Saint of Mt. Koya
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"For the next two miles the path wound up the slope in serpentine coils. As I made my way, sometimes I found myself pressed flat against the side of the mountain, while at other times I clambered over large boulders or clung to vines and roots, and at last paused to consult my map, as I said at the beginning.

"There was no doubt that the road I saw on my map was the same road the peasant had told me about earlier. I found precious little comfort in knowing for sure that this was the old road, and I knew my map was authoritative, but the road marked on it was only a fine red line drawn across a fuzz of altitude markers.

"I realized that I could not expect the hazards of the journey such as the snakes, the hairy caterpillars, the bird eggs, and the stench of the rotting grass to be marked on the map, so I folded it up and replaced it in its case. All I could do was to try to fortify myself by chanting prayers. Yet no sooner had I drawn a breath than another snake emerged from the grass and crossed the path. By now I felt I had already suffered too much and decided this must be a manifestation of the mountain spirit. Throwing aside my walking stick, I knelt and placed both hands on the baking ground in obeisance. 'I am truly sorry to bother you,' I said, 'But please allow me to pass. I will go discreetly so as not to bother you while you are napping. As you can see, I have thrown away my walking stick.' I remained for a time in my crouched attitude of prayer, but when I finally looked up, I heard the snake hissing at me.

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