Hukumusume fairy tale collection > Japanese classical stories >January
The young master is alone.
Introduction to Hikoichi
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Once upon a time, there was a very clever child called Hikoichi.
His reputation spread to the neighboring towns and villages, and finally, it reached the ears of His Highness at the castle.
"If you're so clever, let's test your wit."
Thus, Hikoichi was called to the castle.
As Hikoichi waited with trepidation in the great hall of the castle, His Highness finally appeared and said,
"You are the reputable Hikoichi, aren't you? No problem, just keep your head up. By the way, I have one prince who is about the same age as you. I want you to be his young playmate from now on."
His Highness, after saying this, sent one of his servant to call the prince.
Soon, a papered sliding door (used to partition off rooms in a Japanese house) opened, and one, two, three, four, five children wearing the same kimono walked in.
It's not just about the kimono.
All five of them look just like brothers.
"How about it, Hikoichi? Can you guess who the real prince is? Now, if you get it right brilliantly, by the wisdom of your reputation, I will reward you."
Even the servants who were around did not have the confidence to recognize the prince.
And yet, His Highness has a triumphant air because a child who has never seen the prince before would not recognize him just by looking at him.
"Come on, what's up? If you can't, you may tell me honestly that you can't."
Hikoichi, however, said with a smile on his face.
''Every child looks the same, doesn't he? But I know the real prince well. The real prince looks like he's practicing his penmanship a lot and has ink on his hands."
At these words, the real prince looked at his hand and the other children looked into it.
However, there was no ink everywhere they looked.
"Your Highness. That child is the prince."
His Highness was so impressed by Hikoichi's cleverness that he said,
"This is amazing. I will reward you as promised."
This is how Hikoichi was able to get a mountain of rewards.
One point advice : The biter is bitten.
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