The Legend of the White Chrysanthemum – Japanese Fairy Tale

The Legend of the White Chrysanthemum is a Japanese fairy tale that praises the filial piety of a poor girl towards her seriously ill mother.

The story also serves to introduce the image of the white chrysanthemum flower, with its numerous small and beautiful petals, which symbolize the pure and sincere heart of the young girl towards her beloved and ailing mother.

Once upon a time, there were a mother and her daughter living in a small hut in a deserted hamlet. The husband had passed away early, so the mother and daughter had to work hard to make ends meet. Every day, before the rooster crowed, the mother had to get up and work until late at night just to have enough to eat.

One day, the rooster had crowed for a long time, but the mother still hadn’t gotten up. The girl woke up and rushed to her mother’s side, realizing that her mother was sick. What to do now, in this desolate and impoverished place? The girl only knew to wrap her mother in her warmest coat and sit by her side to take care of her. Her mother occasionally opened her withered eyes to look at her daughter.

One afternoon, when the sunlight shone through the cracks, the mother suddenly woke up and whispered:

– Oh dear! Please go and invite the doctor here. I feel very uncomfortable.

The girl hurriedly set out on her way, worrying about her mother. After walking for a long distance, she met an old man with white hair. Seeing the girl walking alone, the old man asked:

– Where are you going in such a hurry, my child?

– I’m looking for a doctor, sir. My mother has been sick for a long time, and her condition worsens every day.

Claiming to be a doctor himself, the old man asked her to lead him to her home to check on the sick person. After examining the pulse of the sick person, the old man turned to the girl and asked:

– Are there only two of you here?

– Yes, sir.

– How have you been taking care of your mother since she fell ill?

– Sir, I just stay by her side to keep her company.

– Your mother is seriously ill. I will try to cure her. Now, you need to go to the head of the forest to pick a beautiful white chrysanthemum for me. Bring it back here so that I can use it to make medicine.

It was very cold outside. The little girl only had a thin coat on. She walked quietly in the freezing wind, worrying about her mother. She walked until her feet were tired and finally reached the base of a giant oak tree. As expected, she saw a beautiful white flower on a bush in front of her. She picked the flower, held it in her hands with all her heart, and prayed for her mother to recover from her illness. Suddenly, she heard the old silver-haired man’s voice whispering in her ear:

– Don’t worry, my child. Each petal on the flower will be one more day your mother lives.

The girl looked down at the flower and counted: “One, two, three, four, …, and twenty. Oh my God! Only twenty more days left?”

After thinking for a while, she sneaked behind the oak tree, gently tore each petal into thin strips. The flower became strange. Each small strip turned into a long, smooth petal, as white as her pure and innocent heart. The petals grew so much that she couldn’t even count them! She held the strange flower in her hand and ran back home, overjoyed. When she arrived home, the old silver-haired man came out and welcomed her with a smile:

– Your mother has recovered! This is your reward for your filial piety!

From then on, every autumn, beautiful flowers with long and smooth petals, looking very attractive, would bloom. They were known as the white chrysanthemums.

The Legend of the White Chrysanthemum
– Japanese Fairy Tale –

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