Once upon a time in a part of india there lived an old man and his devoted son. The country had a rich king who enjoyed a very comfortable life.
One day the king decided he wanted a better and richer land. He thought that to do this he needed only young people then the land would become younger, more exciting and prosperous. The king ordered his people to throw away all the people who were too old to work. They were shocked (dottenshita) but they had to obey him, if they didn't there was a terrible punishment.
So the people threw away all their old people and the old people cried with sorrow as they said goodbye.
There was, however, one devoted son who just couldn't bring himself to throw away his father, instead he dug a hole under the house and his father hid in it.
Not before too long a wisdom contest was held with the neighbouring country.
each country made-up riddles for the other. The neighbouring country solved everything but the king's country had very difficult riddles and could not answer them all.
The king's ministers didn't know what to do. If they couldn't solve all the riddles the king and the country would be laughed at for being stupid.
The king did not want to be laughed at so he told his people that if anyone could thread a piece of string through all the holes in a ball of grass he would reward them with anything they wanted.
When the son returned home he told his father about the king's request. On hearing the request, his old father said,
"It's very simple. if you tie a very, very thin piece of string around an ant and put honey at one end of the grass ball, the ant will go through all the holes in the grass ball. You can then tie a bigger piece of string to the small piece of string and pull it through !"
The son was delighted to hear his father's solution and ran to tell the king.
The king immediately tried the old man's idea and it worked perfectly. This difficult problem had been solved by someone in his country so the king was no longer ashamed that they had lost the wisdom contest.
The king asked the son what he wanted for his reward.
The son said to the king,
"I couldn't throw away my old father and so i have hidden him against your majesties orders. People become old, weak and sick but the older we get the wiser we become. Old people have a lifetime of experiences and so they have much to teach us and show us. Please don't banish the old people to the mountains."
And so the king stopped his cruel order and the king truly regretted that he had ordered the old people to be thrown away. When the old people returned, the country became very prosperous and the people lived the happiest of lives.
Tottsuparekkopi (The end)