MoboReader > Literature > The Romance of the Milky Way, and Other Studies & Stories

   Chapter 12 UMI-BōZU

The Romance of the Milky Way, and Other Studies & Stories By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 985

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


Place a large cuttlefish on a table, body upwards and tentacles downwards-and you will have before you the grotesque reality that first suggested the fancy of the Umi-Bōzu, or Priest of the Sea. For the great bald body in this position, with the staring eyes below, bears a distorted resemblance to the shaven head of a priest; while the crawling tentacles underneath (which are in some species united by a dark web) suggests the wavering motion of the priest's upper robe.... The Umi-Bōzu fi

gures a good deal in the literature of Japanese goblinry, and in the old-fashioned picture-books. He rises from the deep in foul weather to seize his prey.

Ita hito?

Shita wa Jigoku ni,

Sumizomé no

Bōzu no umi ni

Déru mo ayashina!

[Since there is but the thickness of a single plank (between the voyager and the sea), and underneath is Hell, 'tis indeed a weird thing that a black-robed priest should rise from the sea (or, "'tis surely a marvelous happening that," etc.!58)]

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