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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "The story of the old man who made the withered trees to flower"

The story of the old man who made the withered trees to flower

"

The old man made an obeisance, and replied:

"I am that old man!"

Then the Daimio said:

"You must make that dead cherry tree in my garden blossom again by means of your famous ashes. I shall look on."

Then they all went into the garden—the Daimio and his retainers and the ladies-in waiting, who carried the Daimio's sword.

The old man now tucked up his kimono and made ready to climb the tree. Saying "Excuse me," he took the pot of ashes which he had brought with him, and began to climb the tree, every one watching his movements with great interest.

At last he climbed to the spot where the tree divided into two great branches, and taking up his position here, the old man sat down and scattered the ashes right and left all over the branches and twigs.

Wonderful, indeed, was the result! The withered tree at once burst into full bloom! The Daimio was so transported with joy that he looked as if he would go mad. He rose to his feet and spread out his fan, calling the old man down from the tree. He himself gave the old man a wine cup filled with the best SAKE, and rewarded him with much silver and gold and many other precious things. The Daimio ordered that henceforth the old man should call himself by the name of Hana-Saka-Jijii, or "The Old Man who makes the Trees to Blossom," and that henceforth all were to recognize him by this name, and he sent him home with great honor.

The wicked neighbor, as before, heard of the good old man's fortune, and of all that had so auspiciously befallen him, and he could not suppress all the envy and jealousy that filled his heart. He called to mind how he had failed in his attempt to find the gold coins, and then in making the magic cakes; this time surely he must succeed if he imitated the old man, who made withered trees to flower simply by sprinkling ashes on them. This would be the simplest task of all.

So he set to work and gathered together all the ashes which remained in the fire-place from the burning of the wonderful mortar.

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