The Wind in the Pine Tree
The Maiden was brown and tall and slender; in face and form most lovely. Her hair hung down to her knees. She rose at dawn to help her mother; she found sticks for the fire, she drew water at the well. She could spin and weave with the best; and for long, long hours she sat and plied her wheel or her shuttle in the shade of the great Pine Tree, whilst her ears heard the sound of the wind in its branches. Sometimes her eyes looked out over the paths of the sea, as one who waits and watches. She was calm, not restless, more grave than gay, though she smiled not seldom. Her voice was the voice of a Heavenly Being.
Now concerning the Youth from the far province, of him the crane knows something, for the crane is a great traveller. She was flying over the streams and the valleys of the far province, so she says, when she saw the Youth at work in the green rice-fields. The crane lingered, circling slowly in the bright air. The Youth stood up. He looked round upon the valleys and streams; he looked into the sky.
“I hear the call,” he said. “I may tarry no longer. Voice in my heart, I hear and I obey.”
With that he left the rice-field, and bade farewell to his mother and his father and his sisters and his brothers and his friends. All together, they came down to the seashore, weeping and clinging to each other. The Youth took a boat and went away to sea, and the rest of them stood upon the beach.
On sped the boat for many a day over the unknown paths of the sea. And the white crane flew behind the boat. And when the wind failed, she pushed the boat forward with the wind of her strong wings.
At last, one evening about the hour of sunset, the Youth heard the sound of sweet singing. The sound came to him from the land, and it travelled over the paths of the sea. He stood up in his boat, and the crane beat her strong white wings and guided his boat to the shore till its keel touched the yellow sand of the sea-beach of Takasaga.
When the Youth had come ashore he pushed the boat out again with the waves, and watched it drift away.