Saint of Mt. Koya
Previous | Next || Begin | End || Title | Intro | Index | Acrobat


"Needless to say, apart from the medicine peddler I had not met a soul from the time I had left the tea house until now. At that moment I was rather confused; having heard the peddler's parting comment, and thinking that since he was a travelling salesman he must know the way even in this remote area, I was about to consult my map once again even though, as I mentioned before, I had already studied it carefully that morning.

" 'Excuse me,' I said to the farmer, 'I must ask your help.'

" 'What can I do for you, sir?'

"These mountain people may be rustic, but when they see that I am a priest, they are invariably polite.

" 'I guess I really don't need help; I was just wondering if this is the main road that goes straight along here.'

" 'Are you heading for Matsumoto? Well sir, thanks to all the rain we had during the rainy season, the main road, as you can see, has become something of a river.'

" 'Is the road flooded like this all the way along?'

" 'Oh no. There is a lot of water right here, but it only goes as far as that grove of trees over yonder. After that the road is clear. All the way to the mountains it is wide enough for freight wagons to pass each other. That grove, by the way, is the site where a certain doctor had a mansion in the old days, and there was once a village right here where we are standing now. I believe it was thirteen years ago that we had the heavy flood and everything was washed away making this a wasteland. A lot of people died then. Since you are a priest, sir, would you be good enough to offer up a prayer for the poor departed souls as you walk along?'

Previous | Next || Begin | End || Title | Intro | Index | Acrobat