Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/185

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his name, 'Riki-Baka,' in the palm of his left hand,—putting 'Riki' in the Chinese character, and 'Baka' in kana. And she repeated many prayers for him,—prayers that he might be reborn into some more happy condition.

" Now, about three months ago, in the honorable residence of Nanigashi-Sama, in Kōjimachi, a boy was born with characters on the palm of his left hand; and the characters were quite plain to read,—'Riki-Baka'!

" So the people of that house knew that the birth must have happened in answer to somebody's prayer; and they caused inquiry to be made everywhere. At last a vegetable-seller brought word to them that there used to be a simple lad, called Riki-Baka, living in the Ushigomé quarter, and that he had died during the last autumn; and they sent two men-servants to look for the mother of Riki.

" Those servants found the mother of Riki, and told her what had happened; and she was glad exceedingly for that Nanigashi house is a very rich and famous house. But the servants said that the family of Nanigashi-Sama were very angry about the word 'Baka' on the child's hand. 'And where is your Riki buried?' the servants asked. 'He is buried in the cemetery of Zendōji,' she told them. 'Please to give us some of the clay of his grave,' they requested.

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