Among many Japanese legends and tales, the old man's Hanasaka Jiisan stands out for a long time. This tale has as its main character the old man Hanasaka jiji, or old spring. Such a story is told for generations. Many books mention the tale of the man who managed to make dead trees bloom. This old man has a loyal companion, a dog named Shiro.
This story is told as an example of kindness that overcomes greed and cruelty. In Japan, even an expression referring to this tale. When someone is sad or without animation looking like a dry or dead tree they often say that it is necessary "Call the old man who makes trees bloom"So let's get to know this beautiful story.
The old man and his dog Shiro
Once upon a time, on a remote mountainous island in Japan, an old man and his wife lived. This elderly couple supported themselves by working hard on a crop on their land. They had a puppy that looked very much like a snow-white wolf called Shiro. Without having any children, the couple gave all the love and affection to this dog.
Shiro followed this couple's work in the field every day. But one day, Shiro starts barking non-stop. The dog ran to its owner, grabbed his clothes and pulled him to a certain place. Arriving at this location the dog began to dig quickly. Seeing this, the old man took his hoe and started to help the dog. And to the great surprise, when digging, large gold stones were found. Very happy, they returned home to share the news. The very generous couple decided to share the gold with the entire village.
The power of greed
But, there were a couple of neighbors who were very mean and greedy and did not like the kind couple. When they heard about this story they quickly knocked on the couple's door. These asked to be allowed to take Shiro for just one day, in order to find more gold. Because the old man and his wife were generous, they allowed Shiro to go with them.
As he distanced himself from the house, the evil old man tied the dog up, took his swollen one and left, forcing him to seek gold. After much abuse, Shiro stopped by a tree and started to shake. Thinking that the dog had found gold, the old man pushed the dog and soon began to dig. After much work he found only garbage.
Very angry the old man took his hoe and hit Shiro, killing him. He returned home without telling anyone. The kind old couple were looking forward to Shiro's arrival. So they decided to go to their neighbors and ask what had happened. Amazingly, when he got there, the evil old man confessed what he had done. This left the old elders devastated. Then the very sad old man went to the place of the death of his faithful companion, taking him by the arm and taking him home and burying him.
Every day the good couple wept over the dog's grave. In that place where he was buried, a small bud appeared. The next day, the bud became a big, strong tree. As the days passed, it grew more and more until they could not see its branches anymore. But one day, a very strong storm brought down the tree.
They then decided to build a pestle with the wood from that tree. This Pestle would be used to prepare the dough for mochi, a rice ball that Shiro liked a lot. After building the pestle, they went to prepare the dough. When the old man started to beat the dough he noticed that it started to turn into gold. As he hit the dough, more and more gold appeared. And again he shared all that gold with the village.
Kindness is rewarded
Again the greedy old men decided that they wanted that mass. And again the good old men let them use the pestle. But, when using, the dough turned into a dark mud. Furious, they destroyed the pestle and set it on fire. When the good old man arrived and saw what happened, he collected the remaining ashes and put it in a small basket and took it home.
When it arrived, a wind blew some of the ash from the basket, which spread through the air reaching a dead tree. That dead tree immediately started to bloom. Soon in their branches the beautiful cherry blossoms appeared. As the ash spread, tree after tree bloomed.
Soon the news spread and the court called the old man to his kingdom. Arriving at the castle, the old man threw the ashes into the air, and immediately the nearby trees bloomed. Feudal lord Daimyo was delighted with all that and presented him with rich objects. He also asked the old man to be called Hana-Saka-Jijii, or old man who made trees bloom.
Knowing about this news, the greedy old man gathered the remaining ashes from the burned pestle. He then went to the kingdom claiming to be the true bearer of the ashes. When he arrived before Daimyo, he launched the ashes into the air and nothing blossomed. But that ash entered Daimyo's eyes and mouth, suffocating and making him blind. The greedy old man was then ordered to be arrested.
The good lord then shared everything he gained with his village. Still enough to live in peace and happiness for the rest of my life. To end the article, let's leave a video of the legend in Japanese: