Saint of Mt. Koya
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"She looked up at me saying, 'Be careful, the slope is very steep right here. It may be difficult for you to manage in those old clogs. Shall I give you my sandals to use?' She thought I had fallen behind because of the rough path, but the fact was that I was anxious to get down the slope as quickly as possible in order to wash off the effects of the leeches. I was in such a hurry I even considered just letting go and rolling down the hill.

" 'Never mind,' I said. 'It's all right, I can go down barefoot if necessary. Sorry to have troubled you, Miss.'

" 'Oh. So you call me Miss, do you?' she exclaimed with a lovely, high-pitched laugh.

" 'Why yes,' I stammered. 'That's what the old man called you earlier. Why? Are you married or something?'

" 'I guess it doesn't matter, but the point is that I am old enough to be your aunt. Anyway, hurry up. It would not do to give you my sandals since your feet are bigger than mine and the rocks on the path might hurt your feet if you tried to wear them. Besides, my sandals are wet and you would not feel comfortable in them.' She turned away as she spoke and tucked up the hem of her skirts into her sash. Her white thighs, luminous in the gathering dusk, were swallowed up in darkness as she walked ahead of me.

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