a families experience with a ronin in ancient Japan.
| It was early afternoon and Oishi-Kuranosuke-Yoshio was walking along with his entourage traveled along the road from Yamashiro, in the capital region, to Mikawa, in the Tokaido region, for a wedding of his niece. He had his family with him, his wife and two children, now Oishi was a farmer so this trip had to be quick as he had no one to look out for his farm, but he had promised his niece that he would be there for her. So when the time came, they packed everything they needed and made their way there.
They left early in the morning, and by midday, they already had moved a good distance through two forests and approached the boundary to the next region. Oishi stopped at the edge of a patch of forest and gave the horses a rest, a drink of water.
“Oishi,” Ayaka, his wife, called out.
“Yes?” he responded as he watered the horses.
“May I come out of the wagon and stretch my legs?”
Oishi looked around nervously.
”Ayaka,” he said with trepidation in his voice,” This is not such a good area, can you stay in there so we can get moving as soon as the horses are rested a bit.”
“Oishi, please!” she exclaimed and began to climb down from the wagon,” My legs hurt from being in there so long.”
Oishi could never tell her no. It was her smile each and every time that melted his heart every time, and she knew it. He just shook his head and went back to tending to the horses, as she wandered around the other side of the wagon.
“I need my comb,” she said.
“Ya well, don't wander too far there are bandits and really bad people around these parts,” he warned her, even though he knew she wouldn't listen.
The silence didn't last long and was smashed when the two girls, Miyako, and Chou poked their heads out of the wagon looking for their other.
“Mother,” the two girls called in unison before they came stumbling down the ladder and ran around to find her picking up her comb that she dropped as the wagon came to a stop.
“I am right here, girls,” she said as the two of them began to get worried as to where she was.
Oishi listened to the three of them, laughing and running about, as he tended to the horses. It lasted a few minutes, but he got busy and didn't notice that the laughter and noises had died down. To almost complete silence.
He worked a few minutes more before noticing the silence.
“Ayaka?” Oishi called out as he began to walk around the wagon.
” Ayak...” his voice was stopped as he found them on the other side of the wagon, her arms around the two girls protecting them from a man standing on a hill nearby.
Oishi looked up at the man looking down at his family and recognized him as a ronin, and a bandit.
“Greetings!” he said with authority in his voice.
Oishi, being surprised took a defensive stance towards this man. His swords tucked into the sash of his kimono. His hands rested on the hilt of the swords.
“What is the meaning of this,” Oishi demanded as he stepped forward towards the intruder.
“Relax,” the stranger demanded, while he wrapped his hand around his sword, which of course stopped him in dead in his tracks,” All I want is some food, and water, nothing else.”
Oishi, knowing fighting this man would be fruitless, and surely end in his death. So he simply grunted and nodded. He turned to his wife and motioned towards the wagon.
As if on command she moved to the other side, leaving the children with Oishi. Shortly she came back with a sack full of food.
“Place the sack on the ground,” the man demanded.
Ayaka slowly lowered the bag tp the ground without taking her eyes off the stranger. Once she stood back up.
The man smiled, as Ayaka had a frown on her face. Once she stood back up the bunch of them stood there silent as the man climbed down the hill and moved towards them, his hand never leaving the hilt of the swords. He quickly picked up the bag and returned to the brow he was on before.
He quickly looked in the bag, as the family stood there and shivered as they knew how much trouble they were in, as most ronin won't leave someone alive who can identify them. And they thought this one was no different.
He stood there silent as he dug through the bag, then stood back up and looked at the family.
“Ok Go on,” he said to their surprise,” You may continue your journey.”
Oishi didn't waste any time he grabbed his children and just about threw them back into the wagon, and then grabbed his wife and nearly drug her up the ladder and within seconds, with the sound of the crack of a whip, the wagon continued their journey.
As the wagon approached a corner where the ronin would be out of their sight. Ayaka looked back at the ronin still standing there watching them.
“Why didn't he kill us?” she asked.
“I don't know,” Oishi answered and chuckled a bit,” but I wasn't going to stand around and find out.”
Ayaka just smiled and the ronin passed out of sight.