"'I hate Samurais, I hate Samurais,’ I muttered to myself as I made my way back to the little temple. The words made a chant that I could not keep in step with. ‘I hate Samurais…I hate Samurais,’ I kept singing until I was home. Suddenly I realized that I was whole, that I hadn’t lost my head, that Saru was still Saru.…"
With feudal wars raging through the Japanese countryside, it is no place for children, particularly homeless orphans like six-year-old Saru, who grow up fast and hard in the cold city. When begging does not fill his stomach, stealing and cunning do the trick. The only warmth Saru knows is from a kindly priest who allows him to sleep under his little Shinto shrine in the winter, and Neko, his adopted kitten. Living day-by-day, Saru gives little thought to the future or the course his life might take. But Saru’s fortunes change overnight when he meets a Samurai soldier in need of something only he - and his street skills - can provide.