122. As Long as There Is Virtue (Japanese title: Ri sae aru nara)
A great drought struck all of Yamato in the summer of 1883. At that time, Isaburo Masui, who was still farming in Izushichijo Village, was staying at the Residence every day to help with the farm work. By and by, a messenger from his own home came to ask Isaburo to return home, saying, “At the village people are busy drawing water into the rice fields. They are complaining that all the villagers are out doing the work except Isaburo. Can’t you come home just for a while to show your face?”
Isaburo had already resolved, “I do not care what happens to my own field,” so he flatly refused, saying, “It was very kind of you to come but I cannot leave,” and sent the messenger back home. However, later, Isaburo thought, “I am contented because I feel that it is the best thing for me to be able to put even a bucket-full of water into the field of the Residence during this drought. But if my neighbors are discontented on account of this, it will not do.” So he reconsidered, thinking, “I already said ‘no,’ but I will go back and at least show my face,” and he went to tell Oyasama his decision. Thereupon, Isaburo received these words from Oyasama:
“Even if it does not rain from above, as long as there is virtue, I shall make water rise as vapor from the ground below.”
When he went back, the whole village was in great commotion day and night with everyone busily drawing water from the wells in the fields. Isaburo and his wife, Osame, went out together to the fields and drew water until late into the night. However, no water was drawn into Isaburo’s own field; it was all drawn into the fields of others.
Osame mixed the water she had received from the water hole near the Kanrodai with the water from her house, and day and night, twice a day, she sprinkled it around her family rice field with a dried rice stalk. A few days later, Osame, wondering how her family rice field was faring, made the rounds before dawn and to her surprise found the field which she had not watered filled with water rising from the ground. Osame remembered afresh the words of Oyasama and was deeply moved with the realization that Oyasama’s words were indeed always true.
That year, the crop of the entire village was bad but the Masui family was blessed with a good harvest of about twenty-two kilograms per are.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 100-101
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