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[00:00:01]

Welcome to get sleepy. The podcast where we listen, we relax and we get sleepy. My name is Thomas and I'm your host. Thank you for tuning in and giving us your support and hopefully making this podcast a regular part of your bedtime routine. Tonight, we have a retelling of an old Japanese folktale. We'll go on a journey back in time to feudal Japan, where the land is filled with stories. Each road marks a path, walked by a poet, each castle houses an epic history within its walls and each temple holds 10000 prayers.

[00:00:57]

But our tale is a smaller one of a simple farmer and his extraordinary dream, one rainy afternoon. Now, some of you may remember that a few months ago I mentioned the deep sleep sounds at. We teamed up with our friends at Deep Sleep sounds to allow I'll get sleepy listeners to combine soothing nature sounds as a background throughout our episodes. For example, maybe you'd like to pair tonight's story with the sound of gentle rainfall.

[00:01:39]

Well, you can do just that, the deep Sleep Sounds app helps you create soothing soundscapes that will play in the background while you're listening to get sleepy.

[00:01:51]

Simply search deep sleep sounds in the App Store or on Google Play and download the app, which has a crescent moon icon, then choose your preferred sound and add it to the mix by tapping in the circle next to it. For tonight's story, I'd recommend one of the light rain. Sounds like the one you're hearing now.

[00:02:14]

Make sure you then go to the controls, tap within the Deep Sleep Sounds app and toggle the button that says allow background audio. This will enable you to listen to get sleepy and the app sounds at the same time you can control the volume of each of the specific sounds in the mixtape. So if you're hearing a bit too much rain and not quite enough of me, then just slide the rain volume down in the mixtape. I absolutely love that we can offer this to all of you, and it means you have more control over creating your perfect relaxing soundscape to accompany our episodes.

[00:02:57]

It's the ultimate sleep experience. So to give it a try, search the App Store or Google Play for deep sleep sounds or simply click on the link in the show notes download deep sleep sounds right now and you can continue this sound of soothing rain throughout tonight's story. So I hope you're feeling calm, content, ready for a good night's sleep. It's absolutely fine if you're not quite there yet, though. Just simply listen along to tonight's story and it's going to help you relax naturally.

[00:03:49]

Give your mind a comforting tale to focus on just enough that it still allows your mind to settle. So take a nice deep breath in. And backout. Just feeling the weight of your body sink a little further into the bed.

[00:04:24]

And if you haven't already done so and just allow your eyes to give in and close. And relax the muscles in your face and your jaw. And as you just watch the darkness behind your eyelids. I'd like you to picture a butterfly. See the outline of its delicate wings. As they slowly beat up and down. Notice how bright its colors are. And how softly it moves through the air. Behind it, a tree rises up from the verdant ground.

[00:05:26]

Watch as the butterfly carries itself higher and higher. Fluttering around the trunk. The sky is overcast and gray. Deep within a cloud, a single raindrop forms. It grows heavier and heavier. Until it falls and lands on a dark green leaf. Soon, it's joined by thousands of other raindrops. Listen, as they patter against the branches. On the ground. The butterfly seeks refuge in a hole in the tree. It lands on the gnarled old bark and still holds its wings as it comes to rest.

[00:06:43]

Beyond its safe haven. Large fields spread out around a little country village. A damp, earthy smell fills the air. As the cleansing rain falls upon this farmland. And this is where our story. Begins. Akino Sky was a simple farmer who worked hard in the fields outside his village in Japan. One afternoon, a rain shower drove him and the other farmers to abandon their work for a few hours. Laughing They run beneath the wide powers of a giant cedar tree in search of shelter.

[00:08:08]

Once they were safe and dry, nice guy in the others decided to make the most of the situation and take an early lunch. As rain drops patted gently on the canopy above their heads, they ate and drank and allowed themselves to fall into the kind of drifting small talk that comes so easily for old friends. While Akino skiing was enjoying his food, a small butterfly fluttered in from the rain and landed on his knee. He was about to swat it away, but an old farmer stopped him.

[00:09:00]

The butterfly is a symbol of the human soul, the old farmer explained. When people sleep, their souls travel, the world has butterflies creating dreams. It was a curious suggestion, actually, nice guy thought. He wasn't sure he believed it, but he left the butterfly alone. A few minutes later, he looked back down and saw it had already flown away. Soon, Akwe Niscayah stomach was full of warm soup and sticky rice. And he was feeling very content.

[00:09:50]

Leaning his head against the trunk of the giant Seada, he felt his mind began to drift, carried along by the soft murmur of the friendly conversation nearby. In no time at home, he was fast asleep. After a short while, he found himself coming back to wakefulness. He thought about how nice it was to sleep beneath a tree and awaken to the fresh scent of cedar wafting in the breeze. But as Akino Sky lay against the soft bark, he realized something was different.

[00:10:44]

He could no longer hear his friends talking and laughing. He opened his eyes and found he was now sitting alone among the thick roots of the massive cedar. There was no one else nearby. The only sound was the dripping of rain falling from leaf to leaf. Akino Sky assumed his friends had merely returned to work, leaving him to wake up from his nap in his own time. But he couldn't see them anywhere. The rain was now accompanied by a light fog that made it hard to see far into the distance.

[00:11:40]

With every moment that passed, the fog seemed to be growing thicker. Acu√Īa Sky peered into it. From the place where the fog was most dense, he could just make out some human figures walking towards him. It appeared to be a large group. As they drew closer, it became clear that these were not his friends from earlier in the day, for farmers had never worn such luxurious silks or used golden hairpins or wootten such ornately designed sandals. It did not take much guessing for a nice guy to realize that he was in the presence of a royal procession.

[00:12:43]

He scrambled to his feet and bent at the waist and a deep bow, the leader of the royal procession was an older man with twinkling eyes. He approached, told Nosegay to rise. The battle was not. The old man said. Four, they had been sent by the queen of the realm to find him. They had come to ask for his help in a matter of utmost importance. Aquino's case straightened himself upright and took in the full majesty of the group.

[00:13:35]

Each person wore robes of red and gold silk that rustled gently in the light breeze. Each had hair that was raven black and done up in a variety of intricate styles. The air around them was scented with the finest perfumes Akiyoshi guy had ever smelled. With every breath, his nose was filled with the complex aroma. He could make out spices like cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Sweet flowers like hibiscus, lilac and jasmine. And citrus fruits like orange and pomegranate.

[00:14:34]

It almost seemed as if the heavenly aroma followed the procession like a cloud. Alerting everyone around to the presence of royalty. Actually, nice guy had no idea what such an auspicious group would need from him. They must be mistaken, he said. As he was nothing but a simple farmer. But if they had come this far to find him, then he would be honored to provide them with whatever he could. The old man smiled warmly and said he was certain Akino Sky was the person they were looking for.

[00:15:27]

The queen had asked for him specifically. The procession beckoned to him. I can ask I was surprised by this, but he found the group impossible to resist as they were so certain they'd found the right person. And so he joined them. Before leaving, they gave him a moment of privacy so he could dress in the blue and silver robes that they'd brought for him. They were the traditional outfit for a guest of the queen. After donning the clothes, Akino Ske admitted to himself that if the procession was in fact mistaken.

[00:16:25]

The person they'd confused him with must be very similar. After all, the clothes fit perfectly as if they'd be made just for him. The procession then began its journey back to the queen with an awestruck Akino sky in tow. As they walked, he marveled at the quality of the silk robes he'd been given. The material was so light and soft that he was sure it would offer little protection against the fog and rain. Yet it kept him as warm as a thick cotton tunic.

[00:17:21]

The sandals were also quite comfortable to actually nice guy. It felt like walking on a cloud. He must have been distracted by all of the luxury surrounding him because before he knew it, he and the royal procession was standing in front of a massive palace. Gods in red and gold armor opened the gates and they walked inside, the queen's chambers were filled with beautiful treasures. Unlike anything Aquino's Nosegay could ever have imagined, Wall tapestries of the softest fabric hung around the room, illuminating important moments in the kingdom's history.

[00:18:22]

Every inch of the floor was covered in fluffy rugs or furs or gorgeous bamboo mats of the highest quality. Above his head, the ceiling of the chamber was dotted with Delacour glass windows. Acking Oskay imagined laying on his back on one of the rugs at dusk. Watching as the stars began to shine through the windows one by one. The queen wore robes if the purest, most beautiful cream colored fabric Akino she had ever seen. His own silk's shone as they reflected the light from lanterns hung around the chamber.

[00:19:19]

But the queen's robes seemed to emit a light all of their own. They were embroidered with crimson threads illustrating a clutch of small round liteky frames, the luscious designs were so true to life that Nosegay found his mouth watering at the sight of them. Then the queen began to speak. Her voice was soft, but it carried the weight of her authority. Even though she barely spoke above a whisper, the people in the silent chamber could hear her every word.

[00:20:14]

She explained that they had been watching Akwe Nosegay for some time and found his farming skills beyond reproach. He was exactly the sort of person she needed to help revitalize a particular part of her domain, a small island with rich soil and hard working citizens that had fallen on hard times. The queen said the entire realm would be grateful if actually Nosegay could take over as governor. Not knowing what else to do. He accepted the offer graciously. The queen smiled, she had made the right choice.

[00:21:17]

Akino Ske spent the next few days at the palace preparing for his journey to the island, which was situated in the middle of a wide river. He was still shocked by his good fortune, but there was so much work to do. He barely had a moment to think about it. Finally, it was time to leave. Akino scheme was accompanied to the island by several advisees. They traveled across what felt like all of Japan. Over hills and green fields, through great cities and small villages.

[00:22:09]

The final leg of their journey involved crossing the White River, which they did aboard a beautiful wooden ship with billowing sails. The same creamy white has the queen's robes. Onboard the ship, Akino Sker allowed his mind to rest. He stared at the bow and closed his eyes. He felt the soft warmth of the sun on the backs of his hands. The fresh air flowed through his hair, making the loose strands dance slightly across his face, birds called to each other over the gentle lapping of the current against the ship.

[00:23:09]

The serene rucking made Akino ske think of his hammock back home and the way it would swing in the warm summer breeze. Soon, the island came into view. And the boat maneuvered toward the dock. As soon as a nice guy stepped onto the land, he knew the queen had been telling the truth about the fertile soil. The earth beneath his feet was springy and moist. Two lush grasses covered every square inch of the island and beautiful trees towered over the territory, providing cool shade from the sun.

[00:24:12]

The advisers led him to the governor's a state where he would live and work during his stay. As they walked toward the house, the advisers apologized for how small it must seem compared to the queen's palace. Pataki, nice guy who had never lived anywhere larger than his family home on the farm, couldn't believe his eyes. The estate was smaller than the Queen's, it was true, but it featured many rooms filled with luxurious comforts. Like overstuffed chairs, soft rugs.

[00:25:03]

And a large feather bed. Akino Skane knew he would be very happy here. And he was right. At first, he was a little overwhelmed by his responsibilities, but over the course of his first year on the island, he was able to learn about the people and their lives. Together, they collaborated to produce the first great harvest in over a decade. To celebrate, Akino Sker hosted a grand feast for every single one of his citizens. In this way, time passed by.

[00:26:03]

He spent the next 15 years as governor of the island, slowly helping to turn it into a paradise for all its people. The woods, which grew wild, were tamed and carefully pruned into orchards that produced the sweetest plums, cherries and pears in all of Japan. The farms, once neglected, now made more rice and grain annually than the island could consume in a decade. Akino scheme made sure to send the extra food back across the river. So the bounty could be shared with the entire kingdom.

[00:27:00]

As Governor, Aquino, Ske was beloved by the citizens of the island. He settled disputes with care and good humor. He planned wonderful feasts for births, marriages and other happy occasions, and he even found time to work in the fields, doing the thing he'd always been best at farming. Then one day, the queen sent a messenger to the island. One of her attendants arrived by boat to speak to a really nice guy and told him that it was time to return to the place where he belonged.

[00:27:55]

The queen would never forget his contribution to the island, the attendant said. And neither would the citizens. Akino Ske was saddened by the news as this place had become a second home to him. But that evening, his advisers surprised him with a most excellent party. The food, drink and dancing were better than anything he had yet experienced on the island. When the feast had finally settled down and actually Nosegay had said goodbye to the last of the partygoers, he made his way to his bedroom.

[00:28:52]

And lay on the huge feather bed. Slowly, he sunk into the mattress. Feeling it engulf him in a warm hug. He felt himself begin to drift from wakefulness into sleep. But before he did, Akino, Skye took one last look up at the ceiling. When he first arrived on the island, he'd had one important renovation made in his bed chambers, the addition of small, delicate windows on the ceiling. So he could watch the stars come out one by one.

[00:29:53]

Looking up at them now, he saw them twinkle in the sky above. And within a few minutes, nice guy was asleep. The next morning, the queen's attendant led him to the dock where the boat sat silently on the water, ready to carry them back to the mainland. Akino Sker took one last look at the island as he boarded. He saw the orchards and fertile fields. And the now prosperous village in the distance. Then the boat pulled up its anchor, ready to embark on its journey.

[00:30:56]

As they left the dock, a fog began to roll in across the water. It was thick, but unlike normal fog, it wasn't cool to the touch. In fact, it was warm and soft, like a cotton blanket. Soon the fog was so dense, Akino Sky couldn't even see a few feet in front of him, and so he closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he was no longer on the boat. Instead, he was back beneath the giant cedar tree.

[00:31:51]

Surrounded by his old friends. He blinked a few times to make sure he was truly home and run his hands along the soil, but was still wet from the afternoon rain. One of the farmers chuckled to see him behaving this way. He asked if achiness, nice guy, had enjoyed his nap. Slowly, nice guy asked him how long he had been asleep. The farmer looked at him strangely and said it had only been about 10 minutes. In scheme then told the other farmers what had happened to him.

[00:32:50]

The royal procession, the queen's chambers, the island, all of it. The other men listened carefully to his tale. When he finished, he asked them what it could have meant. The other farmers weren't sure and began to discuss it amongst themselves. But before they could get too far, a voice interrupted them. It was the old farmer again. The one who had told him about the butterfly on his knee. His voice was as soft as the sound of the wind moving through the grass.

[00:33:44]

He said that he'd watched that nosegay drowsing against the tree. At the very moment he fell asleep. A small yellow butterfly had flown from Akino Schayes tunic right above his heart. The other men nodded at this, they'd seen the butterfly, too, but hadn't noticed where it had come from. The old farmer continued, Akino, Schayes Butterfly had been resting on the cedar tree when it was approached by several ants. The answer gently grasped the butterfly and carried it down inside a home at the base of the trunk.

[00:34:43]

A few minutes later, the butterfly had reappeared from the same home and flown back into action Eyskens tunic just before he awoke from his nap. Perhaps that would explain the dream he had shared with them. About the procession that had brought him to the queen's estate and then to the island. Akino Sker and the other farmers agreed that there was one way to find out. Together, they gently pulled back some of the dirt from the base of the cedar tree where they found a small ant colony, one part of the colony looked very familiar to A.K..

[00:35:46]

It was a patch of earth covered in bright green moss. The rain had created a small stream that surrounded the patch, giving it the appearance of an island. In that small stream, a tiny boat made from twinks and back was floating in the current. Together, the farmers gently replaced the earth so as not to disturb the ants any further. By this time, the rain had stopped falling and after a little more conversation, the farmers returned to their fields.

[00:36:43]

But I Sky would never forget that day. For the rest of his life, he would think fondly of his time as the governor of the island. And each day, as he plowed and sowed and reaped from his fields, he would feel the warmth on his back and remember his silk robes. Each bite of fruit would be just a little sweeter as he recalled the harvest feasts. And every breeze would carry the faint smell of the vast river. That surrounded his island home.

[00:37:40]

And it goes without saying that before Rakhi Nosegay left the cedar a tree after his nap that day. He sat one half of his unfinished lunch at its trunk. Near the entrance to the ant colony. One final gift to his hosts and friends for a wonderful adventure and dream.