'The Zen Substitute', (Migawari Zazen).
Marital strife in a lord's household... A hen-pecked husband makes a bid for freedom, with hilarious results!
A feudal lord has both an ugly wife and a beautiful mistress. Since he hasn't been able to see his mistress for a long time, he decides to find an excuse to get out of the house. Claiming he's had bad dreams, he tells his wife that he wishes to make a pilgrimage to various temples. But the wife is suspicious and refuses his request outright. Then the lord says he will lock himself away at home for seven days and seven nights to perform zazen meditation. This idea is better received, but his wife insists that seven nights are too many. He may perform his meditation for one night only. He gives in to this, but only on condition that she does not disturb him.
But the devious lord was lying! He calls in his servant and instructs him to take his place in the meditation, covering himself (especially his face) with a robe so that he will not be recognised. The servant is petrified of the bad-tempered wife but has no option but to agree. He must just sit in the room and await his master's return. The lord goes off happily to meet his mistress.
As the servant settles down, the wife, despite her promise, does indeed appear. She says she will bring him some saké and, when the covered face fails to say anything, she realises that something is wrong. The cover is removed and she discovers the petrified servant who soon confesses everything... including the fact that his lord has gone to see his mistress. The wife decides to catch out her husband and orders the servant to put the robe over her head. She will sit and wait for his return.
Finally, the lord wanders home the next morning tipsy with drink, and still wearing one of his mistress' robes. Very pleased with himself, he proceeds to tell the covered figure, whom he supposes is his servant, all about his night out. The figure remains silent. The lord abuses his ugly, shrewish wife, but when he finally removes the robe from off the figure's head... all hell breaks loose!