Sweet red beans (和尚さんのお代わり)

The English version below is based on the popular Japanese tale 和尚さんのお代わり, similar versions about amazake (a sweet, rice wine) or other foods are also told.


Long ago there lived a young apprentice and a stingy master in a Buddhist temple. One day the master asked the apprentice to make some boiled sweet red beans for him. The apprentice boiled the beans until they were soft and a sweet aroma began to fill the air.

Thinking it would be awkward to eat all the beans in front of the apprentice, but not wanting to share, the master sent him on a quick errand. Once the boy was gone, the master filled a bowl with half the sweet beans and decided to hide in the bathroom so he could eat them undisturbed.

Sooner than anticipated, the boy came back from his errand. Not seeing the master, the boy decided to seize the opportunity. He filled a bowl with the remaining beans and darted into the bathroom to eat them undisturbed. Much to his surprise, he found the master already in the bathroom eating the beans.

Careful not to show his surprise, the boy quickly rallied, “Master! I have brought you another helping!”

The master’s face turned red with shame and he said meekly, “…well done finding me.”

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