Spring at the Autumn House

27Mar11

The first of the cherry blossoms touched my heart with happiness, like a gentle hand in the morning mist. The first pink dusting on the trees was the sign that spring had come at last. This was my season, for in those days I was young.

I was to be married to my Yoshi, a captain in the Daimyo’s guard, a great warrior to have risen so high and yet be so young. Just two summers more than I. It was an arranged marriage, as all good marriages are and I was honoured to serve my clan. The match was seen as a final redemption for my family, my unworthy grandfather having stood against our lord’s father at the Battle of the Crane. But the Imagawa had been merciful and had accepted my uncle as their vassal.

In those days a vassal clan had little land and despite our noble heritage, my father was poor and all but my eldest brother had gone to serve other lords. So I knew my father was glad to be at least free of one unworthy daughter.

I was sad to leave the Mountains of the Moon, but the truth was I was ready to go. So when I first saw the blossom I knew it would be one more week before the roads would be fit for travel to the Autumn House, my new home. Can you imagine how impatient I was in those last days?

We married three weeks later under the blossom, which by then was like clouds in the breeze and the sacred scent of it was everywhere.

That is where I first met my honourable mother-in-law.

“She is small,” was her first pronouncement of me.

“She is a wife not a horse okasan,” my husband wisely pointed out.

The woman merely grunted at this. I bowed.

“My apologies okasama,” I offered humbly using the most formal words of submission.

“You should beat her all the same,” my mother-in-law said addressing her son as if I were not present. Not that I mean to imply criticism.

“If you advise it okasan,” Yoshi said respectfully.

I was proud that he did not argue with his mother, it showed great wisdom for a young man. Still I was a little apprehensive, for at the Mountains of the Moon I was only whipped when I offered grievous fault and that happily was not often.

At home, until well passed my monthly blessing time had come, I was placed across my mother’s lap and had my bottom bared for the application of her hand. Thereafter she used a short lacquered piece of wood so wisely provided for the purpose. Only when I was a very great source of disappointment was I summoned to see father who honoured me with a whip of braded silk. His noble efforts always stung my naked flesh like dying embers until I dishonoured myself with womanish tears.

And so it was that night, my first with Yoshi, I was bathed and left naked in his room. There I was provided with a wooden pillow on which I was induced to lie so that my bottom was offered more perfectly for my husband.

“So white, like porcelain,” he breathed in awe when he first entered the room. “Perhaps if you ask me favour I can spare you the whip?”

“Did you not say you would do it?” I asked suddenly more afraid that he would dishonour himself than I was of the silk whip in his hand. “Is not your word law my husband?”

“True I did,” he said sadly. Then he added with a noble smile, “but I will use only this beautiful lathe of lacquered wood that your mother sent.”

I had not known that my mother would be so thoughtful as to provide for my correction. At the time I may have thought some unworthy thoughts at this revelation, but I was but a girl and knew so little then.

The spanking that followed was hard. Made worse because I thought my bottom was too big like a peasant’s, especially as it stuck up so on the pillow, as if the sun and the moon had chosen to rise together. And that was apt, for before he struck me with a smarting blow, both my rounds resembled the colour of the winter moon. Then once he had applied himself to his task for some while the appearance was quite changed to that of the afternoon sun and burned twice as hot. I was such a girl, how I cried. But my cries were not so loud as to cover the sound of okasama laughing at my shame from beyond the paper wall.

Yoshi entered me then without taking me from the pillow. He cleaved me in two with his pleasure knife until I did not mind the spanking at all. I am pleased to say that I cried out more loudly than for the spanking and Yoshi had to feed me the unused whip to still my undignified mewling.

*

Late spring was the season of war and Yoshi assembled his samurai, mounted bushi and ashigaru and rode out while the blossom still hung on the trees.

After he had gone things were cool between my mother-in-law and I, but I would have expected nothing else. I wrote to my own mother to speak of this and she scolded me with the pen by way of reply, reminding me of my duty.

Then just days after Yoshi left, the new maid, engaged on account of our marriage, spilled sake on my second best kimono. I was angry and berated her for it.

“You should put her in a yoke and whip her,” mother-in-law said.

“Perhaps you are right okasama,” I pretended to agree.

But okasama saw my lack of resolve and began to shriek at me. I was shocked at such horrors, that I should be the cause of such unseemly behaviour, unworthy girl that I was.

“I see I must teach you everything,” she said once she had found some inner wa.

She had my maids strip me as if to be bathed and then had the gardener fetch the yoke. It was shameful to be shackled as an ox, but okasama went to a great deal of trouble and it would have been dishonourable to disrespect her wisdom and authority in this.

The weight of the yoke caused my head sag onto the planks of the veranda and my big peasant-like bottom to moon up as I knew Yoshi liked. This was shameful for a shy girl, but I cannot deny that okasama knew the way of it.

First she tried the lacquered wood that mother had sent as Yoshi had. Although the sting was much less pleasant than it had been at my husband’s hand and it took a great deal for me to forebear it. In those days always my moons became suns in heat and colour and this being the first time under okasama, it was hard to bear.

Although I bore it for a long time, still okasama was not happy and after a while she sent the clumsy maid to fetch a bamboo cane.

My mother-in-law seemed happier at this as I could not help but call out my pain as lines of biting fire were laid across my unworthy bottom.

“You will stay yoked for the rest of the day and at nightfall I will spank you over my lap like the ungrateful child that you are,” I was informed.

“Yes okasama.” It was to be my most used words until Yoshi returned.

Mother-in-laws lap was not a happy place, yet there I dwelt for day following day so that I might learn. It was not necessary that I fail, you understand, only my unworthy existence was the justification for okasama’s honourable attention.

This was not the only way I was taught. Some days I was put into the yoke again, especially if okasama’s honourable friends came for the tea ceremony. Then she would ask their advice as to how to punish me. Such lavish attention did they give me that I was often kept at their pleasure for an afternoon.

Then when we were alone, okasama would place me over the wooden pillow bound with silk cords at my wrists and ankles and attend to me with the lacquered wood or the silken whip. No bruises did she leave although the marks and discomfort of it lasted days, long enough so that I was rarely without my scarlet companions beneath my kimono.

All this I learned and more, okasama was a firm teacher.

Then word reached us of our lord’s victory. The Imagawa clan were truly ascendant and Yoshi had been made hatamoto.

I was so happy to see him that despite okasama’s scolding I ran to the gate to greet him where he embraced me. But later, he said that his mother was right about my fall from dignity.

“I shall whip her for you,” okasama said at bedtime.

“That will not be necessary,” Yoshi growled.

That was the first time that I saw my mother-in-law bow very low and kow-tow.

“Forgive me my lord, I was presumptuous,” she said.

That night Yoshi punished me with all the ‘weapons’ I had learned of, and long into the night. Sometimes he paused to use me as his wife and sometimes as he might a boy. But I always I was happy to do my duty, only happy that he had returned.

All this was many years ago and shortly afterwards, Yoshi took me to my lord’s castle where I served at court. I was grateful for okasama’s teachings, for my mother-in-law was as a kitten to the tigers of my lord’s house.

I later found a mama-san who knew many tools of correction and I never hesitated to bring them to Yoshi for my punishment. I was such a bad wife and needed much punishment. But we were happy and I have been honoured to bear Yoshi many sons.

Now in the years of my late summer I am no longer at court and I have returned to the Autumn House as is fitting for a dowager. It is once again spring and the sky is awash with blossoms.

As I walk to the meadow where the cherry trees grow, I think back on my life and the happy time as a young bride here at the Autumn House waiting for my Yoshi.

But today there is another young wife, my daughter-in-law, waiting dutifully under the cherry trees. She waits patiently and no doubt nervously, naked as she is laid across a wooden pillow. Of course she is yoked so that her head is bowed and her fine full peasant-like bottom is as the moon in a silver pond, like two ripe fruits only awaiting a blush.

I see her kittenish, looking at me with sad sweet eyes and hoping I won’t be cruel. But she knows it is a forlorn hope for she has seen the lacquered wood, the canes and silken whips. She has also seem the willow switches that will skin her raw but not quite break her. Not if she is strong. And she will be, because she must be, as are all women of our clan.

I will train her well in my secret hypocrisy and one day she will be grateful, almost as grateful as she now pretends.

“Are you ready unworthy daughter?”

“Yes okasama, if it pleases you,” she blinks.

Then I begin and she sings sweet music under the trees, like a haiku to the spring, my eternal spring at the Autumn House.

Ends



4 Responses to “Spring at the Autumn House”

  1. 1 paul1510

    DJ, nice Oriental story, love the change of scenery. 😀
    Paul.

  2. 2 Fez

    Wow!

    Is there any historic culture you cannot write about?

    It reads like a poem and is surprisingly erotic.

    Keep up the good work.

    Best, Fez (delurker for a day)

  3. It was so beautifully written that it conjured bright and clear images in my mind. This story will stay with me for a long time.

    • 4 DJ

      Thanks guys

      it was just an experiment – not sure if the poetic prose style would work.

      DJ


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