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Often when the ninja was stalking the fetid jungles of his native land, the comforts of home were far behind. When nature called, and the ninja had to lighten his load, so to speak, he had to do so crouched in the jungle like an animal. (with his ninja garb around his ankles, so as not to soil it, and risk having it's odor alert his enemies to his presence.) In this way, the ninja learned the lesson of humility.

The ninja carried only a meager stash of toilet paper, so as to conserve precious room in his supplies for shuriken and Deviled Ham Flavor Meat Product. After a few short days, this supply would be exhausted. This left the ninja with a scant list of options? Should he withhold all bowel movements? This was not feasible, for he would soon become bloated and his stomach would cramp, thus impairing his maneuverability. Should he refrain from wiping at all? This too was unacceptable, for his anus would soon become irritated and he would develop a painful rash. With the next village perhaps miles away, he had no readily available source of Ancient Japanese Recto-Ointment. So, he knew he had to both defecate with regularity, and wipe in some fashion, but what to use?

Leaves were quickly discarded, because if an unexpected wind blew whilst the ninja was indisposed, the leaves could be blown far and wide. An enemy would surely know a ninja was about, if he found dung-scented bamboo leaves fluttering around his pagoda!!! Rocks and sticks were also tried, with little success, due to their relatively low collectivity factor. Some ninjas flirted briefly with the practice of using a handful of loose gravel, but a stray nugget of rock could easily go overlooked during the removal process, and remain lodged in a sensitive area. There it might lie dormant untill a period of vigorous activity (IE a DEADLY TRAP), where the stabbing pain of a many pointed rock shard could distract the ninja, with deadly results.

Eventually, the answer presented itself: Pine Cones! (see footnote) The ridged and many layered surface of the pine cone was perfect for removing the offending matter. The cones were heavy enough to resist being blown away by a freak gust of wind, yet small enough to be easily buried or otherwise concealed. Also, if the ninja was ambushed in the act, he could fling the poo-encrusted pine cone like a deadly missile at his would be assailant. This surprise move might just buy him enough to time to escape with his life, if not his dignity.

Do not think, though, that the pine cone process was without its drawbacks. A pine cone is not a soft object, and can be downright pointy. Using one as a sanitary device was not always pleasant, and many ninjas would practice with them in their dojos for hours on end. It was important to build up a thick layer of scar tissue, so as not to be impaired by vicious anal lacerations while in the field. A trail of blood dripping from the anus of a novice ninja was a tell tale sign that even an unskilled tracker could follow.

However, this harsh training actually had other benefits in addition to allowing the ninja to effectively and safely cleanse himself while on the job. Oftentimes if a ninja had the misfortune of being captured by his enemies, they would attempt to break his spirit, or extract information from him, through a process of repeated anal violation. It was not uncommon for a samurai to gather several of his fellows to perform an "Eight Man Train" on a captured ninja.

As unpleasant as this was, to a ninja who has trained at the harsh spikes of the cold steel "training cone" for six or seven hours a day, a smooth, spongy, samurai dong feels almost like a relief. Thus the ninja could shrug off such assaults, and conserve his strength for enduring other ordeals. A true ninja could conduct himself with total stoicism in the midst of even the harshest anal plundering.

**footnote** Yes, pine trees were very rare and hard to find in the wilds of Japan, this was just one of many reasons why the way of the ninja is not an easy one.

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