Hukumusume fairy tale collection > Foreign language (English) > Japanese classical stories
イラスト たつよ 提供 らくがきの日常
The Child-rearing Ghost
(Japanese classical stories)
Translation Laurence Hunter
Japanese ・ English ・ Traditional Chinese ・ Simplified Chinese
Japanese＆English ・ Japanese＆Traditional Chinese ・ Japanese＆Simplified Chinese
Once upon a time, in a village somewhere far off, there was a candy store.
One year, on a late summer's night, the candy store owner was thinking about getting ready to close up for the night
There came a sound at the door.
"What's that! Who could that be at such an hour ?"
When the shopkeeper opened the door, there he found a lady standing all alone.
"Could you please give me some candy!." She asked.
"Oh, yes of course, Please wait "replied the store owner.
The store owner then scooped up some barley syrup from his jar and poured it into a pot the lady had brought.
"Ok、that will be a penny please." he replied
"Thank you" replied the lady
After paying the money, the lady seemed to disappear as she was leaving the shop.
The very next day.
The shopkeeper was once again preparing to lock up his shop when the same knock at the door came again.
"May I have some candy?"
Just as he thought, it was the same lady as before.
The lady again, bought some candy like she had the day before and disappeared somewhere in a flash.
From then on, every night the woman kept visiting the shop to buy candy.
Day and day after the woman kept re-appearing to buy candy ,always at the same dead hour of night .
Now, one rainy night.
A candy store owner from a neighbouring village was visiting the shopkeeper and were in deep conversation.
"Please, may I have some candy?” Came a voice from outside
The neigbouring candy store owner at that moment saw the lady who had visited the shop night after night, and suddenly started shaking with fear .
"Ahhhh, that woman. That is the face of Matsukichi who died last month, there is no doubt about it"
The two turned to face each other.
A dead woman would surely never come here night after night to buy candy.
Still, the neighbouring store keeper insisted that there was no mistake.
There, the two men decided to follow after the woman.
The woman walked off, passed through a wood and then proceeded to walk in the direction of the next village.
And the place she was going to was a...
As soon as the woman reached the middle of the graveyard, she seemed to disappear in a puff of smoke.
"A, ghost! "
The two shopkeepers then fled into the temple situated in the graveyard grounds and told the head priest living there exactly all they had seen.
But, the priest replied in astonishment.
"How could such a ridiculous thing like that be true. Surely your eyes must be playing tricks on you!"
But, since the two men seemed to be so serious in their claims, there was nothing for it but go and investigate their claims.
Upon entering the graveyard..,
There in the distance a baby's cry could be faintly heard.
After heading in the direction of the crying, they came across....
"What's this? It's a baby child. But why on earth in such a place?”
The priest raised his paper lantern over the scene and found a letter next to the baby.
Upon reading the letter it came to light that the baby had been abandoned .
"According to this letter, this baby has been left here for several days . So, how is it possible that the child after being here for so long is still alive?"
When they looked carefully around they noticed the pot that the ghostly lady had used to receive her candy in, laying beside the baby.
Further more, when they looked across at the grave to where the baby had been left, what do you think they saw?
"Oh, this is the grave of Mitsukichi’s wife who died recently! "
And so it seemed, the ghost must have been trying to raise the child.
"Oh, so that's why the lady kept coming to my store for candy. She must have known her face would have been recognized in her own village, so that's why she came to my village."
Surely, by seeing the abandoned baby by her own grave, the ghost couldn’t help just doing nothing.
The priest was deeply moved by this and proceeded to put his hands together in prayer in front of Matsukichi's wife’s grave
"Kind saint that you are, please, have peace of mind and let me raise this child, thank you "
So, it was, that the priest came to raise the child that had been abandoned .
And from that day on and after, the lady no longer visited the candy store and was never seen again.
Something to bear in mind: Even ghosts have feelings.
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