One-Inch Fellow (一寸法師) (1)
Once upon a time there lived an old man and an old woman in the village of Naniwa, which is the present city of Osaka.
Naniwa, which is the present city of Osaka：
They were a happy couple, except for one thing.
They had no child to cheer their lonely old age.
One afternoon they went to the temple and prayed:
" Please, god of mercy, give us a childーany child, even if it be as small as a thumb. "
On a summer evening after this, as the old couple were looking up at a beautiful moon, they saw something strange, like a spot of darkness coming at them from the moon.
It came nearer and nearer, and soon seemed to them like a purple croud.
The cloud floated into the room where the old man and old woman were sitting.
It twirled and untwirled itself, and quickly wafted away again.
The old couple watched in silent wonder and then with great joy, for the purple cloud had left behind it a tiny boy as small as a thumb.
This gift was received as a miracle by the grateful couple.
They soon discovered that the little fellow did not grow bigger as babies do, but they continued to be grateful and to care lovingly for the tiny boy.
He remained as small as a thumb, so the old couple named him " One-Inch Fellow " .
One-Inch Fellow (一寸法師) (2)
Whenever One-Inch Fellow ventured out on the street alone, the good old woman worried.
”Old man, old man, what if the childen on the street should fight with One-Inch Fellow ? He would be crushed ! "
But she need not have worried.
Whenever the teasing children came toward One-Inch Fellow, he would dart away quick as a flash between their wooden clogs, so that they could not find him.
Fourteen summers went by and One-Inch Fellow was now a young man.
" Honourable Father, honourable Mother, " he said one day, bowing low before his parents.
They were seated at thier low table, which to One-Inch Fellow seemed like a high roof above him.
The old man looked down upon his son.
" What is it, my son ? "
" I should like your permission to go to the capital of Kyoto to make a name for myself.
" And why is that ? " asked the parents in surprise.
" Because I am a grown son now, " he answered, lifting his tiny head high.
" My gratitude to you is higher than the highest mountains and deeper than the deepest seas.
I want to make a name for myself so that you will be proud of me.
The old man looked down.
" I give you permission. Go, my son ! "
During the next days, the old parents were very busy.
The old woman made a new kimono for One-Inch Fellow.
" In Kyoto young men dress with style. I shall have my son look his best. "
The old mn also planned for his son.
" He is too small for a real boat. And he must have a sword.
No son of mine can step out into the world without a sword."
One-Inch Fellow 一寸法師(3)
Early on the day of departure, the old woman was up, cooking over her charcoal fire, while the old man prepared a farewell speech.
In silence the three ate their breakfast and One-Inch Fellow neatly tied in his little square cloth some newly cooked rice balls and salted plums.
" Honourable parents, I take my leave now, " he said, bowing low before them.
" This is your sword, " said his father, handing to One-Inch Fellow a shiny needle in a scabbard of straw.
" Keep it always stainless like your soul."
" And this is your boat, " added his father, placing a black lacquered soup bowl with one chopstick before him.
" Steer it well to Kyoto with this oar. And now go, my son. "
Carrying the boat, the parents walked with One-Inch Fellow to the water's edge.
The old man put the bowl on the water and helped his son climb into it.
With his oar One-Inch Fellow steered his boat out to the deeper part of the river.
The voice of the old people called after him as he paddled away.
" Banzai ! Banzai ! "
The old man continued to wave, but the old woman hid her face in her sleeve.
One-Inch Fellow started thus on his way to a famous career.
With his chopstick paddle he pushed on and on.
One stormy day he hid behind a support of a bridge and rested until the wind died and there was only a gentle breeze.
Finally one morning early he saw the city of Kyoto rising in the mist.
Happily he steered toward shore.
He stepped out of his boat, and he pushed it away.
"When I return to Naniwa, " he said,
" I shall have an attendant and shall not need this little boat. "
Compared to his quiet home of Naniwa, One -Inch Fellow found the capital big and noisy.
He walked briskly down the middle of a wide street where crowds of people passed back and forth.
No one noticed so tiny a fellow.
After passing several wooden gates, One-Inch Fellow stopped before the highest and longest walls.
"This must be a rich household. I shall offer my services here."
Through the largest gateway he made his way and, walking over a long road, came finally to the entrance of an immense mansion.
It belonged to a famous lord of Kyoto.
On the great stone step at the door, he saw a pair of shiny painted black shoes.
The lord of the mansion was about to go out.
" Hear me ! " One-Inch Felow shouted as loud as he could.
here me たのもう（かと）
" Who is that ? "
It was a the dignified lord himself lord himself who answered.
" It is I, a youth from Naniwa, " answered One-Inch Fellow.
The lord came out and looked around, but he could not see anyone.
Again One-Inch Fellow shouted, "Here I am ! "
The startled lord looked down at the ground.
" Yo ! What a tiny fellow; but you have a mighty voice ! Who are you ?"
" I am called One-Inch Fellow. I have come all the way from Nanwa to serve a great lord. "
" Yo ! I do not know what a liitle fellow like you could do. "
" But, " cried One-INch Fellow, " you will find no other fellow like me on all this earth. "
" That is so ! All right, you may serve me, " said the lord.
From that day, One-Inch Fellow became a faithful servant to this lord of Kyoto.
He was given the duty of cleaning all the shiny lacquered shoes.
In his spare moments he never failed to clear away a fallen leaf or a stray pine needle from the mossy ground.
Always he was courteous and bright and did willingly any errands asked of him.
The whole household liked to call out,
" One-Inch Fellow ! One-Inch Fellow ! "
In the servants' hall he became a much sought-after little man.
At length One-Inch Fellow won the attention of the beautiful Princess, who was the only dauther of the lord.
He became such a favourite with her, in fact, that the lord parmitted him to be her bodyguard.
Every winter he went out with her to celebrate the New Year.
In the spring he accomanied her to the cherry-blossom festivals;
and in summer he shared in the viewing of the full moon.
Then fall came, One-Inch Fellow escorted the Princess, with other attendants, to the shrine of Ise, where every maiden makes a holy pilgrmage at least once before her marriage.
This pilgrimge was such a long journey that One-Inch fellow sometimes rode in the pocket of another attendant.
One-Inch Fellow 一寸法師 (7)
After the visit to the shrine the Princess, with One-Inch Fellow and her other attendants close behind her, came down a long, shadowy avenue of cedar trees.
Suddenly a huge monster, an Oni, leaped out of the darkness, yelling, "Waー! Waー! "
At the sight of this ugly Oni, the beautiful Princess screamed, and fainted away, while the terrified attendants ran off in different directions to hide.
Only tiny One-Inch Fellow stood his ground.
" What are you ? " he shouted, standing before the Princess.
" Do you know who I am ! " he cried, looking up to the firce Oni.
" I am the famous One-Inch Fellow who serves the great lord of Kyoto. This is his only daughter. If you even so much as come near her, beware ! "
" Ha ! Ha ! Ha ! I like to hear you talk ! " laughed the huge Oni, looking down at the tiny man.
" But that is enough. Do not bother me, or I shall eat you up ! "
" Yoshi, Go ahead, " cried One-Inch Fellow, angrily.
Yoshi, Go ahead ：よし、やれるならやってみろ
As One-Inch Fellow expected, the huge monster caught hold of him, and started to put him into his huge mouth.
Quickly One-Inch Fellow darted on to his cheek.
He climbed up to the monster's eye, whipped out his needle sword, and thrust it at the eye.
" Itai ! Ouch ! " cried the monster, trying to catch him.
But One-Inch Fellow slipped from the monster's fingers and went on thrusting his needle sword all over the Oni's face.
" No more ! No more ! " roared the monster.
" I make my humble bow to you ! "
One-Inch Fellow quickly ran down to the ground and the Oni disappeared into the shadows.
By this time the Princess had opened her eyes.
" What happened to the Oni ? " she asked.
" I have chased him away with my sword. Do not worry, Princess. One-Inch Fellow, your bodyguard, is at your service. "
Then the Princess exclaimed, " What is that ? "
One-Inch Fellow (8)
A few feet away lay a large wooden hammer.
" That must be something the monster left behind, " said One-nch Fellow.
" If you are rested, let us hasten homeward. "
"Wait ! " cried Princess, lifting up the hammer.
" Stand there, Onr-Inch Fellow.
This looks like a magic hammer that can answer wishes.
That monster must have been a god in disguise who came to test you.
Otherwise he would not have left behind this precious hammer. "
" May I ask, Princess, how you know that is such a wonderful gift ? "
" We shall see, " said the princess solemnly.
One-Inch Fellow had never seen the Princess so solemn.
"If this be the mgic hammer my honoured father hs spoken of, then when you strike it, anything you wish will come true.
What do you wish, One-Inch Fellow ?
Speak ! "
" I have nothing to wish for since my wish has been granded. I am serving your honoured father.
StillーPerhaps I might like to be a little taller. "
" Please, merciful god, make One-Inch Fellow tall as a man."
The Princess said this very quitely, and struck the hammer on the grand.
Strange ! Strange !
One-Inch Fellow seemed to see the earth sinking lower and lower.
But it was not the earth that was changing; it was he who was growing taller.
" Please, merciful god, make him tall as a man, " the Princess said, as she struck the hammer a second time.
(8/9 つづく )
As she repeated this the third time, the Princess smiled at One-Inch Fellow.
She lifted the hammer into the air ane let it fall to the ground again with a heavy thud.
The beautiful Princess now went to her little travelling box which an attendant had thrown down before he ran away.
From it she took a round mirror, which she held toward One-Inch Fellow.
Looking into the mirror, he saw that he was tall !
The Princess lifted the mirror higher and higher so that he could see himself all the way from the tips of his feet to his manly face.
He was not merely tallーhe was magnificent, a full six feet.
With joy in their hearts, the Princess and the tall youth returned to her father's mansion.
For saving the life of his precious daughter, the lord promoted the lad to a high rank, while the cowardly attendats who had fled at the sight of the monstor resigned from their positions in great shame.
News of the brave youth who had saved the life of the Princess became gossip in every corner of the court.
Finally the heroic story reched the gacious ears of the Emperor, and the youth was immediately summoned before him.
The Emperor bestowed a high title on One-Inch Fellow nd not long after gave him an honourable position.
Before three full moons passed, the youth dressed in his full court regalia and went to see his honoured parents.
Behind him on the journey followed his attendannts and two palanquins which were to carry his parents back to the beautiful home which the youth had had built for himself in Kyoto.
The old couple were made very happy, sharing the honours of their son.
But they were happy, above all, because the youth was no longer as tiny as a thumb.
Their old feet were never too weary to take them to the temple, to offer their prayers of gratitude.