THE LEGEND OF PRINCESS CHUJO
So the Prince Toyonari and his wife went to the temple of Kwannon at Hase and stayed there for a long time, both daily offering incense and praying to Kwannon, the Heavenly Mother, to grant them the desire of their whole lives. And their prayer was answered.
A daughter was born at last to the Princess Murasaki, and great was the joy of her heart. On presenting the child to her husband, they both decided to call her Hase-Hime, or the Princess of Hase, because she was the gift of the Kwannon at that place. They both reared her with great care and tenderness, and the child grew in strength and beauty.
When the little girl was five years old her mother fell dangerously ill and all the doctors and their medicines could not save her. A little before she breathed her last she called her daughter to her, and gently stroking her head, said:
"Hase-Hime, do you know that your mother cannot live any longer? Though I die, you must grow up a good girl. Do your best not to give trouble to your nurse or any other of your family. Perhaps your father will marry again and some one will fill my place as your mother. If so do not grieve for me, but look upon your father's second wife as your true mother, and be obedient and filial to both her and your father. Remember when you are grown up to be submissive to those who are your superiors, and to be kind to all those who are under you. Don't forget this. I die with the hope that you will grow up a model woman."
Hase-Hime listened in an attitude of respect while her mother spoke, and
promised to do all that she was told. There is a proverb which says "As the soul
is at three so it is at one hundred," and so Hase- Hime grew up as her mother
had wished, a good and obedient little Princess, though she was now too young to
understand how great was the loss of her mother.
"This is not my child! this is not my child!"
But princess Hase bore every unkindness with patience, and even waited upon her
step-mother kindly and obeyed her in every way and never gave any trouble, just
as she had been trained by her own good mother, so that the Lady Teruhinomae
had no cause for complaint against her.
"If only princess Hase were not here, my son would have all the love of his father."
And never having learned to control herself, she allowed this wicked thought to grow into the awful desire of taking her step-daughter's life.
So one day she secretly ordered some poison and poisoned some sweet wine. This poisoned wine she put into a bottle. Into another similar bottle she poured some good wine. It was the occasion of the Boys' Festival on the fifth of May, and Princess Hase was playing with her little brother. All his toys of warriors and heroes were spread out and she was telling him wonderful stories about each of them. They were both enjoying themselves and laughing merrily with their attendants when his mother entered with the two bottles of wine and some delicious cakes.
"You are both so good and happy." said the wicked Princess Teruhinomae with a smile, "that I have brought you some sweet wine as a reward— and here are some nice cakes for my good children."
And she filled two cups from the different bottles.
Princess Hase, never dreaming of the dreadful part her step-mother was acting, took one of the cups of wine and gave to her little step brother the other that had been poured out for him.
The wicked woman had carefully marked the poisoned bottle, but on coming into the room she had grown nervous, and pouring out the wine hurriedly had unconsciously given the poisoned cup to her own child. All this time she was anxiously watching the little Princess, but to her amazement no change whatever took place in the young girl's face. Suddenly the little boy screamed and threw himself on the floor, doubled up with pain. His mother flew to him, taking the precaution to upset the two tiny jars of wine which she had brought into the room, and lifted him up. The attendants rushed for the doctor, but nothing could save the child—he died within the hour in his mother's arms. Doctors did not know much in those ancient times, and it was thought that the wine had disagreed with the boy, causing convulsions of which he died.
Thus was the wicked woman punished in losing her own child when she had tried to do away with her step-daughter; but instead of blaming herself she began to hate Hase-Hime more than ever in the bitterness and wretchedness of her own heart, and she eagerly watched for an opportunity to do her harm, which was, however, long in coming.
When princess Hase was 13 years old, the king (the master of her father) got a
sick. The king ordered to princess Hase.
Just then, the loud sound and a swell of the water became quiet
down. The king was satisfied very much. He rewarded with the rank of "Chûjô". From
this time, the princess Hase was called "Chûjô-Hime" (Princess Chûjô)and
respected and loved by all
One day, trying to forget his terrible worry, he called all his men together and told them to make ready for a several days' hunt in the mountains. They were soon ready and mounted, waiting at the gate for their lord. He rode hard and fast to the district of the Hibari Mountains, a great company following him. He was soon far ahead of every one, and at last found himself in a narrow picturesque valley.
Looking round and admiring the scenery, he noticed a tiny house on one of the hills quite near, and then he distinctly heard a beautiful clear voice reading aloud. Seized with curiosity as to who could be studying so diligently in such a lonely spot, he dismounted, and leaving his horse to his groom, he walked up the hillside and approached the cottage. As he drew nearer his surprise increased, for he could see that the reader was a beautiful girl. The cottage was wide open and she was sitting facing the view. Listening attentively, he heard her reading the Buddhist scriptures with great devotion. More and more curious, he hurried on to the tiny gate and entered the little garden, and looking up beheld his lost daughter Hase-Hime. She was so intent on what she was saying that she neither heard nor saw her father till he spoke.
"Hase-Hime!" he cried, "it is you. my Hase-Hime!"
Taken by surprise, she could hardly realize that it was her own dear father
who was calling her, and for a moment she was utterly bereft of the power to
speak or move.
Then the faithful old servant Katoda came out, and bowing himself to the ground before his master, poured out the long tale of wrong, telling him all that had happened, and how it was that he found his daughter in such a wild and desolate spot with only two old servants to take care of her.
The Prince's astonishment and indignation knew no bounds. He gave up the hunt
at once and hurried home with his daughter. One of the company galloped ahead to
inform the household of the glad news, and the step-mother hearing what had
happened, and fearful of meeting her husband now that her wickedness was
discovered, fled from the house and returned in disgrace to her father's roof,
and nothing more was heard of her.
For the space of three years, she spent her time zealously
reciting prays Buddhist. One night of those days, two nuns came to see Princess
Chûjô. They said to her, "Gather a lot of threads of lotus as much as possible
and load them on the back of hundred camels." Princess Chûjô gathered a lot of
stems of lotus with her father's aid. Another evening, two nuns visited her
again. They began to spin the stems into threads. The two nuns brought out these
threads by the fountain in front of the temple and rinsed the thread of lotus in
At noon, it was flowery day in spring. Princess Chûjô had her age 28 years. She was waiting messengers from the sky. From the west sky tinged with violet, a light was approaching her and it reached her. Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) appeared. And in the evening, Princess Chûjô rose to the sky through the fragrant air, through the singing of celestials.THE END
Copyright (C) 1987-2006 All rights reserved. SHERINA英会話 since 1987 Osaka, Japan 最終更新日 : 2008/06/08 日曜日