5. Frog in the Rice Gruel
Since Izo lived most of his life during a time without electricity, it was not rare for him to eat dinner while on the job in the dark or under dim lantern light.
Once when he had a construction job in Koriyama, a small tree frog fell into the rice gruel. Izo quietly took out the frog without anyone seeing it and continued to eat as if nothing had happened.
There are a number of reasons that can explain why Izo did this.
First, because he was eating with his fellow workers and apprentices, if he had brought the fact there was a frog in the rice gruel to their attention, it would cause much embarrassment to the homeowner who had prepared the meal. It would also make everyone stop eating and the rice gruel would have gone to waste.
This happening eventually later leaked out among his carpenter friends and the craftsmen of Yamato came to say that the reason Izo came to such prominence in life as the Honseki was because he was considerate and virtuous in his everyday life.
(Adapted from Honseki-sama by Bunchi Okuya, p. 19 and Shinpan Izo Iburi den by Eizo Ueda, p. 42)
- Next installment in this series: 6. “Even the Buddha Loses at Gambling”
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.