Long,long ago, there lived an old man and his wife in a village.
They had no children, so they had prayed and asked God for a baby every day.
“God,please give us a baby. Even if it is an inch baby, that’s okay.”
One day, to their surprise, they were blessed with a small baby, whose height was only one inch or so.
They named him ‘Issun-boshi’, One-Inch Boy.
They loved him so much and raised him like a treasure.
The boys in the neighborhood made fun of him.
“Hey, Inch, Inch, Inch boy.”
The old mother got very angry with them.
“What naughty boys you are!”
But the inch boy grew up to be healthy and intelligent.
One day he said to his parents.
“My father and mother, please give me a needle, a straw, a wooden bowl and a chopstick.”
“What are you going to do with them?” asked his mother.
“A needle is a sword. A straw is a scabbard. A wooden bowl is a boat. A chopstick is an oar. I’ll go to the capital and become a brave warrior.” answered he.
His parents gave him the permission at once. The next day he left home for the capital.
When he was walking, he met an ant.
“Dear Ant, where is a river?”
“It’s near the dandelion fields.”
There he found it flowing.
The bowl,which he was in, went down the river like an arrow.
Then a fish came to attack him.
The fish mistook him for a delicious food.
He protected himself with the chopstick.
Swung by wave, caught in much rain, blown by heavy wind, he at last got to the capital after a long journey.
He walked along the busy street proudly. He found a big and gorgeous house. He thought of working there.
“Open the door. I want to ask a favor of you.”
The master opened the door and looked around for him.
“Where are you? I can’t see anybody.”
“I’m here at the foot of you.”
The master found him near his ‘getas’, the Japanese wooden clogs.
“I am called an One-Inch boy. I want to work for you here.”
“You seem to be an active and clever boy. I’ll make you one of my followers.”
This rich man had a beautiful daughter, who treated him with affection and taught him to write and read.
He was so clever that he could master it soon.
One day she went to a shrine with him.
On their way home they met a big ogre.
The ogre was going to kidnap her to his house.
“Bad Demon, if you touch her, I’ll kill you.” said the inch boy.
“What can you do against me, inch boy? I’ll eat you.” said the ogre and swallowed him down quickly.
One inch boy pierced him with the needle in his stomach.
“Ouch, I’ll die. I’ll give up. Help me.”
The ogre vomited him out and ran away toward the mountain.
“Thank you very much for helping me. You are so small but very brave and strong.”
“Look, the ogre left something. What is it?” asked he.
“It’s called the ‘uchide-no-kozuchi’, the magic mallet. It’s an ogre’s treasure. If we swing it, we can have anything we want. Inch boy, what is your wish?” asked she.
“I’d like my height. Please make me a tall boy.”
She swung it.
One inch boy became taller and taller to be a very tall and handsome man.
He married her and became a brave warrior in the capital of Kyoto as he had wished.