giant with the iron club, who stands in the meshes
like a great spider, cannot catch Raiko napping, or
weave the web of fate around him to destroy him.
The old " nurse of the mountains," and Kintaro,
the boy who always remained a baby and never grew
any older, now appeared. This ruddy, wild boy,
having no children in the woods to play with, made
companions of the beasts and played with the bears.
One day with his axe when the old pair were absent
he cut down a tree having a nest of a tengu in its
branches. The young tengus, half-bird, half-boy,
were taught to wrestle, and Kintaro looked on,
clapping his hands as one or the other won the
victory. Like Japanese wrestlers, they would crawl
on hands and knees until close up, when one would
pounce on the other. As Kozo looked, he saw the
tengu having the longer mane, spring up, expecting
to clinch with the other ; but instead, the one under-
neath shot away, and the leaping tengu tumbled
down hard, and so near to Kozo that he started and
56 HONDA TEE SAMURAI.
And there, over him, was Miss Silver, the nursery-
maid, who had come to dress him for breakfast.
" Ai-ta ! ai-ta ! " cried Kozo, as if in pain, and
almost ready to break out in sobs, " HoteTs wallet
was not half-empty, and he promised to show me all
he had. That tengu waked me up. I thought he
was going to fall on me."
" Excuse me ; I am sorry I stumbled and woke you
up," said Miss Silver; "but don't be sorry; Hote"i
will come again."
So in expectation of another visit, and a fresh
glimpse into wonderland, Kozo sat down to his
chopsticks, his rice, and his sugar-beans, and told his
mother his splendid dream and funny waking. He
declared he would tell the whole story of his long
dream to his father on his return from Higo, and ask
him to tell him all about Raiko and Benk^i and
TWO BABY BOYS.
IT was a bright sunshiny morning in November,
A.D. 1852, when the great white sail of a
Japanese junk swelled before the freshening wind
in the Bay of Tsuruga. The city of the same name
has one of the few harbors, and indeed the best one,
on the west coast of Japan, and to it the ship was
bound. A long voyage, as a Japanese born in the
first half of the nineteenth century counted it, had
been made. The run of ten days from the port of
Oshima in Higo, though the weather was only
occasionally squally, had severely tried the nerves of
the gentleman who now stood on deck watching the
"My lord must be glad to see home land, once
more," said the captain, bowing low. " I congratu-
late you that Tsuruga is at last in sight."
"Yes," said the man of two swords, who had
already donned his silk coat and trowsers, whitest
socks and sandals, and carried in his girdle the pair
of jewel-hilted weapons that marked his rank, as if
all danger from salt water were past, and speaking
loud enough for the sailors at the huge tiller, behind
which was a little shrine, to hear him : " thanks to
jour skill and the favor of the god Kompira, we are
58 HONDA THE SAMURAI.
about to land. I was told that "a sea-voyage is
an inch of hell ; " but I am willing to call it the
length of a rice-grain only."
They all laughed heartily.
" Will master remain in the port-city long, or go
right on to Fukui ? " asked Uh^i the body-servant, a
fine young man with a scar on his forehead.
" The whole day is before us, and after breakfast
at the inn I shall walk as far as Take*fu, spend the
night there, and ride to Fukui in the morning."
" I thought master would stop at Tsuruga to learn
the news," said the young man Uhe'i, with a slight
touch of bravely concealed regret. There was a
rosy face in the city on which he loved to look. The
owner of that face, he hoped, would some day boil
rice for him in a house of his own.
" No ! I have enough to do to gather news offi-
cially when in Fukui ; besides, I am too anxious for
tidings from my family."
" May it be all you wish, master ; I know how you
long for another son."
We may at once introduce the gentleman and
state his name and rank. He was Rai Goro, a
retainer of the lord of the province of Echizen.
He lived within the castle circuit of the city of
Fukui. His office was in the prince's household.
His business was to confer in person, or by letter
with similar officers in other provinces and in Yedo,
and to learn all the official news. Each day he pre-
sented himself in the morning before the dairnio, or
lord, and informed him what he had learned.
TWO BAST BOYS. 59
This he did in precise and elegant sentences, care-
fully studied. Another officer of lower rank, a page,
in fact, reported the weather in well-chosen language,
and from such a post he had graduated. Sir Goro
was now an officer of the upper grade of the fifth
rank, his salary being two thousand bags of rice annu-
ally. Being a trusted officer of his prince, he had
been sent to the province of Higo to arrange for the
betrothal and subsequent marriage of a son of his
lord to the beautiful Kiku-hime", daughter of the
southern prince, and reckoned as one of the fairest
ladies in the land. Having been ten days on the
" great blue plain of the sea," his first voyage beyond
tide-water, uninformed as to public affairs, he was
anxious to reach home for reasons soon to be made
Accordingly no further stop was made in Tsuruga
than sufficed for breakfast and a call from the mayor
of the city. Then with a slight change of costume
as befitted pedestrians, they moved through the city
streets until they struck the road to Fukui and stood
under the* mammoth granite portal of a Shinto
temple. Both travelers stopped, bowed their heads
reverently, clapped their hands three times, touching
them to their foreheads, worshiped, and then set
" Uhe'i," said the master, pulling out his tiny
tobacco-pipe and case, "you know what gods are
worshiped at the shrine, and what Tsuruga is
famous for, hey? "
" Why, yes," answered the servant, who was busy
60 HONDA THE SAMURAI.
with flint and steel, having already placed a pinch
of tinder in his hollow wooden bag-button ; " one is
Hachiman, the great Buddha of the Eight Flags,
and," mentioning a lot of long-named Buddhist di-
vinities, "and Tsuruga is the place where the first
people from Corea, who had horns on their heads,
landed in great Japan. Is n't that the reason why the
bay was called in old times the Bay of the Bright
Horns ? " asked Uh^i, holding the glowing pellet of
tinder for his master to kindle the ball of shreds of
tobacco rolled up in his silver-bowled pipe.
" I see you have learned your lessons from the
priests well. The gentlemen and Shinto people, of
course, do not call them by their Buddhist names,
but use their oldest and real names ; but who told
you about the foreigners, the Coreans, having horns
on their heads ? "
" Why, grandmother told me a long, long time ago
that when the first ambassadors came from the Land
of Morning Calm to our coast to bring tribute to
the Son of Heaven in Kyoto, they had each a horn
sticking out of his forehead."
" What ! like a rhinoceros ? " laughed the master.
Uhe*i looked up with an offended air.
" Oh ! no ; it was a shining white horn. Had n't
all the foreign people of old time horns?"
" Well, perhaps so ; but we have foreign people
now in our holy country, but they have no horns.
Did you ever see one of the Holland men?'
" No, master," said Uhe'i, who had lighted his own
pipe, and was now with hand in pouch rolling off a
TWO BABY BOYS. 61
fresh ball of shreds ; " but I have heard that they
have noses as big as a wallet, and their hair is as red
" Ah ! " laughed the master. " And what else have
you heard ? "
"Why," said Uh^i, knocking out the fireball from
his pipe into his wooden button-cup, " that they swill
liquor out of a dipper, eat toads, and swallow worms,
and dress in the most outlandish fashion."
" So ! And what have you heard about their
religion ? "
"That they are all Kirishtans (Christians), and
worship Yasu (Jesus), the barbarian criminal god.
Is it not so?"
The master smiled, and trudged on. They were
passing through beautiful scenery. The summer's
rice had just been reaped, and the water-covered
fields, dotted all over with tufts of stubble, lay like
mottled mirrors. Here and there the snowy heron,
poised on one leg, dreaming, whitened the land-
scape, like a tiny cloud suspended in the air. Occa-
sionally a flock of cranes, almost large enough to
take the place of the storks (which are rarely seen
in Japan), wheeled across the valley. Monkeys
chattered in the branches of the trees, and now and
then the grunting of wild hogs told that these ani-
mals were plentiful.
" Good game here in winter, I should think, Une"!."
" Hai, danna (master) ; I 'm told that one hunter
speared over a hundred wild hogs last winter, and
killed many deer."
62 HONDA THE SAMUEAI.
Is the snow deep in winter ? "
"Often as deep as a bamboo pole of two men's
height. Travelers are hurt by the avalanches."
" People in this part of Echizen seem to be fond
of monkeys," remarked the master, as they passed a
village meat-shop in which monkeys were dressed
and undressed, with skin and hair on, hung up for
sale, while inside people were eating stewed portions
of the animal.
" Yes," laughed Uhdi ; " it serves the brutes right.
They are great pests to the farmers and destroy
Thus, alternately chatting and moving on in si-
lence, they walked on. By full noon they reached
a high hill, which they climbed after a long tug.
On the top, famous for its view, were several tea-
houses where they were to take lunch. The place
was called by a most curious name, " Hot-water
Tail," though some said the word meant orange-
field. No sooner were the two travelers in the little
hamlet, than out rushed to each porch a bevy of
waitresses. They were fair and rosy-cheeked girls,
- whose bright black eyes snapped fun, as each and all
cried out in chorus :
" This way ! " " Come here ! " '* Give us your
custom ! " " Favor us with your orders ! " " Welcome !
noble gentlemen," etc. etc.
For two or three minutes it was like the chattering
of a flock of sparrows in a field, but when the two
travelers entered an inn on the left, there was silence
and good-humored retreat. Hot water was at once
TWO BABY BOYS. 63
brought by the maids, the travelers' feet washed and
dried, fresh sandals furnished, and beside a fire of
glowing charcoal the master sat looking out on
Mount Soma until a lunch of rice, beans, boiled fish,
and candied orange-slice was served.
Two hours were spent in eating, rest, and enjoy-
ment of the scenery. Before they left their bill of
items was presented on a tray by a young girl on
hands and knees, who bowed and left the room.
The gentleman, taking some slips of cardboard
money from his wallet, wrapped the currency in a
piece of white mulberry paper, and, tying it with
a red and white cord of the same material, placed
it on the tray with a small coin or two for the maid.
Then, after numerous bows and good wishes, and
exhortations from the host and hostess and maids to
"Go slowly," "Do not tire yourself," etc., the master
and servant set their faces towards Fukui.
The path down the steep slope was narrow and
rocky. They had gone some miles when suddenly a
rushing sound was heard from behind them, and
there shot by them a foot-runner. He was naked,
except that his loins were covered by a flat wide belt
of muslin. A gay blue head-kerchief was knotted
round his smoothly dressed hair, so that even his
top-knot, pomatumed to the stiffness of a ramrod,
lay flat on his scalp. His feet were shod with tough
rice-straw sandals, and over his shoulders and held
in his right hand was a cleft bamboo holding a
government-dispatch. The man fairly whizzed past
them, and in admiration of his clean build, supple
64 HONDA THE SAMURAI.
form, and swiftness, they continued to look at him.
The run made his moist skin glisten as he disap-
peared in the distance.
They were soon within sight of a village when
suddenly they felt dizzy ; the trees shook violently,
and their tops swayed wildly to and fro as if in a
breeze, though not a breath of air was stirring.
"Ji-shin! (earthquake) " shouted the master.
It was indeed a lively shake of old mother earth.
Even loose pebbles on the hillsides rolled down, and
a shower of leaves in the motionless air slowly
whirred to the earth as if a gust had arisen. Stand-
ing still for fifteen or twenty seconds, as the vibra-
tions still continued, Uh^i said :
" The big earth-fish is angry to-day," as he looked
in the direction of the post-runner, his own face
wearing a look of concern. Well might he be
scared ! When a boy, awakened at night and rush-
ing out of the groaning house to seek the shelter of
a clump of bamboo bushes, a broken tile, falling from
the rattling roof, cut open his forehead and left its
reminder in a life-mark, which somewhat detracted
from his good looks. Like most of the country folk
and common people in Japan, he believed in the
existence of the great earthquake-fish, hundreds of
miles long, that lay underground with the head
under Kyoto and its tail way up in the north. By
the flapping of its tail or the writhing of its body,
these earth tremblings were caused. Uhdi was of a
very religious turn of mind, and his rosary came out
promptly as he uttered a prayer to the god Kashima,
TWO BABY BOYS. 65
who alone could bind down and hold still this co-
lossal subterranean cat-fish. Only by the stone which
is the rock-rivet of the whole earth, could the big
fish be held down and kept quiet.
In a very few minutes they reached the village of
Sabanami. Here the people, usually careless and
unconcerned, were out in the streets chatting and
Ordinary earthquakes in Japan are as frequent as
the hours, severe ones as numerous as the moons, the
dreadful ones as common as equinoxes. All animal
life seemed now rejoiced that the shock was over.
Chickens were cackling and the cocks were crowing
with joy. Dogs were frisking and the cats looked
happy. Small boys with sticks were chasing and
cornering the rats, so populous in every roof and
thatch, and usually the first living things to leap out,
so that in a violent earthquake a Japanese house
might remind a Western traveler of a Gothic cathe-
dral with the unclean spirits leaping forth. The
laziness of the cats allowed this increase of rodent
population, which in time of danger furnishes the
decoration of living- gargoyles to the shaking houses.
In front of the druggist's shop, with its sign of a
white medicine-bag suspended, a crowd had gathered
round the door. Some one had been hurt. Uhe'i,
by inquiry, learned that the mail-carrier, when at
a full run, just at the entrance of the village, with
one leg in the air, had been knocked off his balance
and falling against the masonry of the bo-bana, or
entrance, had been found insensible. The village
66 HONDA THE SAMUEAL
nanuahi, or mayor, had taken charge of his letter-
stick and packet of dispatches, and had the wounded
man taken to the inn. By having his feet warmed
at the fire, and his head cooled by bandages of thick
porous paper wet with sakS, or rice-wine, he was
slowly recovering consciousness. The master Rai,
as an officer of the lord of Echizen, bade the people
make way, and sent Uhe'i to announce to the mayor
his presence, while he entered the inn. The man of
office appearing promptly, fell on hands and knees,
noisily sucked in his breath, and with tremendous
politeness began profuse salutations and apologies
for not meeting his honor at the village entrance.
He wound up by pressing his eminence to enter his
hut and " rest on the miserable floor."
The master with a few words expressed his thanks,
and stating that he was traveling privately, put the
mayor at his ease at once. Both entered the rooms
where- the village physician had, by his unremitting
efforts, restored the mail-runner to his wits and
tongue. The man at once began to bemoan his ill-
"Alas, alas! my employer promised me double
wages and a keg of sak if I should make the run
from Tsuruga to Takelu in an hour less than my
usual time, which is better than any runner at the
relay. Now, instead of winning, I shall be laid up
for a week. Oh ! my head ! " Again he fell back on
the padded quilt insensible.
" Let me see the dispatch," said the master.
The packet, wrapped in glazed paper made water-
TWO BABY BOYS. 67
proof by sesamum-oil, was taken out of the split in
the bamboo shoulder-pole. The master at once
recognized the seal and the directions. They were
to " Rai Goro, officer of communications of the lord
of the province of Echizen ; " in other words, to
himself. Retiring to a private room he read the
chief document. The words were few, but his eyes
at once swam with the moisture of joy. The news
from Kyoto, which he was bidden to announce to his
prince, was this : by the favor of the gods a son had
been born to the Mikado in Kyoto, November 3.
It would not do to have any one else announce
such a piece of news to his master, the lord of
Echizen. Tho'ugh his leave of absence did not
expire for fourteen days yet, and no business was
expected of him until that time, yet he resolved at
once on traveling even at night in order to reach
Fukui as quickly as possible.
Word was at once sent to the relay-office and in a
few minutes four stout porters appeared with a kago,
or basket-litter, while a foot-runner was sent ahead
to the next relay to order men in readiness. Hence
another runner was to be despatched to Take'fu to
have a saddle-horse ready for a night ride to Fukui.
Uhei, to his almost unspeakable delight, was to
deliver the master's receipt at Tsuruga, and to see
that the wounded letter-carrier got safely back.
Uhei was allowed one whole week for his visit and
return to Fukui, while a koban (gold-piece) made the
wounded man's eyes beam with new light. Visions
of marriage, with a year's house-rent paid in advance,
were healingly mixed with present pain.
68 HONDA THE SAMURAI.
The four kagobearers and the two reserves were
soon swinging along the road, and at a village
named, " Here we rest," without change of vehicle,
fresh men jogged on to Take"fu, where a fleet horse,
loaned by the local lord of Echizen, stood saddled
and bridled. After swallowing a little tea and rice,
the eleven miles' ride was begun. Through villages,
and past rice-fields and wayside shrines, the officer
rode briskly until the great " ninety-nine foot "
bridge over the Ashiwa river was reached and the
city gates entered. The boom of the ponderous bell
in the Temple of the Eastern Light rolled out, fill-
ing the air with mellow vibrations, announcing the
Hour of the Tiger (3 A.M.), as Rai Goro presented
his credentials, and being recognized was allowed to
pass the city gates. He would have time to go
home, don official dress, and ask for a special inter-
view with his lord at the Hour of the Serpent, or
10 A.M. A messenger from the gate was dispatched
to the Castle night-watch to that effect. Riding
homewards he was surprised to see lights shining
through the paper lattice of his own home.
Dismounting at his own gate, he learned, even
before the alert watchman had led away his horse, a
piece of hoped-for good news. A son had been
born to him that evening, shortly after lantern-time,
and several of his female relatives had already come
to offer congratulations to the mother and to advise
concerning the name of the boy, who was, as third
son, to be one of the heirs to the fortunes of the Rai
family, founded by one of the captains of Hide*yasu,
first lord of Echizen.
TWO BABY BOYS. 69
"Happy we!" ejaculated the officer; "a true blood-
line unto the ninth generation ! My son is born
in the same moon's quarter with the heir to the
throne of Everlasting Great Japan. How must my
honored ancestors rejoice ! "
It was indeed a happy day for the wife of Rai
Goro. Two daughters and two sons had already
made their home happy. In Japan unless a wife
bears a son the honor received from her husband is
not usually great ; but Mrs. Rai was triply honored!
There was joy in one household of the millions in
the empire, and in the capital rejoicing because of
the birth of one destined to become the one hundred
and twenty-third emperor in the line of Everlasting
A BOY BABY'S LIFE.
T~ ET us lool^ at the way the world appears to the
J^ little boy who at Fukui, the City of the Happy
Well, was born on the same day and hour as was
the baby of Kyoto, who was destined to become the
one hundred and twenty-third Mikado of Great
Japan. The Japanese baby is neither carried in
arms nor rocked in a cradle. On the seventh day
of its life the little akambo, or " pink baby," as an
infant of days is called, is properly dressed in its
own clothes and holds its first full reception. It
is presented to the relatives and friends who come
in to offer congratulations and presents to child and
parents. They are very careful in dressing the little
fellow as he comes out of his bath. If "pink" is
a boy, they insert the left arm first in the sleeve ; if
a girl, the right hand goes first. On the twentieth
day the akambo has become a ko. They then shave
the baby's head so that his little round noddle is as
bald as a cannon-ball. The old ladies who rule the
nursery say that this will keep out fever.
Had we been there to see how mother and nurse
got ready for the new little stranger, we should have
missed the stores of linen, the tiny garments of
snowy muslin, the pretty ruffles or gowns, such as
A BOY BABY'S LIFE. 71
our mothers prepare for their babies. No pincushion
was there all stuck full of rows of pins ; there are
no pins in Japan. No Japanese baby ever cried
because a pin was sticking into its flesh. Linen
is not woven or worn in Japan. But nice clothes
were ready for the coining stranger: garments of
silk and of cotton, all made in the funniest way;
soft and loose wrapper-like clothes, such as all Jap-
anese children wear, were all ready and waiting.
They had neither button, buckle, strap, nor pin;
yet they were as pretty and cunning as you can
And don't the Japanese mothers, and nurses, and
brothers, and sisters, think their babies the prettiest
darlings in the world? Don't they think their
dresses just the nicest and most proper too? In-
deed they do! They say as often as our parents
say : " Why this is a remarkable child ! " " Our
baby is the prettiest baby I ever saw ! " or, " He
is an unusually smart baby." Certainly all of Mr.
Rai's relations said these things about " the Morning
Now these Japanese mamma, papa, brothers, and
sisters did n't look, as we should, to see or guess the
color of the baby brother's eyes and hair, for Japan-
ese babies have hair and eyes always of one color.
We always ask about our baby acquaintances :
" What is the color of the eyes and hair ? Are they
brown, blue, black, or gray ? Is his hair red, black,
golden, or white?" But no one asks these questions
in Dai Nippon. Japanese babies have black hair
72 HONDA THE SAMURAI.
and black eyes, so that all Japanese parents know
beforehand the color of the baby's eyes. They
have nothing in this respect to wonder at or guess
Not until thirty days for a boy, and thirty-three
days for a girl, do they give a name to the baby.
" What shall we call our son ? " asked the father of
the conclave of relatives assembled. Politely and
modestly, beginning at the oldest, names were pro-
posed and discussed, and finally one was selected
worthy of the time. It was Asahi, or the Morning
Sun ; for to the father the coming of a son at
this era of his country's history was as the begin-
ning of a long, bright day ; so that, with his family
cognomen, the boy baby's full name was Rai Asahi.
The Japanese put the family name first, and then
the personal, or as we say, the " Christian," or chris-
tened name, afterward, thus reversing our method.
In the naming of children the way in Japan is,
in another point, different from that in the western
lands. We usually name after a father, mother,
uncle, aunt, or near relation, or after a friend or
great public man ruler, resident minister, or gov-
ernor. Not so in Japan. No one thinks of such a
thing as having a full namesake, or joining the name
of a man of rank, position, or fame to that of baby.
To so use the name of emperor or nobleman is not