Random Recollections
by FQC Gardner

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A9. THE JAPANESE GARDENER.

I recall two stories that were told me while I was in Hawaii, both about elderly Japanese men. The first one was about

THE JAPANESE GARDENER.


One evening, while a guest at an outdoor supper party at the summer home, on the windward shore of Oahu, of Dr. Batten, I happened to have as a supper partner an attractive, gray haired, elderly lady, whose name I do not now recall. In our conversation after the supper I learned that she was a member of one of the wealthy old families that had lived up in Nuanu valley for generations. In some way the subject of Japanese servants came up, and, in that connection, she told me about their Japanese gardener.

He had originally, while a boy, been employed by her grandfather, had later married and raised a family, had known her father ever since he was born, and had been his gardener for many years. Her family had always been devoted to the gardener and his family, and had taken care of the children and the grandchildren throughout their lives.

When the old man was on his death bed, a good many years ago, he sent for her father and, in a weak and faltering voice said: (I shall not attempt to reproduce his English) "I know I am going to die. Before I do I want to thank you (sic) have done for me and for my family for three generations. You have been like a father to my children and they love you. And I also want you to know how happy I am that I have not been called upon to kill you."

Her father was dumbfounded and asked the old man what he meant.

He replied: "I have had orders ever since I came into the employ of the family that if, at any time I was ordered to do so, I should kill the head of the family -- first your father and now you."

Her father said: "You and your family have been almost like members of my family. I have taken care of all of you throughout your lives in every emergency. I have always thought that I could always count on your loyalty and devotion. Do you mean to tell me that you would have killed me if someone you didn't even know had told you to do so?"

The old man replied simply: " If my Emperor had told me to do it I would have done so."


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