History and Cultural assets Document archives

Utsunomiya`s Folktales

Joko-ji Temple ② Apology Deed of Fox

In old days, no women were admitted to Joko-ji Temple. Therefore men did all works on the temple. It is a story of the time when an old man called Shinzaemon and an Osho, a chief Buddhist bonze lived together.
When the Osho once goes for a Buddhist memorial service for the temple parishioners and returns home, the old man was not at home who always meets the bonze at the door.
While the chief bonze searched about for him here and there, a big snoring was heard from a clump of bamboos. When he wondered and approached it, a big fox was taking a nap, putting the old man`s clothes on.   The Osho called for the old man in the evening and told, “Listen, you worked very well for me and for this temple. But I happened to find what the old man really was today. This is your last day. Will you leave this temple today at all?”
Then the fox shed tears in surprise, begging, “I will never show what I really am in future. I am full of pleasant memories after I came to serve this temple. Please let me stay here all the time from now on, too, as I promise to work much harder than before.”
As the Osho came to feel sorry for the fox and ordered, “OK, then put what you mentioned now in writing,” and he made the fox write a deed. The fox of Shinzaemon worked well for the temple and the chief bonze until he died.
Joko-ji Temple has kept the deed that the Osho made the fox write at that time.