Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/38

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biwa, furiously played, in the cemetery of the Amidaji. Except for some ghostly fires—such as usually flitted there on dark nights—all was blackness in that direction. But the men at once hastened to the cemetery; and there, by the help of their lanterns, they discovered Hōïchi,—sitting alone in the rain before the memorial tomb of Antoku Tennō, making his biwa resound, and loudly chanting the chant of the battle of Dan-no-ura. And behind him, and about him, and everywhere above the tombs, the fires of the dead were burning, like candles. Never before had so great a host of Oni-bi appeared in the sight of mortal man. . . .

“Hōïchi San! — Hōïchi San!” the servants cried,—"you are bewitched! . . . Hōïchi San!”

But the blind man did not seem to hear. Strenuously he made his biwa to rattle and ring and clang;— more and more wildly he chanted the chant of the battle of Dan-no-ura. They caught hold of him;—they shouted into his ear,—

“Hōïchi San!—Hōïchi San!—come home with us at once!”

Reprovingly he spoke to them:—

“To interrupt me in such a manner, before this august assembly, will not be tolerated.”