FISHERMAN AND THE SAMURAI
- Once upon a
- A long time
ago during the reign of the Tokagawa Shogunate a samurai
set out on an errand.
one year ago to the day he had lent 10 koku to a
fisherman in a small coastal village nearby, and today
was the day the fisherman had promised he would repay the
debt. The samurai arrived in the village at noon and upon
inquiring at the fisherman's home he was told by the
fishermans wife that he would find the man down at his
boat working on his nets. Upon seeing the samurai coming
up the beach the fisherman threw himself to the ground
and bowed his head to the sand. "Get up" said
the samurai, "As agreed it has been one year and I
have come to collect the money you owe me". "I
have not forgotten my debt to you" said the
fisherman, who now stood but with his head still bowed,
"but it has been a very bad year for me and I regret
that I do not have the money I owe you".
this the samurai, who was not a man known for his
patience, flushed with anger and quickly drew his sword,
preparing to kill the fisherman then and there. "Why
should I not simply slay you instead" shouted the
samurai as he raised the deadly blade above his head.
Fearing that his life was at and end and having nothing
to lose the fisherman boldly spoke out. "For some
time now I have been studying martial arts" he
replied, "and one of the lessons that my master
teaches, is never to strike when you are angery".
"I beg you" said the fisherman, "give me
one more year to pay you what I owe".
about what the fisherman had just said the samurai slowly
lowered his sword. "Your master is wise" said
the samurai, "as a student of the art of the sword I
too have heard that lesson many times, but sometimes I
get so angry I act without thinking". Putting away
his sword the samurai spoke in a voice that was use to
being obeyed. "You shall have another year to repay
your debt to me" he said, "but when I return if
you do not have all the money you owe me I shall not
hesitate to take your life instead" and without
another word he turned and walked away.
- Having left
the village later than he intended to it was already dark
by the time the samurai arrived home. Seeing no lights on
in the house he crept in quietly not wishing to wake the
servants or his wife. As he entered his bed chamber he
notice that there were two persons lying on his futon,
one he recognized as his wife and the other from their
clothing was unmistakeably another samurai.
- Swiftly he
drew his sword and as his anger quickly grew he moved in
to slay them both. Just then, as he was about to strike,
the fisherman's words came back to him, "never
strike when you are angery". This time I shall
follow the lesson he thought to himself, pausing he took
a deep breath and tried to relax, then on purpose he made
a loud noise. Hearing the sound both his wife and the
stranger immediately woke up and when his wife had lit a
candle he found himself face to face with his wife and
his mother who had dressed up in his clothes and another
set of swords.
is the meaning of this" he demanded, "I almost
slew you both". His wife quickly explained that when
he had not returned by night fall they decided to dress
his mother up in his clothes so that in the event that an
intruder entered the home they would be frightened off at
the sight of a samurai in the house.
- A that
moment the samurai realized that his habit of "striking
without thinking" had almost cost him the life of
his wife and his mother. One year later the samurai again
walked down the same beach towards the fisherman. After
exchanging the proper formal greetings the fisherman
said, "It has been an excellent year my Lord, here
is all the money I owe you as promised, and with interest".
your money" replied the samurai, "you do not
know it, but your debt was paid to me long ago".
- Never act
on emotion alone.
- Part the
clouds - see the way
objective of karate is to contribute to the evolution
- of the
human spirit through physical and mental training."