Mother Earth

Volume 7: The Battle of Fire and Water

Chapter 5: The Service to the water of the Origin of Ise

      Onisaburo couldn't help feeling uneasy. Not understanding the reason of it, Onisaburo began to worry about his parents' house in the Anao Village. For the last few years he had often dreamed that his parents' house had been entirely destroyed by fire. These terrible dreams had recurred more often since Motokichi Nishida, the blacksmith, who was using fire, and his wife, had changed their residence out of the Oku-no-jo district. Every time Onisaburo did send a letter to Motokichi, he had repeatedly urged Motokichi to be careful with the fire at his workshop and also had asked him to keep the repaired tools of the peasants in another hut.

      Onisaburo interpreted the vivid color he had seen in his dream, at dawn, as if it had been real fire. Precisely at the time Koto Kuriyama, the second daughter of Nao, visited him to pray to the god he gave her a letter which described the strict precautions to be taken. Koto gave this letter to Fusa Iwasaki, Onisaburo's aunt, who was living in the Kameoka-Nishikata district on the way to the Oji district. Fusa walking slowly took a few days to get there.

      Motokichi Nishida, after receiving an invitation from Kokichi was determined to visit, at least once, the church of Ayabe. That night, he had a dream: Onisaburo, wearing a crested haori (a Japanese half-coat) of the black cotton, was giving him orders with a stern look, saying: "Do not go anywhere for a while because you ought to be careful with fire." And, Yone said nervously, "I'm frequently hearing that the voice, telling me to take care not to set up the fire and not to stay away from home."

      On April 15, while they were attending the hundredth memorial service for the late Uno. Yone and they heard a strange noise coming out of a futon. "Fire!" They watched with fear while at the devouring flames licking the household Buddhist altar. As it had appeared after many warning their fear grew even bigger and they got stiff out of terror. The flames engulfed the closet at once.

      Yone secretly pulled at the sleeping Kokichi's feet. When he woke up, she started shouting, "Fire! Fire!" The men were fighting fire, taking off the doors. Yone dragged the long oblong chest for clothing out of the burning closet and carried it out of doors. While she was carrying another long oblong chest, flames spouted out of it. As she would endanger herself by carrying it, she just threw it out of the house. The fire spread fast because of the low straw-thatched roof. Sparks and countless cinders fell around. "The Okyo pictures are burning. Hundreds of pictures! Among those pictures, I haven't only one, while keeping the others in the long oblong chest," Koichi muttered to himself absentmindedly.

      Kimi had reached her tenth year. Before she realized that her mother was sleeping besides her, she hid herself. When Kimi woke up, the room was filled with smoke. The flames were bursting in. Her mother had caught hold of the long chest, roaring as an animal. Someone shouted, "The god and the Buddha, please take these out!"

      "Well, I must carry something. What should I do?!" Although a mere child as she was, that is what she thought. A fireball came down from the ceiling. She went out hurriedly, carrying her geta (the wooden clogs) with a red thong which her mother had just bought for her and put them close to the pillow on the futon. "0-Kimi! O-Kimi!" Her mother held Kimi in her arms and jumped back. The straw-thatched roof fell in a moment with hard sounds, and a pillar of flames shot up, burning in the midair.

      The fire brigade of the village rushed towards the house, carrying a water hand pump called Ryudosui (the Dragon spring water). Four men operated the pump manually making loud noises with the water hoses while carrying them to a nearby brook. The villagers were carrying pails of water taken from the Kyubei pond to fight the fire. The neighboring house of the Kojima family escaped ruin by the spreading fire thanks to a great Japanese nutmeg which was standing between both houses and was obstructing the spreading of the fire. Fortunately there was no wind. It didn't take long for the dilapidated house to be burned down forever.

      The next day, Onisaburo amused himself chatting with Nao over the trifles of life, in Ayabe. Sumi entered the room carrying a telegram. It carried the news that Onisaburo's parents' house had been entirely destroyed by the fire. Thinking that his mother and others might be shocked with surprise, despite his foretelling it in his dream, he was very impatient to run to his parents' house.

      Nao said quietly: "I understood what you said. The Ueda family's house burn down, didn't it? Everything has been cleaned up. Because of the god's will, we must prepare a solemn festival for the fire, at once."

      Onisaburo was offended by Nao. "I don't know whether it is the god's convenience or the god's will. But, hearing that my native house was destroyed by the fire is quite unpleasant." As might be expected, Sumi was sitting down besides him seemed to be supporting her husband.

      Nao sighed softly, "At the very last, the god will rebuild the house of the Ueda family. The god purified the evil relations of the ancestor through flames. The god changed the great difficulty involving the Ueda family for the small difficulty of rebuilding a house that was destroyed by fire. Maybe, the god will next plan to call my mother and have her leave the Anao Village and come to Ayabe." "My mother, is she here?" Onisaburo, in a flash, got a disturbed expression on his face.

      "The mother of the man who is serving to re-erect and rebuild the whole world according to the god's will, was unable to recognize the sacred situation. Well, let's offer a thanksgiving ceremony to the god."

      Nao quickly stood up and went to the altar. And, Sumi stood up also and pulled Onisaburo, who was sitting down, by his hand.

      Onisaburo weakly hesitated to go home again because it was so soon after he had returned from his home. Uncertain to call or bring his family, who had become homeless through the fire, closer to him. Instead of him, Heizo Shikata and Keitaro Kinoshita hurriedly visited his parents' home to inquire about the fire. Three days later they came back and told him how his family had been faring.

      It seemed that arson was suspected. However, the question being raised, the possible perpetrator was still at large, it was said. No one was injured, one chest of drawers and the long oblong chest did not suffer any damage and Motokichi according to Onisaburo's advice had been keeping the farm tools for repair in the other hut, and they did not suffer any damage either. Onisaburo's family hastily lodged wit O-Masa, a widow who was living in the same unit of the district of the village.

      A few days after the tire, Onisaburo could not but stand helplessly on the ruins left by the fire. His mother, utterly exhausted, sank into his arms and started crying. He smiled wryly when he realized that, in comforting his mother, he was but echoing the words of his teacher Nao. He felt very fortune nobody had been injured by the spreading fire.

      Yone took him timidly apart and whispered, "The Okyo pictures and the Ueda family tree were reduced to ashes, but what was spared is my life." She smiled broadly and opened the long oblong chest which had escaped the fire. He looked intensely at his mother while holding his breath. Just now several long forgotten articles, the gifts of His Imperial Prince Arisugawa-no-miya-Taruhito, a sword to defend oneself with, a wadded silk garment and a tanzaku bearing a tanka (a strip of fancy paper for writing a tanka) were coming out of the chest.

      Was it more important for his mother to keep these articles as proof of her line of ancestry than to survive the blaze herself? He turned his face away from her, becoming anxious about the mysterious woman's feelings.

      Onisaburo looked around at the well-known trees in the garden. "It takes only two or three months to build a house, but such large trees have been growing for hundreds of years. Nothing is more pleasant than looking at these trees in the garden."

      A Kaya (a Japanese nutmeg) in the northeast corner and a great Aphananthe aspera of the northwest corner were burnt black. Especially Aphananthe aspera in the northwest corner were burnt black. Especially the Aphananthe aspera had become hollow and the fire had rushed in its inner side like if it was a chimney. "No problem. Look at the green color above 60-90 centimeters). In due course, this tree will come to live again and generate sprouting leaves."

      No one had ever thought it possible. But, the Aphananthe aspera and the Japanese nutmeg were miraculously spared and had maintained alive. Now, these large trees were covered with green leaves, although they were maintaining the scars of the burned out places.

      "Mother, I would like to live with you in Ayabe. In my position as adopted son, I am surrounded by many obstinate and obstinate superstitious people. Maybe, you may have to endure some hardships, but, together my wife, O-Sumi, we vow to protect you. the founder has understood everything, and will go with me to Ayabe. It is said that there is no place like home, you know."

      Onisaburo gently endeavored to persuade her to keep her spirits up. But, her voice became immediately choked with emotion and tears came into her eyes. "Are you telling me to become dependent upon the family who took you away from me? Oh, no, I refuse, even at the peril of my life. Tell me the reason why I must pray to O-Nao-han." "I don't ask you to pray to O-Nao-han. I am saying that we pray to the god called Ushitora-no-Konjin." "I feel sad to think that I go unblushingly to Ayabe in the depths of the mountain to pray to an evil god. My Kisa, come back here. I'd like to live with yu in the hut and engage in farming in the Anao Village." "Mother," he could say no more to her. If she went to Ayabe, she would certainly have a hard time. But, it was also true that Nao wanted to make herself the herald of the existence of her god to his mother.

      A while after Onisaburo had gone back, Yone decided to emigrate to Ayabe. The reason was that she had been treated coldly by her relatives lately. She stayed at the house of O-Masa for ten days, but could not depend upon for any more time.

      "It is a matter of course that the eldest son should look after his mother. When Kisa becomes successful with the mountebank enterprise and gathers a lot of the money offering, it will be appropriate for your mother to receive a large palace built by Kisa, I believe. Now, Mr. Jiromatsu has become a worshipper and prays to the god of Kisa while arranging the flower on my hip," Jiromatsu laughed at Onisaburo, who was putting out his tongue.

      Onisaburo's family was going to emigrate to Ayabe, leaving his younger brother, Yoshimatsu, who was an apprentice at family house of Ichihyoe Saito. At that time, the Ueda family was the tenant of a farm of about eight tans (about 7,936 square meters), and Yoshimatsu took over that work. Keitaro Kinoshita and Fusanosuke Murakami started for Ayabe at midnight, drawing two handcarts and came to fetch the Ueda family.

      The Ueda family started the journey to Ayabe, pulling a cartload of the little furniture that had escaped the fire. The family was made up of Yone Ueda, her children, Kokichi, Kimi, Motokichi Nishida and his wife, Yuki. Kimi, suffering from the walk because of her infant feet, got a lift in the handcart together with the long oblong chest. It was to be a long journey for the family. The family stayed overnight at the house of Heizo Shikata in the Takasu district, and next the day, they arrived at Ayabe.

      Yone decided to live downstairs with Kimi. Motokichi Nishida and his wife after consulting with Shikazo Otsuki through Onisaburo's mediation rented a solitary house near the house of the Otsuki family in Kitanishi-cho in order to manage the blacksmith shop. Kokichi lived together with Motokichi and was working with him.

      Nao and Sumi heartily welcomed the Ueda family, but, Onisaburo was secretly anxious about his family who was now depending upon the religious cult now called Omoto. He went to the mountain to pick the butterbur with Sumi, and blended it with rice to cut down the volume of the rice.

      Takekichi Nakamura had the bluntness to say, "Your family preys on this cult. The president isn't allowed to do whatever you usually do. Be more reserved, please."

      Onisaburo answered: "My mother lives by herself. Even if my brother and sister are dependent on the cult, I don't need to be reserved." Saying that Onisaburo who usually made a show of wildness, felt the move of subtlety in this delicate emotion.

      Being interested in Japanese cherry blossoms (Sakura), Onisaburo climbed Mt. Hongu. The owner of this mountain, Rokuzaemon Kaimori welcomed him and treated him to a cup of shibucha (the astringent tea). It seemed that the old man, crippled by avarice, rarely made any effort to welcome others. "Despite the fact that the trees are in full bloom, graceless fellows of Ayabe have not come up here yet. You have indeed a love of poetical scenery," he said in good humor. Onisaburo asked for a branch of the sakura tree from him, and he gladly broke off a branch and gave it to him. When Oninsaburo came back to the church, holding the branch over his shoulder, Takekichi Nakamura looked at him intensely. "My president, the god hates both bamboo and sakura. You know that very well, don't you." "Oh, well, I know that as well as your name which is Takekichi (the bamboo man according to its Japanese!)" Takekichi got inflamed with rage. On the spot he took the branch of Sakura forcibly away from Onisaburo and gave him a beating with it before throwing it away to the garden. Onisaburo sighed: "Fallen flowers never return to their branches through violence."

      At about the time the sakura flowers of Mt. Hongu started falling the call of the church was going to produce the enthusiastic atmosphere among the believers, because Takekichi Nakamura had found some notice of it in the Fudesaki, in the same way as he had learned about the ascetic practices while reciting them in the morning and evening. This time, their destination was expressed clearly. The believers, being anxious about desertion were besieging the church despite the fact that no schedule for the journey had yet been fixed. The topics of believers' conversations were centering on this journey.

      __The world is reaching the end of its life. And you must visit Moto-Ise in Tango region to pray to the god (the old calendar, February 6, new calendar March 25, Meiji era 34).

      __All the officials will appear with their original power (it means in Japanese character of Kanji) to purify the world. According to the will of the true god, an unbeliever is strictly forbidden of performing any sacred work (the old calendar, February 24, new calendar, April 12).

      If we say Moto-Ise, no one has yet visited that place. Takekichi Nakamura and others exhibited triumphantly their mutual knowledge of Moto-Ise.

      The former Ise which is in Oc-cho, Kasa county, Kyoto Prefecture, provided a general name for the Kotai Shrine of the Inner Shrine of Ise (in Naiku, Oe-cho) and the Toyouke Great Shrine (in Toyohira, Amatauchi,Oe-cho). The Inner Shrine of Ise is located in the Miyayama mountain north of the Naiku Village, and is dedicated to Amaterasu-Omikami (the Sun-Goddess). The Main Shrine, stands in front of the precincts, and each Waki-miya (the small shrine) stands on both sides of the Main Shrine. The left Waki-miya is dedicated to the god Amano-tajikarao-no-mikoto, and the right Waki-miya, to the god Takuhata-chichihime-no-mikoto. Seventy-nine small shrines called Hokora are built around the precincts.

      The Outer Shrine of Ise stands on the east bank of Isuzu river (Miya river). The hill called Funaoka mountain has the shape of a ship, and is oriented in a North South direction. Enshrined there is the god Toyouke-no-Okami. Around the Main shrine, in front of the precincts, and on the left and the right side of the Waki-miya, seventy-three small shrines have been built. It is an arrangement comparable with the one that can be seen at the Inner Shrine of Ise.

      In March of the 39th year of the fourth Tenno of Sujin, Amaterasu-Okami possessed the Imperial Princess, Toyosukiiri-no-hime-no-mikoto, and delivered an oracle through her mouth, "Seek another sacred place and dedicate the shrine to this sacred situation." On March 3 of the same year, while presiding over the spiritual mirror of the memory of the Okami, she started from the Shikii-Himorogi (the sacred zone) district, Kasanui Village, Yamato Country. The Transfer of the Shrine to the Tanba County took place on August 18 of the same year. The temporary palace was called Yosano-miya (the Inner Shrine of Ise), and the precinct of this shrine was called Hinu-no-Manaigahara. At the same time, the god Toyouke-no-Okami was assigned to the Outer Shrine of Ise.

      Amaterasu-Okami had been assigned to this shrine for four years. Later, the Goddess' shrine was transferred to several other places with the purpose of seeking more sacred precincts, and on the 25th era of the eleventh Tenno of Sujin, this Goddess was enshrined in the upper reaches of the Isuzu river of current Ise. This transfer occurred fifty-four years after leaving the Kasanui Village.

      The god Toyouke-no-Okami, while staying alone in the Manaigahara district, celebrated a mass. In 22nd year of the era of Yuryaku Tenno, Amaterasu-Omikami appeared in Yuryaku Tenno's dream, and declared, "Though this god is enshrined in the Shrine of Isuzugawa-kami-Omiya (the Great Upper Reaches of the Isuzu River Shrine) this god lives a solitary life and cannot receive the food and wine of the offerings in peace. Have the god Toyouke-no-Okami come up here from Manai, Tanba."

      Yuryaku Tenno was very surprised at this utterance, and built the Outer Shrine of Ise in the Watarai district in Ise to transfer enshrined the god Toouke-no-Okami to this new shrine. As a result it is said that the Outer Shrine of Ise has been dedicated to the god Toyouke-no-Okami for 536 years now.

      According to the document recording these deeds, the Origin of Ise is said to be the former Ise Jingu (Ise Shrine) and the cradle of Shrine Shintoism. However, this very historical shrine is not certified in the world as an authoritative shrine. According to what I have heard the reasons are as follows: Around the last days of the Tokugawa government, the Shinto priest of the day sold the data concerning the original existence of this shrine to the Komori Shrine of the Miyazu district. And according to another account, the villagers were opposed to have the shrine designated as a special government shrine, because they wanted to avoid profanation of the god which would have resulted from the examination of the object of worship previous to the designation.

      "In ancient times, it was said that a man would become self-reliant after he visited the shrine and prayed once for his life to the god, and that a woman would be able to marry after visiting the Origin of Ise, I have heard that." "There was a rock called the baby's tub and the iron bath for the newborn baby's first bath in the precinct of the Origin of Ise." "It is the rule that the water under this rock shall never be drawn up." "It was in this precinct, that the goddess Amaterasu-Omikami went out and that Amano-Iwado (the Gate of the Celestial Rock Cave) the goddess performed her ablutions. The instant you should slip and draw up water of the spiritual place, you will incur divine punishment. Strong winds will blow and great floods will certainly occur. And, the Shinto priest has already hung the sacred straw festoon around this sacred rock, and is on the alert for it, I have heard."

      On March 19, Onisaburo secretly called Keitaro Kinoshita to his room. There was no sign of life around them. Onisaburo said, "About the recent trip, I'd like to ask you in secret the following question." Kinoshita drew closer to him. "No, this is not my request. The founder designated you to do this. That is to say, the god Ushitora-no-Konjin asked you...." Onisaburo pushed forward a piece of paper describing the Fudesaki to Kinoshita. "In the whole wide world pure water called crystal water means only the water under the rock of the tub of the newborn baby's first bath, the iron bath of the new born baby's first bath in the precinct of the Origin of Ise which is related with Amaterasu-Omikami and Amano-Iwado. Draw up and bring crystal water here." Kinoshita's hands began to quiver while he hurriedly looked over the Fudesaki again and again. "Are you telling me that the founder asks me to steal sacred water?" "Yes. Can you do it even if a large flood arises? Can you?"

      Kinoshita's youthful maroon large eyes darkened, and greasy sweat came oozing out on his forehead.

      __The god Ushitora-no-Konjin is as he is but what is the meaning of all this? If I do it, I will incur divine punishment.

      Onisaburo quietly began to persuade Kinoshita, who was suffering from this announcement. "It is no wonder that you are surprised at my telling you this. Even I, myself, was puzzled at reading this Fudesaki. But, human beings cannot enter into the god's feelings. The god orders us what to do through the Fudesaki, and that, however merciless it is, constitutes what the god's conclusion is. We must choose either of two ways, that is, to believe and obey or to doubt and disobey, or to doubt and disobey. As a result there is really no choice but to obey faithfully. Once we have made up our mind to obey the god, we must stick to it to the very last. To draw and carry the prohibited water without permission, is clearly stealing, even if it is only water. But the founder has ordered you to steal something for the sacred zone and the world. This will happen only once in your life, I think. I believe that performing this service is very important for the god since the god ordered you to do it. Are you willing to do it?" "Yes!" Kinoshita arched decisively his eyebrows. He had been chosen among the many, following the opening the Oshima Islet and the Meshima Islet because the founder was trusting him now. 'Well, even if the founder orders me to commit murder, I must do it.'

      He blushed excitedly. "I am grateful to get this chance. You cannot fail to comply with this order. Rush to the Inner Shrine of Ise of the Tango County to get there today and without other people noticing it examine the crystal water. The founder starts always on the 8th day of the old calendar, that is, April 26th of the new calendar (March 8th of the old calendar)." A week later Onisaburo said. Their eyes look as if they are getting entangled in something. On the next midnight someone knocked quietly on the shutter of Onisaburo's house. Onisaburo, being at his desk rolled open the shutters at once and led Keitaro Kinoshita who was in travelling gear into the room. Kinoshita began to talk about the situation of the Origin of Ise in detail, and did not show any sign of fatigue from the journey.

      At the upper reaches of the Isuzu River which runs at the foot of Mt. Himuro to the northwest of the Inner Shrine of Ise, where the rocks of fantastic shape lie, there is a monolith. The monolith has two holes in it which are filled with spring water and those holes look like a Giant's eyes. These are called the tubs of the newborn baby's first bath and the iron bath of the newborn baby's first bath. They keep a strict vigilance over the rock and the water far beyond anything one could conjecture. On the cliff, from where one can take an overall view of the rock and the river, stands the shrine's office and the shrine's priests who are in attendance keep an eye on the rock all day long.

      Meanwhile, Onisaburo was very anxious to ford the rushing stream of the Isuzu River at any risk, in order to reach the two gaps in the rock. Despite being narrow, the river was deep and the current strong enough to crush rocks and make splashes. The bank was a cliff. I wonder if they can ford the river safely without a bridge of at least four meters. Kinoshita shook Onisaburo. Onisaburo closed his eyes, uncertainly flickering the upper half of his body while Kinoshita kept talking, although it was unclear if he paid any attention to what he said or not. Kinoshita did not get in the least angry with him, thinking that he had taken such pains to investigate the river. "How can we cross that river? There is no way to swim across in the midst of the night, right? Do you hear what I said, Reverend?" Kinoshita said. "Oh, what this river's water is very cold. However, the sacred water is very clear, because I can see the bottom through water. What? Are you anxious about crossing the river? No, I have no problem. The god will lead us safely across. Rely only on the god." Kinoshita remained silent. "When I came to that newborn baby's first bath and the iron bath of the new baby's first bath, I got into the tub with a splash and now, I came back again. By the way, I ladled the spiritual water in a bottle, but as it is not enough, the founder orders you to take real pains to get more of it." "What? When did you go to that rock?" "Well, at what time, did you go? Or are you going to go again now or later. Excuse me, I'm sorry. I have put you to so much trouble."

      Before their departure, Onisaburo called Kinoshita three times, while he was escaping, still in traveling gear, from the excited believers. "Something new appeared in the Fudesaki, but I cannot show it to everyone yet. But, you should read it in secret," said Onisaburo. "Yes." Kinoshita raised it reverently to his eyes and read it avidly.

      __The water of the newborn baby's first bath and the iron bath in Origin of Ise is very respectable and clear, and it reaches us from far away in ancient times. In his endeavor to rebuild the world, the god lets the soul, which is closely bound to this sacred situation, draw crystal clear water of old times from the Omoto cult of the Ayabe district, to serve the great work of rebuilding the world. Except after receiving an injunction from the god Ushitora-no-Konjin, no one is allowed to draw up this water. According to the god's will, this sacred situation will touch his soul with the perfection of his finger. This service of the Origin of Ise is the sacred plan to unite the world. After you visit Izumo once more, you will be able to complete the service of Izumo, and this sacred situation will smooth out the whole world, that is, heaven and earth. If you do not complete this service, you will not be able to understand this great plan of the god. This sacred situation will re-erect the world through the protection of water and fire, do you understand? (On March 7, Meiji era 34 of the old calendar).

      The instant Kinoshita finished reading it in a hurry, he covered his eyes with both hands. Though he was pressing his hands over his eyes, his tears flowed profusely through his fingers. Onisaburo said to him, "Well, we are going to the Origin of Ise for the service of water, this time. In the Fudesaki, we were previously requested to visit Izumo for the service of fire. Both services are united and move the world. You shoulder the god's great will which will reunite the world."

      On April 26 (March 8, the old calendar), thirty-six members of the party started to go to Tango in their same traveling gear of cotton's cloths and hakama (the divided skirt for man's formal wear), the sedge hat, the straw raincoat, which is like a mat and straw sandals. Nao always walked at the head of the party, and behind her followed Onisaburo, Sumi and the others. The party walked through the Ikuta Village, Shigago, Ichiharadani and Mikawa, looking at the fresh greenery for twenty-four kilometers. They arrived at the Inner Shrine of Ise at twilight. They noisily took off their straw sandals at an old hotel named Matsushiroya. Keitaro Kinoshita had made reservations at this hotel when he came there six days before to investigate the rock. The others did not notice that Yoshimatsu Moritsu, forty-seven years old, had quietly slipped out of the hotel, winking noticeably at Kinoshita. According to Nao's orders, Moritsu had the role keeping on the watch to support Kinoshita. He was a time worn believer of the Nishi-Hatta Village, a short man, rugged and honest. Even when he walked at a leisurely pace on the way to Ame-no-Iwado, the villagers would look at him as on a neighboring peasant.

      Kinoshita, forgetting to take off his straw sandals, was absorbed in gossipping with the clerk of the hotel, while sitting down on the doorway. It was because he suspected some danger that Kinoshita had gone out of the hotel with Moritsu. Kinoshita wanted to negotiate with the clerk about the charges. He had two green bamboo tubes concealed in his bosom. Complying with Nao's request, he ordered Ichitaro Ushirono to perform his ablutions without telling the reason for it and after he had finished he purified him with the bamboo several times. Ushirono, who was nineteen years old, was a believer, born in the Makura district, Maizuru City.

      Kinoshita felt uneasy, while talking with the clerk unconcernedly. The twilight was quickly darkening. He was somewhat disgusted with Onisaburo who had lightly cracked a joke at Takekichi Nakamura.

      'It is very easy for your soul to go to the rock over the river and the cliff at jump. But, my flesh must actually go to draw up the sacred water in reality.' Kinoshita was going to start at twilight. 'I cannot steal water with a lighted lantern. I must go as quickly as possible. I can't bear this anguish any longer.' He said. He felt so impatient to do it that he could not salivate anymore and his mouth felt parched. The clerk stood up after finding out what the topic of conversation was. A few moments later, Yoshimatsu Moritsu passed in front of the entrance of the hotel. Then, he came back and stood at the door, while coughing. Kinoshita played it cool, stood up and decided to go after him. "Now, good luck. The watchman has entered into the shrine's office, maybe for supper. Hurry up!" Moritsu said, Kinoshita began to run in the evening dusk, listening to what he was saying. He had to reach the rock without being seen. He had repeatedly recalled the way to reach his destination.

      After climbing in a dash forty-five steps of the stone steps leading to the shrine, they found a stone lantern in which a light was burning. Passing the torii and running up another forty-five steps, they arrived at a place where three Japanese cedars stood on the west side of the way. An epigraph was written there which read as follows: "In ancient times, Prince Maroko subjugated the rebels and served the god by planting these trees as a symbol of subjugation to the Prince. When reaching the top of the steps they arrived at the wide precincts of a shrine belonging to the Inner Shrine of Ise which stands at the extreme backward side of the general precints. This shrine is quite simple and thatch-roofed with the sacred air from under the leaves of a large Japanese cedar. "Please allow me and help me to complete the god's plan." Kinoshita shouted in his mind, while joining his hands nervously.

      Turning to the left of the corner of the Kagura-do (the hall for sacred dances), Kinoshita went down a steep descending path. Various kinds of old trees, the chinquapin, the oak, the sakaki, the Japanese cypress, the sun tree and others covered the whole mountain to the point of obstructing the view of the sky. Getting rid of the branches hanging over the path, Kinoshita ran down the slope in a dash and came to stand on top of the cliff, overlooking the Isuzu River. While he was gathering his breath, Moritsu caught up with him with some difficulty.

      Keeping a watchful eye on the surrounding both turned to the left and went down the way to the Ame-no-Iwado. Just in front of them a light was coming through the window of the shrine's office.

      Kinoshita ordered Moritsu to keep on the outlook, and slid quickly down the steep declivity that leads to the Isuzu River. Nothing could be seen after sunset and the visibility had deteriorated quickly as the sunset had started. He was relying exclusively on what was written in the Fudesaki: 'This sacred situation will not allow even a finger to be put on you.'

      Kinoshita stood on the bank of the Isuzu River which violent stream was rushing and making bubbles. Kinoshita couldn't believe his eyes while he was searching for a place where to cross the river. It was very difficult in such a darkness to distinguish the long stretch on the opposite bank making the place to cross. It could not be! He had touched it but it was nothing alike what he had seen while he had examined the river beforehand. It must be that a large rotten tree, had drifted near the place, just across from where he stood. "My God!" Kinoshita shouted mentally. He slowly started crawling on the rotten tree, trembling with the fear at the sight of the roaring stream. He had crossed on the tree for the sake of his own life, and now he was rushing towards the iron bath and the tub of the newborn baby's first bath, while passing a place where sacred straw festoons where hanging on the trees.

      The gaps in both rocks were quite large, measuring two stretches of his arms. He was hastily filling the bamboo tube with water, but was unable to do it well because the mouth of the tube was too narrow. 'To serve the god and pray for his blessing will be rewarded according to the service performed.' While praying mentally, he was directly dipping the bamboo tube into the water with a gurgling sound. The water was so extremely cold that he felt like if his fingers had died.

      At the Matsushiroya hotel, the party took a bath to wash off the sweat of the journey. They had a dinner set of thirty-six zens (trays) in the room upstair. Onisaburo had confided the divine service of ladling water only to Sumi and Heizo Shikata. If Nakamura and others had come to know about it, it was possible that they would make a big blunder, because they were eager to steal the merit of the march. Before the Shinto priest noticed what his plan was, Onisaburo had to cheat the members of his group. Sumi also took great care to avoid that the members become suspicious about the absence of Kinoshita and Moritsu and in her characteristic fashion she exhibited an attitude of talking lightly and being noisy. Nakamura was cautiously sitting near Onisaburo. Nakamura strained his brains to try to find out what the role of Onisaburo was in this journey. Nao was quietly observing both of them while keeping an especially sharp look at Onisaburo.

      Keitaro Kinoshita entered the room secretly. Kinoshita was unable to look directly at Nao, because he was shedding tears. Moritsu got discreetly close to Nao and whispered to her: "I complied with your request in all safety." "Hey you, where have you been fooling around? Idiot! Massage my waist." Onisaburo, who laid sprawling in ill manner on the floor said to Kinoshita. "Reverend, a fallen tree helped me...." Kinoshita began to tell the whole adventure, but Onisaburo interrupted him and shouted, "I'd like to have celebration sake."

      On the next morning, the forty-two members of the party who had been increased by six new members visited the Inner Shrine of Ise to pray to the god. They could not find a single pine tree in the Miya-yama (the shrine's mountain), although it is so thickly covered with miscellaneous trees that is remained dark even during the day. At the sight of the moss, fern and others twines wrapped around the trunks of the large trees, one could guess that they were quite old trees. The torii is rarely made of black wood with the exception of the torii of the Nonomiya Shrine in the Sagano district of Kyoto. A large tree, stretching high into the air and standing between the main shrine and the other small shrine, is called the "cedar of the Dragon's light."

      After reciting the Shinto prayer, obeying Nao's injunction, the party was going to go to the Iwado Shrine while passing through the path on the cliff near where the shrine's priest was. The Iwado Shrine is small and is built on unstable rocks of the mountain stream, full of various strange rocks and stones. The party proceeded to the front of the shrine, following the iron railing.

      All this area was the sacred place where the Goddess Amaterasu-Okami (the Sun Goddess) led an ascetic life in days bygone, it is said. The Senjo-rock (the rock of 1,000 tatamis' area), encompasses the whole width of the river behind the small shrine which is called the Mikura-Ishi assigned the summit of Mt. Kensaki as the sacred seat of the Goddess Amaterasu-Okami, and that she fell into this mountain stream. Here, while Nao was leading the recitation of the prayer, Nakamura who was thriving began to be moved by the mysterious power, and Onisaburo was striving to calm his impulse.

      They visited the shrine's office and asked for some amulets. The shrine's priest pointed towards the tub of the newborn baby's first bath and the iron bath in front of his eyes, and explained proudly the following: "If someone steals that water, a rainstorm will arise in a few moments and the fields will be washed down to bare wasteland." Hearing his story, Kinoshita and Moritsu exchanged a grin.

      After visiting the Inner Shrine of Ise, the party, next visited the Outer Shrine of Ise which is about one ri (about four kilometers) away from the Inner Shrine of Ise and then they left for home. On their way home, they stopped at the house of Yasunosuke Fukubayashi in the Tachi district and, at his earnest request. They stayed over for lunch. Onisaburo prayed to the god for the cure of a peritonitis which was making Kichinosuke Murakami, the child of a believer, cry while the doctor had already given up the hope of curing it. The pain soon faded away as was seen by all the villagers. Although the villagers were unwilling to have them leave, the party left the village and arrived near the riverside of the Ikuta Village in the evening. A cow, being tethered to a stake on the bank, fell into the river and lashed out frantically trying to free itself from the bridle, which was coiled around its body. Onisaburo dived off the bank into the river and helped the cow, cutting the bridle. The party was quite encouraged by the actions of Onisaburo who had saved two lives in a single day.

      The party had now arrived at the Ryumon-kan building. At the instant the party finished reciting the thanksgiving, the lamp fell in the spacious room and its fire lit the paper-sliding door in a flash. The members hardly got the fire under control, and when Onisaburo went to kitchen to drink water, he found that the fire was falling from the fuel hole and was spreading rapidly to the firewood besides the hole. Onisaburo called out the members and to help him extinguish it. While all of them were talking about the double and sudden outbreaks of fire, a strange cry came from the room. Onisaburo was first to rush into the room. The cloth of Takekichi Nakamura had burst into flames and he was running around. When knocking his back against the lamp, burning oil had dropped on his clothes. Onisaburo brought the bedclothes at once and pressed them on the burning clothes to extinguish the flames. There had now been three unexplained and fearsome fire outbreaks in a short time. What omen was that? A good or an evil omen?

      Nakamura, exuding the smell of burnt hair, looked pail and was breathing hard. He said, "I can get much blessings because I have prayed in earnest to the god. I have purified myself with water without missing a single day. In addition to that, I was purified by the fire this time. And I can exhibit a crystal clear soul on which not a speck nor blur is to be seen. But, he ignored completely Onisaburo who had helped him. Nao admonished him softly for this. "Nakamura-han, give thanks to the Reverend." Nakamura obstinately shook his head, "Oh no, no, I cannot give thanks to a foreigner's soul. By all means, I deserved the blessings because the god ordered a god named Komatsu-bayashi to help me. I can say even more, the president was used by the god to help me, so I give thanks to the god." All exchanged glances in disgust. "You are an abiding man," Nao rose up from seat, smiling wryly.

      After coming back, Nao, first of all, delivered the service of the Fudesaki and the sacred water. Pure crystal water of the Origin of Ise Shrine was first offered on the altar. Water of one bamboo tube was left as it was in order to preserve it, and half of the water in another bamboo tube was dealt out and passed around to be drunken little by little. The remaining water was divided into three equal parts to be poured into the well of the Ryumon-yakata (this water, was called Kinmei-sui = the golden light water), the well of Kakusuke of the Origin Residence (this water, called silver light water) and the well of the house of Gennosuke Shikata. Later, the wells of Kakusuke and Gennosuke belonged to the Omoto sect, but at that time these wells had passed into other's hands. Only Keitaro Kinoshita asked the founder for some water and he got it secretly, "Would you please give me this sacred water? I cannot draw wwater from my well because the well rope is severed." Nao said to all in a joyful tone, "Before long, people will come to me from Kyoto and Osaka to get this water."

      On May 27 (April 10 of the old calendar), according to the god's will, Nao, accompanied by thirty-five couriers, went on a journey to the Meshima Islet with one bamboo tube filled with that water and the pure water of Ryumon-yakata.

      Standing on the top of the Tsurigane-Iwa (the hanging bell rock), Nao poured the god's water into the raging waves of the Dragon Palace's sea.

      __Sacred water! Go round the ocean and become cloud, rain, snow, and mist, and purify the world, and may God create a new country for us!"

      Nao prayed to the gods of sea and heaven. Her voice echoed from above as thunder would and passed through her whole body.

      __This water will go around the world for three years. And the world will now start to move again.

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