I get a big thrill when I find different versions of the same traditional story repeated in several places...so I was delighted this week when it happened to me for the first time in Japan!
I first read The Rats' Bridegroom in Zong In-Sob's FOLK TALES FROM KOREA.
A mother and a father rat want to find the best possible husband for their daughter. They ask various people including the sun, the wind and a wall (!?) to be bridegroom, and each nominates the next one, until a young male rat is nominated and they all live happily ever after.
In the Nippon World Bilingual edition of LONG AGO STORIES OF JAPAN, the story is The Mouse's Wedding.
The same sorts of things happen, but in this version the world seems a little smaller, and the parents easier to please.
Who knows whether both came from the same source originally - and now I've looked, there are LOADS of other versions of it too - some with different animals - from all over the world. What about them?
It doesn't matter I guess - it's a good, funny, touching story in wherever it appears. And now its also helping me learn Japanese!