And when they came to their lord’s grave they took the head of Kot- suk£ no Suke, and, having washed it clean in a well hard by, laid it as an offering before the tomb.
When they had done this, they engaged the priests of the temple to come and read prayers while they burnt incense; first Oishi Kuranosuke burnt incense, and then his son Oishi Chikara, and after them the other forty-five men performed the same ceremony. Then Kuranosuke, having given all the money that he had by him to the abbot, said:
“When we forty-seven men shall have performed hara kiri, I beg you to bury us decently. I rely upon your kindness. This is but a trifle that I have to offer; such as it is, let it be spent in masses for our souls.”
And the abbot, marveling at the faithful courage of the men, with tears in his eyes pledged himself to fulfil their wishes. So the forty-seven Ronins, with their minds at rest, waited patiently until they should receive the orders of the Government.
At last they were summoned to the Supreme Court, where the governors ofYedo and the public censors had assembled; and the sentence passed upon them was as follows: “Whereas, neither respecting the dignity of the city nor fearing the Government, having leagued yourselves together to slay your enemy, you violently broke into the house of Kira Kotsukd no Suke by night and murdered him, the sentence of the Court is, that, for this audacious conduct, you perform hara kiri.”
When the sentence had been read, the forty-seven Ronins were divided into four parties, and handed over to the safe keeping of four different daimios; and sheriffs were sent to the palaces of those daimios in whose presence the Ronins were made to perform hara kiri.
But, as from the very beginning they had all made up their minds that to this end they must come, they met their death nobly; and their corpses were carried to Sengakuji, and buried in front of the tomb of their master, Asano Takumi no Kami. And when the fame of this became noised abroad, the people flocked to pray at the graves of these faithful men.
Roadside at Yamashina
Among those who came to pray was a Satsuma man, who, prostrating himself before the grave of Oishi Kuranosuke, said: “When I saw you lying drunk by the roadside at Yamashina, in Kioto, I knew not that you were plotting to avenge your lord; and, thinking you to be a faithless man, I trampled on you and spat in your face as I passed.
And now I have come to ask pardon and offer atonement for the insult of last year.” With these words he prostrated himself again before theave, and, drawing a dirk from his girdle, performed hara kiri and died.
The chief priest of the temple, taking pity upon him, buried him by the side of the Ronins; and his tomb still remains to be seen with those of the forty-seven comrades.The Forty-Seven Ronins