30. Tilin, The Rice Bird
One day when a mother was pounding out rice to cook for supper, her little girl ran up to her and cried, “Oh, Mother, give me some of the raw rice to eat.”
“No,” said the mother, “it is not good for you to eat until it is cooked. Wait for supper.”
But the little girl persisted until the mother, out of patience, cried, “Be still. It is not good for you to talk so much!”
When she had finished pounding the rice, the woman poured it into a rice winnower and tossed it many times into the air. As soon as the chaff was removed she emptied the rice into her basket and covered it with the winnower. Then she took the jar upon her head, and started for the spring to get water.
Now the little girl was fond of going to the spring with her mother, for she loved to play in the cool water while her mother filled the jars. But this time she did not go, and as soon as the woman was out of sight, she ran to the basket of rice. She reached down to take a handful of the grain. The cover slipped so that she fell, and was covered up in the basket.
When the mother returned to the house, she heard a bird crying, “King, king, nik! nik! nik!” She listened carefully, and as the sound seemed to come from the basket, she removed the cover. To her surprise, out hopped a little brown rice bird, and as it flew away it kept calling back:
“Goodbye, Mother; goodbye, Mother. You would not give me any rice to eat.”