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straw-hatted stone idols
Posted by gwenynen on Jun 3rd, 2005 5:01 PM
This is a well known Japanese folk tale I like. Anyone interested, read on:

Amser maith yn ôl (A long time ago) there was a poor old couple. It was the last day of a year and they had no food. They decided to make hats out of some straws at hand to sell them for humble New Year's fare. The old man took the five hats to town but no one wanted them. It was getting late, so he began his journey home. It started to snow. When he came to the field, he found six small stone idols covered with snow. He felt sorry for them and gave them all the hats, but he needed one more. He took off his scarf and wrapped it around the head of the last idol.

When he got home and told his wife about what he did with the hats. Instead of getting mad at him, she was happy that he did a kind deed. They went to bed hungry.

In the middle of the night, they were awakened by a sound of sleigh and grunting sounds of someone carrying heavy load. First they thought the servants of the rich family were coming home after late shopping. But the sounds stopped at their door and all were quiet. When they peeked outside, they found a heap of wonderful festive food and the retreating figures of the five straw-hatted and one scarf-headed stone idols.

Though it involves stone idols which are common in Japan, this story almost reminds me of "Widow's Mite" in the New Testament.

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