THE STORY OF THE AGED MOTHER (A Japanese folktale)
SETTING: Shinano at the foot the mountain
CHARACTERS: The aged mother- the main character of the story, who has the wisdom that brings to save and benefited their land The young farmer- the son of the aged mother The daimyo-the despotic ruler of Shinano but later on he learned to give importance the old folks.
THEME: “A mother’s love is something that no one can explain. It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain, it is endless and unselfish”.
CONFLICT: Man vs. Man- the only antagonist in the story was the daimio who proclaimed a law to immediately kill all the aged people.
LITERARY MOVEMENT: Realism- the situation in the story was once happened in the history of Japan, not by putting to death the aged people but abandoning them. It views the once history of a certain country and the simplicity of life. The story also contains lesson and the language used was simple and comprehensive. “A mother’s love is something that no one can explain. It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain, it is endless and unselfish”.
Also read: Mother of a Traitor
The story of the aged mother is a folktale from Japan. It tells about how great the love of a mother for her child. It was shown on their situation when the daimio proclaimed a law ordering that all the aged people should be put to death. The order filled the heart of the poor farmer a great sorrow for he loves his mother that much. Instead of putting her mother to death in the hand of the cruel law he decided to give his mother a kind mode of death. He took his mother to the bare summit of Obatsuyama- the mountain of the “Abandoning of the Aged” and planned to abandon there.
On their way to the said mountain the heart of the loving mother grew anxious for she knew that her son will on danger on his way back because he was not familiar to the many mountain paths. What the mother did she snapped the twigs of the bushes they passed and drop it silently on the path to serves as a guide on the way back of her poor child. “Let not thine eyes be blind, my son. ” “The mountain road is full of danger. Look carefully and follow the path which holds the piles of twigs. They will guide thee to the familiar way farther down”.
These lines shows the unconditional love that the mother has for her son, an unselfish love that smote the heart of the poor child and made him cried and decided to take his mother with him backed to their humble hut in the valley. He hid his mother on a walled closet for food beneath the kitchen. Time passed and they both feel secure and safe until one day the daimyo sent a messenger and again demanded on the people of the valley present him a with a rope of ashes. To the despair of the poor farmer he told the mews to his hidden mother.
And her mother luckily come up with the idea and told him to make a rope of twisted straw and the other thing to do. The despotic ruler was pleased of what he had witnessed and asks the poor farmer if where he obtained that kind of wisdom. The poor farmer stated everything and daimio listened and meditated in silence. Upon hearing the story he now decided to abolish cruel law, and sees the importance of the elder to shape the society and said “with the crown of snow, there cometh wisdom”.
The story shows us two important virtue- love and wisdom. Mother’s love is nothing can compare nor measured; it is pure and unselfish and made of reverence. Truly we can say that we can found heaven underneath mother’s feet for she fought cruelty with love and affection and true hero for bringing out our courage to face the harsh realities of life. Most of all serves as our courage, weakness and strength that guided us to walk through our journey called life.
In the saying “with the crown of snow, there cometh wisdom”- the crown of snow is pertaining to the elders, emphasizes the importance of them in shaping our society. The word “there cometh wisdom” explained that as we get old our everyday experiences makes us wit, and as we commit mistakes learning comes. The old folks who undergone on the different challenges in life and had survive serves as our guiding path because their varied experiences teach us to become wise; wise enough to know right from wrong.
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