The Retainer’s Story (2)

Not knowing Nin’s destination, (for he had none in mind) Wan-ui had no choice but to wander the world in hopes of finding him again. She travelled far and wide, across mountains and through valleys, stopping in every town and village along her way, all in search of her prince.

Sometimes she heard rumours of a seeker, a travelling rabbit on a pilgrimage. Such rumours helped to point her in a certain direction, but always it seemed that Nin was several steps ahead of her.

One day, as she was helping an old blind mole to her burrow, the mole asked Wan-ui to describe the legendary prince to her. And Wan-ui realized she’d forgotten what Nin looked like. She’d now been searching for Nin longer than she had known him.

Far from sinking into despair, this revelation only doubled Wan-ui’s determination to find the lost prince.

It occurred to her that since she had forgotten what Nin looked like, anybody could be Nin. Perhaps, even, Nin was testing her, purposely concealing himself—under a guide that only a true and worthy retainer could see through.

Not wanting to offend her beloved prince, Wan-ui began acting kindly to everyone she met, for they, as far as she knew, might be Nin himself. For who could know when or where she would meet him again, and under what circumstances?

Some time passed and Wan-ui gained a reputation as a wandering saint, know throughout the land for her kindness, devotion and gentle decency.

“If this is the quality of a mere servant, how great must be the lord she serves!”