"And what does 'the jam-eating type' look like?"
"It's hard to say exactly -- but tell me, have you had not even a little?"
"Well, maybe a little. What's the harm in that? It's our jam after all."
"Ha ha ha ha. I thought so -- On a serious note, though, it's a shame you've fallen victim to theft. Did the burglar make off with only the yams?"
"I wish it were only the yams, but he took our garments too."
"That's tough. Will you have to borrow again to replace them? If only this cat were a dog -- it's really unfortunate. Get yourself a big dog. -- cats are useless. All they do is eat -- has he ever even caught a mouse?"
"Never caught even one. Brazenly indulges himself, that's all he does."
"What good is he then? Put him out - the sooner the better. I you want, I'll take him home and stew him."
"Oh my! You would eat a cat?"
"I have before. They're downright tasty."
"I never would have imagined."
As I've already related, rumor has it that among boarding students are a vulgar and savage lot who stoop to eating cats. However, to this day I'd never dreamed that Tatara, who always treated me with due civility, numbered himself one among this lot. For one thing, the man's no longer a boarding student. He may not be long out of school, but he's a full-fledged lawyer and an official of the Mutsui Trading Company, which only makes it all the more shocking. There's an old adage to "never trust a stranger," and the acts of Kangetsu the Second bear witness to its truth. Now, thank to Tatara, I can add "never trust a stranger not to stew and eat you" to my own set of truths. The more one lives, the more one learns, and to learn is wonderful, but it also opens one's eyes, day by day, to myriad dangers, setting one ever on guard. One grows crafty, one perpetrates villainous acts, one sews protective linings into one's clothes, all due to lessons learned. Knowing is the price we pay for growing old. That's why, among the elderly, you'll not find a decent soul. Curled up in the corner, I wonder if I shouldn't perhaps just jump into Tatara's pot, along with an onion or two, and pass quietly from this world. As I'm thinking thus, the master, who retreated into his study after quarreling with the wife, is drawn reluctantly back out to the living room by the sound of Tatara's voice.