« AnkstesnisTęsti »
bled my fingers, and kept me awake night after night with their rustling and gnawing. On the third night of mouse carnival I called the servants and had lights brought. The landlord heard the sounds, and bustled across the court to see what the matter was. «I think there is a mouse in this house,» I said. «Oh, certainly, certainly, honorable lady,» he said, bowing low and proudly; "yes, indeed; I have many, plenty of RATS at the Momiji.» And he could not at all understand why we should make such trouble about so natural a thing, and object to these sure evidences of abundant prosperity, these companions of Daikoku, the god of plenty.
One drowsy noon the town crier came to the door, clapped two pieces of wood together, and in a long chant besought all people of Miyajima to come to the temple for a "speak-meeting » at two o'clock that day and for the five succeeding days, to hear read the official news from the army in Corea. We sent our agent to listen for us, and our erratic and only Inudzuka returned breathless, to tell, in excited Japanese, English, and jargon, of the victory of the Heijo. We had intended to make a farewell offering to the temple to secure an illumination as a fitting close to our stay in Arcadia, and here was an opportunity. In the shortest time Inudzuka was speeding back to the temple to beseech the high priest to have the thousand oil-saucers of the lanterns filled at once, the illumination to begin at dusk, without waiting for the midnight high tide. The priests shook their heads at such an irregularity, such a disregard of ancient custom
on short notice. «But this is an American matsuri, and in honor of the Heijo! How can you say you have any custom for such an illumination? And when did you ever illuminate at any tide for a battle won in Corea?» And the high priest said, «Surely, surely! Yes; for Beikoku [America] and the Heijo we can do it.» And the circle of eagle-eyed, excited priests sprang delightedly to begin preparations.
Our joyous sendo was at the temple
steps with the sampan as usual before the sunset hour, and he had not pushed off until he let us know that the village was agog at the double news of victory and the honorable illumination. We could see the lay brothers all along shore filling the oil-saucers, laying wicks, and pasting fresh papers on the tall stone lamps; and when we sculled back, long after sunset, lights had begun to twinkle under the temple eaves. A lantern came forth and went bobbing along the water-line, stopped a moment, and a second light shone forth, then a third and a fourth, and so on along shore, as the lamplighter went his way. Soon the whole curving bay from headland to headland was outlined in living lights that gleamed double and wavered in long reflections toward
MIYAJIMA HOUSEHOLD PETS. FROM A JAPANESE PRINT.
us; and the temple was a great set piece of fireworks, each shrine a sun goddess's glowing cave, with the many-jeweled pyramids of votive candles. The spectacle lasted in full splendor for more than an hour, the villagers flocking along shore, trooping through the temple galleries, and drifting about in boats to watch the splendid spectacle. Then lights dropped out here and there, and the glow of the rising moon made the firmament pale; but even when
DRAWN BY C. D. WELDON.
to board a transport at any time. To such men of the standing reserve the government was to pay two yen a month, with pensions to their wives should they die in the Emperor's service, and rations to their families as long as they were under arms. They told us of the indulgences granted to all soldiers likely to go to Corea, and how they of the standing reserve could remain out of barracks until eleven o'clock, while young soldiers must
the shore-line was lost in darkness, Itsukushima's inner shrine by the sea was still aglow with votive lights.
Two soldiers from the forts, who came in to the "speak-meeting,» heard of the proposed illumination, and remained for it. We noticed them pacing the temple platforms, and after the lamps were lighted sculled back and asked if they would like to come out in the boat and see the lights from the water. With many bows and expressions of thanks they dropped down into the sampan. It was as much our opportunity as theirs, however, and we plied them with questions through the interpreter. These soldiers of the legion had barely finished serving their time in the army, and had married and settled down as industrious citizens, when the standing reserve was called out, and they reported at Hiroshima. They were detailed to the island forts, but were thirsting for the fray in Corea, and expected to be ordered to Ujina
FROM A PHOTOGRAPH.
report at eight. When we asked with concern what would happen if they returned to quarters after hours, they answered: «Our officers will not punish us. They do not fear that we will run away like Chinese soldiers. We need only to report that we have remained at the temple to hear the news of the Heijo, and see the illumination in its honor, and it will be right.>>
All their hopes were centered on a speedy summons to the transport ships at Ujina, and when the boatmen were about to take us in under the great torii I thought to sound the soldiers on other lines, and said, "Now, if you pray to the gods while you are under the torii, they will send you soon to Corea and give you victories there.» Without protest or remark, but quickly, naturally, with all seriousness, the two soldiers rose to their feet, clapped their hands, and bowed their heads for a few moments in prayer, while the boat floated silently on under the giant shadow and the sendo stood motionless at his oar.
The next morning the village officers called «to thank your spirit » in celebrating Japan's victories; the high priest sent sacred giftpapers filled with rice, and asked for the honorable names in full, that they might be written among the temple's contributors; and when we went to the village every one bowed and made pretty speeches about the American matsuri. Weeks later a Tokio artist wrote in his quaint idiom that he had heard of my
«favorably presenting a great deal of money to the temple, praying for the war, and lighted the thousand lamps of Miyajima for the war. I seen it in our Japanese newspapers.» Surely never did one obtain so much pleasure and glory by an expenditure of four yen (two dollars in United States gold).
A real pilgrimage to Miyajima includes a round of the seven small shrines on the island, and a climb to the Oku-no-in, the sharp crest two thousand feet above the water-temple. A steep, stone-flagged path and long, mossy staircases lead up through the forest for two miles, passing closed, empty, or half-ruined temples, old pagodas, and deserted shrines, and the foundations of many other sacred buildings that were wantonly destroyed at the time the revival of pure Shinto put Buddhism under the ban, drove its priests to hiding, and reduced them to the most literal poverty and humiliation and involuntary fasting. Tiny fanes are scattered all the way, and one toy shrine to Jizo San, with cairns of stone prayers beside it, is niched under the great shelf of a boulder. Mossy Buddhas meditate in enchanted retreats, and one damp statue dreaming beside a fern-wreathed spring expects each faithful one to pray and then dash a dipper of water over his mossy old head.
DRAWN BY C. D. WELDON.
There is a group of empty temples at a half-way station, and an airy ta-te-ba, or teabooth, perched on a precipice's edge, lets one look almost straight down on the temple, the skeleton gate in the water, and out over all the blue beauty of strait and bay, and the great green ridges of the Aki hills. We met pretty village maids descending with huge bundles of twigs and firewood on their heads, quiet pilgrims with staffs and straw cloaks, and one charming Japanese woman of the upper class, whose sweet, velvet voice rang after us in warning of the danger of climbing a certain slope of coarse, crumbling granite in hard-heeled leather shoes, while we wondered how she ever passed the breakneck place in her shuffling straw dzori, held only by velvet cords between the toes.
FROM A PHOTOGRAPH.
The gods who built Miyajima had some titanic play with boulders at the summit, tilting and tumbling rocks the size of houses, building natural torii, and constructing grottoes and niches that a few gilded images and brocade curtains convert to full temples. Our ancient guide watched us closely in each such shrine, and, seemingly to prevent us from stealing the charming little altar images, hurried us out ahead of him as soon as we had tossed in our copper offerings. There is one miraculous rock with an aperture in its side, into which one may dip a finger and find it wet with the saltest brine. The modern surveyor's beacon at the very summit is surrounded by a circle of gray, weatherbeaten little shrines erected by the Tokugawa shoguns, and it was there that we discovered that our lean, bald-pated old guide had abstracted the coppers from each shrine as fast as we contributed them, and this was partly the reason for the glee and joy animating him when I besought him to clap and pray Tento Sama (the sun) to shine on my attempts at photographing him, and reason, too, for his driving us out of each temple in advance of him.
It was all sunshine and enchanted stillness on that mountain-top. The rustle of a pheasant and the movements of the deer, as they
sought ferny beds for their noonday rest, were the only sounds as we went from one deserted temple, mossy gateway, or bell-tower, to another. The people have lately restored the large temple where burns the sacred flame
A MIYAJIMA PRAYER-PAPER.
first lighted by Kobo Daishi after he had conquered the dragons on the opposite shore of Shikoku, and here a group of priests served us barley tea, and sold us, to wear as talis
mans, prayer-papers on which the crows who stole the jewels of the sea and brought them to this temple were grouped to represent archaic characters. As reward to these birds, the gods permitted their descendants to come every year, raise their young in safety, and fly away, only two crows visiting Miyajima in a year. From all the high points and through each opening we had views on both sides of the island, and everywhere were wonderful billowy masses of green below us, and in the distance delicate, vaporous blue mountain shapes floated on a soft pearl-and-blue sea that was but a different presentment of the exquisite sky.
We went back to the prosaic outer world of our own with regret, really saddened at leaving this isle of the blessed, whence death and sorrow are so nearly banished, where there are many temples, but no tombs, where all of peace and poesy dwells, where one feels a century removed from progressive, modern Japan, and enjoys the charm of feudal, prayerful times, of those days when the gods were nearer the earth, and certainly made. Miyajima a visiting- if not an abiding-place. Et ego in Arcadia vixi.
HE means and wood; modeling-tool, clay, and fire;
E who has within means possible-chisel, mallet, and marble;
fire of genius must perforce give expression to noble ideals: the medium employed, and the hand that wields it, are but servants of his inspired mind. In other words, a good draftsman can draw with anything. The decorations which have best withstood the ravages of time, and are the most chaste and refined, have been produced with the simplest
BY J. WILLIAM FOSDICK.
sheet-metal and hammer. What could be more direct and simple than red-hot iron and wood?
Many years ago the manual labor of the artist in color was reduced to a minimum: he no longer grinds his colors, or makes his canvas and brushes. But up to the present day the artist in burnt wood has toiled on with his rude forge and burning-irons, with the devotion of an old-time alchemist. Singularly enough, relief from the discomforts of this crude mode of work has at last come through the avenue which brings relief from all physical ailments-that of medicine. The thermo