Stories To Grow On
Parents' Choice Silver Award
The Man Who Bought A Dream
There was a man once, and he bought a dream. His friend, the one who had dreamed the dream, tried to talk him out of buying it. After all, it was only a dream, and why would anyone waste money on something so worthless. But the man was determined to pay his friend so he could have the dream.
Now, the man who bought the dream was very poor, and he was always struggling to make ends meet, so when his wife found out that he had spent their precious little bit of money on someone else's dream, she was very upset.
"How could you be so foolish!?", she asked, "What are you thinking? Why would you want to buy someone else's dream?"
And her husband replied. He said, "I think this dream could be worth something. I was watching my friend sleeping, and listen.... just as he was waking up, he yawned, and a little bee flew out of his nose. Then, he told me his dream. It was about a jar of gold, and this jar of gold was buried underneath a nandin bush, and the nandin bush was next to a tall pine tree which was at the foot of a little mountain in the gardens behind a big mansion. And he said this mansion belongs to the richest man in Osaka. And, I really think I have to go there, and so that's why I bought the dream."
So, even though his wife was still very upset, the man set off on his journey. It was a long way to Osaka. It was 400 miles to get there, and it took many days for the man to get to Osaka. He had to sleep along the side of the road, and he had to beg for food.
Well, when he arrived in Osaka, the man began asking the people in the streets there, who was the richest man in the city, and they told him about a man named Kiibe-san. And they sent him in that direction. So, sure enough, when he came to Kiibe-san's address, there was this huge mansion. And the man who bought the dream was thrilled. He went right up to the house, and knocked on the door, and a servant came to the door.</p>
He asked "Is this Kiibe-san's house?"
"Yes, it is," the servant said.
"Well, do you have a little mountain in your back garden?"
"Yes, we have."
"Well, is there a big pine tree by the mountain?"
"Yes, there is."
The man was getting more excited with every question.
"And, is there a nandin bush beside the pine tree?"
"Yes, there is."
Now the man who bought the dream was really delighted. And he asked them, could he stay there for the night. So they let him stay. Well, that evening the man told Kiibe-san all about the dream which he had bought, and all about the jar of gold. And he said that he would share some of the gold with Kiibe-san if he would only have his servants to help dig up the jar the next day.
Well after everyone was in bed, Kiibe-san kept thinking, "...could there really be this jar of gold?" He woke up his servants and he told them to begin digging under the nandin bush. Late in the middle of the night, they finally came to the top of the jar. Now Kiibe-san was ready to take this gold for himself, but when he opened the jar, a little bee flew out, and the jar was empty. Kiibe-san thought about the man who bought the dream, and he began laughing and laughing. Then he ordered his servants to bury the jar again.
Now the next morning, the man who bought the dream was very excited. And he went out with the servants, and began digging under the nandin bush, hoping to find the jar. For the servants, the digging was easier this time. Finally, they found the top of the jar, and the man who bought the dream screamed with delight, "There it is! This is it!"
Then the man who bought the dream slowly uncovered the jar and slowly and carefully removed the top. And then then he gasped. He could not believe his eyes. The jar was empty!
Now the man who bought the dream didn't know what to do. He felt so foolish now because he had bought this dream that turned out not to be true. He was completely brokenhearted. And with his head down, he thanked Kiibe-san and then he set out on his journey back home. He was so distressed now, that he even thought of not returning to his wife. How could he face her now? He had spent their last few coins on a worthless dream which wasn't even true. So he took a long, long time to get home, thinking over and over that he should not go.
But, the man who bought the dream had no other place to go, and he knew that he loved his wife no matter how poor they might be. So the man who bought the dream finally arrived back in his own village.
As he came close to his house, his wife saw her husband through the window, and she came running out, screaming and crying how happy she was to see him, and how one day, while he was gone, she said, she had heard a little bee in the attic, and when she went and opened the attic door, the little bee flew out. And then, she said, hundreds and hundreds of gold coins came rolling out of the attic, down into the house and pouring onto the floor. And she told him how so many coins had come out of the attic that the floor was completely covered with gold.
Now, the man who bought the dream and his wife? They lived happy days all the rest of their lives, and they were never poor again.
© 1998, Local Honey Music, Timmy Abell
Adapted from "The Man Who Bought A Dream"
Richard M. Dorson, Folk Tales Told Around the World, (1975, University of Chicago Press)