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´╗┐Title: Matsuyama kagami. English - The Matsuyama Mirror
Author: Eitaku, 1843-1890 [Illustrator], James, T. H., Mrs. [Translator]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Japanese Fairy Tale Series, No 10.

#The Matsuyama Mirror.#



Published by T. HASEGAWA, 17 Kami Negishi, TOKYO.






A long long time ago, there lived in a quiet spot, a young man and his
wife. They had one child, a little daughter, whom they both loved with
all their hearts. I cannot tell you their names, for they have been
long since forgotten, but the name of the place where they lived was
Matsuyama, in the province of Echigo.

It happened once, while the little girl was still a baby, that the
father was obliged to go to the great city, the capital of Japan, upon
some business. It was too far for the mother and her little baby to go,
so he set out alone, after bidding them good bye, and promising to bring
them home some pretty present.


The mother had never been further from home than the next village, and
she could not help being a little frightened at the thought of her
husband taking such a long journey, and yet she was a little proud
too, for he was the first man in all that country side who had been to
the big town where the King and his great lords lived, and where there
were so many beautiful and curious things to be seen.

At last the time came when she might expect her husband back, so she
dressed the baby in its best clothes, and herself put on a pretty blue
dress which she knew her husband liked.


You may fancy how glad this good wife was to see him come home safe
and sound, and how the little girl clapped her hands, and laughed with
delight, when she saw the pretty toys her father had brought for her.
He had much to tell of all the wonderful things he had seen upon the
journey, and in the town itself.


"I have brought you a very pretty thing," said he to his wife: "it is
called a mirror. Look and tell me what you see inside." He gave to her
a plain, white wooden box, in which, when she had opened it, she found
a round piece of metal. One side was white like frosted silver, and
ornamented with raised figures of birds and flowers, the other was
bright as the clearest crystal. Into it the young mother looked with
delight and astonishment, for, from its depths was looking at her with
parted lips and bright eyes, a smiling happy face.


"What do you see?" again asked the husband, pleased at her
astonishment, and glad to show that he had learned something while he
had been away. "I see a pretty woman looking at me, and she moves her
lips as if she was speaking, and--dear me, how odd, she has on a blue
dress just like mine!" "Why, you silly woman, it is your own face that
you see," said the husband, proud of knowing something that his wife
didn't know. That round piece of metal is called a mirror, in the town
every body has one, although we have not seen them in this country place


The wife was charmed with her present, and, for a few days could not
look into the mirror often enough, for you must remember, that, as this
was the first time she had seen a mirror, so, of course, it was the
first time she had ever seen the reflection of her own pretty face. But
she considered such a wonderful thing far too precious for every day
use, and soon shut it up in its box again, and put it away carefully
among her most valued treasures.

Years past on, and the husband and wife still lived happily. The joy of
their life was their little daughter, who grew up the very image of her
mother, and who was so dutiful and affectionate that every body loved
her. Mindful of her own little passing vanity on finding herself so
lovely, the mother kept the mirror carefully hidden away, fearing that
the use of it might breed a spirit of pride in her little girl.

She never spoke of it, and as for the father, he had forgotten all about
it. So it happened that the daughter grew up as simple as the mother had
been, and knew nothing of her own good looks, or of the mirror which
would have reflected them.

But bye and bye a terrible misfortune happened to this happy little
family. The good, kind mother fell sick; and, although her daughter
waited upon her day and night, with loving care, she got worse and
worse, until at last there was no hope but that she must die.

When she found that she must so soon leave her husband and child, the
poor woman felt very sorrowful, grieving for those she was going to
leave behind, and most of all for her little daughter.

She called the girl to her and said; "My darling child, you know that I
am very sick: soon I must die, and leave your dear father and you alone.
When I am gone, promise me that you will look into this mirror every
night and every morning: there you will see me, and know that I am still
watching over you." With these words she took the mirror from its hiding
place and gave it to her daughter. The child promised, with many tears,
and so the mother, seeming now calm and resigned, died a short time


Now this obedient and dutiful daughter, never forgot her mother's last
request, but each morning and evening took the mirror from its hiding
place, and looked in it long and earnestly. There she saw the bright and
smiling vision of her lost mother. Not pale and sickly as in her last
days, but the beautiful young mother of long ago. To her at night she
told the story of the trials and difficulties of the day, to her in the
morning she looked for sympathy and encouragement in whatever might be
in store for her. So day by day she lived as in her mother's sight,
striving still to please her as she had done in her life time, and
careful always to avoid whatever might pain or grieve her. Her greatest
joy was to be able to look in the mirror and say; "Mother, I have been
today what you would have me to be."


Seeing her every night and morning, without fail, look into the mirror,
and seem to hold converse with it, her father at length asked her the
reason of her strange behaviour. "Father," she said, "I look in the
mirror every day to see my dear mother and to talk with her." Then she
told him of her mother's dying wish, and how she had never failed to
fulfil it. Touched by so much simplicity, and such faithful, loving
obedience, the father shed tears of pity and affection. Nor could he
find it in his heart to tell the child, that the image she saw in the
mirror, was but the reflection of her own sweet face, by constant
sympathy and association, becoming more and more like her dead mother's
day by day.



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