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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "The Mallet"

The Mallet

So, sad and sorry, he gathered it up in his two hands and went to Kanè’s house.

“Kanè, I am very sick,” says he.

“Indeed, so I see,” says Kanè, “a terrible sickness; and how did you catch it?” he says. And so kind he was that he never laughed at Cho’s nose, nor yet he never smiled, but there were tears in his eyes at his brother’s misfortunes. Then Cho’s heart melted and he told his brother all the tale, and he never kept back how mean he had been about the dead silk-worms’ eggs, and about the other things that have been told of. And he asked Kanè to forgive him and to help him.

“Wait you still a minute,” says Kanè.

He goes to his chest, and he brings out the mallet. And he rubs it very gently up and down Cho’s long nose, and sure enough it shortened up very quickly. In two minutes it was a natural size. Cho danced for joy.

Kanè looks at him and says, “If I were you, I’d just go home and try to be different.”

When Cho had gone, Kanè sat still and thought for a long time. When the moon rose that night he went out and took the mallet with him. He came to the mossy dell that was shaded with spreading pine trees, and he laid the mallet in its old place under the stone.

“I’m the last man in the world,” he said, “to be unfriendly to the fairies’ children.”

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