Saint of Mt. Koya
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While our train rolled through Gifu Prefecture the sky remained blue and clear, but crossing the mountains we encountered the familiar gloomy overcast of the north coast; a change that occurred gradually but steadily. At Maibara and Nagahama there was only a thin layer of clouds making the weak winter sunlight even bleaker. Gradually the icy chill seeped into my very bones. By the time we reached Yanagase it was drizzling, and presently, as the world outside the train grew dark, the drizzle became mixed with sleet, and finally with white flakes of snow.

"Snow," I said.

"So it seems," was the only comment my laconic companion made. Apparently he was without interest in what was happening outside. He did not even bother to look up at the sky. And this was not the first time the itinerant priest had responded thus; earlier, when I had pointed out the site of the ancient battlefield at Shizugatake, and again when I had commented on the scenery around Lake Biwa, he had only nodded his head saying nothing.

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