Saint of Mt. Koya
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"I stood anxiously by, watching the woman's mood. She seemed gentle, yet strong-willed; light hearted yet calm, comfortable, yet fearsome at the same time. I felt she was the sort of woman who would remain calm in any sort of emergency, so I told myself I should be careful and by no means take liberties with her. I could not bear the thought that she might turn her scorn on me just as she had on the monkey. I was filled with anxiety.

" 'You must have found that quite a spectacle indeed,' she said, once again favoring me with a smile. 'I'm afraid it was just one of those things that can't be helped.' She was light hearted as ever as she quickly retied her sash. 'Why don't we go back up to the house,' she said, taking the bucket of washed rice under her arm and slipping on her sandals as she started up the slope. 'Be careful,' she cautioned, 'It's tricky along here.'

" 'That's all right. I can manage, I'm sure.' I had been quite confident of myself from the beginning, but the further we climbed, it turned out that the steep hill was quite a bit higher than I had remembered. Eventually, however, we came again to the great tree lying almost buried under the tall grass. It seemed to me that its rough bark resembled the scales of some terrible serpent lurking there. Indeed, the trunk itself, in its length and girth, reminded me of the large snake with its head and its tail hidden in the grass I had encountered earlier. The uncertain light of the moon made it appear very much like a snake. My knees grew weak with dread as I recalled the snakes I had encountered earlier on the mountain path.

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