There once was an old man and woman who were childless, and they were very upset about it. They prayed to the gods daily to give them a child, even if he was no taller than a finger. The gods granted their wish, to the letter. They eventually had a child, but he was as small as a finger. They were very happy, and because of his height they named him Issunboshi, which means "tiny and small" in Japanese. As he aged, he never grew an inch... always being as tall as a finger. He was so small, he could never help with the housework, and could only carry one blade of grass at a time when he tried to help his father with the harvest. Eventually, he decided to leave his parents to go to the capital in search of work, so he could be of some help to someone. The old couple was sad that he was leaving them, but they gave him what they could... that being a bowl, a chopstick, and a needle. Issunboshi put the bowl over his head to use as an umbrella, the needle was his sword, and the chopstick he used as his walking stick. Issunboshi had a long walk to the capital... but an ant he met along the way gave him a shortcut. He eventually arrived at the capital, with its bustling streets and multitude of people. He had to watch it because he was hard to see, and might be stepped on. He made his way to a lord's house and called out at the doorway. A steward came.. but didn't see him. Issunboshi called out again, "Down here! Beside the shoes!" The steward looked down and was surprised at seeing such a small boy, he thought it was interesting so he took Issunboshi to the princess' room. In the princess' room, he danced and sang and entertained everyone so well, the princess decided that he should stay with her. One day when he and the princess were visiting a shrine, a bandit assulted them and tried to kidnap the princess. Issunboshi shouted, "Wait! I, Issunboshi, am here! Beware, rascal!" The bandit just looked at Issunboshi and laughed, then swallowed the small man. Issunboshi though, took his needle out and stabbed the bandit in the stomach, and worked his way up to his throat and out of the bandit's nostril, stabbing him the whole way. After Issunboshi jumped out of the bandit's nose, the bandit fled as fast as he could. The bandit had dropped a mallet of luck which the princess noticed. She told Issunboshi that if you wish something and shake the mallet, your wish would come true. Issunboshi wished that he would be taller, and the princess began to shake the mallet. Issunboshi grew until he was a normal sized man. After that, the lord was pleased that Issunboshi had saved his daughter and gave them permission to get married. Issunboshi sent for his parents and they all lived in the capital afterwards.