Once long ago, in ancient Japan, in the town of Kumamoto, there lived a young samurai, who had a great devotion to the sport of fishing. Armed with his large basket and tackle, he would often start out in the early morning and pass the whole day at his favourite pastime, returning home only at nightfall.
One fine day he had more than usual luck. In the late afternoon, when he examined his basket, he found it full to overflowing. Highly delighted at his success, he wended his way homewards with a light heart, singing snatches of merry songs as he went along.
It was already dusk when he happened to pass a deserted Buddhist temple. He noticed that the gate stood half open, and hung loosely on its rusty hinges, and the whole place had a dilapidated and tumbledown appearance.
What was the young man's astonishment to see, in striking contrast to such a forlorn environment, a pretty young girl standing just within the gate.
As he approached she came forward, and looking at him with a meaning glance, smiled, as if inviting him to enter into conversation. The samurai thought her manner somewhat strange, and at first was on his guard. Some mysterious influence, however, compelled him to stop, and he stood irresolutely admiring the fair young face, blooming like a flower in its sombre setting.
When she noticed his hesitation she made a sign to him to approach. Her charm was so great and the smile with which she accompanied the gesture so irresistible, that half-unconsciously, he went up the stone steps, passed through the semi-open portal, and entered the courtyard where she stood awaiting him.
The maiden bowed courteously, then turned and led the way up the stone-flagged pathway to the temple. The whole place was in the most woeful condition, and looked as if it had been abandoned for many years….