The Old Man with a Lump

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Japanese folk tales

The Old Man with a Lump

Once upon a time, there was an old man who had a large lump on his cheek. Despite this, he was kind and cheerful. He lived a simple life in a small village.

One day, while gathering firewood in the forest, a sudden storm came. The old man found shelter in a hollow tree and decided to wait for the storm to pass. As he sat there, he heard the sound of drums and laughter. Curious, he peeked out and saw a group of tengu (goblin-like creatures) having a party.

The tengu were singing, dancing, and having a great time. The old man, who loved music and dancing, couldn’t resist joining in. He stepped out and started dancing with the tengu. They were delighted with his dancing and invited him to stay and enjoy the party.

The tengu leader was so impressed with the old man’s dancing that he wanted to reward him. He asked the old man if there was anything he wanted. The old man, thinking quickly, said he wanted to get rid of the lump on his cheek. The tengu leader agreed and, with a touch of his magical fan, made the lump disappear. The old man was overjoyed and thanked the tengu before heading home.

Back in the village, everyone was amazed to see the old man without his lump. He told them the story of how the tengu helped him. Hearing this, another old man in the village who also had a lump on his cheek decided to try his luck.

This second old man was greedy and mean-spirited. He went to the forest and waited for the tengu to appear. When they did, he tried to join their party, but his dancing was terrible, and he was rude to the tengu. The tengu were not pleased but decided to play a trick on him. They took his lump and put it on the other side of his face, giving him two lumps instead of one.

The second old man returned to the village in shame, realizing that his greed and rudeness had only made things worse. Meanwhile, the kind old man lived happily ever after, grateful for the tengu’s kindness.

This story teaches us that kindness and good behavior are rewarded, while greed and rudeness bring trouble.

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