Gessen was an artist monk. Before he would start a drawing or painting healways insisted upon being paid in advance, and his fees were high. He wasknown as the "Stingy Artist."A geisha once gave him a commission for a painting. "How much can you pay?"inquired Gessen."Whatever you charge," replied the girl, "but I want you to do the work infront of me."So on a certain day Gessen was called by the geisha. She was holding a feastfor her patron.Gessen with a fine brush work did the painting. When it was completed heasked the highest sum of his time.He received his pay. Then the geisha turned to her patron, saying: "All thisartist wants is money. His paintings are fine but his mind is dirty; moneyhas caused it to become muddy. Drawn by such a filthy mind, his work is notfit to exhibit. It is just about good enough for one of my petticoats."Removing her skirt, she then asked Gessen to do another picture on the backof her petticoat."How much will you pay?" asked Gessen."Oh, any amount," answered the girl.Gessen named a fancy price, painted the picture in the manner requested, andwent away.It was learned later that Gessen had these reasons for desiring money:A ravaging famine often visited his province. The rich would not help thepoor, so Gessen had a secret warehouse, unknown to anyone, which he keptfilled with grain, prepared for these emergencies.From his village to the National Shrine the road was in very poor conditionand many travelers suffered while traversing it. He desired to build abetter road.His teacher had passed away without realizing his wish to build a temple,and Gessen wished to complete this temple for him.After Gessen had accomplished his three wishes he threw away his brushes andartist's materials and, retiring to the mountains, never painted again.
In the Hands of Destiny
A great Japanese warrior named Nobunaga decided to attack the enemy althoughhe had only one-tenth the number of men the opposition commanded. He knewthat he would win, but his soldiers were in doubt.On the way he stopped at a Shinto shrine and told his men: "After I visitthe shrine I will toss a coin. If heads comes, we will win; if tails, wewill lose. Destiny holds us in her hand."Nobunaga entered the shrine and offered a silent prayer. He came forth andtossed a coin. Heads appeared. His soldiers were so eager to fight that theywon their battle easily."No one can change the hand of destiny," his attendant told him after thebattle."Indeed not," said Nobunaga, showing a coin which had been doubled, withheads facing either way.