The Fight With The Mad Dog
( Originally Published 1915 )
In this country they have two varieties of dogs, one very large, and generally of the fox order, while the other species is like our poodle, or the hairy little specimens with blinking eyes and tiny heads.
In the more primitive parts of the country they have something akin to the Siberian wolf hound, a large brute, hard to domesticate, and incapable of friendship, like the ordinary dog.
The animal which had attached the boys was of this species, although they (lid not ]Know the nature of the beast, so it was well that Stanwood was thoughtful enough promptly to defend himself. This episode also recalled the fact that in their journeyings thus far it was the first and only time that a weapon of any kind had been found necessary.
When the boys reached the cluster of trees beyond they were thoroughly frightened, as they had no idea what the penalties for killing the animal might be. The remarkable thing to them, however, was the frightened manner in which the man turned from them and ran across the field.
"What do you suppose was the matter with him?" asked Winfield.
"I guess he saw the blood on your face," said Stanwood.
"Did I look as frightful as all that?" he queried. "No; but something was wrong, or he wouldn't have run as he did."
They looked around and saw a short distance ahead a public road, upon which they debated the course to pursue. "I tell you the safest thing is to face the matter right square," said Stanwood.
"That's my idea, too," responded Winfield.
We did the right thing; why, that old brute would have torn us to pieces."
Having reached this conclusion, they boldly marched to the roadway. Beyond they could see dozens of people crossing the road and running toward the scene of the recent encounter.
"Why not wait here until they all get down there?" said Stanwood.
They waited. Soon an imposing man marched over, followed by several in uniform.
"I am afraid this means serious business for us," said Winfield.
Nevertheless they slowly walked down the road, and while the people stared there was no attempt to interfere with them in the least. One of the Japanese boys tried to tell them something, as they pointed toward the assembled people beyond.
They waited for some time, and then there appeared an official. In Japan every man who has a position as a magistrate or other rank has a distinguishing uniform. The people in considerable excitement were following the official, and in the midst of a struggling mass the boys saw the individual who sprang at them after the dog had at-tacked them.
The moment he saw the boys he gave another shriek and tried to escape. Then they noticed that he was held by several cords. He pointed to the boys, and tried to reach them by force. The officials gazed on the boys with some show of astonishment, and one of them approached, and as he did so Winfield, with a show of deference, ad-dressed him:
"Can you speak English ?"
"I think I can understand you," he said. "What can I do for you?"
Evidently they entertained no suspicion what-ever that the boys bad anything to do with the excitement; nevertheless Winfield told the story. They were gratified to hear that they had taken the proper course to defend themselves, and regretted to learn that the man was a maniac, who had escaped from a nearby asylum. They also managed to ascertain that the sight of the stone in Stanwood's hand produced the terrible fear in his mind and caused him to flee. As it turned out the maniac had nothing to do with the dog, but merely to be in the vicinity when the animal had made its attack. Matters having been thus satisfactorily explained all around, the travelers were soon on their way.
The next stopping place was Tokayuma, directly on the shore of the Inland Sea, that body of water which now had such a charm for them. But they hastened on and reached Mitajiri before the sun hid itself that night.
At this place they had the pleasure of meeting several young natives who had formerly lived in the United States, one of whom invited them to services in the small temple. It was merely a priest's house, but it was fitted up with true Oriental luxury, and the walls were literally covered with bronze lotus leaves, which sheltered an image of Buddha.
He explained that twice each day the priest would go to the shrine which was within an opening in one of the walls, and after the doors were opened lie would clap his hands and strike a silver bell, and afterwards make an offering of tea and smoking rice.
These two vegetables seemed to be the stock articles throughout the Empire, no meal being complete without them, the rice particularly being served in such a variety of forms that there is no tendency to grow tired of it.
Having located a pleasant-appearing inn they were satisfied to retire early and were soon asleep.
Behind the inn were numerous cottages, around which children were playing, and in the morning, as the Globe Trotters were about ready to start, they heard a fearful shriek emitted by one of the children. The curtains were moved aside, and they saw a woman holding one of the children and applying some smoking material to its bare back.
They were astounded at this seeming act of cruelty and felt like interfering, but the little one was soon released. The affair made such an impression on them that upon leaving they spoke about it to the young man who had entertained them the previous evening.
"I am sorry to say that, some mothers still ad-here to the primitive mode of punishment meted out to unruly children," he remarked.
"What is that?" asked Stanwood.
We have a plant here called Moxa, which burns fiercely, and in this region it was once the custom to apply a burning wisp to the back of a bad child. You will see many of the children so disfigured, and some of them with many hideous burns."
This was, indeed, a cause of wonder, for hitherto they had seen many cases of correction, all of which were mild and tender, but this did, indeed, appear brutal. They learned, however, that the habit was fast disappearing, due to the vigorous public sentiment against it.
The country through which they were now traveling was much more rugged than anything they had observed along their entire route up to this point, although there was also more vegetation in the way of trees, most of them however of unfamiliar varieties. Numerous palms were noticed, and a variety of small tree-shaped shrubs, which had leaves like thin wisps similar to ferns.
Passing one of the numerous villages, a number of children in white were noticed, forming a scene of considerable action as the gay populace danced about.
"Something is up here, surely," advanced Winfield.
"What is that coming?" questioned Stanwood, as he noticed a procession rounding a corner.
They hurried, along with others, and there, at the head of the procession, was a couple flanked on each side by two umbrella-bearers, one a young woman dressed in immaculate white and decorated with the fern-like leaves they had noticed in coming into the village.
They passed along the main street and entered a quaint building, which was topped by a spire of bamboo, from the apex of which long streamers were fluttering.
The people seemed to make way for them as they came up, and as the boys hesitated about following the bridal couple one of the men stepped forward and with a low bow and a grave smile motioned them to step forward.
They entered the building and walked across the open space after passing the door.
The couple had already approached the altar, when, to the astonishment of the boys, the priest, in English, spoke the words: "Do you take this woman to be your lawful wife?"
It seemed as though they were home again, for the service was easily recognized; but when they saw the decorations within the little church, and the bright and striking garb which the people wore, it brought them back again, in mind, as it was in reality, to the Orient.
After the ceremony they learned that the bride and groom were connected with the American mission, located south of the village, and that this was the first wedding ceremony in real American fashion with participants of our own country which had been held in the new church.
Shortly thereafter they were both introduced to the newly-wedded couple, and invited to remain to take part in the feast which was held in the grounds connected with the mission.
They gladly accepted the hospitality so generously offered and, toward the end of the festivities, after paying their respects to the bride and groom, and bidding the merry party good-by, they sallied forth to reach the next town before night. They hoped this would take them well on their way for the last day's journey to Shimonosek, which they expected to reach the following day.
An hour out of town they came upon another schoolhouse, and were passing the children who had been dismissed, most of whom were rushing across the open field, all of them chatting and laughing.
"I wonder what is up now?" queried Stanwood. "There is something going on in that direction from the looks of things."
They stood there for a time undecided, and finally noticed some objects which the school boys were carrying.
"Suppose we go over," suggested Winfield, a proposal which needed no seconding.
It was necessary to ascend a slight elevation, and reaching the crest it afforded a good view of the place where the children were congregating.
"They are coasting," said Stanwood, as indeed proved to be the case.
The curious little sleds (if they might so be called) which the children used interested the sight-seers, but at that distance it was difficult to understand how they were put together.
Where they were standing could be seen the great Inland Sea, far beyond, and in the fore-ground was a beautiful green sloping sward that might have been a mile long. It was as smooth as a carpet, with two discolored streaks that went down the decline.
The older pupils were attracted to the boys as soon as they appeared, but the first step of the latter was to examine the curious little sled on which the children were coasting. Each had three wheels, all of the same size, made merely of round material, as though they had been sawed from a limb, and not exceeding four inches in diameter.
The axle, however, was made of bamboo, and on top of it was attached a board, about a foot -wide, the forward end of it being provided with a recess or deep groove, in which the front wheel turned. The whole affair was exceedingly crude, and the most remarkable thing was that there seemed to be no means for turning the front wheel.
A dozen of the children were in a heated discussion when the travelers arrived, but it did not take the latter long to learn that the dispute concerned the order of the races to be run. It was such a characteristic scene that they could not avoid laughing at the affair.
Conversation was out of the question, but before long comparative quiet was restored and the selections made as to the order in which the contestants should lead off. Four took their places and started. After a few hundred feet the speed appeared swifter than is often attained by coasting with ordinary sleds over snow. The first part of the descent was rather steep, but from that on the decline was less abrupt, and the last half of the run seemed almost level.
The time required to coast to the extreme end, as actually timed by the watch, took twelve minutes, and this will give some idea of the length of the course. Long before the first four had gone half way the second four started.
The moment the start was made a white flag was waved, and then it was noticed that at the extreme end were several boys, who were undoubtedly the timekeepers.
This was the most royal sport which the boys had seen in Japan, and they learned that the game at this particular place was noted throughout the western part of the Empire because of the conditions for making a long run were ideal. The third batch of starters had an accident, due to one of the front wheels breaking, the runner being thrown forward, turning over and over. The boy directly behind struck the poor fellow and completely ruined his coaster, but fortunately no one was seriously hurt.
But much as they desired, it would have been unwise to remain longer, so bidding the native lads adieu, the young Americans hurried back to the road, and at six-thirty that evening reached Toyur, fifteen miles from Shimonosek.
A small inn was soon found and a room secured. Dinner then followed, and at the table they were introduced to a Japanese gentleman and his family, consisting of a wife and two children. The man could converse in English, having been educated in England, and when he learned that the boys were from America was intent on engaging them in conversation.
This man and his family impressed themselves on the boys most forcibly. Whether it was the extreme gentleness or the exceeding kindness, they could not tell. He and his wife were not only polite, but spoke with a quiet modulation in their tones that carried a distinct charm.
The children, on the other hand, were boisterous rather than otherwise, but there was no open chiding. Merely a look from either of the parents sufficed. Sometimes there would be an incipient quarrel between the two little fellows, but they generally would check themselves without the necessity of a warning.
One little incident will illustrate the even temper of the father. During one of the little controversies the elder of the boys overturned a bowl of milk. Without seeming at all annoyed the man quietly took some napkins and wiped up the milk, remarking at the same time: "Shikata ga nai."
This looked like a strong reproof, and when he turned to the boys and noticed their surprise, re-marked: "I judge you are anxious to know what I said?"
Winfield blushed as he replied: "Yes, I would like to know."
"It means, 'it cannot be helped.' "
It was in this hotel that they had the first close view of a Japanese infant. The child was not more than a week old.
"Isn't he a little fellow?" said Winfield. "I wonder what he weighs?"
They were told that at birth it weighed three pounds, but that it now turned the scales at four pounds.
Another thing had been noted by them at the place where the coasting games were held. The oldest boys there were, probably, eighteen years of age, but none of them were within six inches as tall as either Winfield or Stanwood.
"I have no doubt our boys have been interested in you wherever you have met them," said the man who was their companion at. the dinner table.
"Do vou think so?" said Stanwood.
"Most assuredly. Your great size would make you marks anywhere in our country."
While leaving town in the morning they had the first opportunity to witness native carpenters at work. They were engaged in putting up a house near the edge of the village.
The only sawed material visible was the flooring and the men were engaged in putting down the ground floor. The outline of the house was formed by small round timbers, which were hewn by a wide-bladed hatchet and joined at the ends with wooden pins.
On these were laid like poles, with the up-per sides flattened, and on them the floors were laid.
The timbers which formed the sills had holes bored into them at intervals, and in these the bamboo poles were planted, the poles having been cut off at regular lengths.
The roof timbers, as well as the walls, were of bamboo, and over the sides was placed a sort of coarse cloth, the roof being thatched with a long dried straw.
After leaving this place they experienced a delightful surprise in meeting two Americans who were also doing Japan on foot, and had left Shimonosek early that morning. One of them was Prof. Bowen, of Boston, and the other William Stayton, of Concord, N. H.
They all four sat down by the roadside and told of their experiences, and recounted the many amusing things which grew out of their ignorance of the language.
"What is the meaning of ri?" asked Winfield. "They told us it was five ri to the city."
"That is the name for their mile," answered the Professor.
"But how much is a ri?"
"Nearly two and a half miles."
"And does their pound, which they call kin, weigh the same as our pound?"
"No; the weight is exactly one and a third times our pound."
"Do you understand the language?" asked Stan-wood.
"Yes but it is difficult sometimes to speak it freely."
"Well, they have a funny little word that I've tried to pronounce, but it sounds something like O-rya, and they roll the r."
"That is their expression for amazement, or, I might say, `Horror.' Just try to say horror in the most terrible manner, and you will come pretty close to pronouncing their word."
The boys then gave their fellow countrymen the names of the inns in the various towns where they had stopped, and after a half hour of jolly talk the four separated and were again under way.
At four o'clock the recurring clusters of houses indicated that the city must be near, and soon the unmistakable tops of the ever-present temples began to appear.
While the men throughout Japan are now begin" to wear suits similar to our own, the women generally have not made much change in their apparel, except in the large cities, and in their entire travels the Globe Trotters had seen less than a half dozen women in the country districts who wore anything but the typical native costume, which is in the form of a loose robe with flowing sleeves.
This is fastened around them in a rather graceful fashion. In many places, however, the women adorned(?) themselves by the use of cosmetics, and there were frequently seen those whose complexions had been entirely ruined by the material used at least so the boys were informed by the English lady they met at one of the inns.
They were, therefore, surprised to see that in this section many of the women wore dresses, with belts, and in one or two places the gowns were of silk with wide and apparently expensive rib-bons used as girdles.
Silk is very cheap in western Japan, and in some places can be bought for less than cotton goods. In the last five mile march they passed dozens of silk farms and hundreds of acres of mulberry trees.
I wonder if all the cats in Japan are without tails?" said Winfield, as they passed a cottage alongside of which was a mother cat and her little playful family.
"They have always struck me as being amusing little things. Do you suppose they are as playful as ours?" asked Stanwood.
Winfield turned and looked at him. "Why should you ask such a question?" he responded.
"Well, they can't play with their tails if they haven't any."