In medieval Japan a young farmer lives with his old mother in a village ruled by a cruel young lord who has decreed that all the villagers who reach the age of 70 must be taken into the mountains and left to die. On her 70th birthday, the farmer's mother tells her son to take her away, but he can't bear to leave her alone to die. He digs a secret room in his house, where his mother lives for two years without being discovered. But then the powerful Lord Higa sends men to invade the village, and they give the cruel young lord a test. If he can pass it, the village will be spared. Given three impossible tasks, he sets them before the wise men of the village. They can't solve them, but the farmer's mother can, and the cruel young lord, upon hearing who saved his village, reverses his decree. Uchida (The Bracelet, 1993, etc.) tells this folktale with simplicity and grace. Springett's bold illustrations lend a modern feel to the traditional setting, perfectly matching the tone of the tale. A wonderful way to explain respect for the elderly.