The Aged Mother: A Folktale of Wisdom

Where to Access this Short Story:

What is vulnerability? Google defines it as the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. I define it as the governor of Shining.


The Aged Mother is a short 5-10 minute Japanese folk tale story by Matsuo Basho, a poet from the 1640s. This short story is about a son and an aged mother living in a town where the governor of Shining demands that all old folks are to be abandoned and left to die. The governor of Shining is afraid of vulnerability as he was afraid of failing health that he outlawed the old folks.

This short story takes five minute to read, but it has so many memorable sentences that uses adjectives we all understand.

The poor farmer loved his aged mother with tender reverence, and the order filled his heart with sorrow

Tender reverence means taking care of her needs, bathing her, feeding her, etc.

The eyes of the old mother were not so dim but that they noted the reckless hastening from one path to another, and her loving heart grew anxious

Video Summary:

In A Nutshell:

In a nutshell, this short story is about the wisdom that older folks offer in a dictatorship. That even though aging takes a toll to the human body, wisdom never dies. The mother was the one who guided the son through the mountains. The mother was the one who taught her son what love is.

Fan Art:

What’s your favorite part from the short story? Comment below!


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