Trouble at dolphin cove

Featured in

  • Published 20100302
  • ISBN: 9781921520860
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

IN A STORY by Ryunosuke Akutagawa called ‘The Spider Thread’, the thief and arsonist Kandata is writhing in hell with all the other sinners when the Lord Buddha happens to look down from paradise. Buddha knows, as one who knows everything misses nothing, that Kandata once saved the life of a spider on a mountain trail. He took pity on a spider that it was in his power to squash underfoot, figuring that even the spider possessed a life worthy of some respect.

On the strength of this single instant of compassion in a lifetime of vileness, Buddha is prepared to throw Kandata a lifeline. He takes a spider thread and sends it floating down on the heavenly breeze in his direction. A skilled climber, the career housebreaker grabs hold of the thread and starts hauling himself up out of the hellish depths, full of glee at this surprising change of fortune.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at

Share article

More from author

Monkey business

Poetry– Don't look them in the eye, she said. They find it confronting. With your build you scream dominant male.She was flattering me, as...

More from this edition

Food in the age of unsettlement

EssayI HAVE THREE personas: designer-educator, sustainment theorist and forest farmer. The farmer came first. My grandfather was a market gardener who taught me to...


MemoirI WAS FIFTEEN when I stood inside my first restaurant kitchen. My mother, who had replaced the red dirt of Mount Isa for the...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.