The Giant Oak

Japanese Folk Tale, translated by Royall Tyler

In Kurita county of Omi province there once grew a giant oak tree. Since the trunk was five hundred fathoms around, the height and the spread of its branches can easily be imagined.  In the morning its shade reached Tamba province, and lay over Ise in the afternoon. No storm could move it and no typhoon could set it swaying.

On the other hand, the farmers of Shiga, Kurita, and Koga counties could not grow anything because the tree blocked the sunshine from their fields. They presented a complaint to the emperor, who sent a party to cut the oak down. The farmers got good harvests once it was gone, and their descendants are working those fields still.