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Kwaidan
Lafcadio Hearn

Page 1 of 185


KWAIDAN 

THE STORY OF MIMI-NASHI-HOICHI 

More than seven hundred years ago, at Dan-no-ura, in the Straits of
Shimonoseki, was fought the last battle of the long contest between the
Heike, or Taira clan, and the Genji, or Minamoto clan.  There the Heike
perished utterly, with their women and children, and their infant emperor
likewise -- now remembered as Antoku Tenno.  And that sea and shore have
been haunted for seven hundred years...  Elsewhere I told you about the
strange crabs found there, called Heike crabs, which have human faces on
their backs, and are said to be the spirits of the Heike warriors [1].  But
there are many strange things to be seen and heard along that coast.  On
dark nights thousands of ghostly fires hover about the beach, or flit above
the waves,-- pale lights which the fishermen call Oni-bi, or demon-fires;
and, whenever the winds are up, a sound of great shouting comes from that
sea, like a clamor of battle. 

In former years the Heike were much more restless than they now are.  They

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