Sunday, February 22, 2009

How Jackyo Became Rich

A long time ago there was a young man whose name was Jackyo. He was
very poor, and by his daily labor could earn barely enough for his
food and nothing at all for his clothes. He had a little farm at some
distance from the village in which he lived, and on it raised a few
poor crops.

One pleasant afternoon Jackyo started off to visit his farm. It was
late when he reached it, and after he had finished inspecting his
crops, he turned back homewards. But the bright day had gone and the
sun had set. Night came on quickly, and the way was dark and lonely.

At last he could no longer see the road. Not a star was to be seen,
and the only sounds he heard were the sad twitterings of the birds
and soft rustling of the leaves as they were moved by the wind.

At last he entered a thick forest where the trees were very big. "What
if I should meet some wild beast," thought Jackyo; but he added half
aloud, "I must learn to be brave and face every danger."

It was not long before he was very sure that he could hear a deep
roar. His heart beat fast, but he walked steadily forward, and soon
the roar was repeated, this time nearer and more distinctly, and he
saw in the dim light a great wild ox coming towards him.

He found a large hole in the trunk of a huge tree. "I will pass the
night here in this tree," he said to himself.

In a little while an old man appeared. His body was covered with coarse
hair and he was very ugly. He looked fiercely at Jackyo from head to
foot and said: "What are you thinking of to come in here? Do you not
know that this is the royal castle of the king of evil spirits?"

Jackyo became more frightened than before and for a long time he
could not speak, but at last he stammered: "Excuse me, sir, but I
cannot go home on account of the dark night. I pray you to let me
rest here for a short time."

"I cannot let you stay here, because our king is not willing to help
any one who does not belong to his kingdom. If he did so, his kingdom
would be lost. But what is your name? Do you know how to sing?" said
the old man.

"My name is Jackyo, and I know a little bit about singing," replied

"Well," said the old man, "if you know any song, sing for me." Now
Jackyo knew but one song, and that was about the names of the days of
the week except Sunday. He did not like to sing it, but the old man
urged him, saying: "If you do not sing, I will cut your head off." So
Jackyo began to sing.

It happened that the king [5] of the evil spirits, whose name was
Mensaya, heard Jackyo's song and was very much interested in it. He
called a servant, named Macquil, and said: "Macquil, go downstairs and
see who is singing down there, and when you find him, bring him to me."

Jackyo went before the king, bowed to the floor, touching the carpet
with his forehead, and stood humbly before the king.

"Let me hear your song," said the king. So Jackyo, with great respect,
sang the only song he knew. Here it is:

    Mon-day, Tues-day, Wednesday, Thurs-day, Fri-day, Sat-ur-day.

While he was singing, all the evil spirits in the cave gathered around
him to hear his song, and Mensaya asked him to sing it over and over
again. They were all so pleased with it that Mensaya ordered Macquil
to give Jackyo a large quantity of gold and silver as a reward for
his beautiful song.

When the morning came Jackyo returned home, full of joy, and became
known as the richest man in the village.

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