Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Okinawan Folktale: Red Butt of a Japanese Monkey

 red rear, Japanese Snow Monkey, family, monkey, Okinawa, folktale
Photo Credit: Thomas Quine on Flickr

Surprise a Rich Man's Reward



Many years ago a poor traveler visited a wealthy man's home. 

 It was New Year's Eve and he was looking for shelter from the cold for one night.

The rich man and his family were preparing for the New Year and, he chased the traveler away.

Next, the traveler stopped at the home of a poor couple next door.

They had a small home and, no food to offer but, the invited the traveler in, to stay warm.

He saw an empty cooking pot hanging above the fireplace and, asked them to fill it with water.

As the water began to boil, he began to chant and, soon the pot was filled with food.

Seeing the poor couple eating a meal, made the stranger smile.

He asked them to make one wish and, he would see if he could make it come true.

They decided to request, to become a young couple, again.

The traveler (who was really a god) told them to refill the pot with water.

As the water warmed, he chanted and, sprinkled their bodies with warm liquid.

Soon, their old bodies became young, again.  

New Year's Day

On the morning of the New Year, the couple went to greet their neighbors.

At first, the rich man didn't recognize the poor couple.

They explained what had happened to them, due to the kindness of the strange traveler.

Now, the wealthy man wanted to see the traveler.

When he found him, an invitation was extended to visit the rich man's home.

He promised the traveler riches if he could work his magic on the wealthy family.

 The traveler told the rich man to fill a pot with water and boil it.

Before the god began his chant, the rich man started sprinkling water on the family.

The wife turned into a dog, the daughter a crow, son a goat and, rich man, a monkey.

The animals, all fled the house and headed for the mountains.

The home was abandoned so, the traveler told the poor couple to move in and, they did.

Return of the Monkey

Soon, the monkey started visiting the yard and, he would sit on a rock.

There, he screamed at the couple, "This is my home. Get out of here!"

The couple ignored the animal and shooed it away.

The monkey returned every day and became louder and more verbally abusive each time.

Contacting the traveler for advice, he told them what to do.

"Boil water and pour it on the stone, the monkey sits on every day."

They did it, just before the monkey arrived, the next morning.

When he came, to shout his usual obscenities, he sat on the rock and burned his fanny.

He ran back into the woods in the mountains, screaming in pain.

And, never came back to haunt the young couple again.


Folktales of Okinawa ISBN4-947-654-05-8 P.139

Condensed from: Why the Monkey's Buttocks are Red

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