A good-natured man on the hill

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Once upon a time, there was a man who made a living by working as a courier. His only fun was to eat sweets on his way back home. One day, he ate a lot of cake after work, but he suddenly felt

Submitted: October 06, 2017

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Submitted: October 06, 2017



A good-natured man on the hill  - Legends of a seaside town in Japan,  series Vol.4


Once upon a time there was a very good-natured man in Sonobe area of W village near Japan Sea. There are a lot of people who are said to be good people in the world. However, in this man, the degree of good-naturedness was going too far and it was almost pathetic.

He didn’t have a regular job, but he was quite healthy and was particularly good at walking. Thanks to that, various people in T town as well as neighborhood in Sonobe asked him to deliver letters and luggage.

"Thank you, it’s a piece of cake."

He received the baggage pleasantly, carried it on his back, walked through the Kasahara, crossed the steep hill of Fukutani, and delivered it to the neighboring town of Saburi and Kawakami. On the way back, in the same way, he received the baggage and said,

"Thank you. This is an easy job."

and delivered it to T town and Sonobe. He earned a small amount of money in such a way and made a meager living.


Most people appreciated his work and gave him a certain amount of reward. However, there were people who took advantage of the generosity of the man.?

One time, the man was asked for a delivery from a middle-age couple to their parents living in the back of upstream. At that time, the middle-aged woman was having a look that would cry. Her husband said, "Her old parents are about to die. So, please send them warm clothes and expensive medicines."

When the man heard that story, he said,

"It is a sad thing, but please do not worry - I will immediately bring the medicine and clothes to your parents," and he never complained about the little money they gave. In fact the couple did not have any parents with physical disabilities, and the couple laughed in their sleeves later.

"Good, we worked him at a cheap wage."


Even though he was having such a wretched life, he had one fun thing. It was to eat favorite rice cake on the way home from work. Between T town and Kawakami district, there was an old-established rice cake shop of long standing. Its signature rice cake was mellow, sweet, soft and reputable in the neighborhood. When the man came back from Fukutani hill, he always dropped in at the rice cake shop and ate that cake to repletion.

Of course, he knew that eating too much was bad for his health. Also, as he had heard from his parents long time ago, he knew that it would be better to take something that will help digestion after eating too much. It was radish (Dai-kon, Japanese or Chinese white radish).

So after he ate the rice cake a lot, he always pulled out one radish from nearby field and ate it all. That way he was satisfied with eating delicious rice cake and was able to get home with full of energy.


It was such a day. As usual, after delivering the package without any problem, he ate rice cakes  at the usual rice cake shop.

"Well then, shall I have one radish for the finish?"

He was in a good mood and headed for the field. However, only on this day, no radish was found in the field.

"This is strange. There were so many of them until yesterday."

The man was disappointed and left the field and was walking down Fukutani hill. Just at that time. This man's belly was stinging and painful, and he came down with a violent stomach ache. He crouched down without being able to bear it.

"What's the matter with this? Is it because of eating too much rice cake of my favorite, or is it due to the radish that I had been receiving until yesterday?"

The man was stumbling for a while, but soon he died.


"He was a nice guy."

"We wish we had not made such a mischief."

When informed of his sudden death, the villagers said so. They regretted very much that they conspired to hide the radish of the field.


Several months have passed since the death of a man. When the winter came and eventually became spring, two merchants who were crossing Fukutani hill saw white flowers blooming at roadside. One of the merchants leaned curiously, and the other merchant said.

"Oh, this is a radish flower. Why are radishes growing here though this is not a field? "

Eventually people of T town, Kawakami, Saburi also became aware of  it.  Villagers were surprised and they pitied his death again.


People mourned that man and built a small Jizo statue (Jizo Bodhisattva, Buddhist guardian deities of children) among the blooming radish flower at Fukutani hill. Today, the Jizo is called Fukutani Jizo.


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