There is an old legend in Japan concerning three generals that were opposed to each other in conflict. The legend states that they consented to be brought together to try peace talks for the good of all. When questioned about their intentions by a certain old Buddhist monk, who was held to be very wise, they were all willing to answer and revealed their true natures in doing so.

The monk likened the supremacy over Japan to a wild bird and asked what would they do if they caught it. They all answered that they would keep it safely in a cage and tend it so that it should sing.

The monk questioned, "What would you do should the caged bird fail to sing?"

The first general answered in the form of an impromptu poem; "Feed it sweet cakes and honey. For it encourages song. To fill the bird's throat" It made a good Haiku. His retainers laughed and applauded him for that.

The second general answered, "If it fails to sing then it is a war bird and I should train it to my hand and hunt with it." His men gave an approving roar.

The third general was the youngest and kept his eyes lowered as he toyed with a knife instead of replying. The question was repeated. Finally, he spoke, "What would I do if the caged bird fails to sing?" He lifted his eyes, which were wide and very dark, "Kill it."

There was silence in the room after that and there was no further talk of peace. Hostilities resumed within the week. Within two years time, the first two general's heads were on display in front of their former homes and Oda Nobunaga, for that was the name of the third general, turned his attention to the next item on his list: to find and kill that monk.