altar was devoid of vestments ; 
no twinkling lights or swinging cen 
sers burned their incense for the de 
lectation of the gods; yet the pene 
trating odor of sandalwood and the 
dim fragrance of umegaku and the 
pine seemed to cling about the very 
air. 

By the great main altar, the hid 
eous old god Bunzura glared at them 
from beneath his sleepy eyelids, rest 
ing fatuously upon his haunches. Be 
fore him was the bar where once 
thousands of slips of paper containing 
written prayers, were tied. Now it 
was entirely stripped and glittered up 
in the face of the god in a mocking 
irony. 

189 



TAMA 

Tama moved softly by the image, 
pausing only to put her hand upon its 
knee, caressing it gently, as if with 
a conciliating, loving pat. It was 
evident she did not stand in awe of 
the gods. She had been born among 
them ; knew them as part of her own 
silent family, exiled like herself upon 
the mountains. 

She even put her cheek against the 
head of a peculiarly sinister-looking 
image, who was attended by three 
smaller gods. The Tojin-san recog 
nized the group. They were in every 
Buddhist temple. Ema, the Lord of 
Hell, with his assistant torturers, one 
of which wielded a sword, one a pen, 
and one a priest s staff. 

Now she made her first prostration, 
bowing lowly, and slipping devoutly 
to her knees. She was in a little al 
cove wherein no image whatever was 
to be seen. 

190 



TAMA 

As he stood wondering why she 
should choose this empty corner for 
her prayers, he perceived upon the 
wall a curious print or scroll. It was 
a faded paper chromo, apparently 
many years old, the picture upon 
it almost obliterated, the ends of 
the paper showing charred marks 
where it must have once started to 
burn. 

A curious sensation stirred within 
the Tojin, such a feeling as one might 
only know when in a land of gods one 
sees for the first time an emblem or 
a token of one s own true God; for 
the tattered, shabby scroll upon the 
wall was a picture of the Christ! 

She seemed to sense his emotion 
and excitement, and, still kneeling, 
raised a pair of smiling eyes: 

"It is my father s God," she said. 
"To him, mos of all, I speag me my 
petitions." 

191 



TAMA 

"Why to him?" he asked, deeply 
moved. 

"Because," she answered simply, 
"he, too, lig me, knew trobble. Thas 
why I speag to him my heart ac 
count I know he listen!" 



XXIII 

THE Tojin-san took what measures 
he could for their future protection. 
An exploration throughout the seven- 
storied pagoda brought to light some 
old weapons a rifle and a sword, 
once evidently her father s. They 
were out of date, and in bad condi 
tion, but better than nothing, he 
decided. 

As she had shown him a small exit 
in the rear, of which the outside of 
the pagoda gave no inkling, he decid 
ed to barricade the main entrance. 
This he did, after a gigantic effort, 
by piling several of the images before 
it until they effectually blocked the 
entrance. As their faces were turned 



TAMA 

outward he surmised their weird ef 
fect upon the marauders when, after 
forcing the doors, they should find 
themselves fronted with so formidable 
a guard as these. 

No one, so she said, had stepped 
across the threshold since that fright 
ful day when, in their fanatical hatred, 
the danka had murdered her parents. 

She had always been kept hidden 
in one of the upper stories of the pa 
goda, and at this time no one had 
seen her save her parents. 

On that day she had fled to the 
very roof in her first impulse of 
mortal terror; but even from there, 
with her ears covered by her hands, 
she had heard the cries of her father 
and her mother, and the wild, brutal, 
triumphant shouting of those who 
had killed them. 

A strange sense of quiet came sud 
denly upon her. She crept stealthily, 
194 



TAMA 

but fearlessly, back down the seven 
stories of the pagoda, and opened the 
great doors that gave ingress to the 
temple. There for the first time the 
people of Fukui saw her, standing 
like a flame upon the altar of the 
great Shaka, whither she had leaped 
from the door in a single bound. 

Her hair was more glittering than 
the altar itself; her eyes, her skin 
were of a color no man in Fukui had 
ever seen before. She seemed to 
their dazzled eyes a vengeful spirit, 
whom the Lord Buddha had up 
lifted. They stood as if petrified, 
staring at her as she swayed before 
them on the very lap of the god. 
Then, with a concerted cry of super 
stitious fear and horror, they slunk 
from the temple, leaving her alone 
with her dead ! 

As the Tojin looked about the great 
chamber, he felt himself almost un- 



TAMA 

consciously rehearsing that grim scene 
of the past. He knew why her hand 
had been set against the whole world, 
why she had terrified and defied her 
tormentors. Even now, as she re 
peated the tale to him her face was 
white and fixed. 

"Now you know," she said, "why 
I am call the fox-woman! Perhaps 
thas true bout me. Mebbe I am 
gagama!" 

"You are not," he said, "even in 
spite of them." 

She was silent, staring out before 
her in some abstracted trance. Sud 
denly she sighed: 

"I nod Kg udder people! Thas 
bedder nod come near unto me. I 
mek the trobble, and sometimes the 
death for those who seek me! Down 
in Fukui perhaps already they have 
tol you of thad Gihei Matsuya- 
ma?" 

196 



TAMA 

"They told me," he said, "but I 
do not believe them." 

"Thas true," she said, and there 
was a plaintive note of weariness in 
her voice. "He cum lig unto a 
storm that fall down from those sky 
wiz no warning. When I am come 
from my door, he there to await me. 
He speag my name sof kind lig 
you, Tojin-san! No one aever speag 
unto me lig thad before. No! They 
bud cry to me those name and curse 
and throw the stone upon me! Bud 
he! he speag lig you augustness. 

"Ad firs my heart stan still it 
fraid. I thing of my father my 
mother, and I am fraid he come kill 
me also. Then again he speag my 
name sof and kind, an I say ad my 
heart: Thas god come veesit me! 
An so an so for him I mek the sa 
cred danze. But when I am through, 
I know I mek meestake thas nod 
197 



TAMA 

god ad all! Thas jost man from 
Fukui ! 

"Then my heart laugh wizin me, 
and my feet carry me quick across 
those mountain. I loog nod bag, 
though I hear his voice, for I am thad 
fraid agin. I know nod why, Tojin- 
san." 

Her voice faltered. She went a 
timid step nearer to him, touched his 
hand questioningly with her own. 

"The blind see wiz one thousand 
inner eye, bud, ah, alas! they see nod 
also for another. How could I know 
thad the foolish one would nod loog 
upon his steps?" 

She shuddered and covered her face 
with her little shaking hands. 

"How many days I waiting ad 
thad pool jos waiting, Tojin-san, 
wiz the hope that mebbe some day 
he goin come bag out those water." 

"You must never think of it again," 
198 



TAMA 

he said. "You were entirely blame 
less." 

"Sometime I thing," she went on 
wistfully, "thad mebbe those Fukui 
people right, an me? I am truly a 
fox-woman. For see what trobble, 
what death I mek for those who 
see me. Even for you, kind Tojin- 
san, alas! I mus bring you those 
pain!" 

"No that is not so," he said. 

"I know nod when or how firs I 
have hear of your comin . They talk 
of nothing else at Fukui, an I am 
always listen, though they see me 
nod. Something tell me, when you 
come all those worl goin change 
for me! Thas why I wait, wait, all 
thad winter for your comin ." 

A smile, wistful, yet joyous, crept 
over her lips. 

"You din know," she said, "thad 
firs day in Fukui, thad I too am ad 
199 



TAMA 

your house to welcome you. Bud 
me ? I am nod wizin thad house. I 
am out in thad snow. I kinnod 
speag unto you Kg those others. I 
may nod even touch you honorable 
hand. Bud all same I know you are 
Tojin Kg unto my father ! Oh, how 
glad how joy I am! Though my 
feet, my hand, my nose, my honorable 
ears perish wiz those cold, still I am 
wait for you. When all those honor 
able exalted ones gone then then 
I, too, call you name! To-o-jin-san!" 

She made a little shivering motion. 

"Bud sup-pose I bring you also 
thad thad death?" 

"There is nothing to fear," he said 
steadily, "and if there were, I am 
strong enough to face any peril with 
you at my side!" 

"Oh, my mind travel bag on thad 
past! I hear again my father s voice 
my mother s cry! I am toaching 

200 



TAMA 

their beloved body. I am tek them 
in thad black night unto the Sho Kon 
Sha, and wiz these liddle hands, all 
alone, I am put them in their grave! 
Tojin-san! Ah-h!" 

She hid her face against his arm. 

"If they should do to you the 
same!" she said. 

"For myself I have no fear," he 
said. 

"Why nod leave me now?" she 
urged. "Go bag alone down those 
mountain. No one speag hard to 
you who so moch mek respect. Wiz 
me there is moch trobble, an mebbe 
worse!" 

"Without you," he said, "there is 
more trouble, and a deep pain an 
aching void that could never again be 
filled. With you here alone, cut off 
from all the world, holding your little 
hands in my own, looking into your 
face, why, even facing death, I am 

14 201 



TAMA 

content happier than I had ever 
dreamed it possible to be." 

"Thas beautiful word you speag," 
she said. "Bud if the gods" 

She folded her hands across her 
breast and closed her eyes in prayer. 

"Temmei itashikata kore maku!" 
she whispered lowly. (From the de 
cree of heaven there is no escape.) 



XXIV 

THE rapping on the temple doors 
was not loud or menacing, but it was 
insistent, questioning. TheTojin-san 
drew the fox-woman to the winding 
staircase which led up the seven 
stories to the tower above. 

Once before Tama had been sent 
up yonder. Then she had gone 
willingly, even frantically. Now she 
made no movement up the stairs. 
Instead, she turned her back upon 
them, and faced the Tojin fairly. 
Upon her face a smile shone luminous 
ly as a star. Simply, steadily, she 
laid her hands in those of the man. 

For a moment he held them in his 
own, his eyes fixed yearningly upon 
203 



TAMA 

her face, and even while the knocks 
resounded louder upon the door the 
clouds cleared from his mind. 

Looking into those uplifted, ador 
ing eyes he forgot all else. A sound 
that was half a sob, half a passionate 
cry escaped him. He reached out 
irresistibly and took her into his arms. 
For the first time his lips hungrily, 
passionately found her own, and clung 
in a kiss that over all the years of a 
lifetime neither he nor she might 
ever forget. They saw nothing, heard 
nothing, felt only that close, encom 
passing embrace that made them one 
indeed. 

Then upon their dream at last 
broke the lowly calling, almost whis 
pering voice of the one without. 
They drew apart, though their eyes 
and hands still clung unconsciously 
together. 

"Sensei. Sensei! Sensei!" 
204 



TAMA 

It was the voice of the student, 
Junzo ! 

With a low cry, the Tojin was at 
the doors, wrenching and tearing the 
great images away with the strength 
of a veritable giant. At last the 
doors were reached, and these in turn 
thrust aside. 

There, with their anxious, faithful 
young faces pale with apprehension 
in regard to his fate, were his three 
loyal boys, Junzo, Higo, and Nunuki. 
They fell literally upon him with 
tears and shouts of joy. They de 
voured him with their youthful em 
braces. Higo clung to one hand, 
Junzo to the other; and at the back 
of him Nunuki hovered, seeking to 
examine the wound upon, his neck 
where the sword of the Daimio s high 
officer had pierced. It was healed, so 
well had the fox-woman cared for it. 

Now, step by step, slowly, uncer- 
205 



TAMA 

tainly, she crept toward them, white- 
faced, wild-eyed, every nerve in her 
thrilling, and reaching out blindly 
for the arms that had held her, the 
lips that had clung to her own. But 
she stopped with her tragic little face 
clasped on either side with her hands 
as the joyous voices of the students 
reached her. They were telling the 
Tojin of the coming of his friends to 
Fukui; of the return of the Echizen 
Prince; of the punishments to be 
meted out to those who had attacked 
him; the rewards for those who had 
defended. 

"Even we," said Higo, with boyish 
pride, "are to have our due reward, 
for we have honorably been chosen as 
the body-guard of the Be-koku-jin 
(American), who has come to Fukui 
to minister to the unfortunate one, 
and to take her, if your excellency is 
willing, to the capital." 
206 



TAMA 

"The unfortunate one?" repeated 
the Tojin dully. "To whom do you 
refer?" 

The boys stared at him in round- 
eyed amazement. 

The fox-woman of course! Who 
else ? That unfortunate one to whom 
the whole heart of Fukui had melted 
like the snows of her native mountains 
in the Spring. It was the work of 
the Tojin himself that had accom 
plished the miracle; for he had 
pointed out to them all the absurdity, 
the wrong of the ancient superstition, 
which had been kept alive chiefly 
throughout the years by the hatred 
of those who were ignorant or fa 
natic. 

Now the Prince himself was con 
vinced a wrong had been committed, 
and Fukui was taking its cue from 
him. The friend of the Tojin coming 
at such a time had also had its >effect 
207 



TAMA 

upon the people; and now the re 
morseful ones were prepared to atone 
for the past if that were possible. 
It was the suggestion of the Be-koku- 
jin, however, that the girl should be 
taken out of Fukui. 

Her history had created a sensation 
among her father s race in Tokio, 
and there they were eager, anxious 
to receive her among them. But it 
was for the Tojin alone to say. The 
change of heart in Fukui was com 
plete. There was nothing further 
to fear. 

"Even I," said Nunuki with Spar 
tan-like courage, "am prepared to 
look upon her. We have learned 
from the tongue of our own Prince 
and from the Be-koku-jin that many 
females of your race have her skin 
and hair and eye-color. Is it not so, 
honored teacher?" 

But the Tojin-san was silent. His 
208 



TAMA 

face had turned strangely gray; his 
arms hung limply by his side. He 
was staring out before him fixedly 
as though he saw a vision. 



XXV 

"BuD speag to me as before! 
Touch me wiz those hands those 
lips! Adoringly look upon me! My 
honorable heart and body are cold. 
Condescend to warm them!" 

She had followed him down a de 
clivity, unmindful of the students 
who pressed with their grave, won 
dering young faces closely about 
her. 

She could not understand why now 
no longer she might travel beside 
him, his sheltering arm supporting 
her ; why she might not even take his 
hand, or rest her wet cheek against 
his sleeve. In the three days they 
had been upon the journey back to 

2IO 



TAMA 

Fukui, he had seemed to avoid her, 
almost as if he feared her. 

Once he tried to explain, stupidly, 
and with a forced coldness. 

Things were very different now. 
When alone, they were like lost chil 
dren and the silent woods and moun 
tains had put strange dreams and 
fancies into their heads, so that they 
had wandered along in a blind, gilded 
delirium. Now they had awakened. 
They must go back to the city, where 
they would be like other people, and 
where, shortly, their ways must sep 
arate. It was for her good. She would 
understand some day. 

She must forget the mountain days, 
or think of them only as a dream that 
had vanished, as she herself had 
predicted it would, like the mist. 

She was very stupid, very stubborn, 
pathetically dense. She did not wish 
their paths to separate she would 

211 



TAMA 

not have it so. No, though they 
tore her from him by force. She 
would return to him. Did he not 
recall the words he had spoken when 
he declared the dream would never 
end unless she wished it. She did not 
wish it. She never would. Patient 
ly, persistently she entreated him, 
until he was beside himself and felt 
his strength of mind weakening, and 
in desperation turned to his students 
for help. He bade them explain to 
her more clearly than he could do the 
new life she was soon to lead of the 
change in fortunes that had come to 
her. 

Manfully, but in the bungling, un 
certain language of boys they tried 
to obey him. The unfortunate one, 
as unconsciously they called her, was 
soon to see, promised the gentle 
Junzo. There was to be an honorable 
operation upon her eyes. These 

212 



TAMA 

western wizards of science, said the 
Japanese student, had given sight to 
hundreds in their own land. The 
Tojin, himself once a doctor, had 
diagnosed her trouble as an invisible 
cataract of a congenital nature, not 
uncommon nor difficult of removal. 
He had sent for a great and eminent 
surgeon who was sojourning in the 
capital. He had come all the way to 
Fukui, at the bidding of the Tojin. 
He was a miracle-worker, whose fame 
encircled the globe, said the boy 
with a kindling eye. 

A hundred friends awaited her in 
Tokio, so Higo courteously informed 
her. They were eager and anxious 
to receive her Japanese as well as 
foreigners. To them Tama was to 
be sent; for Fukui had been unkind 
to her, and she would be happier 
away from it. She would under 
stand by-and-by, they promised her. 
213 



TAMA 

She listened patiently, but densely, 
as if what they told her but half 
reached her understanding. That she 
was to be sent away into some dis 
tant country very far from the Tem 
ple Tokiwa and Atago Yama an 
immeasurable distance away from 
the Tojin-san this alone she compre 
hended. 

Her mother had taught her that 
the life of a Buddhist nun must be 
one long act of expiation for sins and 
faults committed in some former 
state. She tried dazedly to conceive 
of the terrible crimes of which she 
must have once been guilty that now 
she was to be punished so dreadfully ; 
and she reached out blindly for the 
only comfort possible for her in the 
world now the voice, the touch of 
the Tojin-san. who had held her in 
his arms! 

They travelled by the public roads 
214 



TAMA 

of the mountain that she had so 
carefully avoided. They passed the 
nights as guests of the priests of the 
mountain temples, who read the 
letters of the Prince of Echizen, which 
the students proudly exhibited, and 
with courteous and profound obei 
sances welcomed the travellers, even 
regarding the fox-woman with eyes 
that were more speculative than 
resentful. Perhaps they alone of 
Echizen had best understood this 
little creature who had lived among 
them, yet beyond their pale, for so 
long ; for though they had not sought 
her, neither had they persecuted her, 
as they could readily have done. 
Indeed for years she had practically 
subsisted upon the food she surrep 
titiously obtained from the temples 
some of which was unostentatiously 
placed as if prepared for her. 

The journey back to Fukui was 
215 



TAMA 

long and tortuous. Summer was 
gone completely. The days were 
cold ; wind and rain came about them 
and drove them constantly into 
refuges of one sort and another; but 
after many days they came at last 
to the foot-hills of the mountains, 
passed through these into the pine 
woods, through bamboo groves and 
camphor groves, till they came to the 
Winged Foot River, which brought 
them to their destination. 



XXVI 

THE last courteous and obsequious 
emissary of the Prince of Echizen had 
bowed himself out of the apartment 
of the Tojin-san, having sonorously 
delivered the speeches of regret of 
their master. 

The room was piled with the rich 
gifts sent by the now soon departing 
Prince, who was to take office directly 
under his imperial master. Now he 
was sojourning in Echizen merely for 
the purpose of setting his affairs in 
order, and to do what lay in his power 
to set his former vassals in the new 
path they were to follow. Because 
he was the soul of chivalry and of 
justice, he was righting the wrong 
15 217 



TAMA 

and slight paid to the foreigner he 
had himself invited to his province. 

The Tojin was inexpressibly weary. 
One deputation after another of the 
citizens of Fukui had been arriving 
all day. They had commenced com 
ing before daybreak, for the earlier 
a Japanese makes a call the greater 
he expresses his respect. 

Delegations from the college pre 
sented petitions asking him to con 
tinue in Fukui, despite the change of 
government, and promising to make 
his stay there as happy and prosper 
ous as lay within their power. He 
listened to them all a bit grimly, 
making no effort to emulate their 
politeness. Through the new inter 
preter who had entered his service, 
he merely signified that he would 
take the matter under considera 
tion. It could not be decided at 
once. 

218 



TAMA 

At last he found himself alone with 
the Be-koku-jin, as they called his 
American friend, who was in fact 
what the Japanese youth had said, 
an eminent surgeon, with whom the 
Tojin had once been associated. 

He was a small, but very dignified 
and important individual, whose most 
noticeable features were his bright 
eyes, which twinkled incongruously 
beneath a pair of fierce and uncom 
promising eyebrows. In his well-fit 
ting English clothes he was as out of 
place in the Tojin s great chamber 
as was the awkward furniture the 
deluded Genji Negato had chosen 
for his master. 

Now he wandered about the room 
examining this and that article, and 
fingering the gifts brought by the 
Japanese with anticipatory fingers. 
His eyes, however, turned constantly 
toward his friend, who, now that they 
219 



TAMA 

were for the first time alone together, 
had nothing to say. 

The American surgeon was blessed 
with more than an ordinary intelli 
gence, and he had learned a great 
deal from the students. A man 
seemingly absolutely wrapped up in 
his work, he had for years secretly 
cherished what he had become to 
believe was positively a vice. He 
was in fact as sentimental as a girl. 
When supposedly he was deeply en 
grossed in the study of some scien 
tific work, locked in his study with 
stern orders without that on no 
account was he to be disturbed, he 
was in fact reading some love-story 
or some romance of adventure 
usually enjoyed by very youthful 
persons. 

Now he felt himself, as it were, part 
of a moving captivating drama cut 
out of life itself. No written page 
220 



TAMA 

had ever absorbed him quite like 
this love-story of the fox-woman and 
his friend the Tojin-san. 

There was something appallingly 
tragic in that little listening, waiting 
figure crouching there in the hall 
against the Tojin s door! The Be- 
koku-jin knew very well indeed what 
it was this forlorn little creature of 
the mountains wanted; he knew, too, 
why it was that the Tojin believed 
he could not give it to her. 

He had come to Fukui chiefly 
because he had been unable to resist 
the lure of the story of the fox-woman 
as the Tojin-san had written it to him. 
Now here he had stumbled upon a 
more entrancing story still. 

He looked at his friend with his 
bright, clear eyes, and it occurred 
to him that there was something 
wonderfully attractive about the 
man s face, grim and stony as was its 

221 



TAMA 

expression, marked and marred as 
were the features. The mouth was 
that of the revolutionist, grim, un 
yielding, almost bitter; but the eyes 
were those of the poet, full of vague 
dreams and tenderness. The Be- 
koku-jin, assuming his most pro 
fessional and uninterested manner, 
drew up a chair before his friend, 
and settled his plump little body 
comfortably into its depths. 

"What are your plans?" he asked 
abruptly. 

The other did not look up. 

"That depends on you," he said 
quietly. 

"Your refusal or acceptance of the 
position here depends on me?" 

"Absolutely." 

"What do you mean?" 

The Tojin-san leaned forward in 
his chair. His eyes were no longer 
dull, there was a flame behind them. 

222 



TAMA 

"If you are successful I remain 
here, in Fukui." 

"Ah. Er you mean as regards the 
operation?" 

"Yes." 

The Be-koku-jin regarded the tips 
of his fingers, which he had brought 
precisely together, reflectively. He 
purposely avoided the other s almost 
pleading glance. He cleared his throat 
gruffly, and frowned as he crossed and 
recrossed his legs. 

"Why stay in any event?" he de 
manded shortly, and put up his hand 
before the other could answer. Your 
attitude is sentimental moonshine. 
You have nothing to fear even if the 
operation is successful. I don t agree 
with er what you have upon your 
mind." 

"That is because you do not under 
stand , said the To j in wearily. "She 
is indeed what these people have 
223 



TAMA 

imagined her a creature almost of 
another world. She has lived only 
in her exquisite imagination, and 
because she is so beautiful and good 
and pure, to her all things too are 
fair. I was the first to treat her 
humanly. She has made me some 
thing in her mind s eye that it is pre 
posterous even to think of. To her 
I / think of it! am a thing of 
beauty a flawless, perfect god!" 

He glared in a fierce sort of anguish 
at his friend, then stood up suddenly 
and began pacing the floor in long 
irregular strides, to bring up suddenly 
again before the other. 

"I do not wish her to see me at 
all! It will not be necessary. I ask 
you to take her for me to Tokio. 
There my sister will meet you, and 
take her with her to America." He 
smiled for the first time. "At least 
I can do that for her. I claimed the 
224 



TAMA 

right to care for her, and refused 
even the smallest help from Echizen 
and others. I have means other 
than my work ; and what I have will 
be hers. I want no one else to do 
for her," he added jealously. "I 
can give her everything she needs 
or may want." 

The Be-koku-jin was still studying 
his finger-tips, and there was a curious 
expression upon his face. Suddenly 
he looked up directly at the Tojin-san. 

"Why have the operation?" 

The Tojin-san had turned very pale, 
but his voice was steady and strong. 

"I have been through all that, my 
friend have wrestled, tortured my 
very soul threshing it out. That s 
the solution of a coward. I am a 
man!" 

Said the other : 

"I decline to perform the opera 
tion." 

225 



TAMA 

The Tojin-san stared at him as if 
he could not believe his ears. Then 
he brought his hand so heavily down 
upon the other s shoulder that the 
smaller man jumped under the touch. 

"You prefer to leave it to my 
bungling hands? Is that what you 
came to Fukui to tell me?" 

"As I said," said the other, wincing 
still under the Tojin s hand, "in any 
event you exaggerate the effect upon 
her. Just as you say you are a 
man!" 

He stood up abruptly. 

"You will do it?" demanded the 
Tojin hoarsely. 

"Yes," said the other, blinking 
angrily, "I suppose I must." 

He glared for a moment at his 
friend and then for the first time per 
mitted himself to show some emotion 
in his voice and expression: 

"We ll fight it out between us. 
226 



TAMA 

Sight or no sight, I know you will be 
the same to her!" 

"It is not alone my physical de 
formity," said the Tojin, steadily, 
but the fact that I am old enough to 
be her father. I have no longer the 
splendid courage of youth to take her 
in spite of my misfortune. Old 
Grind, that was what they called me, 
even in America!" 

"Stuff!" grunted the other. " Old 
Bones was the affectionate term 
applied to me. At this rate you ll 
put us in our dotage. A man under 
forty is in his best youth. I never 
felt younger in my life!" he snorted 
indignantly. 

"But she is only a child," said the 
Tojin softly, " a child in years and 
in heart!" 

"If you could see her," said the 
other, with intense earnestness, "as I 
have had occasion to since last night, 
227 



TAMA 



you would say differently. Child! 
why, man, she is a suffering, neg 
lected, forsaken little woman! Open 
your door to her. Don t let her think 
it as stony as your heart!" 



XXVII 

"TAMA!" He opened the sliding 
doors at last. She did not stand, 
even when he spoke to her, but with 
a mute, wordless sob moved a pace 
nearer to him on her knees, and put 
her head submissively at his feet. 

He stooped above her, his face 
working, his hands trembling. Gently 
he lifted her to her feet, only to 
release her instantly. 

"Stand there," he said, "while I 
speak to you. You must do whatever 
the Be-koku-jin wishes of you. He 
tells me you have resisted his attempts 
to help you. If I tell you it is my 
wish, my very dear wish, you will go 
with him, will you not?" 
229 



TAMA 

She had put out her hands in the 
old blind way, and would have found 
him had he not stepped back sound 
lessly as she approached him. She 
sighed in her distress, sighed and 
sobbed, like a tortured child. As he 
looked at her he felt his resolve far 
from weakening, becoming even more 
fixed. He would not have her this 
way, blind in mind and in sight. 
She must know the truth. 

"The Be-koku-jin will help you, 
Tama. Soon you are going to see, 
and then things will appear very 
differently to you. What you be 
lieve now to be beautiful may prove 
to be otherwise. For example," he 
continued steadily, "you believe me 
other than I am in fact. My face is 
horrible. It may even frighten you, 
as it did another woman once!" 

A hush fell between them. Her 
eyes, very wide and dark, were fixed 
230 



TAMA 

upon his face, almost as though they 
were endowed with sight. 

"Though all keep dark foraever ad 
my eyes, still I would know your 
face ad my heart!" she said. 

"If you could really see " he 
murmured hoarsely, almost implor 
ingly. 

"Tojin-san!" she said, "though all 
the worl come before my eyes, I 
would know you only! I would 
follow you yaes to thad worl s end 
if you bud would permit me." 

He made a motion toward her, and 
with that smile still upon her face 
she went blindly to meet him ; but as 
quickly he had drawn back again, and 
a moment later turned desperately 
toward the doors. She heard him 
slide them open, felt the cold draught 
of air enter; then they closed again, 
and she heard only the sound of his 
steps as he passed along the paths. 
231 



TAMA 

She stood unmoving, listening until 
even the faintest sound of him was 
gone. Then suddenly she ran for 
ward, feeling her way with her hands 
till she came to his chair. Upon her 
knees she sank, sighing, sobbing, and 
buried her face upon her arms in the 
lap of the chair. Here the Be-koku- 
jin found her, sleeping her first sleep 
in many, many days, exhausted, but 
with a strange look of peace upon her 
face at last! 



XXVIII 

THE whole of the city of Fukui had 
turned forth into its streets. Jost 
ling, pushing, shoving each other aside 
they elbowed their way to the front. 
Children were raised to the shoulders 
of parents, boys climbed upon roofs 
and poles and trees to see the spec 
tacle. 

The runners could hardly make 
a passageway through the throngs; 
but there was no disorder, nor the 
slightest trace of antagonism, as the 
norimono passed slowly down the 
streets. A respectful silence a si 
lence that had in it an element of 
torturing remorse more than curios 
ity fell upon the throng. 
16 233 



TAMA 

The bamboo hangings had been 
drawn back from the norimon, for it 
was the desire of the Tojin that all 
of Fukui might see the fox-woman 
themselves, see and judge what man 
ner of creature was this they had 
outcast and persecuted through all 
her short life. 

Beside the Be-koku-jin, who had 
performed the miracle upon her eyes, 
she sat, her face white as snow, her 
wide, dazzled eyes gazing bewilder- 
edly about her, as if she were but half 
conscious of what she saw, but half 
comprehended its meaning. They had 
confined most of her golden hair in 
some shimmering gray veil that float 
ed about her like a cloud, but little 
moist curls clung about her brow and 
blew from beneath the veil in tender, 
kissing tendrils about her cheeks. 

At her feet, with her fascinated, 
infatuated eyes pinned upon her 
234 



TAMA 

face, crouched the maid Obun, who 
was pledged to her service by the 
Tojin-san. 

The carriage was full of flowers 
that those friendly inclined had sent 
her, and the white hands of the fox- 
woman now aimlessly held a sheaf of 
poems and of love-letters penned her 
by ardent and impetuous youths, 
who found their warm hearts and 
imaginations suddenly fired by her 
appealing history and beauty. 

She spoke not at all, neither to 
answer the occasional word of re 
assurance from the Be-koku-jin, nor 
the sometimes sobbing utterances of 
Obun, who seemed to find in her 
triumphal progress through the city 
an occasion for tears. 

It grew darker, the air chillier. It 
was the Season of Cold Dew, when 
even the last gasping, fading beauty 
of the autumn ceased to appeal. 
235 



TAMA 

As the cortege reached the city s 
limits the crowds following grad 
ually drew back, and as it passed 
out into the great road whereon 
they were to travel on the long jour 
ney, the last of the followers de 
parted. 

Besides the Be-koku-jin and the 
maid Obun there were three students, 
proudly acting as body-guard. Sev 
eral dozen bearers and servants also 
accompanied the party. No halt 
was made until the last rays of the 
setting sun had disappeared entirely 
from the sky. Then the runners 
rested, and the Be-koku-jin alighting 
walked with his head bent, his hands 
behind him, as if plunged in some 
troubled thought. The students drew 
together in a whispering group and 
watched the famous surgeon, or threw 
furtive glances in the direction of the 
fox-woman, whom none of them, as 
236 



TAMA 

yet, had found the courage to look 
upon unmoved. 

She was sitting upright in her 
norimon. The veil had blown back 
partly from her head, and her hair 
shone like the moon above her. 
Obun entreated her to rest, and 
when she received no response, her 
self drew the hangings about them, 
and prepared the carriage for the 
night. As if she had been a child, 
she laid the fox-woman down among 
the quilts, and then herself crept 
under the covers, falling into a heavy 
sleep which lasted without a break 
the long night through as jerking, 
swinging, tossing on high upon the 
shoulders of the kurumaya they 
travelled on and on toward Tokio. 



XXIX 

IN the Shiro Matsuhaira the Tojin 
sat alone. They had taken away the 
untasted meal upon the trays; his 
pipe lay unlit upon the hibachi ; upon 
a table hard by his American mail 
and papers lay untouched, unopened. 
He sat staring at something he held 
in his hands. It was no larger than 
his hand, worn, ragged, and soiled 
a little sandal of straw! This was 
all he had left of her. She had 
passed out of his life as completely 
as the mist vanishes into the clouds. 

What were her thoughts now, he 

wondered dully now that she knew! 

He had seen her but once, after the 

operation. She had come like a 

238 



TAMA 

shadowy little spirit into his chamber; 
and she had said nothing at all ; had 
merely looked at him out of her wide, 
hungry eyes. As silently as she had 
come, so she had gone! Passively, 
obediently she had gone with the 
Be-koku-jin. This was what he had 
wished, had required of her. Then 
why this aching, harrowing sense of 
anguish ? 

He closed his eyes, and gave him 
self up to the last luxury left him 
the casting of his mind adrift upon a 
sea of memories, wherein he might 
recall her as she had been, see her 
again pressed against his side, breathe 
the dear fragrance of her hair, hear 
the music of her voice. 

Outside the wind was whistling and 
moaning through the leafless gardens, 
and a rain began to fall, pelting 
against his shutters, dripping in mel 
ancholy splashes from the eaves. How 
239 



TAMA 

barren, how God-forsaken seemed this 
Yashiki of feudal days ! He recalled 
his first night in this same chamber. 
How cold it had been, how penetrat 
ingly desolate! 

Now the winter was coming again. 
Soon the white snow would wrap its 
icy shroud about the Palace Matsu- 
haira, and there would be a silence 
a silence less bearable than the grave 
out there on those mountains of 
snow. 

But the people of Fukui would come 
to him daily with their problems, 
their ambitions, and questions; and 
they would look to him as a guide and 
supporter along the new glittering 
road they wished to tread; for the 
fever of the New Japan was animat 
ing the entire nation, and Fukui had 
caught the epidemic. And they would 
bestow honors and favors upon the 
Tojin-san, fame and riches, too; for 
240 



TAMA 

at the period of the rebirth of a na 
tion its teachers become its prophets 
its leaders! Yes, there was such a 
career to his hand as he could never 
have attained in that other land, 
whither they were taking the fox- 
woman now. It was this, had said 
the Be-koku-jin, which must be his 
solace, his comfort. 

He stood up unsteadily, his hand 
resting upon the table. Some one had 
knocked upon his door. He smiled, 
in the old grim, bitter way. 

He could not be tricked by his im 
agination again. She was very far 
away by now, miles from Fukui, for 
it was past midnight, and her cor 
tege would take an unbroken course 
toward the great highway which 
eventually would lead them to the 
metropolis. 

But the knocking was repeated, 
softly, gently, a sound such as a little 
241 



TAMA 

timid bird in the wet night might 
have made in beating its wings upon 
the wall. 

He heard the soft moving of the 
doors, and still he did not stir. 

Now she stood between them, her 
eyes fully upon him, drawing, com 
pelling his gaze. Upon her vivid, 
passionate little face there was, at 
last, that look of peace and rest that 
comes to one upon a journey s end. 

The water dripped from her haori, 
and clung in glittering drops upon her 
hair, her lashes. 

He could not even speak her name. 
He could only gaze at her entranced, 
as at that other time when he had 
come to consciousness within the 
woods, and had found her face hover 
ing like a spirit s above his own. 

She said as if answering the ques 
tion he could not speak: 

"Yaes it is I To-o-jin-san!" 
242 



TAMA 

With a motion, inexpressibly sweet, 
she put out her little hands, just as she 
had done ere she could see, and a 
beseeching, quivering little smile was 
on her lips. 

"In the honorable wet dark all 
those way I have come bag to you, 
kind Tojin-san!" 

His voice shook so that he did not 
recognize it as his own. 

"You found your way " 

"Wiz these my eyes closed," she 
said, "ad udder end those whole 
worl tha s same thing Tojin-san 
I find way bag unto you!" 

Why ?" he demanded with a rough 
passion that yet tore and intoxicated 
him. 

She reached out her arms to him 
yearningly, pleadingly. 

"Tek me ad you arms again!" she 
said. "Toach me on my lips wiz 
yours. I will tell you then!" 
243 



TAMA 

His last reserve was gone; he had 
no wish to hold it. Subtly, irresist 
ibly, she had drawn him to her ; now 
he had taken her back into his arms ! 

He felt her little fingers, as of old, 
passing across his face until they 
found his lips, and there she placed 
her own. 



THE END 



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