The fault here lies not with the master, nor with me, but rather our landlord Denbei. The paulownias all but cry out for the cobbler, yet all Denbei can think to do is come and collect his rent. I harbor no ill will toward Denbei, so I'll refrain from further censure and return to the topic at hand. I intend to explain how troubles arose from this vacant land, but what I relate is not to be shared with the master. We should keep it amongst ourselves. The fundamental problem with this vacant land is that it's open, bounded by neither fence nor hedge. All choosing to pass through, whether windy breeze or wanderer, have free license to do so. In truth, I should rather say "had" free license. To trace the story to its roots, I have to start in the past. A physician, as we all know, cannot prescribe a cure without first probing root cause. Likewise, my story begins, necessarily, in a former time when the master had first moved in. The lot was open, and cool breezes refreshed it the summer long. As for security, where no treasure resides, no thief thinks to enter. The master's house had no need whatsoever for fence, hedge, stockade, abatis, or any such defense. This determination, of course, is fully contingent on who or what is living cross the way. Accordingly, further comment on the nature of the gentlemen residing nearby is in order. It may seem imprudent to apply the term "gentlemen" before even knowing who or what is involved, but there's no need for concern on this front. Even the term "gentleman burglar" is prevalent, and the gentlemen we're speaking of here are by no means afoul of the law. They're not afoul of the law, but peril lies in the force of their numbers. There's no end to them. A private middle school, called Rakuunkan, collects two yen per month in tuition to turn young gentlemen into gentlemen of the world. The name Rakuunkan may suggest refinement, but a name in itself does not refinement make. By way of point, no cranes in fact alight on Gunrakukan, and Garyōkutsu houses but a common cat. Knowing that master Kushami, crackpot that he is, sports the titles of college graduate and instructor, one can well imagine that not all of Rakuunkan's young gentlemen are indeed so gentle. To any who doubts this, I invite him to come and dwell just three days in master Kushami's house.