(THE DAME OF THE MOUNTAINS)
REVISED BY KOMPARU ZENCHIKU UJINOBU FROM AN ORIGINAL BY SEAMI
YAMAUBA is the fairy of the mountains, which have been under her care since the world began. She decks them with snow in winter, with blossoms in spring; her task carrying her eternally from hill to valley and valley to hill. She has grown very old. Wild white hair hangs down her shoulders; her face is very thin.
There was a courtesan of the Capital who made a dance representing the wanderings of Yamauba. It had such success that people called this courtesan "Yamauba" though her real name was Hyakuma.
Once when Hyakuma was travelling across the hills to Shinano to visit the Zenkō Temple, she lost her way, and took refuge in the hut of a "mountain-girl," who was none other than the real Yamauba.
In the second part of the play the aged fairy appears in her true form and tells the story of her eternal wanderings--"round and round, on and on, from hill to hill, from valley to valley." In spring decking the twigs with blossom, in autumn clothing the hills with moonlight, in winter shaking snow from the heavy clouds. "On and on, round and round, caught in the Wheel of Fate. . . . Striding to the hill-tops, sweeping through the valleys. . . ."
On and on, from hill to hill.
Awhile our eyes behold her, but now
She is vanished over the hills,
Vanished we know not where.
The hill, says a commentator, is the Hill of Life, where men wander from incarnation to incarnation, never escaping from the Wheel of Life and Death.