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A Hundred Verses from Old Japan (The Hyakunin-isshu), tr. by William N. Porter, [1909], at

p. 1




  Aki no ta no
Kari ho no iho no
  Toma wo arami
Waga koromode wa
Tsuyu ni nure-tsutsu.

OUT in the fields this autumn day
  They're busy reaping grain ;
I sought for shelter ’neath this roof,
  But fear I sought in vain,—
  My sleeve is wet with rain.

The Emperor Tenchi reigned from A.D. 668 to 671, his capital was Otsu, not far from Kyōto, and he is chiefly remembered for his kindness and benevolence. It is related, that one day he was scaring birds away, while the harvesters were gathering in the crop, and, when a shower of rain came on, he took shelter in a neighbouring hut; it was, however, thatched only with coarse rushes, which did not afford him much protection, and this is the incident on which the verse is founded.

The picture shows the harvesters hard at work in the field, and the hut where the Emperor took shelter.

Next: 2. The Empress Jitō: Jitō Tennō