Momotaro, “Little Peachling” – A Japanese Folktale
Posted on: December 18, 2021.


An old man and an old woman, there lived, a long, long time ago. While to the river to wash clothes went the old woman, to cut grass the old man went to the mountains.

Down the stream, tumbling and splashing, came a massive thing as the woman was washing. There lay nearby the old woman a piece of bamboo with which she pulled it to her…

…and when the woman saw it, she turned overjoyed—an exceptionally large peach it was that the old woman had found, having taken it up to see what it was.

Intending to give it to her old man to eat, she returned home after quickly finishing her washing. But the old woman’s surprises for the day weren’t yet over—for as she cut open the massive peach…

…from the large kernel came out a child! Because he, the child, had emerged from a peach, the old couple rejoiced seeing him and named the child Momotaro—”Little Peachling”.

Strong and enterprising he grew up to become—such was the diligent care both the old people took for him. It was his education on which they bestowed further care, courtesy the raised expectations in the old couple.

Crossing over to the island of the devils, taking their riches, and returning was a determination that overpowered Momotaro who found himself excelling everybody in strength.

Momotaro got the old couple to make some dumplings for him—which he put in his pouch—after the old man and woman were consulted about the matter by him.

To the island of the devils, Momotaro set out, after having made—for his journey—every kind of preparation. In his journey, it was a dog that Momotaro first met.

“I can see something hanging from your belt! What have you kept there?”, challenged the dog.

“Japanese millet dumplings. Of the absolute best I have some!”, replied Little Peachling.

Demanded the dog, “I will come with you. But one of your dumplings you must give me!” Momotaro reached into his pouch, extracted a dumpling, giving one to the dog.

Further ahead, a monkey, the same way, got on. Also came flying a pheasant and demanded, “I too shall come with you, but a dumpling you will give me!”

Extracting another from his pouch, Little Peachling gave to the pheasant a dumpling. And along went with him all three—dog, monkey, and pheasant.

Through the front gate of the island of the devils, the trio broke—first Momotaro followed by his three wayfarers—having arrived there in no time.

Akandoji was the chief of the devils on the island whom the trio encountered after having pressed inwards, fighting off the great multitude of Akandoji’s retainers.

A tug of war thereafter ensued. Adroitly dodging Akandoji was Momotaro who was ready for him when he made a Little Peachling with an iron club.

Grappling each other, a fair fight between Momotaro and Akandoji ensued, the devil chief eventually unable even to move, so tightly tied with rope he was.

Before long, Akandoji was beaten into submission by Little Peachling without any difficulty. Agreeing to surrender all his riches, Akandoji accepted Momotaro’s supremacy in brawn.

Little Peachling demanded the devil chief to bring all his riches out into the open. It was a great pile of precious things that Momotaro took with him and bravely marched back homeward in rejoice.

The safe return of Momotaro gave the old man and the old woman great joy. Amidst his many stories of adventure at the island of the devils and acquiring their riches, bountiful was his feast for everyone.

In his stories, Momotaro thanked his three companions—the dog, monkey, and pheasant—without the help of whom, he said, such a task could never have been accomplished easily.

Having now turned into an extraordinarily rich and honourable man who possessed great influence—and highly congratulated indeed!—Momotaro, “Little Peachling “, eventually became the leader of his people.

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