The Kasa Jizo (The Guardian Deities and the Straw Hats)

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Japanese folk tales

The Kasa Jizo (The Guardian Deities and the Straw Hats)

Once upon a time, there was an old man and his wife who lived in a small village. They were very poor but kind-hearted. As the New Year approached, they wanted to make some money to buy rice cakes for the celebration. The old man decided to go to town to sell some straw hats (kasa) he had made.

On his way to town, it started to snow heavily, and the weather became very cold. The old man saw six stone statues of Jizo, the guardian deities of children and travelers, standing by the roadside. They were covered in snow and looked cold.

Feeling sorry for the Jizo statues, the old man decided to give them the straw hats he had made. He placed a hat on each statue, but he only had five hats. For the sixth statue, he gave his own hat, leaving his head exposed to the snow.

The old man returned home empty-handed and told his wife what had happened. She was worried but understood his kind gesture. They had no rice cakes for the New Year but went to bed grateful for each other.

In the middle of the night, they heard strange noises outside their house. When they opened the door, they were astonished to see piles of food, rice, and treasures outside. The Jizo statues had magically brought them gifts as a thank you for the old man’s kindness.

From that day on, the old man and his wife lived happily, always remembering the kindness of the Jizo statues and the importance of helping others.

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