Saint of Mt. Koya
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" 'I am afraid you still have more than eight miles to go,' said the woman.

" 'Is there any sort of private home or other sort of accommodation nearer?'

" 'I'm afraid there isn't.' She held my gaze with her limpid eyes.

" 'I'm sorry to hear that. The fact is that I couldn't go a step further even if you told me there is a wonderful place just a few yards ahead where I could find a place to sleep and where they would do me the favor of fanning me the whole night through. Actually, I don't mind where I spend the night. Could you just let me use a shed or a corner of the barn. Please.' I said this because it had occurred to me that the horse I had heard earlier surely belonged to this house.

"The woman considered my request for a while, then turning sideways, she took up a cloth bag and poured rice into a wooden bucket beside her knee. Ladling up the rice in her hands, she kept her eyes riveted on the floor as she said, 'Well, I suppose you could stay here for the night. We have enough rice to go around. We do not have bedding for you, though, and it gets quite chilly here in the mountains at night, but since it is summer, perhaps it will be all right. Please come in and make yourself at home.'

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