Saint of Mt. Koya
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"I enjoyed the old rustic's comments even though I had not asked him to tell me about the history of the area. At any rate, at least I knew I was on the right road, but at the same time I realized that the peddler had taken the wrong road.

" 'Where does the other road go?' I asked, looking off to the right along the narrow path taken by the peddler.

" 'Oh yes, well that's the old road that people used to take fifty years ago or more. It is only a foot path. Eventually, of course, it ends up in Shinshu the same as the main road. It saves about seven miles overall, but it is virtually impassable these days, no one can get through. Last year a family was on a pilgrimage and took that route by mistake. That was a terrible thing. They were a pretty poor lot, no-account people, but, as you know, sir, every soul is precious, so we felt we had to try to help them. Three of the local constables and twelve villagers formed a search party and went up into the mountains after them. Eventually we found them and brought them back, but I can tell you it was touch and go for a while. You seem vigorous enough, but I warn you, don't take that path just because it is a bit shorter. You will do better to stick to the main road even if you become exhausted and end up having to sleep in the open. Well, God go with you sir. Farewell.'

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