But his master seemed no longer wishful to look for fresh victims. Every evening he insisted upon his niece sharing his bed; and up to a very late hour would proceed with his instruction and that even to the furthest detail.
It was not for this that Flowering Mulberry had disguised himself. One day he declared that thenceforward each should go his own way, and the other was bound to agree; but before leaving him, he gave the boy some further advice:
“Two highly important rules are to be observed in our profession. The first is not to stop too long in the same house. If you stayed in the one place more than half a month, you would certainly be discovered. Therefore often change your district, so that from month to month there may be no time for the traces of your passage to become noticeable. The second rule is not to let a man come near you. You are beautiful, young and alone in life, and they will all wish to interfere with you. Therefore always surround yourself with women. One last word: have nothing to do with little girls; for they cry out and weep.”
So then the two parted.
In the first village he came to, Flowering Mulberry perceived through a door the silhouette of a most graceful young woman, and struck upon the door by its copper knocker. The girl opened, and looked at him through eyes filled with fire. A needle-woman was just what they required.
But in the evening the boy was disappointed by the arrival of a husband, whose lusty appearance left him small hope for the night.
He was forced to wait until the young woman was left alone in the house by day, and came to work in the chamber where he sat. Then he ventured an observation upon the appearance of the countryside, and afterwards congratulated her on her husband. She blushed, and their conversation became more intimate. It was not until the next day, however, that he dared to make an advance. This met with immediate success. Two days afterwards he was forced into a hurried departure; for the husband had taken notice of him, and profited by his wife’s momentary absence to suggest caresses.
Thenceforward he followed his trade. At the age of thirty-two he had travelled over more than half the empire, and had beguiled several thousand women. Often, he was so bold as to attack more than eight persons at a time, in a single house, and not even the little slaves escaped his attention. The happiness of which he was thus the cause remained unsuspected, and no one suffered by it, since none could dream of its existence. He always remembered his master’s rule, and never risked staying for more than a few days in the same place.