fIRE NEW YEAR'S DAY

 

Once upon a time there was an old man and woman living in a village. Since they were young they were known for their honesty and hard work. But no matter how hard they worked they could barely buy food for themselves.

On the evening, of New Year’s Eve, they had no rice left, much less a feast for New Year’s Day. “Tomorrow is new year’s day, even if it’s only a few dishes” said the old woman “Yeah, only on New Year’s Day, how I wish we could eat something.” The old man then interrupted saying “I have an idea, why don’t we ask the man next door?” The old man then went to his neighbor. “Hello” The old man next door was a greedy man though and even people in other villages knew of his stinginess. “Hello, Could you please lend us some money to prepare for New Year’s Day?” the man said at the entrance of his neighbors home. The stingy man responded “What? A poor man like you wants to celebrate the New Year’s Day? It’s for rich people! Just drink water and keep on sleeping. No money for poor men! Get out of here! Leave!”

After being shouted at the old man had no choice, he turned and left returning home with both hands empty. The old woman asked “Oji, how did it go?” “He didn’t lend me any money.” “I knew he wouldn’t. It’s going to be a quiet New Year’s Day.” Both sighed over and over again. Finally the old woman said, “I have an idea! We have no money but we do have a huge pile of firewood in our backyard. Why don’t we imagine that we have a silver furnace and a gold pot and boil water in it?” The old man said, “What! Imagine a silver furnace and a gold pot? Yes, that’s a good idea! Fire will be our feast!” “It will be our New Year’s Day celebration. We should at least be thankful we have fire.” They then went and brought a large amount of firewood and made the fire.

They thought that even though they were poor, as long as they stay healthy, they may be able to celebrate a New Year’s feast someday in the future. While they were chatting and looking back on the year, they heard some knocking at their door. It was a man who looked even poorer than the old couple. “Good evening. I am currently traveling to my future destination. Could you please let me spend the night?” Who is this man the old couple said? “As you see our house is so humble. Though we don’t mind letting you stay our neighbor is the richest man in the village. Maybe you should talk to him?”

“I just talked to him and got kicked out of his house. I don’t need anything. Could you please just let me stay one night?” “Oh, okay please stay at our place, then.” The old couple decided to let him stay. “We have nothing to eat, so we are preparing for Fire New Year’s Day with just hot water. Here you must be cold from walking all night. Have some hot water. You’ll feel warmer. Let’s have Fire New Year’s Day together.” The old man then led the visitor to the fire side. When the old woman was about to give him some hot water, the visitor said, “Both of you must be teasing me. Look! The pot is filled with something else, not hot water.” The visitor held in his laughter and pointed to the pot.

The old man said, “We don’t have a single piece of rice in it.” The old woman said “It’s only hot water.” She then turned around towards the pot and jumped back with surprise. “Oji, Oji!!” “Yes, what is it?” “Here, here look in the pot!” “What’s wrong with the pot? Just then the old man looked into the pot and was astonished. The pot was now filled with delicious food! Meat, tofu, kamaboko. Is this kamaboko from Itoman? It’s a place well known for its fishery! “This man is a magician, all we had in the pot, was boiling water!” The old man and woman looked hesitantly at the visitor and said, “Excuse us, But who are you?” “I am a God of good luck. I bring good luck to people. To tell you the truth, I have been looking for a home in which to bring good luck for New Year’s Day. I am very happy that you have treated me so nice. This feast will be the last good luck I can bring to someone this year. Please eat!” “Now I understand. Thank you very much!” They then prayed for the God Miruku.

They had their year end feast, and now they were able to spend their New Year’s Day happily. After a short while, a rooster crowed. The God Miruku heard the cock announcing the dawn of the New Year. He then said to the old couple, “I’ll give the very first luck of the New Year to you both. I have money and youth. Which do you choose? The old man immediately spoke up and said, “I choose youth! I have heard money changes our minds. I’ve never actually had much of it so I really don’t know, but I choose youth. Is that alright with you Oba?” “Yes, that’s fine with me. When we get young again, we can work hard and have a happy life again, right?” The old couple looked very excited.

The God nodded and said, “Go and pick the first water of the New Year and boil it. If you bathe with the hot water, you’ll be able to return to your young state as you have wished for.” Then the God left and the old couple did just as they had been told to do by the God. They picked the first water, boiled it and proceeded to bathe themselves with it. They purified their bodies with the water and as they did they returned to a youthful state. They were restored! The old man was now a fine young man and the old woman was now a beautiful young woman. They jumped with joy. How marvelous it was! Because they were honest, God Miruku brought them luck, and the couple, even though they were not rich, lived happily ever after.

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