Once upon a time in Japan, there lived an old woman. The old woman was lonely, so she asked the god of heaven to give her a baby.
One day, she found a baby boy wailing on her doorstep.
She picked him up and thanked the god for giving her a baby.
The baby was very tiny, so the old woman named him Issunboushi, which means “ Inch-tall dharma master” in Japanese.
As Issunboushi got older, he grew in intelligence, beauty, and bravery - but remained small in size.
One day, Issunboushi decided to go to Kyoto to look for a job so he could support his aged mother. Without giving it a second thought, he embarked on the mission.
While en route to Kyoto, he heard the emperor was recruiting a bodyguard. He dashed into the palace to apply for the position.
“I need to hire a bodyguard for the princess,” the emperor said. “You’re about the size of a thumb. Can you really protect her?”
“I have wicked kendo skills,” Issunboushi assured him, “I can hide underneath her sash and protect her.”
The emperor hired him on the spot. When the princess saw Issunboushi, she was delighted with him.
One day, a monster approached the princess while she was taking a stroll.
Issunboushi jumped out of her sash and stabbed the monster’s eye with his wooden sword.
The monster swallowed Issunboushi. Issunboushi drew out his wooden sword and stabbed the monster’s stomach.
The monster rolled all over the floor in pain. “I’ll give you a gift,” he promised Issunboushi, “if you come out of me.”
After Issunboushi jumped out of the monster, the monster gave him a golden hammer.
The monster told him that if he swung the hammer and made a wish at the same time, his wish would come true. The monster disappeared after finishing these instructions.
Issunboushi swung the hammer and said, “I want to grow in stature.”
A miracle happened. Issunboushi grew into a tall and handsome young man.
Issunboushi and the princess fell in love and were married with the emperor’s blessings.
After the wedding, Issunboushi took his mother to the palace. Together they lived happily ever after.