"What do you mean 'the pine'?" the master interjected with a question.
"The hanging pine." Meitei drew in his neck as he spoke.
"Isn't the hanging pine on Kōnodai?" Kangetsu's voice joined the flow.
"The pine on Kōnodai is for hanging of bells. The pine on Dote Sanban-chō is for hanging of heads. The reason this pine is for hanging of heads, legend has it, is that from days of old, anyone passing beneath is seized with the urge to hang himself. There are numerous pines on the embankment, but when word comes of a hanging it's always this same pine. No other tree invites men's demise. You can see it extend an opportune branch toward the lane. Its form is ideal. It's all too forlorn. Somehow it cries for adornment, in the form of a hanging man. Wondering if someone might come to it, I looked around, regrettably to no avail. Having no other recourse, I thought I might hang there myself. But no, if I hang there that's it. The danger's too great. Then again, they say that the ancient Greeks, for the amusement of banquet guests, acted out a game of hangman. One would mount a pedestal and slip his head through the knot. The moment he did, another would kick the pedestal away. The one with the rope bout his neck would loosen it, quick as a flash, and drop to the ground. Such was the scheme. If this is in fact what they did, then the risk is overblown. I could give it a go. I placed my hands on the branch. It yielded in a manner most satisfying. It was a work of art in its compliance. I imagined hanging there, floating gently, and rapture swept over my mind. I decided I had to do it, but then my thoughts turned to Tōfū, who would arrive and wait in vain. Thinking it best to first engage him as promised, and then set out anew, I returned home."