A skeleton singing
Long long ago, there were two brothers living in a mountain.
As they had no work in Winter, they went working in Edo,(now Tokyo).
“Which of us will be more successful in three years?
We’ll meet here on the same day in three years, and come back to our village.” said the elder brother on a bridge and departed from the younger brother.
The younger brother worked very hard and saved much money, while the elder one drank and played with women every day.
Three years had passed quickly since they came to Edo.
On the appointed day they met on the bridge.
The younger brother had many souvenirs, but the elder one nothing.
When they came to a narrow bridge across a deep valley in a mountain, the elder said to the younger.
“I’ll carry your luggage. Why don’t you go ahead?”
The elder brother walked after the younger one and suddenly pushed him down to death into the valley in the middle of the bridge.
He returned to his home innocently and said to the villagers.
“My younger brother was drinking and playing with women every day and he had no money, so he told me he couldn’t come home this year.”
One year had passed since he returned to his village.
As he used up the money he robbed his brother of, he was going again to leave his village for Edo.
When he stood on the narrow bridge, he heard a beautiful song coming from the valley.
He was so fascinated by the song that he went down into the valley.
To his surprise, he found a skeleton singing the song.
He was so scared enough to tremble himself.
The skeleton stopped singing and said to him,
“Don’t be afraid! I am your young brother killed by you.
Are you going to Edo again to drink and play?
Why don’t you take me with you together?
I’ll sing at a show and make you rich.”
“That’s a good idea!” said he and wrapped the skeleton with Furoshiki, or Japanese cloth wrapper.
On arriving in Edo, he had shows of the skeleton in busy streets every day.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll present you the wonderful show of a singing skeleton.
Do come here and put money in the box.”
After earning much money, he returned to his village.
He thought of earning money there too.
The skeleton suddenly began to sing a new song in front of a large audience.
“We must be careful of our brother. I’ll never forgive him.” the skeleton suddenly began to cry.
“What’s the matter with you?” asked one of the audience.
“I am the younger brother killed by the elder brother.
I was killed by him on my way back to the village and had my money, my luggage and my life stolen.
He was drinking and wasting his time every day in Edo.”
The elder brother tried to escape, but he was caught to be bound with a rope and taken to a jail.