When he had finished listening to the complaints of a subordinate
who had passed away some years earlier than himself
but still haunted the empty fields and byways because even the
most menial spirits heaped abuse upon him every time he tried
to return to his old neighborhood, the commander could not help
but lament aloud that even the spirit world has become awash
with snobbery. How else was he himself allowed to enter his old
household without any hindrance?
But the other man, an aide-de-camp in their former life,
cast a rather different light upon the situation: “Commander,” he
said, “it is not my rank they object to but the bullet in my thigh.
While I was still alive it allowed me to predict the weather from
the varying degrees of discomfort I felt, but here it seems to
make the door gods standing watch over my old household treat
me as if I were carrying a dangerous weapon, and so I am prevented
from coming and going.”
Now at last he understood that his son and daughter-in-law
had not been disobedient or disrespectful in having him cremated.
He recalled that when they were collecting his ashes one of
his grandchildren had even mistaken the melted shell splinters
that had been lodged near his spine for a medal.