Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/43

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scended into the garden, — passed out to the roadway, — ceased. From either side of his head, the blind man felt a thick warm trickling; but he dared not lift his hands. . . .

Before sunrise the priest came back. He hastened at once to the verandah in the rear, stepped and slipped upon something clammy, and uttered a cry of horror ; — for he saw, by the light of his lantern, that the clamminess was blood. But he perceived Hōïchi sitting there, in the attitude of meditation — with the blood still oozing from his wounds.

“My poor Hōïchi!” cried the startled priest, — “what is this? . . . You have been hurt?” . . .

At the sound of his friend’s voice, the blind man felt safe. He burst out sobbing, and tearfully told his adventure of the night.

“Poor, poor Hōïchi!” the priest exclaimed, — “all my fault!—my very grievous fault! . . . Everywhere upon your body the holy texts had been written — except upon your ears! I trusted my acolyte to do that part of the work; and it was very, very wrong of me not to have made sure that he had done it! . . . Well, the matter cannot now be helped ; — we

can only try to heal your hurts as soon as possible. . . . Cheer up, friend!—the danger is