The Bath and Bed Hayama


Our living room is decorated with the elephant painting by Kentaro Tanaka.
He's told us a story of an elephant.

A long, long time ago, an elephant lived in Hayama.
No one knew how long it had lived there and where it had come from.
This is an elephant story when the name "elephant" didn't even exist.
The villagers named it "Hakusan (white mountain)" after his huge and white appearance.
Everyone felt Hakusan was creepy and treated it as a nuisance.
The children even threw stones at it.
Glaring at them, Hakusan never got mad at or blamed them for what they did and just stayed still like a mountain.

It was a hot summer day.
A devastating fire swept through the Hayama area.
It was called "The Great Fire of Hayama".
The fire that started somewhere in the mountain in the early morning moved quickly down the village and reached the sea.
The villagers worked to put out the fire but it continued to spread for three days and three nights.
It was Hakusan who saved their lives. Using its trunk, it sucked the seawater up, held as much water as it could and sprayed over the town.
The villagers who had ridden on Hakusan were only slightly injured.
It's said this is the kura that the elephant evacuated them from the great fire.
The people in the village admired it and helped each other while they lived.
This story continues to be passed down through the generations.
The amount of people believing that the "Hakusan (white mountain)" turned into "Hasan (meaning "Hayama [leaf mountain])" is not few.

An Elephant Story in Hayama

Kentaro Tanaka