"To tell the truth, I couldn't make out who it was. So I kept watching, and after a while the kettle head turned my way. Imagine my shock when I saw it was the same young lady who'd captured my heart the evening before." "Didn't you tell us her hair was done up in shimada style?" "The evening before, yes. And exquisitely. Yet the very next morning, bald as a kettle." "You've got to be kidding!" The master, per habit, diverts his gaze to the ceiling. "I found the whole thing strange, and even a little unnerving, so I kept my watch from the distance. She finally finished washing her face, picked up a shimada-style wig that she'd placed on a nearby rock, casually slipped it on over her kettle-bald head, and sauntered back in as though nothing were amiss. Now I knew her secret. I knew her secret, but was forlorn and brokenhearted. I resigned myself to a lonely existence." "That's rubbish! What do you think, Kangetsu, does that even qualify as heartbreak? And look at him today, ever jovial and energetic." The master critiques Meitei's heartbreak and turns to Kangetsu for support. "I don't know. Suppose the young lady hadn't been bald and he'd brought her back to Tōkyō? Might he not be happier still? It's most regretful, I would say, to meet one's soulmate only to learn that she has no hair. Why on earth, though, would a young lady lose all her hair?" "I've thought that over at length, and I can only conclude that she over-indulged in snake stew. That snake stew gives one a rush. Blood flows straight to the head." "You seem to have come through unscathed." "It didn't take my hair, but as you can see, it did leave me nearsighted." With that, Meitei removes his gold-rimmed glasses and wipes them carefully with his handkerchief. After a while the master, as though remembering something, asks for good measure, "And what is it here that's mystical?" "I can't fathom, to this day, where the young lady could have bought or obtained such a wig. That's what's mystical." Meitei places his glasses back on his nose. "Like something from a professional storyteller," is the wife's reaction.