Gold from a pot

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
In late Edo period in Japan (about 140 years ago), there was a diligent farmer. One day, he found a black jar in the field...

Submitted: April 24, 2016

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Submitted: April 24, 2016



This is an old story from about 140 years ago, of the late Edo period in Japan.

In a rural area of Wakasa province (current Fukui prefecture), there was a village called Magoji-mura. The landlord of the village, Sukezaemon Ueba had a number of large fields in the vicinity of Magoji, and allowed a peasant family in Wada village, Kuroda to tenant the firm.

The peasant Kuroda was plowing that field and producing the crops for many years. However, no matter how much he had taken care of, good crops did not grow in a certain part of the field. He was always wondering why. Kuroda finally made a proposal to the landlord.

"Mr. Ueba. I have been working very hard in your field. But one part of the field has never been improved and has always given poor harvest. I would be appreciated if someone examined the part of the field for you."

But the landlord was not willing to examine his land, and refused the request of the tenant farmer Kuroda.

Kuroda, who really wanted to solve the mystery, secretly tried to dig up that field by himself. When he dug into the soil deep, a flat stone came out. When he removed the flat stone, a black jar came out.

The jar was filled with vermilion powder, and inside it, he found several gold bars and a strip of fancy paper with a tanka (a Japanese poem of thirty one syllables) on it -

Glitter in the morning sun, lit up in the setting sun

One thousand ryo (money unit back then) of gold

The waning moon

Kuroda was delighted with the lucky find. He waited until nightfall, secretly went down with the pot to the seaside of Magozaka so that it wasn’t known to the villagers. And he dipped a jar into the sea, washing away all the vermilion powder. After that, he brought back the golden rod, the strip of paper and the jar. It was a pity that he did not know that the vermilion powder was also worth the gold. The next morning, Magozaka beach was stained in vermilion.

Then, sometime later, there was a rumor,

"Den'emon Kuroda dug up golden Senryo of Magoji."

Soon, an interrogation from Jinya (magistrate's office) was carried out. Kuroda appeared with only the empty pot.

"This vase was filled with vermilion powder. I was totally washed it away to the sea," insisted Kuroda.

Officials could not ask any more.

Then Kuroda, took the pot, golden rods and the strip to a Zushi shop (Buddhist altar fittings shop) of Kyoto which was the closest city from the country of Wakasa. The lucky farmer was able to sell them off at a high value, and he suddenly became a millionaire.

He rebuilt the house, and was buying up fields. People became to call Kuroda "Tsubo-Den" (Den'emon Kuroda who became millionaire with the pot).

But then, Kuroda received a Butsubatsu (punishment by Buddha, divine retribution). His family became sick one after another, and eventually the family line failed.

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