The Gratitude-Expressing Yurei

Translated from Mizuki Shigeru’s Mujyara

This took place sometime during the Meiwa era (1764-1772). In Shimabara, there was a famous courtesan named Uriuno. She had been redeemed from the Tomiya house, and now lived in the vicinity of Takatsuji.

One night, Uriuno was awakened by a strange noise. When she listened closer, she could faintly hear the sound of footsteps. It sounded as if someone was approaching her bedroom from the garden just outdoors.

“Good Evening. Is someone out for a stroll tonight” Uriuno called out, thinking this was a very strange thing indeed and strained her ears for an answer.

The answer came at last with a rattle of the paper screens that served as a wall between Uriuno’s bedroom and the garden, and the figure of a woman projected like a shadow against those screens. The mysterious shape bowed down and whispered expressions of gratitude to Uriuno. Just as Uriuno was about to raise her voice in response, the figure blinked out of existence.

When the mysterious apparition had vanished, Uriuno suddenly recalled an odd encounter she had when she still worked in the red light district. One night, a maid of the Tomiya was looking at Uriuno as if she had something very important to say. But Uriuno did not get a chance to hear her, as the maid soon fell terribly ill and fainted dead away. For several days and nights, the maid went in and out of consciousness, and then she spent her final breath saying that she needed to see Uriuno and tell her something. But it was too late.

Uriuno thought about the shape of the figure projected on her screens, and felt that there was no mistake about it. That figure must have been the ghost of that maid of Tomiya. It could be no one else.

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