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1.Kasa Jizo

@Once upon a time, there lived a poor old man with his wife in a distant place in the mountain.
They made a living by weaving straw to make rice bags and sandals, which the old man brought and sold in the villages.
On a cold day on New Year's Eve, the old man gathered all the bags and sandals that
they made during the whole month, packed them on his back, and started for the near-by village, saying to his wife: "Selling all of these I'm sure I can buy enough rice for us to make rice cake for New Year."
It started to snow, the good old wife couldn't stop her husband from going, so she saw him leave and she prayed that the snow wouldn't get worse, and that he would get back home safe and sound.

@On his way, the old man passed in front of five Jizo statues that stood silently on the roadside. He looked up at them, and bowing , he said "Excuse me for having to pass in front of you. You must be cold in this heavy snow". He brushed away the pile of snow that covered their heads.

Arriving at the village, the old man couldn't take off the sight of the five Jizos from
his mind. "Oh, they must be shivering ......it's freezing.......poor fellows...."
He sold all the bags and sandals, and found out that the money he earned was enough
to buy five bamboo hats for the Jizos.
With the hats in hand, he hurried back home happily, and arriving at where the Jizos
were, he was surprised to find out that there were six of them!
He couldn't believe his eyes, but there they were....six of them. He brushed away the
snow and put on the hats on their heads one by one. When he got to the sixth Jizo, he hesitated for a while, then took-off the piece of cloth he wore as a cap, and covered
the head of the sixth Jizo with it, tying it at at the front under the chin.

Arriving home, his wife came to meet him at the gate, smiling happily: "Let's get started
to make the rice cakes...! It's New Year's eve!"
"But my dear wife" the old man said, "I'm so sorry I didn't buy the rice."
The wife was aghast:"You didn't! !Now, ...how could we spend New Year without rice cakes?"
The old man explained everything. "I'm sorry; but we have our house to keep us warm and
comfortable in this weather. Those Jizos don't even have anything to protect them from
the snow, nor are there any other way for them but to stand still".
His wife listened silently to all he said, "Well, if that's the reason, I'm proud of you; and
surely we wouldn't die without rice cakes on New Year's day. A porridge would do".
"But at least let's do the ritual of rice cake pounding, even though we don't have rice.
We can pretend there is rice in the dough, and pound it."
They took out the dough, and started to pound it , making a clattering sound like
everybody do on New Year's eve. Then they had their porridge, and satisfied, went to bed.

Somewhere around midnight, they were awakened by a strange dragging sound on the
snow, and voices that could be heard faintly.
The old man woke up, and said to his wife: "Don't you hear something?"
His wife opened her eyes "...it's still midnight, what could it be but the wind and the falling snow..."

"Up there...up there......
The house of the man
Up there ...up there....
The man who gave us hats
Up there ...up there...
The man who gave us his treasure
Up there...up there....."

And the song went on and on, followed by the sound of crashing snow.
This time the old man and his wife got fully awaked, and hurrying to the door, opened it
soundlessly, and looked out through the small opening........
They were so frightened at what they saw!
Five Jizos with bamboo hats, and one with a scarf, walked in two rows of three, carrying a big straw bag between them. They walked straight to the house, and placed the heavy bag carefully on the porch.
The old man and his wife trembled at what they saw, closed their eyes, and folding their hands, prayed :"We don't deserve this. We don't deserve this....."

When everything was quite again, they opened their eyes,and found out that there
was nobody around, and the snow was as white and as smooth as could be.
They went out and carried the straw bag into the house.
It was full of rice, enough for the rest of their lives.

-- And outside
there was nothing
but silence--