Yesterday, I was paging through the second graders' (equivalent of American eighth graders') textbook, and I came across this story near the end. It's terrible, funny, and memorable:
"There was an old shrine in a village. One day a storm came and washed the shrine away.
"The next day people looked for the shrine. But they only found a big hole. It was deep and dark. Someone called into it, 'Hello? Can anyone hear me?'
"No echo came back.
"A boy threw a stone into the hole. He listened, but there was no sound.
"People heard about the hole on TV. They came from far away to see it.
"One day a man said to the people of the village, 'I'll build a new shrine for you. But you must give me the hole.' The people of the village agreed.
"The man advertised the hole as a new dump.
"People gave money to the man and dumped things into the hole. They dumped garbage, test papers, old love letters and so on. Trucks came from many places. They dumped industrial waste, nuclear waste and many other things.
"A few years went by, but the whole did not fill up. People stopped worrying about garbage because now they had the perfect dump.
"The sea and the sky became clean and beautiful. The village became a city.
"One day a young man was working on the roof of a new building. He heard a voice from the sky. 'Hello? Can anyone hear me?' it said.
"He looked up, but he only saw the blue sky. He started working again. Something fell down from the sky and hit the roof near him. But he did not notice.
"It was the stone!"
I really like the story for some reason. I think, in part, because it's so obviously Japanese, despite being written in pseudo-English.