Elder Sister

My mother has a sister six years older than her. When my mother was a baby, her sister was the one who carried my mother on the back and looked after her while attending the house chore. Since the father was sick in bed and could not do a lot of physical work at the time, she and her elder brother helped the family with any work they could do as young children.

Knowing the tough family situation, this little girl never complained about the work she was assigned to. But in her heart, she had her own desires, and to her delight, some of them were within her reach with the help of just a little trick.

One of the things she desired was an anpan, a round bread roll with sweet red bean paste inside, from a store near their house. Back then, sweets were luxury, and anpans were this little girl’s dream snack. But of course, she knew that her mother wouldn’t allow her to buy one if she simply asked. So, she came up with a little trick.

“Mommy, my baby sister is crying!” She would urgently call out to her mother. “She’s saying that she wants to eat an anpan! We must get one for her!”

Her mother was usually busy with her work, but hearing her daughter’s urgent voice, she would stop her hand and give her the money. Then the little girl would run to the store to get one anpan. She always gave one bite to her baby sister, then ate the rest herself with a big smile.

She used this trick many times, and each time it worked, allowing her to enjoy a little moment of luxury in between her load of house chore. And luckily, my mother was too small to report to their mother that she was only given one bite of her sister’s secret treat.