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“Wise Old Woman” By Yoshiko Uchida

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  • Pages: 10
  • Word count: 2454
  • Category: Books

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* Young lord (of village)
* Grandmother
* Young villager
* Lord Higa
* Wise Old Men
* The setting is In the Mountain and in the Village in the western hill of Japan Conflict:
* Elders being exiled to the mountains to die at the age of 71 * Mother of young villager needs to make a decision about his mother * Lord Higa threatens the village

* Many long years ago, there was a cruel ruler who thought old peoples should be banished and should not be lived. So he make a low that is anyone who is over seventy-one must be banished from the village and left in the mountain. The ruler was strict and gives harsh punishment anyone who disobeys him so no one disobeyed him. Except for one. The young man didn’t let his mother die in the mountain. He kept his mom secretly. But unfortunately, another ruler went to their village to conquer. Another ruler was also cruel so before he conquers them, he gave villagers three hard tasks. So the villagers thought each other to find the answer but they couldn’t. Finally, the young farmer asked to his old mother. Every time he asks, his mother gave him a right answer. So because of the young farmer’s old and wise mother, the villagers could be existed and not be conquered from others. In the end, the evil ruler of the village realizes the need for older people and noticed older people are wise and have more experiments then any others. Finally, he deleted his law! Plot:

* The Wise Old Woman many years ago the was an arrogant and a cruel young lord who ruled over a small village in the western hills of japan , who thought that the old people are neither useful nor able to work for living so he ordered the villager that the one who’s parents turn over the 71 years they have to take them to the mountains to be banished and die and he said too that who will not do the rule will be arrested and go to the mountains too and there was a young farmer who used to send his mother to the mountains and he was very sad and when he found that she still thinking about him he took her back and didn’t send her to the mountains and he had hidden her in a room in the kitchen for 2 years and no one knows that she is alive and then someone called Lord Higa send the ruler of the village that says that if he didn’t solve the threats he sent lord higa will conquer the village and make it his own, so the first threat was and the ruler said that it’s an impossible thing so he asked his wise men and they said that its impossible too then he offered the villager some gold for the one who will solve the threat and the young farmer asked his mother and she answered him so he ran to the ruler and told him the answer , then the lord Higa sent him another terrible threat and it was so the ruler, wise men and villagers couldn’t answer the threat again and said that its impossible but the young farmer went to his mother again and asked her and she answered him so ran to the ruler and told him the answer again and took some gold, then after a few days the Lord Higa sent his last threat that was and happened what happened in the threats before and the young farmer went to his mother as usual but she said that it’s the easiest one and she answer him and he ran to the ruler and told him the answer but the ruler asked the farmer a question and he wanted him to be honest and the question was the farmer didn’t lie and told him about everything but the ruler instead of being angry he laughed and he have changed his rule and his opinion too about old people and he believed that they are wise.

* A dramatic Japanese folktale that tells the story of a cruel overlord and a young farmer’s elderly mother. The overlord threatens to destroy the farmer’s village unless the young lord can perform three seemingly impossible tasks. How the elderly mother accomplishes the tasks and saves the village is a satisfying story brought to life with remarkable full-color paintings. Often the younger generation is impatient with old people: they can’t handle new equipment, they are physically frail, they can’t keep up with developments. Especially children who have never had the company of grandparents have not experienced the benefits of the wisdom and life experience that comes with age. This Japanese fable tells how a lord was forced to learn to appreciate the wisdom of the elderly. Climax:

* When the evil ruler ordered his towns people to do the 3 tasks for him, the young man asked his mother who was very wise after living so long, and was able to solve the tasks for the evil ruler. In the end, the evil ruler realizes the need for older people.

* At the conclusion to “The Wise Old Woman”, the resolution is that the elderly people of the village will no longer be taken up the mountain. Denouement:  Narrator 1 — Narrator 2 — Cruel lord — Group of warriors Old woman — Farmer — Lord Higa

Narrator 1 – Long ago in the wooded hills of Japan, a young farmer and his aged mother lived in a village ruled by a cruel young lord.

Cruel lord – Anyone over seventy is no longer useful and must be taken into the mountains and left to die.

Narrator 2 – When the young farmer’s mother reached the dreaded age, he could not bear to think of what he must do.

Old woman – It is time now for you to take me into the mountains

Narrator 1 – So, early the next morning, the farmer lifted his mother to his back and reluctantly set off up the steep mountain path. Soon he heard his mother breaking off small twigs from the trees they passed.

Grandmother – I’m marking the path for you, my son, so you will not lose your way going home.

Narrator 2 – The young farmer could bear it no longer.

Farmer – Mother, I cannot leave you behind in the mountains. We are going home together, and I will never, ever leave you.

Narrator 1 – And so, in the dark shadows of night, the farmer carried his mother back home. He dug a deep cave beneath the kitchen. Two years passed, and no one in the village knew of the farmer’s secret.

Narrator 2 – One day three fierce warriors in full armor galloped into the small village like a sudden mountain storm.

Group of warriors – We come from the mighty Lord Higa to warn you. When three suns have set and three moons have risen, he will come to conquer your village.

Cruel lord – Please, I will do anything if you will spare me.

Group of warriors – Lord Higa knows no mercy, but he does respect a clever mind. Solve the three impossible tasks written upon this scroll and you and your village will be saved.

Narrator 1 – Then, tossing the scroll at the young lord, they galloped off as quickly as they had come. The cruel lord opened up the scroll and read it.

Cruel lord – First, make a coil of rope out of ashes. Second, run a single thread through the length of a crooked log. Third, make a drum that sounds without being beaten.

Narrator 2 – The young lord quickly gathered the six wisest people of his village and ordered them to solve the impossible tasks. When morning came the wisest people in the village had no answers. They tried seeking help from the gods.

Wise old man 1 – Help us!

Narrator 1 – But the gods remained silent, so they went to the clever badger of the forest, for they knew the animals are sometimes wiser than men.

Wise old man 2 – Surely, you can help us.

Badger – (Shaking his head) As clever as I am, I see no way to solve such impossible tasks as these.

Narrator 1 – The six wise people returned to the young lord without any answers.

Cruel lord – You are all stupid fools!

Narrator 2 – The cruel lord threw the wise men into his darkest dungeon, and he posted a sign in the village square offering a bag of gold to anyone who could help him.

Narrator 1 – The farmer hurried home.

Farmer – The wisest men in the village could not answer the 3 questions given. What are we to do? We will soon be conquered by yet another cruel lord.

Old woman – Bring me a coil of rope, a crooked log with a hole running through the length of it, and a small hand drum.

Narrator 2 – As soon as her son brought her the supplies she set to work. First, she soaked the coil of rope in salt water and dried it well. Then, setting a match to it, she let it burn. But it did not crumble. It held its shape.

Old woman – For the rope of ash I will soak the coil of rope in salt water and dry it well. Then I will set a match to it and let it burn. This will help it hold its shape. Next I will put a little honey at one end of the crooked log, and at the other, I will placed an ant with a silk thread tied to it.

Narrator 1 – The farmer watched in amazement as the tiny ant wound its way through the hole to get to the honey, taking the silk thread with it. And the second task was done.

Old woman – Finally, I will opened one side of this small hand drum and seal a bumblebee inside. As the bee beats itself against the sides of the drum trying to escape, the drum will sound without being beaten. And the third task will be done.

Narrator 2 – The lord was astonished when the farmer presented the three completed tasks to the young lord.

Cruel lord – Surely a young man such as you could not be wiser than the wisest people of our village. Tell me what person of wisdom helped you solve these impossible tasks?

Narrator 1 – The young farmer could not lie.

Farmer – I have kept by mother hidden for the past two years it is she who solved each of your tasks and saved our village from Lord Higa.

Narrator 2 – The farmer waited to be thrown into the dungeon for disobeying the lord. But instead of being angry, the young lord was silent and thoughtful.

Cruel lord – I have been wrong. Never again will I send our old people into the mountains to die. Henceforth they will be treated with respect and honor, and will share with us the wisdom of their years.

Narrator 1 – Whereupon the young lord freed everyone in his dungeon. Next he summoned the old woman and gave her three bags of gold for saving the village.

Narrator 2 – Finally he allowed the farmer to march with his finest warriors to the Lord Higa’s castle. The long procession wound slowly over the mountain roads carrying its precious cargo. And it was the young farmer who carried the lord’s banner fluttering high in the autumn wind.

Narrator 1 – When they presented to Lord Higa the rope of ash and the threaded log and the drum that sounded without being beaten, he stroked his chin thoughtfully.

Lord Higa – I see there is much wisdom in your small village for you have solved three truly impossible tasks. Go home and tell your lord that his people deserve to live in peace.

Narrator 2 – From that day on, Lord Higa never threatened the small village again. The villagers prospered, and the young farmer and his mother lived in peace and plenty for all the days of their lives. Theme:

* Elders possess knowledge and wisdom about life.
* Elders deserve honor and respect
* Uchida tells the story of a village where old people are taken to the mountains and left to die. One young farmer refuses to let his mother die, so instead he builds a secret basement in his home and hides his mother there for years. Then one day, Lord Higa sends word that the entire village will be conquered unless they can solve three impossible tasks. First, they must create a rope made of ash. Second, they must pull a thread through the length of a curved log. Finally, they must make a drum that makes sounds without being beaten. For days, the wise men of the village toil and struggle, but they cannot solve these riddles. Then the young farmer tells his mother of how the village will be destroyed if they cannot accomplish the impossible tasks.

She has them bring her supplies, and when they do, she proceeds to solve each of the riddles in turn. She makes the rope of ash by taking a rope, soaking it in salt water, then drying it and burning it. The rope maintains its shape, though its composition turns to ash. She puts honey on one end of a log and ties a thread to an ant. The ant pulls the thread through to the other end. She takes a small drum and puts a bee inside. As the bee flies around, it makes noise on the drum without anyone having to beat it. The wise old woman saves the village, and from that day forward, old people are no longer forced to the mountains to die. They are instead respected and revered for their experience and wisdom. This little book shows many elements of Japanese culture. First, the illustrations demonstrate both traditional dress and traditional architecture. The story itself shows a historical governing system of local lords and regional lords. Finally, the overall theme of respect and reverence for elders is an element of Japanese culture that is prevalent throughout the story.

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