Once upon a time, near the Cape of Omaezaki(御前崎)in Toutoumi-no-kuni(遠江の国）,
there was a temple called Henshou-ji (遍照寺). At the temple there lived
a generous and kind osho (Zen priest). Every morning he stood at the tip
of the cape and looked down over the sea. He loved the scenery and it was
part of his routine.
In those days, Omaezaki Cape was very important because it
was the only cape jutting into the sea between Shima(志摩）Peninsula and
Izu (伊豆)Peninsula. It was a good landmark from the sea. So people built
a lighthouse and lit it every night for the ships passing the cape.
One early morning after a night storm, the osho stood and
saw the sea as usual. He found a kitten drifting in the sea. It hung onto
a small piece of wood floating on rough waves.
"Is that a cat? Why a cat?" he wondered," It must've been on a wrecked ship".
People at that time believed that a cat was a lucky animal
for voyage and would take it aboard a ship.
"Oh, no! It's floating away". He looked around for help.
He found fishermen preparing their boats on the shore. He ran down to them
and said, "Hurry! Save the board drifting there."
The fishermen were surprised and set off in a haste.
"Row the boat faster", the osho encouraged the fishermen as they rescued the drowning cat.
"A cat!? We've saved a cat?" the fishermen were amazed again to see the kind osho picking up the kitten from the water. He took her to his temple and named her "Mike".
A cat, though it is just an animal, is said to be grateful.
Mike always accompanied the osho and went everywhere with him. She got
so tame that she understood her master's words. She was helpful to chatch
rats. People didn't see any rats in the temple as Mike grew big.(next)