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MUSIC OF JAPAN.                      20&
with a design, in revenge of him and me, to cut off your head. Therefore, these designing instru­ments of mischief, I will offer to you, as the only acknowledgement of your generous behavior towards me which my unhappy condition will allow me to give you." Saying this, he plucked out his eyes, and presented them, on a salver, to Joritomo; who, astonished at so much magnanimity and resolution, instantly set him at liberty.
Kakekigo then retired into the province of Fiuga, where he learned to play upon the birva (a musi­cal instrument mentioned above), and founded the society of the Feki-blind, of which he himself was the first head. Many of the members of this society apply themselves to music, in which capacity they are employed at the courts of Princes and great men, as also upon public solemnities, festivals, processions, weddings, and the like. The society does not solicit charity, but its members all strive to be self-supporting, as well as of mutual assistance to each other. "Whoever is once admitted as a member, must remain so for life.*
The Birva, mentioned above, is a great favorite with the masses, especially when played by the Feki musicians, who still make it their chief instrument. It has been known in Japan for twelve hundred years ;f and one of the most beau­tiful lakes in Japan, near Kiota is named Birva Lake, from its shores resembling the outline of that instrument.
• Kaempfer Hist, of Japan, p.
t Dr. Mulier, Journal of the German Eaatern Aaiatio Society.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III