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Folk Legends

Tengu no Kakuremino

Tengu no Kakuremino

Once upon a time, there lived a mischievous young man named Hikoichi. Hikoichi had heard rumors about a cape owned by a tengu - a long-nosed goblin - living in the mountains near his village. this was a magic "cape of hiding" that made the wearer invisible. Hikoichi wanted very much to have it, so he thought up a plan to steal it.

One day, Hikoichi went up the mountain. Peeping into a plain bamboo rod, he shouted at the top of his voice, "Aah, how amazing! I can see all the faraway towns. What a great sight!" Soon the tengu appeared, staring curiously at the piece of bamboo, and said, "Hey, Hikoichi. What's so great about that? Let me look at it." But Hikoichi replied, "Goodness, no. When you look through this, you can see far-off sights up close. There's nothing else in the world like it." This made the tengu even more curious, so he pleaded, "Oh please, Hikoichi. I'll let you use this cape of hiding in return."

At this Hikoichi felt like grinning, but instead he said, "That's such a dirty cape; can it really make me disappear? Oh well, if you insist." So he handed the bamboo rod to the tengu and received the hiding cape in return. The tengu looked eagerly through one end of the bamboo, but saw nothing. "I can't see a thing. How do you get it to work?" Then he realized he had been deceived and exclaimed, "You've tricked me, haven't you?" But by this time, Hikoichi had gone down the mountain wearing the magic cape.