The Story of the Aged Mother Japanese Folktales

Topics: Love, Family, Old age Pages: 4 (1539 words) Published: August 19, 2013
THE STORY OF THE AGED MOTHER A Japanese Folktale by MATSUO BASHOLong, long ago there lived at the foot of the mountain a poor farmer and his aged, widowedmother. They owned a bit of land which supplied them with food, and their humble werepeaceful and happy.Shining was governed by a despotic leader who though a warrior, had a great and cowardlyshrinking from anything suggestive of failing health and strength. This caused him to send out acruel proclamation. The entire province was given strict orders to immediately put to death allaged people. Those were barbarous days, and the custom of abandoning old people to die wasnot common. The poor farmer loved his aged mother with tender reverence, and the order filled his heart with sorrow. But no one ever thought a second time about obeying the mandateof the governor, so with many deep hopeless sighs, the youth prepared for what at that timewas considered the kindest mode of death.Just at sundown, when his day’s work was ended, he took a quantity of unwhitened rice which isprincipal food for poor, cooked and dried it, and tying it in a square cloth, swung and bundlearound his neck along with a gourd filled with cool, sweet water. Then he lifted his helpless oldmother to his back and stated on his painful journey up the mountain. The road was longand steep; the narrowed road was crossed and re-crossed by many paths made by the huntersand woodcutters. In some place, they mingled in a confused puzzled, but he gave no heed. Onepath or another, it mattered not. On he went, climbing blindly upward – ever upward towardsthe high bare summit of what is known as Obatsuyama, the mountain of the “abandoning of aged”.The eyes of the old mother were not so dim but that they noted the reckless hastening from onepath to another, and her loving heart grew anxious. Her son did not know the mountain’s manypaths and his return might be one of danger, so she stretched forth her hand and snapping thetwigs from brushes as they passed, she...
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