Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Haiku Kai. This month it's all about fairytales. We already read several wonderful fairytales from 1001 Nights and today we will start reading fairytales from the Motherland of Haiku, Japan. Japan has a lot of wonderful fairytales and we will read several of those beauties.
To start this episode I dived into my archive and found a nice "fairytale"-like haiku written by Yozakura, the Unknown haiku poet:
hantoumei no koucha no kappu cha no fukai himitsu goosuto wo hi hyouji ni
translucent tea cup
hides a deep secret
ghost of tea
|Special CDHK Logo for the 2nd part of January 2018|
Horaizan (Japanese fairy-tale):
The word was Mutability. It was with him day and night, and sorely it troubled him. Moreover, in the days of Jofuku a tyrant ruled over China, and he made the Wise Man’s life a burden.
“Jofuku,” he said, “teach the nightingales of my wood to sing me the songs of the Chinese poets.”
Jofuku could not do it for all his wisdom.
a Nightingale is singing it's song
for the joy of the world
“Alas, liege,” he said, “ask me another thing and I will give it you, though it cost me the blood of my heart.”
“Have a care,” said the Emperor, “look to your ways. Wise men are cheap in China; am I one to be dishonored?”
“Ask me another thing,” said the Wise Man.
“Well, then, scent me the peony with the scent of the jessamine. The peony is brilliant, imperial; the jessamine is small, pale, foolish. Nevertheless, its perfume is sweet. Scent me the peony with the scent of the jessamine.”
“By the gods,” cried the Emperor, “this wise man is a fool! Here, some of you, off with his head.”
“Liege,” said the Wise Man, “spare me my life and I will set sail for Horaizan where grows the herb Immortality. I will pluck this herb and bring it back to you again, that you may live and reign forever.”
The Emperor considered.
“Well, go,” he said, “and linger not, or it will be the worse for you.”
Jofuku went and found brave companions to go with him on the great adventure, and he manned a junk with the most famous mariners of China, and he took stores on board, and gold; and when he had made all things ready he set sail in the seventh month, about the time of the full moon.
The Emperor himself came down to the seashore.
“Speed, speed, Wise Man,” he said; “fetch me the herb Immortality, and see that you do it presently. If you return without it, you and your companions shall die the death.”
“Farewell, liege,” called Jofuku from the junk. So they went with a fair wind for their white sails. The boards creaked, the ropes quivered, the water splashed against the junk’s side, the sailors sang as they steered a course eastward, the brave companions were merry. But the Wise Man of China looked forward and looked back, and was sad because of the word written upon his heart—Mutability.
|Chinese Junk (Image found on Pinterest)|
In the grey dawn he looked up. Far to the east he saw a mountain, very faint, the color of pearl, and on the mountain top there grew a tree, tall, with spreading branches. The Wise Man murmured:
“The Island of Horaizan is east of the east, and there is Fusan, the Wonder Mountain. On the heights of Fusan there grows a tree whose branches hide the Mysteries of Life.”
Jofuku lay weak and weary and could not lift a finger. Nevertheless, the junk glided nearer and nearer to the shore. Still and blue grew the waters of the sea, and Jofuku saw the bright green grass and the many-colored flowers of the island. Soon there came troops of young men and maidens bearing garlands and singing songs of welcome; and they waded out into the water and drew the junk to land. Jofuku was aware of the sweet and spicy odors that clung to their garments and their hair. At their invitation he left the junk, which drifted away and was no more seen.
in my backyard
He said, “I have come to Horaizan the Blest.” Looking up he saw that the trees were full of birds with blue and golden feathers. The birds filled the air with delightful melody. On all sides there hung the orange and the citron, the persimmon and the pomegranate, the peach and the plum and the loquat. The ground at his feet was as a rich brocade, embroidered with every flower that is. The happy dwellers in Horaizan took him by the hands and spoke lovingly to him.
“How strange it is,” said Jofuku, “I do not feel my old age anymore.”
“What is old age?” they said.
“Neither do I feel any pain.”
“Now what is pain?” they said.
“The word is no longer written on my heart.”
“What word do you speak of, beloved?”
“Mutability is the word.”
“And what may be its interpretation?”
“Tell me,” said the Wise Man, “is this death?”
“We have never heard of death,” said the inhabitants of Horaizan.
It's a wonderful fairytale, but to long for including it in this episode. So you can find the last part of Horaizan on our "The Story Goes On" page above in the menu.
This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until January 28th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, The Star Lovers, later on. For now ... have fun!