THERE are several plays which describe the fatal anger of a father on discovering that his child has no aptitude for learning. One of these, Nakamitsu or Manjū, has been translated by Chamberlain. The Tango-Monogurui, a similar play, has usually been ascribed to Seami, but Seami in his Works says that it is by a certain I-ami. The father comes on to the stage and, after the usual opening, announces that he has sent a messenger to fetch his son, whom he has put to school at a neighbouring temple. He wishes to see what progress the boy is making,
FATHER (to his SERVANT).
I sent some one to bring Master Hanamatsu back from the temple. Has he come yet?
Yes, sir. He was here last night.
What? He came home last night, and I heard nothing about it?
Last night he had drunk a little too much, so we thought it better not to say that he was here.
Oho! Last night he was tipsy, was he? Send him to me.
(The SERVANT brings HANAMATSU.)
Well, you have grown up mightily since I saw you last.
I sent for you to find out how your studies are progressing. How far have you got?
I have not learnt much of the difficult subjects. Nothing worth p. 242 mentioning of the Sūtras or Shāstras or moral books. I know a little of the graduses and Eight Collections of Poetry; but in the Hokke Scripture I have not got to the Law-Master Chapter, and in the Gusha-shāstra I, have not got as far as the Seventh Book.
This is unthinkable! He says he has not learnt anything worth mentioning. Pray, have you talents in any direction?
SERVANT (wishing to put in a good word for the boy).
He's reckoned a wonderful hand at the chop-sticks and drum. 1
Be quiet! Is it your child I was talking of?
No, sir, you were speaking of Master Hanamatsu.
Now then, Hanamatsu. Is this true? Very well then; just listen quietly to me. These childish tricks--writing odes, capping verses and the like are not worth anything. They're no more important than playing ball or shooting toy darts. And as for the chop-sticks and drum--they are the sort of instruments street urchins play on under the Spear 2 at festival-time. But when I ask about your studies, you tell me that in the Hokke you have not got to the Law-Master Chapter, and in the Gusha-shāstra you have not reached the Seventh Book. Might not the time you spent on the chop-sticks have been better employed in studying the Seventh Book? Now then, don't excuse yourself! Those who talk most do least. But henceforth you are no son of mine. Be off with you now!
(The boy hesitates, bewildered.)
Well, if you can't get started by yourself I must help you.
(Seizes him by the arm and thrusts him off the stage.)
In the next scene Hanamatsu enters accompanied by a pious ship's captain, who relates that he found the lad on the point of drowning p. 243 himself, but rescued him, and, taking him home, instructed him in the most recondite branches of knowledge, for which he showed uncommon aptitude; now he is taking him back to Tango to reconcile him with his father.
At Tango they learn that the father, stricken with remorse, has become demented and is wandering over the country in search of his son.
Coming to a chapel of Manjushrī, the captain persuades the lad to read a service there, and announces to the people that an eminent and learned divine is about to expound the scriptures. Among the worshippers comes an eccentric character whom the captain is at first unwilling to admit.
Even madmen can school themselves for a while. I will not rave while the service is being read.
So be it. Then sit down here and listen quietly. (To HANAMATSU.) All the worshippers have come. You had better begin the service at once.
HANAMATSU (describing his own actions).
Then because the hour of worship had come
The Doctor mounted the pulpit and struck the silence-bell;
Then reverently prayed:
Let us call on the Sacred Name of Shākyamuni, once incarnate;
On the Buddhas of the Past, the Present and the Time to Come.
To thee we pray, Avalokita, Lord of the Ten Worlds;
And all Spirits of Heaven and Earth we invoke.
Praised be the name of Amida Buddha!
MADMAN (shouting excitedly).
Amida! Praise to Amida!
There you go! You promised to behave properly, but now are disturbing 1 the whole congregation by your ravings. I never heard such senseless shouting.
(A lyrical dialogue follows full of poetical allusions, from which it is apparent that the MADMAN is crying to Amida to save a child's soul.)
Listen, Madman! The Doctor heard you praying for a child's soul. He wishes you to tell him your story.
The father and son recognize one another. The son flings him, self down from the pulpit and embraces his father. They go home together, attributing their reunion to the intervention of Manjushrī, the God of Wisdom.
YAMAUBA (THE LADY OF THE MOUNTAINS)
242:1 The sasara (split bamboos rubbed together) and yatsubachi "eight-sticks," a kind of vulgar drum.
242:2 A sort of maypole set up at the Gion Festival.
243:1 Literally "waking."