The Rice-ball Rolled Down
Once upon a time, there lived a very kind-hearted old man.
He went to the mountain every day to cut firewood.
“Hmm, the sun is high now. I think I’ll have my lunch,” said the old man and he opened his lunch box.
As he was eating his lunch, one rice-ball fell out onto the ground.
The rice-ball rolled down on the mountain slope.
“Hey, wait. Stop, rice-ball.” The old man ran after it in a hurry.
The rice-ball kept rolling down and the old man chased it with all his might.
The rice- ball rolled down to the valley and finally jumped into a hole in the ground.
The old man came down to the hole. “There’s a hole here. I wonder what’s in it.” He said and peered into it.
“Oops, no!” He cried. Trying to peer down the hole, the old man slipped and fell into it.
He just kept fallin down and down further into the hole. “Aw, ouch!” cried the old man as he hit the bottom of the hole. Looking around he found it was a mouse’s house.
A group of mice were happily eating the old man’s rice-ball.
The mice became aware of the old man and said, “Hello. Is this your rice-ball?
It’s so delicious that we couldn’t stop eating.
There’s not much left but let us give it back to you.”
“Oh, no, no. I’m happy you liked it so much. Don’t worry about me, eat it all, please,” Pleased with his kind offer, the mice finished the rice-ball up.
“Was it that good? I’ll bring another tomorrow, then.” The old man said as he left.
The next day at noon, the old man came back to the hole and dropped a rice-ball into the hole.
He continued day after day.
One day, when the old man came to the hole, the mice poked their faces out from the hole and said to him, “Dear sir, thank you for bringing us the delicious rice-balls every day.
We’d like to invite you to our house today.
Do come in.” The old man went down to their home, where he was treated to a lot of good food.
The mice also entertained the old man by singing and dancing.
“Thank you, thank you, Mice, for every thing. I think I should go home now though,” said the old man feeling very full.
Then the mice brought a big sack to him. “Please take this. It’s our gift to you.”
The mice said as they handed the sack to the old man. “You’re giving me a gift on top of this wonderful feast? It’s so kind of you, Mice.” The old man thanked the mice and carried the sack home on his shoulder. When he got home, he opened the sack and found gold coins, coral, and many other wonderful treasures in it. Thus, the old man lived happily after. The end produced by International Digital EHON Association presented by International Digital EHON Association written by Yukiko Koizumi illustrated by Kyoko Shimazaki translated by Motoko Yamamoto