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.

This is a 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. Everyday the old man went out to collect firewood and sell it and then use the money to buy rice. He wasn’t always able to sell it, though. When he had anything leftover, he would take it to the Chizu bridge. There, he’d say, “I offer this to Otohime, the Princess of the Dragon Palace under the sea” and then ceremoniously chuck the wood into the river before going home.

One day as the old man was about to head home, someone called out to him. “Excuse me, sir!” the stranger said. “I am a servant of Otohime in the Dragon Palace, and she has sent me here today. We had been having terrible problems getting wood for the castle, so you constant gifts of firewood helped us quite a bit. As thanks, Otohime told me to give this to you.” So saying, he pulled a gavel from his sleeve.

“A gavel?”

“Yes. Say what you want, then strike the gavel, and it will make anything for you. However, it has its limits–you can only use it three times.” The stranger then handed it to the old man, and immediately disappeared.

As the old man was taking the gavel home, he tripped and broke his sandal. Sighing, he decided to give the gavel a try. “One sandal,” he said, then struck the ground with the gavel, and immediately a wonderful sandal appeared. Wow! This really does work! he thought as he excitedly put on the sandal. But I can only use it three times. What should the other two things be?

On his way home, he noticed how dull and hard to use his axe had become, so he decided to try the gavel again. “One axe,” he said and struck the gavel, and there appeared a golden axe. Once again quite impressed, he took the golden axe home.

Upon his return, he asked his wife, “Old Lady, what’s the one thing we need?”

The old lady replied, “Old Man, we don’t have any rice to eat!”

“Then we should ask for rice!” he exclaimed, and raising the gavel he said, “Rice, a ton of it, Old Lady!” and then struck the ground.

Once he did so, a rather beautiful old woman appeared in front of them.

Oh no, thought the old man. There’s not even enough rice for my own Old Lady and I to eat, let alone to let this woman eat! Now what have I done?

At that moment, the beautiful lady sat straight up, and a couple grains of rice dripped out of her nose. Just as the old man and the old lady pondered how strange that was, another grain dripped out of the woman’s nose. Then another. And another. And another. And another.

Quite soon the grains of rice were spilling all across the floor and filling up the room. When it looked like it had accumulated to about a ton, the beautiful woman seemed to melt into the pile of rice, and disappeared. Given the wording of the old man’s request, she might have originally been rice herself.