It's a sad situation when a man craves dumplings yet can't partake. Then again, losing the heart of one's betrothed to a rival must be sadder by far. When I considered Uranari's plight, my own dumpling predicament seemed asinine. I had no right to complain, even if I went hungry for three days straight. There can be nothing less trustworthy than human beings. One would never expect unkindness from such a face, but beauty can be callous. And Koga, with blisters like a wax gourd, is a dutiful man of virtue. One can't be too cautious. They say that Yama Arashi, whom I thought to be open and honest, incited the students against me. It seemed that indeed he had, yet then he urged the principal to punish the students harshly. Red Shirt, who comes across as the epitome of affectation, turns out to be kind and counsels me, albeit in his own peculiar manner. Then he deceives Madonna, or so it seems. He insists that he would only hope for the hand of Madonna if she first broke off with Koga. Ikagin finds fault with me and turns me out, only to immediately lodge Lord Noda in my place. However one views it, no beings are less reliable than humans. Kiyo would probably be aghast if I described all this in a letter. Maybe she would conclude that 'beyond Hakone' was the land of tortured souls.
I'm a carefree type by nature, and I'd managed in the past to never let things get to me. But just a month in this place had me quite anxious about the state of the world. While no major calamity had befallen me, I felt as though I'd aged five or six years. I should probably throw in the towel and return to Tōkyō as soon as possible. Such were my thoughts as I crossed a stone bridge and reached the banks of the Nozeri River. River sounds grandiose. It's really no more than a shallow trickle just a couple of meters wide. If one follows the embankment downstream for a kilometer or so, it leads to Aioi Village. The village has a temple of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.