An old Woodcutter donates his logs to the River Dragon. In return he receives a boy to look after - the boy has a constantly running nose, and is called Master Snotty Nose. Will he be a blessing or a nuisance to the old man?
Read by Jana
Adapted by Bertie for Storynory
Master Snotty Nose
Hello, This is Jana and I’m here with a short story from Japan.
In a mountain village where the air was fresh and the rivers sang, an old man called Hideo lived. Hideo was a woodcutter who, with every swing of his axe, hoped to sell his wood for a good price. As dawn painted the sky, Hideo would trudge into town, firewood stacked high on his back, calling out, “Firewood! Dry firewood for sale!” But one gloomy day, he was unable to sell a single log.
Weary and disheartened, Hideo passed a pond, the weight of the unsold wood pressing on his aged shoulders. Glancing down at the glistening water below, he thought, “Since no one wants my firewood, perhaps the Dragon god of this pond might appreciate my logs.”
One by one, he offered his bundles to the waters below, whispering a silent prayer with each drop.
As he prayed, bubbles began to rise, and from the water emerged a lovely woman cradling a small boy with the most peculiar trait: his nose constantly dripped!
With a soft voice, the woman explained, "Hideo, the dragon god appreciates your kind gift. To thank you, he has sent you this child, whom you must call Master Snotty Nose.”
Hesitant, Hideo responded, “I'm but a humble man, I can't possibly raise a child.”
She gently reassured him, “Worry not. All he asks for is a meal of marinated prawns. You must feed him three times a day. Do not forget. In return, he'll ensure you lack nothing.”
And just as mysteriously as she appeared, the woman faded into the water, leaving only Master Snotty Nose, who giggled and sniffled, wiping his nose on his sleeve in a comically exaggerated manner.
Hideo made a special place for Master Snotty Nose beside his home's sacred altar. Every day, despite the expense, he went to the market and bought prawns for the hungry child. The boy ate the prawns, but he never said anything in return. The only sound he ever made was a sniffle from his nose.
One evening, when Hideo was feeling cold and hungry, he recalled the promise of the lady of the lake - that the boy would grant him anything he needed.
Hideo murmured hesitantly, “Master Snotty Nose, might you bring me some rice?”
In response, the boy's nose twitched, and with a comical, exaggerated sneeze, “WAH-CHOO!” a mound of rice appeared. Hideo's eyes widened in astonishment.
Emboldened by this, Hideo continued, "Master Snotty Nose, could I have some money?” Another playful "WAH-CHOO!" and coins clinked at his feet.
His heart racing, Hideo's wishes grew bolder, “A new house, perhaps?” With yet another “WAH-CHOO!”, a grand dwelling stood where his modest shack used to be. And when he asked for a warehouse, another sneeze brought forth a majestic storage filled with goods.
It seemed the boy's powers knew no bounds, and Hideo's fortunes multiplied with every request. The once-humble woodcutter's name was whispered in awe across the village as tales of his riches spread.
Hideo's mornings no longer started with treks to the mountains for firewood. Now, his sole duty was a trip to the town's market, not for himself, but to procure the finest prawns for his magical companion, Master Snotty Nose.
But as time passed, and Hideo's pockets grew heavier, his heart grew lighter. Yet, he also grew lazy. Soon, he felt buying shrimp to be tedious. He sighed, "Master Snotty Nose, you've given me so much, but now, I need nothing more. Perhaps you'd be happier in the Dragon Palace."
Master Snotty Nose gave one final comedic snort that would have sent any child into peals of laughter. As the old man chuckled, he blinked, and instantly, the mansion and storehouses vanished. All that was left behind was Hideo's old shack.
Bewildered, Hideo stepped out, looking for Master Snotty Nose. But all he heard was a distant sniffling sound and the soft murmur of the river.