@Tsubota Jôji is one of the most important writers for children in the first half of the twentieth century. He is known as a writer of stories not specifically for children or adults, and this is his first anthology of stories for children.
@Ever since he presented "Kappa no Hanashi" ["A Story of a Water Sprite"] in Akai Tori [Red Bird] in 1927, he contributed 40 stories to the magazine, and most of his important stories first appeared there. Maho was published in 1935 and is dedicated to Suzuki Miekichi, the editor of the magazine. Tsubota also published three other anthologies in the same year and was widely recognized as a writer. 1935 was an epoch-making year for him.
@Seventeen stories are collected in Mahô. The title story is about brothers named Zenta and Sampei. Zenta boasts that he can cast a spell, and his younger brother Sampei believes him and looks forward to seeing the results of his "magic." The imaginative world shared by the brothers is expressed in crisp dialogues. "Ki no Shita no Takara" ["A Treasure under a Tree"] describes the mental image of Shôta's grandfather who dozes off while sitting in a sunny veranda and dreams about the things he did when he was a child. Then he visits his hometown with Shôta. His daydream of his childhood is contrasted with the real spinning factory newly built in the hometown. The story ends when Shôta buries his treasure under a tree just like his grandfather did. Grandfather's presence as a stimulus to children's imagination is also felt in such a story as "Koi" ["Carp"] in which Zenta is absorbed in planning to fish for carp after hearing his Grandfather's story about a big carp. A reprint of the original was published by Holp Shuppan in 1971.