Ugetsu Monogatari: Tales of Moonlight and Rain: A Complete English Version of the Eighteenth-Century Japanese Collection of Tales of the Supernatural

By Ueda Akinari; Leon M. Zolbrod | Go to book overview

I
WHITE PEAK
(Shiramine)

Once upon a time 8 I got permission from the barrier guards of Ōsaka, and I began to journey. Each sight along the way left its imprint on my heart. Although the yellow leaves of the autumn peaks 9 tempted me to linger, I visited Narumi bay, 10 where the plovers leave their tracks on the beach, and later I saw the smoke curling from lofty Mt Fuji, 11 and I passed the plain of Ukishima, the barrier at Kiyomi, 12 and the many bays around Ōiso and Koiso. 13 I saw the delicate purple grass of Musashino moors, 14 the early morning calm of Shiogama, 15 the rushthatched huts of Kisagata 16 fishermen, the boat bridge at Sano, 17 and the hanging bridge at Kiso. 18 As I have said, each sight left its imprint on my heart.

Still, I wanted to visit the places in the West made famous in poetry. In the fall of the Third Year of Nin'an, 19 I passed through Naniwa, of the falling reeds, 20 and shivered in the winds of Suma and Akashi 21 bay. Finally, by Hayashi, 22 in Miozaka, in Sanuki, I set aside my bamboo staff for a while -- not so much owing to weariness from my long pilgrimage but rather because I desired a hut for spiritual comfort in which to practise ascetic meditation.

Nearby this hamlet, 23 I heard, at a place called Shiramine stood the Emperor Sutoku's 24 tomb mound, and I decided to go there and worship. Early in the Godless Month 25 I climbed the mountain, which was so densely covered with oak and pine trees that even on a day 26 when clouds trailed across the blue sky it felt as dreary as if a steady drizzle of rain were falling. The steep cliffs of Mt Chigogadake loomed above me, and from ravines hundreds of feet below billows of mist arose, making every step a precarious undertaking.

Then, in a small clearing among the trees I saw a high mound of earth atop which three stones had been piled. The entire

-98-

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