Akutagawa’s “horse feet” in brief

The unremarkable employee of the Beijing branch of the Mitsubishi company Osino Khanzaburo suddenly died before he was thirty. According to the conclusion of Professor Yamai, director of the Tongren Hospital, Khandzaburo died of a stroke. But Khandzaburo himself did not think it was a blow. He did not even think he was dead. He just happened to be in an office where he had never been before. At the big table sat two Chinese and leafed through the ledgers. One of them asked him in English if he really is Henry Ballet. Khanzaburo replied that he was an employee of the Japanese company “Mitsubishi” Osino Handzaburo. The Chinese were alarmed: they confused something. They wanted to bring Khanzaburo back, but after looking at the ledger, they realized that it was not so easy: Osino Khanzaburo died three days ago, and his legs were already decayed. Khandzaburo thought: “

The Chinese decided to attach the Khanzaburo horse legs, believing that it is still better than

not having any. Khandzaburo begged them not to put his horse’s legs to him, for he could not stand horses. He agreed to any human legs, even a little hairy, but the Chinese did not have human legs, and they assured him that he would be happy with his horse’s legs, and if you change horseshoes from time to time, you can easily overcome any road, even in mountains. Khanzaburo protested and wanted to run away, but he could not do it without legs. One of the Chinese brought the horse’s legs, thrust them into the openings of the Khandzaburo sticks, and they immediately grew to his hips.

Further Khandzaburo remembered vaguely. When he came to, he was lying in a coffin, and a young missionary was reading a funeral prayer over him. Resurrection Khandzaburo made a lot of noise. The authority of Professor Yamai was under attack, but Yamai said that this is a mystery of nature, inaccessible to medicine. Thus, instead of his personal authority, he placed the authority of medicine under attack. Everyone was happy about the resurrection of Khandzaburo, except for himself. He was afraid that his secret would be

revealed and he would be fired from his job.

From Khandzaburo’s diary one can see how much trouble the horse’s legs brought him: they became a breeding ground for fleas, and fleas bites; An unpleasant smell came from his feet, and the manager suspiciously sniffed when he spoke with Khandzaburo; He had to sleep in socks and underpants, so that his wife Tsuneko could not see his legs. Once Khandzaburo went to the second-hand bookseller. At the entrance to the bench stood a carriage drawn by a horse. Suddenly the coachman, snapping a whip, shouted: “Tso! Tso!” The horse backed, and Khanzaburo, to his own surprise, also involuntarily backed away. The mare rusted, and Khandzaburo felt something similar to his neighing come to his throat. He clamped his ears and started running with all his might.

The season of yellow dust has come. This dust spring wind brings to Beijing from Mongolia, and since Khandzaburo’s feet belonged to the Kunlun race, then, having sensed the native Mongolian air, they began jumping and jumping. No matter how hard Khanzaburo tried, he could not stand still. Tumbling seven rickshaws along the way, he rushed home and asked his wife for a rope, which entangled his unruly legs. Tsuneko decided that her husband went insane, and persuaded him to turn to Professor Yamai, but Khanzaburo did not want to hear about it. When the window of their room suddenly burst open with a gust of wind, Khanzaburo jumped high and shouted something loudly. Tsuneko lost her senses. Khanzaburo ran out of the house and, with a howl, like a horse’s neigh, rushed straight into the yellow dust. He disappeared without a trace, and no one knew what became of him.

The editor of Dzyunten Nippon, Mr. Mudaguchi, published an article in the newspaper where he wrote that the power of the Japanese empire rests on the principle of the family, so the head of the family has no right to go insane. He condemned the authorities, who have not yet issued a ban on going insane.

Six months later, Tsuneko experienced a new shock. Behind the door of her apartment there was a ringing. When she opened the door, she saw a ragged man without a hat. She asked the stranger what he needed. He raised his head and said: “Tsuneko, ..” The young woman recognized her husband in the stranger and wanted to rush to his chest, but suddenly saw that under his torn to tatters of pants are visible bay horse legs. Tsuneko felt an indescribable disgust at these feet. She wanted to overpower him, but she could not. Khandzaburo turned and slowly began to descend the stairs. Gathering all her courage, Tsuneko wanted to run after him, before she could step and step, as she heard the clatter of hooves. Unable to move, Tsuneko watched her husband. When he disappeared from sight, she fell unconscious.

After this event, Tsuneko began to believe her husband’s diary, but everyone else: Professor Yamai, editor Mudaguchi, and colleagues Khandzaburo – believed that a person could not have horse legs, and the fact that Tsuneko saw them was nothing more than a hallucination. The narrator believes that Khandzaburo’s diary and Tsuneko’s story are trustworthy. As evidence, he refers to a note in “Jyunten Nippon”, placed in the same issue as the message about the resurrection of Khandzaburo. The article says that the chairman of the sobriety society, Mr. Henry Ballet, died suddenly on the train to Hankow. As he died with a bottle in his hand, there was a suspicion of suicide, but the results of a liquid analysis showed that there was a liquor in the bottle.

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Akutagawa’s “horse feet” in brief