Alone, Ascending West Tower
"Good thing my daughter is clever
as my husband is stupid. In the market last week
she took pity on a crab about to be speared,
bought it and let it go by the bay.
Some way to spend your money,
but it’s your business, I told her.
That same day as my husband was hoeing
he saw a snake about to devour a frog.
He tried to stop it by pulling the frog back
with the tip of the hoe
but it was already half inside the snake’s mouth.
Out of compassion he cried: Snake,
let it go and I’ll give you my daughter.
To his surprise, the snake disgorged the green thing
and slithered off.
That night a gentleman came for our daughter.
My husband managed to gain a night
before he took her forever.
Meanwhile my daughter discovered his idiotic pledge
and hid in our chest.
The next night the snake returned as a snake
slunk under the door and banged on the chest
with its hefty tail.
Help me please! our daughter cried
but it seemed her fate was sealed.
Just then a small image of Kannon appeared
telling her not to worry.
Soon, a hundred crabs
crawling through every window and crack
tore the snake into shreds and left.
I turned back to my cooking."
"The Crab" by Kimiko Hahn
Misestimate. A simple misestimate. A slight, harmless, unassuming misestimate. So benign this word sounds, bland as bread. It was a misestimate. No cause for alarm. No need to panic. It was just a misestimate. A nearly negligible misestimate. Four light and lilting syllables. Misestimate. But action makes a dark mirror for this word. To misestimate can be deadly. Dare not misestimate. Disaster may spring if you misestimate. This is a delicate thing or person or situation. Hear the hard long end of this word. Remember not to misestimate.