Saint of Mt. Koya
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"I watched with fascination and disgust to see what sort of thing the idiot would be eating. Would it be tasty broiled snake, or perhaps steamed, pregnant monkey, or, perhaps, less spectacular, would he be cramming his mouth full of dried frog meat? Even as I watched, he took up the bowl in one hand, and with the other he took from it only an old, dried up pickle. It was an enormous pickled radish that had been sliced lengthwise and the idiot boy seemed to gnaw on it as though it was an ear of corn.

"The woman seemed completely at her wit's end about how to deal with the boy. She stole a glance at me and her face quickly reddened. She bowed her head and chewed the edge of the towel she held in her lap. All these actions revealed the extent of her embarrassment.

"It occurred to me that this pickle was the most appropriate food for the idiot boy since he was plump and his skin had the same yellowish tinge as the pickled radish. In a moment he had greedily eaten the whole thing, but though it must have been very salty, he did not even ask for a cup of water. He merely turned away and began to breathe heavily.

" 'Somehow I feel congested and do not feel like eating. I guess I will eat later.' With these words the woman cleared away our two trays without ever taking up chopsticks herself."

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