Journey With Story


Journey With Story

Tiny Finger: E243

Tiny Finger

Journey With Story

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Tiny Finger

October 12, 2023

Episode 243

Japanese Folktale 


Imagine what it would be like if you were a really, really tiny person – like a fairy or a gnome of some other little being.  Do you think there would be some good things – some advantages to being that small?  What do you think would be difficult about being so small?   

Hello everyone.  I’m Kathleen Pelley. Welcome to Journey with Story.  Today’s episode is an old tale from Japan about a boy who is only the size of a finger, but despite his small size, he proves to be a mighty and very clever warrior. 

Let’s find out how he does that.  But before we do so, big thanks to all of you who have been sending us your drawings – we love to see your creative masterpieces and to share with others.  If you haven’t already done so, send us your drawings on contact form form our website at 

Let’s take a journey with Tiny Finger. 

Long ago in a small village in Japan, there lived a kind and gentle couple who longed more than anything for a child of their own. Day after day they prayed to the Sun Goddess for her to send them a child, “We would be happy even if we had a son as small as a finger,” they said. 

And at last, after some years, their wish was granted- they were given a son who was no larger than a finger.  They named him Tiny Finger and they loved him with all their might.  As the years passed, Tiny Finger grew older and braver and stronger, but in size, he remained still as small as the day he was born. 

On the day of his eighteenth birthday, Tiny Finger announced, “I wish to go and live in the city where the emperor lives and I will serve him as a warrior and protect him from all harm.”  How proud his parents were to see how brave and courageous their dear son was. 

Before he set off into the city, Tiny. Finger, asked his mother for a needle.  “If I am to be a warrior,” he said, “then I need a weapon to protect and defend myself.” 

So, his mother handed him a large, sharp needle from her sewing box and pinned it to his vest. 

Then Tiny Finger turned to his father and asked him for a wooden bowl and chopstick.  “ I can use the bowl for a boat and the chopstick will be my oar.” 

So his father hurried off to the kitchen and returned with a  small rice bowl and a chopstick. 

Waving goodbye to his parents, Tiny Finger, clambered into his little boat and set off on his journey to the emperor.  After many hours, he arrived at the city, clambered out of his boat, and set off down the street marveling at all the strange sights and sounds around him. 

Soon he came to a tall wooden gate where two huge warriors stood with long swords.  This must be the palace, Tiny Finger thought, as he jumped through a tiny opening in the gate, and entered the garden where the king was walking. 

“Hello!’ Tiny Finger shouted.   

The king bent down and asked, “Strange little boy, what do you want?” 

“I am Tiny Finger and I want to be a soldier.  I crossed the river from my village so that I could be a great warrior just like you.” 

The king was so impressed with the bravery of this little visitor that he immediately gave him a most prestigious and important position.  “You will be the personal guard of my daughter,” he said. 

From that day forward, Tiny Finger never left the princess’s  side and guarded her with his life.  And as time went by the princess fell more and more in love with him. 

Now one day, when the princess and Tiny Finger were traveling through the woods, a fierce bandit suddenly jumped out at them from behind a tree. The princess panicked and tried to flee, but the bandit reached out and caught the sleeve of her kimono.  But of course, little did he know that she was under the protection of a fierce and mighty warrior. 

Tiny Finger unsheathed his needle sword, sprang at the bandit and pricked him in the toe. 

“Ouch!” the bandit howled and he looked all around to see who had caused him so much pain, but Tiny Finger was so small that the bandit could not see him. 

Again and again and again, Tiny Finger poked him.  The bandit tried bending down to the ground to see if he could see anything there, but he was so clumsy, that he toppled right over, and everything from his pockets spilled onto the ground, including a special magic mallet. 

Quickly, the princess bent down and scooped up Tiny Finger while the terrified bandit ran off into the woods leaving all of his treasures scattered on the ground. 

Now the princess picked up the mallet and said, “This is a most marvelous and wonderful mallet, my little soldier. It belonged to my family long ago,but was stolen and I have not set eyes upon it until now.  You can aske the mallet for a wish, and it will come true.” 

Tiny Finger stared at the mallet and shouted, “Make me as tall and strong as all the other boys in Japan!” 

And to his astonishment, he began to grow and grow and grow until he stood before his princess as a tall and handsome warrior. 

The king delighted to see such a miracle had taken place and that very day, he threw a magnificent wedding banquet for the happy couple. 

The next morning Tiny Finger and his princess bride set out for the village where his parents lived.  But this time Tiny Finger did not sail in a rice bowl with a chopstick as an oar.  Instead he and his bride sailed in a royal ship over the water to meet his parents at the shore.  How happy they were to see their beloved son standing tall and proud before them with his beautiful bride at his side.   

From that day forward, they lived in great contentment and after some time, Tiny Finger and his princess became king and queen of the land ruling their people with great love and devotion. 

What do you think this story’s souvenir is?  That little nugget of truth about what it means to be human?  Maybe it might be something to do with no matter our size, we can still be brave and bold and good-hearted?  So you don’t need to grow up into an adult to make the world a better place – good job because we grown ups need to remember that you little people – you children are just as good at being brave and kind – sometimes even better than us grown ups. 

Cheerio then, join me next time for Journey with Story. 

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