Page:Nihongi by Aston.djvu/146

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a poisonous vapour, from which everyone suffered. For this reason the Imperial army was again unable to exert itself. Then there was there a man by name Kumano no Takakuraji, who unexpectedly had a dream, in which Ama-terasu no Oho-kami spoke to Take-mika-tsuchi no Kami,[1] saying:—"I still hear a sound of disturbance from the Central Land of Reed-Plains. Do thou again go and chastise it." Take-mika-tsuchi no Kami answered and said:—"Even if I go not, I can send down my sword, with which I subdued the land, upon which the country will of its own accord become peaceful." To this Ama-terasu no Kami assented. Thereupon Take-mika-tsuchi no Kami addressed Takakuraji, saying:—"My sword, which is called Futsu no Mitama, I will now place in thy storehouse. (III. 11.) Do thou take it and present it to the Heavenly Grandchild." Takakuraji said "Yes," and thereupon awoke. The next morning, as instructed in his dream, he opened the storehouse, and on looking in, there was indeed there a sword which had fallen down (from Heaven), and was standing upside down[2] on the plank floor of the storehouse. So he took it and offered it to the Emperor. At this time the Emperor happened to be asleep. He awoke suddenly, and said:—"What a long time I have slept!" On inquiry he found that the troops who had been affected by the poison had all recovered their senses and were afoot. The Emperor then endeavoured to advance into the interior, but among the mountains it was so precipitous that there was no road by which they could travel, and they wandered about not knowing whither to direct their march. Then Ama-terasu no Oho-kami instructed the Emperor in a dream of the night, saying:—"I will now send thee the Yata-garasu,[3] make it thy guide through the land." Then there did

  1. The Thunder-God.
  2. i.e. point upwards.
  3. Yata-garasu. The Chinese characters used here mean "The crow with a head eight feet long." But this is a case where we must put aside the Chinese characters, and attend solely to the Japanese word which they are meant to represent. This is undoubtedly yata-garasu, as we know from the "Kojiki" and from the traditional Kana rendering. Much has been written about this bird by Motowori and other Shintō scholars, which is, I venture to think, wholly wide of the mark. The clue to its meaning is afforded by the "Wamiō- shō," a Chinese-Japanese vocabulary of the tenth century, which says, on the authority of the "Shiki," still more ancient commentaries on the "Nihongi,"