Once there was a girl called San-San who lived with her father, her step-mother and her step-sister, Mei. San-San's father loved her, but Mei and the step-mother did not. They often told her she was a lazy girl, and made her work very hard. From early morning until late at night San-san helped with the cooking, the cleaning and the washing.
One night San-San’s step-mother became very angry. “The rice is burned,” she shouted. “And the pork is too salty.”
Sari-Sari bowed tier head and said nothing.
“Leave her alone,” said the father. “I think the food is nicely cooked.”
Sari-San's step-mother said nothing, but she went to the kitchen and made some special tea. "The next Morning, San-San was working when her step-mother brought her the tea. “Drink this, my dear,” she said. “It will make you feel cool.”
San-San drank the tea, and before long she began to feel very sleepy. She went to her room where she soon fell fast asleep. When she woke up, it was already dark. Going into the kitchen, she found her father.
“I've saved you some dinner,” he said. Then he looked up from the table and cried, “San-San! What has happened to your hair?”
San-San, ran to the mirror and saw that all tier hair had fallen out; her head was as smooth as an egg. San-San began to cry. She rushed out of the house and into the woods where she finally sat down beneath a large tree and cried herself to sleep.
While she was sleeping, San-San had a dream. She dream that a beautiful goddes stood before tier, holding a jar.
“Take this jar of oil,” said the goddess. “Rub the oil on your head, and soon everything will be all right.”
When San-San woke up, she found a jar of oil by her side. She opened the jar and found that it was full of golden oil. San-San carefully rubbed the oil all over her head, and soon she could fell the hair growing back. Before long San-San had all her beautiful hair again, so she walked on through the woods.
Now, in these woods lived a kindly widow, the widow Ang. When San-San came to her house and told her what had happened, the widow Ang said she could stay as long as she wanted. And so, San-san lived in the house of the widow Ang and was very happy there.
But San-San's father was not very happy. He did not know where his daughter had gone, and his wife shouted at him all day long. One day, he had a talk with his friend, the rice-merchant.
“Why don't we ask my son to find her,” said the rice-merchant. “He's clever boy, and he has plenty of free time. Beside, he's always liked your daughter.”
San-San's father liked this idea because he knew that the rice- merchant's son was a good young man. The next day the rice-merchant's son and his friend went out to look for San-San.
Together, the two young men looked all over the village. Then they looked in other villages nearby. One night, when they were staying in a strange village, thieves came to the house. The rice-merchant's son tried to fight the thieves, and he was badly hurt. The following morning he could not get out of bed, and so he asked his friend to look for San-Sari on his own.
Luckily, some people in the next village knew the widow Ang, and they knew that a girl was staying with her. They told the young man that a girl was staying with her. They told the young man to go to the house in the forest. When he found the house, he saw San-San standing near a window.
“San-San!” he cried. “I've found you at last. Your father is worried, and my friend, the rice-merchant's son, has been hurt looking for you.”
“Then I must go with you,” said San-San. Then she said to the widow, “I'll never forget your kindness.”
"That's all right.” said the widow Ang. “Run along now —your father and his young man need you.”
San-San and the young man ran through the forest to the village where the rice - merchant's son was lying. When he saw San-San, the rice-merchant's son thought she was very beautiful, and he soon fell in love with her. As soon as he was well enough to travel, they all went back to their own village.
San-San's father was very happy to see her. He asked her to come home, but San-San said she had other plans. Sometime later, San-San and the rice-merchant's son were married. They sent many presents to the widow Ang, and after that had a long and happy life together.