A long time ago, there lived a man called Genji in the Kiyomi village. He was arrogant and acted as if he could take anything from anyone anytime. People in the village ostracized him and kept away from him. “I don’t care!” He became crankier and did whatever he felt like whithout regard for others.
One day, he stole some wood from Yoheiji, his neighbor. This is because he knew Yoheiji had been gone to a pilgrimage to the Tateyama Mountains and wouldn’t come back for two or three days. “Now, this should do for a while.” He carried the wood on his back and went down the mountain. On the way home, a gust of wind blew away Genji’s hood off. He chased after his hood but soon it was out of his sight; as if it had vanished into the air. He looked everywhere but it wasn’t anywhere. “Damn it! How strange! It can’t be blown off that far away.”
A few days after, Yoheiji and other villagers came back from the Tateyama Mountains. The next day, Yoheiji and Magozo visited Genji. This was quite unexpected because Genji was so disliked by villagers and they had never visited Genji. Yoheiji said, “We came to tell this, Genji. When we visited Jigokudani―the Hell Valley―in the Tateyama Mountains, a strange thing happened. When we came to the valley called the Burning Hell, we saw the man carrying some wood on his back. We were sure it was you.” Then Magozo said, “We cried ‘Watch out, Genji!’ and ran to try to catch you. But you fell down to the burning hell. You left nothing but this hood.” Yoheiji handed the hood to Genji and said, “This is yours, isn’t it?”
Genji’s face turned pale. It was the hood he lost on the way home after he stole the wood from Yoheiji. “I would fall into the burning hell…..” Until then, he had never regretted what he had done, but suddenly, this put him in fear of the gods and Buddha. After that he became a devout believer of Shinshu―a kind of Buddhism― and led a new life. He was sorry for his evildoing, and spent lest of his life repairing roads and bridges for villagers and praying to the Buddhist gods.
When he was almost 70, he became ill and took to his death bed. He realized he was going to die soon and said to his family, “It depends on Buddha if I will go to the heaven or not. After I die, if you find the two-leaf growing on the chestnut tree in front of my house, you will know that Buddha has forgiven me and accepted me.” After saying this, he passed away peacefully.
The next year, the two-leaf grew upon the tree as he said, and you can see the leaves still today.