テーマ:輪廻転生-女の恨みと生まれ変わり1) DiplomacyIt had been ordered that the execution should take place in the gardenof the yashiki (1). So the man was taken there, and made to kneel downin a wide sanded space crossed by a line of tobi-ishi, orstepping-stones, such as you may still see in Japaneselandscape-gardens. His arms were bound behind him. Retainers broughtwater in buckets, and rice-bags filled with pebbles; and they packedthe rice-bags round the kneeling man,--so wedging him in that he couldnot move. The master came, and observed the arrangements. He found themsatisfactory, and made no remarks.Suddenly the condemned man cried out to him:--"Honored Sir, the fault for which I have been doomed I did notwittingly commit. It was only my very great stupidity which caused thefault. Having been born stupid, by reason of my Karma, I could notalways help making mistakes. But to kill a man for being stupid iswrong,--and that wrong will be repaid. So surely as you kill me, sosurely shall I be avenged;--out of the resentment that you provoke willcome the vengeance; and evil will be rendered for evil."...If any person be killed while feeling strong resentment, the ghost ofthat person will be able to take vengeance upon the killer. This thesamurai knew. He replied very gently,--almost caressingly:--"We shall allow you to frighten us as much as you please--after you aredead. But it is difficult to believe that you mean what you say. Willyou try to give us some sign of your great resentment--after your headhas been cut off?""Assuredly I will," answered the man."Very well," said the samurai, drawing his long sword;--"I am now goingto cut off your head. Directly in front of you there is astepping-stone. After your head has been cut off, try to bite thestepping-stone. If your angry ghost can help you to do that, some of usmay be frightened... Will you try to bite the stone?""I will bite it!" cried the man, in great anger,--"I will bite it!--Iwill bite"--There was a flash, a swish, a crunching thud: the bound body bowed overthe rice sacks,--two long blood-jets pumping from the shorn neck;--andthe head rolled upon the sand. Heavily toward the stepping-stone itrolled: then, suddenly bounding, it caught the upper edge of the stonebetween its teeth, clung desperately for a moment, and dropped inert.None spoke; but the retainers stared in horror at their master. Heseemed to be quite unconcerned. He merely held out his sword to thenearest attendant, who, with a wooden dipper, poured water over theblade from haft to point, and then carefully wiped the steel severaltimes with sheets of soft paper... And thus ended the ceremonial partof the incident.For months thereafter, the retainers and the domestics lived inceaseless fear of ghostly visitation. None of them doubted that thepromised vengeance would come; and their constant terror caused them tohear and to see much that did not exist. They became afraid of thesound of the wind in the bamboos,--afraid even of the stirring ofshadows in the garden. At last, after taking counsel together, theydecided to petition their master to have a Segaki-service (2) performedon behalf of the vengeful spirit."Quite unnecessary," the samurai said, when his chief retainer haduttered the general wish... "I understand that the desire of a dyingman for revenge may be a cause for fear. But in this case there isnothing to fear."The retainer looked at his master beseechingly, but hesitated to askthe reason of the alarming confidence."Oh, the reason is simple enough," declared the samurai, divining theunspoken doubt. "Only the very last intention of the fellow could havebeen dangerous; and when I challenged him to give me the sign, Idiverted his mind from the desire of revenge. He died with the setpurpose of biting the stepping-stone; and that purpose he was able toaccomplish, but nothing else. All the rest he must have forgotten... Soyou need not feel any further anxiety about the matter."--And indeed the dead man gave no more trouble. Nothing at all happened.2) OshidoriThere was a falconer and hunter, named Sonjo, who lived in the districtcalled Tamura-no-Go, of the province of Mutsu. One day he went outhunting, and could not find any game. But on his way home, at a placecalled Akanuma, he perceived a pair of oshidori  (mandarin-ducks),swimming together in a river that he was about to cross. To killoshidori is not good; but Sonjo happened to be very hungry, and he shotat the pair. His arrow pierced the male: the female escaped into therushes of the further shore, and disappeared. Sonjo took the dead birdhome, and cooked it.That night he dreamed a dreary dream. It seemed to him that a beautifulwoman came into his room, and stood by his pillow, and began to weep.So bitterly did she weep that Sonjo felt as if his heart were beingtorn out while he listened. And the woman cried to him: "Why,--oh! whydid you kill him?--of what wrong was he guilty?... At Akanuma we wereso happy together,--and you killed him!... What harm did he ever doyou? Do you even know what you have done?--oh! do you know what acruel, what a wicked thing you have done?... Me too you havekilled,--for I will not live without my husband!... Only to tell youthis I came."... Then again she wept aloud,--so bitterly that the voiceof her crying pierced into the marrow of the listener's bones;--and shesobbed out the words of this poem:-- Hi kurureba Sasoeshi mono wo-- Akanuma no Makomo no kure no Hitori-ne zo uki!("At the coming of twilight I invited him to return with me--! Now tosleep alone in the shadow of the rushes of Akanuma--ah! what miseryunspeakable!") And after having uttered these verses she exclaimed:--"Ah, you do notknow--you cannot know what you have done! But to-morrow, when you go toAkanuma, you will see,--you will see..." So saying, and weeping verypiteously, she went away.When Sonjo awoke in the morning, this dream remained so vivid in hismind that he was greatly troubled. He remembered the words:--"Butto-morrow, when you go to Akanuma, you will see,--you will see." And heresolved to go there at once, that he might learn whether his dream wasanything more than a dream.So he went to Akanuma; and there, when he came to the river-bank, hesaw the female oshidori swimming alone. In the same moment the birdperceived Sonjo; but, instead of trying to escape, she swam straighttowards him, looking at him the while in a strange fixed way. Then,with her beak, she suddenly tore open her own body, and died before thehunter's eyes...Sonjo shaved his head, and became a priest.2)-2 Trois contes by Gustave FlaubertLe cerf, qui etait noir et monstrueux de taille, portait seizeandouillers avec une barbe blanche. La biche, blonde comme les feuillesmortes, broutait le gazon; et le faon tachete, sans l'interrompre danssa marche, lui tetait la mamelle.L'arbalete encore une fois ronfla. Le faon, tout de suite, fut tue.Alors sa mere, en regardant le ciel, brama d'une voix profonde,dechirante, humaine. Julien exaspere, d'un coup en plein poitrail,l'etendit par terre.Le grand cerf l'avait vu, fit un bond. Julien lui envoya sa dernierefleche. Elle l'atteignit au front, et y resta plantee.Le grand cerf n'eut pas l'air de la sentir; en enjambant par-dessus lesmorts, il avancait toujours, allait fondre sur lui, l'eventrer; etJulien reculait dans une epouvante indicible. Le prodigieux animals'arreta; et les yeux flamboyants, solennel comme un patriarche et commeun justicier, pendant qu'une cloche au loin tintait, il repeta trois fois:--≪Maudit! maudit! maudit! Un jour, coeur feroce, tu assassineras tonpere et ta mere!≫Il plia les genoux, ferma doucement ses paupieres, et mourut.Julien fut stupefait, puis accable d'une fatigue soudaine; et un degout,une tristesse immense l'envahit. Le front dans les deux mains, il pleurapendant longtemps.====De l'autre cote du vallon, sur le bord de la foret, il apercut un cerf,une biche et son faon.3) Ingwa-banashiThe daimyo's wife was dying, and knew that she was dying. She hadnot been able to leave her bed since the early autumn of thetenth Bunsei. It was now the fourth month of the twelfth Bunsei,--the year 1829 by Western counting; and the cherry-trees wereblossoming. She thought of the cherry-trees in her garden, and ofthe gladness of spring. She thought of her children. She thoughtof her husband's various concubines,--especially the Lady Yukiko,nineteen years old."My dear wife," said the daimyo, "you have suffered very much forthree long years. We have done all that we could to get youwell,--watching beside you night and day, praying for you, andoften fasting for your sake, But in spite of our loving care, andin spite of the skill of our best physicians, it would now seenthat the end of your life is not far off. Probably we shallsorrow more than you will sorrow because of your having to leavewhat the Buddha so truly termed 'this burning-house of the world.I shall order to be performed--no matter what the cost--everyreligious rite that can serve you in regard to your next rebirth;and all of us will pray without ceasing for you, that you may nothave to wander in the Black Space, but nay quickly enterParadise, and attain to Buddha-hood."He spoke with the utmost tenderness, pressing her the while.Then, with eyelids closed, she answered him in a voice thin asthe voice of in insect:--"I am grateful--most grateful--for your kind words.... Yes, it istrue, as you say, that I have been sick for three long years, andthat I have been treated with all possible care and affection....Why, indeed, should I turn away from the one true Path at thevery moment of my death?... Perhaps to think of worldly mattersat such a time is not right;--but I have one last request tomake,--only one.... Call here to me the Lady Yukiko;--you knowthat I love her like a sister. I want to speak to her about theaffairs of this household."Yukiko came at the summons of the lord, and, in obedience to asign from him, knelt down beside the couch. The daimyo's wifeopened her eyes, and looked at Yukiko, and spoke:--"Ah, here isYukiko!... I am so pleased to see you, Yukiko!... Come a littlecloser,--so that you can hear me well: I am not able to speakloud.... Yukiko, I am going to die. I hope that you will befaithful in all things to our dear lord;--for I want you to takemy place when I am gone.... I hope that you will always be lovedby him,--yes, even a hundred times more than I have been,--andthat you will very soon be promoted to a higher rank, and becomehis honored wife.... And I beg of you always to cherish our dearlord: never allow another woman to rob you of his affection....This is what I wanted to say to you, dear Yukiko.... Have youbeen able to understand?""Oh, my dear Lady," protested Yukiko, "do not, I entreat you, saysuch strange things to me! You well know that I am of poor andmean condition:--how could I ever dare to aspire to become thewife of our lord!""Nay, nay!" returned the wife, huskily,--"this is not a time forwords of ceremony: let us speak only the truth to each other.After my death, you will certainly be promoted to a higher place;and I now assure you again that I wish you to become the wife ofour lord--yes, I wish this, Yukiko, even more than I wish tobecome a Buddha!... Ah, I had almost forgotten!--I want you to dosomething for me, Yukiko. You know that in the garden there is ayae-zakura,(2) which was brought here, the year before last, fromMount Yoshino in Yamato. I have been told that it is now in fullbloom;--and I wanted so much to see it in flower! In a littlewhile I shall be dead;--I must see that tree before I die. Now Iwish you to carry me into the garden--at once, Yukiko,--so that Ican see it.... Yes, upon your back, Yukiko;--take me upon yourback...."While thus asking, her voice had gradually become clear andstrong,--as if the intensity of the wish had given her new force:then she suddenly burst into tears. Yukiko knelt motionless, notknowing what to do; but the lord nodded assent."It is her last wish in this world," he said. "She always lovedcherry-flowers; and I know that she wanted very much to see thatYamato-tree in blossom. Come, my dear Yukiko, let her have herwill."As a nurse turns her back to a child, that the child may cling toit, Yukiko offered her shoulders to the wife, and said:--"Lady, I am ready: please tell me how I best can help you.""Why, this way!"--responded the dying woman, lifting herself withan almost superhuman effort by clinging to Yukiko's shoulders.But as she stood erect, she quickly slipped her thin hands downover the shoulders, under the robe, and clutched the breasts ofthe girl,, and burst into a wicked laugh."I have my wish!" she cried-"I have my wish for the cherry-bloom,(3)--but not the cherry-bloom of the garden!... I could notdie before I got my wish. Now I have it!--oh, what a delight!"And with these words she fell forward upon the crouching girl,and died.The attendants at once attempted to lift the body from Yukiko'sshoulders, and to lay it upon the bed. But--strange to say!--thisseemingly easy thing could not be done. The cold hands hadattached themselves in some unaccountable way to the breasts ofthe girl,--appeared to have grown into the quick flesh. Yukikobecame senseless with fear and pain.Physicians were called. They could not understand what had takenplace. By no ordinary methods could the hands of the dead womanbe unfastened from the body of her victim;--they so clung thatany effort to remove them brought blood. This was not because thefingers held: it was because the flesh of the palms had uniteditself in some inexplicable manner to the flesh of the breasts!At that time the most skilful physician in Yedo was a foreigner,--a Dutch surgeon. It was decided to summon him. After a carefulexamination he said that he could not understand the case, andthat for the immediate relief of Yukiko there was nothing to bedone except to cut the hands from the corpse. He declared that itwould be dangerous to attempt to detach them from the breasts.His advice was accepted; and the hands' were amputated at thewrists. But they remained clinging to the breasts; and there theysoon darkened and dried up,--like the hands of a person longdead.Yet this was only the beginning of the horror.Withered and bloodless though they seemed, those hands were notdead. At intervals they would stir--stealthily, like great greyspiders. And nightly thereafter,--beginning always at the Hour ofthe Ox,(4)--they would clutch and compress and torture. Only atthe Hour of the Tiger the pain would cease.Yukiko cut off her hair, and became a mendicant-nun,--taking thereligious name of Dassetsu. She had an ibai (mortuary tablet)made, bearing the kaimyo of her dead mistress,--"Myo-Ko-In-DenChizan-Ryo-Fu Daishi";--and this she carried about with her inall her wanderings; and every day before it she humbly besoughtthe dead for pardon, and performed a Buddhist service in orderthat the jealous spirit might find rest. But the evil karma thathad rendered such an affliction possible could not soon beexhausted. Every night at the Hour of the Ox, the hands neverfailed to torture her, during more than seventeen years,--according to the testimony of those persons to whom she last toldher story, when she stopped for one evening at the house ofNoguchi Dengozayemon, in the village of Tanaka in the district ofKawachi in the province of Shimotsuke. This was in the third yearof Kokwa (1846). Thereafter nothing more was ever heard of her.1 Lit., "a tale of ingwa." Ingwa is a Japanese Buddhist term forevil karma, or the evil consequence of faults committed in aformer state of existence. Perhaps the curious title of thenarrative is best explained by the Buddhist teaching that thedead have power to injure the living only in consequence of evilactions committed by their victims in some former life. Bothtitle and narrative may be found in the collection of weirdstories entitled Hyaku-Monogatari.2 Yae-zakura, yae-no-sakura, a variety of Japanese cherry-treethat bears double-blossoms.3 In Japanese poetry and proverbial phraseology, the physicalbeauty of a woman is compared to the cherry-flower; whilefeminine moral beauty is compared to the plum-flower.4 In ancient Japanese time, the Hour of the Ox was the specialhour of ghosts. It began at 2 A.M., and lasted until 4 A.M.--forthe old Japanese hour was double the length of the modern hour.The Hour of the Tiger began at 4 A.M.4) XXV Of ghosts and goblinsSec. 1THERE was a Buddha, according to the Hokkekyo who 'even assumed theshape of a goblin to preach to such as were to be converted by agoblin.' And in the same Sutra may be found this promise of the Teacher:'While he is dwelling lonely in the wilderness, I will send thithergoblins in great number to keep him company.' The appalling characterof this promise is indeed somewhat modified by the assurance that godsalso are to be sent. But if ever I become a holy man, I shall take heednot to dwell in the wilderness, because I have seen Japanese goblins,and I do not like them.Kinjuro showed them to me last night. They had come to town for thematsuri of our own ujigami, or parish-temple; and, as there were manycurious things to be seen at the night festival, we started for thetemple after dark, Kinjuro carrying a paper lantern painted with mycrest.It had snowed heavily in the morning; but now the sky and the sharpstill air were clear as diamond; and the crisp snow made a pleasantcrunching sound under our feet as we walked; and it occurred to me tosay: 'O Kinjuro, is there a God of Snow?''I cannot tell,' replied Kinjuro. 'There be many gods I do not know; andthere is not any man who knows the names of all the gods. But there isthe Yuki-Onna, the Woman of the Snow.''And what is the Yuki-Onna?''She is the White One that makes the Faces in the snow. She does not anyharm, only makes afraid. By day she lifts only her head, and frightensthose who journey alone. But at night she rises up sometimes, tallerthan the trees, and looks about a little while, and then falls back in ashower of snow.' 'What is her face like?''It is all white, white. It is an enormous face. And it is a lonesomeface.'[The word Kinjuro used was samushii. Its common meaning is 'lonesome';but he used it, I think, in the sense of 'weird.']'Did you ever see her, Kinjuro?''Master, I never saw her. But my father told me that once when he was achild, he wanted to go to a neighbour's house through the snow to playwith another little boy; and that on the way he saw a great white Facerise up from the snow and look lonesomely about, so that he cried forfear and ran back. Then his people all went out and looked; but therewas only snow; and then they knew that he had seen the Yuki-Onna.''And in these days, Kinjuro, do people ever see her?''Yes. Those who make the pilgrimage to Yabumura, in the period calledDai-Kan, which is the Time of the Greatest Cold,  they sometimes seeher.''What is there at Yabumura, Kinjuro?''There is the Yabu-jinja, which is an ancient and famous temple of Yabu-no-Tenno-San--the God of Colds, Kaze-no-Kami. It is high upon a hill,nearly nine ri from Matsue. And the great matsuri of that temple is heldupon the tenth and eleventh days of the Second Month. And on those daysstrange things may be seen. For one who gets a very bad cold prays tothe deity of Yabu-jinja to cure it, and takes a vow to make a pilgrimagenaked to the temple at the time of the matsuri.''Naked?''Yes: the pilgrims wear only waraji, and a little cloth round theirloins. And a great many men and women go naked through the snow to thetemple, though the snow is deep at that time. And each man carries abunch of gohei and a naked sword as gifts to the temple; and each womancarries a metal mirror. And at the temple, the priests receive them,performing curious rites. For the priests then, according to ancientcustom, attire themselves like sick men, and lie down and groan, anddrink, potions made of herbs, prepared after the Chinese manner.''But do not some of the pilgrims die of cold, Kinjuro?''No: our Izumo peasants are hardy. Besides, they run swiftly, so thatthey reach the temple all warm. And before returning they put on thickwarm robes. But sometimes, upon the way, they see the Yuki-Onna.'==========='Long ago, in the days of a daimyo whose name has been forgotten, therelived in this old city a young man and a maid who loved each other verymuch. Their names are not remembered, but their story remains. Frominfancy they had been betrothed; and as children they played together,for their parents were neighbours. And as they grew up, they becamealways fonder of each other.'Before the youth had become a man, his parents died. But he was able toenter the service of a rich samurai, an officer of high rank, who hadbeen a friend of his people. And his protector soon took him into greatfavour, seeing him to be courteous, intelligent, and apt at arms. So theyoung man hoped to find himself shortly in a position that would make itpossible for him to marry his betrothed. But war broke out in the northand east; and he was summoned suddenly to follow his master to thefield. Before departing, however, he was able to see the girl; and theyexchanged pledges in the presence of her parents; and he promised,should he remain alive, to return within a year from that day to marryhis betrothed.'After his going much time passed without news of him, for there was nopost in that time as now; and the girl grieved so much for thinking ofthe chances of war that she became all white and thin and weak. Then atlast she heard of him through a messenger sent from the army to bearnews to the daimyo and once again a letter was brought to her by anothermessenger. And thereafter there came no word. Long is a year to one whowaits. And the year passed, and he did not return.'Other seasons passed, and still he did not come; and she thought himdead; and she sickened and lay down, and died, and was buried. Then herold parents, who had no other child, grieved unspeakably, and came tohate their home for the lonesomeness of it. After a time they resolvedto sell all they had, and to set out upon a sengaji--the greatpilgrimage to the Thousand Temples of the Nichiren-Shu, which requiresmany years to perform. So they sold their small house with all that itcontained, excepting the ancestral tablets, and the holy things whichmust never be sold, and the ihai of their buried daughter, which wereplaced, according to the custom of those about to leave their nativeplace, in the family temple. Now the family was of the Nichiren-Shu; andtheir temple was Myokoji.'They had been gone only four days when the young man who had beenbetrothed to their daughter returned to the city. He had attempted, withthe permission of his master, to fulfil his promise. But the provincesupon his way were full of war, and the roads and passes were guarded bytroops, and he had been long delayed by many difficulties. And when heheard of his misfortune he sickened for grief, and many days remainedwithout knowledge of anything, like one about to die.'But when he began to recover his strength, all the pain of memory cameback again; and he regretted that he had not died. Then he resolved tokill himself upon the grave of his betrothed; and, as soon as he wasable to go out unobserved, he took his sword and went to the cemeterywhere the girl was buried: it is a lonesome place--the cemetery ofMyokoji. There he found her tomb, and knelt before it, and prayed andwept, and whispered to her that which he was about to do. And suddenlyhe heard her voice cry to him: "Anata!" and felt her hand upon his hand;and he turned, and saw her kneeling beside him, smiling, and beautifulas he remembered her, only a little pale. Then his heart leaped so thathe could not speak for the wonder and the doubt and the joy of thatmoment. But she said: "Do not doubt: it is really I. I am not dead. Itwas all a mistake. I was buried, because my people thought me dead--buried too soon. And my own parents thought me dead, and went upon apilgrimage. Yet you see, I am not dead--not a ghost. It is I: do notdoubt it! And I have seen your heart, and that was worth all thewaiting, and the pain.. . But now let us go away at once to anothercity, so that people may not know this thing and trouble us; for allstill believe me dead."'And they went away, no one observing them. And they went even to thevillage of Minobu, which is in the province of Kai. For there is afamous temple of the Nichiren-Shu in that place; and the girl had said:"I know that in the course of their pilgrimage my parents will surelyvisit Minobu: so that if we dwell there, they will find us, and we shallbe all again together." And when they came to Minobu, she said: "Let usopen a little shop." And they opened a little food-shop, on the wide wayleading to the holy place; and there they sold cakes for children, andtoys, and food for pilgrims. For two years they so lived and prospered;and there was a son born to them.'Now when the child was a year and two months old, the parents of thewife came in the course of their pilgrimage to Minobu; and they stoppedat the little shop to buy food. And seeing their daughter's betrothed,they cried out and wept and asked questions. Then he made them enter,and bowed down before them, and astonished them, saying: "Truly as Ispeak it, your daughter is not dead; and she is my wife; and we have ason. And she is even now within the farther room, lying down with thechild. I pray you go in at once and gladden her, for her heart longs forthe moment of seeing you again."'So while he busied himself in making all things ready for theircomfort, they entered the inner, room very softly--the mother first.'They found the child asleep; but the mother they did not find. Sheseemed to have gone out for a little while only: her pillow was stillwarm. They waited long for her: then they began to seek her. But neverwas she seen again.'And they understood only when they found beneath the coverings whichhad covered the mother and child, something which they remembered havingleft years before in the temple of Myokoji--a little mortuary tablet,the ihai of their buried daughter.'==========='A long time ago, in the days when Fox-women and goblins haunted thisland, there came to the capital with her parents a samurai girl, sobeautiful that all men who saw her fell enamoured of her. And hundredsof young samurai desired and hoped to marry her, and made their desireknown to her parents. For it has ever been the custom in Japan thatmarriages should be arranged by parents. But there are exceptions to allcustoms, and the case of this maiden was such an exception. Her parentsdeclared that they intended to allow their daughter to choose her ownhusband, and that all who wished to win her would be free to woo her.'Many men of high rank and of great wealth were admitted to the house assuitors; and each one courted her as he best knew how--with gifts, andwith fair words, and with poems written in her honour, and with promisesof eternal love. And to each one she spoke sweetly and hopefully; butshe made strange conditions. For every suitor she obliged to bindhimself by his word of honour as a samurai to submit to a test of hislove for her, and never to divulge to living person what that test mightbe. And to this all agreed.'But even the most confident suitors suddenly ceased their importunitiesafter having been put to the test; and all of them appeared to have beengreatly terrified by something. Indeed, not a few even fled away fromthe city, and could not be persuaded by their friends to return. But noone ever so much as hinted why. Therefore it was whispered by those whoknew nothing of the mystery, that the beautiful girl must be either aFox-woman or a goblin.'Now, when all the wooers of high rank had abandoned their suit, therecame a samurai who had no wealth but his sword. He was a good man andtrue, and of pleasing presence; and the girl seemed to like him. But shemade him take the same pledge which the others had taken; and after hehad taken it, she told him to return upon a certain evening.'When that evening came, he was received at the house by none but thegirl herself. With her own hands she set before him the repast ofhospitality, and waited upon him, after which she told him that shewished him to go out with her at a late hour. To this he consentedgladly, and inquired to what place she desired to go. But she repliednothing to his question, and all at once became very silent, and strangein her manner. And after a while she retired from the apartment, leavinghim alone.'Only long after midnight she returned, robed all in white--like a Soul--and, without uttering a word, signed to him to follow her. Out of thehouse they hastened while all the city slept. It was what is called anoborozuki-yo--'moon-clouded night.' Always upon such a night, 'tis said,do ghosts wander. She swiftly led the way; and the dogs howled as sheflitted by; and she passed beyond the confines of the city to a place ofknolls shadowed by enormous trees, where an ancient cemetery was. Intoit she glided--a white shadow into blackness. He followed, wondering,his hand upon his sword. Then his eyes became accustomed to the gloom;and he saw.'By a new-made grave she paused and signed to him to wait. The tools ofthe grave-maker were still lying there. Seizing one, she began to digfuriously, with strange haste and strength. At last her spade smote acoffin-lid and made it boom: another moment and the fresh white wood ofthe kwan was bare. She tore off the lid, revealing a corpse within--thecorpse of a child. With goblin gestures she wrung an arm from the body,wrenched it in twain, and, squatting down, began to devour the upperhalf. Then, flinging to her lover the other half, she cried to him,"Eat, if thou lovest mel this is what I eat!" 'Not even for a singleinstant did he hesitate. He squatted down upon the other side of thegrave, and ate the half of the arm, and said, "Kekko degozarimasu! mosukoshi chodai."  For that arm was made of the best kwashi  thatSaikyo could produce.'Then the girl sprang to her feet with a burst of laughter, and cried:"You only, of all my brave suitors, did not run away! And I wanted ahusband: who could not fear. I will marry you; I can love you: you are aman!"'7) Yuki-onnaIn a village of Musashi Province (1), there lived two woodcutters:Mosaku and Minokichi. At the time of which I am speaking, Mosaku was anold man; and Minokichi, his apprentice, was a lad of eighteen years.Every day they went together to a forest situated about five miles fromtheir village. On the way to that forest there is a wide river tocross; and there is a ferry-boat. Several times a bridge was builtwhere the ferry is; but the bridge was each time carried away by aflood. No common bridge can resist the current there when the riverrises.Mosaku and Minokichi were on their way home, one very cold evening,when a great snowstorm overtook them. They reached the ferry; and theyfound that the boatman had gone away, leaving his boat on the otherside of the river. It was no day for swimming; and the woodcutters tookshelter in the ferryman's hut,--thinking themselves lucky to find anyshelter at all. There was no brazier in the hut, nor any place in whichto make a fire: it was only a two-mat  hut, with a single door, butno window. Mosaku and Minokichi fastened the door, and lay down torest, with their straw rain-coats over them. At first they did not feelvery cold; and they thought that the storm would soon be over.The old man almost immediately fell asleep; but the boy, Minokichi, layawake a long time, listening to the awful wind, and the continualslashing of the snow against the door. The river was roaring; and thehut swayed and creaked like a junk at sea. It was a terrible storm; andthe air was every moment becoming colder; and Minokichi shivered underhis rain-coat. But at last, in spite of the cold, he too fell asleep.He was awakened by a showering of snow in his face. The door of the huthad been forced open; and, by the snow-light (yuki-akari), he saw awoman in the room,--a woman all in white. She was bending above Mosaku,and blowing her breath upon him;--and her breath was like a brightwhite smoke. Almost in the same moment she turned to Minokichi, andstooped over him. He tried to cry out, but found that he could notutter any sound. The white woman bent down over him, lower and lower,until her face almost touched him; and he saw that she was verybeautiful,--though her eyes made him afraid. For a little time shecontinued to look at him;--then she smiled, and she whispered:--"Iintended to treat you like the other man. But I cannot help feelingsome pity for you,--because you are so young... You are a pretty boy,Minokichi; and I will not hurt you now. But, if you ever tellanybody--even your own mother--about what you have seen this night, Ishall know it; and then I will kill you... Remember what I say!"With these words, she turned from him, and passed through the doorway.Then he found himself able to move; and he sprang up, and looked out.But the woman was nowhere to be seen; and the snow was drivingfuriously into the hut. Minokichi closed the door, and secured it byfixing several billets of wood against it. He wondered if the wind hadblown it open;--he thought that he might have been only dreaming, andmight have mistaken the gleam of the snow-light in the doorway for thefigure of a white woman: but he could not be sure. He called to Mosaku,and was frightened because the old man did not answer. He put out hishand in the dark, and touched Mosaku's face, and found that it was ice!Mosaku was stark and dead...By dawn the storm was over; and when the ferryman returned to hisstation, a little after sunrise, he found Minokichi lying senselessbeside the frozen body of Mosaku. Minokichi was promptly cared for, andsoon came to himself; but he remained a long time ill from the effectsof the cold of that terrible night. He had been greatly frightened alsoby the old man's death; but he said nothing about the vision of thewoman in white. As soon as he got well again, he returned to hiscalling,--going alone every morning to the forest, and coming back atnightfall with his bundles of wood, which his mother helped him to sell.One evening, in the winter of the following year, as he was on his wayhome, he overtook a girl who happened to be traveling by the same road.She was a tall, slim girl, very good-looking; and she answeredMinokichi's greeting in a voice as pleasant to the ear as the voice ofa song-bird. Then he walked beside her; and they began to talk. Thegirl said that her name was O-Yuki ; that she had lately lost bothof her parents; and that she was going to Yedo (2), where she happenedto have some poor relations, who might help her to find a situation asa servant. Minokichi soon felt charmed by this strange girl; and themore that he looked at her, the handsomer she appeared to be. He askedher whether she was yet betrothed; and she answered, laughingly, thatshe was free. Then, in her turn, she asked Minokichi whether he wasmarried, or pledged to marry; and he told her that, although he had onlya widowed mother to support, the question of an "honorabledaughter-in-law" had not yet been considered, as he was very young...After these confidences, they walked on for a long while withoutspeaking; but, as the proverb declares, Ki ga areba, me mo kuchi hodoni mono wo iu: "When the wish is there, the eyes can say as much as themouth." By the time they reached the village, they had become very muchpleased with each other; and then Minokichi asked O-Yuki to rest awhileat his house. After some shy hesitation, she went there with him; andhis mother made her welcome, and prepared a warm meal for her. O-Yukibehaved so nicely that Minokichi's mother took a sudden fancy to her,and persuaded her to delay her journey to Yedo. And the natural end ofthe matter was that Yuki never went to Yedo at all. She remained in thehouse, as an "honorable daughter-in-law."O-Yuki proved a very good daughter-in-law. When Minokichi's mother cameto die,--some five years later,--her last words were words of affectionand praise for the wife of her son. And O-Yuki bore Minokichi tenchildren, boys and girls,--handsome children all of them, and very fairof skin.The country-folk thought O-Yuki a wonderful person, by nature differentfrom themselves. Most of the peasant-women age early; but O-Yuki, evenafter having become the mother of ten children, looked as young andfresh as on the day when she had first come to the village.One night, after the children had gone to sleep, O-Yuki was sewing bythe light of a paper lamp; and Minokichi, watching her, said:--"To see you sewing there, with the light on your face, makes me thinkof a strange thing that happened when I was a lad of eighteen. I thensaw somebody as beautiful and white as you are now--indeed, she wasvery like you."...Without lifting her eyes from her work, O-Yuki responded:--"Tell me about her... Where did you see her?"Then Minokichi told her about the terrible night in the ferryman'shut,--and about the White Woman that had stooped above him, smiling andwhispering,--and about the silent death of old Mosaku. And he said:--"Asleep or awake, that was the only time that I saw a being asbeautiful as you. Of course, she was not a human being; and I wasafraid of her,--very much afraid,--but she was so white!... Indeed, Ihave never been sure whether it was a dream that I saw, or the Woman ofthe Snow."...O-Yuki flung down her sewing, and arose, and bowed above Minokichiwhere he sat, and shrieked into his face:--"It was I--I--I! Yuki it was! And I told you then that I would killyou if you ever said one word about it!... But for those childrenasleep there, I would kill you this moment! And now you had better takevery, very good care of them; for if ever they have reason to complainof you, I will treat you as you deserve!"...Even as she screamed, her voice became thin, like a crying ofwind;--then she melted into a bright white mist that spired to theroof-beams, and shuddered away through the smoke-hold... Never againwas she seen.