Come in, my friend. Come in.
Don’t waste your time on that Buddha. Not that vase either. I know you cannot hear me, but you can sense that I am talking to you. You always can. There are hundreds of antique stores in Kyoto and an untold number of antiques, but you came to see me because we belong to each other.
That’s right. Look at me. You’ve travelled a long way. I can tell. We were meant to find each other. I cannot say I have travelled far, but I have travelled long in time. For I am a stone, you see. Just a stone. Not a work of an artisan or a creation of an artist, but a natural ornamental stone that has slept in the earth for eternity and adorned the yard of nobleman for many centuries.
My first recollection, you see, is the moment the eighth princess Shikibu gave me a name. She fell in love with the young Aono Chujo, whom her father forbid her to see. So she wrote a love letter and put it before me and prayed to me.
“O, Green Droplets, if a heart resides, convey my words to the love of my life.”
She treated me as something sacred and gave me the name Green Droplets. And because her love was so great, and the full moon so large, my spirit left the stone and flew the sky with her letter at my bosom to the estate of the Chujo where I landed in the garden. A young man with a bow and arrow confronted me.
“Wherefore cometh thou, dark wraith?”
“I am Green Droplets, the stone in the garden of Shikibu. I bear this missive from the princess.”
He took the paper that floated before him, and read the poem of seventeen syllables. He was so taken with the words of love, he added fourteen syllables of his own as they came to him. His words magically appeared on the paper and the letter flew into the sky like an autumn leaf, and returned to the garden resting before me.
The princess found the letter the next morning and showed it to her family. Her father was angered, but could not deny the miracle of their love and allowed the two to wed.
They are gods now, enshrined together in a forgotten shrine not larger than a dog house between two glass buildings on Sanjo Street. You might want to take a look.
The Shikibu manor burned down during a battle some centuries ago. Some thief or waif salvaged me from the wreckage and I have adorned gardens and living rooms here and there changing hands, but somehow the name Green Droplets has persisted. I have no idea how that happened.
Now, dear traveler, go to the old man sleeping behind the counter and ask for the price of the sacred stone. Since nobody has asked for decades, I imagine, if you bargain he will deal.