Court noble story
Sumiyoshi Monogatari(Tale of Sumiyoshi)
- Introduction -
A long, long time ago, Chunagon had two wives. One was a wealthy girl, and gave birth to two princesses. The other wife was descended from an imperial princess, and gave birth to a beautiful princess. This beautiful princess was named Miyahime, and was raised protectively. When Miyahime was seven years old, she lost her mother, who left a will saying that she wanted Miyahime to marry the Emperor.
Miyahime was raised for some time by a wet nurse, and eventually ended up being fostered by Chunagon. She was raised with her stepsisters Naka no Kimi and San no Kimi under the care of her stepmother. Miyahime’s wet nurse also passed away, and the wet nurse’s daughter, Jiju, came to help Miyahime and look after her.
- Development -
One day, Shosho, who was the fourth major general and the son of the Minister of the Right visited Chunagon’s house. This man, who had heard of Miyahime’s story, wrote Miyahime love letters from time to time. Before Miyahime could take an interest in him, her stepmother intervened and made her daughter San no Kimi marry the man instead.
On New Year’s Day of that year, Miyahime went to Sagano together with her sisters. The man, who had left for Sagano earlier, caught a glimpse of Miyahime’s beautiful silhouette, which reignited his love for Miyahime. In September, Miyahime’s father, Chunagon, started preparations for Miyahime’s entry into the Imperial court. Her stepmother lied and said that a betto monk had been visiting Miyahime since the previous month, and derailed Chunagon’s plans. Together with Jiju, Miyahime became sad, and persevered so that such a bad lie would not stand.
- Turn -
In October, Chunagon started moving forward with a marriage proposal between Miyahime and the son of the Minister of the Interior. Miyahime was not happy at all, and started to think about becoming a nun. However, her stepmother, who was jealous of this marriage proposal, came up with a plan for Miyahime to become the second wife of an elderly man known as Kazuenosuke. Miyahime and Jiju, who heard of this, remembered that her late mother’s wet nurse had become a nun and lived in Sumiyoshi (present-day Osaka Prefecture). Together they snuck away from home, and found shelter with the nun.
The residence of the nun of Sumiyoshi was a quiet place from where one could see Awaji Island in the west. In the small room where private Buddha statues are kept, the Amida Triad was deified. Miyahime and Jiju read Buddhist scriptures and offered flowers in front of the Buddha in the mornings and evenings.
- Conclusion -
In Chunagon’s house, where Miyahime’s disappearance had become apparent, everyone except Miyahime’s stepmother was saddened with grief.
Shosho, praying to meet Miyahime again, confined himself in a temple, Kannon of Hatsuse, to pray. At the break of dawn, Miyahime appeared in his dream and told him that she was in Sumiyoshi. Around the same time, the man also appeared in Miyahime’s dream, and asked her of her whereabouts. The man continued his travels, on towards Sumiyoshi from Hatsuse, and was able to safely meet Miyahime once again. The two, who returned to Kyoto, became married, and gave birth to a child.
As time passed, Miyahime was reunited with her father after inviting him to her child’s hakamagi (*ceremony celebrating a child’s growth), and both Miyahime and her father were delighted. As all her evil deeds from the past were brought to light, Miyahime’s stepmother parted from Miyahime’s father and passed away in a miserable state.