Sunday, 17 December 2017


179. Why did Master Ganto laugh out loud? It seems that when he had asked a visiting monk where he had come from, the monk had replied 'from the western capital'. The monk's response suggests that he felt himself to be someone of standing, coming as he did from the city that was the seat of power, (site of the imperial palace, residence of Emperor Kiso). Picking up on this Ganto inquired about a recent rebellion that saw the palace captured and the emperor barely escaping with his life; many of his family were massacred. The rebellion was led by Koso, famed for his possession of a fabled sword. Said to have fallen from heaven, it bore the inscription 'Heaven gives this to Koso'. Within four years Koso had been killed and his followers subjugated. So a hot question following Koso's death concerned the whereabouts of his famous sword. Ganto, noticing how his visitor was full of his own importance, cheekily asked 'did you get the sword?' When the monk replied that he does in fact possess the sword, Ganto stretched out his neck and let out a great cry. With this submissive gesture Ganto was offering the monk an opportunity to demonstrate the great power associated with Koso's sword. But instead of wielding the fabled sword, the monk could only slap Ganto with a wet lettuce leaf with his saying,  'the master's head has fallen'. No wonder Ganto laughed out loud. 

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