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here, and why. "' I want to ask Ryn Jin if he knows where the
lost hook is. Will you be so kind as to take me to your father ?
And do you think he will see me ? " asked the Happy Hunter

Princess Tayotama listened to this long story, and then
said :

" Not only is it easy for you to see my father, but he will be
much pleased to meet you. I am sure he will say that good
fortune has befallen him, that so great and noble a man as
you, the grandson of Amaterasu, should come down to the
bottom of the sea." And then turning to her younger sister,
she said :

" Do you not think so, Tamayori ? '

" Yes, indeed," answered the Princess Tamayori, in her
sweet voice. " As you say, we can know no greater honour
than to welcome the Mikoto to our home."

11 Then I ask you to be so kind as to lead the way," said
the Happy Hunter.

" Condescend to enter, Mikoto (Augustness)," said both the
sisters, and bowing low, they led him through the gate.

The younger Princess left her sister to take charge of the
Happy Hunter, and going faster than they, she reached the
Sea King's Palace first, and running quickly to her father's
room, she told him of all that had happened to them at the
gate, and that her sister was even now bringing the Augutness
to him. The Dragon King of the Sea was much surprised at

M 2

164 Japanese Fairy Book.

the news, for it was but seldom, perhaps only once in several
hundred years, that the Sea King's Palace was visited by

Ryn Jin at once clapped his hands and summoned all his
courtiers and the servants of the Palace, and the chief fish of
the sea together, and solemnly told them that the grandson of
the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, was coming to the Palace, and
that they must be very ceremonious and polite in serving the
august visitor. He then ordered them all to the entrance of


the Palace to welcome the Happy Hunter.

Ryn Jin then dressed himself in his robes of ceremony, and
went out to welcome him. In a few moments the Princess
Tayotama and the Happy Hunter reached the entrance, and
the Sea King and his wife bowed to the ground and thanked
him for the honour he did them in coming to see them. The
Sea King then led the Happy Hunter to the guest room, and
placing him in the uppermost seat, he bowed respectfully before
him, and said :

11 1 am Ryn Jin, the Dragon King of the Sea, and this is
my wife. Condescend to remember us for ever ! "

"Are you indeed Ryn Jin, the King of the Sea, of whom I
have so often heard ?" answered the Happy Hunter, saluting
his host most ceremoniously. " I must apologise for all the
trouble I am giving you by my unexpected visit." And he
bowed again, and thanked the Sea King.

" You need not thank me," said Ryn Jin. " It is I who
must thank you for coming. Although the Sea Palace is a
poor place, as you see, I shall be highly honoured if you will
make us a long visit."

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 165

There was much gladness between the Sea King and
the Happy Hunter, and they sat and talked for a long time.
At last the Sea King clapped his hands, and then a huge
retinue of fishes appeared, all robed in ceremonial garments,
and bearing in their fins various trays on which all kinds of sea
delicacies were served. A great feast was now spread before
the King' and his Royal guest. All the fishes-in-waiting were
chosen from amongst the finest fish in the sea, so you can
imagine what a wonderful array of sea creatures it was that
waited upon the Happy Hunter that day. All in the Palace
tried to do their best to please him and to show him that he
was a much honoured guest. During the long repast, which
lasted for hours, Ryn Jin commanded his daughters to play
some music, and the two Princesses came in and performed on
the koto (the Japanese harp), and sang and danced in turns.
The time passed so pleasantly that the Happy Hunter seemed
to forget his trouble and why he had come at all to the Sea
King's Realm, and he gave himself up to the enjoyment of this
wonderful place, the land of fairy fishes ! Who has ever heard
of such a marvellous place? But the Mikoto soon remembered
what had brought him to Ryn Gu, and said to his host :

" Perhaps your daughters have told you, King Ryn Jin, that
I have come here to try and recover my brother's fishing hook,
which I lost while fishing the other day. May I ask you to be
so kind as to inquire of all your subjects if any of them have
seen a fishing hook lost in the sea ? "

" Certainly," said the obliging Sea King, " I will immediately
summon them all here and ask them."

As soon as he had issued his command, the octopus, the

1 66 Japanese Fairy Book.

cuttlefish, the bonito, the oxtail fish, the eel, the jelly fish,
the shrimp, and the plaice, and many other fishes of all kinds
came in and sat down before Ryn Jin their King, and arranged
themselves and their fins in order. Then the Sea King said
solemnly :

" Our visitor who is sitting before you all is the august
grandson of Amaterasu. His name is Hohodemi, the fourth
Augustness, and he is also called the Happy Hunter of the
Mountains. While he was fishing the other day upon the
shore of Japan, someone robbed him of his brother's fishing
hook. He has come all this way down to the bottom of the
sea to our Kingdom because he thought that one of you fishes
may have taken the hook from him in mischievous play.
If any of you have done so you must immediately return
it, or if any of you know who the thief is you must at once tell
us his name and where he is now."

All the fishes were taken by surprise when they heard these
words, and could say nothing for some time. They sat looking
at each other and at the Dragon King. At last the cuttlefish
came forward and said :

" I think the tai (the red bream) must be the thief who
has stolen the hook ! '

" Where is your proof? " asked the King.

" Since yesterday evening the tai has not been able to eat
anything, and he seems to be suffering from a bad throat !
For this reason I think the hook may be in his throat. You
had better send for him at once ! '

All the fish agreed to this, and said :

" It is certainly strange that the tai is the only fish who

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 167

has not obeyed your summons. Will you send for him and
inquire into the matter. Then our innocence will be proved."

"Yes," said the Sea King, "it is strange that the tai has
not come, for he ought to be the first to be here. Send for him
at once ! "

Without waiting for the King's order the cuttlefish had
already started for the tai's dwelling, and he now returned,
bringing the tai with him. He led him before the King.

The tai sat there looking frightened and ill. He certainly
was in pain, for his usually red face was pale, and his eyes were
nearly closed and looked but half their usual size.

"Answer, Tai!" cried the Sea King, "why did you not
come in answer to my summons to-day ? "

" I have been ill since yesterday," answered the tai; "that
is why I could not come."

"Don't say another word!" cried out Ryn Jin angrily.
" Your illness is the punishment of the gods for stealing the
Mikoto's hook."

" It is only too true!" said the tai; "the hook is still in my
throat, and all my efforts to get it out have been useless.
I can't eat, and I can scarcely breathe, and each moment
I feel that it will choke me, and sometimes it gives me great
pain. I had no intention of stealing the Mikoto's hook. I
heedlessly snapped at the bait which I saw in the water, and
the hook came off and stuck in my throat. So I hope you will
pardon me."

The cuttlefish now came forward, and said to the King :

" What I said was right. You see the hook still sticks in
the tai's throat. I hope to be able to pull it out in the

1 68

Japanese Fairy Book.

presence of the Mikoto, and then we can return it to him

" O please make haste and pull it out ! ' cried the tai, piti-
fully, for he felt the pains in his throat coming on again ; " I do
so want to return the hook to the Mikoto."

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The Cuttlefish opened the Tai's Mouth.

" All right, Tai San" said his friend the cuttlefish, and then
opening the tai's mouth as wide as he could and putting one
of his feelers down the tai's throat, he quickly and easily drew
the hook out of the sufferer's large mouth. He then washed it
.and brought it to the King.

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 169

Ryn Jin took the hook from his subject, and then respect-
fully returned it to the Happy Hunter (the Mikoto or August-
ness, the fishes called him), who was overjoyed at getting
back his hook. He thanked Ryn Jin many times, his face
beaming with gratitude, and said that he owed the happy
ending of his quest to the Sea King's wise authority and

Ryn Jin now desired to punish the tai, but the Happy
Hunter begged him not to do so ; since his lost hook was thus
happily recovered he did not wish to make more trouble for the
poor tai. It was indeed the tai who had taken the hook, but
he had already suffered enough for his fault, if fault it could be
called. What had been done was done in heedlessness and not
by intention. The Happy Hunter said he blamed himself; if
he had understood how to fish properly he would never have
lost his hook, and therefore all this trouble had been caused in
the first place by his trying to do something which he did not
know how to do. So he begged the Sea King to forgive his

Who could resist the pleading of so wise and compassionate
a judge ? Ryn Jin forgave his subject at once at the request of
his august guest. The tai was so glad that he shook his fins
for joy, and he and all the other fish went out from the presence
of their King, praising the virtues of the Happy Hunter.

Now that the hook was found the Happy Hunter had
nothing to keep him in Ryn Gu, and he was anxious to
get back to his own kingdom and to make peace with his angry
brother, the Skilful Fisher ; but the Sea King, who had learnt to
love him and would fain have kept him as a son, begged him

170 Japanese Fairy Book.

not to go so soon, but to make the Sea Palace his home as long
as ever he liked. While the Happy Hunter was still hesitating,
the two lovely Princesses, Tayotama and Tamayori, came, and
with the sweetest of bows and voices joined with their father
in pressing him to stay, so that without seeming ungracious he
could not say them " Nay," and was obliged to stay on for
some time.

Between the Sea Realm and the Earth there was no differ-
ence in the flight of time, and the Happy Hunter found that
three years went fleeting quickly by in this delightful land.
The years pass swiftly \vhen anyone is truly happy. But
though the wonders of that enchanted land seemed to be new
every day, and though the Sea King's kindness seemed rather
to increase than to grow less with time, the Happy Hunter
grew more and more homesick as the days passed, and he
could not repress a great anxiety to know what had happened to
his home and his country and his brother while he had been

So at last he went to the Sea King and said :
" My stay with you here has been most happy and I am
very grateful to you for all your kindness to me, but I govern
Japan, and, delightful as this place is, I cannot absent
myself for ever from my country. I must also return the
fishing hook to my brother and ask his forgiveness for having
deprived him of it for so long. I am indeed very sorry to part
from you, but this time it cannot be helped. With your
gracious permission, I will take my leave to day. I hope to
make you another visit some day. Please give up the idea of
my staying longer now."

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 171

King Ryn Jin was overcome with sorrow at the thought
that he must lose his friend who had made a great diversion in
the Palace of the Sea, and his tears fell fast as he answered :

" We are indeed very sorry to part with you, Mikoto, for we
have enjoyed your stay with us very much. You have been a
noble and honoured guest and we have heartily made you
welcome. I quite understand that as you govern Japan you
ought to be there and not here, and that it is vain for us to try
and keep you longer with us, much as we would like to have
you stay. I hope you will not forget us. Strange circum-
stances have brought us together and I trust the friendship
thus be^un between the Land and the Sea will last and STOW

o o

stronger than it has ever been before."

When the Sea King had finished speaking he turned to his
two daughters and bade them bring him the two Tide-Jewels
of the Sea. The two Princesses bowed low, rose and glided
out of the hall. In a few minutes they returned, each one
carrying in her hands a flashing gem which filled the room
with light. As the Happy Hunter looked at them he wondered
what they could be. The Sea King took them from his
daughters and said to his guest :

" These two valuable talismans we have inherited from our
ancestors from time immemorial. We now give them to you
as a parting gift in token of our great affection for you. These
two gems are called the Nanjiu and the Kanjiu."

The Happy Hunter bowed low to the ground and said:

" I can never thank you enough for all your kindness to
me. And now will you add one more favour to the rest and tell
me what these jewels are and what I am to do with them ? "

172 Japanese Fairy Book.

" The Nan jiu" answered the Sea King, " is also called the
Jewel of the Flood Tide, and whoever holds it in his posses-
sion can command the sea to roll in and to flood the land at
any time that he wills. The Kanjiu is also called the Jewel
of the Ebbing Tide, and this gem controls the sea and
the waves thereof, and will cause even a tidal wave to

Then Ryn Jin showed his friend how to use the talismans
one by one and handed them to him. The Happy Hunter was
very glad to have these two wonderful gems, the Jewel of the
Flood Tide and the Jewel of the Ebbing Tide, to take back
with him, for he felt that they would preserve him in case of
danger from enemies at any time. After thanking his kind
host again and again, he prepared to depart. The Sea King
and the two Princesses, Tayotama and Tamayori, and all the
inmates of the Palace, came out to say " Good-bye," and
before the sound of the last farewell had died away the Happy
Hunter passed out from under the great gateway, past the
well of happy memory standing in the shade of the great
katsura trees on his way to the beach.

Here he found, instead of the queer basket on which he had
come to the Realm of Ryn Gu, a large crocodile waiting for him.
Never had he seen such a huge creature. It measured eight
fathoms in length from the tip of its tail to the end of its long
mouth. The Sea King had ordered the monster to cany the
Happy Hunter back to Japan. Like the wonderful basket which
Shiwozuchino Okina had made, it could travel faster than any*
steamboat, and in this strange way, riding on the back
of a crocodile, the Happy Hunter returned to his o\vn land.

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 173

As soon as the crocodile landed him, the Happy Hunter
hastened to tell the Skilful Fisher of his safe return. He then gave
him back the fishing hook which had been found in the mouth
of the tai and which had been the cause of so much trouble
between them. He earnestly begged his brother's forgiveness,
telling him all that had happened to him in the Sea King's
Palace and what wonderful adventures had led to the finding
of the hook.

Now the Skilful Fisher had used the lost hook as an excuse
for driving his brother out of the country. When his brother
had left him that day three years ago, and had not returned, he
had been very glad in his evil heart and had at once usurped
his brother's place as ruler of the land, and had become
powerful and rich. Now in the midst of enjoying what did not
belong to him, and hoping that his brother might never return
to claim his rights, quite unexpectedly there stood the Happy
Hunter before him.

The Skilful Fisher feigned forgiveness, for he could make
no more excuses for sending his brother away again, but in his
heart he was very angry and hated his brother more and more,
till at last he could no longer bear the sight of him day
after day, and planned and watched for an opportunity to
kill him.

One day when the Happy Hunter was walking in the rice
fields his brother followed him with a dagger. The Happy
Hunter knew that his brother was following him to kill him,
and he felt that now, in this hour of great danger, was the time
to use the Jewels of the Flow and Ebb of the Tide and prove
whether what the Sea King had told him was true or not.


Japanese Fairy Book.

So he took out the Jewel of the Flood Tide from the bosom
of his dress and raised it to his forehead. Instantly over the

He took out the Jewel of the Flood Tide.

fields and over the farms the sea came rolling in wave upon
wave till it reached the spot where his brother was standing.
The Skilful Fisher stood amazed and terrified to see what was

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 175

happening. In another minute he was struggling in the water
and calling on his brother to save him from drowning.

The Happy Hunter had a kind heart and could not bear the
sight of his brother's distress. He at once put back the Jewel
of the Flood Tide and took out the Jewel of the Ebb Tide.
No sooner did he hold it up as high as his forehead than the
sea ran back and back, and ere long the tossing rolling floods
had vanished, and the farms and fields and dry land appeared
as before.

The Skilful Fisher was very frightened at the peril of death
in which he had stood, and was greatly impressed by the
wonderful things he had seen his brother do. He learned now
that he was making a fatal mistake to set himself against his
brother, younger than he though he was, for he had now
become so powerful that the sea would flow in and the tide ebb
at his word of command. So he humbled himself before the
Happy Hunter and asked him to forgive him all the wrong he
had done him. The Skilful Fisher promised to restore his
brother to his rights and also swore that though the Happy
Hunter was the younger brother and owed him allegiance by
right of birth, that he, the Skilful Fisher, would exalt him as his
superior and bow before him as Lord of all Japan.

Then the Happy Hunter said that he would forgive his
brother if he would throw into the receding tide all his evil
ways. The Skilful Fisher promised and there was peace
between the two brothers. From this time he kept his word
and became a good man and a kind brother.

The Happy Hunter now ruled his Kingdom without being
disturbed by family strife, and there was peace in Japan for a

iy6 Japanese Fairy Book.

long, longtime. Above ail the treasures in his house he prized
the wonderful Jewels of the Flow and Ebb of the Tide which
had been given him by Ryn Jin, the Dragon King- of the Sea.

This is the congratulatory ending of the Happy Hunter and
the Skilful Fisher.

( 177 )


LONG, long ago there lived an old man and his wife who
supported themselves by cultivating a small plot of land. Their
life had been a very happy and peaceful one save for one great
sorrow, and this was that they had no child. Their only pet
was a dog named Shiro, and on him they lavished all the
affection of their old age. Indeed, they loved him so much
that whenever they had anything nice to eat they denied them-
selves to give it to Shiro. Now Shiro means "white," and he
was so called because of his colour. He was a real Japanese
dog, and very like a small wolf in appearance.

The happiest hour of the day both for the old man and his
dog was when the man returned from his work in the field,
and having finished his frugal supper of rice and vegetables,
would take what he had saved from the meal out to the little
verandah that ran round the cottage. Sure enough, Shiro was
waiting for his master and the evening tit-bit. Then the old
man said " Chin, chin!" and Shiro sat up and begged, -and his
master gave him the food. Nextdoorto this good old couplethere
lived another old man and his wife who were both wicked and
cruel, and who hated their good neighbours and the dog Shiro
with all their might. Whenever Shiro happened to look into
their kitchen they at once kicked him or threw something
at him, sometimes even wounding him.

F.B. N


Japanese Fairy Book.

One day Shiro was heard barking for a long time in the
field at the back of his master's house. The old man, thinking
that perhaps some birds were attacking the corn, hurried out

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The deeper he Dug the more Gold Coins did the Old Man find.

to see what was the matter. As soon as Shiro saw his master
he ran to meet him, wagging his tail, and, seizing the end of
his kimono t dragged him under a large yenoki tree. Here he

The Old Man who made Withered Trees to Flower. 179

began to dig very industriously with his paws, yelping with joy
all the time. The old man, unable to understand what it all
meant, stood looking on in bewilderment. But Shiro went on
barking and digging with all his might.

The thought that something might be hidden beneath the
tree, and that the dog had scented it, at last struck the old man.
He ran back to the house, fetched his spade and began to dig
the ground at that spot. What was his astonishment when,
after digging for some time, he came upon a heap of old and
valuable coins, and the deeper he dug the more gold coins did
he find. So intent was the old man on his work that he never
saw the cross face of his neighbour peering at him through the
bamboo hedge. At last all the gold coins lay shining on the
ground. Shiro sat by erect with pride and looking fondly at
his master as if to say, " You see, though only a dog, I can
make some return for all the kindness you show me."

The old man ran in to call his wife, and together they
carried home the treasure. Thus in one day did the poor old
man become rich. His gratitude to the faithful dog knew no
bounds, and he loved and petted him more than ever, if that
were possible.

The cross old neighbour, attracted by Shiro's barking


had been an unseen and envious witness of the finding of the
treasure. He began to think that he, too, would like to find
a fortune. So a few days later he called at the old man's
house and very ceremoniously asked permission to borrow
Shiro for a short time.

Shiro's master thought this a strange request, because he
knew quite well that not only did his neighbour not love his

N 2

180 Japanese Fairy Book.

pet dog, but that he never lost an opportunity of striking and
tormenting him whenever the dog crossed his path. But the
good old man was too kind-hearted to refuse his neighbour, so
he consented to lend the dog on the condition that he should
be taken great care of.

The wicked old man returned to his home with an evil
smile on his face, and told his wife how he had succeeded in
his crafty intentions. He then took his spade and hastened to
his own field, forcing the unwilling Shiro to follow him. As
soon as he reached a yenoki tree, he said to the dog,

" If there were gold coins under your master's tree, there
must also be gold coins under my tree. You must find them
for me ! Where are they ? Where ? Where ? '

And catching hold of Shiro's neck he held the dog's head
to the ground, so that Shiro began to scratch and dig in order
to free himself from the horrid old man's grasp.

The old man was very pleased when he saw the dog begin
to scratch and dig, for he at once supposed that some gold
coins lay buried under his tree as well as under his neighbour's,
and that the dog had scented them as before; so pushing Shiro
away he began to dig himself, but there was nothing to be
found. As he went on digging a foul smell was noticeable,
and he at last came upon a refuse heap.

The old man's disgust can be imagined. This soon gave
place to anger. He had seen his neighbour's good fortune, and
hoping for the same luck himself, he had borrowed the dog
Shiro ; and now, just as he seemed on the point of finding what
,he sought, only a horrid smelling refuse heap had rewarded

The Old Man who made Withered Trees to Flower. 181

him for a morning's digging. Instead of blaming his own
greed for his disappointment, he blamed the poor dog. He

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Online LibraryYei Theodora OzakiThe Japanese fairy book → online text (page 10 of 17)