本文へスキップ
Home Old Stories of Japan For Beginners Japanese Short Stories Japanese Literature
 
         


Japanese Literature


Ten Nights of Dreams
Soseki Natsume

Ten Nights of Dreams - I

夢十夜ゆめじゅうや

The First Night

第一夜だいいちや

The dreamer sits at the bedside of a woman who says she is dying. Because of the warm color in her lips and cheeks, he questions, several times, if she truly is dying. After confirming that she must indeed die, the woman asks a favor. After she dies, he should dig her grave with a large shell, mark it with a fragment of fallen star, and wait at its side a hundred years for her return. The dreamer prepares her grave and buries her as requested. Then he begins his vigil, losing count of the days as years go by. As he begins to wonder if she didn't deceive him, a slender stem emerges and a white lily blossoms before him. He touches his lips to a dewdrop on the lily and knows in that moment that a hundred years have passed.


Amazon
     Apple iBooks

$0.99

Ten Nights of Dreams - II

夢十夜ゆめじゅうや

The Second Night

第二夜だいにちや

The dreamer, who is staying in a temple, returns to his chamber after leaving the high priest's quarters. He settles himself and reaches under his seating cushion to confirm the presence of a dagger. Then, he reflects on his exchange with the high priest. The priest had scorned him for his years of failure in attaining enlightenment. No true samurai, the priest had said, would succumb so to failure. The dreamer decides he must take either the priest's life or his own, that very evening, when the clock strikes the next hour. If he succeeds in attaining enlightenment, then the priest will pay. If not, then he will commit seppuku. He struggles mightily to find "nothingness." His struggle turns to frustration and then to anger. As he struggles without success, the clock strikes the hour.


Amazon
     Apple iBooks

$0.99

Ten Nights of Dreams - III

夢十夜ゆめじゅうや

The Third Night

第三夜だいさんや

The dreamer is walking at dusk with a six-year-old child on his back. He believes the child is his own, and he knows that the child is blind and that its head is shaved. However, he does not know when the child lost its sight or why its head is shaved. Despite its blindness, the child seems to know where they are and where they are going. Its voice is childlike, but its words are mature. The dreamer grows ill at ease, and he resolves to abandon the child in the woods up ahead. As they enter the woods, the child directs the dreamer to the base of a cedar tree. The child states that he was killed by the dreamer, in this very place, on a similar night, a hundred years before. The dreamer remembers the night, and at the same moment the child grows heavy as stone.


Amazon
     Apple iBooks

$0.99

Ten Nights of Dreams - IV

夢十夜ゆめじゅうや

The Third Night

第四夜だいよんや

An old man sits alone at a large table in an earthen-floored room, escaping the heat of the day. He drinks sake and converses enigmatically with the proprietress. When he departs, the dreamer, who is a young child, follows him to a willow where children are playing. The old man produces a towel and tells them to watch it become a snake. He blows a whistle and circles with dance-like steps, but the towel remains a towel. Finally, he puts the towel into his box and walks on, still insisting it will change. They reach the riverbank, but the old man doesn't stop. The dreamer watches him wade in, still hoping to see the snake when he emerges on the other bank. The old man, however, disappears beneath the surface and does not reappear.


Amazon
     Apple iBooks

$0.99


Soseki Natsume

Natsume Soseki (夏目 漱石, February 9, 1867 - December 9, 1916) was a Japanese novelist. He is best known for his novels Kokoro, Botchan, I Am a Cat and his unfinished work Light and Darkness. He was also a scholar of British literature and composer of haiku, kanshi, and fairy tales. In Japan, he is often considered the greatest writer in modern Japanese history. (Soseki Natsume)

     Home