The Old Couple’s Child-Muko
There was an old childless couple that lived in Japan in 19th century. They had a pet dog called Muko whom they treated as their own child. The old man was rice farmer. He will go to the field with his hoe or spade early in the morning and will work there till sunset. The dog will accompany the man to the farms. He was a kind and patient man always eager to help the animals in need.
The Pile of Gold
One day the dog took his master to a certain place and began scratching the ground there. The doubtful old man began digging the Earth and was amazed to see pile of gold in front of him. The old couple was rich now. They bought a piece of land, distributed a part of the wealth to the poor neighbours and arranged a lavish feast for their friends. In the same village there was a wicked old couple.
They were insensitive towards dogs and other creatures till now. But listening to the fortune of the good couple, they too called the dog to their garden and offered food. The dog was so scared of them that it didn’t even move from its place. They almost dragged the dog out of their house. The dog began scratching near a pine tree in their garden. The old couple began to dig the place with excitement. They found a dead kitten with a foul smell at the place. They killed the dog in anger and buried it there.
The Mortar and the Mill
The good old man, learning about the incident, came under the pine tree at the night to mourn the death of the pet that was like a child for him. He set up some bamboo tubes on the ground and kept some food and water over there. In the dream the dog appeared and asked the old man to cut down the pine tree and make mortar for its rice pastry from it and a mill for his bean sauce. The old man did the same. During the New Year they thought of making some rice pastry. They put the rice after boiling in the mortar and the old man began crushing the mess with a hammer to make dough. When the mass was ready for baking. It suddenly got changed into heap of gold coins.
It was gold dropping like rain with every drop of the bean sauce that the old man was grinding at the hand-mill. The wicked neighbour was peeping from the window and saw everything. Next day they borrowed the mortar and the magic mill from the old couple. But for them the boiled rice and the beans both turned into lumps of foul mass of worms. The angry couple destroyed the mill and planned to use it as firewood.
The Withered Cherry Tree
The spirit of the dog appeared in the dreams of good old man once again. It advised the man to sprinkle the ashes of the mill on withered trees and they will be green again. The old man went to the wicked couple’s homes, collected the ashes and sprinkled it over the bare cherry tree. The tree was filled with the pink fruits and its fragrance filled the air.
The kind old man came to know that his lord daimio was to pass through the highway near the village. He rushed to catch a glimpse of his lord with the ashes in the basket. He climbed on a dried cherry tree and sat there with the basket. The custom those days for everyone was kneeling down while the procession of daimio passing by. However, the old man was ignored by the daimio’s men considering his age. As the procession passed by, the old man sprinkled a pinch of ash on the cherry tree. In a moment the withered tree blossomed.
Daimio was amazed and ordered his men to stop the train and he went out to see the wonder. He was pleased by the old man and rewarded him with many costly gifts. The wicked couple after hearing the story repeated the same. But wicked couple after hearing the story repeated the same. But for them the cherry tree didn’t burst into blossom. The ash was blown away by the wind and it created trouble for daimio and his wife. The old man was pulled down from the tree and was beaten to death. While the wicked old man met such a disastrous end, the kind old couple lived happily with the fortune.