Yei Theodora Ozaki.

Buddha's crystal and other fairy stories online

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Author of " The Japanese Fairy Book








Copvrtght 1908 by Y. T. Ozaki
Ail tights reserved.


THE kind reception given to "The Japanese Fairy
Book " both in the West and in the East has encouraged
me to send forth another small collection of stories from
Japan. I have invented none of these stories. They are
taken from Mr. Hideo Iwaya's modern version of the old-
folk-lore tales of Japan and some of his new stories, and
in clothing them with an English, dress my work has been
that of adapter rather than translator. In picturesqueness
of conception Japanese stories yield the palm to none.
And they are rich in quaint expressions and dainty
conceits. But they are apt to be written in a style too
bold. This defect the professional story-teller remedies by
colouring his story as he tells it. In the same way 1 have
tried to brighten the rather bare structure of a story,
where it seemed to need such treatment, with touches of
local colour so as to make the story more attractive to the
foreign reader. Whether I have succeeded or not the
reader must judge for himself.

" Buddha's Crystal ' first appeared in the Ladys
Realm and is here 1 'reprinted 'hy-' the kind consent of the
publishers as is also "The Tea' Kettle of Good Fortune '
and "The Mouse Brxde ' i'^hidh ''first appeared in the
Girl's Realm in 1899 when that nia'gazine belonged to the
same firm.* My thanks ^re-Vaiscv due to the present
ownersf of the Girl ' s Realm 'for allowing me to add
" Issunboshi ' (1900) to this collection.

"The Demon Tile' and "The Fallen Comet' are
re- written from a translation given me by a friend who
permitted me to make what use I liked of them. These
two stories and the " Crysanthemum Crest ' are, I be-
lieve, newly invented by Mr. Iwaya.

The illustrations have been drawn by Mr. Tosen Toda
and Mr. Shusui Okakura. To both of whom grateful
acknowledgement is due for painstaking collaboration.

TOKIO, 1908.

_____ Y. T. O.

*Hutchinson & Co. t Cassell & Co.


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Buddha's Crystal


T ONG, long ago there lived in Japan a great State
Minister named Kamatari Ko. He was descended
from the illustrious Fujiwara Uji, and was the ancestor of
the five great noble families from whose circle only the
brides of the Emperors could be chosen. Kamatari was
known throughout the land, not only as a knight of the
most noble descent, but also as a wise and able minister
and a loyal and faithful subject, devoted to his master, the
Emperor, Tenshii Tenno, to whom he had rendered signal
service in quelling the insurrection raised by the rebel
Soga-no-Iruka, and in restoring peace and unity to the

Now Kamatari, besides being rich and prosperous and
of illustrious fame, was thrice happy in the possession of one
beautiful daughter, named Kohaku Jo. She was the light
of his eye, the joy of his heart, and the pride of his life,
and he vowed, each time he saw her growing in youthful
loveliness, like a peach-blossom in the sunshine of spring,

that none but a kino- should be her mate. But of his


ambition he spoke to none, and people wondered why,
when one after another of the noble youths were offered
by their families, according to Eastern custom, as suitors to


her hand, ceremoniously worded excuses were made to all ;
but so it was.

And Kohaku Jo grew in grace and beauty as the years
went by, and at sixteen years of age all who saw her said
that she was the most beautiful princess they had ever
seen. Though small, she was as slender as a lily-stalk ;
her face was a small oval, delicately pale, with cheeks of
the soft cherry bloom, and her eyebrows like the outline of
the crescent moon. Fair indeed was she to behold. Her
mouth was like a tiny bud of the peach-blossom, and her
hands and feet rivalled the snowy petals of the white

But far outshining her loveliness of form was her
loveliness of character and disposition, and far more
precious, too, in the sight of all her friends. Never had
she been known to speak a harsh word to anyone or to
disobey her parents in her whole life. Except to go at
appointed festivals and family anniversaries to the great
temple hard by, whose massive roof she could see daily
looming through the great pine and cryptomeria trees of
her home, she never left the precincts of the palace. At
such times she might be seen arranging flowers and pourinq-
water over the monumental gravestones of the family, or
in the beautiful solemn temple itself burning incense before
the tablets set up to the memory of her ancestors, or
clapping her hands and bowing her dusky head belore the
holy shrine.


Her days thus passed quietly and peacefully in the
unbroken seclusion and retirement of an Eastern princess,
and little recked she of the future that her father dreamed
of her. But her fate was drawing near, though she knew
it not. Kamatari was certainly favoured of the gods.
His ambitious hopes for his daughter were soon to be

One day there was a great stir in the palace courtyard,
and the officers of ceremony were rushing to and fro to
find out what was the reason of the unusual commotion
there. The big gates were thrown open, and in came a
stately procession of men carrying a banner with the
strange device of a dragon on a yellow background. They
were envoys from the Court of China, and they came with
a message from the Emperor Koso. He had heard of
the beauty, the grace, and the wit of Kohaku Jo, and he
sent to offer her his hand and the half of his kingdom.
Should her father consent to give her to the Emperor of
China, Kohaku Jo might choose out of the vast treasures
of her adopted country to enrich the land of her birth
and its temples.

The envoys were received with great pomp and
ceremony, a whole wing of the palace was placed at their
disposal, and Kamatari begged them to give him a few
days in which to consider the matter. He would give
them a final answer when he had spoken with his
daughter. She was but a little maid still, and she must


be told without undue haste. With many prostrations
on both sides, Kamatari, the gratified father, withdrew.
But in his heart there was no hesitation though much

On reaching his own room he clapped his hands, and
when in answer to his summons his confidential servant
appeared, he sent him to bid the Lady Kohaku Jo hie to
he father's presence. The messenger found her seated
before the koto (harp) with her attendants around her, and
when told that her father called for her, she hastened to
obey, wondering what made him wish to see her so

She reached her father's room, and, pushing aside the
sliding screens, she slipped inside on to the creamy white
mats, and bowed to the ground before him.

" Honourable father, you sent for me ; I am here ! '

" Yes, Kohaku, I sent for you to tell you a great
piece of news. The time has come for you to leave your
father's home. You must marry now. As your mother
and I have often told you, you must marry some day,
someone whom we should deem a fitting husband for
you. This day have I chosen for you, my daughter. The
Emperor of China has sent for you to become his bride,
and in six weeks you must depart with the ambassadors*
who will conduct you to your future home."

" Honourable father, must I leave you and my mother
so soon ? ' and the maiden's face grew pale and her eyes


filled with tears; "and must I go away across the seas to
a land which I have never seen ? Is this your wish ? '

" Yes, Kohaku, my daughter, such is my wish. All
women must marry sooner or later, it is their duty, and in
your new home you will soon be happy happier than you
have ever been before. You will be a Queen, and the
Emperor places all the riches and the treasures of his
kingdom at your feet. Think what you will be able to
do for your beloved Temple of Kofukuji, where you were
carried to be blessed when but a babe of one hundred
days old. Come, my daughter, do not look so grave
and sad ! Are you not happy at the thought of the
splendid prospect before you ? Have I not chosen well
for you ? '

Kohaku had been brought up to consider her father's
will as law, and she never even thought of doing anything
but obeying him. So she clasped her tiny white hands
together on the matted floor, and bowing over them said :

" I obey you, my father, now as always. I am only
sad at the idea of leaving my home and my mother and
going so very far away ; but since it is your wish it must
be good for me."

So little Kohaku calmly accepted her fate, and went
back to her companions to tell them of what should happen.
When they heard the news they hid their pretty faces in
their long sleeves, and wept with grief at the thought
of parting with Kohaku, who also wept in sympathy.


While they were thus sorrowfully sitting together,
Kohaku's mother came into the room, and told them to
dry their tears, for some of them were to be chosen to go
with Kohaku, and fitting arrangements would be made
for their return to Japan after the marriage. Then they
smiled again, and one or two of the little ladies-in-waiting
leant forward and stroked their young mistress's hand,
and vowed that they would stay with her always, even in
China, for their love for her was as high as the mountains
and as deep as the sea.

Thus it was that the beautiful daughter of Kamatari
Ko sailed away across the seas to China and became the
bride of the Chinese Emperor.

But before she went she made a pilgrimage to the
great Temple Kofukuji. She had grown up almost under
the shadow of the great sloping roof, and the sound ol
the deep-toned bell rolling out its voluminous note on the
still air at the hours of sunrise and sunset had marked her
day's-rising and night's resting as long as ever she could
remember. So when the wonder and the fear of the
unknown swelled her young heart to restlessness and to
the first questionings of fate and of the future, she arose,
and calling her favourite nurse, told her to follow her to
the temple, for she was going to pray. At night she
went, walking barefoot to the shrine through the snow,
for it was winter, to ask for protection, and she vowed
that if it were granted to her to arrive safely in the


strange land to which she was being sent as a bride, she
would search for three inestimable treasures, which she
would send to the temple as a thank-offering.


AND Kohaku's prayer was heard. Her journey was
accomplished in all safety, and she was married with great
magnificence to the Emperor Koso of China. And at last
she stood before the Emperor, her bridegroom, after the
long ceremony and the many Court festivities were over.
She had great courage and pride, but she could not help
trembling a little, for her heart was more full of doubt and
fear than of hope and joy.

" What would this new husband be like ? ' she asked
herself. "Would her father's last comforting words come
true that she should be happy, and that in the Emperor's
love and care she should find more than all she had left
behind country, parents, home, and friends? And how,
above all, was she to know what were the duties of the
wife of an Emperor ? Would it be in her power to please
this great man? If only she might return to her father
and mother again to her old quiet life-

Before she could think again the Emperor was by her
side. He took her hand in his, raising it to his cheek and
forehead in tender deference, while his voice sounded low
and sweet in her ear. Fear fled now, and she found
courage to look up into his face for the first time, and then


she saw that his dark eyes rested on her kindly and loving-
ly, as he said :

" Little cherry flower of Japan, they lied not when they
told me that you were beautiful. The artist did not paint
your portrait half fair enough. Do not fear, for I love you
and will make you happy. After long, long days of weary
waiting, I have gathered the 'azalea of the distant mountain'
and now I plant it in my garden, and great is the gladness
of my heart ! '

The Emperor fulfilled his promise as an Emperor
should. Happy indeed was Kohaku. Sudden summer
seemed to kindle all her ways, and her life thrilled to the
new joy of her husband's love. He led her from palace to
palace, and showed her all the wonders of his kingdom and
the splendour of his houses.

At last they came to one in the summertime, cool and
shady and restful in the shadow of the green hills, and
being weary of much travelling and sight-seeing she beg-
ged the Emperor to let her stay there for a little while.
Hand in hand they wandered through the spacious halls
and under the long avenues of lofty trees, or were rowed
out in the cool of the evenings on the lake, from whence
they glanced back at the illuminated palace and thousands
of coloured lanterns which festooned the gardens, rivalling
in brilliancy the starlit heavens over their heads.

As the breath of spring warms the chill earth, barren
so long in the cold clutch of winter, to a sudden burst of


wealth and beauty, so happiness sometimes transforms
the faces and forms of those to whom it comes. . Kohaku
grew more beautiful, unfolding like a rosebud to maturer
loveliness in the warmth of the sunshine of love, and the
Emperor said to himself that he would cause her name
and her beauty to be remembered for ever.

So he called together his goldsmiths and gardeners,
and commanded them to fashion a path for the Empress
such as had never before been heard ot in the wide world.
The stepping-stones of this path were to be lotus-flowers,
carved out of silver and gold, for her to walk on whenever
she strolled forth under the trees or by the lake, so that it
might be said that her beautiful feet were never soiled by
touching the earth ; and ever since then, in China and in
Japan, poet-lovers and lover-poets in song and sonnet and
sweet conversation have called the feet of the women they
loved "lotus-feet."

But for all the great change from the simple maiden
life to the regal splendour which surrounded her as wife of
the Chinese Emperor, Kohaku forgot not the land of her
birth, nor the vow which she had vowed in the Temple of
Kofukuji, and in the happy days spent in the Palace of the
Lotus Path she found confidence to tell her husband with
what great timidity she had ventured on her new life, and
of her intention to send thank-offerings to the temple in
Japan in grateful recognition of answered prayer and the
happiness she had found in married life.


" Help me, august lord, to choose something- that is
worthy of the chosen wife of your Majesty, and let its
value be in proportion to the degree of my prosperity,
which is great beyond all words."

The Emperor was pleased at her request. He order-
ed his treasure-houses to be opened and the best of
their contents to be brought to him. Day after day
the happy Emperor and his bride sat together looking
at the quantities of wonderful things that were laid
at their feet, surprised at the immensity of their own
possessions. To Kohaku it seemed as if she had
been transported to fairyland, so many and varied
were the treasures that were brought to the palace
daily* Each store-house that was opened seemed to send
forth something more wonderful than the last. It was
difficult to choose under these circumstances, but finally
three extraordinary rarities possessed of magic virtues
were brought to them, and they decided on these without
more ado.

The first was called Kwagenkei. It was a musical
instrument, and if once the chords were struck the notes
would never die away, but would ring on for ever.

The second treasure, Skinkinseki, was an inkstone box
for the making of Indian ink. The owner of this treasure
on lifting the lid found ink always rubbed ready for use,
and the supply was inexhaustible.

The third treasure, Menkofuhai % was a beautiful crystal,


in whose clear depths was to be seen, from whichever side
you looked, an image of Buddha riding- on a white
elephant. The jewel was of transcendent glory, and shone
like a star, and whoever gazed into its liquid depths and
saw the blessed vision of Buddha, had peace of heart for

Kohaku's rapture knew no bounds when these priceless
treasures were laid before her, for she knew how happy
the old priest of her own temple, far away in Japan,
would be when he saw them, and with what exalted
pleasure and pride, and with what burning of incense, he
would place them in the temple. In an ecstasy of
gratitude she knelt at her husband's feet thanking him in a
thousand pretty speeches for the gifts.

Then they both sent for the Admiral Banko, and gave
the Kwangenkei the Shinhinseki, and the Menkofuhai to
him, commanding him to take his best ship and to sail with
them speedily to Japan, and then to deliver them safely to
the chief priest at the Temple of Kofukuji.

" Hold these three marvels of China dearer than your
own life, Banko," said the Empress, "and quickly bring
me word from the high priest there. Especially do I
charge you with the Sacred Crystal of Buddha guard it
with your life."

And the Admiral took the precious gifts, and vowed
that with his life he would answer for their safety.

We must now take leave of Kohaku, leaving her a


happy wife and queen, and follow Banko and the Sacred
Crystal across the Chinese Sea.


THE Admiral put the treasures on board one of his largest
ships with great care, and having chosen the most ex-
perienced sailors he could find in the whole of China, he
set sail. Fair winds and weather favoured him till he was
within sight of the shores of Japan, when, just as he was
congratulating himself and his men on their good luck, and
even as he was sailing into the bay of Shido-no-ura, of the
province of Sanuki, a fierce tempest arose.

Admiral Banko feared exceedingly lest he should lose
his ship with all hands and her valuable freight. In that
anxious hour he turned his whole attention to the navi-
gation of the vessel, for the coast he was approaching
was wholly unknown to him and his sailors, and great was
the storm and their danger. Never had they encountered
such a sea before. The waves rolled mountains high, the
thunder roared, and the ship was tossed to and fro like a
shuttlecock. There was one moment when the ship rolled
over to such an extent that it seemed impossible that
she should ever right herself, and all gave themselves up
for lost.

Then suddenly, when the storm was at its worst, and
Banko had made up his mind to a watery grave, there
came a lull in the tempest. The weather cleared, and


the Admiral on looking round found to his relief and joy
that they were in the harbour itself and near to land. On
realising- his safety his first thought was to go and look at
the treasures, wondering if they had been harmed in any
way during the storm and consequent rolling of the ship.
On going below he found the Kwangenkei and the Shin-
hinseki quite safe, but, to his utter dismay, the most sacred
and most valuable of all the three, Menkofuhai, or the
Buddha- reflecting Crystal, had entirely disappeared. He
stood transfixed with horror, and a cold sweat broke out
on his forehead when he saw that the remarkable jewel
was gone from its place.

" How and where has it gone ? " was the question that
he asked himself over and over again. Being a ball, it
might have rolled out during the tossing of the ship, and
was either in some corner near at hand or at the bottom
of the sea. Or had someone stolen it? But that was
impossible, and he put away the thought as preposterous.
Calling all his men, he hunted in every nook and cranny
of the ship, but it was nowhere to be found.

Then the Admiral's face grew white as death, and he
felt for his short sword wherewith to kill himself, for it was
certain that the Sacred Crystal was lost, and he re-
membered how the Empress had especially charged him
with the responsibility of the safety of the jewel and its
delivery at the Temple of Kofukuji. He was disgraced
indeed ; but no this was not the time to take his life.


He must first do all that lay in his power to find the lost
treasure ; if that failed, his knife must do its work. There
was only one thing to be done now ; that was to land, and
then to hasten to inform Kamatari Ko, the father of the
Empress, of the disappearance of the crystal.

This he did with all speed. No words can express
the consternation of Kamatari as he listened to his
daughter's envoy, but he was quick to guess the cause of
the loss of Buddha's Crystal.

The Dragon King of the Sea had stolen it ! This was
the solution of the mystery. Riu O, the Sea King, had
heard of the wonderful crystal being sent to Japan, and
had coveted it for himself. Master of the sea, it had been
an. easy matter for him to raise up a storm so as to
distract everyone's attention from the treasures on board,
to the imminent danger of the ship and of their own lives.

This he had done, and when the storm was at its
height he had slipped on board and stolen the crystal.
Having obtained possession of the jewel, he had stilled
the sea and sent the ship quietly into harbour. The
agency of the Sea King accounted for the suddenness of
the storm and of the calm afterwards.

Kamatari Ko did not tell the Admiral of his suspicions,
but promised to do his utmost to find the jewel, which was
probably lying somewhere at the bottom of the sea, and
to set about having the waters searched where the loss
had occurred, for well he knew the vagaries of the King


of the Sea, and that, doubtless, as soon as he had got the
much-coveted crystal, he had thrown it down and left it on
the floor of his kingdom, the sea.

So, ordering some of his vassals to attend him he
went down from Nara to the port of Shidono-ura, in the
provinc of Sanuki, with the determination to recover from
the sea the Buddha- reflecting Crystal. At last he arrived
on the beach, and the smiling, treacherous, wonderful sea
was before him, burnt and kissed to liquid jewels by
the morning sun.

There also he saw, riding at anchor on the now smooth
bosom of the waters, the big ship that his daughter had
fitted out and sent laden with valuable treasures for her
fatherland. He smiled with pride and satisfaction to think
how his ambition for her had been satisfied. She was
indeed the wife of a king now. But to work he must

find the crystal.

Numbers of sun- bronzed fishermen were on the beach,
just as you may see them nowadays hauling in their nets,
or pulling up their boats and mending them. Kamatari,
followed by his attendants, went up to one group, and
told them that a crystal had been lost in those very
waters, and that to anyone who would go into the sea
and bring it to him he would give a large reward large
enough to make the finder rich for the rest of his life.

One and all, the fishermen voluteered to do his errand.
Eagerly they threw down their nets and ropes and dived


into the waters to hunt for the lost treasure. They were
full of hope and confidence that they would find the stone,
if it were there, for they knew themselves to be as much
at home in those waters as the very fish which they caught
in their nets daily. But in a little while they all came up
to the surface panting and blowing and shaking the water
from their bodies, and made their way to the great man
who was waiting for them. They held out their empty
hands, and told him that they had searched the bottom of
the sea in vain nowhere could the crystal be seen.

Kamatari was disappointed. He sat down on the
shore with folded arms, while his serv .c, kneeling, held
up a big umbrella, or canopy, over his head. The ripples
rolled in at his feet over the shining sand, seeming in their
ebbing, flowing dalliance to rrock him, as he sat there
thinking what he should now do to find the lost jewel.
All around him his men were silent and abstracted, for
they saw how worried their chief was.

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