The Ninth Vibration and Other Stories
How Great Is The Glory Of Kwannon
A Japanese Story
(0 Lovely One-O thou Flower! With Thy beautiful face, with Thy beautiful eyes, pour
light upon the world! Adoration to Kwannon.)
In Japan in the days of the remote Ancestors, near the little village of Shiobara, the river
ran through rocks of a very strange blue colour, and the bed of the river was also
composed of these rocks, so that the clear water ran blue as turquoise gems to the sea.
The great forests murmured beside it, and through their swaying boughs was breathed the
song of Eternity. Those who listen may hear if their ears are open. To others it is but the
idle sighing of the wind.
Now because of all this beauty there stood in these forests a roughly built palace of
unbarked wood, and here the great Emperor would come from City-Royal to seek rest for
his doubtful thoughts and the cares of state, turning aside often to see the moonlight in
Shiobara. He sought also the free air and the sound of falling water, yet dearer to him
than the plucked strings of sho and biwa. For he said;
"Where and how shall We find peace even for a moment, and afford Our heart
refreshment even for a single second?"
And it seemed to him that he found such moments at Shiobara.
Only one of his great nobles would His Majesty bring with him - the Dainagon, and him
be chose because he was a worthy and honorable person and very simple of heart.
There was yet another reason why the Son of Heaven inclined to the little Shiobara. It
had reached the Emperor that a Recluse of the utmost sanctity dwelt in that forest. His
name was Semimaru. He had made himself a small hut in the deep woods, much as a
decrepit silkworm might spin his last Cocoon and there had the Peace found him.
It had also reached His Majesty that, although blind, be was exceedingly skilled in the art
of playing the biwa, both in the Flowing Fount manner and the Woodpecker manner, and
that, especially on nights when the moon was full, this aged man made such music as
transported the soul. This music His Majesty desired very greatly to hear.
Never had Semimaru left his hut save to gather wood or seek food until the Divine
Emperor commanded his attendance that he might soothe his august heart with music.
Now on this night of nights the moon was full and the snow heavy on the pines, and the
earth was white also, and when the moon shone through the boughs it made a cold light
like dawn, and the shadows of the trees were black upon it.