There were many villages we visited together. I watched as the old samurai demonstrated a patience that I never suspected any Lion of possessing. The mules were never a bother no matter how stubborn they became. No village man was too lazy or slow to pack their wares that it invoked his temper. Even I found that my barbed words had no effect. My temper had yet to find restraint and I would lash the beasts and threaten villagers with blade.
He would shake his head at my outbursts and then smooth things over with a few whispers or a bottle of saki stashed away somewhere in his saddle bags. Later on the trail he would admonish me with a gentle wash of words.
“They are not men,” he said. “They do not respond to threats as men do.”
Or, “Do not forget that they fear death. You would do well to remember that blades are for killing and poor motivators when it comes to getting backs to lift or legs to move.”
I must have heard that at least once a day after the first week on the trail. There was something about the old samurai’s patience that was infectious because not once did my rage survive those words. Not once did I turn on him despite my old habits from home. The rage that dwelt within the deepest recesses of my soul ebbed away on the road up the mountain.