BIRD OF PARADISE
Japan, the Land of Peace and Calm, 287 had long been true to its name. Its people rejoiced in their labour and still found time to relax underneath the cherry-blossoms in spring and to visit the many-coloured groves of trees in autumn. Those who wished might take long trips by sea with the tiller as their pillow 288 and visit the strange shores of Tsukushi. 289 Yet others could set their hearts on the pleasure of climbing such peaks as Mt Fuji and Tsukuba. 290
In Ise, in the hamlet of Ōka, 291 there lived a man whose name was Hayashi. He retired early from his occupation in order to make way for his son, and he took the tonsure and called himself Muzen, though he did not actually become a priest. 292 He had always been a healthy man, and he liked travelling to various places as he grew on in years. When his younger son, Sakunoji, began to mature, Muzen worried lest the boy be too countrified, and wishing to show him how people in the capital live, he took him to spend about a month at his establishment in Kyoto, in the Second Ward. Toward the end of the Third Month they went to view the cherry-blossoms in the deepest recesses of Yoshino. 293
After enjoying themselves for seven days or so at a temple where he was known, Muzen told the boy that they had never been to Mt Kōya, 294 and that since they were so near they ought to pay a visit. Thus they made their way through the thick, green foliage of early summer, passing by a place known as Tennokawa 295 and then climbing the Mountain of Mani. 296 As they toiled up the steep path, the sun began to set before they noticed it.