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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "Karma"

Karma

She said, “You have come at last, my lord, to give me comfort.”

And he answered, “I have come.”

When he had said this he knew that he loved the lady, and had loved her since love was.

“O love, love,” he murmured, “time is not for such as we.”

Then she took him by the hand, and they went into the house together and into a room with white mats and a round latticed window.

Before the window there stood a lily in a vessel of water.

Here the two held converse together.

And after some time there was an old ancient woman that came with saké in a silver flagon; and she brought silver drinking-cups and all things needful. And Tatewaki and the lady drank the “Three Times Three” together. When they had done this the lady said, “Love, let us go out into the shine of the moon. See, the night is as green as an emerald....”

So they went and left the house and the small fair garden behind them. Or ever they had closed the wicket-gate the house and the garden and the wicket-gate itself all faded away, dissolving in a faint mist, and not a sign of them was left.

“Alas! what is this?” cried Tatewaki.

“Let be, dear love,” said the lady, and smiled; “they pass, for we have no more need of them.”

Then Tatewaki saw that he was alone with the lady upon the wild moor. And the tall lilies grew about them in a ring. So they stood the live-long night, not touching one another but looking into each other’s eyes most steadfastly. When dawn came, the lady stirred and gave one deep sigh.

Tatewaki said, “Lady, why do you sigh?”

And when he asked her this, she unclasped her girdle, which was fashioned after the form of a golden scaled dragon with translucent eyes. And she took the girdle and wound it nine times about her love’s arm, and she said, “O love, we part: these are the years until we meet again.” So she touched the golden circles on his arm.

Then Tatewaki cried aloud, “O love, who are you? Tell me your name....”

She said, “O love, what have we to do with names, you and I?..

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