breath of what now sleeps beneath; a volcano sunk in trance.
Almost unknown to foreigners, it is well known to the Japanese. For it is perhaps the most sacred of Japan's many sacred peaks. Upon it, every summer, faith tells a rosary of ten thousand pilgrims.
Some years ago I chanced to gaze from afar upon this holy mount; and, as the sweep of its sides drew my eye up to where the peak itself stood hidden in a nimbus of cloud, had meant some day to climb it. Partly for this vision, more because of the probable picturesqueness of the route, I found myself doing so with a friend in August, 1891. Beyond the general fact of its sanctity, nothing special was supposed to attach to the peak. That the mountain held a mystery was undreamed of.
We had reached, after various vicissitudes, as prosaically as is possible in unprosaic Japan, a height of about nine thousand feet, when we suddenly came upon a manifestation as surprising as it was unsuspected. Regardless of us, the veil was thrown aside, and we gazed into the beyond. We stood face to face with the gods.