Then the maid brings forth from some well-concealed cupboard the “futons,” which serve both as mattresses and bedding, and these she lays upon the straw mats of the floor, one close to the other, side by side. In the rooms of the house we have described there would be space for four in each room, with no uncomfortable crowding, so in the first room would sleep grandmother, father and mother and the little daughter; while in the next room would be the bride and bridegroom, the seventeen-year-old son and the servant, unless by chance the latter had a family and home of her own, to which se would go each night.
The futons are about six feet long and three wide, and are much heavier than our comfortables. They are covered with bright-colored cotton cloth, and no sheets or counterpanes are used. Two are given to each person, one to sleep on and one to sleep under, and with them goes a wooden pillow, or rather block, that fits into the nape of the neck, or perhaps a small round roll stuffed hard with rice-husk. An “andon,” or lantern, stands on the floor, containing a saucer of oil and a wick formed of the pith from a plant, or maybe, a malodorous kerosene lamp. All night long these lamps burn, for ghosts cannot see their way about unless it is dark, and ghosts are not desirable companions, day or night.
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From General Nelson A. Miles
Thrilling Stories of The Russian-Japanese War, 1904