In this lavishly illustrated volume, A.B. Mitford presents ancient Japanese tales filled with action, romance, and the supernatural. Proud lords and their loyal retainers, a brave samurai and his faithless wife, a vampire cat, and howling spirits are all featured in the engaging stories that follow, including:
· * The Forty-Seven Rōnin: In this account of fierce heroism, a band of rōnin—masterless samurai who wander the country as somewhat disreputable knights errant—swear to lay down their lives to avenge their lord, who was condemned to hara kiri and his property and castle forfeited to the state.
· * How Tajima Shumé was Tormented by a Devil of his Own Creation: When a traveling rōnin amasses great wealth with a dead priest’s money, he finds himself confronted with a fearful vision of the man he murdered.
· * The Badger’s Money: An old priest takes pity on a helpless badger that asks to enter his warm cottage so that it may live through a bitterly cold night.
Appendices covering hara kiri and funeral rites conclude this collection of mesmerizing stories about Japanese life in days of yore.