Once upon a time somewhere in Japan, there lived an old couple．
The old husband loved to drink sake and he always drank too much．He also loved gambling and women; the three worse vices or 'san aku doraku' (three bad things and a wild life)．
The husband and wife always fought but the wife was a gentle and religious person and every time her husband went out, she prayed to Kannon-sama (the goddess of mercy) that her husband would change．
One day she was praying to Kannon-sama when her husband came home earlier than usual．
He surprised her and she hurriedly put the small figure of Kannon-sama into the top folds of her kimono．(It is a Buddhist custom that praying should be secret, if someone hears or sees you praying, Buddha's power will disappear and whatever you prayed for will not happen．)
Her husband immediately accused her of hiding something from him．He said
"What did you put in your kimono? Show me now!"
But she said "Nothing! Nothing!"
They started to fight again but the husband was so angry that he grabbed a nearby log of wood and hit his wife on the head with it．He hit her so hard that it killed her．
The husband realised he had done something terrible and he carried his wife's body to a bamboo thicket at the back of their house and buried her there．It was just before dawn．He then went back to the house．
But when he got there he was shocked to see his wife still there and alive．He thought he was dreaming and ran back to the bamboo thicket to see if his wife was still here．He quickly undug the grave but he soon discovered that it was empty．
He couldn't believe his eyes．He thought his wife must be a goblin cat．He had killed her just a few hours ago but now she was alive and back in the house．He fell into a cold sweat．
He went back into the house and tried to talk to the woman who appeared to be his wife． She said
"Yes, I am your wife whom you hit on the head with a log of wood．"
The man's heart almost stopped beating with fear, but he said
"How can you be here speaking to me if you're dead?" The wife said
"I prayed to Kannon-sama every day that you would change your ways but you didn't and you killed me．However, my faithful Kannon-sama substituted a vision of me for the real me, so you didn't kill me at all．" (Kannon-sama will substitute herself for a person in need．)
On saying this the wife pulled-out the Kannon-sama from her kimono, it had a deep dent on it's head．
After all that had happened, the husband changed dramatically．He too began to pray to Kannon-sama every day．He also became gentle and caring and he and his wife lived happily from this time on．