Happy Mirror Story

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rThe Happy Mirror Story
“The Happy Mirror Story” is a Japanese folktale. The English translation is below. Many thanks to Westfield for originally posting this; I’ve edited it for grammar and punctuation and so on. By the way, “mirror” in Japanese is “kagami” (鏡). Many years ago in Japan, there lived a father, a mother, and their dear little girl. There was not a happier family in all of Japan. They took their little daughter to the temple when she was just thirty days old. She wore a long kimono, as all the Japanese babies do. For her first doll festival, her parents gave her a set of dolls. There was no finer set anywhere. Her dolls had long, black hair, silky and smooth, and were clad in gowns of satin and silk. Her third birthday was a happy day. Her first sash of scarlet and gold was tied around her small waist. When that happened, she was no longer their baby daughter. She was their little girl, fast growing up. By the time she was seven, she was helping her parents in many ways. She could talk and dance and sing, and oh! Her parents loved her dearly. One day, a messenger brought exciting news. The emperor had sent for the father. He had to leave for Tokyo at once. Tokyo was a long way off and the roads were rough. The father would have to walk every step of the way, for he had no horse. There were no railways nor even rickshaws to travel on. The little girl was glad her father was going to Tokyo. She knew that when he came back, he would tell her many interesting stories. And she knew that he would bring her presents. The mother was happy because the father had been sent for by the emperor, a great honor. At last, all was ready. The father looked very fine as he started out on his long trip. He was going to meet the emperor, so he dressed in fine robes of silk and satin. The little family stood on the porch of the little house to bid him goodbye. “Do not worry. I will come back soon,” said the father. “While I’m away, take care of everything. Keep our little daughter safe.” “Yes, we shall be alright. But you must take care of yourself. Come back to as soon as you can,” said the mother. The little girl ran to his side. She caught hold of his sleeve to keep him a moment. “Father,” she said, “I will be very good while waiting for you to come back.” Then he was gone. He went quickly down to the little garden and out through the gate. There, they could see him go down the road. He looked smaller as he went farther away. Soon all they could see of him was his peaked hat. Then that was out of sight, too. The days seemed very long for the mother and the little girl. Many times each day, they would pray for the good father, for his journey to be safe. The days slipped by and one morning, the little girl saw someone coming over the mountains. She ran to tell her mother. Could that be her father? They both went to the garden gate to watch. As he came nearer, they knew that he was the father. They both ran to meet him, little girl on one side, mother on the other. They were all happy again. Inside the house, the little girl ran to untie her father’s straw sandals. The mother lovingly took off his large straw hat. They all sat down on the white mat, for he had bought presents. There in a bamboo basket was a beautiful doll and a box full of cakes. “Here,” he said to the little girl, “is a present for you. It is a prize for taking care of Mother and the house while I was away.” “Thank you, Father dear,” said the little girl. Then she bowed her head to the ground. In a second, she had picked up her lovely new doll and gone to play with it. Again, the husband looked into the basket. This time, he brought out a square wooden box tied with gaily-colored ribbon. He handed it to his wife saying, “And this is for you, my dear.” The wife took the box and opened it carefully. One side had beautifully carved pine trees and storks on it. The other side was bright and shining as smooth as a pool of water. Inside, there was something made of...
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