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Title: Umé San in Japan
Author: Dalrymple, Julia, McDonald, Etta Blaisdell
Language: English
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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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              [Illustration: UMÉ SAN IN THE FIELD OF IRIS]

                        LITTLE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE

                                UMÉ SAN
                                IN JAPAN

                       BY ETTA BLAISDELL McDONALD
                          AND JULIA DALRYMPLE

               Authors of "Manuel in Mexico," "Raphael in
                  Italy," "Kathleen in Ireland," etc.



                       LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

                           _Copyright, 1909_,
                     BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

                         _All rights reserved._

                       Published September, 1909.

                 S. J. PARKHILL & CO., BOSTON, U. S. A.


Japan is a paradise of flowers and of treasure-flowers, as the Japanese
mothers call their babies. In no other country in the world do they both
form so large a part of the daily life of the people. From the first
white plum blossom to the last gorgeous chrysanthemum the path of the
days is strewn with beautiful blossoms; and from the time of the Dolls'
Festival to the New Year's Celebration there is a constant round of
simple pleasures for the children.

Happy children! who are always laughing and never crying; who are taught
filial respect, reverence, and unquestioning obedience, but are
surrounded in their homes with an atmosphere of kindness, cheerfulness
and loving care.

It is true that the New Japan is very different from the Old. Railway
trains and electric cars are taking the place of the jinrikisha and
kago; modern school-houses, with desks, chairs, blackboards, and the
latest methods of teaching are fast replacing the tiny school-room with
its matted floors and its lessons learned by rote. But the spirit of the
common people is unchanged. The children play the same games and listen
to the same delightful tales; and their fathers and mothers hold to
their old superstitions, their ancestor-worship and their love of

This story is a picture of the simple life of a Japanese family. To
follow little Umé San through the year, to play with her dolls on the
days of the Dolls' Festival, to go with her to the parks to admire the
cherry blossoms or chrysanthemums and join the crowds who are
celebrating these joyous seasons, to feed the goldfishes and doves in
the temple gardens, to buy toys and gifts in the streets of shops, and
to welcome the New Year with festivity and merrymaking, is to catch a
glimpse of the rare charm and spirit that pervade life in this "Land of
the Rising Sun."


      CHAPTER      PAGE

         I. LITTLE MISS PLUM BLOSSOM   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   1

        II. UMÉ'S BIRTHDAY     .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   9

       III. TEI BUYS A DOLL    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  18

        IV. THE DOLLS' FESTIVAL    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  26

         V. A VISIT TO THE TEMPLE      .   .   .   .   .   .   .  36

        VI. CHERRY-BLOSSOM TIME    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  42

       VII. THE FLAG FESTIVAL      .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  51

      VIII. THE SINGING INSECTS    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  57

        IX. A TRIP TO KAMAKURA     .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  63

         X. THE ISLAND OF SHELLS   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  74

        XI. A DAY IN SCHOOL    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  82

       XII. YUKI SAN IN THE STREET OF SHOPS    .   .   .   .   .  88

      XIII. THE EMPEROR'S BIRTHDAY     .   .   .   .   .   .   .  95

       XIV. DARUMA SAMA    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   . 104

        XV. NEW YEAR'S DAY     .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   . 111

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

        Umé San in the Field of Iris   .   .   .   .    FRONTISPIECE

        Boys Playing Marbles   .   .   .   .   .   .   . _Page_   12

        Umé Riding in a Jinrikisha     .   .   .   .   .    "     37

        "The Cherry Trees in Ueno Park are in full
        Blossom"           .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .    "     42

        There was a Fish for every Boy     .   .   .   .    "     52

        Fujiyama, the Sacred Mountain      .   .   .   .    "     69

        "Nothing can harm the Great Buddha"    .   .   .    "     73

        "Umé caught her first Glimpse of the Lovely
        Green Island"      .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .    "     74

        The Street of Shops and Asakusa Temple     .   .    "     91

                            UMÉ SAN IN JAPAN

                               CHAPTER I

                        LITTLE MISS PLUM BLOSSOM

The little plum tree in the garden had blossomed regularly every year
for ten years on the twentieth day of the second month. That day was
Plum Blossom's birthday.

On the day that she was born the little plum tree had blossomed for the
first time. For that reason she was called Umé, which is the Japanese
word for "plum blossom"; and for her sake the tree had opened its first
blossoms on that same day for the next nine years.

Now, on the day before her eleventh birthday, all the buds were closed
hard and fast. Umé looked at them just before going to bed and there
seemed no chance of their opening for several days.

"Perhaps the weather will be fine to-morrow, Umé-ko," said her mother,
as she spread a wadded quilt on the floor for her little daughter's bed.
"If it is, and the sun shines honorably bright, the buds may open before
the hour of sunset."

"I will say a prayer to Benten Sama that it may be so," answered Umé.
Benten Sama is the Japanese goddess of good fortune, to whom the little
girl prayed very often.

She knelt upon the mat and bent down until her forehead touched the
floor, after the Japanese manner of making an honorable bow. She clapped
her hands softly three times, and then rubbed one little pink palm
against the other while she prayed.

"Dear Benten Sama," she said, "grant that just one little spray of the
plum blossoms may open to-morrow."

For a moment she was very still, and then she added, "If they are open
when I first wake in the morning, I will honorably practise on my koto
for one whole hour after breakfast."

Then little Umé Utsuki slipped into her bed upon the floor, laid her
head on the thin cushion of her wooden pillow, and drew the soft puff
under her cunning Japanese chin.

"Good-night, dear Benten Sama," she whispered softly, and fell asleep
with the words of an old Japanese song on her drowsy tongue:--

       "Evening burning!
        Little burning!
    Weather, be fair to-morrow!"

The buds on the plum tree outside were closed hard and fast, and the
house walls about Umé were also tightly closed. The bright moon in the
heavens could find no chink through which to send a cheering ray to
little Umé San.

All through the night the frost sparkled on the bare twigs of the dwarf
trees in the garden. All through the night the plum tree stood still and
made no sign that Benten Sama had heard Umé's prayer. When the moonbeams
grew pale in the morning light the buds were still tightly closed.

Umé stirred in her bed on the floor, crept softly to the screen in the
wall and pushed it open. She moved the outer shutter also along its
groove and stepped off the veranda without even stopping to put on her
white stockings or her little wooden clogs.

Down the garden path to the plum tree she pattered as fast as her bare
feet could carry her.

Alas, there was nothing to be seen on her plum tree but brown buds!

She looked up into the gray morning sky and tried to think of something
else; but her gay little kimono covered a heart that was heavy with

The tears tried to force their slow way into her eyes, but the little
girl blinked them back again.

Umé's ten years had been spent in learning the hard lesson of bearing
disappointments cheerfully. Now, with the shadow of tears filling her
eyes, she tried to bring the shadow of a smile to her tiny mouth.

"Benten Sama did not honorably please to open the buds," she whispered
with a sob.

Then, standing on the frosty ground, with her bare toes numb from the
cold, Umé made a rebellious little resolve deep in her heart where she
thought Benten Sama would know nothing about it.

She resolved not to practise on her koto at all after breakfast.

There were two reasons for making the resolve so secretly. She might
wish to pray to Benten Sama again some time, although if the goddess
were not going to answer her prayers it did not seem at all likely; and
besides, it was being very disobedient, because it was the rule that she
must practise one-half hour every morning after breakfast.

Suddenly she realized that her disobedience would hurt her mother, who
was not at all to blame because the plum tree had not blossomed; but
just as her resolution began to weaken, her mother came out upon the
veranda and called to her.

"The plum branch which your august father brought home only a week ago
is full of blossoms," she said, as she led the child back into the

It was true. In a beautiful vase on the floor of the honorable alcove
stood a spray of white plum blossoms. Umé's mother pushed the sliding
walls of the room wide open so that the morning sun might shine full
upon the flowers.

The little girl ran across the matted floor and knelt joyously before
them. "They are most honorably welcome!" she cried, and bent her
forehead to the floor in salutation.

She forgot at once her disappointment in the garden and her resolve not
to practise. She touched the sweet blossoms with loving fingers and
called her brother to look at the beautiful things.

"Come Tara San! Come and look at the eldest brother of a hundred
flowers!" she called.

Not only Tara, her brother, but Yuki, her baby sister, also came to bend
over the blossoms in delight.

The spray stood in a brown jar filled with moist earth; here and there
the brown color of the jar was flecked with drifts of white to represent
the snow on bare earth, and the branch looked like a tiny tree growing
out of the ground.

The plum is the first of all the trees to blossom in Japan, and for that
reason it is called "eldest brother" to the flowers.

While the children touched the blossoms gently and chattered their
delight, their mother was busy, waking the servants, sliding back all
the wooden shutters of the house, folding the bedding and putting it
away in the closets.

Umé left her flower-gazing and sprang to her own puffs before her mother
could touch them. "I will put them away," she said, and folded them
carefully as she had been taught to do. After breakfast they would have
to be taken out and aired; but the room must first be put in order for
the morning meal.

Umé's bed was made, as are all Japanese beds, by spreading a quilted
puff upon the floor. With another puff over her, and a wooden block on
which to rest her head, the little girl slept as comfortably as most
people sleep on mattresses and soft pillows.

Umé laughed softly now as she folded the puffs away in their closet.
"There are still many things to make my birthday a happy one," she said
to herself. "There will be a game with Cousin Tei after breakfast, and
perhaps she will give me a gift." She said the last words in a whisper,
so that her mother would not hear. No matter how much she might long for
a gift, it was not becoming in her to speak of it beforehand.

She was sure that there would be gifts from her father and mother and
from the respected grandmother. That was to be expected, and had even
been hinted. The grandmother had mentioned an envelope of paper
handkerchiefs the very day before, after Umé had made an unusually
graceful bow to her.

In her heart Umé wanted most a pair of little American shoes, but she
had never dared to ask for them because her father did not like the
dress of the American women. In fact, he often told Umé to observe
carefully how much more graceful and attractive the kimono is than the
strange clothing worn by the foreign people.

The little girl sighed as she remembered it. Just then she heard her
father's step in the next room and turned quickly to bow before him.

The maids had brought several lacquered trays into the room, one for
each member of the family, and had set them near together on the floor.
Each tray had short legs, three or four inches high, and looked like a
toy table. On the tray was placed a pair of chopsticks, a dainty china
bowl and a tiny cup. Now one maid was beginning to fill the bowls with
boiled rice and another was pouring tea into the cups.

All three children remained standing until the father entered the room.
Then each one, even Baby San, bowed before him, kneeling on the floor
and touching his forehead to the mat and saying, "Good morning,
honorable Father."

To their mother the children bowed in the same way, and also to their
grandmother when she came into the room. Everything would have been most
quiet and proper but for the baby. She liked to bump her little forehead
on the floor so well that she kept on kotowing to old black Tama, the
tailless cat, who stalked into the room. As if that were not enough, she
bowed to each one of the breakfast trays until her mother seated her
before one of them and gave her a pair of tiny chopsticks.

Then there was the waiting until the grandmother and the father and
mother were served, which seemed to the baby to take too long a time.
She beat the tray with her chopsticks and called for the rice-cakes even
as they were disappearing down the honorable throat of her father.

Tara laughed. He was very fond of his little sister. That she should do
such an unheard-of thing as to demand cakes from her father seemed to
him exceedingly funny. His father smiled, too.

"Your grandmother will have a task to teach you what is proper, Yuki
San," he said.

At last the breakfast of rice, tea and raw fish was over. The little
lacquer trays were all taken out of the room, and the father was ready
to go to his silk shop.

His jinrikisha was waiting at the garden gate. In their place on the
flat stone at the house entrance stood his wooden clogs, and all the
family gathered at the door to bid him "Sayonara."

                               CHAPTER II

                             UMÉ'S BIRTHDAY

Umé stood still, looking after her father until his jinrikisha was out
of sight.

Down in her heart there was an uneasy feeling that she was going to do
wrong. She had resolved to omit her koto practice, and having made such
a resolve it seemed to her as binding as a promise. But now was the time
she had always given to her practice; now, when her mother was busy with
household cares.

"I will go first to cousin Tei's," she said to herself, and ran to her
grandmother's room to find her mother.

"O Haha San," she said, "may I have your honorable permission to go to
cousin Tei's house?"

"Yes, Daughter," answered her mother, and went on matching the silk
pieces of the grandmother's new kimono.

Umé stepped down from the veranda into the garden path; then she stopped
and looked back into the room where her koto lay. Something within her
told her to go back. It was the strong sense of obedience to duty which
makes such a large part of the life of every Japanese girl.

She felt it so strongly that she took one step backward. Then the
resolve made in the early morning, when she was disappointed at not
seeing the plum blossoms, flashed into her memory. She slipped her feet
into her wooden clogs, turned toward the garden and clattered swiftly
down the path.

All the flowering shrubs were still wrapped in their winter kimonos of
straw and it seemed to Umé that they knew about her disobedience. The
cherry trees and the dwarf pine trees waved their branches backward
toward the house.

She passed the little hill, the pond with its bridge, and the stone
lantern, and she remembered that one day her father had told her that
they all stood for obedience. But she ran forward, shaking her naughty
little head as if to shake away every good influence.

At the farther end of the garden a tiny gateway led into her cousin
Tei's garden, through which she ran to the house.

Tei was standing on the veranda bouncing a ball.

"Come, Tei," said Umé. "Let us go to the street of shops and buy some
sweets. It is my birthday and I have ten sen."

Tei was so much in the habit of obeying that she obeyed Umé, and the two
little girls went into the city streets, where they found so many things
to interest them that Umé quite forgot her koto practice.

It was not a common thing for the two children to wander away in this
manner. They had so many playthings and so much room in the two gardens
that they were quite contented to play together at home all day long
after they had finished their house duties and the lessons at school
were over.

Today the children were to have a holiday; and while Umé's mother
thought she was at Tei's house, Tei's mother thought her little daughter
was at her cousin Umé's.

It was the middle of the afternoon before the two little girls returned
home. They went first to the street of toy-shops and Umé bought a big
red ball and a fairy-story book full of the most delightful pictures.

Then they sat down on the temple steps to look at the pictures, and
would have read the story, too, but in a moment a man came down the
street with a crowd of merry children following him. He stopped in front
of Umé and quickly made five or six butterflies out of pieces of colored
paper he took from his sleeve pocket.

The man blew the butterflies up into the air and kept them flying about
by waving a big fan. At last he made a beautiful yellow one light on
Tei's hair.

"Keep it," said Umé, "it will bring good luck," and she gave the man a
rin for it.

At one of the booths near the temple she bought two baked sweet potatoes
and some rice-cakes, and the little girls ate their luncheon, holding
the crumbs for the pigeons that flew down to eat from their outstretched

Now the sen were all spent; but there were still many pleasant things
for the two little girls to do. They ran down to the pond in the temple
garden to look at the goldfish. Then they played a game with the new
ball, and watched a group of boys playing marbles. They even played
blind-man's-buff with some of the other children, and were really very

            [Illustration: Boys Playing Marbles. _Page_ 12.]

Perhaps they would not have thought to go home at all if Umé had not
remembered the tea-party in honor of her birthday. Her father was to
come home from his shop earlier than usual, so that the family might
drink tea together.

"Come, Tei," she said at last, "it is nearly the hour of tea-drinking.
Let us go home."

Obedient Tei turned at once, saying only, "It would have been good to
read the fairy story in the picture-book."

But Umé had not heard what Tei said. For the first time in many hours
she was thinking of the koto practice.

"Did you ever do anything disobedient, Tei?" she asked.

Tei thought very hard for a few moments. "Yes," she said at last, "I
once put the cherry blossoms into the chrysanthemum vase when the
honorable mother told me not to do so."

Umé looked at Tei in surprise. "But how could you?" she asked. "They
must have hurt your intelligent eyes after you put them there."

Tei shook her head. "I thought they looked pretty," she confessed.

Umé looked doubtful. After a moment she said, "I could never have put
them in that vase; it would have looked wrong from the first. But I ran
away from my koto practice to-day, perhaps that was just as bad."

It was Tei's turn to look surprised. "How could you do it?" she asked in
horror. "All the gods will talk about you."

Umé shook her head. "It was not hard to do it," she said, "and it is
true that I have not thought about it in this whole beautiful day. I do
not understand why."

"It is because there have been so many other things to think about,"
said Tei; but she went home and told her mother that she thought Umé
would feel the displeasure of the gods because of her disobedience.

As for Umé, she said nothing about it at first. Her father was at home
and the little girl slipped out of her clogs and into the room like a
gay butterfly.

"I have returned, honorable Father," she said, fluttering to her knees
and spreading her kimono sleeves as widely as they would go above her
head. At the same time she bobbed the saucy little head upon a mat. Once
would have been quite enough, but Umé did it several times.

"That will do," said her father at last.

He saw that the child was excited. Umé's grandmother saw it also and
spoke reprovingly. "Little girls should never behave in a way to draw
the honorable eyes of their parents upon them in displeasure," she said.

But Umé had discovered the tray of gifts standing on the floor. There
were several packages, each neatly wrapped in white paper with a bit of
writing on it, and tied with red and white paper ribbons.

Before she touched them Umé made a deep bow before her grandmother,
saying, "Truly, thanks!" Then to her father she said, "O Chichi San,
have I your generous permission to open the packages?"

The permission was given and happy little Umé knelt on the floor beside
the tray and opened one package after another. From every one she took
first a tiny piece of dried fish wrapped in colored paper, which is
nearly always given with a present in Japan.

"These are for good luck," she said, and placed the bits of fish
carefully in a little lacquered box.

Of course there was the envelope of paper handkerchiefs from her
grandmother. There was also a beautiful new kimono from her mother, and
from her father there was a hairpin with white plum blossoms for

Tara gave her a doll dressed in a kimono like her own new one. "I kept
it in the godown for a whole week of days," he told her.

"Yes," said the mother softly, "and it was not very hard to make such a
small kimono secretly."

"I shall call her Haru," said Umé, "because she has come to me in the
first days of the honorable springtime."

"On the day that I brought the hairpin home and hid it in your mother's
sleeve," said her father with a smile, "I felt deeply deceitful."

Suddenly Umé felt very unhappy. She looked at all the loving faces and
remembered that she, too, had this very day been most deceitful.

"Now let us look at Umé's plum tree," said the grandmother.

All the family rose from the floor and followed the good father into the
garden. Yuki San toddled along on her wooden clogs, and behind the baby
marched tailless Tama, keeping a sharp eye on the baby's hands. Tama did
not like the feeling of those little hands.

They stopped under the plum tree and the father pointed to the branches.
Umé looked, and the sight of the tree sent the blood into her face and
then out of it. The buds all over the branches were shyly shaking out
their white petals.

Umé heard her father say, "We must now write fitting poems and fasten
them to the heavenly-blossoming branches." She saw all the family go
back into the house for the brushes, ink and slips of paper, but she
remained under the tree. She was too unhappy to make poems, and she felt
sure that no thought of hers could be pleasing to the gods at this time.

"Benten Sama heard my prayer," she whispered; "and while I was
disobedient, the plum tree has blossomed."

In a few moments her mother returned to the garden.

"Condescend to hear my unworthy poem," she said, and read it aloud from
a slip of paper. "The illustrious sun called to the brown buds and the
blossoms obeyed."

Umé hung her head. She only, it seemed, had been disobedient; even the
buds had obeyed the call of the sun.

Just then Tara ran from the house. "My miserable poem is about the
lovely sunset," he said, and read, "The joyful blossoms blush under the
rosy glances of the sunset sky."

The father took the poems and fastened them to a branch of the tree. As
he did so he looked down at his little daughter. "What unhappy thought
clouds your face, Umé-ko?" he asked gently.

Umé began to cry. It was a long time since she had done such a thing.
Little Japanese children are always taught not to permit their faces to
show either grief or anger; but Umé's tears fell in spite of all her
efforts to keep them back.

At the sight of her tears a silence fell upon the whole family. Even
little Yuki looked at her in surprise as she told the story of her

It was the grandmother who spoke first.

"Our spirits are poisoned that you have been so forgetful of our
teaching," she said; "but I have learned many things in my long life. It
is our honorable privilege to forgive your disobedience, if you are
truly sorry for it, because this is your birthday."

Little Umé counted that forgiveness as the best of all her birthday

                              CHAPTER III

                            TEI BUYS A DOLL

"A whole year of months is a very long time, is it not, Umé?"

"Yes, Tei."

"Would you like to stay shut up in a dark room as long as that, the way
the dolls do?"

"No indeed, Tei, and I would not stay shut up. I would find some way out
and would run away."

"Just as we did on your birthday," said Tei.

"Oh, Tei, why did you speak of that? I had put that unworthy memory away
in a dark place with all my other bad deeds and was never going to think
of it again."

"Just as we put away the dolls in the godown after the Dolls' Festival
is over, Umé?"

Umé laughed. "I had not thought of that, but it is so," she said.

All the time the two little girls were talking they were busily
preparing breakfasts for their dolls. They had five or six small trays
and on each one they placed chopsticks and bowls, and cups about as big
as thimbles.

The room in which they were playing was the honorable guest room, the
best one in the Utsuki house. On one side of the room was a sight to
make any little girl jump for joy. As many as five long shelves had been
placed along the wall, arranged one above another like steps, and more
than one hundred dolls were grouped on the shelves.

"Here are dolls of all honorable sizes! Ten sen for each, and all
honorable prices!" chanted Umé, just as she had heard the toy-peddler

There were indeed dolls of all sizes and kinds. There were big dolls and
little dolls, boy dolls and girl dolls. Some were over a hundred years
old, and others looked quite new.

On the top shelf stood five emperors with their empresses, and on the
lowest shelf, among the toys, Haru was standing beside a new doll which
Umé's mother had given her for this Dolls' Festival.

This festival, on the third day of the third month, is the most
important one of the whole year to little Japanese girls. For nearly a
week Umé and her mother had been busy preparing for this festival. They
had set the shelves in place, covered them with gorgeous red cotton
crêpe, and had then brought boxes and boxes and bags and bags of dolls
and toys from the godown.

The godown is the fireproof building which may be seen in almost every
Japanese garden. It is built of brick or stone, usually painted white,
and has a black tiled roof and a heavy door which is always shut and
locked. If the family is a very wealthy one, with a great many
treasures, the godown must be large; if there are but few treasures the
building may be smaller.

It is quite necessary to have some such place, which cannot easily be
destroyed, because Japan is so often visited by earthquakes, and in the
cities there are often terrible fires. Perhaps this explains why the
Japanese have so little furniture and so few ornaments in their houses.

"I hope that there will not be a fire or an earthquake while the dolls
are in the house," said Umé, standing off to see if there were a pair of
chopsticks on each tray.

"How many dolls are there on the shelves?" asked Tei.

"I don't know," answered Umé. "There are all of mine and my mother's and
my mother's mother's. And again there are some of her mother's mother's.
And besides that there are some of her mother's mother's, and so on, and
so on,--to the time of Confucius."

"That can't be quite true, Umé," said Tei, who was always very exact in
her statements. "Confucius lived many hundred years ago, and I don't
think there is a doll in all Japan as old as that."

"I said, 'and so on and so on,'" said Umé. "If you keep on you must get
to Confucius some time." She filled the little dishes with rice-cakes
for the dolls' breakfasts while she talked, and Tei poured tea into the
tiny cups.

"Oh, Umé, when your words once make an honorable beginning they always
have trouble in finding an end."

"Oh, Tei, sometimes it might be well if your own words were sooner to
find an honorable end."

Tei laughed and changed the subject. "I have heard," she said, "that
there is a country where the little girls do not have a Dolls'

"Yes," answered Umé, "I also have heard as much, and that they sometimes
give away their dolls when they are too old to play with them."

"Give them away! Give the dear dolls away!" cried Tei, fairly choking
with horror.

"Yes, but perhaps they do not respect them as much as we do," said Umé,
as she placed a breakfast tray before an emperor and empress on their

"There must be some reason for it," said Tei. "Of course they cannot
have a Dolls' Festival if they do not keep their dolls. But still there
is no need to keep the dolls if they never have a festival."

The two children stood back and looked at the shelves. On the step below
the emperors knelt the court musicians, some playing on the koto, some
on the samisen, and others beating tiny drums. There were also many
court ladies, dressed in lovely silks and crêpes, their black hair
fastened with jeweled hairpins.

"Are they not beautiful?" asked Tei, clasping her hands.

Umé looked tenderly at the lower shelves, where the more common dolls
and toys were placed. "These are like the people we see every day, and I
love them," she told Tei; "but when I look at the emperor dolls it makes
me think of our own beloved Emperor, and I would give up all my toys for

"Yes," said Tei, "I would give my life for him."

At that moment she caught sight of a baby doll tied to the back of its
nurse, and it reminded her of something very pleasant.

"I held my new baby brother in my arms this morning," she said.

"I am glad of the honorable baby," said Umé, "because now you are
permitted to share the Festival of the Dolls with me."

"Yes," added Tei, "and I am also permitted to go to the shops to-day and
buy a new doll. See all the sen the august father gave me this morning,"
and Tei took a handful of coins from her sleeve pocket.

Umé clapped her hands. "We will go as soon as all the dolls have had
their breakfast," she said. "I will strap Haru on my back, and you shall
strap your new doll on your back, and we will play that they are truly

She sprang to her feet as she said it, and danced up and down the room,
clapping her hands and singing a queer little tune.

"I have the most honorably best time in the whole year when the Dolls'
Festival comes," she cried.

It was not to be wondered at. Then all the dolls and toys and games that
little girls love to play with are set out on the shelves in the
honorable guest room; and for three days they have a holiday from school
and play all the day long.

The doll-shops are always merry with children waiting to buy dolls and
crowded with dolls waiting to be bought. But there were so many
interesting things to see in the streets that Tei and Umé were a long
time in reaching the doll-shop.

Once they stopped to watch the firemen who ran past them on their way to
a fire.

The fire-stations in Tokio are tall ladders which are made to stand
upright in the street, with a tub at the top in which the watchman sits.
This tub looks like a crow's-nest on the mast of a vessel. Beside it is
a big bell which the watchman strikes when he sees a fire anywhere.

The firemen run through the streets headed by a man carrying a large
paper standard, which they place near the burning house. They are very
helpful in saving the women and children, but as they dislike to desert
their standard they are not always of much use in putting out the fire.

House-owners give the firemen a great many presents to keep them
faithful to their duty.

As the two little girls watched the men running to the fire with a
little box of a hand-engine, and with the beautiful standard in the
lead, they thought it a fine sight.

"Tara says he is going to be a fireman when he grows up," said Umé. "He
says it is because a fireman gets so many presents."

Tei shook her head. "It is a sad thing when a fire burns a thousand
houses as it did in our city last year," she said. "I do not like to
think of it."

"We need have no fear," said Umé lightly. "Our fathers have extra houses
packed away in their godowns."

"That is true," said Tei, "but many others are not so wisely fortunate."

Just then they reached the doll-shop and the fires were forgotten.

"Oh, the lovely dolls!" cried Umé clapping her hands.

There were a hundred bright kimono sleeves pushing and reaching toward
the shelves of dolls in the shop. There were fifty little Japanese girls
chattering together about the smiling face of one and the beautiful silk
kimono of another.

The click of wooden clogs, the clank of Japanese money, and the merry
talk of the children, all trying to be heard at the same time, made it a
jolly affair.

The doll chosen by Tei was the one which was being admired by two other
little girls at the same moment. It was a boy baby with pink cheeks and
black eyes and a little fringe of very black hair; and it was dressed in
a lovely red silk kimono covered with yellow chrysanthemums.

"It is very like the new brother at home," said Tei, as she counted out
the sen and gave them to the doll-shopman.

Then she strapped the doll on her back and the two little girls went
home slowly, talking of the wonderful baby brother who had come to Tei's
house the week before.

"The house has to be very quiet, because the honorable baby is not yet
well," said Tei. "He has been very ill. I could not have gone with you
to the city streets on your birthday if the baby had been well. Every
one was glad to have me out of the house, so that it might be kept very

                               CHAPTER IV

                          THE DOLLS' FESTIVAL

When Umé and Tei reached home, carrying their dolls on their backs, they
found Yuki on the veranda.

"My geta! Yuki's geta!" the baby called as soon as she saw her sister
coming down the garden path; and she stood on one clog and held up the
other little white-stockinged foot.

Small as she was, Yuki-ko could slip her feet into her wooden clogs
without any help when she could find them; but Saké, the dog, generally
found them first and as there was never a bone for him to hide, he liked
to hide the tiny shoes.

Now, as usual, one of the clogs was missing from the flat step where the
baby had last left it.

"Perhaps it is under the plum tree, O Yuki San," said Umé, and ran to
find it, but it was not there.

"What a pity that Saké makes us so much trouble!" she said to Tei. "It
is plain to be seen that the good dog Shiro was no ancestor of his."

"What good dog Shiro?" asked Tei.

"The dog of the man who made the dead trees to blossom," answered Umé as
she looked under the quince bushes; but the missing clog was not there.
Several days later the gardener found it buried under the bush of snow
blossoms; but Umé gave up looking for it when she did not find it in any
of Saké's favorite places.

"It is such a long time since I heard the story of the good man who made
trees blossom, that I have nearly forgotten it," said Tei; but Umé was
talking to Yuki.

"Be happy, little treasure-flower," she said to the baby. "You shall
have a new pair of clogs; and you may come with us now and help serve
tea to the honorable dolls."

Baby Yuki forgot her clogs at once. She knelt upon the floor and held up
her tiny hands for the tea-bowl.

"Oh, Umé! She is too little to whip the tea," said Tei when she saw that
her cousin meant to give the baby a bowl of tea powder and a bamboo
brush with which to whip it into foam.

"I will watch her," answered Umé. "It may be that the dolls forget all
they learn about the tea-ceremony when they are shut up in the godown
for a whole year. While I am teaching Yuki San, they may learn it all
over again by most carefully watching us."

Tei laughed. "The illustrious dolls always behave most honorably well,"
she said. "Perhaps it is because they do not forget from year to year,
but spend all their time in remembering."

Just then there was a happy little gurgle from the baby.

Umé turned quickly to see what she was doing. "O Yuki San! Yuki San!"
she cried, running to the rescue.

But it was too late! While Umé had been talking with Tei, the baby had
been pouring the tea over her head. She was still holding the bowl above
her head when Umé looked, and the water was still trickling down over
her hair and into her eyes.

She smiled sweetly up into Umé's face. "The honorable fountain!" she

"The Japanese tea-ceremony has nothing to do with the honorable fountain
in the garden," said Umé as she clapped her hands for old Maru, the

"Naruhodo!" said old Maru, as she brought towels and wiped the tea from
the baby and the mat with many exclamations of amazement.

"Naruhodo!" she repeated, as she watched the two older children try to
teach something of the tea-ceremony to the baby.

But Yuki San was soon tired of sitting still. She like to watch the tea
powder foam in the bowl, but when she tried to put her tiny hands into
the dish and play they were fishes, Umé gave her a doll and sent her off
to play by herself.

"It will never do for the dolls to see such unworthy actions," Umé told
Tei. "They will think it is all a part of the august tea-ceremony."

It was much easier to teach the dolls without the baby's help, and there
was everything to teach them with. There was a toy kitchen with its
charcoal brazier, its brushes and dishes. There was a toy work-box with
thread, needles and silk.

There were toy quilts and wooden pillows and flower vases; and there
were toy jinrikishas with their runners.

Umé and Tei taught the dolls the proper bowings for the street and those
for the house. They changed the food on the trays, and taught the girl
dolls that they must most carefully wait upon the boy dolls, as Umé
herself had been taught to wait upon Tara, although she was older than
her brother.

Umé even read aloud with much emphasis from the "Book of Learning for
Women": "Let the children be always taught to speak the simple truth, to
stand upright in their proper places, and to listen with respectful

There are many other directions in the book, all of which the little
women of Japan learn by heart. Umé would have read many of the rules to
the dolls, but her mother called both children to leave their play and
go with the grandmother and old Maru to listen to story-telling in the
street of theaters.

"It is a very different thing to tell the simple truth at one time and
to listen to honorable stories at another," said Umé to the dolls as she
left them.

In the street of theaters are many little booths in which there are men
who tell the most enchanting stories. Sometimes they tell fairy stories,
sometimes ghost stories, and sometimes stories of Japanese gods and
heroes. Umé and Tei liked the fairy stories best of all.

"The old man in this booth tells fairy stories faithfully well," said
the grandmother as they stopped before a tiny house decorated with paper
parasols and lanterns, and with a long red banner floating above it from
a bamboo pole.

"Honorably deign to enter," said a little woman crouching at the door.

Maru gave the woman four sen and the little party entered and joined a
group of about twenty women and girls who were seated on mats in front
of the story-teller.

"Hear, now, the story of the good old man who made dead trees to
blossom!" said the story-teller, waving his fan over his head and then
clapping it in his hand three times to call attention to his words.

Umé and Tei looked at one another and clasped their hands beneath their

"Just what we were respectfully speaking about in the morning hour!"
murmured Tei.

Umé nodded and would have said something in answer, but her grandmother
said, "Hush!"

"Once upon a time two men lived side by side in a little village," said
the story-teller, looking at Umé. Umé again nodded her head. She knew
the story perfectly well, but the Japanese children love to hear the
same stories told over and over again.

"One of these men was kind and generous," continued the story-teller.
"The other was envious and cruel. Neither one of them had any children
to pay them honor in their old age; but the kind man and his wife were
always doing good. One day they found a dog which they took to their
home and taught as they would have taught a child, to be obedient and

"They named the dog Shiro, and fed him with the mochi cake which tastes
best after the New Year is made welcome with much joy and ceremony."

Umé and Tei nodded and smiled at one another.

"But Shiro knew nothing about the New Year festival," went on the
story-teller. "He was happy all the day long in following the good old
man about and getting a kind pat from the gentle hand.

"One day he began digging for himself in a corner of the garden.
Scratch! went his two paws as fast as he could make the dirt fly, and
the good old man took his spade and dug in the spot to find what could
be hidden in the dirt.

"He was rewarded by finding an honorable quantity of coins; enough to
keep him and his wife comfortable for many months.

"But the envious man, the unworthy neighbor, hearing of this good
fortune, asked to borrow the dog.

"'Yes, truly,' answered the other and sent Shiro home with his neighbor,
although the obedient creature had always been driven away from the
neighbor's gate with sticks and harsh words.

"'Now you must find treasure for me,' said the bad man who knew nothing
about kindness to animals, for he pushed the poor dog's nose into the
earth so deeply that Shiro was nearly smothered.

"The dog did truly begin scratching, but when the cruel man dug in that
place, he found nothing but rubbish, which so enraged him that he killed
the obedient animal and buried his body under a pine tree.

"At last the good man, wondering why Shiro did not return, went to his
neighbor and asked the reason. 'Ah, he was a bad dog!' answered the
other. 'He would find nothing but rubbish in the ground for me, and so I
killed him and he lies under the pine tree.'

"'It was a great pity to kill him,' said the good man. 'We should be
kind to all animals, because it may be that the souls of our ancestors
return and live in their bodies.'

"'What is done cannot now be helped,' the bad neighbor answered.

"So Shiro's master bought the tree, cut it down and took it home."

Umé and Tei nodded again. The mystery was to begin in the story and they
drew closer to the grandmother.

"The spirit of the little dog spoke to his master in the night," said
the story-teller, "and told him to make a tub from the pieces of the
tree. It must be just such a tub as the mochi-makers use at New Year's
time, and in the tub the old man must make mochi for Shiro.

"So the good old man did as he was bidden, thinking to put some of the
cakes before the tablet on the god-shelf as an offering to the spirit of
the obedient dog.

"But when he put the barley into the tub and began to pound it, the
quantity of barley increased until there was all that the man and his
wife could use for their needs for a long time.

"This also, the envious neighbor saw, and he borrowed the tub as he had
borrowed the dog, thinking to have as much barley meal for himself.

"But although the tub overflowed with the grain, it was all worthless;
so poor that no one could eat it. A second time the man was angered and
he pounded the tub to pieces in his rage.

"The patient old man gathered up the pieces and used them for fire-wood,
saving the ashes as the spirit of Shiro directed him to do.

"In his garden there was an old dead tree. The spirit of the dog bade
him sprinkle some of the ashes upon the branches of this tree and he
obediently did so.

"Immediately, pop! The branches were suddenly covered with beautiful
double cherry blossoms.

"People from far and wide flocked to see the sight, and among them was a
prince who begged the old man to do the same thing for one of his trees
which had long been dead.

"When his tree blossomed as the first had done, he was so pleased that
he gave the old man many valuable gifts of silk and rice and sent him
home, to be known as the 'old man who could make dead trees blossom.'"

When the story-teller finished, he disappeared behind a red curtain and
there was nothing for Umé and Tei to do but go home.

"It is a good thing that the story was no longer," said Umé, "because
Tara is going to help me build a toy garden for my dolls."

Tara helped to build the garden, to be sure, but the two little girls
waited upon him and listened to him, and not once forgot that in Japan
girls and women must follow their brothers. They must never try to lead

"Go and get the spade from the garden-house, Umé," Tara said to his
sister. "Bring some small stones from the rockery," he told Tei, and
both little girls obeyed without a word.

At the end of the third day of the Dolls' Festival there was a charming
toy garden at one end of the veranda. In the garden there was a tiny
lake bordered with flowering shrubs, a little hill with trees growing
around it, a path leading to the lake beside which grew peach trees in
full bloom, and there were even two tiny stone lanterns and a little
temple on the hill.

It had been a wonderful holiday for the little girls and they were sorry
that it was all over, but they cheerfully helped to pack the dolls and
toys away in boxes and carry them back to the godown.

                               CHAPTER V

                         A VISIT TO THE TEMPLE

"O Haha San," said Umé, "when we took little Yuki San to the temple for
the first time, with whom did I sit in the jinrikisha?"

"It is not strange that you have no memory of it, little Plum Blossom,"
said her mother.

"Why, honorable mother?"

"Because you were ill from eating too many sweets the day before, and
had to stay at home in your bed."

Umé laughed. "Now I do remember it," she said. "My unworthy head danced
like a geisha girl when I tried to stand on my two feet."

Umé's mother looked at her little daughter reprovingly. "Do not speak so
easily of such girls, Umé-ko," she said.

"Was Tara taken to the temple when he was thirty days old?"

"Yes, my daughter."

"But, Mother San, with whom did I ride then?"

"With O Ba San."

"I wish I could go to-day with Tei," said Umé.

"It is time for them even now to begin the journey," answered her
mother. "You may perhaps ride in the same jinrikisha with your little

Umé made a deep bow to her mother, slipped into her clogs at the veranda
step, and ran swiftly through the garden to her cousin's house.

Everything there was in a great state of excitement. The new baby,
dressed in a most gorgeous red silk kimono with the family crest
embroidered on the back and sleeves, was going to make his first visit
to the temple.

"Yes, you may come with me," said Tei to Umé, after asking the honorable
father's permission.

         [Illustration: Umé Riding in a Jinrikisha. _Page_ 37.]

The pale little mother leaned back in her jinrikisha beside the nurse
who carried the beautiful boy.

The father, very proud to have a son who would carry on the family name,
rode in the first jinrikisha, and the little party took their way to the
famous Kameido Temple in the eastern part of the city.

"It was not until three days ago that the baby was well enough to have
his head shaved," Tei confided to Umé.

"But I thought it must always be done on the seventh day," said Umé.

Tei shook her head. "The august father commanded that it should not be
done," she said. "The baby was so frail that there have been no visits
from anyone since he was first seen in our house."

"Then the baby might just as well have been a girl," said Umé decidedly.

"Oh no!" said Tei. "There have been dozens of presents of rice and silk,
and many other things. And there have been letters of congratulation.
And to-day, when we return from the temple, many, many people will come
to see the baby, because they could not come before."

"What name was given to the baby on the seventh day?" asked Umé

"He is to be called Onda," answered Tei.

Before Umé could ask any more questions they had reached the temple.

Everything seemed to go wrong with Tei. She caught her clog as she was
getting out of the jinrikisha and fell upon her nose. It bled a little,
just enough to make her say pitifully, "Oh, how truly sad! It will never
bring good luck to the dear brother."

But Umé was always quick at thinking of a way out of trouble. Near the
entrance to the temple stood a deep basin filled with water. With this
water everybody washes his hands before going in to pray. Umé lifted a
spoonful of the water and rubbed it over her cousin's nose. "That will
make it as well as ever," she told Tei.

"What is that in your other hand?" asked Tei, seeing that Umé was using
only one hand, and that the other was tightly closed.

"It is a rice-cake to feed to the goldfish in the temple lake." One can
always buy rice-cakes at the temple gate, but Umé had thoughtfully
brought one from her home.

Umé would have almost preferred feeding the fish to seeing the ceremony
of placing the new baby under the protecting care of the patron saint of
the temple. Baby Onda's father had chosen the God of Learning to be his
son's patron saint. He wished to have the child become very studious and
know thoroughly all the wisdom of Confucius and the old, old gods of
learning and wisdom.

Before going into the temple everyone slipped out of his clogs, washed
his hands, and made several bows at the entrance.

Tei's father then pulled a rope which rang a bell to attract the
attention of the god. There was a moment when he clapped his hands
together three times to be sure that the god was listening. After that
he asked very earnestly that his little son might be carefully guarded
and guided along the rough path of wisdom. Then he clapped his hands
twice to show that his prayer was ended.

It was so solemn and impressive to little Umé that she forgot her
rice-cake and let it drop to the temple floor as she clasped her own
hands in prayer.

Then followed the gift to the gods, and one to the priest of the temple.
The priest blessed the new baby and he was safely placed under the care
of Sugawara-no-Michizanè, the God of Literature, in the Kameido Temple
in the city of Tokio.

The ceremony was not very long. The moment it was over Umé and Tei stole
as quickly as they could out of the temple, and ran down to the lake
where the goldfish were waiting to be fed.

Of course they stayed there so long, feeding first one fish and then
another, and watching them spread their fan-like tails and glide away to
nibble the bits of rice-cake, that Tei's father came to look for them.

"We have no more time," he said gently to them. "Unless we are soon at
our unworthy house, all the honorable guests will be there before us."

The jinrikisha runners were told to hurry home, and they obeyed so well
that Umé and Tei clung to one another and gave little shrieks of

Hardly had they reached home when the guests really did begin to arrive.
All the relatives and friends came by ones and twos and threes; some in
jinrikishas and some on foot,--all who had sent presents and all who had
waited to bring them.

Umé and Tei counted the different pairs of clogs that were left at the
veranda steps, and there were over one hundred pairs.

"Such an illustrious crowd!" said Tei, drawing in her breath with

But there was little time to count and look. The two children were
needed to help pass tea and cakes to the visitors. It was dark before
everybody was at last gone and the baby's first party was over.

"Baby Onda is tired with so much looking and holding and praising," said
Umé to her mother as they went home through the gardens. "He will never
go to sleep again, or else he will sleep for a week of days."

"He is an honorable boy child," answered her mother. "A boy must learn
early to bear hardships."

"It is no hardship to receive honorable praise," said little Umé.

                               CHAPTER VI

                          CHERRY-BLOSSOM TIME

"The cherry trees in Ueno Park are in full blossom to-day," read Umé's
father in the morning paper. "The Emperor visited the park yesterday to
see the beautiful flowers."

  [Illustration: "The Cherry Trees in Ueno Park are in full Blossom."
                              _Page 42._]

Umé turned from looking at the cherry blossoms in the garden to look at
her mother who stood on the veranda.

"Something will honorably give way in my heart, O Haha San," she said.

"What do you mean, Umé-ko?" asked her mother.

"My heart is greatly joyous over so many blossoms," answered the little
girl. "It has grown so big that I would feel better if it should take
itself to the godown and leave me without it."

"Foolish Umé!" said her mother, but she smiled at the child's fancy.

"The joy began to grow with the first pink buds," Umé went on, "and now
that all the cherry trees everywhere are in blossom,--in our garden, in
Tei's garden, and in all the gardens; along the streets and river banks,
and in all the parks, my heart is bursting with gladness."

"When hearts feel that way," said her mother, "it is because they wish
to offer thanks to the gods. We will all go to the temple to-day and
leave a gift, and then we will go to the beautiful Ueno Park, where
there will be many others who feel the way that you do in their hearts."

"It is the way we Japanese always feel when the cherry trees hang out
their pink garlands," said Umé's father.

Tara was bouncing a ball in the garden and heard this talk about the
cherry blossoms.

"Wait until my festival," he said, "and then you will see what it is
really like to feel gladness."

"Your festival," said Umé, "and pray what may your honorable festival

"The fish-tree festival is the one I like," answered Tara, and he gave
his ball a great toss into the air.

Umé looked puzzled for a moment, then she cried, "Oh, he means the Flag

"Come, children," interrupted their mother, "find the lunch boxes and
help to put all in peaceful readiness for our journey to the park."

Tara picked up Baby Yuki and gave her a toss into the air. In doing so
he discovered that she had lost her name-label. It is a common thing for
a Japanese child to wear a wooden label tied around his neck, on which
his name and address are printed. Then if he is lost he can be returned
to his home.

Tara made a new label and tied it so firmly around the baby's neck that
her tiny fingers could not possibly loosen the strings.

"Now, O Yuki San," he said, "you are all ready to go to the park, where
you can get lost a dozen times if you wish, honorable Sister," and he
gave her another toss for good luck.

In the meantime Umé found that her clog string was broken. "I may as
well get a new string for each clog," she said. "When one breaks, I find
that the other soon breaks also, for loneliness."

But there were no extra strings hanging in the clog-closet where some
were usually to be found, and Umé had a great hunt for them.

Yuki San, and not Saké, was the thief this time. She had put them
carefully away in one of the drawers of the writing cabinet the day
before, when she was playing that her shoe was a doll-baby and must be
tied to her back with its strings.

By the time they were all dressed in their finest clothes, three
jinrikishas were waiting at the gate, and Tara rode off proudly with his
father, while Baby San sat beside her mother, and Umé rode with her

The streets were crowded with people dressed in gay kimonos and carrying
paper parasols or fans. Some were riding, some were walking, and all
were happily chatting and laughing.

"Is everyone in the whole world going to Ueno Park?" Umé asked her
grandmother, and immediately forgot her question in listening to the
sounds of gongs and tinkling bells that filled the air. The joyous sound
of bells is always a part of the Cherry-blossom Festival in Tokio, and
makes the city a very merry place.

The long avenue leading up to the entrance of the park, which is on the
brow of a high hill, was arched overhead with the blossoming branches of
the cherry trees.

"The pink mist almost hides the blue sky," said Umé, "but the sunshine
comes dancing through. See how gently it touches the pink petals with
its rosy light!"

The little party rode through the park looking at the cherry trees and
watching the crowds of people. Umé kept her poor grandmother's head
bobbing to right and left as she spoke of one strange sight and then

First it was, "O Ba San, look at the Japanese baby in the American
baby-carriage. It cannot be that he likes it as well as riding on his
sister's back."

Next it was, "O Ba San, see the little foreign children playing with the
cake-woman's stove."

Umé would have liked to stop the jinrikisha man and watch the
white-faced children as they made little batter cakes and fried them
over the charcoal.

"We must not stop now," said her grandmother. "Your honorable father
will tell us when we may stop."

Umé came as near pouting as a Japanese maiden can. "I think I have heard
that the foreign children tell their fathers when they wish to stop in
the honorable ride," she murmured.

"They are all barbarians, those foreigners," said her grandmother. "You
can see by the gardens of flowers that they wear upon their heads, that
they know nothing of propriety."

Umé, who had never worn a hat in her life, could say nothing to that.
Every little foreign girl she saw was wearing a hat on her head on which
there were many flowers of half a dozen different colors and kinds.
Although it was a sight to hurt her eyes, Umé would have been glad to
leave the jinrikisha and study the dresses of the little foreigners.
Most of all she wished to join them in their play of cake-making.

"They must be glad to come to Japan and learn so many new ways to be
happy, O Ba San," she said.

The grandmother did not quite understand Umé's way of thinking. "In what
way?" she asked.

"To ride among the beautiful cherry trees, with their delicious pink
odors, in the beginning," said Umé. "I know that in no other country can
the trees be so lovely and hold so many flowers."

As if her father knew that Umé longed to see something of the foreign
children's play, he stopped his own jinrikisha man at that very moment,
and the rest of his party stopped beside him.

Under a particularly large and beautiful cherry tree a group of both
foreign and Japanese children were gathered around a peddler who carried
a tray of candies upon his head. In one hand he held a drum and on his
shoulder perched a monkey dressed in a bright colored kimono.

The man danced and sang a funny song about the troubles of Daruma, a
snow man. Once in a while he beat the drum, and all the time he was
jumping and twisting about until it seemed as if his tray of candies
must surely fall off his head to the ground; but it never did.

When the monkey jumped from his master's shoulder and snatched off one
of the boys' caps, putting it on his own head, all the people, big and
little, screamed with joy.

By that time a great crowd of merrymakers had collected, and Umé's
father told his coolie to go on. So the little party started on again,
and soon passed an open space among the trees where Japanese fireworks
were shooting into the air. The Japanese send off their fireworks in the
daytime, as well as at night, to make their festivals more festive.

The swish of the quick flight of a rocket into the air made every one
look up. In a moment a big paper bird popped out of the rocket and came
sailing slowly down to light on the top of one of the trees.

Then another rocket, and still another, was sent up, and from one came a
golden dragon with a long red tongue and a still longer tail.

Umé's father dismissed all of the jinrikisha coolies, and after they had
watched the fireworks a little while, the family went into a tea-house
to eat their lunch and rest from the confusion.

As Tara looked out over the gaily dressed crowds he said boastfully,
"There can be no other country in the world with such fine, brave

"It is true that we are a brave people," his father answered. "Many
times, when I was no older than you are, little son, has my mother
wakened me very early in the morning and put a toy sword into my hand.
'Your companions are out playing the sword-game. Join them!' were her
words. And although the ground was white with snow, and I was very
sleepy, I always went as she bade me."

Tara looked at his father in admiration.

"There has been much fighting with real swords here in this very park,"
his father continued. "There was once a big battle under these cherry
trees where you see nothing to-day but crowds of happy people with no
thought of anything but enjoying the Cherry-blossom Festival."

"I shall not be perfectly happy until I have made cakes as the foreign
children were doing," said Umé.

In the path outside the tea-house Umé had caught sight of a woman with a
little charcoal fire in a copper brazier, which she thought her father
might also see. The little old woman was neatly dressed, and carried
over her right shoulder a bamboo pole from which hung the brazier, a
griddle, some ladles and cake-turners. There was also a big blue and
white jar of batter and a smaller one of sauce.

Umé's father beckoned to the woman, and to the children's joy she
brought the things to the tea-house door, where Umé was allowed to make
cakes for the whole family.

Baby San toddled up the steps with a cake for the grandmother. On the
way she tumbled down and dropped it in the dirt. Then a fresh one had to
be made and carried very carefully up the steps.

There were many children, with their fathers and mothers, coming and
going past the tea-house. There were groups of students and parties of
young ladies; there were jugglers and toy peddlers; and over everything
the cherry trees were scattering their falling petals.

There was a merry-go-round near the tea-house, and the crowds of people
made it a gay place with their fun and frolic.

It was lucky that Baby Yuki had her tag around her neck. Once she
slipped beyond her mother's watchful care and was only found after much
questioning and searching.

When, at last, she was placed once more in her mother's arms, the
grandmother said that it was time to go home.

"We have seen many cherry blossoms, and Umé's heart must be peacefully
small once more," she said. "It is better to go home before we tire of
so much merriment."

The jinrikisha men trotted all the way home, and the happy day was over
all too soon.

                              CHAPTER VII

                           THE FLAG FESTIVAL

It was the fifth day of the fifth month, which is the day of the Flag
Festival in Japan.

Tara slipped out of his wooden clogs and ran into the room where Umé was
gathering her books together for school. "Baby Onda's fish is up at
last," he shouted, "and as far as you can see the ocean of air is full
of fishes. Did I not say that the fifth day of the fifth month would be
filled with gladness?" he demanded.

"Yes, Tara, but I have far too much to do to talk with you now," said
Umé very primly.

"At least you can condescend to come out on the veranda just one moment
to look at cousin Onda's fish."

"Very well, honorable Brother," said Umé, and she followed him to the

Both children laughed aloud at the sight of the enormous paper carp
flying from the top of the bamboo pole on their cousin's house. The fish
was at least twenty feet long and was made of strong Japanese paper. Its
great mouth and eyes were wide open and it had swallowed so much air
that it looked filled to bursting. A mighty wind blew it this way and
that, up and down, making it look like a real fish that had been caught
with a hook and was trying to escape.

"Onda's father is augustly proud because he has a son," said Umé. "He
has found the biggest fish in all Tokio to fly, and the people will know
that he has only a very little son."

"He will grow larger," said Tara loyally.

"And as he grows larger the fish will grow smaller," answered Umé. "Your
own fish is only half as large as Onda's."

From a pole in the Utsuki house flew Tara's fish, while from poles as
far as the eye could see flew fishes of all sizes and colors. Some poles
held two, three, or even five or six fishes. There was a fish for every
boy who lived in every house, and every fish was a carp, because in
Japan the carp is the fish that can swim against the swift river
currents and leap over waterfalls.

       [Illustration: There was a Fish for every Boy. _Page 52._]

For the little Japanese girls there is the Dolls' Festival, and for the
boys is this Flag Festival, when they stay at home from school and play
all day long. They fly kites, spin tops, tell stories and are told tales
of the brave heroes of Japan.

In the room where the dolls had sat in state for the girls there is now
a shelf for the boys' toys. There are many toy soldiers, figures of
great heroes, men in armor, men wearing helmets and carrying swords, and
some carrying guns or drawing tiny cannon on wheels. Tara had his
soldiers arranged as if they were fighting a battle, and it was truly a
most warlike scene.

The morning had been full of excitement. Tara had already observed the
day by taking a bath in very hot water steeped with iris flowers. He had
arranged his toys and soldiers. He had been to the kite-maker and bought
a huge kite decorated with a picture of the sun in the brilliant red
color which is dear to all Japanese children.

He had also run over in his mind the stories that he could remember of
Japanese warriors of the past, for well he knew that before the day was
over his mother would question him about them all.

He had also recited his catechism to Umé, and had answered bravely all
the questions as she read them.

"What do you love best in the world?"

"The Emperor, of course."

"Better than your father and mother?"

"He is the father of my father and mother."

"What will you give the Emperor?"

"All my best toys, and my life when he needs it."

Now he was busy tying a long silk string to his kite and getting it
ready to fly.

Umé forgot her school books and ran down the garden path to look once
more at the bed of iris which was now in full bloom beside the brook.

"To-morrow I will gather some of the leaves and flowers," she said, "and
arrange them in the tall green jar for the alcove. That will keep away
evil spirits from our home."

Then she ran back to the house, making the motions of the flying fishes
with her hands.

"If I were an honorable boy," she cried, "I would sail away from Japan
to every country where there are dragons, and kill them all. Then I
would come back home again and tell all about it, so that all the
children and their children, as long as Japan lasts, would learn about

Tara looked at Umé as contemptuously as a Japanese boy ever looks at his
sister, which is not saying much, because in Japan the boys and girls
are taught to be most polite to each other.

"That is not the way of a true patriot," he said. "We men must stay at
home and defend our country from enemies that may attack us from
without. True glory will find us; we do not need to run all over the
world looking for it, and then perhaps, miss it after all."

"Well spoken, my son," said his father from the veranda, where he had
heard Tara's words. To Umé he said, "Our bravest men, the men who have
given their lives for their country, and whose names will ever be spoken
with reverence by our children's children, have died in the home-land."

He spoke solemnly, and Tara, who adored his father, moved close to his
side as if to catch his brave spirit.

Umé also loved her father. She was grieved that he should speak to her
in a tone of rebuke. She whirled about and fluttered to his other side,
nestling under his arm and smiling the sweetest of smiles up into his

"Now I see, O Chichi San, why we fly the brave carp for our boys," she
said prettily, "and why we steep the hardy iris flower in their bath

Her father looked down into her face. "You knew that very well before,"
he said with a smile. "You have heard of the wonderful strength of the
carp ever since Tara was born. You know that every father who flies a
paper carp for his son at this festival time does it with the hope that
the boy will heed the sign and grow courageous and strong to overcome
every obstacle."

But Umé still smiled up into her father's face. She felt that he was not
yet quite pleased with her.

"Will you not come home early from the honorable business and tell us
stories of the old war heroes?" she asked softly. "The mother tells them
faithfully well, leaving out no brave detail, but she has never fought,
as you have done, for our beloved Emperor. It is you alone who can make
us feel the joy of battle so that even I wish I could wear a sword and
fight with it for our country."

Umé had conquered. Her father put his hand upon her head in loving
consent. "When our women also are ready to give their lives for Japan,"
he said, "the country will never suffer defeat."

But Umé told her cousin Tei later in the day that one need not always
fight to win a victory.

                              CHAPTER VIII

                          THE SINGING INSECTS

Umé sat on the edge of the veranda, taking coins from a little silk bag
and spreading them out before her.

"Ichi, ni, san, shi, go," she counted, up to fourteen. "Fourteen sen,"
she said. "If I had one more I could buy the kind of singing insect I
like best."

"What is that?" asked Tara.

"It is a kirigirisu."

"What shall you buy, then?" asked Tara.

"I shall have to buy a suzumushi, and two other honorably cheap ones,"
Umé told him.

"Ask the august father for one more sen," Tara advised.

But Umé shook her head. "The august father has given me all the sen he
has for me this month," she answered.

"How do you know?"

"Because I have already asked for one more sen, and that was his
honorable answer."

"I have one sen which you may have if you will let me call the
kirigirisu partly mine," said Tara. "I have a black cricket, a little
grass lark, that I caught in our own garden last night, and it chirps so
cheerfully that I do not need to buy any other singing insect."

"It does not matter whose insect it is," said Umé, "if it only sings."

So Tara gave his sen to Umé and she went to find Tei, who went with her
down to the street of shops. There, among numberless other booths, the
children found one where nothing but singing insects were for sale.

The insects were of different colors and sizes. Some were black, some
were brown and some were bright green. The one that Umé chose looked
much like a brown grasshopper.

"He sings most musically in the hours of darkness," said the insect
merchant. "While you lie in your bed he will say to you, 'Tsuzuré--sasé,
sasé, sasé.'"

Both little girls laughed at the words, which mean, "Torn clothes--patch
up, patch up, patch up."

"They are strange words for the honorable insect-singer," said Tei.

Each insect was in a little cage which was made of horsehair or fine
strands of bamboo. The cages were of different shapes and sizes for the
different kinds of insects. Some were tall and shaped like a bee-hive,
some were oblong and others were square. Umé's kirigirisu was in a cage
four inches long.

Tei also had a few sen. She looked at many insects carefully and finally
chose a beautiful bright green grasshopper that made a sound like the
weaving of a loom:--"Ji-i-i-i, chon-chon! Ji-i-i-i, chon-chon!"

Then home trotted the two little girls with their cunning cages.

It was a very warm day and the good mother was waiting for them with
cups of cold tea. She looked at the insects and smiled at the baby who
kotowed an honorable welcome to them.

"When I was a child," she said, "my unselfish mother told me a wise
story about those same two insects."

Immediately the children seated themselves.

"We will be most respectfully quiet and listen, if you will tell it to
us," said Umé.

"Long, long ago," began the mother, "when Japan was young, there were
two faithful and obedient daughters who supported their blind old father
by the labor of their hands. The elder girl spent all her days in
weaving while the other was just as industriously sewing. In that way
they took faithful care of their blind father for many years.

"Finally the old man died, and so deeply did the two daughters mourn for
him that soon they died also.

"One summer evening a strange sound was heard on their graves. It was a
new sound that no one had ever heard there before, and it was made by
two little insects which were swinging and singing on a blade of grass
above the place where the two daughters lay.

"On the tomb of the elder was a pretty green insect, producing sounds
like those made by a girl weaving,--'Ji-i-i-i, chon-chon! Ji-i-i-i,
chon-chon!' This was the first weaver-insect. On the tomb of the younger
sister was an insect which kept crying out,--'Tsuzuré--sasé, sasé!
tsuzuré--sasé sasé, sasé!' ('Torn clothes--patch up, patch up! Torn
clothes--patch up, patch up, patch up!') This was the first kirigirisu.

"Since that time these same little insects cry to every Japanese mother
and daughter to work well before the cold winter days, to do all the
weaving and sewing and mending and have the winter clothing ready.

"We used to believe that the spirits of the two girls took these
shapes," she ended.

In the silence that followed the story, Tei's little insect sang,
"Ji-i-i, chon-chon! Ji-i-i, chon-chon!" and Umé's answered, "Tsuzuré,
sasé, sasé! Tsuzuré, sasé, sasé!"

The night was creeping over the garden. The sound of the temple bells
rang through the air, and little flashes of light twinkled in unexpected

The children gathered closer to the mother and begged for one more story
before bed-time.

"Did you ever hear of Princess Splendor?" she asked.

The children never had heard the story, and their mother told it to

"She was a beautiful little moon-child who came down to the world
hundreds of years ago. There was but one way for her to come, and that
was on a silver moonbeam.

"While she sat on a pine branch resting from her journey, a wood-cutter
found her and took her to his home, where she stayed for many years.

"But the Emperor, passing through the forest, wondered why the little
brown house of the wood-cutter shone with such a wonderful glow, and
when he found that there was a beautiful moon-child there, he went to
see her.

"By day or by night it was just the same with the house; it always shone
with the glory of the Princess Splendor.

"Of course the Emperor wished to marry her; but he had been too late in
finding her, because she was to return to her home in the moon at the
end of twenty years, and the end of the twenty years had come.

"She begged to stay with the Emperor and began to weep, but it was of no
use. The moon-mother took her home and tried to comfort her; but her
tears went on falling, and they take wings to themselves as fast as they
fall. These fireflies are the golden tears of the lovely Princess

It was quite dark when the story was finished, and Tei jumped up. "I
must go home and show the intelligent insect to my honorable mother,"
she said.

"Tara and I will walk across the gardens with you," said Umé.

She reached under the veranda for three slender bamboo poles, while Tara
ran for candles to put in the paper lanterns which hung on the end of
the poles.

Soon the three lanterns went bobbing down the garden path through the
dusk, and the sound of happy voices floated back to the mother.

"It was of no use!" said Umé's voice.

"What was of no use?" asked Tara.

"Princess Splendor could not marry the right prince," answered Umé.

The mother smiled, and rising, carried Yuki San into the house, while
the temple bells were still ringing through the twilight.

                               CHAPTER IX

                           A TRIP TO KAMAKURA

It was a hot morning in midsummer. The veranda shutters had been open
all night and the shoji had been only half closed so that tiny breezes
might creep through to cool the pink cheek of Umé San, as she lay on the
floor under a thin silk coverlet.

All night the kirigirisu had sung in his cage near Umé's bed; and all
night the mosquitoes had buzzed and sung outside of Umé's own cage of
green mosquito netting.

At four o'clock, just as the sun peeped into the room, Umé opened her
eyes. "Oh, little kirigirisu," she whispered, "I like your singing much
better than that of the mosquitoes. Gladly would I put them all in a
cage in the godown."

Then she thought of her morning-glories and pattered out into the garden
to look at them.

"How lovely they are," she said, as she touched them gently with her
fingers. "This white one makes me think of Fujiyama when it is covered
with snow; and this pink one is like the mountain at sunrise."

As she spoke, the little girl looked across the city roofs to where her
beloved mountain, Fujiyama, lifted its head like an inverted flower,
tinged with the pink of the rising sun.

Just then her father came out to look at the morning-glories, too, and
after the morning greetings, Umé told him her fancy about Fujiyama.

"Your thought is a poem, little daughter," said her father. "This very
day you shall see the mountain in all its glory. Here we can see only
its snow-capped crown, but on the way to Kamakura there are wonderful
views of our sacred Fuji."

After breakfast there were great preparations for the journey to
Kamakura. First, each one in the family, one after the other, had to
take a hot bath. Then the best kimonos were put on, and the best paper
parasols were taken out of a long box in the godown.

One servant ran to order the jinrikishas to take them to the station.
Another packed rice, pickled radishes, and tiny strips of raw fish into
the lunch boxes.

Umé's mother was in every part of the house at once, and even the
grandmother seemed excited at the thought of going to the seashore.

Umé ran across the garden to tell Tei about the trip and bid her cousin
sayonara, and Tara found a box of his best fishhooks and tucked them
into his sleeve pocket.

"I may catch an eel," he said, "and then we can have it fried for our

At last the whole family were in the jinrikishas and were whirled so
fast to the station that they had to wait a long time for the train.

The children were glad to stand on the platform, watching the throngs of
people and seeing the interesting sights. Newsboys were running
everywhere calling their papers; strangely-dressed foreigners were
hiring jinrikisha-runners to take them over the city; a police sergeant
was walking up and down; and electric cars were bringing passengers to
the station with much ringing of bells and clanging of gongs.

"I fear Yuki-ko will not like her first ride in a train," said Umé, as
the child hid her face in her mother's kimono at the sight of a big

"I well remember my first sight of an engine," said the grandmother.
"When I was a little girl there was not a railroad track in all Japan.
When the first trains ran through the country, the peasant women thought
the engines were horrible demons, and ran screaming away from the
puffing and hissing."

"I, too, remember the first engines," said the father. "Many were the
honorably strange sights that went with them. One morning a man took off
his clogs at this admirable station and set them with worthy care upon
the platform before he entered the train. It was his peaceful
expectation to find them waiting for him when he left the train in

At that moment an engine came puffing down the track, and soon they were
all seated in one of the open cars and gliding swiftly out of the city.

The children pointed out to each other the lotus blossoms in the moats,
the little boats in the canal and the freight boats on the Sumida river.

The father and mother talked about the tea-farms and the fields of rice
and millet through which they were passing. Many crows flew cawing over
the heads of men and women who were working in the deep mud of the rice

"Pretty birds!" called Baby San.

"She means the white herons," said Tara. Dozens of the long-legged
herons were stalking about in the muddy fields near the track; and
farther away, many pieces of white paper fluttered from strings which
were stretched across the fields of rice.

Yuki San saw no difference between the birds and the fluttering bits of
white paper.

"Those small white ones scare the unworthy crows away, little flower
Sister," explained Tara; but the baby sister shook her head and said,
"No, pretty birds!"

Umé turned the baby's head gently away from the fluttering scarecrows.
"Look at the pretty flowers," she said.

Beautiful lotus blossoms were growing in the muddy ditches beside the
track. The baby bobbed her head to them and begged them to stand still,
but they all hurried past the hands she held out to them.

"The lotus is Buddha's flower," said O Ba San. "It grows out of the dirt
and slime to give us blossoms of rare beauty. Such may be the growth of
our hearts if we choke not their good impulses."

"It is a long way from Buddha's flower to his mountain," said Umé, as
she looked off to where Fuji rose in the distance.

"Is it true," asked Tara, "that on the days when we cannot see the
mountain through the mist, it is because it has gone on a visit to the
gardens of the gods?"

"That is what I always thought when I was a child," his grandmother

"And do many pilgrims every year climb the long way up its steep sides
to the top?"

"Yes, my child."

"And must I also climb to the top some day, if I wish to please the

"Yes, unless the gods should honorably please to take away your power to

"Oh," gasped Umé, "I hope the gods will never do that!"

She looked anxiously at her feet and said, "I hope they will never need
my feet for anything. So unworthily short a time have I used them, that
they cannot be fit for the gods."

"Let your use of them be always in the service of the gods, and the more
honorably old they grow, the more favor will they find in the sight of
the gods," answered her grandmother.

But Tara did not like such serious talk. "How does the earth get back on
the mountain--the earth that the pilgrims bring down every day on their
sandals?" he asked.

"It is said that it goes back of itself by night," his grandmother
replied, and added, "but I would rather speak of the path of straw
sandals which the pilgrims leave behind them as they toil up the rough
sides of Fujiyama."

"Then what do they do?" asked Umé.

"They take many pairs with them, so that when one pair is worn out they
may have others."

"But I thought the pilgrims were honorably poor," said Umé.

"Not always," said her grandmother. "And sandals cost but an
insignificant sum. A pair may be bought for a few rin."

"Then I will go myself, some time," said Umé, as if the only reason she
had never been to the mountain-top was because she had never known the
price of sandals.

But before they could say anything more they were in Yokohama, where
they were to leave the train and ride in jinrikishas to Kamakura.

After they had left this city, with its busy streets, its harbor dotted
with boats and big foreign ships riding at anchor, the road led along a
bluff from which there was a beautiful view of the bay.

It was intensely hot and the noonday sun beat fiercely down upon them.
Umé held a big paper parasol carefully over her grandmother, and Tara
and his father waved their fans slowly back and forth to catch the
little breezes from the sea.

In the distance were green fields of rice, little vegetable farms, tiny
houses, low blue hills, and beyond all, Fujiyama, rising majestically to
the clear blue sky.

       [Illustration: Fujiyama, the Sacred Mountain. _Page 69._]

As they were whirled past a little village they heard a deep booming
sound, and caught sight of an immense drum under an open shed, which was
being beaten by two men.

"What is that?" asked Tara.

"Everywhere there has been no rain and the rice is drying in the
fields," replied his father, "so drums are beaten and prayers are made
to the gods that it may rain."

"Water is truly desirable," said Tara. "My unworthy throat is this
moment as dry as the rice fields."

"Not far before us is a rocky pool shaded by ancient pines," said his
father. "There pure august water will be given."

The rocky pool was a delightful resting-place. The stone basin was
filled with water by a spring that leaped out of the heart of the cliff.
The water overflowed the basin and formed a stream which ran along
beside the road. Many travelers were sitting on low benches under the
pines, the men smoking and the women and children chatting merrily.

Two women were washing clothes in the brook, and Tara and his sisters
slipped off their sandals and white tabi, tucked up their kimonos and
splashed about in the water.

The mother took the food from the lunch boxes, spread it on dainty paper
napkins and called the children to come and eat.

"Truly thanks for this honorable food," said Umé, when she finished her
luncheon. Then, as she looked up at the spring, she added, "The water
which comes from the cliff sings a happy little song."

"It is like the spring of youth," said the grandmother.

"Deign honorably to tell the story of the spring of youth," said the
father, taking a pipe from his sleeve pocket and filling its tiny bowl.

"Long ago a poor wood-cutter lived in a hut in the forest with his old
wife," said the grandmother. "Every day the old man went out to cut wood
and the woman stayed at home weaving.

"One very hot day the old man wandered farther than usual, looking for
wood, and he suddenly came to a little spring which he had never seen
before. The water was clear and cool and he was very thirsty, so he
knelt down and took a long drink. It was so good that he was about to
take another--when he caught sight of his own face in the water.

"It was not his own old face. It was the face of a young man with black
hair, smooth skin and bright eyes. He jumped up, and discovered that he
no longer felt old. His arms were strong, his feet were nimble and he
could run like a boy. He had found the Fountain of Youth and had been
made young again.

"First he leaped up and shouted for joy; then he ran home faster than he
had ever run before in his life. His wife did not know him and was
frightened to see a stranger come running into the house. When he told
her the wonder she could not at first believe him, but after a long time
he convinced her that the young man she now saw standing before her was
really her old husband.

"Of course she wished to go at once to the spring of youth and become as
young as her husband, so he told her where to find it in the forest and
she set out, leaving him at home to wait for her return.

"She found the spring and knelt down to drink. The water was so cool and
sweet that she drank and drank, and then drank again.

"The husband waited a long time at home for his wife to come back,
changed into a pretty, slender girl. But she did not come back at all,
and at last he became so anxious that he went into the forest to find

"He went as far as the spring, but she was nowhere to be seen. Just as
he was about to go back home again he heard a little cry in the grass
near the spring. Looking down he saw his wife's kimono and a baby,--a
very small baby, not more than six months old.

"The old woman had drunk so much of the water that she had been carried
back beyond the time of youth to that of infancy. The wood-cutter picked
the baby up in his arms, and it looked up at him with a tiny smile. He
carried it home, murmuring to it and thinking sad thoughts."

The story was finished and the jinrikishas were ready to take them on to

"I have heard so much about the wonderful Buddha that I do not wish to
see anything else in Kamakura," said Umé, as they walked through the
grounds of the long-vanished temple.

There was no need to tell the children to walk quietly and speak
reverently before Buddha.

Umé looked up into the solemnly beautiful face, into the half-closed
eyes that seemed to watch her through their eyelids of bronze, and knelt
quietly in prayer.

"Nothing can harm the Great Buddha," said the father, after the prayers
had been said and the offering given to the priest. "Six hundred and
fifty years has he sat upon his throne. Once he was sheltered by a
temple, but centuries ago a tidal wave, following an earthquake, swept
away the walls and roof and left the mighty god still seated on his
lotus-blossom throne."

    [Illustration: "Nothing can harm the Great Buddha." _Page 73._]

As they turned to walk toward the village Umé said to her mother, "When
I have heard the thunder I have always thought it was this Great Buddha,
very angry about something. Now that I have seen his peaceful face I
know it is not so."

"No," answered her mother. "Many thousands of girls and boys have seen
Great Buddha's face as you saw it to-day. They have grown to be men and
women, and their children have looked upon his face, but it is always
calm and peaceful."

                               CHAPTER X

                          THE ISLAND OF SHELLS

From Buddha's image at Kamakura to Enoshima, the island of shells, there
is first a ride in jinrikishas through the low screen of hills that
shuts the little village away from the sea; then there is a walk across
the wet sands if the tide is out, or over a light wooden bridge if the
waves wash over the path.

It was late in the afternoon when the jinrikisha men trotted down from
the hills through a deep-cut path to the shore, and Umé could hear the
slow rollers breaking on the sands before she caught her first glimpse
of the lovely green island.

    [Illustration: "Umé caught her first Glimpse of the Lovely Green
                        Island."    _Page 74._]

The tide was coming in, but the water was still so shallow that the
children were permitted to take off their sandals and tabi, and patter
across the sands in their bare feet, while the older people walked
slowly across the bridge.

The sands were strewn with lovely shells, left by the tide, and Baby
Yuki soon had the sleeve pockets of her kimono filled full of pearly
beauties that looked like peach blossoms.

Tara cared nothing for the shells. He spoke about the great tortoise
which is said to live among the caves of the island, and of the bronze
dragons which twisted around the gate through which they passed to enter
the long climbing street of the town.

"I will ask the august father if we may visit the cave of the dragon,"
he said.

"Japan must have been full of dragons once," said Umé. "Who killed them

"They turned into the honorable dragon-flies, to drive away the
mosquitoes," answered Tara.

"There have been no dragons seen alive in Japan since the holy Buddha
walked on the mountain," said his father.

"Tell us about it, please," begged Umé.

"Long ago," began the father, "as Shaka Sama, our most holy Buddha,
walked on the mountain-top at eventime, he looked into the depths below
and saw there the great dragon who knew the meaning of all things. Shaka
Sama asked him many questions and to them all he received wise answers.

"Finally he asked the sacred question which he most wished to
understand; but the dragon replied that, before revealing this last
great mystery, he must first be fed for his endless hunger.

"Shaka Sama promised to give himself to the dragon after he should have
been told this great truth. Then the dragon uttered the sacred mystery
and the god threw himself into the abyss as he had promised.

"But just as the fearful jaws were about to close over the holy man, the
dragon was changed into a great eight-petaled lotus flower which held
the Buddha up in its cup and bore him back to his place on the

"I thought there was a dragon in the cave at Enoshima to guard Benten
Sama's temple," said Umé.

"There is no need of a dragon on the island," said her father. "The
fisher boys who pray to her for good fortune make faithful guardians of
her temple."

"Is it to help the fisher boys on sea, as well as unworthy little girls
on land, that she has so many arms?" asked Umé.

But her father was leading the way along the rough street of the
beautiful island, and did not answer.

Enoshima seems to be the home of all the shells in Japan. They lie
heaped in all the houses and shops; shells as white and lustrous as
moonlight, as rosy as dawn, as delicate as a baby's fingers. There are
thousands and thousands of them piled together like the fallen petals of
the pink cherry blossoms.

The street is lined on each side with tea-houses and little shops, and
in every one may be seen miracles of shell-work. There are strings of
mother-of-pearl fishes, of mother-of-pearl birds, tiny kittens, and
foxes and dogs. There are mother-of-pearl storks and beetles and
butterflies, crabs and lobsters, and bees made of shell poised on the
daintiest of shell flowers, and there are necklaces, pins and hairpins
in a hundred shapes.

Baby Yuki went about with her head bent to one side, holding her ear to
the mouth of the largest shells, wherever she could find them. Deep in
their pink chambers she could hear the sound of the sea, and the dull
roar pleased her. After listening to each one she would look up into her
mother's face with a happy smile.

Their father bought ornaments for the children, a necklace of wee,
shimmering, mother-of-pearl fishes for the baby, a tortoise of
pearl-shell for which Tara begged, and a spray of shell flowers for Umé.

For Tara he bought also a glass cup blown double, with a tiny shell in
the liquid between the glass. Of course it was soon broken and, after
they had climbed the steep steps to the temples and prayed to Benten
Sama in her own island home, they went back to the shops and bought

Afterwards they sat upon the rocks and watched the tide flow in from the
sea. Over the water skimmed the white sails of returning boats; the
dragon's light, which we call phosphorescence, played at the edge of the
waves, and there was no sound save that of the evening bells.

The twilight fell, making a gray sky in which rode a silver crescent.

"The Lady Moon," whispered Umé, and she joined her little hands, bent
her head, and gave the prayer of welcome to O Tsuki Sama.

The father broke the stillness at last by telling the story of the
famous warrior, Yoritomo, who made Kamakura a famous city hundreds of
years ago.

"But Kamakura has been burned these many years," he said. "People come
here now only to see Great Buddha and Enoshima."

"No," said Umé, "I came for something else. I came to ask Benten Sama
for something which I very much wish."

"What is it?" asked Tara.

But Umé shut her lips together and shook her head that she would not

"Were you afraid she would not hear you anywhere but in her own temple?"
he asked again.

Umé nodded her head.

"I will surely find out what it was that you asked from her," said Tara

Tara usually did find out Umé's little secrets in some way, either by
making fun or by teasing her.

"O Maru San has put an honorable stillness upon her august tongue," he
would say with a laugh.

"O Maru San" means "Honorable Miss Round," and when Tara said it, Umé
knew he was making fun of her.

Little Japanese girls and boys do not like to be ridiculed. So, when
Tara spoke that way, it usually ended in Umé's saying, "Don't call me
that name, Tara. My secret was only about the tea-party that Tei and I
are going to have in the garden."

And soon Tara would know just what kind of cakes they were going to
have; because in Japan the cakes are made to suit the season, if one
wishes to have an elaborate party.

Then, although it says in the book of "The Greater Learning for Women,"
that at the age of seven, boys and girls must not sit on the same mat
nor eat at the same table, Tara was often invited to Umé's tea-parties.

Now, although they stayed all night at the inn at Enoshima and there was
plenty of time to find out Umé's secret, she did not tell it, and Tara
finally concluded that it was something more important than a tea-party.

In the early morning they stood once more upon the seashore, to watch
the sun rise out of the ocean.

The children forgot everything else in looking at the beautiful sight.
"It is like our noble flag!" said Tara.

Japan is called "The Land of the Rising Sun," and the emblem of the
country is a round red sun on a white ground.

The children long remembered the beauty of that morning. In front of
them the great sun rose in a cloudless sky; behind them Fuji lifted his
noble head, and the blue sea stretched on either side as far as they
could see.

At last the father said, "We will return to Tokio, to-day. We have had a
pleasant and honorable holiday."

"I wish first to find some of the intelligent crabs that make straight
tracks by crawling sideways," said Tara. He had seen in the tea-house at
Enoshima some wonderful crabs, and hoped to find one for himself.

"And I wish to buy return gifts for Tei and Baby Onda in the shops!"
said Umé.

So while Tara hunted for crabs after breakfast, Umé and her mother
hunted for gifts.

The little boy found no large crabs; neither did he find any good place
to fish for eels, but Umé found a lovely pearly necklace for Tei, and a
pink shell for Onda.

In her eagerness to reach home and show the gifts, she gave little
thought to the beautiful sights to be seen from the train.

She heard her grandmother say, "There are some fine young bamboo
saplings. They would look well beside the gate-pine-tree at New Year

She heard Tara ask, "Why are they used in the gateway arch?" and her
grandmother answered, "Because they stand for constancy and honesty."

"I will ask Benten Sama constantly for my wish to be fulfilled," said
Umé to herself.

When they reached home, she ran at once to find Tei, but Tei had gone
that very morning on a journey to Nikko.

                               CHAPTER XI

                            A DAY IN SCHOOL

What country is it that starts its children off to school very early in
the morning? Japan, of course, the island kingdom, "The Land of the
Rising Sun,"--and that is as it should be.

It was early in the "hour of the hare," as time would have been reckoned
in the days of old Japan; but the American clock in the kitchen said
half-past six, when Umé finished dressing for school.

She wore a plum-colored plaited skirt, with a blue kimono tucked inside,
and she said to her mother, "May I now go to the honorable lesson-learn
school, O Haha San?"

There was plenty of time between half-past six and seven o'clock for her
to reach the school building and be in line with the other children when
they greeted the teacher.

But all the other little girls were bending up and down in their
greeting to the teacher when Umé at last slipped into her place among
them. She said her happy "Ohayo!" just after the other lips were all
closed upon the "good-morning."

She whispered to Tei as they slipped into their seats, "We must eat our
unworthy lunches together. I have brought a bad piece of pickled radish
for you. It was because I ran back to the dirty house for it that I was
honorably late."

The Japanese people are all alike! When they mean one thing they say
another. Umé really meant that their lunch was delicious; that her
pickled radish was the best to be had in Tokio; and her house the
sweetest and cleanest in the world; but it would have been very bad
manners to say so; and to be late to school is not at all honorable in

But Japan is a country where the people do everything in an original
way. The carpenter pulls his saw toward him when he saws, and the planer
pulls his plane toward him when he planes a board. Everybody sits down
to work, and the horse goes into the stall tail first.

The Japanese school children can never understand how the English
children can make sense out of books that one reads from left to right
and from the top to the bottom of the page.

Umé's teacher read the lesson aloud and the children read it after her.
They read from the bottom to the top of the page, from right to left,
and from the end of the book to the beginning.

From seven until twelve o'clock the children were busy with their
lessons and recitations, stopping to eat their lunches in the middle of
the forenoon, and for a short recess at the end of every hour.

Umé loved to go to school. Tara always said, "It is because I am obliged
to, that I go to school," but Umé knew that her school-days were the
happiest she would have for many years. After they were over, she would
go to her husband's house and take the lowest place in his family, as is
the custom of Japanese maidens.

Before that time she must learn to sew, cook and direct the servants in
every household duty; she must also learn the tea-ceremony and the
ceremony of flower arrangement.

All these things she learns, as well as reading, writing and music.

The tea-ceremony, which sounds so simple, is a very old and difficult
one. Every position of the one who conducts it, as well as that of the
bowl, spoon, tea-caddy and towel, is regulated by rule.

Bowls are used instead of teapots, and tea powder instead of tea leaves.
There is a sweeping of the room at the right time, and a walking out
into the garden at another right time. Oh, it is not so simple as it

The ceremony of arranging flowers is also very hard to learn. People who
have learned it thoroughly are said to have charming dispositions as a
reward of merit. They are gentle, self-controlled, peaceful-hearted and
always at ease in the presence of their superiors, besides having many
other virtues.

Umé enjoyed it all. Everything she did was prettily and gracefully done.
Whether she bent over a difficult, unruly spray of blossoms, or over her
writing brush to make the difficult characters, her sweet oval face was
never clouded.

After the writing lesson was over on this opening day, she took her copy
book, which was soggy with much India ink and water, and beckoned Tei to
take hers also into the yard. There they spread the books in the sun to

Tei's family had been away for a month for the sake of Baby Onda's
health, and the two little girls had not seen each other until now.

"What did you see at Nikko?" asked Umé.

"We saw the most beautiful building in Japan; the tomb of the great
Iyeyasu," answered Tei.

"I also was at Nikko and played with Tei in the temple yard," said a
third child who overheard their talk.

The three little girls walked back to the school-room together and Umé
said, "I have asked my mother to take me to Nikko some time."

"There are beautiful temples there," said Tei. "The mad pony of the
illustrious Iyeyasu is there in a stable which has wonderful carvings
over the doorway. It was there we saw the three monkeys your honorable
mother spoke about one day."

Umé drew her breath in a long sigh. "I have always wished to see those
monkeys," she said.

"After you have seen them," said Tei, "you will never again wish to see
evil, hear evil, nor speak evil."

The little girls drew away from one another and fell into the three
positions. They made a cunning picture as they stood, Umé with her
fingers over her ears, Tei with her mouth covered, and the third little
girl covering her eyes.

The teacher stood in the doorway and smiled--"The little dumb monkey,
the little deaf monkey, and the monkey that will not see any evil!" he

The three little monkeys bowed to the ground and ran laughing for their
lunch boxes.

"What do you think Tara is doing in his school this minute?" asked Tei,
as they began eating rice-cakes.

"He is perhaps having military drill," said Umé. "Or he maybe is hearing
about Iyeyasu; that when he went into battle he wore a handkerchief over
his head, but after the victory he put on his helmet."

Tei sighed. "I wish there were not so many things to learn about our
great heroes," she said.

Umé laughed. "Let not the honorable teacher hear you say such a thing,"
she said, "else we shall have another history book given us, with the
example of brave and loyal Japanese women to read in it."

No country in the world has so many books of history for the children to
learn as Japan. It was not strange that Tei sometimes found it
wearisome. There was all the history of Old Japan to be learned, as well
as all about the New Japan, and even Umé was never sorry when the noon
hour arrived and they were dismissed from school.

They bowed low to the teacher, and the teacher bowed low to them, and
they clattered toward home with a great chattering of soft voices.

But the voices were all hushed when Umé told her playmates that she had
visited Benten Sama's temple at Enoshima in the time of great heat.

"Oh, Umé! what favor did you ask of the dear goddess?" asked Tei.

Umé shook her head, as she had done when Tara asked her the same

"I will wait and see if she grants it to me before I tell it to any
one," she said, and opened her pretty paper parasol.

                              CHAPTER XII

                    YUKI SAN IN THE STREET OF SHOPS

Asakusa Temple and its beautiful grounds are in the eastern part of the
city of Tokio.

Jinrikisha runners could cover the distance between the Utsuki house and
Asakusa Temple in fifteen or twenty minutes, but Baby Yuki was two hours
on the way, because she toddled along so slowly and stopped so often to
watch the children who were playing in the streets.

The baby slipped quietly out of the house while her mother was having
her honorable hair dressed. It takes a hair-dresser about two hours to
dress a Japanese lady's honorable hair, but fortunately it has to be
done only once in five or six days because the hair is never mussed at

The women in Japan keep their heads peacefully quiet all night, letting
their necks only rest upon the thin cushion of their wooden pillow. In
this way the soft rolls and puffs of their shining black hair are not
disturbed, and even the big pins do not have to be removed.

Hair-dressers go from house to house as often as they are needed, and
when Baby Yuki saw one come into the room and begin taking down her
mother's hair, she began quietly taking her way along the stepping
stones to the gate. Once outside the gate she trotted along toward the
bridge over the moat.

This moat ran around the old feudal castle where a daimyo used to live,
and Yuki-ko often went as far as the bridge with Umé or Tara when they
started off for school. Sometimes all three of the children went there
to look at the green lotus leaves or the beautiful lotus blossoms which
cover the water in July and August.

But to-day Baby Yuki did not stop on the bridge. She crossed it and
clattered down the street to a far corner where a street-peddler was
selling toys.

Japanese peddlers are always very pleasant people, and this one danced
and sang funny songs which the baby was only too glad to hear.

Up one street and down another the man took his way, stopping wherever
he found a few little children to listen to him; and one or two children
from every group followed along with Yuki San, making a pretty sight.

A foreign lady with a camera stopped her jinrikisha-man, saying, "That
is the very smallest child I ever saw standing on its own two feet and
walking with other children in the street. One of the older girls should
carry the baby on her back."

Baby Yuki stood on the outside of the group, making a pretty picture all
by herself. She was so clean and sweet that the lady determined to
follow her and take several pictures. She dismissed her jinrikisha and
became a child with the others, following where the peddler led.

At last they reached Asakusa street, which leads to Asakusa Temple. This
street is lined with booths on each side, and in each booth there is a
man selling toys, or candies, or paper parasols, or kites, or something
to tempt the rin and sen out of a child's pocket.

Wherever there is a temple in a Japanese city there is also a toy-shop,
and where there is a toy-shop there is, of course, a toy which one must
surely buy. The children love to buy the toys and play with them in the
temple gardens.

In the gardens of Asakusa Temple there are ponds filled with goldfish
and silverfish and carp. These fish are tame and will eat from the
children's fingers because children have fed them for years and years.

Just outside the gateway to the temple, old women sit beside little
tables and sell saucers full of food for the fishes in the ponds and the
doves that live in the temple eaves. And where one person sells anything
many other people also sell something. They sell, the children buy, and
the doves and fishes are fed.

"It is like the 'House that Jack Built,'" said the American lady. "This
is the pond that held the fish, that ate the cakes, that lay in the dish
and were sold in the booths with all kinds of toys, from dolls to kites,
for girls and boys."

   [Illustration: The Street of Shops and Asakusa Temple. _Page 91._]

It does not take the little street of shops a long time to reach the
temple steps, in Asakusa; but it does take the little people a long time
to get through the street.

Baby Yuki stopped to kotow to the first old woman she saw selling beans.
In that moment the toy-peddler and all the children seemed to disappear.
The baby looked around for them, and was frightened to find that she was
all alone.

But before she had time to realize that she was lost, the foreign lady
had bought beans from the old woman and poured them into the baby's
hands, and the doves were flying down to pick up the beans as she
scattered them in the street.

From feeding the doves it was but a step to other joys. The lady bought
a paper parasol at one of the booths, at another a doll and a Japanese
lantern on the end of a slender bamboo stick. She tied the doll to the
baby's back, tilted the parasol over her shoulder, gave her the lantern
to hold, and took her picture.

Then she took the child's hand and they walked along together until they
came to an old woman who sat on the ground holding a tray of paper

The lady stopped to buy some of the flowers, and might have gone on
buying gifts--for there was no end to the toys for sale in that short
street--but the paper flowers had to be opened in a bowl of water.

To find the bowl of water the big lady and the little girl had to pass
under the temple gate and walk off among the trees and fish-ponds till
they came to a tea-house. There they sat down to rest, and a maid
brought tea and cakes for them to eat, and a bowl of water for the

There are always picnics going on in the grounds of the temple,
especially at chrysanthemum time; but there was never a prettier picnic
sight than the one made by Yuki-ko San and her foreign friend as they
knelt on the mats, sipping their tea, and watching the tiny paper
flowers change into all sorts of shapes.

Some of the flowers became beautiful potted plants, about an inch tall.
Others changed into trees, or birds, and one even took the shape of
Fujiyama, the lofty mountain. They seemed like fairy trees and birds,
and not until the last one had opened did Yuki San lift her little face
from the bowl of water. Then she spoke for the first time. "Yuki take
little birds home to O Chichi San," she said.

"Mercy! the child is lost and I don't know how to find her people," said
the foreign lady. But the maid who served the cakes said, "She must have
a name-label around her neck."

Fortunately she had, and not only the street where she lived, but also
the street and number of her father's shop, was written on it.

It was so far to either place that the lady said very sensibly, "We will
take a carriage." So she called a jinrikisha-man, and off they went to
the father's shop.

At a little distance from the silk shop, where the father sat waiting
for customers, the lady stopped her runner and put the little girl down
upon the ground. "Run to your O Chichi San," she said, pointing to the
shop, and then she watched the baby to see if she found the right

In the meantime someone else was hurrying to find her father. It was
Umé, who had been sent with one of the maids to tell the sad news that
Baby Yuki had wandered away from home and was surely lost.

Just as Umé reached the silk shop and poured out her story, who should
toddle along with her hands full of toys, dropping one and then another
as she kotowed her fat little body over them, but the baby herself.

Of course there was much talk, and many questions were asked of her; but
the child could only say that "Haha San with many hands" had given her
the toys and brought her to her father.

"It was Benten Sama," said Umé.

It is well known that Benten Sama has eight hands, and who but Benten
Sama would give Baby Yuki so many lovely gifts and bring her safely
through the city streets to her father's shop?

As they took the baby home to her frightened mother, Umé said softly to
her father, "Yuki-ko San did as much in finding you as Fishsave did when
he found his father."

And her father answered, "The tie between fathers and children is
honorably strong."

But Umé was already thinking that probably Benten Sama would answer her

As they passed the foreign lady, who was still sitting in her jinrikisha
at the corner of the street, Umé looked longingly at the tan-colored
shoes she was wearing.

"Red ones with black heels are prettier," she said to herself.

                              CHAPTER XIII

                         THE EMPEROR'S BIRTHDAY

"Let the Emperor live forever!" sang Umé, on the third day of the
eleventh month.

This day is the Emperor's birthday, and all loyal Japanese pray that
their ruler may see the chrysanthemum cup go round, autumn after autumn,
for a thousand years.

Autumn is the loveliest month of all the year in Japan. Then the maples
put on their glorious crimson and orange colors, and the chrysanthemums
fling out their beautiful many-colored petals to the sun.

The Japanese say that the maples are the crimson clouds that hang about
the sunset of their flower life.

From February until November different flowers reign, one after another,
for a few short weeks. First comes the plum blossom, about which
everyone writes a poem. Next the great double cherry blossoms make the
island look like a lovely pink cobweb on the blue sea. After that,
wistaria blossoms, five or six feet long, hang from trellises and
flutter in the breeze; and so on, until at last the chrysanthemum, the
royal flower, says "Sayonara," and the sun of the flower-year has set.

"The last flower is honorably the best," said Umé, as she hovered over
the masses of color in the garden-beds.

She looked like a beautiful blossom herself in her blue silk kimono.
Chrysanthemums in deep golden brown and palest pink were embroidered in
the silk. Her undergarment of pink showed at the throat; and about her
waist was a pink sash embroidered with blue.

That sash was Umé's delight. It was tied in an immense bow behind, and
Tara had never been able to find the ends that he might pull them out
and so tease his sister a little.

On her feet Umé wore black lacquer clogs and white stockings, with the
great toe in a room by itself.

Her hair was carefully drawn up to the top of her head, where it was
tied with a broad piece of blue crêpe, and then formed into several
puffs at the back. A brilliant pink chrysanthemum pin was stuck through
the puffs in one direction and a butterfly pin in the other.

Umé's pins and sashes were her dearest treasures!

The finishing touch was given to her face and lips. Rice powder made her
skin look very white, and a touch of paint made her cheeks and mouth
very red, although they were quite red enough before.

Her mother was wholly pleased with Umé's appearance, but Umé shook her
head over the clogs; she wished for something different.

"It is time to make the honorable start to the gardens, Umé-ko!" called
her mother at last, and the little girl left the flowers and took her
seat in the waiting jinrikisha.

Umé was going with her mother, first to make an offering at the temple,
then to look at the flowers in the gardens at Dango-Zaka.

Tara was going with his father to see the Emperor review the troops.

Yuki San was not forgotten. She was going with her grandmother to play
in the gardens at Asakusa once more.

All wore their festival clothes, as was proper on the Emperor's

Tara and his father wore kimonos, but they were much darker in color
than Umé's; their sashes were narrower, and there were no bows in the

Yuki-ko was the really gorgeous one. Her kimono was of bright red silk,
her sash pale yellow. A gold embroidered pocket hung from the sash and
in the pocket she carried a charm to keep her safe from harm in case
something happened to her name-label.

The "honorable start" was made at last and the three jinrikisha coolies
dashed through the gate, one behind the other, Tara and his father in
the lead.

A fuzzy caterpillar was humping his way along the road outside the gate.
The three runners turned aside and left a large part of the road to the
caterpillar, although so much room was more than the fuzzy creature
needed. The men thought that perhaps the soul of an ancestor might be in
the little insect, and they feared to crush it.

The city was in its gayest holiday attire. Red and white Japanese flags
adorned every house. Men dressed in uniform were hurrying through the
streets, soldiers were marching toward the parade grounds, and there
were crowds of happy people everywhere.

After riding over the wooden bridge Tara and his father took their way
to the Emperor's review, while the other two jinrikishas turned toward
Asakusa Temple.

Umé sat up very straight, making herself as tall as possible, and said,
as she watched her father being whirled down the street, "My son, it is
now my unworthy privilege--" then stopped, because her mother looked at
her in reproof.

"It is my unworthy privilege to remind you that respectful children do
not thus mimic their parents in voice and word," said her mother

"I will ask to be forgiven when we are in the temple," said Umé

She was still serious when she dropped a rin into the grated box that
waits always for offerings in the temples.

"May I write a prayer to the goddess Kwannon?" she asked, as the coin
clinked against others in the box.

"Is there something you very much desire, Umé-ko?" asked her mother with
a smile.

Umé nodded. "There is something I have asked from every one of the gods
and goddesses you have ever told me about," she said. "I have been
asking for it constantly ever since my last plum-blossom birthday."

"Kwannon is the goddess of mercy; perhaps she will be merciful to you
and grant your wish, whatever it may be," said her mother.

So Umé wrote her wish on a slip of paper and hung it where hundreds of
other prayers were hanging on a lattice in front of a shrine.

Afterwards she went with her mother to the corner where the god Binzuru
was waiting to cure any sort of disease.

Umé's mother had an ache in her back. She rubbed her hand gently over
the back of the god and then tried to rub her own back; but it was not
easy to reach between her shoulders and rub the pain away. After she
finished reaching, her back ached more than before.

"We will go to the gardens at Dango-Zaka; there we shall forget our
aches in looking at the lovely flowers," she told Umé.

Baby Yuki was already feeding the goldfish and did not care whether her
mother stayed at Asakusa Temple or not.

So the two rode away through the city streets toward the district of
Dango-Zaka. Sometimes they mounted a hill from which they could look
over the city and see the flags fluttering in the breeze; sometimes they
crossed a canal crowded with heavily-laden scows; sometimes they passed
through business streets where people sat in their houses or shops with
the front walls all open to the sidewalk. The people sat and worked, or
ate their lunch, or sold their wares, as if they were all a part of one
great family with the people in the streets and had no secrets from

Wells and water-tanks stood at convenient distances along the streets,
and from their jinrikishas Umé and her mother saw crowds of women
washing rice and chatting with one another as they worked.

At the chrysanthemum gardens there were many little gates, at each one
of which Umé paid four sen before they could enter and look at the
flowers in living pictures.

The gardeners in Japan make all sorts of wonderful stories and pictures
with the chrysanthemums.

Here you will see a ship filled with gods and goddesses. There you will
be astonished at the sight of a sail set to carry a junk over a
chrysanthemum sea. Somewhere else you will come upon an open umbrella, a
flag, a demon or a dragon; there is no end to the quaint fancies!

It is hard to understand how these pictures can be made until one learns
that the gardeners have been at the business for several generations.
They say that, to have a thing well done, your children and
grandchildren must do it after you.

To make the chrysanthemum pictures, they tie the branches of the plants,
and even the tiny flowers, to slender bamboo sticks; there is also a
delicate frame of copper wire through which the flowers are sometimes
drawn, and sometimes the gardeners use light bamboo figures of boats and
dragons and gods.

The faces of the people in the flower pictures are paper or plaster
masks. It would really be too much to ask the gardeners to make
chrysanthemum expressions. Nowhere outside of Japan will you find such
curious pictures!

It was very late when Umé and her mother reached home again. Now the
houses on both sides of the streets were hung with festoons of flags and
lanterns on each of which was the round red sun of Japan.

The wide-opened shutters showed brightly lighted rooms in which the
families were entertaining friends or having tea and cakes; they sat on
the floors, which were covered with scarlet blankets in honor of the

In the shops were tempting displays of fruits, fish and toys, and in the
distance Umé could see the fireworks which were being set off in the
palace grounds.

Tara and his father were already at home, but the boy was far too
excited over the grand review of the Emperor's troops to listen to
anything his sister had to tell.

"He is an honorably wonderful man, our most illustrious Emperor," said
Tara. "My admirable father told me that he never stood upon his own feet
until he was sixteen years old."

"I think that is not so honorably wonderful," said Umé stoutly. But when
she took both of her own feet up at the same time, to try how it could
be done, she found herself suddenly upon the floor.

"Did he walk upon his august head?" she demanded.

"Umé," said her mother, "speak not so disrespectfully of the Son of

But Tara explained: "He was carried about all the time, and shown only
to very noble people once in a while. But when he became a man, he said
it should all be different. And he put down all the old nobility that
had kept him so honorably helpless, and then he made everything as it is
to-day in Japan.

"Under the old rule, no one was allowed to leave the country and we knew
no other people except the Chinese. Now we know the whole world and can
teach the other nations many things."

Just then old Maru entered the room with tea and cakes. The cakes looked
exactly like maple leaves. There were also candies made to look like
autumn grasses and chrysanthemums.

Umé clapped her hands and danced about the room.

"May the Emperor live forever!" she sang; and Tara wheeled and marched
like a soldier, shouting, "May Japan never be conquered!"

                              CHAPTER XIV

                              DARUMA SAMA

Among the stories which O Ba San told to Umé and her brother was one
about Daruma Sama.

Daruma Sama was a Japanese saint who lived many, many years ago. It was
his great desire to cross the sea on a leaf, but in order to do so it
was first necessary for him to pray long and sincerely to the gods.

He knelt in prayer for many years, and at last his feet and legs fell
from his body because they had been idle so long a time.

In all the toy-shops there are images of this saint with his large head
and big round body which has no trouble in sitting still.

The Japanese children make their snow men in the image of Daruma Sama.
They give him a charcoal ball for each eye and a streak of charcoal for
his nose and mouth, and then they have a fine snow man.

It was almost the end of the year before Tara had an opportunity to make
a Daruma. In Tokio snow rarely covers the ground for more than
twenty-four hours at a time, and sometimes there is a winter with almost
no snow at all.

But one evening, only two days before the New Year Festival, the air was
so chilly that the veranda shutters were all tightly closed and the
shoji drawn together, while the family sat around the fireplace.

Lift up the square of matting in the middle of a Japanese living-room
and you will find, sunk in the floor, a stone-lined bowl a few inches
deep. This is the fireplace. When the day is cold the maid puts a
shovelful of live coals into this bowl, places a wooden frame about a
foot high over it, and covers all with a quilt. Then the cold ones may
sit around the fire on the floor, draw the quilt over their knees and
into their laps, and soon become perfectly warm.

Tara and Umé had heard many a delightful story as they sat snuggled
under the warm quilt on winter evenings.

On this evening their father said suddenly, "The white snow-flakes will
fall to-night and cover the earth as the white plum blossoms cover the

Tara sprang from under the quilt and ran to open the shutters so that he
might see for himself how the weather looked outside.

He was so eager that his fingers slipped and pushed a hole through the
paper covering of the shoji. His mother looked sadly at the torn place.
"It was only this morning," she said, "that I put new papers on the
shoji to be in readiness for the New Year. Baby Yuki's fingers had made
many holes in the paper walls."

In a moment Tara ran back into the warm room. "It is faithfully true,"'
he cried. "Even now white flakes are falling."

In the morning it was as if they had moved to a different world. The
snow made the garden, with its trees and pond and bridge, look like

"I will go to the garden-house for my stilts," said Tara, "then I can
walk about in the snow on my heron-legs as the white herons walk in the
mud of the rice-fields."

Stilts are made of bamboo sticks, and are called "heron-legs," after the
long-legged snowy herons that strut about in the wet fields. Wooden
clogs will lift their wearers out of the mud of the streets in bad
weather; but the boys are always glad of an excuse to get out their
stilts. They walk on them so much that they become expert in their use
and can run and even play games on them.

Umé looked rather sadly at the new white world outside.

"The snow has come too soon," she said.

"Why?" asked Tara.

"Because I have no time for play," answered Umé. "There are gifts to
finish, and I must also help the honorable mother to make all clean and
sweet for the New Year."

"Let the gifts honorably wait until the hour of the horse," said Tara,
"so that you may play with us this morning in the garden."

But Umé went dutifully to her sewing. She was making a bundle
handkerchief for Tei out of a piece of bright colored crêpe with her
family crest embroidered on it.

After that was finished she made a lucky-bag to hang on the New Year's
arch at the house door.

The lucky-bag was made of a square of Japanese paper. Into it Umé put
several things which are known to bring good luck--a few chestnuts, a
bit of dried fish, and a dried plum. She tied them up in the paper with
a red and white paper string, and put the bag away until the arch should
be ready.

New Year's Day is the most important time in the whole year in Japan. It
is the day when all the people, from the highest to the lowest, have a
holiday. For days, and even weeks, preparations are made to celebrate
the festival with proper ceremony. Never are the streets of the cities
and towns so filled with gayly dressed crowds of people hurrying here
and there, buying and selling, as during the last days of the dying

Every house is thoroughly cleaned from roof to veranda, the shoji are
covered with fresh papers, new kimonos and sashes are made, new hairpins
purchased, new mats are laid on the floors and the old ones are burned.

On the last day of the old year every room is dusted with the feathery
leaves of a green branch of bamboo. Then the gateway is decorated with a
beautiful arch, one of the Japanese symbols of health, happiness and

On each side of the gateway two holes are dug in which are planted small
pine trees. On the left is the tree which represents the father, on the
right is the mother-pine. Beside these are set the graceful stems of the
bamboo, the green leaves towering above the low roof and rustling in the
wind. From one bamboo stalk to the other is hung a thick rope of
rice-straw, beautifully plaited and knotted, to give a blessing to the
household and keep out all evil spirits.

From this rope hang yellow oranges, and scarlet lobsters which with
their crooked bodies signify long life and an old age bent with years.
There are also fern leaves, a branch of camellia, a piece of seaweed, a
lucky-bag, flags, and strips of white paper which are supposed to be
images of men offering themselves to the gods.

Everything about the pine-tree arch has a meaning, and signifies wishes
for health, strength, happiness, obedience, honor and a long life.

Of course there must be a decoration inside the house as well. Tara and
Umé went to the shops with their father to choose one for the alcove
room, after the Daruma Sama was made and Umé's sewing finished.

The children chose a harvest ship, a junk about two feet long, made of
straw with twigs of pine and bamboo in the bow and stern. It was loaded
with many bales of make-believe merchandise in which were little gifts,
and was sprinkled with gold-dust to make it look bright. There was a red
sun on one side of the boat and the sails were of scarlet paper.

On the way home they passed a shop where foreign shoes were offered for
sale, and where some one at that moment was buying a pair of red shoes
for a little girl about as old as Umé.

Umé held her father still to watch the child try them on her little
feet, and they certainly made the feet look very pretty.

Umé's father smiled at the look in his daughter's eyes, but he soon drew
her away to a toy-shop out of sight of the little red shoes. There they
bought a ball for Baby Yuki and gifts for the mother and grandmother,
going home only when they could carry nothing more.

If ever there is a time and place when enticing red shoes can be
forgotten, it is New Year's time among the shops in Japan. No one ever
thinks of staying indoors then, else he would miss the gayest,
liveliest, brightest time of the whole year.

The shop-keepers have to fill their shelves with great quantities of new
things to match the New Year; there are new games, new kimonos, new
clogs, new toys for sale everywhere, and even the story-tellers brighten
up their old stories to make them seem like new.

That last day before the New Year was a very busy one in the Utsuki
household. There were gifts to be put into dainty packages, the
pine-tree arch to be decorated, the last stitches to be taken in the new
kimonos, and the last bills to be paid--even the smallest one that might
possibly have been overlooked.

There is a beautiful custom in Japan of beginning the year without a
debt. Every bill is paid and no one owes a single sen when the old year
dies and the new year dawns.

When at last Umé said her honorable good-night to her father and mother
and went to her wooden pillow she was very tired.

As she crept under the warm coverlet she whispered drowsily, "May Benten
Sama, or Kwannon, or one of the illustrious goddesses give me what I
have prayed for so long." Then she fell fast asleep.

                               CHAPTER XV

                             NEW YEAR'S DAY

"So many honorable sounds!" murmured Umé drowsily, and she listened for
a moment without opening her eyes.

It was New Year's morning, so early that the sun was only just rising.

Umé could hear the clapping of many hands outside the house. "I, myself,
meant to welcome the illustrious sun with the hand-joy," she said to
herself, and sprang from her bed with wide-open eyes.

It took but a moment to slip into a thick kimono and push open the
shoji. Someone had already opened the wooden shutters and Umé reached
the corner of the street in time to see the round red sun send his first
beams over the snow-covered roofs.

She clapped her hands joyously and bowed a welcoming "Ohayo" to the
great ball of light. "Now I shall surely begin the year with good luck!"
she said to herself as she slipped back into the house.

She closed the shoji and cuddled again between the soft quilts for
warmth. Then it occurred to her to wonder why she had not seen her
mother, who always rose very early, among the group that was greeting
the New Year sun.

The air was filled with the sound of joy bells which were ringing from
all the temples. One hundred and eight strokes must they ring, twelve
times nine, to keep all evil spirits away from the city in this new

But there were other sounds which came from within the house. Was
it,--yes, it surely was the sound of a little new baby's cry.

Again Umé was out of bed and pattering across the room to open her
shoji. Her father was standing before the alcove in the honorable guest
room, and he read the question in her face before Umé could ask it.

"Yes," he said, "a new son has come to our unworthy house on this
morning of the New Year."

Umé bowed her forehead to the floor, "Omedeto, O Chichi San," she said.
"I am most respectfully happy. May I go to see him and bid him honorable

"After the breakfast is faithfully eaten, it may perhaps be permitted,"
answered her father. Then he asked, "Was there not some gift you have
asked from the gods in the year that has passed?"

"I have asked many times for a gift, but neither the gods nor the
goddesses have yet given it to me."

"Have you ever asked the generous mother for it?"

"No, O Chichi San."

"Why have you not asked your insignificant father?"

"O Chichi San, I feared you would not permit me to have what I most

Her father looked at her gravely and took a package from his kimono
sleeve. He gave it to Umé, saying as he did so, "Your thoughtful mother
asked me to buy this in the foreign shop and give it to you this

The package was tied with red and white paper string. Umé took it in
both hands, raised it to her forehead, bowed her thanks, and opened it.
Inside the package was a pair of red shoes with black heels!

"O Chichi San, how worthily beautiful!" and Umé danced about the room,
clasping the pretty things to her heart. "This is what I have asked of
Benten Sama and Kwannon and of the other goddesses," she said with
shining eyes.

Then she stood still and said wonderingly, "But I did not ask for a baby
brother, although he was more to be desired."

"Your mother gives both the shoes and the baby brother to you," said her

"May I not go to her and give her many thanks truly?" asked Umé.

"Your mother is ill," said her father. "It may be that she will never
speak to us again."

"Oh, no!" cried Umé in great distress. She looked at the little red
shoes and suddenly dropped them to the floor.

"Benten Sama may have them, if she will only make my honorable mother
well," she said.

The pretty things which she had dreamed of, and longed for, and begged
of all the gods, suddenly became of no value to her except as an
offering to save her mother's life.

She knelt at her father's feet and bowed her head to the floor. "Have I
your noble permission to go to Asakusa Temple and pray to the good
Kwannon that my mother may become well?" she asked.

"Yes," her father answered, "and it may be that a gift of that which you
most treasure will be pleasing to the Goddess of Mercy."

Umé looked down at the little red shoes, gathered them up and tucked
them into her kimono sleeve; then ran to ask old Maru to go with her to
the temple.

The little girl had never before been to the temple on so sad an errand.

"See," said old Maru as the jinrikisha-man took up his shafts, "the
gate-pine-tree is giving you an honorable message."

Umé looked back as the old nurse continued, "When autumn winds blow the
leaves from the other trees and leave them sad and cheerless, the pine
holds its needles more green and vigorous than ever. We should be like
the pine, brave to conquer our troubles when they come."

Umé tried to smile. "I will be obediently brave," she said.

Old Maru nodded approvingly. "As the pine stands for strength and the
bamboo for uprightness, so the fern means hope and the seaweed good

Umé began to be a little cheerful. "I dreamed of Fujiyama, the sacred,
in the night," she said, "that means great happiness."

"Yes," said old Maru comfortably, "everything points to good fortune
this morning. Let us hope that the merciful goddess will be gracious to
grant our prayer."

The sound of the temple bells still filled the air. Everywhere the
streets and houses were decorated with paper lanterns and flags and
banners, each one white with a round red sun. The lanterns were strung
in rows across the streets and on the houses from the low eaves to the
veranda posts. At the temple they hung at every possible point from roof
to steps.

Umé and Maru went reverently through all the ceremony of washing the
hands and mouth, ringing the bell, dropping the offering of coins in the
box and buying the rice-cakes. They left their clogs at the entrance
among several other pairs, for many sad hearts had come to the temple
with petitions on this early morning of the New Year.

When Umé left the temple the pretty red shoes were lying at the feet of
the Goddess Kwannon, and the child's face looked full of hope.

As they sat in the jinrikisha old Maru said, "One can never do too much
for the honorable mother." Then she added proudly, "No other nation in
the world can show such examples of filial love as Japan."

"What do you mean?" asked Umé, who could listen to a story now that her
heart was lightened of its fear.

"I mean the example of the four and twenty paragons," replied the nurse.
"The gods never gave me a son. If they had I should have prayed that he
might be like the paragon who, when he himself was very old, became a
baby so that his parents might not realize how old they had grown."

"But I thought we Japanese liked to become very old," said Umé, puzzled.
"I always say 'Ohayo, old woman,' to the batter-cake woman at the
corner, and she is gratefully pleased."

"That is true. But the paragon showed his filial affection by acting as
a baby," persisted old Maru. "It was a noble thing to do."

"How many paragons were there?" asked Umé.

"Four and twenty," replied the old woman.

"Was one of them a little girl, and did she give up her red shoes?"
asked Umé.

Old Maru looked doubtful. "It was a long time ago," she said. "I think
no red shoes had been made in the world at that time."

But Umé was again thinking of her mother. "Tell the jinrikisha-man to
go faster," she urged.

The man was trotting along, looking at every pine-tree arch. The
treeless streets, as far as one could see, were a bower of pine and
bamboo. Little children ran into the road, dressed in new kimonos and
sashes. Boys were making images of Daruma Sama in the snow, messengers
were bearing gifts from one house to another, and men dressed in uniform
were already going to pay their respects to their beloved Emperor.

Some of the streets were almost impassable because of the number of
beautifully dressed girls who were playing battledore and shuttlecock.
The air was full of the bright fluttering toys as they were struck from
one player to the other, and the silver world was a very merry place as
Umé rode swiftly toward her home.

"If only the honorable mother is augustly well, and the new baby
strong," she said wistfully, "our humble household might be the gayest
of them all."

As they drew near to their own gateway, Umé clapped her hands. Tara and
his father were in the garden and an enormous kite was just rising into
the air. It was decorated with a great red sun and a bright red carp,
and had a long tail of red and blue papers flying behind it. Higher and
higher it rose, the tail turning and twisting in the wind.

"I know my honorable mother is better!" cried Umé, beside herself with

"The chestnuts did not go into the lucky-bag for nothing," said old Maru
contentedly. "I knew they would bring an answer to our prayer."

But Umé did not hear her. She left the old woman picking her way
carefully along the snowy stepping-stones while she flew to her father.

"Is my admirable mother better?" she asked breathlessly.

"Yes," answered her father. "O Doctor San says she will soon be well."

"It is because the gracious Kwannon was pleased with the red shoes,"
said Umé softly.

                         PRONOUNCING VOCABULARY
                             AND DICTIONARY

    Ä sä'k[.u] sä=, a temple in Tokio.

    B[=a]=, grandmother.

    B[)e]n't[)e]n Sä'mä=, a goddess of love and good fortune.

    chi chi= (ch[=e]'ch[=e]), father.

    ch[)o]p'st[)i]cks=, small sticks used in eating.

    cl[)o]gs=, a wooden shoe worn to lift the feet out of the mud.

    C[)o]n f[=u]'cius= (shius), a celebrated Chinese philosopher.

    Dä r[.u]'mä Sä'mä=, a Japanese god.

    [)E]n [=o] shi'mä= (sh[=e]), a small island on the east coast of
    Japan. Shima means island.

    Fu ji ya ma= (f[.u]'j[=e] yä'mä), an extinct volcano, the highest
    mountain of Japan. Yama means mountain.

    gei sha= (g[=a]'sh[.a]), a dancing girl.

    ge ta= (g[=a]'t[.a]), wooden clogs.

    g[=o]=, five.

    g[=o]'d[ow)]n=, a fireproof building used as a storehouse.

    hä'hä=, mother.

    i chi= ([=e]'ch[=e]), one.

    j[)i]n rïk'[)i] shä=, a two-wheeled carriage drawn by a man.

    j[)u][n=]k=, a flat-bottomed, sea-going sailing vessel.

    Kä mä'k[.u] rä=, a small town on the east coast of Japan.

    Ka mei do= (kä m[=a]'d[=o]), a temple in Tokio.

    ki mo no= (k[=e] m[=o]'n[=o]), a garment resembling a
    dressing-gown, worn by men, women, and children in Japan.

    K[)i]n tä'r[=o]=, a Japanese hero.

    ki ri gi ri su= (k[=e] r[=e] g[=e]'r[=e] s[.u]), a singing

    k[=o]=, little.

    k[=o]'t[=o]=, a musical instrument somewhat like a harp.

    k[=o]'t[ow)]=, bow the forehead to the ground.

    Kwän'n[)o]n=, the goddess of mercy.

    Mä'r[.u]=, round, a name sometimes given to girls.

    ni= (n[=e]), two.

    Nä r[.u] h[=o]'d[=o]=, an exclamation.

    [=O]=, honorable, the Japanese honorific.

    [=O] B[=a] Sän=, honorable Grandmother Mrs.

    O hay o= ([=o] h[=i]'[=o]), "honorable early," good-morning.

    o mé dé to= ([=o] m[=a] d[=a]'t[=o]), "honorable

    [=O] yä'mä=, a mountain near Yokohama.

    r[)i]n=, a coin, one tenth of a sen, one twentieth of a cent.

    s[)a]n=, three.

    Sän=, Mr., Mrs., or Miss; a title of respect.

    sa ké= (sä'k[=a]), a liquor made from rice.

    Sä'mä=, Mr., Mrs., or Miss; a title of respect.

    s[)a]m'[)i] s[)e]n=, a musical instrument resembling a banjo.

    s[)e]n=, a coin worth one tenth of a yen, one half of a cent.

    shi= (sh[=e]), four.

    s[.u]'zu=, an insect.

    S[.u] gä wä'rä-n[=o]-M[)i]ch [)i] zä'né= (n[=a]), a Japanese

    ta bi= (tä'b[=e]), stockings, with a place for the big toe.

    Tä'mä=, jewel; often used as a girl's name.

    Tä'rä=, a boy's name.

    Tei= (t[=a]), a girl's name.

    To ki o= (t[=o]'k[=e] [=o]), the capital of Japan.

    U mé= ([.u] m[=a]'), plum blossom; often used as a girl's name.

    Ut su ki= ([.u]t s[.u]'k[=e]), a family name.

    y[)e]n=, a coin worth about fifty cents.

                           Transcriber Notes:

Passages in italics were indicated by _underscores_.

Passages in bold were indicated by =equal signs=.

Small caps were replaced with ALL CAPS.

Throughout the document, the latin letter a with a dot above was
replaced with [.a].

The latin letter u with a dot above was replaced with [.u].

The latin letter a with breve was replaced with [)a].

The latin letter e with breve was replaced with [)e].

The latin letter i with breve was replaced with [)i].

The latin letter o with breve was replaced with [)o].

The latin letter u with breve was replaced with [)u].

The latin letter a with macron was replaced with [=a].

The latin letter e with macron was replaced with [=e].

The latin letter i with macron was replaced with [=i].

The latin letter o with macron was replaced with [=o].

The latin letter u with macron was replaced with [=u].

The latin letter n with a line below was replaced with [n=].

The latin letters ow with a curved line below was replaced with [ow)].

Throughout the dialogues, there were words used to mimic accents of the
speakers. Those words were retained as-is.

The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up
paragraphs and so that they are next to the text they illustrate.

Errors in punctuations and inconsistent hyphenation were not corrected
unless otherwise noted.

On page 31, a comma was added after "said".

On page 42, a closing quotation was added after "are in full Blossom."

On page 74 the hyphen in jinrikisha-men was replaced with a space.

On page 94, "payer" was replaced with "prayer".

On page 116, "moring" was replaced with "morning".

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operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.