The Yanagita Kunio Guide to the Japanese Folk Tale

Find of the day: Fanny Hagin Mayer's translation of the Yanagita Kunio Guide to the Japanese Folk Tale.

65. "If Anyone Sees You, Turn into a Frog"

There was a somewhat foolish novice at a certain temple. Once when he received a coin with a hole in it for going on an errand, he strung it onto a piece of straw and buried it in a corner of the yard. While he buried it, he said over and over, "If I dig you up, be a coin. If somebody else digs you up, turn into a frog." Whenever he received a coin after that for an errand, he always buried it with the same admonition. The old priest noticed this. He dug up all the coins one day and put a frog into the hole instead. When the boy came as usual to bury a coin, he discovered the coins were gone and a frog came jumping out. He cried, "Wait wait, I'm not somebody else! I'm me, I'm me! If you jump like that, the string will break." He ran after the frog as the old priest held his sides laughing.

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