A Japanese folk tale
Title: "Eighty-eight the wise man"
Illustrated and translated by: Akanemachi Haruhiko.
Original author: Yanagida Kunio
―― ０１ ――
Once upon a time in a village of Oshu area, there lived six men with the same name.
Their name was "Eighty-eight".
―― ０２ ――
People would not be able to distingush them without nicknames.
Then, one was called Eighty-eight the outlaw because he was wild;
Another one was called Eighty-eight the gambler because he liked gambling;
Another one was called Eighty-eight the sharecropper because he sharecropped a rice field;
Another one was called Eighty-eight the rice dealer because he dealt in rice;
Another one was called Eighty-eight the thief because he often stole;
The last one called Eighty-eight the wise man because he was wise.
So, people didn't mistake one for another.
―― ０３ ――
One day, Eighty-eight the outlaw quarreled with Eighty-eight the gambler.
―― ０４ ――
He hit him again and again.
―― ０５ ――
It ended with the death of Eighty-eight the gambler.
He did not intend to kill him.
So, he was surprised and perplexed at his death.
―― ０６ ――
He visited Eighty-eight the wise man to ask his advice.
―― ０７ ――
Then, he advised him to move his dead body to the water gate of the rice field of Eighty-eight the sharecropper.
And further, he advised him to make his dead body sit on the path of his rice field stealthily.
―― ０８ ――
At that night, Eighty-eight the sharecropper patrolled for water of his rice field.
―― ０９ ――
Someone sat on the water gate of his rice field.
―― １０ ――
He said "Hey, bad guy! You have come again to steal water!"
―― １１ ――
He hit him with his stick from behind.
―― １２ ――
He fell down on the ground.
He gazed at him. And he realized that he was Eighty-eight the gambler.
He thought that he had done an awful thing. But he could not think what to do.
―― １３ ――
Taking a reward, he visited Eighty-eight the wise man.
And he asked his advice like Eighty-eight the outlaw.
―― １４ ――
Then, he advised him to pack his dead body into an empty sack.
And further, he advised him to put it on the top of rice sacks in front of the storehouse of Eighty-eight the rice dealer.
―― １５ ――
He followed his advice.
―― １６ ――
Next night, Eighty-eight the thief stole the sack in front of the storehouse of Eighty-eight the rice dealer.
He thought that the sack was filled with rice.
―― １７ ――
He came back to home.
―― １８ ――
And he opened the sack.
―― １９ ――
Then, the body of Eighty-eight the gambler appeared in it.
He was shocked at his dead body.
And he was puzzled what to do.
―― ２０ ――
Taking a reward, he also visited Eighty-eight the wise man to ask his advice.
―― ２１ ――
He advised him to knock on the front door of the house of Eighty-eight the gambler at a late hour and say "I am back!"
And he told him that his wife was sure to get angry and would never open the door complainingly.
Further he advised him to throw the body of Eighty-eight the gambler into the well near the entrance.
―― ２２ ――
According to his advice, Eighty-eight the thief knocked on the door of the gambler's house at midnight.
And he said in a disguised voice.
"Darling! I'm back! Please open the door!"
―― ２３ ――
Then, his wife shouted inside the house.
"Who is back?! Don't be silly! I am glad if you die!"
―― ２４ ――
At that time, he plunged his dead body into the well with a loud splash.
And he went back in a hurry.
―― ２５ ――
After that, his wife panicked at that sound.
―― ２６ ――
She asked the village people to lift up Eighty-eight the gambler.
―― ２７ ――
She looked at him and cried bitterly.
―― ２８ ――
Eighty-eight the wise man got the rewards from them.
Only he made a profit.
(Rikuchu province Kamiheigun county)
―― あとがき ――