Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/102

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Kwaidan, Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Kanji.png All because of a Mujina that used to walk there.

The last man who saw the Mujina was an old merchant of the Kyōbashi quarter, who died about thirty years ago. This is the story, as he told it:—

One night, at a late hour, he was hurrying up the Kii-no-kuni-zaka, when he perceived a woman crouching by the moat, all alone, and weeping bitterly. Fearing that she intended to drown herself, he stopped to offer her any assistance or consolation in his power. She appeared to be a slight and graceful person, handsomely dressed; and her hair was arranged like that of a young girl of good family. "O-jochū,"[1] he exclaimed, approaching her,—"O-jochū, do not cry like that! . . . Tell me what the trouble is; and if there be any way to help you, I shall be glad to help you." (He really meant what he said; for he was a very kind man.) But she continued to weep,—hiding her face from him with one of her long sleeves. '"O-jochū," he said again, as gently as he could,—"please, please listen to me! . . . This is no place for a young lady at night!

  1. O-jochū ("honorable damsel"),—a polite form of address used in speaking to a young lady whom one does not know.
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