Commoners’ storyYamai no Soshi(Diseases and Deformities)
- Human beings suffer the four inevitable fates of human life—birth, aging, sickness, and death. Among these four kinds of suffering, sickness actually comes in various forms. First, there are illnesses where innate abnormalities are found on parts of the body that are visible to others. For example, there is an illness where one is born with a curved back. There are also illnesses where people have bruises on their faces. The illness of black nose, where the tip of the nose is blackened, is passed down to children and grandchildren. Illness of visible parts engulfs one’s thoughts day and night, because even though they do not cause pain, they are visible to others. There are also illnesses where innate abnormalities are apparent in bodily functions. For example, there is a convulsive illness where the eye is always twitching. There is also an illness where one falls asleep even in broad daylight. Although these illnesses do not hurt, there is no doubt that other people would look harshly on you. Insomnia is neither painful nor harshly judged, but it is extremely dreadful.
- There are also illnesses where abnormalities develop on body parts that people cannot see. Parts that people cannot see include the inside of the mouth. For example, with an illness where a smaller tongue-like protrusion is growing at the root of your tongue, you are unable to swallow food because your throat hurts. When this illness becomes serious, one will die. If you have an illness where the roots of your teeth are loose, you cannot eat food because you cannot chew due to pain. Extreme bad breath is also unbearable. No matter how pretty or handsome you are, your lover will run away because of the stench inside your mouth, and no one will come close to you. For some reason, on top of being painful, if you tell other people about these kinds of illnesses of parts that one cannot see, people do not sympathize with you.
- Another body part that people cannot see is the crotch. For example, there is an illness where a small insect known as a crab louse infests the pubic hair. This causes unbearable itchiness. There is also an illness where people are born not with one anus, but with many anuses. This is troublesome, as feces are excreted out of multiple holes when defecating. On the contrary, there is also a disease where one does not have an anus and instead vomits feces from the mouth. The illness called cholera is characterized by leaking diarrhea from the anus and vomit from the mouth, and fainting in agony. In addition to being painful, these kinds of illnesses of parts that one cannot see are embarrassing if they are known to others.
- The world is full of these various kinds of diseases. Having people learn of your illness and being laughed at scornfully is also suffering caused by the disease, as much as the pain caused by it. Actually, being laughed at by other people may be the real nature of agony. This is because in order for ill people to have others stop laughing at them, there is no choice but to stop living. A person’s whole life becomes an existence in the face of laughter, however sad it may be. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all lost our eyesight…? Speaking of which, there was a man who underwent surgery because his eyesight weakened. His eyeball was pricked with a needle and he went blind. People laughed at him, saying that he was tricked by a quack, and that his story was funny. Human beings have always looked at and ridiculed people who have diseases. Even if a person who had been laughing at ill people becomes sick himself or herself, people still go on laughing.