Long, long ago there lived a young wife and
her mother-in-law , who were on bad terms and always had quarrels with
However hard she cleaned the house, her mother found the dirty places out and
scolded her. However hard she cooked every meal, her mother told her that it
tasted so bad that she couldn't eat it. What is worse, she was spoken ill of by
her mother in the neighborhood.
On the other hand, the wife also hated her mother so badly that even if she was
called by her, she pretended not to hear her. She always gave her mother a sulky
When at last she didn't feel like seeing her mother any more, she went to a
Buddhist priest at a temple to get some advice.
"I see. I'll give you this poisonous powder." he said, handing it to her. "You
have only to mix it a little into rice when you serve meals to her. Your mother
will be getting weaker and weaker until she is ill and dies. But you must be
more careful and much kinder to her for your mother not to notice it. Listen to
her and be kind to her."
She started to mix the poisonous powder into her rice.
She was told by her mother as usual that it tasted too bad to eat. Whenever she
was scolded by her, she apologized to her mother touching her hands on the
"I'm sorry, I'll try my best to cook better. So please forgive me."
Whenever she was scolded by her mother after cleaning the house, she apologized
to her touching her hands on the floor.
"I'm sorry, I'll clean it again. So please forgive me."
As she continued to mix the poison into her rice as she was told by the priest,
she thought her mother would be ill sooner or later. But it was strange that she
was getting better and better day by day.
What surprised her most was, whenever her mother met her neighbors, she began to
speak like this:
"My daughter-in-law is wonderful. She works very hard and she cooks very well.
Her dishes are so delicious. She is the best in the country. I'm proud of her."
Her mother began to clean the house together with her daughter, who didn't make
out what had made her so different.
But she was so happy whenever she was praised by her. Without knowing it, she
had always smile on her face.She had stopped mixing poison into her rice.
One day her mother-in-law suddenly became ill in bed. She thought the poison
worked on her. Taking care of her mother, the wife found her eyes full of tears.
Looking at the tear, her mother said to her,
"Don't worry. I'll get better soon. When I become well, I want to work with you
again. I do like you, a kind daughter."
She couldn't sit there any longer and rushed to the Buddhist priest at the
"Mr. Priest. I was wrong. My mother is very kind and gentle to me. But I gave
her poison. Please do help my mother. She'll die soon because of the poison I
The priest shook his head and said,
"To tell the truth, that powder is not poison. It is the powder
of potatoes. It'll never make her ill. It is perhaps because your mother worked
too much. If she had a rest for a few days, she will be better. I'm sure the
potato powder had good influence on you and your mother. You must always be kind
to your mother. Do you understand?"
She bowed down to him expressing her highest gratitude.
Soon her mother got well and they lived a peaceful and fruitful life for ever.