Second Sight – A Japanese Folktale
Posted on: November 30, 2020.

There was a village at which a weary traveller arrived. He looked for an inn, and before long, he found one that would suit him, shabby though it looked.

The traveller asked the mistress of the inn if he could stay there for the night, and he was gladly permitted to do so. The traveller was quite undisturbed, for, except the mistress, no one lived at the inn.

After breakfast the next morning, the traveller had to continue his journey, and proceeded to step out to make the necessary arrangements. His hostess, for a moment, unexpectedly though, stopped him.

She solemnly declared that many years ago, the same traveller had borrowed from her a sum of one thousand pounds, which he still owed.

It seemed to the traveller as such a preposterous demand that he was greatly astonished. Drawing a curtain all round him, after fetching his trunk, he quickly hid himself.

“Was your father an expert in the art of second sight?”, the traveller asked his hostess, secluding himself for some time. “Yes”, replied the woman. “Just as you have done, my father too had secluded himself.”

Thence, the traveller sought the woman to fully explain herself as to why she was saying that the traveller owed her such a large sum of money.

Replying to the traveller’s question, the mistress of the inn related that her father bequeathed all his possessions to her, knowing he was going to die soon, but withheld his money.

According to her father, the mistress of the inn would reclaim this sum, ten years later, from the person who owed him the money. The person would come to her as a traveller and lodge at her house—the inn.

The father had died telling his daughter that she would have to sell his goods gradually to take care of her expenses for the next ten years imminent.

The inherited valuables were all now nearly exhausted as she had gradually sold most of them to support her livelihood. Ever since, she had had to spend more money that she could earn.

And just as her father had foretold, the traveller had lodged at her house—the inn—at the predicted date. She would recover the money from him—the man, she concluded, who owed her father a thousand pounds.

What the woman had related was perfectly true, felt the traveller, and told her to tap gently with her knuckles all over a wooden pillar, taking her to one side of the room.

A hollow sound came forth from one part of the pillar. Hidden in this part of the pillar was the one thousand pounds of money that the woman has spoken about—her inheritance money.

The traveller informed this to the woman and went on his way, advising her to spend it only gradually, just as the woman’s father had, in his death bed.

“Second Sight” was their term for clairvoyance, the psychic ability of knowing an event or course of events, sequential or parallel, even before they’d really happened—like the woman’s extremely skilful father.

His daughter had passed through ten years of extreme poverty just as the father had discovered. Subsequently, the father had also known about a diviner coming to lodge in his daughter’s house—the inn.

Besides “second sight”, the father’s paternal instincts had pointed out to him that his spendthrift daughter would quickly lose her inherited assets to her extravagance, if he bequeathed all his money to her at once.

The father had, consequently, upon consideration, created a hollow space within the pillar, instructed his daughter as she had related to the traveller, and hid the money there.

As accurately prophesized by the woman’s father, the traveller had, by his art of divination, discovered the thousand pounds of money after having arrived on the predicted date to lodge in her house—the inn.

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