A postcard from Hiroshi arrives. He describes seeing his first-ever movie in a cinema—he and his friends didn’t know that the seats flipped down. Hiroshi says he hopes that one day he can take his mother to a movie, too. Shinji’s mother, crying, orders Shinji to kneel with her before their home’s prayer altar and pray for Hiroshi.
This passage shows that even though Hiroshi is off on his own having new experiences, he still feels a great deal of responsibility to his family. After all, he’s not just thinking about his own experience at the cinema—he’s thinking about his desire to share it with his mom. He is growing up to be a selfless young man, just like Shinji.
That night, after visiting the bathhouse with his mother, Shinji spies someone standing on the street looking up at the eaves of one of the nearby houses. Shinji recognizes the figure as Yasuo. Yasuo turns around and spots Shinji. Shinji smiles and waves, but Yasuo only stares back at Shinji.
This puzzling interaction between Shinji and Yasuo portends Shinji’s upcoming difficulties with the other villagers as a result of the cruel rumors beginning to spread about him and Hatsue.
The day before—unbeknownst to Shinji—Chiyoko went to see Yasuo. She told Yasuo that she had seen Shinji and Hatsue coming down the mountain, clinging to one another and in various states of undress. Now, Yasuo stands looking up at the water-drawing roster pinned to one of the buildings near the bathhouse—the roster lists whose turn it is to draw water from the small spring in town. He sees that Hatsue’s turn to draw water is tonight at two in the morning. He is determined to have his way with Hatsue.
Yasuo believes that Shinji has slept with Hatsue, whom Yasuo wants for himself. Yasuo is furious and determined to get vengeance by staking his own claim upon Hatsue. This illustrates Yasuo’s selfishness and cruelty, as well as his privileged and misguided belief that he has a greater right to Hatsue because of his social and financial position.
After spotting Shinji—and purposefully ignoring him—Yasuo hurries home, where he obsesses about how Shinji managed to bed Hatsue. His animosity toward Shinji keeps him awake until it is time to sneak out of the house and head for the spring through the dark streets of town. At the stream, Yasuo waits near a tree until Hatsue comes down to the cistern carrying two water buckets. Yasuo watches as she draws water into her buckets, imagining what he is about to do to her. Yasuo is unaware that just above him, in the tree’s branches, a swarm of hornets are growing excited by the ticking of the gaudy watch Yasuo always wears. A hornet flies at Yasuo and stings him on the wrist. Yasuo shouts, alerting Hatuse to his presence.
In this passage, as Yasuo makes horrible designs on Hatsue, a swarm of hornets begin to slowly attack him. This is evidence of Mishima’s theme that those who fail to learn the lessons of nature and who act cruelly or individualistically will always meet the fates they deserve. Yasuo ignored the hornets, focusing only on his dastardly thoughts about Hatsue—now, he faces retribution.
Hatsue greets Yasuo defensively but politely. Yasuo says he has been waiting to give her a fright. Hatsue laughs. Yasuo takes advantage of Hatsue’s naivete, rushes toward her, and grabs her by the wrist. He wonders, in the back of his mind, how Shinji managed to seduce Hatsue. Yasuo tells Hatsue that unless she wants everyone in the village to know about what she and Shinji did up on the mountain the other day, she will comply with whatever he tells her to do. Hatsue struggles and tries to escape, screaming as loudly as she can, but Yasuo will not let her go. Hatsue knows that if she is able to get away now, she can tell her father what happened—but if Yasuo succeeds in raping her, she will be far too ashamed to tell her father anything.
Here, Yasuo attempts to threaten and blackmail Hatsue, knowing all too well that as a woman, she is expected to prize her honor and her reputation above her own bodily well-being. Hatsue herself wrestles with the pain of knowing that if Yasuo does succeed in raping her, she will be seen as responsible for his violent, disgusting actions.
Yasuo wrestles Hatsue to the ground. Hatsue spits in Yasuo’s face—but this only arouses him more. As he leans down to kiss Hatsue, another hornet stings him on the back of his neck. He stands up to try to catch the hornet, and Hatsue begins to run away. Yasuo chases after her and catches her again. As he forces her down to the ground again, however, another hornet stings him on the buttocks. This time, when Yasuo leaps up, Hatsue runs away into some trees, takes hold of a large rock, and waits quietly.
Yasuo continues to ignore the hornets’ warnings, and so they continue to sting him. Yasuo does not heed the lessons of nature as he is too focused on his own cruel, self-serving plans—thus he suffers at nature’s hands.
Yasuo drives the hornet away and begins calling out for Hatsue. He promises he won’t do anything bad to her. As he approaches the stand of trees, Hatsue lifts the rock above her head. Yasuo asks Hatsue to drop the rock—and not to tell her father about what has happened. Hatsue agrees to keep her mouth shut as long as Yasuo draws fresh water for her and carries it all the way home. Yasuo does as Hatsue asks. When he's finished, Hatsue follows him back to her house.
Though Yasuo has calmed down for now, Hatsue knows that if she offends or upsets him, she will quickly find herself in danger. She is, unfortunately, forced to essentially allow Yasuo to blackmail her with the gossip he has about her and Shinji.