"Every Hero Has A Story." My Blogging From A to Z theme bridges the summer library reading programs throughout the U.S. with storytelling opportunities, ideas, and activities.
I was fortunate to live in Honshu, Japan for 3 years while my dad served in the Air Force at Tachikawa Air Base. I attended 2nd - 4th grade and loved to hear the Japanese folktales. This is one of my favorites.
1. Husband and wife pray for a baby at a nearby shrine and are granted a sweet baby boy, no bigger than an inch. They called his Issun Boshi or "Little One Inch" and they showered him with love.
2. I. B. asks questions about where the river flows and finds out it runs to Kyoto, the capitol of Japan where the Samurai live.
3. In time, he grows up and tells his parents he would like to become a Samurai and find adventure. Parents are upset but let him leave with the help of a rice bowl for his boat, a chopstick for his paddle, and a needle for his sword. (What more could a boy want?)
4. Task of travelling by water was difficult - had to survive slams into rocks, rapids, and falling over waterfalls - but he does because he never gives up, stays determined, and has a goal in mind!
5. Reaches Kyoto and persuades a famous samurai warrior to work for him as a guard and playmate to the Lord's daughter, Princess Haruhime.
6. Time passes and they are the best of friends - reading books, telling stories, playing drums and the koto, and writing haiku.
7. Princess wants to pray at the Kiyomizu Temple in the spring so father grants that as long as she brings warriors and Issum Boshi to protect her from oni (rumored demon kidnapping young ladies)
8. All is fine until dark when they begin journey back home. Oni demon jumps from brush - warriors run away like scared babies.
9. Issun jumps up to the rescue but once the demon sees how small he is, he swallows him whole.
10. Hero time: Issun Boshi pulls out his needle and continues to stab the Oni until the demon swears he'll be good. The Oni spits out Boshi and runs away.
11. Princess notices a magic hammer, left by the Oni and asks Issun Boshi to make any wish. I.B. wishes for…..drum roll….to be 6 feet tall - YES!
12. Wish comes true. He fulfills his dreams and becomes a reknown samurai, marries the princess, and they live happily ever after.
The PDF below is my version of Issun Boshi: