The Family that Looked for a Mound

A woman went out of her home to look for a mound. Her children ran after her, and so did her husband. She asked the way to cross the mountain pass at a desolate village on the shore.

"It's a narrow pass along a cliff. No one can go through it in the winter."

She didn't listen to the villager and went up, however, the pass was blocked by a landslide. As she looked up the cliff intently, her husband undid his waist sash slowly. He had his children clutch the sash, then began to clime the cliff in silence. Gripping the end of the sash, the woman hang onto the cliff lastly. Soon it began to snow and the side wind rose. As soon as the husband finally reached the rest of the pass on the cliff, the side of the cliff heartlessly crumbled, and he fell into the sea withour a cry. Little children also lost in the waves one by one.

The woman let go the sash at once, and she didn't fall in the sea. She tried to climb up the remaining several feet, but the earth broke down under her grip. She recited something and then thrust her arm deeply into the frozen earth.

The villagers found the bodies of the man and the children washed ashore and rushed to the cliff. The woman was frozen to the cliff and her arm couldn't be pulled off. In the next spring when her body decayed and fell, the villagers picked it up. They buried the bodies of the family on the cliff and made a mound. A cherry tree grew horizontally toward the sea from the place where the woman's arm has been stuck. The tree never blossomed.

by Taku Nakajo

(to the Japanese version)