[Footnote 71: The apparently poor shaven-pated and blind shampooers of Japan drive a thriving trade as money-lenders. They give out small sums at an interest of 20 per cent. per month—210 per cent. per annum—and woe betide the luckless wight who falls into their clutches.]
The belief in curses hanging over families for generations is as common as that in ghosts and supernatural apparitions. There is a strange story of this nature in the house of Asai, belonging to the Hatamoto class. The ancestor of the present representative, six generations ago, had a certain concubine, who was in love with a man who frequented the house, and wished in her heart to marry him; but, being a virtuous woman, she never thought of doing any evil deed. But the wife of my lord Asai was jealous of the girl, and persuaded her husband that her rival in his affections had gone astray; when he heard this he was very angry, and beat her with a candlestick so that he put out her left eye. The girl, who had indignantly protested her innocence, finding herself so cruelly handled, pronounced a curse against the house; upon which, her master, seizing the candlestick again, dashed out her brains and killed her. Shortly afterwards my lord Asai lost his left eye, and fell sick and died; and from that time forth to this day, it is said that the representatives of the house have all lost their left eyes after the age of forty, and shortly afterwards they have fallen sick and died at the same age as the cruel lord who killed his concubine.