There are some anecdotes in Japan that fairy tales come with a metaphor of a scary story. I believe these do not only exist in Japan but also in your country, aren’t they? Today, let’s enjoy listening to this kind of story. This is one of the favorite old story of Japanese children, "Omusubi Kororin" which is a nice story with a cute title, where the content is truly frightening.
What kind of story is this "Omusubi Kororin"?
Long time ago, there was an honest and hard working old man who was cutting tree in the mountain.
In the afternoon, the old man opened the lunch packet of “Omusubi” which was prepared by his wife, but inadvertently he dropped it into the hole under a tree.
Then, a cute voice was heard from the inside of the hole. So, the old man purposely dropped another “omusubi” inside the hole again. Again, he heard the voice again. The old man enjoyed listening to the singing voice until he has jumped into the hole himself.
The place which the man fell down was actually the house of the rats. The old man was enthusiastically welcomed by the rats, treated with meals, and even given with some gold coins as souvenirs.
Another greedy old man who knew about it and wished to imitate the incident has come to the mountain with a lot of “omusubi”. He found the hole and then dropped a lot of “omusubi” into the hole. After that, he jumped into the hole himself also.
The greedy old man who came into the house of the rat has squealed imitating the cat with the purpose of chasing out the rat away and grab the gold coins from the rats. However, the strategy was failed and the greedy old man was bitten painfully by the rats and escaped back to his house.
This is just a simple story with the moral of we shall not be greedy.
Why is the story scary?
In Japan, rats were represented as "Nesumi" and were said to be "residents of Ne no kuni” in the past. "Ne no kuni" means the entrance of the "Hell" where one goes after they dead. So, both of the old men were actually dropped to the entrance of the death world.
At the entrance, the old man who had a good deed has received the gift from the rats, while the old man with the bad behavior was treated badly by the rats. Instead of treated badly, the greedy old man might be transferred directly to the death world as well.
The story is psychologically interesting
The hole which “omusubi” fell was actually the entrance of the death world, and at the same time, it represents something that exists in the mind. No matter what barrier you have, there will be deep darkness spreading deeply inside your heart. Story giving hint that the evil spirit of “greediness” is actually lurking in all of our minds.