There have been several murders in our neighbourhood recently. All of the victims were elementary school children. The children were killed so brutally that no-one could bear to look at what remained.

Mountains of flowers were placed at the scene of the crime in their memory. But amongst all those flowers there were also numerous clovers. These clovers were placed at all the scenes. It seemed an old woman was the one doing it. She was in her 80s or so, and a very gentle old woman. She never cried, but smiled as she placed the clovers and put her hands together in prayer. Perhaps one of the children was her grandchild? Or perhaps someone she knew from the neighbourhood?

I went to lay some flowers myself and ran into the old woman. As usual, she placed some clovers amongst the flowers.

“Why do you place clovers?” I asked.

“They say a four-leaf clover will bring happiness, don’t they? I hope they’ll be happy on the other side as well,” she said, and for a moment, her gentle eyes turned sad. “You see, my grandson is also dead. It was in a separate incident. An accident at school. They don’t know the full details yet. All of these children who died were good friends of my grandson. That is why I’ve placed clovers for them all.”

The old woman cried as she spoke, and then she left. What a gentle old woman, I thought as I went back home.



Japan has something called hanakotoba, which means the language of flowers. Flowers have particular words and meanings associated with them. One of the words associated with clovers is happiness, as the story states. However, there’s another meaning attributed to clovers as well.


Her grandson died at school in an accident “nobody knows the full details about yet.” After that, all of his “friends” started dying as well, and the old lady was seen leaving clovers at the site of their deaths. The old lady’s grandson was likely bullied to death, and she was taking revenge on those who did it.

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