There once was a lumberjack named Kikorisuke. He had on the right cheek a huge sebaceous cyst. This infirmity afflicted him much; because every time someone saw him pass, laughed … especially young people.
One evening, he finished cutting wood in the forest. Suddenly, a violent storm broke out, accompanied by dazzling lightning and deaf rumbling thunder. The woodcutter took refuge in a tree trunk and waited. Around midnight, the clouds dispersed, the sky opened and let out the stars. Kikorisuke prepared to leave.
Suddenly a strange noise stops him. It’s like a confused mixture of voices and cries that have nothing human. This approach, grows. The woodcutter is afraid: he cowered in his hiding. Soon he sees debouching from a footpath a multitude of fantastic beings. Everyone has an animal head; all have a man’s body, with goat feet and a monkey tail. They massed precisely in front of the tree trunk where the woodcutter is hidden. They deposit their lanterns and their basket, sit on the grass, and begin a meal.
Kikorisuke understands that these are the elves, the goblins of woods … He trembles in every limb, and holds his breath. When they finished eating and drinking, they rise. The musicians take their instruments; shamisen, koto, flutes, drums and tom-toms begin in unison. Then a mad round is organized. The dance is first calm and slow. But the music speeds up his notes and dancers come alive. Soon, it is a clocked din of screams, wild songs.
The woodcutter calmed down gradually. The dance and the music interest him, because he loves music and dancing. Instinctively he beats his head and hands. Finally, no more fear, carried away by the rhythm, he comes out of hiding, flows amid the goblins, and begins to dance with them.
These, surprised, stop and look at him. He, always dancing, and dances very well, almost as well as they. The elves amazed applaud; then, when he stopped, they heartily welcome, do sit among them and serve him food and drink. He had never in his life done such a good meal.
Meanwhile, the dawn slowly half opened its doors, and from the bottom of the East rushed a soft, pale light. The elves made ready to leave, because the goblins do not like light. The leader of the troop approached the woodcutter and said:
– You dance beautifully. You have amused us greatly. You have to come back. Come back next month, during the boar evening. As a pledge of your promise, I take this.
And with a skillful hand, so skilled that the woodcutter felt nothing, he took away the huge cyst he carried in his right cheek and put it in his pocket. When they were gone, Kikorisuke wondered first if there had not been a dream. He passed his hand on the right cheek and made sure the cyst was gone. So crazy with happiness, he ran to his village, to quickly tell the thing to his dear wife.
In the village, it was an event. There was talk everywhere of adventure. Friends of woodcutter came to congratulate him.
But in the neighboring village, lived a carpenter who wore also a large cyst to the left cheek. Having heard telling the story of Kikorisuke and learned how he had been stripped of his cyst, he resolved to try to turn the same way. So he went to find the woodcutter, inquired exactly the evening and the place where the elves gathered, and on the appointed day, he went alone to the forest. The carpenter, hidden in the tree trunk, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the elves. They come, in fact, begin to eat and start dancing. Suddenly the leader of the troop cries aloud:
– The woodcutter from the other day is not it happened yet?
– Here I am! respondsthe carpenter by throwing himself in the middle of elves. These all make him happy deep bows, and invite to dance. Unfortunately the carpenter had never learned to dance. He tries, but he danced badly. The elves whisper. Then the chef stopping, said in a stern voice:
– You do not dance well today. I do not want you back. I return the pledge.
And so saying, he applied to the right cheek of the unfortunate carpenter the huge cyst that, last month, he had taken from the lumberjack.
And this is how the poor carpenter returned sadly to his village, carrying two cysts instead of one, on each cheek.