Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/198

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Kwaidan, Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Kanji.png the midway-blue there hangs a faint, faint vision of palace towers, with high roofs horned and curved like moons,—some shadowing of splendor strange and old, illumined by a sunshine soft as memory.

. . . What I have thus been trying to describe is a kakémono,—that is to say, a Japanese painting on silk, suspended to the wall of my alcove;—and the name of it is Shinkirō, which signifies "Mirage." But the shapes of the mirage are unmistakable. Those are the glimmering portals of Hōrai the blest; and those are the moony roofs of the Palace of the Dragon-King;—and the fashion of them (though limned by a Japanese brush of to-day) is the fashion of things Chinese, twenty-one hundred years ago. . . .

Thus much is told of the place in the Chinese books of that time:—

In Hōrai there is neither death nor pain; and there is no winter. The flowers in that place never fade, and the fruits never fail; and if a man taste of those fruits even but once, he can never again feel thirst or hunger. In Hōrai grow the enchanted plants So-rin-shi, and Riku-gō-aoi, and Ban-kon-tō, which heal all manner of sickness;—and there grows also the magical grass Yo-shin-shi, that quickens the174