“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Friday, August 30, 2013

The legend of the Straw Millionaire

A Japanese Buddhist folk tale about a poor man who becomes wealthy through a series of successive trades, starting with a single piece of straw. The story was likely written during the Heian period and the legend has become a common anecdote in Japanese popular culture.

A hard-working but unlucky peasant named Daietsu-no-suke prays to Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, to help him escape poverty. Kannon tells him to take the first thing he touches on the ground with him and travel west. He stumbles on his way out of the temple and grabs a piece of straw. While traveling, he catches a horsefly that was bothering him and ties it to the straw. In the next town, the buzzing horsefly calms a crying baby and the thankful mother exchanges it for three oranges. Taking the oranges, he continues on his journey and encounters a dehydrated woman. He gives her the oranges and she thanks him by giving him a rich silk cloth. The peasant meets a samurai with a weak horse. The samurai demands the silk cloth in exchange for his horse. The peasant nurses the horse back to health and continues west. A millionaire is impressed by his horse and invites him to his home. The millionaire's daughter turns out to be the same woman he saved with his oranges. Seeing this as a sign, the millionaire insists that the peasant marry his daughter, making him a millionaire.
As part of oral tradition, the details of the story have changed over time and there are several competing accounts of the tale. Some versions portray the peasant as a soldier who trades the horse for rice fields and becomes a successful farmer, omitting the arranged marriage.

Put your horseflies to work! and never be afraid to start small...

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