Two pairs of parents


Two pairs of parents

Grateful Crane

Long long ago, there lived a young woman in a mountain village.
When she was a baby, her skin was as smooth as silk, so her parents named her Kinu, (silk.)
She was raised with the utmost care and affection.
Soon she became a beautiful young woman.
But one day she was seized with a sudden illness.
She trembled at the shadow of death.
“Soon Yama, the king of Hell, will send an ogre, his follower, to me.
The ogre must take my soul to him,”
she thought again and again to find a way to escape from death.

Finally an idea flashed into her mind.
She asked her mother to heap a bowl with rice and put it in front of the front door so that the ogre would be pleased and might change his mind.
Just as she thought, a gigantic ogre soon visited the place with noisy footsteps.

“Oh, how lucky! A gorgeous dinner is ready for me.
I’m so hungry since I came all the way from the Hell.”

The ogre finished eating it within a few minutes and stepped toward her sick bed.
“My parents will grieve badly if you take my soul.
Please save my life this time,”
she begged for her life with tears.

“Now that I’ve already had delicious food, I’m tolerant.
All right, I won’t take you this time…but I have to get Yama’s order done one way or the other.
Without it, he will punish me.
Hmm…do you know a young woman, who has the same name Kinu like you?
If there is such a girl living near here, I’ll take her instead,”
the ogre said.
“Yes, I do. Go to the house near the river in the next village.
A young woman whose name is Kinu lives there.”

“Perfect! I’ll take her to the king.”

In a moment the ogre disappeared, the next moment it appeared in front of the other Kinu near the river.
“You are Kinu, aren’t you?
I feel sorry for you, but I have to take you to the Hell instead of Kinu on the mountain.”
When he yelled, she fainted to death in an instant.
“My lord must be waiting for me.
I have to hurry to him with her soul.”

“My lord, I’m home with a woman named Kinu.”
“Good job, but…wait, this is not the one I wanted.
You mistook my order, didn’t you?”

“Did I?”

“Idiot! I know everything.
That Kinu I wanted entreated you to show mercy, but you couldn’t refuse her because you had dinner they prepared.
Go back to her place and come back with her soul immediately.”

The ogre got a good scolding from Yama.
To satisfy the king of Hell, the ogre brought the first woman’s soul to him.
“This is the very Kinu I wanted,”
Yama said, and then gave a glance to the other Kinu in front of him,

“You can go home now.”
Kinu near the river returned home.
The trouble was, however, that she was unable to find her body.
Her parents had already cremated her.
She cried to the Hell,
“I’ve returned home but I can’t incarnate.
My body had already been cremated, so there’s no body to live on.”

Then she heard Yama whispering to her from the Hell,
“That’s my big mistake.
Your body was already burned, but the parents of Kinu on the mountain still have her body with them.
You may use her body.”
The soul of Kinu near the river entered the body of Kinu on the mountain.
“Thank God! My daughter Kinu revived!”
the parents of Kinu on the mountain were so pleased to noticed her breathing again.
But the young woman shook her head and said,
“You can’t accept the fact at once, but I’m not your daughter Kinu.
I am the other Kinu living near the river in the next village.”
“What are you talking about?”
her parents were astonished, and insisted,
“You are our daughter, that’s for sure.”
All she did was, however, to shake her head, and in the end she went back to her own parents’ home near the river.
“Mother, Father, I’m home,”
she said to her parents.
“Who are you?”
they asked.

“I’m Kinu, your daughter,”
she said.
Her parents looked at each other in amazement, and said,
“We can’t understand what you said.
Our daughter Kinu died two days ago, and we’ve already cremated her.
So she can’t be here.”

Their words made her soul bitter, but she thought,
“Our parents may not believe in me, but I’ve decided to tell them what happened to me.”

She told them what happened to her from the beginning.
“Wow, it can’t be true!”
they were wondering.
“Why should I tell you a lie?”
she said.
They finally accepted her words.

“Oh! How happy we are!
Though her body looks totally different, our daughter is here with us!”
Her father cried joyfully.
“Kinu, you are our daughter, Kinu,”
her mother hugged her tightly.
“It is marvelous that my daughter has come back to life.”
Kinu’s parents living on the mountain also were very surprised to hear the rumor.
“What a mysterious story it is!
The body is our daughter’s, but the soul is the other Kinu’s.
So the part of hers is our daughter.
We want her to come and see us as often as she can.”
After that, re-born Kinu took turns visiting each house and had a happy life with two pairs of parents.

The end