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The legend of the “Straw Millionaire” is a Japanese Buddhist folk tale about a poor man who becomes wealthy through a series of successive trades, starting with a single piece of straw.

A hard-working but unlucky peasant named Daietsu-no-suke prays to Kannon, the goddess of mercy, to help him escape poverty. Kannon tells him to take the first thing he touches on the ground with him and travel west. He stumbles on his way out of the temple and grabs a piece of straw. While travelling, he catches a horsefly that was bothering him and ties it to the straw. In the next town, the buzzing horsefly calms a crying baby and the thankful mother exchanges it for three oranges. Taking the oranges, he continues on his journey and encounters a dehydrated woman. He gives her the oranges and she thanks him by giving him a rich silk cloth. The peasant meets a samurai with a weak horse. The samurai demands the silk cloth in exchange for his horse. The peasant nurses the horse back to health and continues west. A millionaire is impressed by his horse and invites him to his home. The millionaire’s daughter turns out to be the same woman he saved with his oranges. Seeing this as a sign, the millionaire insists that the peasant marry his daughter, making him a millionaire.

She might have casually deflected the question earlier but I couldn’t ignore that she had been hit by a car.

“Kaburagi-sama ran you over with his car over the summer?”

“Ahaha, I guess.”

Oh my god. The reason the two of them suddenly seemed so close after the summer break was because he sent her flying with his car!?

“It really wasn’t as bad as it sounds. And the car wasn’t going all that fast either. Anyway, it sort of hit me and then I got bowled over and went rolling, like this,” she said, first posing like a frog and then rolling like a ball.

“Anyhow, I jumped right off so I wasn’t really injured, okay? I suppose since they actually ran over the front of the bike a little it might have been worse had I still been holding on though~ Ahaha.”

Not just hit by a car, but then literally run over? That’s not something to be laughing about, Wakaba-chan.

“I presume that Kaburagi-sama took the appropriate measures, then?” I asked, “It did not, heavens forbid, turn into some hit-and-run incident…?”

“God, nooo~ He apologised and everything, and even though I said I was fine he took me to the hospital too.”


“But I didn’t hit my head or my back so rather than being hit by a car, it’s better to say that it just kind of knocked me over. I mean, I was wearing summer clothes so the asphalt grazed my arms and hands a bit but that was it~ Well, that and the bruises hurt for a few days I guess.”

The whole time she was speaking, Wakaba-chan was wearing a carefree smile.

“But you did get injured,” I stressed, “And even if you got off lightly, you saw what happened to your bicycle. You did press him for reparations?”

“Ehh~?! Reparations? No way.”

“What are you saying! How can you give up like that! You must squeeze him for everything he has!”


Wakaba-chan looked a little disturbed at my suggestion, but Kaburagi was rich. If he just settled out of court with her he was hardly going to miss the money!

“But actually, you know, he did offer me reparations money. And his lawyer came over to my house a number of times too. It was really exciting actually, meeting my first lawyer! He seemed really capable too! As expected of the Kaburagi family’s legal advisor! Ah, but I suppose you don’t really care about that, huh. Ummm, anyway, we refused. I mean, I didn’t really get hurt or anything, you know? But then he kept offering money as a ‘get well gift’ and in the end we didn’t manage to refuse that too. It was less than the reparations offer but it was still a lot of money, you know! Actually, the number for the reparations was so huge that when we heard it my whole family started trembling.”


“The ‘get well gift’ he wouldn’t budge on at all, so in the end he handed over this huge ‘get well soon’ envelope,” she gestured with her fingers.

From the space between her finger and her thumb there had to have been half a million at least.

“What really surprised me was that the envelope had his family crest on it. I guess big families even have their envelopes custom made, huh~ Could it be that the Kisshouin family does that too?”

“Well, yes.”

“I see~ That’s amazing~”

Wakaba-chan, it’s really not the time to be focusing on that.

“Oh! And you know? He got me back for the bike too. I was so surprised when I found out it was some super expensive Italian bike!”


“Somehow my 10,000 yen bike turned into a something a few dozen times more expensive. Isn’t it a bit like the story of the Straw Millionaire?”

Um, not quite…

“I was actually worried somebody would steal it, you know, it was so expensive. It’s actually still sitting in my garden. The wire lock I’m using to keep it safe even has a bell!”

“I see.”

“You know, my old bicycle had a traffic safety sticker on it and when I was hit by the car I was totally fine. I’m starting to think of it as a lucky sticker. That’s why I tried to put it on the my new one too, but Kaburagi-sama begged me not to and said that it would be blasphemy against the bike. Oh, and since the bike is customisable I said I wanted to get a basket and luggage rack but then he started talking about the design of the bike and stuff~”

Yeah, I suppose Kaburagi’s sense of aesthetics wouldn’t allow that.

Wakaba-chan said that the washing machine seemed to have stopped, so she left for a bit and came back with my dress on a coat hanger.

“It all came off~ I put on the dryer for a bit so if we hang it outside it’ll dry right up~”

“Thank you for this.”

We left my white dress fluttering outside to dry. The weather was still warm so Wakaba-chan was probably right.

Just then, a woman who I assumed to be her mum walked in.

“Wakaba, has one of your friends come over?”

“Oh, Mum. Ummmm, I guess…? This is Kisshouin-san. She’s in my grade at Suiran.”

“Pleased to meet you. I apologise for suddenly intruding. I am Kisshouin Reika, and I have the pleasure of being in the same grade as Takamichi-san at Suiran.”

“Goodness! I can’t even see you as her friend, you’re so refined~!  Really, as expected of Suiran!”


Wakaba-chan’s mum was cheerful and kind, and somehow brought to mind my own mum in my old life.

“Mum, is it really okay to leave the shop alone?”

“I just wanted to have a little look. And Wakaba, since your friend came over did you treat her to any cake?”

“Look, I’ve got it, okay? Kisshouin-san, would you like some cake?”


Cake made by Wakaba-chan’s family! I had already decided that I had to buy some before I came home, but I was going to be able to eat it now!?

“…Would that be all right?”

“It’s nothing like the cakes I’m sure you’re used to eating, so you really don’t have to if you don’t want to. It really is just cake for ordinary people.”

“No, I would love to try some!”

“Well okay. Help yourself then.”

And that was how the two of us went into the front of the building to look at the cakes.


Cake from the Takamichi cake shop! They were simple and mainstream, but they all looked delicious! Which one would I choose?


“Um, perhaps this mont blanc…”

“Okaay! Maybe I’ll have one too then. Mum, two mont blancs please~”

“Ah-! I can pay!”

“Nah, don’t worry about that.”

“I must! These are your store’s stock!”

“Ahaha, it’s fine I said.”

Ehhhhh. This wasn’t right. I was being beyond shameless now!

In the end Wakaba-chan kept refusing me with a smile so the two of us returned to the living room with our cakes.

“Sorry. Thank you. I shall help myself to some now.”

“You don’t have to keep thanking us for something as small as this. Go ahead. Ah, but I’m not sure it’ll suit your tastes though…”

I carried the bit of mont blanc on my fork into my mouth.


“Really!? That’s great!”

The cake that I had dreamed about eating, ever since reading Kimidol… It was a sweet, light, and gentle flavour.

“Yes, it is simply delicious. I will buy some to bring home with me, without a doubt.”

“Thank goodness~ We’re just a small shop but lately people have been blogging about it on the internet and stuff and apparently some people even come from far away to buy from here, you know?” she told me happily before starting on her own mont blanc.

“I can certainly understand travelling for a cake like this. There were a few customers in the store too, just now.”

“Ehehe, thanks.”

Oniisama would be coming back from his long business trip today. I was definitely going to bring some cake home. I bet he was going to love it. Huhu! Aah, so yummy.

“Speaking of cake though, remember how I said I turned down the reparations money?”


“Since I said I wouldn’t accept it no matter what, he replied that he would buy all of the cakes in the store instead.”


What the hell was that guy doing!

“I told him that his feelings were enough and refused. Boy was I not expecting that.”

“What a nuisance…”

There were people who were coming all the way here to buy these cakes. Just how much of a nuisance would it be if one idiot went and bought them all.

“There was a lot of back and forth between us and in the end he compromised by taking one of every cake.”

“I see… Things have been rough on you.”

Honestly, what was that guy thinking.

“Anyway, we decided not to tell anybody at Suiran about this whole thing. It wouldn’t sound good for his reputation right? That his car hit somebody, I mean.”


She might have escaped with just some bruising but that was still absolutely being hit with a car. No wonder neither of them would tell us how they had gotten closer.

“But in that case, is it all right to be telling me all of this?” I asked.

“Yeah. I mean, it’s just going to stay between the two of us, right? We’re not telling anybody about today, after all,” she grinned.

Oh. Right. The ikayaki incident. Could it be that she told me all this because she didn’t want me to worry about my own secret?

“I understand. I will not tell a soul!”

“Yeah. I won’t either. It’s a promise.”

When the evening arrived, Wakaba-chan’s younger siblings came home. My dress was dry by then as well, so I got changed and excused myself.

“You may as well have stayed for dinner,” her mum said.

“Thank you very much for the offer,” I replied, “But I have a curfew, you see…”

I was happy that she offered but I hadn’t said anything to my family. It wouldn’t have been good to stay out too late.

With my objective (the cake) secured, I bade everybody in the Takamichi family goodbye before leaving for home.

Now then, I had to casually drop Oniisama the news that I had become President of the Handicrafts Club.

“What really surprised me was that the envelope had his family crest on it. I guess big families even have their envelopes custom made, huh~ Could it be that the Kisshouin family does that too?”

“Well, yes.”

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