After spending a week with Moriko, Bunsa couldn't imagine living any other way. She was the reason he woke up in the morning and went about his day, and she was the reason why he almost ran back home in the evening. Moriko's parents gave the newlyweds a little cottage at the edge of their property. The forest came right to the backdoor there. Moriko claimed a few yards of the land for a small garden, but more often than not, she'd go into the woods and bring back some mushrooms, herbs and tubers for their meals. Bunsa never saw most of those plants in his life. Nagano was the landlocked prefecture; the people there didn't have the benefit of fishing for their food in the sea. The results of Moriko's foraging were the most nutritious part of their diet. Apart from being the lucky husband, who would've quickly began to get a nice belly if he didn't work so hard, Bunsa felt deep joy when he stepped into his house or even just thought of his wife. When he came home in the afternoons, she was always gardening or walking in the forest or sitting in the sweet smelling grass by the trees. He would join her there, and spend time together, gazing into the dizzying blue skies, holding her, until the thoughts of the daily life would intrude on their bliss.
When the time came for Bunsa to go to another village for a carpeting job, Moriko was inconsolable. Overnight her face became swollen with tears. She grieved so much, that Bunsa couldn't resist her pleas anymore: he agreed to take her with him. It was a few hours' walk away from Shinano-machi, but they spent some time running in the trees and just taking in the lush splendor of a forest around them. Later, Bunsa would think of those few hours as the happiest in his whole life. Moriko seemed to become more alive among the green vegetation. Like a new leaf, she unfurled and delighted Bunsa with her own beauty and liveliness. She found some things for them to eat for lunch, and they cuddled in a small clearing. Bunsa knew form her parents that they adopted Moriko, but here, in the bird-song filled woods, she told him the whole story. One day, her folks found an infant girl behind that same cottage, where Bunsa and Moriko lived now. She lay, naked as a jay, in the grass amid the trees and screamed her little head off. They never found out, whose baby she was. Some people said, they saw a young woman wandering in those parts, some claimed that they espied a whole band of strangers, but Moriko's father and mother knew, it was a blessing from the gods: for many years they couldn't have their own children. This didn't make Bunsa doubt his young bride, but he appreciated the wonder and the mystery of her even better than before. "Mori" means forest in Japanese, "ko" - a child of. It was an unusual name, but he understood now, why Moriko's parents were compelled to call her