A Japanese Thoreau of the Twelfth Century (2)


  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 9
  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 11
  • Chapter 12
  • Chapter 13
  • Chapter 14
  • Chapter 15
  • Chapter 16



    Now since first I had conscious knowlede of the world about me have some forty Springs and Summers gone by, and of many strange events have I had experience.

    On the 28th day of the 4th month of 3 Angen [May 28th, 1177], while a violet storm was raging about the hour of the dog [7-8 p.m.], a fire broke out in the dragon [south-east] quarter of the city and extended to the dog and hog [north-west] quarter as far as the Shuzaku Gate, the Daigoku Hall, the Daigaku ryo, and the Mimbusho — in the course of that one night the whole was reduced to ashes. Folk say the fire began in a cottage used as a temporary hospital situated in the lane known as Higuchi-tomi. Favoured by the wind the conflagration spread fan wise. Distant houses were smothered in the smoke, the nearer spaces were enveloped in coils of flame. The air was filled with clouds of dust, which reflected in blaze, so that the whole neighbourhood was steeped in a glow of fire amid which tongues of flame darted over the adjoining streets. Amid such horrors who could retain a steady mind ? Some, choked by the smoke, fell to the ground ; others in their bewilderment ran straight into the flames trying to save their property, and were burnt to death ; great stores of wealth were utterly destroyed — in very trust the loss was incalculable. Sixteen mansions of kugyo were consumed,and innumerable smaller houses. A full third of the city was destroyed. Thousands of persons perished, horses and cattle beyond count. How foolish are all the purposes of men — they build their houses, spending their treasure and wasting their energies, in a city exposed to such perils !




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    「A Japanese Thoreau of the Twelfth Century」は『南方熊楠全集 第10巻 』に所収。

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