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   Chapter 4 SHINKIRō

The Romance of the Milky Way, and Other Studies & Stories By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 1110

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

The term Shinkirō is used in the meaning of "mirage," and also as another name for Hōrai, the Elf-land of Far Eastern fable. Various beings in Japanese myth are credited with power to delude mortals by creating a mirage of Hōrai. In old pictures one may see a toad represented in the act of exhaling from its mouth a vapor that shapes the apparition of Hōrai.

But the creature especially wont to produce this illusion is the Hamaguri,-a Japanese mollusk much resembling a clam. Opening its shell, it sends into the air a purplish misty breath; and that

mist takes form and defines, in tints of mother-of-pearl, the luminous vision of Hōrai and the palace of the Dragon-King.

Hamaguri no

Kuchi aku toki ya,


Yo ni shiraré ken


[When the hamaguri opens its mouth-lo! Shinkirō appears!... Then all can clearly see the Maiden-Princess of the Dragon-Palace.]


Tatsu no miyako no

Hinagata33 wo

Shio-hi no oki ni

Misuru hamaguri!

[Lo! in the offing at ebb-tide, the hamaguri makes visible the miniature image of Shinkirō-the Dragon-Capital!]

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