Little One Inch

This post marks the beginning of my first personal project. I will be doing illustrations from Japanese folk tales. The first story is Little One Inch.

Little One Inch, or Issun-bōshi (Issun is a measure of approximately 3 centimeters and Bōshi means son), is the tale of a tiny child born to an old couple who wished for a child. Despite his small size, Little One Inch was treated well by his parents and so he tried to help them as much as well as he could. He was unable to help with the chores around the house or on the farm, and so decided that he would be a samurai and was given a needle for a sword. After much training fighting insects and frogs he it was time to find his place in the world in his quest to become a master samurai. His parents were sad to see him go, but they bid him farewell with a rice bowl for a boat and a pair of chopsticks as oars.

He arrived at the capital and began to seek work, and as then he hears the lovely song of a flute. From a window he saw the flute was being played by a beautiful princess and instantly fell in love with her. Little One Inch went to the front door and said to the lord of the house that he was looking to serve as a samurai. Amused at the tiny child, the lord of the house agreed to let him stay as a playmate to the princess.
When he was not keeping the princess company, he would read all the books they had about swordsmanship and practice on his own. One day, the princess wanted to go pray and so she, accompanied by a few servants, other samurai and Little One Inch set off for the temple. While they traveled, they are suddenty attacked by an Oni. The samurai fought to defend the princess but they were defeated. Only Little One Inch was left, and when he stood up to the monster, he was swallowed. The boy pricked at the oni from the inside, and defeats him. Spitting him out, the Oni runs away and drops the magical Uchide Mallet. As a reward for his bravery, the princess uses the power of the mallet to grow Little One Inch to full size. They remained close companions and eventually wed.