Even in that age, there was romance. I said that before dying I would like to look, one last time, on the woman I loved. The general replied that he would wait until the cock crowed at the break of day. I had until then to summon my woman. If she didn't arrive before the cock crowed, I would have to face death without her.
The general sat and gazed into the fire. I sat on the grass, straw boots crossed in front of me, and waited for my woman. The night grew deeper.
From time to time the fire settled. Each time it settled the flames, as though flustered, would surge up toward the general. Under his dark eyebrows, the general's eyes glistened. Someone would arrive to replenish the fire with fresh branches. After a while, the flames would roar in response. It was a courageous sound that pushed back the darkness.
At this same time, my woman was leading her white horse from the oak tree out back where it was tethered. She stroked its mane three times and leapt lightly onto its high back. She rode bareback, with neither saddle nor stirrups. She kicked the horse's flanks with her long white legs, and it took off galloping at full speed. Someone replenished the campfire, and its flames cast a faint light against the distant sky. The horse set its sights on this light as it flew through the darkness. Breath flowed from its nostrils like pillars of fire. Even still, the woman's slender legs spurred it faster, never letting up. The horse ran so quickly that its hooves clacked in the air. The woman's hair steamed out behind her in the darkness. Fast though she rode, our fire remained distant.
As she rode on, the crowing of a cock suddenly sounded from the darkened roadside. She arched backward and eased up on the reins. The horse stopped short, chiseling its front hooves into the hard surface of stone.
The crowing of the cock sounded a second time.
The woman gasped and released the taught reins. The horse buckled both knees, tumbling forward with its rider. Beyond the stone was a deep canyon.
The stone still bears those hoof marks. It was Amanojaku who mimicked the cock's crow. As long as those marks remain in the stone, Amanojaku will remain my sworn enemy.