Once upon a time, there was a poor old couple who lived on the outskirts of the village. They didn’t have rice cakes to celebrate the New Year, so the wife said “Bring this flax thread to the village and sell it so we can buy rice cakes.” And so the husband set out to the village to with the flax thread. Along the road he passed six Jizo statues, prayed to them and went on his way. The village was busy with people trading for beans, rice cakes, and konbu – nobody wanted the flax thread. Before he went home, a hat-seller came up to him and they traded their goods so as to not return home empty-handed. A snow storm started as the old man was heading back home, and when he passed by the Jizo statues again, they were covered in snow. He thought, “you need these more than I do,” dusted them off and fitted on a hat for each statue.
After dressing five of the Jizo statues with five hats and he said, “this is old but you can have it,” and wrapped his scarf around the last statue. When he got home, he told his wife what happened. She was proud of him and they said “we have a house to stay warm in this weather, and those Jizos are outside in the cold. We don’t have rice cakes for the New Year but we won’t die if we have porridge instead.” The next morning they heard thumping outside their house. When they opened the door, they saw a big barrel of rice, and the five statues with hats and one with a scarf, marching away chanting “Up there, up there is the house of the man Up there, up there is the man who gave us hats Up there, up there is the man who gave us his treasure”
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year everybody. Stay warm!