The story of the old man who made the withered trees to flower
I would have given you as many as ever you wanted. Now please give me the ashes of the mortar, as I wish to keep them in remembrance of my dog."
The neighbor consented at once, and the old man carried home a basket full of ashes.
Not long after this the old man accidentally scattered some of the ashes made by the burning of the mortar on the trees of his garden. A wonderful thing happened!
It was late in autumn and all the trees had shed their leaves, but no sooner did the ashes touch their branches than the cherry trees, the plum trees, and all other blossoming shrubs burst into bloom, so that the old man's garden was suddenly transformed into a beautiful picture of spring. The old man's delight knew no bounds, and he carefully preserved the remaining ashes.
The story of the old man's garden spread far and wide, and people from far and near came to see the wonderful sight.
One day, soon after this, the old man heard some one knocking at his door, and going to the porch to see who it was he was surprised to see a Knight standing there. This Knight told him that he was a retainer of a great Daimio (Earl); that one of the favorite cherry trees in this nobleman's garden had withered, and that though every one in his service had tried all manner of means to revive it, none took effect. The Knight was sore perplexed when he saw what great displeasure the loss of his favorite cherry tree caused the Daimio. At this point, fortunately, they had heard that there was a wonderful old man who could make withered trees to blossom, and that his Lord had sent him to ask the old man to come to him.
"And," added the Knight, "I shall be very much obliged if you will come at once."
The good old man was greatly surprised at what he heard, but respectfully followed the Knight to the nobleman's Palace.
The Daimio, who had been impatiently awaiting the old man's coming, as soon as he saw him asked him at once:
"Are you the old man who can make withered trees flower even out of season?