Momotarō

Like Kaguyahime, Momotarō is also a story about a child with special powers who miraculously becomes the son of an elderly deserving couple.

One day an old woman was washing her laundry in a stream when she saw a giant peachMomotaro floating in front of her. She took the peach home, thinking it will be a tasty snack for her husband. But when the couple cut the peach open a tiny baby boy popped out. They named the child Peach Boy, or Momotarō.

Momotarō was a happy boy who filled the old couple’s house with laughter. He was very strong, and also very good-hearted, always willing to help not just his parents, but everyone. When Momotarō grew up, he announced that he was going to Onigashima, an island where terrible ogres tormented and killed the human inhabitants. On his way to the island he recruited a dog, a monkey and a pheasant, aided by the millet kibi dumplings his mother had packed in his bento lunch box. When they got to the island Momotarō and his companions fought hundreds of demons, culminating in a ferocious battle between Momotarō and the chief of the demons. Momotarō of course won, and the remaining demons surrendered and promised to end their evil ways. The demons then rewarded Momotarō with a cart loaded with treasure, which he took home to his parents (1)

This fairy tale is obviously a blue print for what a good son should do: treat your parents well, make them proud, and shower them with riches. That makes this an inspirational hashioki to place on the table in front of a little boy. Or maybe it would be a good piece to use at a meal where dumplings are served; obviously Momotarō owed his success to those kibi dumplings his mother packed in his lunchbox.

(1) Yasuda, Yuri.  A Treasury of Japanese Folk Tales.  Rutland, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 2010, pp. 42-51.

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