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Tiny Finger的故事

2010-01-06 08:12:51

 

??? Many, many years ago there lived an honest man and his wife in a small village in the southern part of Japan. This couple lived in happiness together, and even when they were tired from the day\'s work, they cheered each other with the news of the day. Kenta, for that was the man\'s name, would tell his wife of the things which had happened in the village that day, and Mori, the wife of Kenta, would tell her husband the news her neighbors had related to her.
??? Although they were poor, Kenta and Mori were cheerful together. Their happiness was not complete, however, for they had no son to carry on the family name. Each morning the old couple would pray that the Sun Goddess would bless them with a son of their own. Kenta and Mori wished for a son so badly that one day while praying they said, \"We will be happy even though our child were but as small as our little fingers. If you give us a child we will do anything in return for your kindness.\"
??? Many months passed, but still no child was born. At last, when they had almost given up hope, Mori surprised her husband by telling him that soon they would have a child. Oh, their delight was beyond description! Immediately Kenta hurried to the village shrine and thanked the Sun Goddess for the blessing bestowed upon their marriage.
??? But when the day of the baby\'s birth arrived, everyone was astonished and puzzled to see that the child was no larger than the little finger of a human hand.
??? Nevertheless, Kenta and Mori were happy, and they remembered their promise to the Sun Goddess. Accepting this blessing, they named the baby Issunboshi, which in English means \"as tiny as a finger.\"
??? Though the little boy was as tiny as a finger, Kenta and Mori loved him very much. And though Tiny Finger grew older and stronger, he remained just as small as he was when he was born. And Mori and Kenta often went to the temple to ask the Sun Goddess to protect their little son.
??? But even if he was small, Tiny Finger was a brave and strong boy. One day he said to his parents in his thin and lovely voice, \"Dear Father and Mother, thank you very much for your love during my boyhood, but the time has come now, and I am of age. I wish to go to the great capital of Kyoto where the emperor lives. There I wish to serve the emperor and become a brave warrior in his household.\"
??? Kenta and Mori were a little surprised, but they realized their son was old enough to go forth into the world. Still, it was difficult for them to let him go, for he was so small and looked so helpless. However, there was nothing that would satisfy Tiny Finger except to go to the emperor and seek to enter his service.
??? After his mother and father had consented to the trip, Tiny Finger asked of them, \"Since I am going out into the world, will you give me a needle? From the needle I can make a sword. If I am to be a warrior I must have a weapon to protect and defend myself.\"
??? So old Mori took a large, sharp needle from her sewing box and attached it to the vest of her little son.
??? And again Tiny Finger asked, \"Will you give me a wooden bowl and a chopstick? I must go up the river to get to Kyoto. I will use the bowl for a boat and the chopstick for an oar.\"
??? So Kenta hurried to the kitchen and returned with a small rice bowl and a chopstick. He carried them to Tiny Finger and told him to be careful, and to use the bowl and stick well.
??? The day for his departure arrived and Tiny Finger said good-by to his parents. As Tiny Finger rowed away from the shore of the river Yodo, his parents watched with sad eyes. They waved to him, and soon the little boy and the tiny boat were out of sight.
??? In the river Yodo the little wooden boat bobbed up and down like a cork. But Tiny Finger was a strong boy, and, using all his strength, he rowed with the chopstick. Oh, but it was a dangerous trip for so small a boat, and the oar seemed so heavy, even though it was only a chopstick. But that was natural, for you must remember that Tiny Finger was small, and that the chopstick was even taller than he was. Sometimes the wind blew, and the large waves almost wrecked the little boat. And sometimes large fish appeared from the blue waves and attacked the strange little traveler in his small, funny craft. However, Tiny Finger did not lose courage, and he rowed for many days and nights, keeping his boat skimming over the water.
??? After a long and hard voyage, Tiny Finger reached Kyoto. At last he had arrived where he longed to be -- in the city where the emperor lived.
??? Full of delight and feeling extremely brave, Tiny Finger went into the city of Kyoto. Everything was strange to the little country boy, fo

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