Zenkai, the son of a warrior, journeyed to Han and there become the retainer of high official whose name was Kenochi. He fell in love with the official's wife, Tenisha and was discovered. In self-defense, Zenkai slew Kenochi, and he and Tenisha ran away together.
Both of them later became thieves. But the Tenisha became so greedy that Zenkai grew very disgusted, and finally left her. He ran away to a beautiful river valley area that was nestled in between two mountains.
To atone for his past, Zenkai resolved to accomplish some good deed in his lifetime, knowing of a dangerous road over a cliff that had caused the death and injury of many people, he resolved to cut a tunnel through the mountain.
Begging food in the daytime, Zenkai worked at night digging his tunnel. When nearly thirty years had gone by, the tunnel was 2,289 feet long, 20 feet high and 30 feet wide.
Two years after that, the son of the official he had killed, Kae-Won found Zenkai's hiding place from many years of wandering, and came to kill him.
"I give you my life willingly," Zenkai said "only let me finish this work that I had spent most of my life completing. On the day it is completed, and then you may kill me."
So the son waited, several months passed and Zenkai kept digging. The son grew tired of doing nothing and began to help with the digging. After he had helped for more than a year, he came to admire Zenkai's strong will.
At last the tunnel was completed and the people could use it safely. Zenkai was awarded a large sum of money from the mayor of the town, and was admired by everyone living there.
In the middle of the ceremony, Zenkai kneeled on his knees and lowered his head with no restraint. "Now cut off my head", said Zenkai, "my work is done."
"How can I cut off the head of my teacher?" asked Kae-Won with tears in his eyes.
Posted by Berig