The following day I slept in again. Further, I didn't check the veranda until after I'd washed my face and eaten. On returning to my study, I wondered if, like the day before, another member of the household might not have taken the cage out. I went and found that, indeed, it had been taken out. Not only was it out, but millet and water had both been replenished. Fully assured, I started back into the study. As I did so, the bunchō sang "chiyo, chiyo." I stopped and retraced my steps. The bunchō, however, sang but once. I watched as it gazed through the glass, with an air of apprehension, at the frost-covered garden outside. Finally, I returned to my desk.
In the study my pen, as always, scratched its way across the page. The work on the novel was coming along. My fingertips grew cold. The coals I'd covered in the morning were fully turned to ash, and the kettle on its stand had grown cold. The charcoal bucket was empty. I clapped my hands, but the sound, it seems, did not carry to the kitchen. I stood up and opened the door, and I saw that the bunchō was uncharacteristically still on its perch. On closer inspection, only one leg was visible. I set the charcoal bucket down on the veranda, bent closer, and peered into the cage. As close as I looked, I could see only one leg. The bird reposed in its cage, perfectly still, with its full weight bearing on a single slender leg.
I was intrigued. Miekichi, who'd explained all else in the greatest of detail, had apparently neglected to mention this. When I returned with a bucketful of charcoal, there was still just a single leg. I observed for a time on the cold veranda, but the bunchō showed no sign of stirring. As I watched in silence, it slowly narrowed its round eyes. Thinking it must be drowsy, I stepped softly toward the study. On my first step, though, the bunchō re-opened its eyes. At the same time, it produced a second leg from beneath its pure white breast. I closed the door and fed the brazier with charcoal.