Sunday, February 24, 2013

Onmyōza Hyakumonogatari Story II "Kurotsuka"

(Kurotsuka begins at 8:20)

I cannot fathom why a travelling monk such as yourself would like to hear the life story of an old crone like myself, but since you insist so much, I shall tell you. Long ago, I served in a castle as a wet nurse for a certain princess. The princess was the sweetest girl you ever laid eyes upon, and I looked after her as if she were my very own child. As a matter of fact, I once had a daughter I had to let go as soon as she was born. I wholeheartedly devoted my love to the princess; I felt that serving her was my atonement for what had happened to my own child, and my love for her only grew with time.

At any hand, the young princess suffered from an illness. No matter how many great doctors we consulted, the verdict was always that she didn't have much longer to live. I intended to do anything I could to save the life of the princess. Therefore I visited a popular soothsayer to ask if there was a way the princess could be saved. The result of the divination was this: if she ate the liver of an unborn baby she would live. Yes, I am aware of what a horrendous thing that is.

However, I did not care if I myself should land in hell, if only the princess would be saved. I left the castle alone and headed for Ōshū. I set up a crude shack by the river Abukumagawa and waited for travelers lost on their journey. And finally one day, a pregnant woman arrived. She said that she had to find a certain person before her child was born, but that was none of my concern. There was not a chance that I would let this opportunity slip, so I waited until she fell asleep, cut open her stomach and took the liver of the child.

Still euphoric now that the princess would be saved, I looked through her things in order to get rid of them, but for some reason, each of them seemed familiar to me. There were amulets and nightwear I had given my child when I had to let go of her, and a boxwood hairpin I had hidden on her, hoping she would one day wear it. Why was this woman cherishing these things so dearly? Yes, indeed. This woman was my very own child. She was travelling, even though she was pregnant, in hopes of finding her mother — me — before her child was born, so that she could show me the face of my grandchild. I cried and screamed for days on end, until my tears ran dry.

I no longer know how much time has passed since then. I just carry this dreadful burden, not even allowed to follow my daughter, I am still living here as you can see. I am sure that even a priest like you is unaware of what the punishment is for a parent who kills her own child. Yes, I suppose you have heard the poem that people recite around this region?
"Is it true what they say, that Kurotsuka in Michinoku, on the plains of Adachigahara, is the abode of a demon?"
That demon is me.

陰陽座百物語 第弐話「黒塚」






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