Every month the monthly magazine Japan Close-up picks up a Japanese folktale. This month introduced was "Omusubi Kororin (おむすびころりん, Roly-Poly Rice Balls)."  Fables are generally told by parents and teachers when we are children.

Borrowing some wordings from the magazine, I also wrote the story again by myself. Probably I have some grammatical mistakes, yet, I'd like to introduce Japanese children's stories including this one to people around the world. I'm happy if you read. Additionally, there's a script and its MP3 file of Roly-Poly Rice Balls in Japanese, found at http://hukumusume.com/douwa/pc/jap/03/15.htm . Let's start with the story.



*** Roly-Poly Rice Balls (おむすびころりん)***

Once upon a time, there lived an old man and his wife in the country.

One day the woodcutter went to work to the mountains. After the morning work, he sat down to eat rice balls, which his wife cooked for him.
My wife's rice balls are always delicious, said he to himself, he said.

When he opened the bamboo-bark wrapping, he mistakenly dropped one of them, falling down the hill. 
The ball fell into a hole on the earth nearby.
He said, "What a waste!"

But a beautiful voice is heard from there.
As he peeked at the hole, a song comes from the beneath:

♪ "Roly-poly rice ball
    Rolling along"
♪ "Tumbling and falling
    Plop! into the hole"

What a surprise! Who is singing?, said he. 
The old man has never heard such a beautiful voice.
Let's drop one more.

On purpose this time, he let one more rice ball down into the hole. In a moment, the same song returned.

♪ "Roly-poly rice ball
    Rolling along"
♪ "Tumbling and falling
    Plop! into the hole"

How interesting!
He was so delighted that he gave away all the rice balls without eating anything for himself.

The next day, the old man had his wife cook more rice balls, heading to the mountain.
Waiting for lunchtime, he let out one rice ball after another into the hole. Eventually all of them were gone.

Each time the cute song was heard from the hole inside, however, he said to himself, "Well, all the rice balls are gone, but I'd like to listen more.
---- Yes! Let's go to walk inside the hold and ask them to sing!"

He entered the hole deeply inside, like the rice ball rolling down the hill.

There lived numerous mice, working hard.

Welcome grandpa, thank you for many of the delicious rice balls! said the mice.
Bowing their heads, the mice showed their appreciation to him.
Now, it's our turn to thank you.  We'll treat rice cakes for you in return.

Bringing a mortar and a pestle, they started pounding rice cake, singing ---

♪ Whack! Whack! Mice are pounding
♪ Whack! Whack! Rice cakes in the hole

It's incredible!, the old man said, "Nothing is better than your song and your rice cake."

Besides the feast, he was given a mallet of luck, which your wish will come true when you shake it. He went home.
He asked his wife, "What do you want?"

Well, there are many things I'd like to have. What will be wonderful if we have a lovely baby? she answered.
Well then, let's give it a try! said her husband.

At the moment he shook the lucky mallet, a baby lied on the wife's laps.
Surely, it was a proper human baby.

The old man and the old woman raised the baby and lived happily ever after.



 (This image is from an Amazon website at http://amzn.to/tOXZet)