So the badger came into the hut and said: “If the money which you required had been for unlawful purposes, I could easily have procured as much as ever you might have wanted; but when I heard that it was to be offered to a temple for masses for your soul, I thought that, if I were to steal the hidden treasure of some other man, you could not apply to a sacred purpose money which had been obtained at the expense of his sorrow. So I went to the island of Sado, and gathering the sand and earth which had been cast away as worthless by the miners, fused it afresh in the fire; and at this work I spent months and days.” As the badger finished speaking, the priest looked at the money which it had produced, and sure enough he saw that it was bright and new and clean; so he took the money, and received it respectfully, raising it to his head.
“And so you have had all this toil and labour on account of a foolish speech of mine? I have obtained my heart’s desire, and am truly thankful.”
As he was thanking the badger with great politeness and ceremony, the beast said: “In doing this I have but fulfilled my own wish; still I hope that you will tell this thing to no man.”
“Indeed,” replied the priest, “I cannot choose but tell this story. For if I keep this money in my poor hut, it will be stolen by thieves: I must either give it to some one to keep for me, or else at once offer it up at the temple. And when I do this, when people see a poor old priest with a sum of money quite unsuited to his station, they will think it very suspicious, and I shall have to tell the tale as it occurred; but I shall say that the badger that gave me the money has ceased coming to my hut, you need not fear being waylaid, but can come, as of old, and shelter yourself from the cold.” To this the badger nodded assent; and as long as the old priest lived, it came and spent the winter nights with him.
From this story, it is plain that even beasts have a sense of gratitude: in this quality dogs excel all other beasts. Is not the story of the dog of Totoribe Yorodzu written in the Annals of Japan? I have heard that many anecdotes of this nature have been collected and printed in a book, which I have not yet seen; but as the facts which I have recorded relate to a badger, they appear to me to be passing strange.
[Footnote 3: A Buddhist prayer, in which something approaching to the sounds of the original Sanscrit has been preserved. The meaning of the prayer is explained as, “Save us, eternal Buddha’” Many even of the priests who repeat it know it only as a formula, without understanding it.]
[Footnote 4: An island on the west coast of Japan, famous for its gold mines.]
[Footnote 5: The author of the tale.]
WHY BROTHER BEAR HAS NO TAIL