At any rate, it must have been a long train ride. According to Shōtarō, they disembarked directly onto an open prairie. It was a vast prairie, and all he could see in any direction was green grass. He was walking through the grass with the woman, when suddenly before them was a sheer precipice. The woman asked politely that he jump from its edge. Peering down, he could see the sheer wall, but he couldn't see the bottom. Shōtarō removed his Panama hat and declined in no uncertain terms. The woman told him that if he weren't bold enough to jump then he would be licked by a pig. She asked if this was his preference. The two things Shōtarō hated most were the recitalist Kumoemon and pigs. However, not ready to lose his life on principle, he stood his ground and refrained from jumping. A grunting pig immediately approached. Shōtarō carried a slender walking stick, fashioned from palm wood. Having no other recourse, he struck the pig's snout with his stick. The pig was easily toppled and went squealing over the edge. Just as he breathed a sigh of relief, another pig came to rub him with its big snout. Shōtarō was forced to raise his stick again. He dispatched this second pig too, and it tumbled, head over hooves, into the void. Then another appeared. This time Shōtarō, with a sense of misgiving, lifted his gaze. From far in the distance, where the green prairie faded from view, came countless thousands of pigs. With snorts and grunts they formed a herd, trotting directly toward the precipice, toward the very spot on which he stood. Shōtarō was shaken to the core. However, there was nothing for it but to act. He dispatched the approaching pigs, one by one, with a light touch of his palm wood stick to their snouts. Curiously, even the slightest tap of stick to snout sent a pig hurtling off the edge. He looked down and saw a procession of upside down pigs descending into the depths. When he saw the sheer number, he was appalled at his own doings. However, the pigs kept coming. Like a dark cloud on legs, obliterating the green prairie, they trotted forth endlessly.
Shōtarō, with a valiance fueled by desperation, beat back their snouts for seven whole days and six whole nights. Finally, however, his energy ran out, his hands fell limp, and he was licked by a pig. He collapsed at the edge of the precipice.
Having conveyed Shōtarō's story thus far, Ken-san added an admonishment, warning against excessive woman watching. I fully agreed. He then added, however, that he hoped to have Shōtarō's Panama hat for his own.
There's little chance of Shōtarō's pulling through. I expect the hat will be Ken-san's.