This is a similar story from Chizu, Yazu County, in Tottori Prefecture.
A long time ago, there was an old man and an old lady who struggled through a very meager life. Seeing as they could hardly even feed themselves, the old man tried picking flowers to sell, but no matter how many he picked, no one would buy them. At the end of the day, he’d always go to the Chizu bridge. There, he’d say, “I offer these to Otohime, the Princess of the Dragon Palace under the sea” and then ceremoniously chuck the flowers into the river before going home.
Every day it was the same thing. He told his wife, “Hey, Old Lady, I’m goin’ out to try to sell flowers again,” and when he couldn’t sell any, he’d drop them in the river, saying, “I offer these to Otohime, the Princess of the Dragon Palace under the sea.” It looked like they would float on forever, but one day they flowers sunk instead. Upon returning home, he told his wife, “I haven’t been able t’ sell a single flower. Aw, well, I guess I’ll just keep offerin’ ’em to the Princess of the Dragon Palace.”
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. A beautiful, young girl with eyes full of sympathy had come to pay a visit, holding the flowers. “Today, the lovely flowers you tried to send to the Dragon Palace wound up at my doorstep instead. I’d like to thank you very much for them. I told the Dragon King about you, and he said to bring you along to pay a visit to the Dragon Palace. Would you like me to take you?”
“Me? Go t’ the Dragon Palace? Well, I guess I’m not doin’ anything else,” he replied, and agreed to go along. She brought him to the ocean’s edge, where a giant turtle was waiting. She instructed him to ride on the turtle’s back, and the turtle told him to close his eyes. Just as soon as he did so, they had arrived at the Dragon Palace.
Upon entering the palace, he saw feasts prepared in every room, and he was treated to the finest of hospitality. The old man was quite enjoying himself, when the young girl whispered to him, “When Miss Otohime asks what she should give you, you should reply, ‘I don’t want anything, just a little boy with a runny nose will do.'”
Almost immediately afterward, Otohime said, “Now, what shall I bestoy on you as a parting gift?”
It seems the old man did indeed reply, “Ahh, I don’t really want anything, just a lil’ boy with a runny nose will do.”
“Very well,” replied Otohime. “That is what I shall give you.”
And that she did. He was a filthy little ragamuffin with a horrid runny nose, but the old man brought him home anyway. When they said to him, “Hey, Runny-Nose Boy, we got no more rice,” the boy made infinite amounts of rice appear. “How ’bout sake? Got any sake?” they’d ask, and he’d give them sake. Whatever they asked him for, he provided. When they said, “We want money!” the floor was covered in piles of gold coins.
Little by little, their lot in life improved and they lived quite comfortably. Their little old hut of a home could no longer suit them, so they told the boy they wanted a fancy dwelling place. Once that appeared, they even had use for servants, which the boy with the runny nose also provided. This was how they spent their days.
While this was all well and good, wherever the increasingly selfish old couple went, the boy with the runny nose was right at their side, and his presence was downright irritating. “What are people gonna think of us if we always have that nasty little brat around?” asked the old lady. They tried asking him to hold his runny nose shut, or at least to wipe his face, but it was no use.
At last, they said, “Just go away somewhere!”
“Alright, I’ll go away somewhere,” the boy with the runny nose replied, and he left.
Everything they had received from the boy rapidly disappeared–the rice, the sake, the money, even their fancy house turned back into an old hut.
It suited them perfectly.