In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com, did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she had been called Amazon Dot Com. S... Read more of History of the Internet at Free Jokes.caInformational Site Network Informational
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The Bell Of Dojoji

from Japanese Fairy Tales





The monk Anchin was young in years but old in scholarship. Every day for
many hours he read the Great Books of the Good Law and never wearied,
and hard characters were not hard to him.

The monk Anchin was young in years but old in holiness; he kept his body
under by fastings and watchings and long prayers. He was acquainted with
the blessedness of sublime meditations. His countenance was white as
ivory and as smooth; his eyes were deep as a brown pool in autumn; his
smile was that of a Buddha; his voice was like an angel's. He dwelt with
a score of holy men in a monastery of the mountains, where he learned
the mystic "Way of the Gods." He was bound to his order by the strictest
vows, but was content, rejoicing in the shade of the great pine trees
and the sound of the running water of the streams.

Now it happened that on a day in spring-time, the old man, his Abbot,
sent the young monk Anchin upon an errand of mercy. And he said, "My
son, bind your sandals fast and tie spare sandals to your girdle, take
your hat and your staff and your rosary and begging bowl, for you have
far to go, over mountain and stream, and across the great plain."

So the monk Anchin made him ready.

"My son," the Abbot said, "if any wayfarer do you a kindness, forget not
to commend him to the gods for the space of nine existences."

"I will remember," said the monk, and so he set forth upon his way.

Over mountain and stream he passed, and as he went his spirit was
wrapped in contemplation, and he recited the Holy Sutras aloud in a
singing voice. And the Wise Birds called and twittered from branch to
branch of the tall trees, the birds that are beloved of Buddha. One bird
chanted the grand Scripture of the Nicheten, the Praise of the Sutra of
the Lotus, of the Good Law, and the other bird called upon his Master's
name, for he cried:

"O thou Compassionate Mind! O thou Compassionate Mind!"

The monk smiled. "Sweet and happy bird," he said.

And the bird answered, "O thou Compassionate Mind!... O thou
Compassionate Mind!"

When the monk Anchin came to the great plain, the sun was high in the
heavens, and all the blue and golden flowers of the plain languished in
the noon-tide heat. The monk likewise became very weary, and when he
beheld the Marshy Mere, where were bulrush and sedge that cooled their
feet in the water, he laid him down to rest under a sycamore tree that
grew by the Marshy Mere.

Over the mere and upon the farther side of it there hung a glittering
haze.

Long did the monk Anchin lie; and as he lay he looked through the
glittering haze, and as he looked the haze quivered and moved and grew
and gathered upon the farther side of the mere. At the last it drew into
a slender column of vapour, and out of the vapour there came forth a
very dazzling lady. She wore a robe of green and gold, interwoven, and
golden sandals on her slender feet. In her hands were jewels--in each
hand one bright jewel like a star. Her hair was tied with a braid of
scarlet, and she had a crown of scarlet flowers. She came, skirting the
Marshy Mere. She came, gliding in and out of the bulrush and the sedge.
In the silence there could be heard the rustle of her green skirt upon
the green grass.

The monk Anchin stumbled to his feet and, trembling, he leaned against
the sycamore tree.

Nearer and nearer came the lady, till she stood before Anchin and looked
into his eyes. With the jewel that was in her right hand she touched his
forehead and his lips. With the jewel that was in her left hand she
touched his rice-straw hat and his staff and his rosary and his begging
bowl. After this she had him safe in thrall. Then the wind blew a tress
of her hair across his face, and when he felt it he gave one sob.

For the rest of his journey the monk went as a man in a dream. Once a
rich traveller riding on horseback threw a silver coin into Anchin's
begging bowl; once a woman gave him a piece of cake made of millet; and
once a little boy knelt down and tied the fastening of his sandal that
had become loose. But each time the monk passed on without a word, for
he forgot to commend the souls of these compassionate ones for the space
of nine existences. In the tree-tops the Wise Birds of Buddha sang for
him no more, only from the thicket was heard the cry of the
Hototogisu, the bird lovelorn and forsaken.

Nevertheless, well or ill, he performed his errand of mercy and returned
to the monastery by another way.

Howbeit, sweet peace left him from the hour in which he had seen the
lady of the Marshy Mere. The Great Books of the Good Law sufficed him no
longer; no more was he acquainted with the blessedness of divine
meditations. His heart was hot within him; his eyes burned and his soul
longed after the lady of the green and golden robe.

She had told him her name, and he murmured it in his sleep.
"Kiohime--Kiohime!" Waking, he repeated it instead of his prayers--to
the great scandal of the brethren, who whispered together and said, "Is
our brother mad?"

At length Anchin went to the good Abbot, and in his ear poured forth all
his tale in a passion of mingled love and grief, humbly asking what he
must do.

The Abbot said, "Alack, my son, now you suffer for sin committed in a
former life, for Karma must needs be worked out."

Anchin asked him, "Then is it past help?"

"Not that," said the Abbot, "but you are in a very great strait."

"Are you angry with me?" said Anchin.

"Nay, Heaven forbid, my poor son."

"Then what must I do?"

"Fast and pray, and for a penance stand in the ice-cold water of our
mountain torrent an hour at sunrise and an hour at sunset. Thus shall
you be purged from carnal affection and escape the perils of illusion."

So Anchin fasted and prayed, he scourged his body, and hour after hour
he did penance in the ice-cold water of the torrent. Wan as a ghost he
grew, and his eyes were like flames. His trouble would not leave him. A
battle raged in his breast. He could not be faithful to his vows and
faithful to his love.

The brethren wondered, "What can ail the monk Anchin, who was so learned
and so holy--is he bewitched by a fox or a badger, or can he have a
devil?"

But the Abbot said, "Let be."

Now on a hot night of summer, the monk being sleepless in his cell, he
was visited by Kiohime, the magic lady of the mere. The moonlight was on
her hands and her long sleeves. Her robe was green and gold, interwoven;
golden were her sandals. Her hair was braided with scarlet and adorned
with scarlet flowers.

"Long, long have I waited for thee on the plains," she said. "The night
wind sighs in the sedge--the frogs sing by the Marshy Mere. Come,
lord...."

But he cried, "My vows that I have vowed--alas! the love that I love. I
keep faith and loyalty, the bird in my bosom ... I may not come."

She smiled, "May not?" she said, and with that she lifted the monk
Anchin in her arms.

But he, gathering all his strength together, tore himself from her and
fled from the place. Barefooted and bareheaded he went, his white robe
flying, through the dark halls of the monastery, where the air was heavy
with incense and sweet with prayers, where the golden Amida rested upon
her lotus, ineffably smiling. He leaped the grey stone steps that led
down from her shrine and gained the pine trees and the mountain path.
Down, down he fled on the rough way, the nymph Kiohime pursuing. As for
her, her feet never touched the ground, and she spread her green sleeves
like wings. Down, down they fled together, and so close was she behind
him that the monk felt her breath upon his neck.

"As a young goddess, she is fleet of foot ..." he moaned.

At last they came to the famed temple of Dojoji, which was upon the
plains. By this Anchin sobbed and staggered as he ran; his knees failed
him and his head swam.

"I am lost," he cried, "for a hundred existences." But with that he saw
the great temple bell of Dojoji that hung but a little way from the
ground. He cast himself down and crept beneath it, and so deemed himself
sheltered and secure.

Then came Kiohime, the Merciless Lady, and the moonlight shone upon her
long sleeves. She did not sigh, nor cry, nor call upon her love. She
stood still for a little space and smiled. Then lightly she sprang to
the top of the great bronze bell of Dojoji, and with her sharp teeth she
bit through the ropes that held it, so that the bell came to the ground
and the monk was a prisoner. And Kiohime embraced the bell with her
arms. She crept about it, she crawled about it and her green robe flowed
over it. Her green robe glittered with a thousand golden scales; long
flames burst from her lips and from her eyes; a huge and fearsome
Dragon, she wound and coiled herself about the bell of Dojoji. With her
Dragon's tail she lashed the bell, and lashed it till its bronze was red
hot.

Still she lashed the bell, while the monk called piteously for mercy.
And when he was very quiet she did not stop. All the night long the
frogs sang by the Marshy Mere and the wind sighed in the sedges. But the
Dragon Lady was upon the bell of Dojoji, and she lashed it furiously
with her tail till dawn.





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