Kenji let out a scream and jumped to his feet. He had heard of these forest goblins with their red faces and long noses but had never seen one.
’Now what could be so terrible that it would make a young boy cry?’ the tengu asked.
When Kenji’s mother is ill, he seeks help from his wealthy uncle, who refuses to lend them money. But a kindly tengu comes to his aid, giving him magic sandals which produce money when the wearer falls over. The catch is that ever coin leaves the wearer slightly shorter. Kenji is careful, but his greedy uncle soon hears of the magic, and learns the hard way that being greedy is dangerous.
‘Kenji’s Magic Sandals’ is the first of Two Tengu Tales from Japan. In the second story, ‘The Invisible Cloak’, greedy Hikoichi tricks a tengu and steals a coat that makes him invisible. But when the invisibility wears off in a public place, Hikoichi is left exposed and naked.
Two Tengu Tales from Japan are folk tales, retold by Duncan Ball from traditional Japanese folklore. The illustrations, inspired by classic Japanese art bring the mythical, magical tengu and the villages of classic Japan to life.
Suitable for classroom sharing or private reading, Two Tengu Tales from Japan offer an engaging introduction to Japanese folklore.
Two Tengu Tales from Japan, retold by Duncan Ball, illustrated by David Allan
Christmas Press, 2015