Grateful Crane

On January 25th, a man wants to make a first visit to the Tenjin-Shrine.
His wife suggests he should take their son, but he refuses her suggestion because the boy always coaxes into buying him something.
Just then the boy overheard the conversation and enters the room.

“Dad, you are going to visit the Tenjin-Shrine, aren’t you? Please take me with you.”

“Well, You always says, ‘Dad, buy me this and that.’ If I’d visit there with you, I’m afraid you’d get out of hand.”

“I promise not to bother you.
I’ll be a good boy.
I won’t ask you to buy me anything.”

Won’t you throw a tantrum?
Won’t you want me to buy you this and that?”

“I promise I’ll be patient.”

“If you promise me to be a good boy, I’ll take you with me.
But once you break the promise, I’ll throw you in the river so that you’ll be eaten by a kappa (a water goblin haunting mainly rivers) .”

“Don’t be silly, Dad. A kappa is an imaginary creature.”

“You always have a ready comeback for anything.
How impudent you are!”

In the meantime, they reach near the gate of the Tenjin-shrine.
The boy is excited to see the crowded street.

“Wow! There are many people.
Look, there are many stands by the street:
they sell cotton candy, Takoyaki (a kind of dumpling made by mixing flour with chopped octopus, ginger and minced green onions)
and all the things I like.
Dad, I’m not saying ‘I want this or that so far, am I?’
I’m a good boy, right?
So please buy me something as a reward!”

“There you go again!
You’ve broken your promise.
You’ve promised not to want anything, haven’t you?”
he reproves his son for his behavior.

But the boy continues talking.

“The boy over there has a mask.
The girl next to him has a Senbei (rice cracker).
I want both of them.
But I haven’t asked you to buy anything for me, because I made a promise…

Oh, it’s unusual that there is a candy stand over there.”

“It’s not unusual.
You see some candy stands here and there.”

“Dad… will you buy me a candy? only one of them is enough.
I’m begging you, please!”
the boy puts his hands together and asks his father repeatedly.

“Don’t put your hands together.
People around us are looking at us.
They might think I’ll never buy you anything.
All right, you can have a candy,
just only a candy.
Which one do you want?
What about that red one?”

“No, it belongs to girls.”

“You’re impudent!
What about the yellow candy next to the red one?”

“No, it isn’t my favorite. I want this black one.”

“All right, that’s that! I won’t buy you anything else from now on.
Do you understand?”

“Yes, I do.”

Speechlessly, they are walking along the street for a while.
Then the boy starts to cry,

“Wow! Dad, I see a Mitarashi-dango stand.
(toasted dumplings on a bamboo stick covered with sweet bean paste or soy sauce syrup).
Please buy me a stick of them.”

“Another whining. No!”

“Just only a stick, please.


“Buy me only one stick,”
he intentionally shouted loudly to passers-by.

“Don’t shout to strangers.
Stop shouting!
All right,
I’ll buy you.
You are breaking the promise again.
You should eat Anko (sweet bean paste) since Mitsu (syrup) will get your clothes dirty.”

“I want to eat the dumplings with Mitsu.”




“Mitsu. Mitsu! Mitsu!! Mitsu!!!”
the boy turns to be unmanageable.

“Shut up!
Don’t shout!
All right, this is the last to my patient.
I won’t buy anything else no matter how you whine again.
Do you understand?”

“Yes, I do.”

They are walking toward the main building.
The boy cries again.

“Look! There is a kite-stand over there.”

“Didn’t you say you’d be a good boy?
Although you promised me not to want anything, I have already bought you a candy and a stick of dumplings.”

“Please let me have it, Dad.
I’ll never ask for anything again.”

You have a kite at home I bought you the other day.
You can play with it.”

“I don’t have that one any more.
I let it go when I accidentally tripped the other day.”

“It was your fault, wasn’t it?”

“Buy me the kite, please!”

“How many times I have to say you can’t have it.”

“I want it!”

“Stop whining!”

“Kite! Kite!! Kite!!! I want a kite!”

“Oh, people around us are looking at us again.
It’s embarrassing.
I shouldn’t have brought him with me,”
the father said to himself, and then said to his son,

“Okay, you win. Which one do you want?”

“The one with a tiger’s face,”
he points the kite he likes.

“I’ve spent more than I expected,”
the man complained.

The boy is happily walking along the crowded street with the kite in his hands.
Then he says,

“Dad, I want to fly this kite here right now.”

“It’s impossible to fly it on the crowded street.
How selfish you are!”
but as the boy insists to fly the kite on the street, the father unwillingly says,

“All right, I’m holding the kite string firmly, so you should go back with the kite.
Go back, go back farther more!!”

As the boy is walking backward, he bumps against a drunken man, and let the kite go.
The father apologizes to the man,

“I’m so sorry.
He is my son. Please forgive his behavior.”

The kite catches a good wind and begins to fly up high in the sky.
Grabbing the kite’s string, the father is becoming excited.

“Oh, it’s flying up, up in the sky! It’s flying up into the heavens!”

The father is enjoying flying the kite and bumps against another drunken man.
Before the father apologizes to the man, the boy says,

“I’m so sorry. He is my father.
Please forgive his rudeness,”
and said,
“I shouldn’t have brought my father with me.”

The end