Rashomon Essay

2775 WordsSep 4, 201412 Pages
It happened one evening. A lowly servant was under Rashōmon Gate, waiting for the rain to stop. Under the broad gate, there was no one but him. On one of the large round pillars whose red paint was peeling off in places, there was only a solitary katydid. Because the gate was located on Suzaku Boulevard, you would normally expect to find two or three other people there, waiting for the rain to let up. But there was nobody there but him. You see, over the last two or three years there had been a series of disasters in Kyoto: earthquakes, whirlwinds, fires, and famines. The capital was falling apart in many different ways. According to old records, Buddhist statues and altars had been smashed, and their vermilion-lacquered and gold- or silver-foiled wood piled up on the side of the road and sold as kindling. Needless to say, with the capital in this condition, there was no one to repair the gate, and indeed, nobody even gave it a second thought. Taking advantage of this state of neglect, foxes and badgers began to live there. Robbers lived there. Eventually, it had even become customary to take unclaimed corpses to the gate and dump them there. So after sunset, people got scared, and nobody dared set foot near the gate after dark. In their place, a large murder of crows had flocked there. During the day, countless birds could be seen flying around in circles while cawing at the high ornamental ridge-end tiles. They looked just like scattered sesame seeds, particularly when the sky above the gate turned red at sunset. The crows, of course, had come to peck at the flesh of the dead bodies on top of the gate. Today, however, perhaps because it was late, not a single bird could be seen. But what you could see were their white droppings, stuck in patches to the stone steps, which were crumbling in places, with long weeds growing from the cracks. The servant, wearing
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