Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/55

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

“Yes, I mean in this world, — in your own present life, Nagao-Sama. . . . Providing, indeed, that you wish it. Only, for this thing to happen, I must again be born a girl, and grow up to womanhood. So you would have to wait. Fifteen—sixteen years: that is a long time. . . . But, my promised husband, you are now only nineteen years old.” . . .

Eager to soothe her dying moments, he answered tenderly : —

“To wait for you, my betrothed, were no less a joy than a duty. We are pledged to each other for the time of seven existences.”

“But you doubt?” she questioned, watching his face.

“My dear one,” he answered, “ I doubt whether I should be able to know you in another body, under another name, — unless you can tell me of a sign or token.”

“That I cannot do,” she said. “Only the Gods and the Buddhas know how and where we shall meet. But I am sure—very, very sure — that, if you be not unwilling to receive me, I shall be able to come back to you. . . . Remember these words of mine.” . . .

She ceased to speak; and her eyes closed. She was dead.