Young Murasaki ((わか)(むらさき))

Because the days were becoming very long and idle, Genji departed for that small fenced house, going under the cover of the heavily-misted dusk. When he let the servants return and peeked with Koremitsu, they saw that just in the west direction, there was a nun who was humbly placing a small Buddhist statue and praying. It seemed like she raised the blind a little and offered flowers. The nun, who was leaning on a pillar, sitting, and reading the sutra which she had put on the armrest, did not look like an ordinary person. She was about over forty; her face was very white and elegant; although her body was slim, her face was chubby. Seeing the place around her eyebrows and the end of her hair cut to shoulder height in a seemingly beautiful way, Genji was deeply moved and said, “rather than being long, this is also fairly superb and fashionable.” There were two neat servants, and then, children were going in and out, playing. Inside, Genji saw that one girl, who seemed to be around ten, wearing a well-worn white underrobe, a yamabuki-coloured robe and such, was running here. It would be inappropriate to compare her with the other children he had seen, and he could see that she would become an extremely beautiful woman. She stood with her hair, like an opened fan, swinging in the air, and her face rubbed deliberately in red.

The nun said, “what’s going on here! Do you want to fight the young children?” When the nun raised her head, he saw that there were some resemblances between them, and thought, “it seems that the girl is her child.”

Murasaki said, “Inuki released the sparrow baby, even though I had placed it inside the basket!” She felt very regretful.

This sitting servant said, “she must find it very unpleasant that she always gets scolded after she carelessly does such things. In which direction has it gone? Just when it had finally become very cute! It would be terrible if it gets spotted by crows”, and stood up and left to find the sparrow. Her hair was loose and very long; she seemed like an agreeable person. The menoto who people called Shonagon must be the caretaker of this child.

The nun said, “oh, my, how childish! She is so fond of sparrows that she does not care at all about my life, which could end today or tomorrow. Even though I always tell her ‘this is a sin’. How unpleasant.”

The nun said, “come here!”, and Murasaki came and knelt down.

Her face seemed very cute; the area around her eyebrows was faintly beautiful; the outline of her forehead where she had childishly brushed back and the style of her hair was extremely adorable. “Her appearance as she grows up must be attractive”, Genji thought as his eyes were attracted by the girl. “I find myself staring at this person who very closely resembles the one whom I whole-heartedly long for”, Genji even wept as he thought so.

The nun, repeatedly stroking the girl’s hair gently, said, “although you seem to find combing annoying, look how charming your hair is. It exactly because you do silly things that I pity and worry about you. When people become around your age, there are also people who are not so silly, but you are not one of them. My late daughter understood things fairly well at twelve when my husband passed away! But now, if I were to leave you behind, how would you manage to live in the world?” Seeing the nun crying, Genji also felt somehow sad. Even with her childish heart, the girl looked intently at the nun, and looked face, with her eyes turned down; her falling hair looked shiny and very beautiful.

The nun:

The dew that leave the young grass
that does not know where it will grow
is not in the state of mind to leave.

Another sitting servant said, “totally”, and cried,

When the new grass does not know
where it will grow
how can the dew think of disappearing?

As she was saying, the bishop came from afar, said, “Is it not totally exposed in here! Ah, only today, you are sitting by the porch! I just heard that Genji, the Chujo, came to this High Saint’s place to pray for the protection from malaria. Because he came very secretly, I have not paid a visit to him while being here.”

Then the nun said, “ah, it must be terrible. Did someone see our strange looks?”, and lowered the blind.

The bishop said, “will you not take this chance to visit Hikaru Genji, who has made a fame in the world? Even for a priest who has gotten rid of the world, Genji is a person who has forgotten the troubles of the world and his appearance will make us live a longer life. Well, I shall go and greet him.”

When the nun made the sound of standing up, Genji returned. “I ended up seeing an adorable person. Because such happens, the lechers all just take walks like this, and often find women who are unexpectedly attractive. Even if you just take a walk, it could happen that you find something unexpected like this by chance.” Genji interestedly thought. “Even so, that was such an adorable child! What person would she be? I wish to see her as a substitute for that person, even if just for my solace for day and night”, he thought, and became deeply interested.