One-Sun Boy: A Japanese Folktale


Once upon a time, there was an old man and woman. They wanted a baby very badly, even though they were very old. The woman prayed. She asked for a baby, no matter how small. Soon after, they had a baby, but the baby was very small. He was the size of one sun. A sun was a kind of a Japanese coin that was only one inch high. Because of this, the couple called their tiny son One-Sun Boy.

One-Sun Boy got older, but he did not grow taller. He stayed the same size. One-Sun Boy felt like he lived in a world of giants. He did not feel like he had a place in the world. He wanted to become a samurai, which is a kind of warrior.

One day, One-Sun Boy decided it was time that he left his parents’ home. He took a bowl as his boat, chopsticks as his paddles, and a needle as his sword. In this way, One-Sun Boy rowed down the strongest river in Japan to the great city beyond.

One-Sun Boy soon found a job in the city. He became a clerk for a rich lord in a large palace. The princess, the rich lord’s daughter, was very pretty. One-Sun Boy became friends with her and they spent a lot of time talking together.

One day, One-Sun Boy and the princess took a walk in the woods. All of a sudden, they were attacked by an evil oni. An oni is a demon. The oni wanted to kidnap the princess. One-Sun Boy tried to protect her by stabbing the oni’s foot with his sword. The oni was surprised that something so small could be so annoying. He grabbed One-Sun Boy and swallowed him in one gulp. Then the oni moved to capture the princess. But before he could grab her, he suddenly froze for he was being attacked from the inside.

One-Sun Boy was inside the oni’s stomach. He began to stab the oni with his sword again and again and again.

The oni started to yell, “Please stop. Ow, It hurts! Stop, stop, I beg you!”

One-Sun Boy did not stop and did not give up. The oni had no choice but to spit him out. Then the oni ran away for he became very afraid of One-Sun Boy. The oni never came back to bother the city again.

One-Sun Boy was a hero. He saved the princess and the rest of the city. From then on, he was a samurai and his new job was to protect the princess. One-Sun Boy was happy. He found his place in this world.