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The Kojiki, translated by Basil Hall Chamberlain, [1919], at

p. 353


Another time, the Heavenly Sovereign, when about to hold a copious feast, 1 made a progress to the Island of Hime, 2 just when a wild-goose had laid an egg on that island. Then, sending for His Augustness the Noble Takeuchi, he asked him in a Song about the laying of an egg by a wild goose. This Song said:

"Court Noble of Uchi! thou indeed art a long-lived person. Hast thou [ever] heard of a wild-goose laying an egg in the land of Yamato?" 3

Hereupon the Noble Take-uchi spoke in a song, saying: [284]

"August Child of the high-shining Sun, it is indeed natural that thou shouldest deign to ask, it is indeed right that thou shouldest ask. I indeed am a long-lived person, [but] have not yet heard of a wild goose laying an egg in the land of Yamato." 4

Having thus spoken, he was granted the august 5 lute and sang saying:

"Oh thou prince! the wild goose must have laid the egg because thou wilt at last rule." 6

This is a Congratulatory Incomplete Song. 7

p. 354


353:1 p. 353 See Sect. CVII, 7.

353:2 Hime-shima, i.e., "Princess Island." The name is supposed to be connected with that of the goddess of Himegoso mentioned near the end of Sect. CXIV, and first occurs in Sect. V (Note 33).

353:3 The wild-goose goes far north at the approach of spring, and the translator is informed by Capt. Blakiston that the latter has not known p. 354 of any breeding even on the island of Yezo. The Emperor was therefore naturally astonished at so strange an occurrence as that of a wild-goose laying an egg in Yamato, and asks the Noble Take-uchi whether he had ever heard of the like of it before, Take-uchi being at that time more than two hundred years old (!) according to the chronology of the "Chronicles," and therefore the oldest and most experienced man in the Empire.—"Court Noble" represents the Japanese word Aso (for Asomi, believed by Motowori and Moribe to be derived from a se omi , lit, "my elder brother minister" but used simply as a title), The words Uchi and Yamato are preceded in the original by their respective Pillow-Words tamaki-haru and soramitsu, whose force it is impossible to render in English, and whose origin indeed is obscure. The words rendered "laying an egg "are literally "giving birth to a child."

353:4 This Song is too clear to need explanation. As in the preceding one, Yamato is accompanied by the Pillow-Word sora-mitsu.

353:5 Or, "Imperial."

353:6 I.e., say Motowori and Moribe, who refer this episode to a time previous to Nin-toku's accession, "The wild-goose has laid an egg in token of the future accession to the throne." The translator prefers the view expressed by Keichiū in his Kō-Gan Shō, and adopted in the "Explanation of the Songs in the Chronicles of Japan," that the words tsuki na "at last," must here be taken in the sense of "long," and the Song interpreted to mean "The wild-goose lays an egg as an omen that thy reign will be a long one." This view is supported by the story in the "Chronicles," which places the Song in the Emperor's fiftieth year and gives him thirty-six years of subsequent existence, thus making the prophecy amply fulfil itself, as one would expect that it should do in the pages of such a work. According to the other view, the text of the "Chronicles" calls for emendation.

353:7 Hogi-uta no kata-uta. For "Incomplete Song" see Sect. LXXXIX, Note 14.

Next: Section CXXIX:—Emperor Nin-toku (Part X.—A Vessel Is Made Into A Lute)