The Ashes That Made Trees Bloom: Summary and Analysis

An old couple lived in Japan in the 19th century. They have just one companion, their little pet dog, Muko. They loved it like their child and gave it small pieces of fish and rice to eat. Muko loved his master.

The Ashes That Made Trees Bloom Summary

The old man farmed rice and worked very hard with his spade from morning till sunset. Muko followed him to the field every day and never attacked the while heron birls who killed the corn works. The farmer was very kind to every living creature. The dog came running to his master one day and motioned him to someplace at the back. The master followed his dog to the place, where the dog began scratching. The old man used his hoe and dug the earth. He came across a lot of gold. The old couple became rich and bought land, hosted a part nad provided generously to their poor neighbors.

Another wicked man and his wife lived in the village. They were unkind to dogs. They had heard of their neighbor’s good luck and called Muko to their garden with the hope that he would find a treasure for them too. They offered Muko fish that he refused to eat. Muko took them to a pine tree. The greedy man danced with joy but only found a dead cat when he dug. In absolute anger, he beat Muko to death. Muko’s owners mourned the death of their pet and put flowers and water on its tomb. That night, Muko’s spirit appeared in the old farmer’s dream. Muko asked him to cut down the pine tree and make a mortar for rice pastry and mill for bean sauce. The old farmer made a hollow in the truck, and with his wife, he made a hammer to pound rice. As they baked the pastry, the whole thing turned into gold coins.

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The jealous neighbor saw the bean sauce turning into gold and repeated the same. However, his pastry and sauce turned into worms. He ruined the mill he borrowed and burnt it.

The old man saw another dream. Muko’s spirit asked him to take the ashes of the mill and spread them across the withered pine trees and assured him that they would bloom again. The old man brought some ashes and spread a pinch on the cherry tree. The tree was covered with blossoms. The greedy couple collected the remaining ashes of the mill.

The landlord of the village was supposed to pass by that road. The custom dictates that everyone had to shut their high windows because no one was allowed to look down on the lordship. Everyone must kneel upon their hands and knees till the procession passed. The tall man walked ahead and asked people to get down on their knees. The old man did not kneel. But, he scattered some of the ashes over the withered cherry tree, and it blossomed. The landlord came out to see the wonder and thanked the old man, offered him presents, and invited him to the castle.

The greedy neighbor took the ashes to the highway and waited for the landlord’s train. He did not kneel and climbed a cherry tree that was withered. When the landlord was under him, he threw ashes, and the tree did not change. The dust went into the eyes and nose of the lordship. A man dragged the greedy man and threw him into the ditch, and beat him. The man died in the mud, while the old man lived happily.

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The Ashes That Made Trees Bloom Analysis 

A couple had a dog they loved very much. The old man went to work, and his dog, Muko, followed him every day. One day, Muko started to push the old man. On following the dog, he found a pile of gold. The couple became rich, bought lands, and helped their neighbors.

A wicked man tried to bribe the dog to help him find the treasure. One day, the dog led him and his wife somewhere. They believed it was a treasure, but it was a dead kitten. The wicked man beat the dog and buried his carcass in the hold. The old man mourned his dog’s death.

The dog’s spirit came in the old man’s dream and gave him instructions. On following the advice, the old man had another pile of gold. The wicked couple watched this and copied it, but they only got worms. The dog’s spirit came again and asked the old man to pour ashes into the withered tree, and they would bloom. That happened. 

When the landlord passed, the old man showed the wonder of ashes turning into blossoms. On seeing that, he gave gifts and invited the old man into his castle. The greedy man attempted to do the same. He climbed a tree and threw the ashes when the landlord was just under. The custom dictates that no one must look down on the landlord. Plus, the ash went into the landlord’s nose and eyes. The guards threw the wicked man into a ditch, and he was beaten to death. The greed, general unkindness, and lack of humanity of the wicked man drew him to death.

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The Ashes That Made Trees Bloom Theme

The story is based on the values like honesty, compassion, diligence, and more. It also comes with a slight bit of magical realism. The dog’s spirit is the old couple’s make-believe determination helps them get past the setbacks and start anew.

The Ashes That Made Trees Bloom Analysis Key Points

The story is an adaptation of a Japanese tale. It shows the bond between humans and animals is not broken ever post-death. But, there are some people who are selfish, and their interests ruin their relationships.

The old man and his dog shared a relationship full of warmth, integrity and were associated for a lifetime. The dog’s spirit provided support and solace to his master. The king then rewarded the old gentleman with laurels and presents.