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THE FOX-WOMAN AMONG THE LOTUS
NEW YORK AND LONDON
HARPER & BROTHERS
PUBLISHERS H MCMX
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
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
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
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-
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
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
tales of the habits and desires of the
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
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
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.
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
They fell to telling weird tales of the
latest doings of the fox-woman. A
Tsuruga child had followed the witch-
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
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-
ing it too heavy, had dropped it in
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
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-
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
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,
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."
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
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.
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
the hatred and malice of the Jo-i
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.
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
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
WELCOME TO TOJIN-SAN
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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,
So still was the night, even the
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
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-
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
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
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,
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
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
"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
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
looked upon his explanations in the
light of a fairy-tale.
"Your excellency disbelieves our
legend of the fox- woman ?" he queried
"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
The officer said vehemently:
"They exist actively in Japan,
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
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,
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 Tojin-san raised himself with
a show of more interest.
"A temple housing your dreaded
fox- woman!" he exclaimed, whim
"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
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
"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
the very altar of Great Shaka him
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
The Tojin-san puffed at his re
lighted pipe in meditative silence.
Then, very quietly, he asked:
"Do you lay the misfortunes of
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
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
The Tojin-san looked puzzled,
"I do not see the connection," he
"Yet it is so," said the Japanese
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
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
"I wish merely to see her. She
must be an interesting specimen of
" 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,
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
you seek to play. Condescend to
permit the humble one once again to
"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
"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
"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-
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
"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
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
"As he hesitated upon the thresh-
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-
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-
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
"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."
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
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.
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.
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-
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
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
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
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
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-
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
all pledged to protect the Tojin-san
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
She opened her lips to speak, en
couraged by his smile, closed them
again, and mutely uncovered first
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
He gave some brief directions for
healing the wounds, and then turning
gravely to his interpreter admonished
his servants for their excitement and
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,
The Tojin-san remained for a mo
ment apparently plunged in puzzled
thought. Suddenly he turned toward
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
T A M A
shoulders in a profound French
"It would give me supreme pleas
ure to agree with your excellency," he
said ambiguously, and smiled apolo
"I see," said the Tojin-san, "you,
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.
"The first night in your service,
excellency a month before your
"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-
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
"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,
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
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,
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
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?"
"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."
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-
ern nations pressing her on all
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
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
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
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
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
Higo replied with a slight flush of
"It simply refers to the Criminal
God, your excellency."
The Criminal God ? You are very
"Condescend to pardon the al
lusion, honored sensei," said the
boy, apologetically. "To-day, we are
ready to repel all such unworthy
references to your exalted nation s
"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
But the latter, his brows drawn in
puzzled wonderment, was examining
something which had been cut into
the wood of the board on which the
"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
"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
A swift, oblique look passed from
one student to the other; but when
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-
"Seven years since," said the boy
The Tojin-san drew a great breath.
His eyes kindled. He looked wonder
"Then that is why some of you
students speak English so credit
"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?"
"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
"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
thee, honored sensei," he added al
most pleadingly, "do not seek to know
further in the matter."
"At least tell me what became of
"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
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
Sha this night. It is said the streams
and rivers are all billowing over, and
not even a sprite may spring across
"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
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
For a moment neither of the stu
dents answered, then growlingly Nun
" It is hard to spit against the wind.
Facts cannot be altered."
"By facts you mean the fox-
"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
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-
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
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,
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
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,
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
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
Holding his breath unconsciously
he found himself straining his ears to
listen to the sound, which indeed was
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
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-
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
Even Genji Negato, with blanched
face and shaking knees, followed the
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!
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
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
prince, were sleeping comfortably in
their yashiki on the very edge of
the estate. It was the workings of
Goto, the cook, found his fluttering
"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
"Twice this week," wailed the
cook s wife, "little Taro broke his
chopsticks when eating."
She fell to sobbing violently into
"Condescend to hush!" said Genji
Negate. "Remaining silent is good."
The interpreter s yellow face had
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
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
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-
san, doggedly, "save the figure of a
"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
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
"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
"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
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
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
"In any way you wish. Devise
some scheme to trap this creature of
"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
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 ."
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
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-
ful fox-woman may take to lure
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
Most certainly. I will so instruct
"And, if necessary, we may call
upon the guard for assistance?"
The Tojin-san slightly smiled.
"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."
"You anticipate hazard in the
"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-
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-
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
the distant stars above them in brill
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
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
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
Silence ! No one stirring. No one
Then, as if brought violently into
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
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-
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
TOUCH HER NOT. BELOVED SENSEI! SHE IS ACCURSED, UNCLEAN!"
uncovered was that of a white wo- v
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
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!
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
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.
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
She was free to go, for he had cut
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
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
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 !
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
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.
" 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.
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
abandon the place. With a grim
and stubborn patience, he kept dog
gedly to the course he had set him
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
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
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
Every sliding door and screen he
had himself put in place. He did not
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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-
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,
Nipponese ?" she said. No me ?
I am To-o-jin-san!"
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
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
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
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
them, his young face becoming gray
Sensei ! Then it is true !" he burst
out, and the look of despair on his
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!"
The Tojin-san curbed his temper.
His voice, though stern, was calm,
as though he sought to humor the
"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
"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
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
As he pushed back the doors, the
fox-woman glided soundlessly across
his path. The boy found himself
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
And meanwhile, in the Shiro Mat-
suhaira, another kind of dream was
unfolding its rose-lined wings.
"To what are you listening,
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
"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
"It is the uguisu," she said quickly,
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
"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
"The samourai gone," she said,
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 ?"
"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
"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
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
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
"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
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
"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
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
From his elevation above them he
spoke, his clear voice booming out
above their heads.
"Genji Negate, I desire your ser
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
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
A strange voice, rumbling, sneering,
responded to this statement. Like
a flash, upon the retort, came the
Tojin s ringing order to the inter
"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
For a moment the far-seeing mind
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
Higo flung himself defiantly before
"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.
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-
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
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-
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
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
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
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
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!
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,
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
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
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,
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
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
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
"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 :
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
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-
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 -
such as one might feel after a long,
exhausting race, permeating his whole
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,
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
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
"Honorable water good for thirsty
throat," she said.
Now he released her, and she drew
back to find the little cup beside her.
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
"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.
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
"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
swept over his face, as he set the
little hands back into her lap, rever
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
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
voice; obeying her slightest request;
permitting her to serve him as
if he were a babe and she his
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
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
And presently as he drowsed de-
liciously under the warm fragrant
silk, he felt her stirring at his feet,
and her tired little voice came whis
pering to him as if from very far
Sayonara, To j in-san ! Imadzuka !
(Now we rest).
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
birds which blew over them, or came
shyly, timorously at her calling to
share her morsel of rice and ber
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
She knew every secret corner of the
mountains. The purest springs, hid
den pools and lakelets, caves of un-
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
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
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
"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
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
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
"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.
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
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
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
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
But a moment later she was at his
feet, her pure, trusting face smiling
appealingly up at him.
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
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
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
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
gates, might no longer be propiti
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
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
Because she put back her hand,
and he took it perforce in his own,
he continued in his low, wooing
"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
"You god no udder dream more
beautiful?" she questioned wistfully.
"No other," he answered softly.
"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
others," he said solemnly. "It will
never end. Not for a lifetime, little
"It surely goin last foraever ad
this worl ?" she asked with sceptical
"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
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
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.
"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-
ity. We are here, together, and
nothing in the world shall ever tear
us apart again."
"Nothing in the worl ," she re
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
"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?
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
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
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
"That was many years ago," he
said. "It is a New Japan we live
in to-day, and I have friends even
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
Instantly he stopped, lifted her face
in his hands, and, in the dark woods,
anxiously examined it.
"You are crying, Tama."
"No-o," she said.
"But your face is wet."
"It is the dew upon my face," she
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
of them now loose and entirely over
grown with grass and weeds.
The pagoda was of seven stories,
its crimson eaves still fringed with
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.
TAMA AT THE TEMPLE TOKIWA
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
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
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
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.
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
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
"Why to him?" he asked, deeply
"Because," she answered simply,
"he, too, lig me, knew trobble. Thas
why I speag to him my heart ac
count I know he listen!"
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
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
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,
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-
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
"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-
"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
god ad all! Thas jost man from
"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-
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,"
he said. "You were entirely blame
"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
"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
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
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!
She hid her face against his arm.
"If they should do to you the
same!" she said.
"For myself I have no fear," he
"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
"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
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.)
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
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
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
"Sensei. Sensei! Sensei!"
It was the voice of the student,
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
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-
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
"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."
"The unfortunate one?" repeated
the Tojin dully. "To whom do you
The boys stared at him in round-
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
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
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
"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,
But the Tojin-san was silent. His
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.
"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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
They travelled by the public roads
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Now he felt himself, as it were, part
of a moving captivating drama cut
out of life itself. No written page
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
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
The other did not look up.
"That depends on you," he said
"Your refusal or acceptance of the
position here depends on me?"
"What do you mean?"
The Tojin-san leaned forward in
his chair. His eyes were no longer
dull, there was a flame behind them.
"If you are successful I remain
here, in Fukui."
"Ah. Er you mean as regards the
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
"That is because you do not under
stand , said the To j in wearily. "She
is indeed what these people have
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
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
Said the other :
"I decline to perform the opera
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
He stood up abruptly.
"You will do it?" demanded the
"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.
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
"But she is only a child," said the
Tojin softly, " a child in years and
"If you could see her," said the
other, with intense earnestness, "as I
have had occasion to since last night,
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!"
"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?"
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
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
"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.
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!
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
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.
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
face, crouched the maid Obun, who
was pledged to her service by the
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.
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
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
yet, had found the courage to look
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
But the knocking was repeated,
softly, gently, a sound such as a little
timid bird in the wet night might
have made in beating its wings upon
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!"
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,
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
She reached out her arms to him
"Tek me ad you arms again!" she
said. "Toach me on my lips wiz
yours. I will tell you then!"
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
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