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But no one ever thought a second time about obeying the mandate of the governor, so with many deep hopeless sighs, the youth prepared for what at that time was considered the kindest mode of death.
Just at sundown, when his day’s work was ended, he took a quantity of unwhitened rice which is principal food for poor, cooked and dried it, and tying it in a square cloth, swung and bundle around his neck along with a gourd filled with cool, sweet water. Then he lifted his helpless old mother to his back and stated on his painful journey up the mountain.
The road was long and steep; then arrowed road was crossed and recrossed by many paths made by the hunters and woodcutters. In some place, they mingled in a confused puzzled, but he gave no heed. One path or another, it mattered not. On he went, climbing blindly upward – ever upward towards the high bare summit of what is known as Obatsuyama, the mountain of the “abandoning of aged”.
The eyes of the old mother were not so dim but that they noted the reckless hastening from one path to another, and her loving heart grew anxious. Her son did not know the mountain’s many paths and his return might be one of danger, so she stretched forth her hand and snapping the twigs from brushes as they passed,
she quietly dropped a handful every few steps of the way so that they climbed, the narrow path behind them was dotted at frequently intervals with tiny piles of twigs.
Let not thine eyes be blinded, my son.
The mountain road is full of dangers. LOOK carefully and follow the path which holds the piles of twigs. They will guide you to the familiar way fartherdown
oh, Honorable mother, thy kindness thrusts my heart! I will not leave thee. Together we will follow the path of twigs, and together we will die!
Once more he shouldered his burden (how light it seemed no) and hastened down the path,through the shadows and the moonlight, to the little hut in the valley.
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