The following day, regrettably, I woke late again. It was after eight when I lifted the cage from its box. The bunchō, most likely, had long been awake. Even so, it didn't seem the least perturbed. As soon as the light hit the cage, it blinked its eyes, drew its neck in lightly, and looked my way.
I once knew a beautiful woman. On a certain occasion, as she leaned against her desk, lost in thought, I stole up behind. I took the purple tassel of her obi band and played it out to caress the back of her neck. She turned toward me listlessly with lightly furrowed brow, yet on her lips and in her eyes was the trace of a smile. At the same time, she'd drawn her well-formed neck reflexively down toward her shoulders. As the bunchō looked at me, I suddenly recollected this woman. She's someone's wife now. That day I teased her with the purple tassel was shortly after her marriage had been arranged.
The bowl of millet was still about eight tenths full. There were, however, a good many hulls mixed in. The water bowl, too, was terribly sullied with hulls floating over its surface. Both had to be changed. Once again, I inserted my large hand into the cage. Though I exercised great caution, the bunchō reacted and beat its wings frantically. The loss of even the smallest feather, I decided, would weigh on my conscience. I carefully blew off the hulls, and the cold winter wind carried them away. I changed the water. The water from the tap was ice cold.
I spent the entire day with the solitary sound of my pen. Throughout the day I also heard, on occasion, "chiyo, chiyo." I wondered if the bunchō sang because it, too, was lonely. However, when I went to the veranda, I found it hopping playfully from perch to perch, showing no indication at all of ennui.