was a poor Japanese man who lived in a little house near a very
beautiful, tall, willow tree. Heitaro loved the willow more than
anything else in his life. Everyday he used to sit under its long
comforting branches. One night, when he was reading a book under the
tree, a beautiful young woman appeared. She looked as if she wanted to
speak with him but was too shy.
'Honourable lady, I see you are waiting for someone. I will leave'.
She spoke softly. 'There is no need. No one will come.'
'Does he not love you enough?', asked Heitaro.
'He will not come because he is already here.' With these words she
smiled and disappeared.
After this the woman appeared every evening. One evening Heitaro asked
her to marry him. She agreed and in time they had a child. Heitaro was
happier than he could ever have imagined.
Years passed and then it was announced that the Emperor needed fine
wood to build a temple. The villagers decided to offer the wood of the
willow because it was the best tree they could find anywhere. Heitaro
said to his wife, 'Before I met you I could not have lived without the
tree, but now I have you and the child'.
The villagers arrived and started to cut down the tree. Immediately
the wife cried out in pain. Suddenly the willow fell with a loud
noise. Willow wife fell at the same time and died.