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Fairy Tales Fairies Faery Woodlands Magazine Blog About
|Japanese fairy tales Oni Tengu Kitsune Tanuki Kami
Envy Brings Suffering
It was a long time ago that there once was an old man who lived happily
in a small town. He loved all the people, even tough he was very poor.
Just across from his home was another old man who was very rich, though
he was very greedy and covetous.
The good old man wished he had someone in his home, for he had no
children or relatives and he lived all alone. So he acquired a darling
little puppy, cherished and cultivated it and took great joy in its
affection and faithfulness. So the dog never strayed far from the side
of his master and accompanied him everywhere.
One day while the old man was walking his dog they came to a barren
field where the dog barked suddenly and rushed to a spot in the middle
of the field and began to paw violently at the ground.
“You want me to dig something up for you?” The old man asked his dog which continued to paw at the spot.
Knowing he had a clever dog the old man went home and got a spade then
dug for a while until he found a pile of gold Koban (coins). Delighted
at finding so much money the old man carried it home and donated a
large portion of it to the poor.
Even though he was rich the old man remained humble and as friendly as
before. His bad neighbor envied his happiness and so he sought to lure
the dog to his house in hopes that it could show him where gold koban
was hidden. But the dog never left his masters side.
Unable to achieve his ends through guile the greedy man turned to
violence. He seized the dog as it sat in front of its home and dragged
it to his own home where he tied it with a rope and brought it to a
field in hopes that it would show him buried treasures. The dog
scratched in a number of different places which the greedy man dug up
but he never found anything but stinking garbage so he got angry and
killed the dog and dumped it’s body in the good old mans garden.
The old man was very sad and buried the dog under his favorite tree in
the garden. And although he knew who the culprit was he did not
retaliate. Shortly after the dog appeared to him in a dream.
“Morn no longer,” the dog told him. “For my death
will bring you even more luck if you follow my advice. Take the tree
under which I’m buried and make yourself a wood rice mortar and
The old man did as he was told and received a miracle for an endless
supply of mochi (a type of rice gluten dumpling) began to come from the
mortar. He was overjoyed because now he could deliver an endless supply
of food to the poor.
His evil neighbor grew ever more envious when he heard about the old
mans good fortune. He could not rest, for he had to have the mortar so
he asked the good old man if he could borrow the mortar for just one
day. The good old man was kind enough to believe his greedy neighbor
and lent him the mortar who was highly pleased as he began to pound
away at the rice. But instead of beautiful mochi nauseating excrement
filled his whole house. Spiteful the greedy old man burnt the mortar.
But the good old man followed the advice of his dog’s spirit once
more and collected the ashes and kept them carefully in a vessel.
Then one day in late autumn, when all the trees and bushes were bare,
the daimyo was traveling past with his entourage. The old man took a
few handfuls of ash and climbed a cherry tree beside the road and
scattered the ashes as the daimyo passed by. The daimyo and his retinue
were paralyzed with fright and wanted to punish the old man at first.
But then everywhere the ashes flew the trees grew green leaves and
flowers, and instead of ashes a fine rain of cherry blossoms trickled
down onto the daimyo. Delighted the daimyo praised the old man for this
miracle. The daimyo then gave the old man many rich gifts and because
he’d heard the story of the man’s dog he sent him another
The bad neighbor nearly burst with envy and anger. He went back to the
good natured man and asked him if he could have some ashes. So the kind
man gave him some.
When the daimyo came back through the town the greedy man climbed up a
tree and when the daimyo rode under it the man sprinkled ashes over
him. The ashes however did not make the trees blossom and only ashes
flew from the greedy mans hand. The ashes flew into the daimyo and his
men’s eyes, ears, nose and mouth. So that they fell on the greedy
man and thrashed him for the insult. Then they threw him in prison
where he died a long horrible death.
This is what those who are greedy and envious, who seek to usurp the happiness of others have to look forward to.