Hukumusume fairy tale collection > Japanese classical stories > October
paper that can't be cut
Introduction to Hikoichi
・Japanese ・English ・Japanese＆English
English translator REN HANADA(花田れん)
Once upon a time, there was a very clever child called Hikoichi.
One day, Hikoichi and the village headman came in front of a tea house, and
Yeah, listen to me.
There were 15 people over there and I was the only one.
They were strong, but I was stronger.
I cut them off from right to left and left to right, and in the blink of an eye, I got rid of them all.
Hmm? I'm out of liquor.
Hey, old lady! Here's a drink, bring me a drink.”
The badly-dressed ronin with a bushy beard chatters on and on while drinking.
Then a traveler in a tea shop told us.
“He's just the bad ronin who goes around drinking to scare everyone. He looks so strong that no one knows what he's doing, but I'm hoping someone will take him down.”
It's true that everyone is scared and doesn't even try to make eye contact with the ronin.
"Hey, old lady! Where's the booze?
Rrrrude ffeellows! You're going to steal money from me?
Well, if you can get it, take it!”
The ronin tossed the old woman inside the tea shop and started drinking the shop's sake.
Unable to contain himself, just as the village headman was about to say something, Hikoichi stepped out in front of the ronin earlier.
“What the hell are you doing? You're a little boy. You Back off!”
“Are you really Samurai?”
“Wh wh what is it? Iiis is is tha tha that wway tto ttalk to bub bub-shi(samurai)? Yyyou you're sso so bub-bubrei(rude)...”
"Yes, don't say “bu, bu”. Your spit is going to fly.”
“Th ththis s one, tthis this one, mmmore aaandd mmore. Yyyou you're sso so bub-bubrei...”
''There, it's flying again. By the way, are you really that strong? That much to brag about it.”
“Wwwhaat iiss iitt? Iii'm sssure Iii'm ssstrong!”
“If you're so strong, can you cut this?”
As Hikoichi said this, he took a sheet of paper from his purse and spread it out in front of the ronin.
The ronin went purple with rage.
“Dddon't bbee aaa fffool! Iiittss's jjjust aaaa pppieecee oof ppppaper, and it's all under one strike. Well, I'm going to split you in half as well. Is it good enough?”
The ronin tossed the teapot filled with liquor and flashed his sword.
“Wow, he pulled it out!”
The travelers who had been watching stepped back.
“Hikoichi, you'd better leave this to me and get away.”
The village headman said, but Hikoichi was calm.
“Let's do it this way. If you cut this paper, we'll pay you for what you ate and drank here. But if you can't, you'll have to pay for it yourself.”
“Oh, that's fun.”
“Can you promise me that?”
“You are garrulous! A samurai's word is sacred.”
Then the respectable samurai who had just passed by called out to them.
He said, "I'll be a witness to this. If you don't keep your word, I will be your counterpart. Now, get ready, both of you.”
"Come on, kid! Put the paper down anywhere!”
The ronin grinned and swung his sword high.
Then Hikoichi spread a piece of paper on a large stone nearby and said.
“Come on, come on.”
The ronin kept his sword in the air and he rolled his eyes.
“Come on, come on, please show me how good you are at this.”
No matter how good swordsman he is, cutting a piece of paper spread
out on a stone is a very difficult task.
"Come on, don't be shy."
To the motionless ronin, the samurai as the witness put his hand on his sword and said,
"What's wrong with you, ronin. As promised, cut a piece of paper. What are you waiting for?”
“You can't cut it. Then you will pay for the food and drink and leave here. If not, I as the witness will be your opponent. Are you ready for this!”
“Pppleeasse hhhold ooon. Iii'll pppay yyoouu, ssso pppleeasse ffforggiivve mmmee.”
Where's all that bravado? The ronin pay the money and run away in full flight.
The samurai said to Hikoichi as he turned to face him.
“You've got quite a bit of courage, you know.”
“No, not really.”
“But what if that ronin had cut the paper?”
“I'm fine. No matter how hard he tried, the drunken arms of a ronin would not be able to cut the paper. I'm sure you'd do a great job of splitting the paper in half, even when you're drunk.”
“I see, you have not only courage, but also great wisdom and sight.”
Many onlookers, including the samurai, were once again impressed by Hikoichi.
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