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Elphinstone Kist   Stories for Bairns

Yasohachi an the Flechs (A Japanese Folk tale)     by: Wheeler, Les

There wis ae simmer fan Yasohachi hid tae tak a trip tae a toon that wis a gweed twa days waakin awa fae his hame. Yasohachi set aff early in the mornin on the first day an got tae a wee toon jist as nicht wis settin doon. He wis het, tired an covert wi stew aff the road. He got tae the only inn in the place, got a chaumer an as seen as he'd hin a bath he wis in ower his bed.

Flechs! The bed wis fu o them! Flechs aa wye! There wis that mony that Yasohachi nivver slept aa nicht – he spent the hale nicht tossin an turnin an scrattin awa like a feel thing. By mornin he wis covert in itchy reed bites.

Seein that there wis nae ither inn near at haun, Yasohachi kent he’d hae tae bide there again on his wye hame. He didna funcy anither nicht wi the flechs!

Jist is he wis settin aff in the mornin Yasohachi spoke tae the innkeeper.
“Did ye ken,” spiert Yasohachi, “ an I hope ye dinna mind me mentionin it, but the druggist in the medicine shop in Sagawa is giein an even better price for flechs that he eesed till afore. It wid appear that the medicine he maks fae them is jist the verra dab an sellin like candy aipples at Aikey Fair.”

“Medicine fae flechs?” the innkeeper spiert, “Fit a stammygaster! I’ve nivver heard tell o that!”

“Och, hae nae doot,” said Yasohachi, “That’s the verra latest cure for aathin. I’ll tell ye fit. I’ll be comin back this wye in a puckle days, an, if ye like, I’ll tak ony flechs ye hiv tae Sagawa wi me.”

The innkeeper thocht that this wid be the verra thing an even waaked a bit o the road wi Yasohachi tae show fu pleased he wis.

A fyow days later Yasohachi set oot on business again an stoppit in by the inn wi the flechs on his wye hame. This nicht he slept the hale nicht withoot ony bother fae flechs at aa.

Next mornin, he wis getting ready tae leave, fan the innkeeper cam rinnin up tae him. He hid a basket covert wi a big bit o blanket in his haun. “Yasohachi,” he cried, “I’ve got the flechs for ye that ye’re tae tak tae the druggist in Sagawa. Will ye sell them for me jist like ye promised?”

Yasohachi bent doon tae look inside the basket. Gyads! There wir hunners, thoosans, millions o black flechs in it. Yasohachi pit the blanket back ower them as quickly as he could. Hivvens! Fit a sicht! Yasohachi hid tae think as quickly as he could.

“Weel,” he said, “I’m affa sorry but there’s ae thing I forgot tae tell ye. The druggist in the medicine shop only taks the flechs if they’re strung on bitties o wire. Twenry-fower on every wire. Noo if ye manage tae get that deen by the next time I’m doon this wye, I’ll be gled tae tak them in tae the medicine shop for ye!”

An wi that Yasohachi gave a wee bow an daunert awa as the innkeeper stood starin efter him an winnerin fu lang it wid tak him tae get millions o flechs on tae bitties o wire an only twenty-fower flechs on each bittie!

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