Hukumusume fairy tale collection > Japanese classical stories
Hikoichi's kappa fishing
Introduction to Hikoichi
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English translator REN HANADA(花田れん)
Once upon a time, there was a very clever child named Hikoichi.
One day, while Hikoichi was fishing in the river, His Highness passed by on a basket.
His Highness, who loves to fish, stepped out of the basket and asked,
"What are you fishing?"
Hikoichi grinned and said with a sober look to His Highness,
"Yes, it’s Kappa."
''Oh, it's unusual to fish some Kappa. Did you do something in order to catch one?"
"I haven't caught a single fish yet because the bait is so bad. A Kappa is a big fan of whale meat, but unfortunately we only have earthworms."
"There must be plenty of whale meat in the castle. How much do you need?"
"I guess it's about 'nikan-me' (about 7.5kg). I'd appreciate it if you could deliver the whale meat to me by sundown so that we could make it to Kappa's dinner."
"Alright, I understand."
His Highness nodded widely and hurried back to the castle.
(Heh heh heh, it worked.)
Well, it's evening now.
While Hikoichi was waiting in the river, His Highness brought the meat of a whale.
He then sat down next to Hikoichi and asked in a small voice,
"Did we make it to Kappa's dinner in time?"
"Yes, I think we'll make it. Now, cut me some whale meat."
His Highness cut a piece of whale meat in the dark and gave it to Hikoichi.
Taking advantage of the darkness, Hikoichi wrapped the meat in a bamboo-sheath and had brought it with him, pretending to attach it to a fish hook.
Then he put his fishing rod, which had no bait, into the river.
"Hikoichi, how are you doing? Did you catch it?"
"Oh! The Kappa has just eaten its food, but his Highness' voice caused Kappa to run away with the meat."
"I see. That was a bad thing to do."
His Highness cut the meat again and handed it to Hikoichi.
Hikoichi wrapped it again in a bamboo-sheath and put the baitless rod into the river.
After a while, His Highness became impatient and called out to him,
"How about now, Hikoichi?"
Hikoichi then said, deliberately exaggerating,
"Oh, I was going to get one! Unfortunately, His Highness' voice made it take the meat again."
"I see. I'm sorry about that."
His Highness gets a smaller portion and cuts another piece of meat and passes it on.
Hikoichi surreptitiously wraps it in a bamboo-sheath.
After doing this over and over again, the meat was finally gone.
"His Highness. I'm sorry, but we'll have to do this another time."
"Hmmm, we can't help it."
His Highness said so, and went back to the castle.
"Alright, whale casserole tonight."
Hikoichi went home and made lots of whale hot pot and shared it with everyone in the village.
One point advice : the audacity of the thief
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