One day, Hikoichi went up the mountain. Peeping into a plain bamboo rod, he shouted at the top of his voice, "Aah, how amazing! I can see all the faraway towns. What a great sight!" Soon the tengu appeared, staring curiously at the piece of bamboo, and said, "Hey, Hikoichi. What's so great about that? Let me look at it." But Hikoichi replied, "Goodness, no. When you look through this, you can see far-off sights up close. There's nothing else in the world like it." This made the tengu even more curious, so he pleaded, "Oh please, Hikoichi. I'll let you use this cape of hiding in return."
At this Hikoichi felt like grinning, but instead he said, "That's such a dirty cape; can it really make me disappear? Oh well, if you insist." So he handed the bamboo rod to the tengu and received the hiding cape in return. The tengu looked eagerly through one end of the bamboo, but saw nothing. "I can't see a thing. How do you get it to work?" Then he realized he had been deceived and exclaimed, "You've tricked me, haven't you?" But by this time, Hikoichi had gone down the mountain wearing the magic cape.
Back in the village, Hikoichi went straight to a sake shop and walked into the storehouse. A few people were working there, but no one noticed Hikoichi. "Great! So I've really become invisible," he thought merrily, and began drinking sake straight from a barrel. The sake was delicious, and so he kept on drinking more and more until he was quite drunk. Then he tottered home, threw off what he had been wearing, and immediately fell asleep.
Waking up the next morning, Hikoichi remembered what had happened yesterday and thought, "That hiding cape is amazing. Now, what shall I do today?" When he looked around, however, the cape was nowhere to be seen. Thinking this strange, Hikoichi asked his mother, "Have you seen the cape I left here last night?" "So that dirty cape was yours? It was so dirty and shabby that I burned it just a moment ago," replied his mother. "What have you done?!" Hikoichi yelled and ran to the fire. But alas, the cape had already turned to ashes.
"Oh my, what shall I do?" thought Hikoichi, but it was not long before he hit upon a good idea. "Wait a minute. These are, after all, the ashes of the hiding cape. Maybe the magic will still work." Hikoichi quickly took off his clothes and spread the ashes all over his body. Just as he had thought, this made him invisible. "Perfect! Now I can do whatever I want again."
Happy once more, Hikoichi went off on another adventure. Soon he came across a big house where a banquet was being held and sneaked in. Knowing that the people there could not see him, he began feasting on the food and sake.
"Mm, this is all delicious." Hikoichi walked around the room and ate and drank to his heart's content. Now, the others of course could not see him, so in their eyes, bits of food would mysteriously disappear from their plates, or a cup would float up and, the next moment, the sake would vanish from the cup.
This scared the wits out of them, and at first they thought, "Could this be the doings of a ghost?" Soon, however, they saw what seemed to be a mouth gradually appear out of thin air. "How queer, that looks like someone's mouth," they marveled. And as they kept looking on suspiciously, the tip of a nose and the palm of a hand also appeared. Hikoichi was so busy eating and drinking that he did not notice the ashes coming off from parts of his body.
Meanwhile, those attending the banquet were sure by now that this was no ghost. "It must be Hikoichi up to his mischief again," they all thought, and came up with a scheme to catch him. Still not realizing that he was turning partly visible, Hikoichi kept on doing as he liked. The people slowly gathered around him, pretending not to see him. Then, all at once, they jumped on him and poured water over him.
Sure enough, there sat Hikoichi, looking quite like a fool. "Well, well, it was you after all. You should be ashamed of yourself, walking around naked like that. We'll let you go this time, so go off and get your clothes on!" Everyone roared with laughter and shooed Hikoichi out of the house. And so Hikoichi had to run home naked, still wondering, "Whatever happened? How did they know I was there?"