no jo - New Herbs (Part I)
|The ceremony of the initiation
of the Third Princess took
place at the end of the year. A large array of splendid gifts came from the
Suzaku emperor and others. From Akikonomu
came some combs, which had been sent by the Suzaku emperor when she married.
With them a poem: "I fear these little combs are scarred and worn, I have
used them to summon back an ancient day". The Suzaku emperor chanced to be
beside the princess when the gifts were delivered. He traced back his memories.
The Day of the Rat fell on the
twenty-third of the First Month. On that day, people celebrated the Genji's
fortieth birthday. Tamakazura
came with some new herbs that promised long life. She had brought her two sons.
Her young and beautiful face reminded Genji of his old age and his lost days.
Deferring to the illness of the Suzaku emperor, the concert was an easy and
informal one. The Minister (To-no-Chujo)
played the Japanese koto and the Prince
Hotaru played the Chinese koto beautifully, which made the concert even more
remarkable than usual.
Towards the middle of the
Second Month, the Third
Princess came to Rokujo to marry Genji. Genji could not refuse the request
of Suzaku who had been looking for someone to support for his daughter. There
was also another reason that Genji was induced to marry her. For the Third
Princess was a niece of Fujitsubo.
It was an unsettling time for Murasaki,
but she did not show her feelings and indeed helped with all the arrangements in
Rokujo. But her pray worked out and made Genji return to her place early in the
morning. While the Murasaki
let him wait for a while outside,
he viewed the patches of snow in the garden. The nape of the kimono of Murasaki,
lying there alone, was completely wet.
The Suzaku emperor moved into
his temple in the West Mountain after the marriage of his daughter with Genji.
Genji had wanted to see Oborozukiyo
again for long time. Though quite aware of the impropriety, he went to see her
secretly. Remembering a wisteria party long ago, she could not totally refuse
him. On the following morning, Genji gave her a spray of wisteria saying "
I have not forgotten the depths into which I plunged".
In the Tenth Month, Murasaki
made offerings in Genjiís honor. Choosing a temple in Saga, she commissioned a
reading of the sutras for the protection of the realm. Ending the fast, a
banquet was arranged at the Nijo residence and attended by many people in
festive dress. The musicians took their places. Yugiri
and Kashiwagi went out and
danced under a tree of plum rouge. For the old members of the audience it evoked
the image of young Genji and To-no-Chujoís
dance long before, "Waves of the blue Ocean". Genji was in tears as
memories flooded back.
In the middle of the Third
Month, the Princess Akashi
gave birth. It was a boy. A gift from the old Akashi monk was delivered with his
letter saying that the birth of the prince was determined according to his
dream. What he had done and his prayer in the past was to fulfill the dream. As
it had become true, he would like to withdraw from the world and go off into the
deep mountains. The old nunís grief was limitless.
was very disappointed that the Third
Princess who had gone to Genji, and he was still longing after her. In the
late spring, there was a football game in the northeast corner of the Rokujo
garden. When a cat came running, the curtain was pulled back to reveal the woman
behind in informal dress. Her profile framed by beautiful black hair was
elegant. It was the first time for Kashiwagi
to see the princess. He pretended that nothing had happened, but Yugiri
knew that Kashiwagi had seen the
princess. As she was the wife of Genji, it was forbidden love. Kashiwagi
called the cat and took it up in his arms. Mewing prettily, it brought the image of the Third
Princess back to him.
Resumed by Mary Nagase.
Published by UNESCO.© UNESCO 2000