This illustrated manuscript is an abbreviated version of Hamaguri no soshi (The Tale of the Clam) written in the first half of the 17th century. The title here is the name of the protagonist, Shijira, a forty-year old of humble means who devotes himself to the care of his aged mother after his father abandoned the family. One day Shijira goes fishing for food for his mother. Catching nothing he steers his boat farther and farther from shore to try his line again. At last he catches a lovely clam shell that he throws back into the sea. Rowing west he again catches the clam shell and discards it. Shijira heads north, and catches the clam shell for the third time. By now curious, he places it in the bow where it expands and begins to emit a golden light. Slowly the shell opens to reveal a beautiful woman of around seventeen. Shijira likens her to a spring flower and then offers to take her to her home. The girl replies she does not know where she comes from and entreats Shijira to allow her to accompany him. After protesting that his home is too poor for a lady of her elegance, he agrees.
Shijira's mother is delighted. Shijira and the girl marry and the three begin a textile business. In the course of selling their wares Shijira is invited to a banquet by four strangers who are disguised Buddhist deities. The sake they proffer brings one-thousand years of longevity per cup; Shijira has had seven. At the end of the story Shijira takes inspiration from these companions and himself attains enlightenment. He becomes a bodhisattva who teaches others to devote themselves to the care of parents. His wife, the beauty from the clam shell, reveals herself as a deity sent to lead him to enlightenment and transcends to the Buddha realm on a cloud in the final scene.