A young priest is on a personal pilgrimage for enlightenment through the snow covered trails of Mt. Koya in Wakayama prefecture, Japan. Misdirected by a local postman, the priest is sent straying off of the main road and onto the back roads which lead to a small secluded cottage. There he meets a beautiful but bewitching woman whose raw sexuality seems utterly impossible to resist.
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Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Ginsetsu Shiromi Translator. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , 62 pages. Published November 20th by Ginsetsu Shiromi first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. Sort order. They started to talk and then decided to stay at an inn. Since the man had trouble dealing with the night and was never able to sleep until late, he asked the priest to tell him a story.
And so he did. The story includes another journey through the desolate Hida mountains. A dreadful forest with many unpleasant surprises, a medicine peddler that questions the priest's faith Come on, admit it. You claim to have renounced the world, but you really want to hold on to your life after all. Such vivid prose that made me almost hear that charming, little hissing and forced me to close my window, just in case. Same thing with the tree made of ravenous leeches that made the priest run in a frenzy of fear and disgust.
Charming stuff. Besides those quaint details, the priest's story was mostly about a woman. A lonely woman that was afraid that under these circumstances she herself would eventually forget how to talk. A beautiful, gentle, yet strong-willed; light hearted yet calm, comfortable, yet fearsome at the same time kind of woman that left this holy man on the verge of temptation.
Uncertainty and infatuation flooded his heart as the walls between religion and worldly matters began to collapse. A delicate attention to details. Beauty, the supernatural and the grotesque are perfectly balanced. The descriptions of the surroundings and the different impressions of people and their actions were portrayed with an exquisite writing that, at times, sounded like a profound meditation that you simply wish it would last for days.
View all 22 comments. This excerpt from the "Introduction" defines the kind of story we're reading: Kyoka wrote in the old style, using Kanji [Chinese] characters that a generation later were outdated, if not unreadable, to many Japanese. And his stories were often a kind of Gothic fantasy, filled with superstition and spirits and traditional ways -- hardly fashionable when machinery, mass advertising, and the Jazz Age hit Japan.
Given that there are parts of the world with larger-than-life animal and plant species, I This excerpt from the "Introduction" defines the kind of story we're reading: Kyoka wrote in the old style, using Kanji [Chinese] characters that a generation later were outdated, if not unreadable, to many Japanese.
Given that there are parts of the world with larger-than-life animal and plant species, I did not initially know whether Kyoka was testing my gullibility with the Hida forest of slimy, three-inch leeches, the waves of sun-bathing snakes with their middles exposed across the path, and the washed-and-pressed clothing of a physically disabled young man with the very protruding navel in a house on a crag in the remote mountains.
Besides those examples, there is the beautiful woman who tends the young man and revives her fresh bloom in the river. Visiting their house contains as many questions as answers, a reminder of the otherworldly between "Psycho" and "The Addams Family". All that story is told by the holy priest who experienced it to a traveling companion during a sleepless night at an inn after having met each other on a train.
The priest is actually entertaining the other with this sort-of bedtime story. There also are other stories told by an old man in the priest's story. The old man tells the priest the history of the woman, the young man, the mountain, and the isolated house's visitors.
There is not anything gory, except for the bloodsucking leeches, but there is a sense of romance found in the superstitious beliefs, in the beautiful, demonic, kind, and lusty woman with supernatural power, and in the priest's struggle over the value and practicality of his religious austerities. All those incongruities between logic and fantasy lead to some raised eyebrows and a satisfying ending. View 1 comment.
I very much enjoyed this, even though short stories are not generally my thing. I found this one really kind of suspenseful in its telling, and very well described, and subtle enough to make me wonder what exactly was going on, but not so subtle as to take away that sense of foreboding.
At its heart, I guess it's a somewhat traditional tale--a story told to the narrator by a fellow traveler met along the road well, in this case, on the train, and, actually, it's a story within a story within a I very much enjoyed this, even though short stories are not generally my thing. At its heart, I guess it's a somewhat traditional tale--a story told to the narrator by a fellow traveler met along the road well, in this case, on the train, and, actually, it's a story within a story within a story.
Though it has a very timeless feel to it, it takes place in modern times, and I continually found myself forgetting that fact. But anyway, it kept me guessing enough to keep me interested, and it's mysterious and haunting enough that I think I'll find it stuck in my head for awhile to come.
I'm definitely glad I gave this a read. View 2 comments. Very interesting story about a monk traveling the hard way, with many hardships on his way, one of which being a seductive woman. The novella has deeper layers as in an allegory; I will still try and discover those. Read for class. Quite engrossing but has an unsatisfying ending. A young wandering Buddhist monk from Mount Koya on a pilgrimage to Shinshu takes a rarely traveled path into a mountain wilderness to follow and assist a peddler.
On this terrifying path, he first encounters a field of snakes, then a dark forest where it "rains" bloodsucking leeches, and finally - after crossing a little bridge - he comes across a beautiful, alluring woman with mysterious powers. She lives in a ramshackle mountain cottage with her infantilized "idiot" husband and a manservant about to take a horse to market.
In other words, the ascetic has traveled from the real world to a supernatural one, inhabited by dead spirits. The woman he meets is both tempting he is almost seduced by her in an erotic bathing scene and maternal, a kind of shamaness who communicates with the animals around her he sees her marshaling her powers to coax the reticent horse to follow the servant to market.
Will the monk be able to leave this enchanted place and resume his pilgrimage? Or will he become the next victim of this sorceress? Can he discipline his sexual desire and reach enlightenment? This is truly a wonderful mysterious but also wise story. Read the "Mt Koya" half for a refresher of the story. Would like to read the other half later! Dec 22, Cris N. This is a story about a Buddhist monk who, while taking an unusual path through the mountains during his travels, finds a woman, an "idiot" her husband , and some old man who seems to buy animals from the woman.
The woman tries to seduce the monk multiple times, and strangely gets bothered by animals around. We later learn that she's a witch who uses the lust of men. So, you get this kind moral lesson about not giving in to lust. I guess it implies that if you become a womanizer, it's like you This is a story about a Buddhist monk who, while taking an unusual path through the mountains during his travels, finds a woman, an "idiot" her husband , and some old man who seems to buy animals from the woman.
I guess it implies that if you become a womanizer, it's like you become an animal in a way. I did agree with the basic message that people shouldn't be so lustful and womanizing as we often see today especially in Western countries , although it's not that sexuality is bad in and of itself, of course. The only thing I didn't like about the story is the fact that it's centered around a monk. I'm not really a fan of monks whether Buddhist or Christian plus most people have a hard time relating to monks' mentality, so that was the one aspect of the story that was a weakness.
However, it was a rather interesting and engaging story, though. Shelves: japan , A short story about consecuences of lust as the opposite of wanting to live a good peaceful life. Quick read. Common themes amongst japanese literature. Would recommend. Readers also enjoyed. Short Stories.
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