Select the desired text size
Old man who made withered trees to flower.
Start of Story
Then they all went into the garden--the Daimio and his retainers and
the ladies-in waiting, who carried the Daimio's sword.
The old man now tucked up his kimono and made ready to climb the tree.
Saying "Excuse me," he took the pot of ashes which he had brought with
him, and began to climb the tree, every one watching his movements with
At last he climbed to the spot where the tree divided into two great
branches, and taking up his position here, the old man sat down and
scattered the ashes right and left all over the branches and twigs.
Wonderful, indeed, was the result! The withered tree at once burst into
full bloom! The Daimio was so transported with joy that he looked as if
he would go mad. He rose to his feet and spread out his fan, calling
the old man down from the tree. He himself gave the old man a wine cup
filled with the best SAKE, and rewarded him with much silver and gold
and many other precious things. The Daimio ordered that henceforth the
old man should call himself by the name of Hana-Saka-Jijii, or "The Old
Man who makes the Trees to Blossom," and that henceforth all were to
recognize him by this name, and he sent him home with great honor.
The wicked neighbor, as before, heard of the good old man's fortune,
and of all that had so auspiciously befallen him, and he could not
suppress all the envy and jealousy that filled his heart. He called to
mind how he had failed in his attempt to find the gold coins, and then
in making the magic cakes; this time surely he must succeed if he
imitated the old man, who made withered trees to flower simply by
sprinkling ashes on them. This would be the simplest task of all.
So he set to work and gathered together all the ashes which remained in
the fire-place from the burning of the wonderful mortar. Then he set
out in the hope of finding some great man to employ him, calling out
loudly as he went along:
"Here comes the wonderful man who can make withered trees blossom! Here
comes the old man who can make dead trees blossom!"
The Daimio in his Palace heard this cry, and said:
"That must be the Hana-Saka-Jijii passing. I have nothing to do to-day.
Let him try his art again; it will amuse me to look on."
So the retainers went out and brought in the impostor before their
Lord. The satisfaction of false old man can now be imagined.
But the Daimio looking at him, thought it strange that he was not at
all like the old man he had seen before, so he asked him:
"Are you the man whom I named Hana-Saka-Jijii?"
And the envious neighbor answered with a lie:
"Yes, my Lord!"
"That is strange!" said the Daimio. "I thought there was only one
Hana-Saka-Jijii in the world! Has he now some disciples?"
"I am the true Hana-Saka-Jijii. The one who came to you before was only
my disciple!" replied the old man again.
"Then you must be more skillful than the other. Try what you can do and
let me see!"
The envious neighbor, with the Daimio and his Court following, then
went into the garden, and approaching a dead tree, took out a handful
of the ashes which he carried with him, and scattered them over the
But not only did the tree not burst into flower, but not even a bud
came forth. Thinking that he had not used enough ashes, the old man
took handfuls and again sprinkled them over the withered tree. But all
to no effect. After trying several times, the ashes were blown into the
Daimio's eyes. This made him very angry, and he ordered his retainers
to arrest the false Hana-Saka-Jijii at once and put him in prison for
an impostor. From this imprisonment the wicked old man was never freed.
Thus did he meet with punishment at last for all his evil doings.
The good old man, however, with the treasure of gold coins which Shiro
had found for him, and with all the gold and the silver which the
Daimio had showered on him, became a rich and prosperous man in his old
age, and lived a long and happy life, beloved and respected by all.