Sawarabi (Early Ferns) (早蕨)

Sawarabi is one of the fifty-four chapters of "Genji Monogatari" (The Tale of Genji). It is the forty-eighth chapter. It refers to the forth tale of 'Ujijujo' in the third section.
The chapter title derives from the following verse by Naka no kimi: 'And to whom shall I show these early ferns from the mountain, plucked. In remembrance of one who is no more?'

The story took place in the springtime when Kaoru was twenty-five years old.

The spring came again in the countryside of Uji city. Naka no kimi who had lost his father and sister received, as in the past, brackens and horsetails from Ajari in Mt. Uji who used to be her father's religious master. She shed tears of gratitude for his kindness.

Nioumiya who found it difficult to go down to Uji invited her to Nijoin in Kyoto in early February. Being her guardian, Kaoru took care in preparing for her arrival in Kyoto. He went to Uji a day before her departure to Kyoto and both reminisced about Okimi until late at night. He deeply regretted that she had to stay with Nioumiya, missing her anew. Ben the Old Court Lady who had become a priestess after Okimi's demise decided to remain in Uji.

Arriving at Nijoin on February 7 (old lunar calendar), Naka no kimi was given a warm reception by Nioumiya. Knowing this, Yugiri (in the Tale of Genji) who had sought to arrange a marriage between Roku no kimi and Nioumiya forced Roku no kimi to undergo the ritual of mogi after February 20. She then asked Kaoru about this match, in which he took no interest.

Kaoru went to Nijoin to have a conversation with Naka no kimi while the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Nioumiya was suspicious of Kaoru who was getting closer to Naka no miya.

[Original Japanese]