Kyusuke saw a narrow strip of paper used for writing poetry floating in the pond in the
spacious garden. He picked it up and read the waka poem written on it:
A dirty Yamada crow has flown in from the east Flapping his wings to sweep the garden.
(Yamada was the name of Kyusuke's hometown.)
The poem poked fun at Kyusuke. The Court ladies presumed that Kyusuke could not read and
were openly mocking him. In those days, there were not many farmers who could read or
Kyusuke approached the ladies asking for a writing brush and
paper and then calmly wrote a waka poem in response:
Even a dirty crow with outstretched wings
Can soar high into the sky
To freely gaze down on the Nobles at Court.
On reading this, the giggling Court ladies fell silent, stunned by Kyusuke's poetic skill.
So ashamed was Princess Shirataki, who had written the poem ridiculing
Kyusuke, that she blushed and turned her face from him, quickly going inside to hide
herself. Princess Shirataki was the younger daughter of a High Court Official and was