Taro’s Reward is a story about a thoughtful and loving son. He works hard to fulfil his parents’ wishes and gets some unexpected help.
Taro, a young wood cutter lived on a lonely hillside with his parents. He worked very hard but could not earn enough to give his parents everything they needed.
One evening, a cold strong wind started blowing and everyone felt very cold. Taro’s old father wished for a hot cup of sake’. Taro became very sad because he could not afford the drink as it was quite expensive. So he decided to work harder and earn more money to fulfil his father’s wish.
Next morning he got up early and set out to work. He chopped and cut a lot of wood the whole day without resting. He felt very tired and thirsty. Suddenly he heard the sound of rushing water. As he was thirsty, he ran towards the sound although he knew there was no stream or waterfall nearby. To his surprise he saw a beautiful waterfall. He took a sip of the water and it tasted like sake.
Taro quickly filled his pitcher with that water and took it home. His father also drank it and found it heart warming and tasty like sake. He also offered it to an old lady who had come to visit them and also told her the story of the magic waterfall. Soon the news spread throughout the neighbourhood.
Next morning again Taro set out to work early but, on reaching the forest he found a long queue of people who were filling their pitchers. They were soon disappointed because the water did not taste like ‘sake’. It was plain water. They all were looking for Taro so that they could drown him in the waterfall for cheating them. Taro hid behind a rock and saved himself. When the villagers left the place, Taro came out of hiding place and again tasted the water. To him it again tasted as heart warming and delicious as sake.
The story of Taro and the magical fountain reached the king of Japan. The king rewarded Taro for being good and kind to his parents. He named the most beautiful fountain after Taro. The king also wanted all children to love, respect and obey their parents.