Ken-san came to tell me that Shōtarō, on the evening of the seventh day since the woman lured him away, had suddenly come back. Since returning, he'd immediately fallen ill with a fever and taken to his bed.
Shōtarō was the best looking man about town, and an exceedingly good and honest fellow. However, he did have a certain pet pastime. In the evenings, he would don his Panama hat and sit in the shopfront of the fruit market, gazing at the female passersby and admiring their faces with great pleasure. Beyond this, he had no idiosyncrasies worthy of mention.
When the street was empty of women, he would turn his attention to the fruit. There were various kinds. Peaches, apples, loquats, and bananas were artfully arranged into gift baskets and set out in two rows, ready for immediate purchase. Shōtarō would survey the baskets and praise their appearance. If he ever went into business himself, he said, then it would be as a fruit seller. Despite these words, he seemed content to while away the hours in his Panama hat.
Sometimes, impressed with the superb color of a summer mandarin, he'd voice his approval. However, he'd never yet spent money for a single piece of fruit. And he would never, of course, indulge without paying. He simply admired the colors.
One evening, a woman appeared at the shopfront. She was dressed exquisitely, apparently a person of great import. Shōtarō was quite taken with her colorful kimono. He also found her facial features much to his liking. He removed his prized Panama hat and greeted her politely. She pointed to the largest basket and said she would take it. Shōtarō assisted immediately, picking it up and passing it to her. She struggled to handle it, remarking how heavy it was.
In addition to being a man of leisure, Shōtarō was exceedingly good natured. He offered to carry the basket to the woman's home, and they set out from the market together. No trace of him had been seen since.
Not even Shōtarō would behave so recklessly. His friends and relatives were up in arms, insisting that something was amiss. Then, on the evening of the seventh day of his absence, he suddenly reappeared. A great many visitors called and asked where he'd been. Shōtarō told them he'd taken a train to the mountains.