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The old man and the Tanto

An old man is sitting alongside a pathway. He was resting, and had a very fine tanto (short fighting knife) pinned to a rock by the handle with a specially made lever held down by his foot. He is slowly sharpening its edge with a wet stone. The pits and scars on the edge of the blade made a sound that was uneven against the stone. The man was smoking a pipe, and not paying much attention to the "goings on" around him.

Soon, a well dressed young man notices the uneven rasp of the stone on steel. He walks up to the man and watches closely for a moment. The old man notices that the bystander is obviously a rogue in gentleman`s clothes. He was carrying a fine set of swords on his hip, with delicately embroidered covers across the handles, draped to protect them from the elements. How he carries himself, though, betrays that he does not possess the status that he pretends. The old man recognises him as ronin a masterless samurai), and continues working on his tanto...

"Where did you buy that old knife, old man?" said the rogue. "It is not old to me, I just got it today," the man replied. "Why would a commoner like you buy such an fine blade?" "Because I did not buy it. I was attacked, and managed to disarm the well-dressed man and send him home," the old man smirked. "You must be quite a fighter..." said the ronin. He was impressed, as the old man looked like a fisherman, and a not-too-successful one at that. "Some would say so, but I cannot personally say. I was not a bystander at the time." "Well, with such skill, you should stand on this road and charge a passage fee. If anyone does not pay, and they have a sword, you should challenge them to a match and take their sword. With the next refusal, you could take a horse.

Then you could ride around the province and teach many students your great skill." "Then what would I do?" asked the man."I would become your lieutenant, and we could raise an army!

We could take over the province and rule!" the rogue blurted.

"Then what would I do?" he repeated.

"Then you could really enjoy life," the ronin said, exasperated.

And the old man smiled, saying,

"What do you think I am doing right now?