Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/130

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sûtras; and nothing appeared until after the Hour of the Rat. [1] Then the figure of O-Sono suddenly outlined itself in front of the tansu. Her face had a wistful look; and she kept her eyes fixed upon the tansu.

The priest uttered the holy formula prescribed in such cases, and then, addressing the figure by the kaimyō[2] of O-Sono, said:—"I have come here in order to help you. Perhaps in that tansu there is something about which you have reason to feel anxious. Shall I try to find it for you?" The shadow appeared to give assent by a slight motion of the head; and the priest, rising, opened the top drawer. It was empty. Successively he opened the second, the third, and the fourth drawer;—he searched carefully behind them and beneath them;—he carefully examined the interior of the chest. He found nothing. But the figure remained gazing as wistfully as before. "What can she want?" thought the priest. Suddenly

  1. The Hour of the Rat (Né-no-Koku), according to the old Japanese method of reckoning time, was the first hour. It corresponded to the time between our midnight and two o'clock in the morning; for the ancient Japanese hours were each equal to two modern hours.
  2. Kaimyō, the posthumous Buddhist name, or religious name, given to the dead. Strictly speaking, the meaning of the word is silâ-name. (See my paper entitled "The Literature of the Dead" in Exotics and Retrospectives.)