The Magic Rice, a Springtime Fairytale from Japan

It is springtime and the abundance of Mother Earth is arising, sprouting up green and lush. Her seasons of abundance will soon be with us! Here is a Fairy Tale from Japan, shared with us by Sharifa Oppenheimer, that gives the children images of generosity and the abundance that is created by sharing.

The Magic Rice


Once upon a time, in the far away land of Japan, there lived a poor woodcutter and his wife. One morning at dawn, they discovered there was only enough rice to make three cakes for his midday meal. When this was prepared, they bid each other farewell, and the woodcutter set off into the forest.

When the sun rode high in the heavens, he stopped working, and sat down upon a stump to eat. Taking out one rice cake, he set it down beside him on the stump. But it rolled off the stump, onto the ground and down a small hole. Seeing this, he took out another, and in order to take a drink of water, he set it on the stump. It too rolled off the stump, onto the ground, and down the hole.

Now, the woodcutter was hungry, and he determined to retrieve his rice cakes. He squatted beside the stump, and peered down the hole. It was then that he heard the tiny voices. So, he took his last rice cake and rolled it down the hole. Suddenly he found himself rolling, rolling down.

When he woke up, he looked this way and that, and discovered he was in the underground kingdom of the mice. There he saw hundreds of mice all eating the crumbs of his rice cakes. Together they sang a song: “Rice man, rice man…nice man, nice man…rolling, rolling down”. Now the mice took him on a stroll through their underground world. He saw their tiny nests and burrows, their babies and children playing. Finally they took him into the hall of their King.

The Mouse King said, “Because you have cared for my people and have fed them, now I will give you a gift in return.” He gave to the woodcutter a small silk bag, just the size of your baby fingernail. The man thanked the King, and all the mice began to sing again “ Rice man, rice man…nice man, nice man…rolling, rolling up!”

The next thing the man knew, he was yawning and stretching beside the stump, as the sun was setting behind the hills. “Oh, no!” he cried, “I have slept the afternoon away, and have cut no wood!” But upon standing up, he found in his hand the tiny silk bag. Now he knew it had not been a dream! He hurried home to tell his wife all about it.

Next morning, they went to the cupboard to prepare the morning meal, but there was not so much as even one morsel to eat. This saddened the poor people, but then they thought to look into the tiny bag given by the Mouse King. Inside they found three grains of rice. “It is enough for one tiny rice cake,” the wife said.

Taking her bowl, she poured out the rice grains: one, two, three…..four, five, six!!….seven, eight, nine!! Each time she shook the bag, more rice fell out, till the bowl was full and running over. Still, there was more and more rice! There was enough rice for their morning meal, and midday meal, also. The bag was never empty!

There were enough rice cakes for the children of the village, who gathered outside their door. There were enough rice cakes for the children to take home to their families, and enough for the whole village. Each time they shook the magic bag, rice came tumbling out. And from that day until this day, because of the generous woodcutter, there has plenty of rice for all!


Today’s blog was shared with us by Sharifa Oppenheimer