Gold 1000 ryou

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Once upon a time, there was a farmer. One day, he found a treasure from a field...

-A short story, 369 words

Submitted: April 18, 2014

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Submitted: April 18, 2014



Gold 1000 ryou (an old Japanese coin)

This is a story from about 140 years ago, in a small town nearby Japan Sea.

Suke-zaemon Uwaba, a landowner of Magoji (Mago temple) village, had a wide range of filed.  He had a farmer, Den-uemon Kuroda, cultivate a vegetable plot near Magoji.  Den-uemon had been cultivating the plot for years.  He noticed that one part of the plot was sterile no matter how hard he took care of it.  Being quite puzzled, Den-uemon asked his landlord, Suke-zaemon.

“There’s a quite sterile part in your land.  No matter how hard I work, I can’t get any crop from there.  I think you may want to investigate the plot.”

But Suke-zaemon did not listen to Den-uemon. 

Being so curios about the mysterious plot, he decided to secretly dig up the soil in question.  And he found a black pot under a flat stone.  The pot was filled with bright red powders, and he found several gold bars and a strip of fancy paper.  There was a Tanka (a Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables) written on it:

“Morning sun shines on

Thousand ryou of gold

Moon in Ariake Sea”

Den-uemon overjoyed with the unexpected lucky find.  He waited until dark, and went to Magozaka beach, washed out the red matter.  What he did not know was that the red matter was worth a thousand ryou gold.  After cleaning up the red matter, he brought back the gold bars and the strip of paper.  The next morning, the whole surface of Magozaka beach was dyed red by that matter. 

After that, the rumor had it that “Den-uemon dug up gold 1000 ryou of Magoji”.  Before long, Den-uemon was called by the encampment, and investigated.  Den-uemon came with the empty pot and said,

“There was a full of red powder, and I washed it away.”

Local government officers could not investigate any further. 

Den-uemon, then went up to Kyoto with the pot, gold bars and the paper.  Since he was able to sell them for a high price, he suddenly became rich.  He rebuilt his house and bought fields.  People became to call him “Tsubo-den” (Pot Den-uemon). 

Unfortunately, he got the divine retribution – family members got ill and eventually Den-uemon’s family became extinct. 


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