In olden times, the Arima Onsen was called "Yu-no-yama (Bath Mountain)"
of the Settsu Country, and there was a hut in the range of mountains after
entering the Yu-no-yama or Arima. This hut honoring Buddha and Jizo (guardian
deity of children) was built as a place for travelers to rest. At this
hut, there was a woman named Otoku who lived there and gathered mountain
vegetables and herbs for the guests at an inn. Gradually, the inn had gained
a reputation for healing the illness of the guests using mineral baths
and providing food with wild plants.
One day a girl and mother came to this inn from the distant land of Tango
(a country to the north of Kyoto). The hands and feet of the four people
of the family were numb and they experienced extreme pain everyday, but
since they had no money, only two, the daughter and the mother, came to
be healed. The mother said that if they were healed, she would work hard
to bring the husband and son staying at home. Otoku-san soon had them eat
mountain vegetables and take mineral baths, but the mother and daughter
became weaker each day, and as they lay on their bed crying, the mother
said, "We have no more money and have to go home tomorrow."
Otoku-san knew of a fruit from a tree, which was said to be very effective
for all kinds of illnesses. The tree was found close to Konbu Waterfall
near her hut. However, a wolf lived near to the tree and this fruit was
the favorite of the wolf. Otoku-san had never considered picking the fruit
for fear of wolf's retaliation, but seeing the pitiful sight of the mother
and daughter, she instantly resolved to pick fruit from the tree.
She discovered the tree with the fruit by Konbu Waterfall. She picked some
of the fruit but was careful to leave enough fruit for the wolf. As started
to return to the inn with portions for the mother and the daughter, she
thought of the father and son suffering in Tango and without thinking she
picked the wolf's portion of the fruit.
When she returned to the inn to feed the mother and daughter, their fever
broke, and both their pain and numbness were relieved. With their health
restored, the mother and daughter set off to return to Tango. Expressing
their gratitude abundantly, the mother and daughter descended the mountain,
waving and bowing all the way. Otoku-san, too, was overjoyed seeing the
mother and daughter with their health and spirits restored.
Soon after that, Otoku-san was not seen for several days. Her neighbors
went out and searched the mountain and fields almost everyday, but Otoku-san
was never found. A few days later, a person appeared who said that he had
seen the wolf in the valley in the heart of the mountain with Otoku-san's
kimono in its mouth. When everyone heard that, there was a great layer
of sadness. They built a fine gravesite for her in front of the hut.
About a year later, the four members of the family came from Tango and
brought a Japanese silk crepe, a noted product of Tango, to give to Otoku-san.
However, after hearing the sad end of Otoku-san from the master of the
inn, they thought of Otoku-san's compassion, and in remembrance of Otoku-san,
they constructed a stone statue of Buddha inside the hut and clothed the
statue in a kimono made of Tango crepe.