Yei Theodora Ozaki.

The Japanese fairy book online

. (page 11 of 17)
Online LibraryYei Theodora OzakiThe Japanese fairy book → online text (page 11 of 17)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


seized his spade, and with all his strength struck Shiro and
killed him on the spot. He then threw the dog's body into
the hole which he had dug in the hope of finding a treasure of
gold coins, and covered it over with the earth. Then he
returned to his house, telling no one, not even his wife, what
he had done.

After waiting several days, as the dog Shiro did not return,
his master began to grow anxious. Day after day went by,
and the good old man waited in vain. Then he went to his
neighbour and asked him to give him back his dog. Without
any shame or hesitation, the wicked neighbour answered that
he had killed Shiro because of his bad behaviour. At this
dreadful news Shiro's master wept many sad and bitter tears.
Great, indeed, was his woeful surprise, but he was too good
and gentle to reproach his bad neighbour. Learning that
Shiro was buried under the yenoki tree in the field, he asked
the old man to give him the tree, in remembrance of his poor
dog Shiro.

Even the cross old neighbour could not refuse such a
simple request, so he consented to give the old man the tree
under which Shiro lay buried. Shiro's master then cut the
tree down and carried it home. Out of the trunk he made a
mortar. In this his wife put some rice, and he began to pound
it with the intention of making a festival to the memory of his
dog Shiro.

A strange thing happened ! His wife put the rice into the
mortar, and no sooner had he begun to pound it to make the



182 Japanese Fairy Book.

cakes, than it began to increase in quantity gradually till it
was about five times the original amount, and the cakes were
turned out of the mortar as if an invisible hand were at work.

When the old man and his wife saw this, they understood
that it was a reward to them from Shiro for their faithful love
to him. They tasted the cakes and found them nicer than any
other food. So from this time they never troubled about food,
for they lived upon the cakes with which the mortar never
ceased to supply them.

The greedy neighbour, hearing of this new piece of good
luck, was filled with envy as before, and called on the old man
and asked leave to borrow the wonderful mortar for a short
time, pretending that he, too, sorrowed for the death of Shiro,
and wished to make cakes for a festival to the dog's memory.

The old man did not in the least wish to lend it to his
cruel neighbour, but he was too kind to refuse. So the
envious man carried home the mortar, but he never brought
it back.

Several days passed, and Shiro's master waited in vain for
the mortar, so he went to call on the borrower, and asked him
to be good enough to return the mortar if he had finished with
it. He found him sitting by a big fire made of pieces of wood.
On the ground lay what looked very much like pieces of a
broken mortar. In answer to the old man's inquiry, the
wicked neighbour answered haughtily :

" Have you come to ask me for your mortar ? I broke it to
pieces, and now I am making a fire of the wood, for when I
tried to pound cakes in it only some horrid smelling stuff
came out."



The Old Man who made Withered Trees to Flower. 183

The good old man said :

" I am very sorry for that. It is a great pity you did not ask
me for the cakes if you wanted them. I would have given you as




The Withered Tree at once Burst into Full Bloom.

many as ever you wanted. Now please give me the ashes
of the mortar, as I wish to keep them in remembrance of
my dog."



184 Japanese Fairy Book.

The neighbour consented at once, and the old man carried

O

home a basket full of ashes.

Not long after this the old man accidentally scattered some
of the ashes made by the burning of the mortar on the trees
of his garden. A wonderful thing happened !

It was late in autumn and all the trees had shed their
leaves, but no sooner did the ashes touch their branches than
the cherry trees, the plum trees, and all other blossoming
shrubs burst into bloom, so that the old man's garden was
suddenly transformed into a beautiful picture of spring. The
old man's delight knew no bounds, and he carefully preserved
the remaining ashes.

The story of the old man's garden spread far and wide,
and people from far and near came to see the wonderful sight.

One day, soon after this, the old man heard some one
knocking at his door, and going to the porch to see who it was
he was surprised to see a Knight standing there. This Knight
told him that he was a retainer of a great Daimio (Earl); that
one of the favourite cherry trees in this nobleman's garden had
withered, and that though everyone in his service had tried all
manner of means to revive it, none took effect. The Knight
was sore perplexed when he saw what great displeasure the
loss of his favourite cherry tree caused the Daimio. At this
point, fortunately, they had heard that there was a wonderful
old man who could make withered trees to blossom, and that
his Lord had sent him to ask the old man to come to him.

" And," added the Knight, " I shall be very much obliged if
you will come at once."

The good old man was greatly surprised at what he



The Old Man who made Withered Trees to Flower. 185

heard, but respectfully followed the Knight to the nobleman's
Palace.

The Daimio, who had been impatiently awaiting the old
man's coming, as soon as he saw him asked him at once :

" Are you the old man who can make withered trees flower
even out of season ? '

The old man made an obeisance, and replied :

" I am that old man! "

Then the Daimio said :

" You must make that dead cherry tree in my garden
blossom again by means of your famous ashes. I shall
look on."

Then they all went into the garden the Daimio and his
retainers and the ladies-in-waiting, who carried the Daimio's
sword.

The old man now tucked up his kimono and made ready to
climb the tree. Saying " Excuse me," he took the pot ot
ashes which he had brought with him, and began to climb the
tree, everyone watching his movements with great interest.

At last he climbed to the spot where the tree divided into
two great branches, and taking up his position here, the old
man sat down and scattered the ashes right and left all over
the branches and twigs.

Wonderful, indeed, was the result ! The withered tree at
once burst into full bloom ! The Daimio was so transported
with joy that he looked as if he would go mad. He rose to
his feet and spread out his fan, calling the old man down from
the tree. He himself gave the old man a wine cup filled with
the best sake, and rewarded him with much silver and gold



1 86



Japanese Fairy Book.



and many other precious things. The Daimio ordered that
henceforth the old man should call himself by the name of
Hana-Saka-Jijii, or "The Old Man who makes the Trees to

v/,




The Daimio ordered his Retainers to put the Impostor in Prison.

Blossom," and that henceforth all were to recognise him by
this name, and he sent him home with great honour.

The wicked neighbour, as before, heard of the good old



The Old Man who made Withered Trees to Flower. 187

man's fortune, and of all that had so auspiciously befallen him,
and he could not suppress all the envy and jealousy that filled
his heart. He called to mind how he had failed in his attempt
to find the gold coins, and then in making the magic cakes ;
this time surely he must succeed if he imitated the old man,
who made withered trees to flower simply by sprinkling ashes
on them. This would be the simplest task of all.

So he set to work and gathered together all the ashes which
remained in the fireplace from the burning of the wonderful
mortar. Then he set out in the hope of finding some great
man to employ him, calling out loudly as he went along :

11 Here comes the wonderful man who can make withered
trees blossom ! Here comes the old man who can make dead
trees blossom ! "

The Daimio in his Palace heard this cry, and said :

" That must be the Hana-Saka-Jijii passing. I have
nothing to do to-day. Let him try his art again ; it will amuse
me to look on."

So the retainers went out and brought in the impostor
before their Lord. The satisfaction of the false old man can
now be imagined.

But the Daimio looking at him, thought it strange that he was
not at all like the old man he had seen before, so he asked him :

" Are you the man whom I named Hana-Saka-Jijii ? "

And the envious neighbour answered with a lie :

" Yes, my Lord ! "

" That is strange ! " said the Daimio. " I thought there
was only one Hana-Saka-Jijii in the world ! Has he now
some disciples ? "



1 88 Japanese Fairy Book.

" I am the true Hana-Saka-Jijii. The one who came to
you before was only my disciple ! " replied the old man again.

" Then you must be more skilful than the other. Try what
you can do and let me see ! '

The envious neighbour, with the Daimio and his Court
following, then went into the garden, and approaching a dead
tree, took out a handful of the ashes which he carried with
him, and scattered them over the tree.

But not only did the tree not burst into flower, but not
even a bud came forth. Thinking that he had not used
enough ashes, the old man took handfuls and again sprinkled
them over the withered tree. But all to no effect. After
trying several times, the ashes were blown into the Daimio's
eyes. This made him very angry, and he ordered his retainers
to arrest the false Hana-Saka-Jijii at once and put him in
prison for an impostor. From this imprisonment the wicked
old man was never freed. Thus did he meet with punishment
at last for all his evil doings.

The good old man, however, with the treasure of gold
coins which Shiro had found for him, and with all the gold
and the silver which the Daimio had showered on him,
became a rich and prosperous man in his old age, and lived a
long and happy life, beloved and respected by all.



189



THE JELLY FISH AND THE MONKEY.

LONG, long ago, in old Japan, the Kingdom of the Sea
was governed by a wonderful King. He was called Rin Jin,
or the Dragon King of the Sea. His power was immense, for
he was the ruler of all sea creatures both great and small, and
in his keeping were the Jewels of the Ebb and Flow of the Tide.
The Jewel of the Ebbing Tide when thrown into the ocean
caused the sea to recede from the land, and the Jewel of the
Flowing Tide made the waves to rise mountains high and to
flow in upon the shore like a tidal wave.

The Palace of Rin Jin was at the bottom of the sea,
and was so beautiful that no one has ever seen anything
like it even in dreams. The walls were of coral, the roof of
jadestone and chrysoprase, and the floors were of the finest
mother-of-pearl. But the Dragon King, in spite of his wide-
spreading Kingdom, his beautiful Palace and all its wonders,
and his power, which none disputed throughout the whole sea,
was not at all happy, for he reigned alone. At last he thought
that if he married he would not only be happier, but also more
powerful. , So he decided to take a wife. Calling all his fish
retainers together, he chose several of them as ambassadors to
go through the sea and seek for a young Dragon Princess who
would be his bride.

At last they returned to the Palace bringing with them a
lovely young dragon. Her scales were of a glittering green



190 Japanese Fairy Book.

like the wings of summer beetles, her eyes threw out glances of
fire, and she was dressed in gorgeous robes. All the jewels of
the sea worked in with embroidery adorned them.

The King fell in love with her at once, and the wedding
ceremony was celebrated with great splendour. Every living
thing in the sea, from the great whales down to the little
shrimps, came in shoals to offer their congratulations to the
bride and bridegroom and to wish them a long and prosperous
life. Never had there been such an assemblage or such gay
festivities in the Fish-World before. The train of bearers who
carried the bride's possessions to her new home seemed to
reach across the waves from one end of the sea to the other.
Each fish carried a phosphorescent lantern and was dressed in
ceremonial robes, gleaming blue and pink and silver ; and the
waves as they rose and fell and broke that night seemed to be
rolling masses of white and green fire, for the phosphorus shone
with double brilliancy in honour of the event.

Now for a time the Dragon King and his bride lived very
happily. They loved each other dearly, and the bridegroom
day after day took delight in showing his bride all the
wonders and treasures of his coral Palace, and she was never
tired of wandering with him through its vast halls and gardens.
Life seemed to them both like a long summer's day.

Two months passed in this happy way, and then the
Dragon Queen fell ill and was obliged to stay in bed. The
King was sorely troubled when he saw his precious bride so ill,
and at once sent for the fish doctor to come and give her some
medicine. He gave special orders to the servants to nurse her
carefully and to wait upon her with diligence, but in spite of



The Jelly Fish and the Monkey.



191



all the nurses' assiduous care and the medicine that the doctor
prescribed, the young Queen showed no signs of recovery, but
grew daily worse.

Then the Dragon King interviewed the doctor and blamed




The Dragon King Blamed the Doctor lor not Curing the Queen.

him for not curing the Queen. The doctor was alarmed at
Rin Jin's evident displeasure, and excused his want of skill
by saying that although he knew the right kind of medicine to
give the" invalid, it was impossible to find it in the sea.

" Do you mean to tell me that you can't get the medicine
here ? " asked the Dragon King.



192 Japanese Fairy Book.

" It is just as you say ! " said the doctor.

" Tell me what it is you want for the Queen ? " demanded
Kin Jin.

" I want the liver of a live monkey ! " answered the doctor.

" The liver of a live monkey ! Of course that will be most
difficult to get," said the King.

" If we could only get that for the Queen, Her Majesty
would soon recover," said the doctor.

"Very well, that decides it; we must get it somehow or
other. But w r here are we most likely to find a monkey ? '
asked the King.

Then the doctor told the Dragon King that some distance
to the south there was a Monkey Island where a great many
monkeys lived.

" If only you could capture one of those monkeys ? " said
the doctor.

" How can any of my people capture a monkey ? " said the
Dragon King, greatly puzzled. " The monkeys live on dry
land, while we live in the water; and out of our element we are
quite powerless ! I don't see what we can do ! '

" That has been my difficulty too," said the doctor.
" But amongst your innumerable servants, you surely can
find one who can go on shore for that express purpose ! '

" Something must be done," said the King, and calling his
chief steward he consulted him on the matter.

The chief steward thought for some time, and then, as if
struck by a sudden thought, said joyfully :

" I know what we must do ! There is the kurage (jelly
fish). He is certainly ugly to look at, but he is proud of being



The Jelly Fish and the Monkey. 193

able to walk on land with his four legs like a tortoise. Let us
send him to the Island of Monkeys to catch one."

The jelly fish was then summoned to the King's presence,
and was told by His Majesty what was required of him.

The jelly fish; on being told of the unexpected mission
which was to be entrusted to him, looked very troubled, and said
that he had never been to the island in question, and as he had
never had any experience in catching monkeys he was afraid
that he would not be able to get one.

"Well," said the chief steward, "if you depend on your
strength or dexterity you will never catch a monkey. The only
way is to play a trick on one ! "

" How can I play a trick on a monkey? I don't know how
to do it," said the perplexed jelly fish.

" This is what you must do," said the wily chief steward.
" When you approach the Island of Monkeys and meet some of
them, you must try to get very friendly with one. Tell him
that you are a servant of the Dragon King, and invite him to
come and visit you and see the Dragon King's Palace. Try
and describe to him as vividly as you can the grandeur of the
Palace and the wonders of the sea so as to arouse his curiosity
and make him long to see it all ! "

"But how am I to get the monkey here? You know
monkeys don't swim ! ' said the reluctant jelly fish.

" You must carry him on your back. What is the use of
your shell if you can't do that ! " said the chief steward.

" Won't he be very heavy ? " queried kurage again.

" You mustn't mind that, for you are working for the Dragon
King ! " replied the chief steward.

F.B. o



194 Japanese Fairy Book.

" I will do my best then," said the jelly fish, and he swam
away from the Palace and started off towards the Monkey
Island. Swimming swiftly he reached his destination in a few
hours, and was landed by a convenient wave upon the shore.
On looking round he saw not far away a big pine-tree with
drooping branches and on one of those branches was just what
he was looking for a live monkey.

" I'm in luck ! " thought the jelly fish. " Now I must
flatter the creature and try to entice him to come back with
me to the Palace, and my part will be done ! '

So the jelly fish slowly walked towards the pine-tree. In
those ancient days the jelly fish had four legs and a hard shell
like a tortoise. When he got to the pine-tree he raised his
voice and said :

" How do you do, Mr. Monkey ? Isn't it a lovely day?"

" A very fine day," answered the monkey from the tree.
" I have never seen you in this part of the world before.
Where have you come from and what is your name ? '

" My name is kurage or jelly fish. I am one of the
servants of the Dragon King. I have heard so much of your
beautiful island that I have come on purpose to see it,"
answered the jelly fish.

" I am very glad to see you," said the monkey.

" By-the-bye," said the jelly fish, " have you ever seen the
Palace of the Dragon King of the Sea where I live ? '

" I have often heard of it, but I have never seen it ! "
answered the monkey.

"Then you ought most surely to come. It is a great pity
for you to go through life without seeing it. The beauty of



The Jelly Fish and the Monkey. 195

the Palace is beyond all description it is certainly to my mind
the most lovely place in the world," said the jelly fish.

"Is it so beautiful as all that?" asked the monkey in
astonishment.

Then the jelly fish saw his chance, and went on describing
to the best of his ability the beauty and grandeur of the Sea
King's Palace, and the wonders of the garden with its curious
trees of white, pink and red coral, and the still more curious
fruits like great jewels hanging on the branches. The monkey
grew more and more interested, and as he listened he came
down the tree step by step so as not to lose a word of the
wonderful story.

" I have got him at last ! " thought the jelly fish, but aloud
he said :

" Mr. Monkey, I must now go back. As you have never
seen the Palace of the Dragon King, won't you avail
yourself of this splendid opportunity by coming with me ? I
shall then be able to act as guide and show you all the
sights of the sea, which will be even more wonderful to you
a land-lubber."

" I should love to go," said the monkey, " but how am I to
cross the water ? I can't swim, as you surely know ! "

" There is no difficulty about that. I can carry you on my
back."

" That will be troubling you too much," said the monkey.

" I can do it quite easily. I am stronger than I look, so
you needn't hesitate," said the jelly fish, and taking the
monkey on his back he stepped into the sea.

" Keep very still, Mr. Monkey," said the jelly fish. "You

o 2



196 Japanese Fairy Book.

mustn't fall into the sea; I am responsible for your safe arrival
at the King's Palace."

" Please don't go so fast, or I am sure I shall fall off," said
the monkey.

Thus they went along, the jelly fish skimming through the






" Please don't go so fast, or I am sure I shall fall off,'' said the Monkey.

waves with the monkey sitting on his back. When they were
about half-way, the jelly fish, who knew very little of anatomy,
began to wonder if the monkey had his liver with him or not !

" Mr. Monkey, tell me, have you such a thing as a liver
with you ? "



The Jelly Fish and the Monkey. 197

The monkey was very much surprised at this queer
question, and asked what the jelly fish wanted with a liver.

" That is the most important thing of all," said the stupid
jelly fish, " so as soon as I recollected it, I asked you if you
had yours with you ? '

" Why is my liver so important to you ? ' asked the
monkey.

" Oh ! you will learn the reason later," said the jelly fish.

The monkey grew more and more curious and suspicious,
and urged the jelly fish to tell him for what his liver was
wanted, and ended up by appealing to his hearer's feelings by
saying that he was very troubled at what he had been told.

Then the jelly fish, seeing how anxious the monkey looked.
was sorry for him, and told him everything. How the Dragon
Queen had fallen ill, and how the doctor had said that only
the liver of a live monkey would cure her, and how the Dragon
King had sent him to find one.

" Now I have done as I was told, and as soon as we arrive
at the Palace the doctor will want your liver, so I feel sorry for
you ! " said the silly jelly fish.

The poor monkey was horrified when he learnt all this, and
very angry at the trick played upon him. He trembled with
fear at the thought of what was in store for him.

But the monkey was a clever animal, and he thought it the
wisest plan not to show any sign of the fear he felt, so he tried
to calm himself and to think of some way by which he might
escape.

" The doctor means to cut me open and then take my liver
out ! Why I shall die ! " thought the monkey. At last a bright



198 Japanese Fairy Book.

thought struck him, so he said quite cheerfully to the jelly
fish :

" What a pity it was, Mr. Jelly Fish, that you did not speak
of this before we left the island ! '

" If I had told you why I wanted you to accompany me you
would certainly have refused to come," answered the jelly
fish.

" You are quite mistaken," said the monkey. " Monkeys
can very well spare a liver or two, especially when it is wanted
for the Dragon Queen of the Sea. If I had only guessed of
what you were in need, I should have presented you with one
without waiting to be asked. I have several livers. But the
greatest pity is, that as you did not speak in time, I have left
all my livers hanging on the pine-tree."

"Have you left your liver behind you?" asked the jelly
fish.

"Yes," said the cunning monkey, "during the daytime I
usually leave my liver hanging up on the branch of a tree, as
it is very much in the way when I am climbing about from
tree to tree. To-day, listening to your interesting conversation,
I quite forgot it, and left it behind when I came off with you.
If only you had spoken in time I should have remembered it,
and should have brought it along with me ! "

The jelly fish was very disappointed \vhen he heard this,
for he believed every word the monkey said. The monkey was
of no good without a liver. Finally the jelly fish stopped and
told the monkey so.

"Well," said the monkey, "that is soon remedied. I am
really sorry to think of all your trouble ; but if you will only



The Jelly Fish and the Monkey. 199

take me back to the place where you found me, I shall soon
be able to get my liver."

The jelly fish did not at all like the idea of going all the
way back to the island again ; but the monkey assured him
that if he would be so kind as to take him back he would get
his very best liver, and bring it with him the next time. Thus
persuaded,'' the jelly fish turned his course towards the
Monkey Island once more.

No sooner had the jelly fish reached the shore than the
sly monkey landed, and getting up into the pine-tree where the
jelly fish had first seen him, he cut several capers amongst
the branches with joy at being safe home again, and then
looking down at the jelly fish said :

" So many thanks for all the trouble you have taken !
Please present my compliments to the Dragon King on your
return ! "

The jelly fish wondered at this speech and the mocking
tone in which it was uttered. Then he asked the monkey if it
wasn't his intention to come with him at once after getting his
liver.

The monkey replied laughingly that he couldn't afford to


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15 16 17

Online LibraryYei Theodora OzakiThe Japanese fairy book → online text (page 11 of 17)