To Japanese

The Hagiography of San Kirishitohoro
By Ryunosuke Akutagawa
(Translated by Masatoshi Iguchi)

Illustration from the second edition




This work is a novel, written by adding some embellishment to a chapter in the Kirishitan Edition of “Legenda Aurea” in my possession, in the same way as “The death of a disciple” which was published in the journal Mita-Bungaku (lit. Mita Literature). Whilst “The death of a disciple” was concerned about an episode of a Christian in this country, “The Hagiography of San Kirishitohoro” is a kind of travel record of a saint which has been widely known in Christian countries in Europe ever since ancient times. Thus, with this novel and the other, my introduction to Legenda Aurea may become suggestive of the whole volume of the book.


Although the story included a number of errors for both ages and places, I refrained from correcting them in order not to spoil the age-colour of the original text. I hope most of my esteemed readers will not distrust my common sense.



1. Life in the mountain

It was once upon a time. A giant, called Reprobus, lived in the depth of a mountain in Syria. It is said that around that time no such big man as Reprobus had existed on the earth which the sun of the Lord shone on. He was about thirty feet tall. In his hairs, which looked like vines, numerous lovely chickadees had nested. His arms and legs resembled the pine and cedar trees in the mountains and his steps echoed through seven valleys.He caught and crushed deer and bear with his fingertips for food. Often when he went to the shore to catch fish, he placed his lower jaw, from which beards like green sea fingers grew, on the sand and swallowed a certain amount of water, so that sea breams and bonitos abundantly flowed into his mouth, wagging their tails. Thus, it was said that the seamen and steersmen of freight boats in the offshore were often confused by the unexpected ebb and flow.


Nevertheless, as Reprobus was innately a kind person, he never harmed not only the woodmen and hunters but also the travellers. Instead, he kindly pushed down trees difficult to be hewn down by woodmen, arrested game which was chased but lost by hunters, and carried luggage which burdened travellers. Thus, nobody in the near-by mountain villages hated this giant. It happened in a village, as it is said, that when a child of a shepherd was missing, someone pushed the flap window of the house of the child’s parents open; startled, the parents looked up and saw Reprobus come down quietly under the starlight putting the child in asleep on his palm which was as big as a winnowing basket. Was it not a commendable deed that would not become a giant?


Then, the mountain labourers who often met Reprobus offered rice-cake and sake. One day when a group of woodmen entered deep into the cedar forest to fell the trees, this giant emerged from behind a low bamboo bush and prepared fire with fallen leaves for them to warm up their sake in the bottle. Sat cross-legged, Reprobus was apparently delighted with the offered sake, the quantity being as small as a droplet for him, scattered the leftover meal of the woodmen for the chickadees nested in his hairs, and said,

    “Born as a man, I wish to render distinguished services for a king and become a lord in the future.” The woodmen agreeably responded,

    “True! With your mighty power, to attack and destroy a couple of castles must be no more than a one-handed task!” At that moment, Reprobus asked embarrassedly,

    “I have a problem, however. As I always live in the mountains, I have no idea which king I should serve and battle. Can you please tell me who the most powerful general of which country is nowadays? Whoever the general, I will rush to the front of his horse and be loyal to him.” They answered.

    “That matter! As far as we know, no other than the Emperor of Antiochia [1] valorous.” Having heard of it, the giant delightfully straightened up his monticulus body and said,

    “Then, I shall immediately start.” It was then that a strange thing happened; all of the chickadees nested in his hairs flew away with their chicks at once, with flapping noises, towards the treetops in the forest, forming a net in the sky. The scene of birds perching on the inclined branch of cedar trees looked as if the trees bore fruits of chickadees, as it is said. Reprobus gazed at the behaviour of chickadees with suspicious eyes for a while but, after an expression of steeling his nerves, he courteously said good-by to the woodmen and went back through the low bamboo bush towards the depth of the forest, in the same manner as he had come.


The news that Reprobus had a wish to become a lord soon became known in the near and remote mountain villages. After a while, a rumour was heard that, in a lake on the country border, when fishermen had difficulty in pulling out a boat from muddy water, a strange giant who emerged from nowhere grabbed the mast of the boat and easily moved it to the shore but, while all seamen were startled, disappeared. Then, as it is said, those woodmen who had known Reprobus recognised that this benevolent giant had left Syria and deeply deplored whenever they saw the folding screen-like mountains in the west sky. In particular, the child of the shepherd always climbed up the isolated cedar tree which stood off the village, when the sun set behind the peak of mountains, and cried in a melancholy voice, “My dear Reprobus, where have you gone?”, forgetting the sheep which gathered below him. Readers who wish to know what fortune Reprobus encountered after this may read the following passages.



2. Becoming a lord

After a while, Reprobus arrived at the castle town of Antiochia without difficulty. The capital city, Antiochia, was a thriving place unrivalled under the heaven, uncomparable to the mountain villages. As soon as the giant entered the town, innumerable men and women crowded around to see him, making it difficult for him to go through. Then, Reprobus lost his way and, while he was jostled, arrived at a crossroad of the lord’s quarter and stood still. Fortunately the procession of warriors which surrounded the Emperor’s coach came along. The crowds were driven away far into four directions, leaving only the giant at the corner. Reprobus put both his hands--which were as big as the feet of a big elephant--on the ground, bowed his head down and implored,


    “I am a giant named Reprobus. I have heard that the Emperor of Antiochia is the unrivalled general on the earth and come here a long way with a wish to serve the Emperor.” Before then the Emperor’s men were terrified by the giant figure of Reprobus and were about to unsheathe their spears and long swords, but having heard his commendable words, they thought he would not be treacherous. They halted the procession and conveyed the purport of his petition to the Emperor through the mouth of the chief of the suite. The Emperor heard of it and said,

    “Such a big man like him must have a valour that is superior to that of ordinary men. Employ him!” With this consideration, he was immediately added to the suite. Reprobus’s delight need not be mentioned. Having been ordered to be the chief carrier of a set of ten long chests, which thirty sumo wrestlers would have difficulty carrying, he proudly followed the procession to the gate of the near-by palace. Indeed, nothing would have been more amazing than the unusual figure of the giant who carried a heap of long chests on his shoulder, looking down at the men and horses of the procession and swinging his large arms,


    After that, Reprobus became the officer to guard the palace of the Antiochian Emperor in the morning and evening, wearing the linen uniform of warrior (haorihakama [2]) with a lacquered crest and holding a long sword with a red sheathe horizontally. Luckily, a chance to render distinguished services came soon, as the big armies of the neighbouring country surged to attack and take the capital. Since the general of the neighbouring country was known as a powerful man who could confront ten thousand men and also subdue the king of lions, the Emperor of Antiochia expected a difficult battle. Reprobus was ordered to be placed in the front, whilst the Emperor himself advanced his coach to the headquarters to give commands. Unsurprisingly, Reprobus was terribly pleased with this arrangement and jumped with joy.


When his side was also ready, the Emperor sent his troops, led by Reprobus, to the field at the country border, accompanied by the sound of shell trumpets [3], bells and drums. Having seen this, the enemy was ready to send their troops over the field like a flood without hesitation, waving their flags, as battling was what they wanted. The one man who calmly advanced from the Antiochian side was no other than Reprobus. Since the giant attired himself with a helmet adorned with a water buffalo and armour of Namban steel [4], and held a big long sward of seven foot-long blade in his hand, he looked like the castle keep’s spirit incarnate, earth seemingly narrow in comparison to his size. Reprobus stood in the middle of the two armies and, holding up his big long sword and inviting the enemy troops, declared in a thundering voice,

    “Those who are away must hear my voice, those who are near-by must see my figure! I am Reprobus, the renowned strongman in the camp of the Emperor of Antiochia. I am here, graciously entrusted to be the top of our armies. Anyone who wishes shall come close to me to fight!” Since the warrior’s behaviour looked not inferior to that of Goliath of Philistines, who had once upon a time wore big armour of knitted scaled-armour, held a copper halberd and spurred a one million troop, the elite soldiers of the enemy became silent and nobody among them was willing to come and fight. [5] Then, the general of the enemy thought he must kill the giant. Wearing gorgeous armour, mounting the back of a dragon horse, holding up his three-foot-long sword and also naming himself, he rushed Reprobus. Unbothered, Reprobus stroked his huge long sword a couple of times before releasing it. Stretching his long arm, Reprobus pulled the enemy’s general out from his saddle and threw him into the faraway sky, as if he were nothing but a piece of stone. The body of the enemy’s general flew in the air and fell in a spin onto the camp of his comrades, destroyed into pieces. Simultaneously, the Antiochian men roared war cries and attacked the enemy’s armies, surrounding the coach of the enemy’s emperor. The neighbouring country soon became restless and fled asunder , abandoning their weapons and harnesses. In the great victory of the Antiochian Emperor of this day, the number of helmeted heads of the enemy’s men earned by this side was said to have been more than the number of days in one year [6].


The Emperor who was extremely pleased reviewed his troops while victorious songs were sung, and soon gave the status of a lord to Reprobus. He also presented a victorious dinner and met his retainers one by one to praise their performance. In that evening, as it was a formal ritual in those countries at that time, a famous nattator [7] with a lute narrated the scenes of ancient and recent battles, as if they were real, under the big candle stands. When Reprobus who had accomplished his wish was smilingly drinking vinho tinto [8] (red wine) almost slavering, his drunken eyes caught sight of the strange behaviour of the Emperor sitting in the chair in the centre surrounded by curtains. Whenever the word, “devil”, was heard in the story sung by the blind narrator, the Emperor raised his hand and made the sign of the cross. As the Emperor’s gesture looked serious, Reprobus suddenly asked a warrior who sat next to him,

    “Why does the Emperor make the cross sign in such a way?” The warrior answered, “Generally, the one called the ‘devil’ is a strong powerful existence that can fiddle people on his palm. Therefore even the Emperor makes the cross sign frequently to prevent the harm of the devil and protect himself.” Having heard of this, Reprobus again asked in a circuitous manner,

    “But I had heard the Emperor of Antiochia was the unrivalled strong general under heaven. Then the devil may not touch his finger to the Emperor.”

The warrior shook of his head and said,

    “No! No! The Emperor is not as powerful as the devil.”

As soon as the giant heard this answer, he became very angry and said,

    “I came to serve the Emperor because I was told he was the unrivalled most powerful Emperor. If the Emperor bows to the devil, I will go out of this place and become a subordinate of the devil,” and attempted to stand up, throwing the glass of red wine. The warriors in the party, who were envious about the exploit of the giant, unanimously made a great fuss, saying

    “Oh, the giant is rebelling!” and vied to catch him from all directions. Were it in the usual time, he would never have fallen down, but he was drunk by wine and half-unconscious. He wrestled against a number of opponents for a while, but the moment he slipped and lost his balance, the warriors heaped up on the struggling Reprobus and tied him up. The Emperor, who was watching the whole situation, angrily said,

    “Horrible man who returns evil for good! Throw him immediately into the dungeon!” Within the night, the poor Reprobus was put into the gloomy cell at the bottom of the earth and was imprisoned. Readers who wish to know what happiness the imprisoned Reprobus encountered after this may read the following passages.



3. Magical events

Ever since Reprobus was thrown into the dark bottom of the dungeon, the tied ropes unreleased, he could not do anything but cry aloud like a baby. Suddenly, a student monk wearing a red mantle appeared and asked in a kind manner,

    “Hi, Reprobus, why you are in such a place?” The giant again flowed tears like a waterfall and answered,

    “I was imprisoned because I had betrayed the Emperor and said I wished to serve the devil. Oh, oh, oh!” The student monk again asked kindly,

    “Do you still wish to serve the devil?” Reprobus nodded and answered,

    “Yes, I do.” The student monk was pleased with this response and laughed aloud, voice echoing through the walls of the dungeon. After a while, he said kindly for the third time,

    “Your wish is very recommendable these days. So, I will rescue you from this prison.” When he covered Reprobus with his mantle, the ropes which had wound around the whole body of the giant were miraculously cut away. The surprise of the giant need not be mentioned. He slowly got up, expressed his thanks to the student monk and asked,

    “I will never forget your kindness, your deed to have untied the bonds. But how can we escape from this dungeon?” The student monk smirked and said,

    “Let us do it! You don’t know how!” He opened the sleeves of his mantle and held Reprobus under his arm. The floor beneath their feet became dark and a blast of wind abruptly swept by. The two persons jumped into the air and flew up into the night sky of Antiochia, a trail of fiery sparks trailing them as they left the prison. Was it true that, it is said, the figure of the student monk at that moment looked like a strange bat flying through dark clouds straightening its wings?

Reprobus was frightened and, while he was flying in the air like an arrow together with the student monk, asked in a shivering voice,

    “Who are you at all? Such a clever man with divine powers doesn’t seem to exist in this world.” Abruptly the student monk smiled strangely, but replied in a casual manner,

    “To tell the truth, I am a strong powerful presence that fiddle people on my palm.” Then, Reprobus recognised for the first time that the true figure of the study student was a devil. During these conversations, the devil continued to fly like an evil comet. The lights of the capital of Antiochia sank below the darkness, and the place appeared below seemed to be the desert of Egypt. All over, the sandy field thousands miles wide was seen underneath, lighted white by the early morning moon. The student monk pointed his long-nailed finger to the world below and said,

    “I heard in the thatched house over there lived a conjuror-recluse. Let us descend on that roof!” and, holding Reprobus under his arm, touched down fluttering on the ridge of the humble cottage located at the side of a sand mountain [9].

(Shin-shosetu, Sunyodo-publ.,1919, Vol. 24, No.3)



Here was the old recluse who lived in the humble cottage. Unaware of the night wearing on, he was reciting sutras under the dim light of an oil lamp, when a fragrant wind blew over and the pedals of cherry blossoms fluttered like snow. A courtesan, ornamented with turtle-shell-made hairpins all around her hairs like a halo, appeared from somewhere in front of his eyes, as if it were in a dream, tugging the cuff of her overgarment on which the depiction of hell was embroidered, flattering like an angel. The old man thought the desert of Egypt had turned in a moment into the red-light district of Murokannzaki. Beside himself, the old man watched the figure of the courtesan in a trance. After a while, the lady, bathed in a shower of flower petals, smiled and said,

    “This is a play famous in the capital of Antiochia! I have come here a long way to divert the idleness of you, the esteemed monk!” The beauty of her voice was not inferior to that of kalavinka [10], a bird which is said to live in paradise. Even the conjuror-recluse [11] was almost tempted, but he thought it would have been impossible for a courtesan to travel in midnight thousands miles from the capital of Antiochia. Realising it must be the trick of a devil, he concentrated himself in reciting the Mandala, his eyes following the sutra. Because of this, the courtesan hesitated to try to win the heart of the old recluse and, fingering the sleeve of her garment which emitted the fragrance of ranja (orchid and musk), deplored,

    “Even though I may be a courtesan, I have arrived at this desert overcoming the mountains and rivers from thousands of miles away. What a stubborn person, you are!” The extreme beauty of her figure looked to shadow the colour of falling petals of cherry blossoms, but the old recluse read the spell for warding off devils repeatedly, without listening to the devil’s words. Soon the courtesan became irritated and, reversing the cuff of her overgarment with the depiction of hell, clutched the recluse’s knees from a slant direction.


    “Why you are so cold?” she cried and badgered. The old recluse leapt up as if he were bitten by a scorpion. But, holding up the cross which he wore at once, he thundered,

    “To Hell with you! It’s rude to touch the lower body of the Lord Jesus Christ!” In addition, he hit the face of the courtesan. She feebly bent down on the fallen petals, but her figure became invisible in a second. Several dark clouds welled up, and a rain of strange sparks scattered like gravel.


A voice groaning “Oh, sad! I was again hit by the cross!”, gradually moved up the ridge of the cottage and faded out. Since the recluse had anticipated that this sort of thing would happen, he kept reciting the secret mantra aloud. As the black clouds rapidly faded and the falling of the petals of cherry blossoms stopped, only the fire light of the oil lamp remained inside the humble cottage, as it is said. [12]


But as the recluse thought the trouble with the devil might occur once again, he relied on the power of sutras throughout the night without closing his eyelids until day broke. Around dawn, somebody came close to the wood door. When went out with the cross in his hand, there was a monticulus giant, wherever he came from unknown, crouching down and making the morning ritual in front of the thatched-roof cottage. He bowed to the recluse, his shoulders backed by a vermilion sky which looked as if the colour was brushed on the dark background. The giant timidly said,

    “I am a giant named Reprobus from Syria. Recently I carelessly became the subordinate of a devil and came the long way to this desert of Egypt with him, but the devil seemed to be powerless against the strength of the so-called Jesus Christ and ran away somewhere, leaving me alone. Since I have had a wish to find the most powerful man, unrivalled under the heavens, and become a servant of that man, please add me, this humble man, to the member of the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ!” Having heard this, the old recluse stood still at the gate of the cottage and answered frowning,

    “Well, you have fallen in a vulnerable situation! Generally speaking, a man who had once served a devil cannot be favoured by the Lord Jesus Christ, until a dead tree blooms!” Reprobus courteously bowed and asked,

    “I have decided never to abandon this desire. So, please let me know the steps of work that will meet the will of the Lord Jesus Christ!” It is said that this sort of conversation was wryly repeated between the recluse and giant.

    “Do you know the phrases of sutras?”

    “No, I am sorry but I know neither a single word nor a phrase.”

    “Then, can you do fasting?

    “How come? I am a renowned big eater. Fasting will be difficult.”

    “Difficult! How is it, not to sleep throughout the night?

    “How? I am a renowned sound sleeper. No sleeping will be difficult.”

The recluse was at a loss of words for a while, but eventually clapped his hands and said smugly,

    “One mile to the south is a big river called the Ryusaga [13] I have heard that, because the level of water is high and the flow is as fast as an arrow, crossing the river is troublesome for people and horses now. But such a big man as you will be able to walk easily across the river. Therefore, you can be a ferryman of the river and help the transportation of people. The reason is that if you are kind to other people, the Lord will be kind to you.”

Reprobus was encouraged and said, “Yes, I will be the ferryman of Ryusaga River.” The old recluse was much delighted by the commendable will of Reprobus, and said,

    “Then, I will give you the holy water right now!” Carrying his water bottle, he climbed up to the ridge of the thatched cottage in a fidget manner in order to be able to reach the head of the giant, and poured the water on it. A miraculous thing happened, it was said. Before the ritual for becoming a monk ended, some clouds trailed from the centre of sun which had incidentally risen, turned into a flock of chickadees and flew down about on the head of Reprobus. Having seen this miracle, the old recluse gazed at the rising sun for a while, forgetting about the direction to give the holy water. Soon, he respectfully prayed to heaven, beckoned Reprobus from the ridge of the cottage and said,

    Now that you have gracefully received the holy water, from now on, you should change your name Reprobus and call yourself as Kirishitohoro! I have thought the Lord will probably watch your faith, so, if there is no indolence in your service and work, you will have an opportunity to see the holy figure of the Lord Jesus Christ, for certain.”

    Readers who wish to know what fortune Reprobus who had renamed his name to Kirishitohoro encountered after this may read the following passages.


4. His death

Kirishitohoro bid farewell to the old recluse and arrived at the riverside of the Ryusaga. It was true that turbid water flew copiously, shaking the blue reeds at the bank of the river, the wave of a hundred miles overturning, and making the boat crossing difficult. As the giant was about thirty feet tall, however, water flew in whirls at the level of his navel even when he was in the middle of the river. Kirishitohoro then built a simple cottage at the riverside and, whenever his eye caught the sight of the figure of travellers, he went close to them and said, “I am the ferryman of this Ryusaga River.” In the beginning, most of the travellers who saw his figure suspected what devil king (Papiyas) he was and fled away frightened, but soon they reckoned the kindness of his heart and climbed up the back of Kirishitohoro, saying “Then, we will receive your favour!”. Every time, Kirishitohoro hoisted up travellers on his shoulder, and walked into the water with a stick made of a willow tree unrooted from the bank; placing the stick upright, he advanced against the whirling stream through the water and easily reached the other side of the river. During the task, some of the chickadees, cheerfully singing, came to fly around the head of Kirishitohoro, as if the willow flowers scattered, it is said. Probably even the birds were much delighted with the strong faith of Kirishitohoro.


In such a way, Kirishitohoro engaged himself in the duty of ferryman for three years in face of winds and rains, but he never met the holy figure of the Lord Jesus Christ, although many travellers came to ask about the ferrying. One night in the third year, when a fierce storm came and thunder echoed around, the giant who was living in a cottage with chickadees was dreamily thinking over the past days. Suddenly a young voice was heard in the rain which could fly away carts.


    “Is the ferryman there? Can you ferry me across this river?” Kirishitohoro got up and moved out into the darkness of the night to see a boy of presumably less than ten years old, in a white dress, standing still and alone with his head down, while thunderbolts split the sky. The giant thought this as a rare thing and bent his huge body, which was as a large a rock that could be moved by a thousand men, to ask amiably,

    “Why are you walking alone late at night?” The child looked above with his sorrowful eyes and answered in a pensive voice,

    “I wish to return to my father’s place.” For Kirishitohoro, this answer was certainly not clear at all, but since the attitude of the child, which seemed to be in a hurry to cross the river, looked pitiful, Kirishitohoro said,


    “Then, I will ferry you.” He hugged the child with both hands, hoisted him upon his shoulder as usual, and bravely stepped into the water with the big stick, despite the violent storm which blew, pushing away the blue reeds that grew around the bank. But the winds incessantly blew whirling the black clouds. The rain poured and shot the river surface as if it would reach the bottom of the river.


Often the lightning of the thunder showed the water spraying into the air, as if numerous angels flew around stretching their snow wings. Even the powerful Kirishitohoro had a difficulty crossing the river this evening, as he often tottered and stood still in the water, leaning firmly on the big stick which looked like a tower, the basement of which was decayed. More troublesome than the rain and wind was the fact that somehow the child on his shoulder became heavier and heavier. At first he thought he could endure but, when he came close to the middle of the river, the weight of the white-dressed child increased further, as if he was loaded with a large rock of stone. At last Kirishitohoro thought he must lose his life in Ryusaga River, but incidentally he heard the familiar singing of the chickadees. Wondering why birds flew in the dark night, he looked up at the sky and saw a golden ray, shimmering from the crescent moon, radiating brightly like magic, encircling the face of the child, while the chickadees flew around the golden ray in the storm. Having seen this, the giant thought, even the small birds are so gallant, yet how he, born as mankind, could ruin the service and work of three years in one night? Dishevelling his hair in the air, which resembled vines, he desperately walked in a hurry towards the aimed bank by thrusting the big stick (to the river bed), while his body washed by the wild waves up to the level of his breast. The struggle would have continued for about one hour. Kirishitohoro finally arrived at the other bank, like a battle-worn lion king, and climbed up panting and tottering. Putting the big willow stick and holding down the child from his shoulder, he gasped out,

    “Indeed! The weight of you, this particular child, was unmeasurable, uncertain, wasn’t it?” The child, the golden light above his head shining more brightly in the storm, looked at the face of the giant and confidently answered,

    “It must be! This very evening, you have shouldered Jesus Christ who bore the hardship of the world!”. The voice sounded like the sound of a bell...


Ever after that night, the strange figure of the giant ferryman was not seen around the Ryusaga River. The only thing that remained, it is said, was the strong big stick of willow tree which was put upright on the sandy bank of the other side, around the dead stem of which beautiful red rose flowers bloomed with fragrance. [14] Thus, as written in the Sutra of Matthew, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

(Shin-shosetu, Sunyodo-publ.,1919, Vol. 24, No.5, March 5)



[1] According to Jacobus de Voragine’s Legenda Aurea, the emperor whom Reprobus served was the King of Cannan. Cf. Jacobus de Voragine, Englished by William Caxton 1483 “The Golden Legend (Legenda Aurea)”.

[2] A formal men’s attire in Japan.

[3] shell trumpets = conch shell trumpet. Traditionally used in Japan, also by esoteric Buddhists.

[4] Refined Steel, presumably produced in the Middle or Near East. Imported into Japan in the second-half of the 16th century and called Namban (lit. South barbarian) steel. The quality was inferior to the domestic steel, as it contained more carbon and more phosphor and sulphur, but valued as an imported good.

[5] The Philistines were an ancient people who lived on the south coast of Canaan from the 12th century BC to 604 BC when they were defeated by King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia. Goliath was a giant warrior of the Philistines. The scene of the battle, when they met Israelis around 950 BC (?) is found in “Book of Samuel 1, Chapter 17”: “4And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5And he had a helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. 6And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. 7And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him. 8And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. 9If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. 10And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. 11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.” For reference, 1 cubit = ca. 50 cm, 1 shekel = 8.36 g.

[6] No description of this was in the Legenda Aurea.

[7] In Japanese, Biwahoushi (lit. loquat bonze) because the shape of his instrument resembled the fruit of loquat.

[8] Portuguese red wine, exported in the Age of Exploration. Corrupted in Japan as “Chinta”.

[9] According to Legenda Aurea, after Reprobus left from the king, he walked into the dessert and encountered the Devil who pretended to be a knight and led his troop.

[10] (Skt) Kalavinka. An imaginary avian which is said in Buddhism to live in the Sukhāvatī, or the Western Paradise, and preach about Buddha's teachings in beautiful voice (Britannica)

[11] Or, experienced-recluse.

[12] The episode of the old recluse tempted by the courtesan is not founf in the Legenda Aurea. This might have been adopted from “The Temptation of Saint Anthony”.

[13] Ryusaga may remind one of the river which flows through Lhasa, Tibet, but the river in the Legenda Aurea must be somewhere around the Near East. The real name is unknown to the translator, although he has done some survey.

[14] According to the Legenda Aurea, after that, St. Christopher went to the heathen country of Lycia to spread the Christian teachings, and was finally tortured and martyred there.