Once upon a time, there was a samurai, a warrior of Japan. His greatest wish was to be the very best, like no one ever was. At least in the way of the sword.
So he trained day after day, challenged countless other swordsmen to duels and in the end, he was considered the best of the world by many.
But whenever the samurai let his subjects look for strong foes to challenge, they returned with a rumor. The rumor of a red-haired hermit, the Akageno-Sennin, who’s kenjutsu is so strong, that it can even split mountains into two.
Now at the peak of his strength, the samurai thought that it was time to challenge that hermit. He send a letter of challenge with a time and a place and got an answer: OK.
It was a winter day and very cold. The place was on top of a mountain, the samurai thought it’d be best to challenge the hermit in circumstances, which will put the mental and physical fortitude to the test.
Surrounded by white crowned trees, the samurai waited. And waited. And waited. He made himself a fire and laughed at himself, not considering the strategy to make an opponent wait for the duel to brittle down his mind.
But after two hours after the appointed time, finally someone showed up. And he showed much more than the samurai was willing to see. His skin was white as snow, but it was to much of it on showcase, since the person with the blazing red hair was practically naked, only a loincloth was worn. “Don’t…” The samurai stuttered: “Don’t you have any honor upon your body?”
Not only honor was missing. For some reason the hermit had no sword, but a rubber chicken. How should this become a sword-fight?
Akageno-Sennin scratched his head: “There is a good explanation to it.”
“Well, you know. I started at home, I still wore clothes and had a sword. When I was running here, I saw a river and thought: I should better take a quick bath.”
“In this weather?” The water had to be frozen over!
“In all weathers.”
“But this doesn’t explain anything.”
“Wait, wait, wait. Erm, where was I? Ah. You know, today it’s a bit chilly, so I thought, I’d better leave my clothes on during the bath.”
“This doesn’t make any sense!”
“Doesn’t it? You’ve got your straw cloak and such to keep your warm, it’s basically the same.”
“But it won’t help you in cold water!”
“Well, this explains a lot. Is that the reason, why the clothes didn’t dry as well?”
“No, that’s for a different reason, but if you’ve made a fire, there shouldn’t be any problems.”
“Ah, I see. I remember that for next time. Since they got too cold, I just pull them off. Well, that’s basically what happened to my clothes.”
“And your sword and that rubber chicken?”
“That’s a story! You see, I was just running on the road and there I saw it: The rubber chicken! Exactly the one who still missed in my collection. Thrown away like trash! So I picked it up and-”
“That’s still stabbed into a bear which attacked me.”
“You didn’t pulled it out?”
“I was already late, there was no time. And I was in a double-hurry, since I had to take a huge dump and searched for the right bush for it.”
“I hope you wiped your bottom.”
“Like I said, there was no time.”
“So you want to say, that you put your dirty bottom into your loincloth?”
“Erm… almost. Actually I don’t wear a loincloth, I used an Hermit Art to create the illusion of a loincloth, since it could offend you, if I come naked to the duel.”
“I see. You had time for this!? And why didn’t you create an illusion which dresses you completely.”
“That would be embarrassing, it’s like cheating…”
“That’s it! You will pay for your insolence! It’s time to end your shenanigans!” The samurai drew his sword in a quick motion and slashed at the hermit, but suddenly, the hermit was standing behind the samurai, the rubber chicken still lifted. And the samurai spat blood, fell on his knees and holds his side. “How? You only had a rubber chicken.” Unable to remain balance, he fell down completely.
The hermit looked at the prone sword-fighter: “It’s not the weapon, which makes the swordman. It’s the breakfast. What did you have?”
“Rice, with pickled vegetables, a bit of fish… I see. You taught me a valuable lesson. Instead of concentrating on clothes, swords and manners, I should’ve taken more care about my meals. You… master, what did you have for breakfast?”
“A mineral nutrient one, made out of rocks.”
“I see… you have to go that far to be the best. I lost…” The samurai closed his eyes and lost his consciousness. He was satisfied, since he got a good look at the peak of martial skills and would die later, since he tried an impossible diet.
The rubber chicken was therefore banned as a samurai weapon, since it was too powerful. When this happened, an haiku arrived at the imperial palace:
It’s not the weapon,
it’s the soul that makes you strong!
Please don’t forbid it!