HOMEJapanese Fairy Tale Series (「日本昔噺」シリーズ) > 『俵藤太』(Tawara-no Toda)
My Lord Bag-o'-Rice

English ed. 1887(Meiji 20) Catalogue No. 26


French ed. 1913(Taisho 2) Catalogue No. 119


Spanish ed. 1914(Taisho 3) Catalogue No. 157


『俵藤太』(Tawara-no Toda
   (Translator : B.H. Chamberlain)
[絵師:鈴木華邨(Illustrator : Kason Suzuki)]

■ あらすじ 
Outline of this story
 Once upon a time, there lived a brave warrior called "Tawara-no-Toda," or "My Lord Bag-o'-Rice." One day, when he was about to cross a bridge over a river flowing down from a lake, he saw a big serpent lying in his path. He calmly stepped on it to go on his way, and the serpent instantly changed into a tiny dwarf, who prostrated himself on the bridge, claimed that he dwelled on the bottom of the lake, and begged Tawara to avenge for him on the centipede living in the hills. Tawara agreed to do so on the spot, and the dwarf took him to his summer-house on the lake-bottom. While the dwarf was entertaining Tawara, the centipede over a mile long came creeping down from the hills. Tawara slew it with an arrow from his enormous bow. The dwarf rewarded him by giving him a large bronze bell, sword, suit of armour, roll of silk that never ran out no matter how much of it was used, and a bag of rice that never became empty. Tawara donated the bell to a temple and lived happily - and in opulence - ever after.
 This story is from the legend about Fujiwara-no-Hidesato, who was instrumental in the subjugation of Taira-no-Masa-kado's rebellion. The "Toda" in the warrior's name means "eldest son of the Fujiwaras." Some say that "Tawara" comes from the word for "bag of rice," and others say, that it derives from the Tawara area in the vicinity of Kyoto. The literal English translation of the Japanese title by B.H. Chamberlain found favor and was followed in the Spanish translation along with the story line and format. The characters for the name "Kason" are inscribed on the picture of the bell, which indicates that the illustrator is Kason Suzuki.