Yei Theodora Ozaki.

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ruffling out her feathers to show her joy, and at last coming to
rest on his shoulder. But to-night the old man was very
disappointed, for not even the shadow of his dear sparrow was
to be seen.

He quickened his steps, hastily drew off his straw sandals,
and stepped on to the verandah. Still no sparrow was to be
seen. He now felt sure that his wife, in one of her cross
tempers, had shut the sparrow up in its cage. So he called
her and said anxiously :

" Where is Suzume San (Miss Sparrow) to-day ? "

The old woman pretended not to know at first, and
answered :

" Your sparrow ? I am sure I don't know. Now I come
to think of it, I haven't seen her all the afternoon. I shouldn't
wonder if the ungrateful bird had flown away and left you
after all your petting ! '

But at last, when the old man gave her no peace, but
asked her again and again, insisting that she must know what
had happened to his pet, she confessed all. She told him
crossly how the sparrow had eaten the rice-paste she had
specially made for starching her clothes, and how when the
sparrow had confessed to what she had done, in great anger
she had taken her scissors and cut out her tongue, and how

16 Japanese Fairy Book.

finally she had driven the bird away and forbidden her to
return to the house again.

Then the old woman showed her husband the sparrow's
tongue, saying :

" Here is the tongue I cut off! Horrid little bird, why did
it eat all my starch ? '

" How could you be so cruel? Oh ! how could you be so
cruel ? " was all that the old man could answer. He was too
kind-hearted to punish his shrew of a wife, but he was terribly
distressed at what had happened to his poor little sparrow.

" What a dreadful misfortune for my poor Suzume San to
lose her tongue ! " he said to himself. " She won't be able to
chirp any more, and surely the pain of the cutting of it out in
that rough way must have made her ill ! Is there nothing to
be done ? '

The old man shed many tears after his cross wife had gone
to sleep. While he wiped away the tears with the sleeve of
his cotton robe, a bright thought comforted him : he would go
and look for the sparrow on the morrow. Having decided this
he was able to go to sleep at last.

The next morning he rose early, as soon as ever the day
broke, and snatching a hasty breakfast, started out over the
hills and through the woods, stopping at every clump of
bamboos to cry :

"Where, oh where does my tongue-cut sparrow stay?
W 7 here, oh where, does my tongue-cut sparrow stay ? '

He never stopped to rest for his noonday meal, and it was
far on in the afternoon when he found himself near a large
bamboo wood. Bamboo groves are the favourite haunts of

The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 17

sparrows, and there sure enough at the edge of the wood he
saw his own dear sparrow waiting to welcome him. He could
hardly believe his eyes for joy, and ran forward quickly to greet
her. She bowed her little head and went through a number
of the tricks her master had taught her, to show her pleasure
at seeing her old friend again, and, wonderful to relate, she
could talk as of old. The old man told her how sorry he was
for all that had happened, and inquired after her tongue,
wondering how she could speak so well without it. Then the
sparrow opened her beak and showed him that a new tongue
had grown in place of the old one, and begged him not to
think any more about the past, for she was quite well now.
Then the old man knew that his sparrow was a fairy, and
no common bird. It would be difficult to exaggerate the
old man's rejoicing now. He forgot all his troubles, he
forgot even how tired he was, for he had found his lost
sparrow, and instead of being ill and without a tongue as
he had feared and expected to find her, she was well and
happy and with a new tongue, and without a sign of the
ill-treatment she had received from his wife. And above
all she was a fairy.

The sparrow asked him to follow her, and flying before
him she led him to a beautiful house in the heart of the
bamboo grove. The old man was utterly astonished when
he entered the house to find what a beautiful place it was
It was built of the whitest wood, the soft cream-coloured
mats which took the place of carpets were the finest he
had ever seen, and the cushions that the sparrow brought
out for him to sit on were made of the finest silk and
F.B. c


Japanese Fairy Book.

crape. Beautiful vases and lacquer boxes adorned the
tokonoma l of every room.

The sparrow led the old man to the place of honour, and
then, taking her place at a humble distance, she thanked him

The Lady Sparrow introduced all her Family.

with many polite bows for all the kindness he had shown her
for many long years.

Then the Lady Sparrow, as we will now call her, introduced

all her family to the old man. This done, her daughters, robed in

dainty crape gowns, brought in on beautiful old-fashioned trays

a feast of all kinds of delicious foods, till the old man began to

1 An alcove where precious objects are displayed.

The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 19

think he must be dreaming. In the middle of the dinner some of
the sparrow's daughters performed a wonderful dance, called the
" Suzume-odori " or the " Sparrow's dance," to amuse the guest.

Never had the old man enjoyed himself so much. The
hours flew by too quickly in this lovely spot, with all these
fairy sparrows to wait upon him and to feast him and to dance
before him.

But the night came on and the darkness reminded him that
he had a long way to go and must think about taking his leave
and return home. He thanked his kind hostess for her splendid
entertainment, and begged her for his sake to forget all she had
suffered at the hands of his cross old wife. He told the Lady
Sparrow that it was a great comfort and happiness to him to
find her in such a beautiful home and to know that she wanted
for nothing. It was his anxiety to know how she fared and
what had really happened to her that had led him to seek her.
Now he knew that all was well he could return home with a
light heart. If ever she wanted him for anything she had
only to send for him and he would come at once.

The Lady Sparrow begged him to stay and rest several
days and enjoy the change, but the old man said that he must
return to his old wife who would probably be cross at his not
coming home at the usual time and to his work, and therefore,
much as he wished to do so, he could not accept her kind
invitation. But now that he knew where tht Lady Sparrow
lived he would come to see her whenever he had the time.

When the Lady Sparrow saw that she could not persuade
the old man to stay longer, she gave an order to some of her
servants, and they at once brought in two boxes, one large and

c 2

2O Japanese Fairy Book.

the other small. These were placed before the old man, and
the Lady Sparrow asked him to choose whichever he liked
for a present, which she wished to give him.

The old man could not refuse this kind proposal, and he
chose the smaller box, saying :

" I am now too old and feeble to carry the big and heavy
box. As you are so kind as to say that I may take whichever
I like, I will choose the small one, which will be easier for me
to carry."

Then the sparrows all helped him put it on his back and
went to the gate to see him off, bidding him good-bye with
many bows and entreating him to come again whenever he had
the time. Thus the old man and his pet sparrow separated
quite happily, the sparrow showing not the least ill-will for all
the unkindness she had suffered at the hands of the old wife.
Indeed, she only felt sorrow for the old man who had to put
up with it all his life.

When the old man reached home he found his wife even
crosser than usual, for it was late on in the night and she had
been waiting up for him for a long time.

" Where have you been all this time ? " she asked in a big
voice. ( "Why do you come back so late ?"

The old man tried to pacify her by showing her the box of
presents he had brought back with him, and then he told her
of all that had happened to him, and how wonderfully he had
been entertained at the sparrow's house.

" Now let us see what is in the box," said the old man, not
giving her time to grumble again. " You must help me open
it." And they both sat down before the box and opened it.

The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 21

To their utter astonishment they found the box filled to the
brim with gold and silver coins and many other precious things.
The mats of their little cottage fairly glittered as they took out
the things one by one and put them down and handled them
over and over again. The old man was overjoyed at the sight
of the riches that were now his. Beyond his brightest expecta-
tions was the sparrow's gift, which would enable him to give up
work and live in ease and comfort the rest of his days.

He said : " Thanks to my good little sparrow ! Thanks to
my good little sparrow ! " many times.

But the old woman, after the first moments of surprise and
satisfaction at the sight of the gold and silver were over, could
not suppress the greed of her wicked nature. She now began
to reproach the old man for not having brought home the big
box of presents, for in the innocence of his heart he had told
her how he had refused the large box of presents which the
sparrows had offered him, preferring the smaller one because it
was light and easy to carry home.

"You silly old man," said she, " why did you not bring the
large box ? Just think what we have lost. We might have had
twice as much silver and gold as this. You are certainly an
old fool ! " she screamed, and then went to bed as angry as she
could be.

The old man now wished that he had said nothing about
the big box, but it was too late ; the greedy old woman, not
contented with the good luck which had so unexpectedly
befallen them and which she so little deserved, made up her
mind, if possible, to get more.

Early the next morning she got up and made the old man

22 Japanese Fairy Book.

describe the way to the sparrow's house. When he saw what
was in her mind he tried to keep her from going, but it was
useless. She would not listen to one word he said. It is
strange that the old woman did not feel ashamed of going to
see the sparrow after the cruel way she had treated her in
cutting off her tongue in a fit of rage. But her greed to get the
big box made her forget everything else. It did not even enter
her thoughts that the sparrows might be angry with her as,
indeed, they were and might punish her for what she had done.

Ever since the Lady Sparrow had returned home in the sad
plight in which they had first found her, weeping and bleeding
from the mouth, her whole family and relations had done little
else but speak of the cruelty of the old woman. " How could
she," they asked each other, " inflict such a heavy punishment
for such a trifling offence as that of eating some rice-paste by
mistake ?" They all loved the old man who was so kind and
good and patient under all his troubles, but the old woman they
hated, and they determined, if ever they had the chance, to
punish her as she deserved. They had not long to wait.

After walking for some hours the old woman had at last
found the bamboo grove which she had made her husband
carefully describe, and now she stood before it crying out :

" Where is the tongue-cut sparrow's house ? Where is the
tongue-cut sparrow's house ? "

At last she saw the eaves of the house peeping out from
amongst the bamboo foliage. She hastened to the door and
knocked loudly.

When the servants told the Lady Sparrow that her old
mistress was at the door asking to see her, she was somewhat

The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 23

surprised at the unexpected visit, after all that had taken place,
and she wondered not a little at the boldness of the old woman
in venturing to come to the house. The Lady Sparrow,
however, was a polite bird, and so she went out to greet the old
woman, remembering that she had once been her mistress.

The old woman intended, however, to waste no time in
words, she went right to the point, without the least shame,
and said :

" You need not trouble to entertain me as you did my old I have come myself to get the box which he so stupidly
left behind. I shall soon take my leave if you will give me the
big box that is all I want ! '

The Lady Sparrow at once consented, and told her servants
to bring out the big box. The old woman eagerly seized it and
hoisted it on her back, and without even stopping to thank the
Lady Sparrow began to hurry homewards.

The box was so heavy that she could not walk fast, much
less run, as she would have liked to do, so anxious was she to
get home and see what was inside the box, but she had often
to sit down and rest herself by the way.

While she was staggering along under the heavy load, her
desire to open the box became too great to be resisted. She
could wait no longer, for she supposed this big box to be full
of gold and silver and precious jewels like the small one
her husband had received.

At last this greedy and selfish old woman put down the box
by the wayside and opened it carefully, expecting to gloat her
eyes on a mine of wealth. What she saw, however, so terrified
her that she nearly lost her senses. As soon as she lifted the

Japanese Fairy Book.

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C'y '

-, - . , -. - . \ , r -. .


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The Old Woman had never been so Frightened in her Life.

The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 25

lid, a number of horrible and frightful looking demons bounced
out of the box and surrounded her as if they intended to kill
her. Not even in nightmares had she ever seen such horrible
creatures as her much-coveted box contained. A demon with
one huge eye right in the middle of its forehead came and
glared at her, monsters with gaping mouths looked as if they
would devour her, a huge snake coiled and hissed about her,
and a big frog hopped and croaked towards her.

The old woman had never been so frightened in her life,
and ran from the spot as fast as her quaking legs would carry
her, glad to escape alive. When she reached home she fell to
the floor and told her husband with tears all that had happened
to her, and how she had been nearly killed by the demons in
the box.

Then she began to blame the sparrow, but the old man
stopped her at once, saying :

" Don't blame the sparrow, it is your wickedness which has
at last met with its reward. I only hope this may be a lesson
to you in the future ! "

The old woman said nothing more, and from that day she
repented of her cross, unkind ways, and by degrees became a
good old woman, so that her husband hardly knew her to be
the same person, and they spent their last days together happily,
free from want or care, spending carefully the treasure the old
man had received from his pet, the tongue-cut sparrow.



LONG, long ago in the province of Tango there lived on
the shore of Japan in the little fishing village of Mizu-no-ye a
young fisherman named Urashima Taro. His father had
been a fisherman before him, and his skill had more than
doubly descended to his son, for Urashima was the most
skilful fisher in all that country side, and could catch more
bonito and tai in a day than his comrades could in a week.

But in the little fishing village, more than for being a clever
fisher of the sea was he known for his kind heart. In his whole
life he had never hurt anything, either great or small, and when
a boy, his companions had always laughed at him, for he would
never join with them in teasing animals, but always tried to keep
them from this cruel sport.

One soft summer twilight he was going home at the end of
a day's fishing when he came upon a group of children. They
were all screaming and talking at the tops of their voices, and
seemed to be in a state of great excitement about something,
and on his going up to them to see what was the matter he
saw that they were tormenting a tortoise. First one boy pulled
it this way, then another boy pulled it that way, while a third
child beat it with a stick, and the fourth hammered its shell
with a stone.

The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad. 27

Now Urashima felt very sorry for the poor tortoise and
made up his mind to rescue it. He spoke to the boys :

" Look here, boys, you are treating that poor tortoise so
badly that it will soon die ! "

The boys, who were all of an age when children seem to
delight in being cruel to animals, took no notice of Urashima's
gentle reproof, but went on teasing it as before. One of the
older boys answered :

"Who cares whether it lives or dies ? We do not. Here,
boys, go on, go on ! '

And they began to treat the poor tortoise more cruelly than
ever. Urashima waited a moment, turning over in his mind
what would be the best way to deal with the boys. He would
try to persuade them to give the tortoise up to him, so he smiled
at them and said :

" I am sure you are all good, kind boys ! Now won't you
give me the tortoise ? I should like to have it so much ! "

" No, we won't give you the tortoise," said one of the boys.
" Why should we ? We caught it ourselves."

" What you say is true," said Urashima, " but I do not ask
you to give it to me for nothing. I will give you some money
for it in other words, the Ojisan (Uncle) will buy it of you.
Won't that do for you, my boys ? " He held up the money to
them, strung on a piece of string through a hole in the centre
of each coin, " Look, boys, you can buy anything you like
with this money. You can do much more with this money
than you can with that poor tortoise. See what good boys you
are to listen to me."

The boys were not bad boys at all, they were only

28 Japanese Fairy Book.

mischievous, and as Urashima spoke they were won by his
kind smile and gentle words and began "to be of his spirit,"
as they say in Japan. Gradually they all came up to him,
the ringleader of the little band holding out the tortoise to

" Very well, Ojisan, we will give you the tortoise if you will
give us the money 1 " And Urashima took the tortoise and gave
the money to the boys, who, calling to each other, scampered
away and were soon out of sight.

Then Urashima stroked the tortoise's back, saying as he
did so :

" Oh, you poor thing! Poor thing! there, there! you are
safe now ! They say that a stork lives for a thousand years,
but the tortoise for ten thousand years. You have the longest
life of any creature in this world, and you were in great danger
of having that precious life cut short by those cruel boys.
Luckily I was passing by and saved you, and so life is still
yours. Now I am going to take you back to your home, the
sea, at once. Do not let yourself be caught again, for there
might be no one to save you next time ! '

All the time that the kind fisherman was speaking he was
walking quickly to the shore and out upon the rocks ; then
putting the tortoise into the water he watched the animal dis-
appear, and turned homewards himself, for he was tired and
the sun had set.

The next morning Urashima went out as usual in his boat.
The weather was fine and the sea and sky were both blue and
soft in the tender haze of the summer morning. Urashima got
into his boat and dreamily pushed out to sea, throwing his line

The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad. 29

as he did so. He soon passed the other fishing boats and left
them behind him till they were lost to sight in the distance, and
his boat drifted further and further out upon the blue waters.
Somehow, he knew not why, he felt unusually happy that
morning; and he could not help wishing that, like the tortoise
he set free the day before, he had thousands of years to live
instead of his own short span of human life.

He was suddenly startled from his reverie by hearing his
own name called :

" Urashima, Urashima ! "

Clear as a bell and soft as the summer wind the name floated
over the sea.

He stood up and looked in every direction, thinking that one
of the other boats had overtaken him, but gaze as he might
over the wide expanse of water, near or far there was no sign
of a boat, so the voice could not have come from any human

Startled, and wondering who or what it was that had called
him so clearly, he looked in all directions round about him and
saw that without his knowing it a tortoise had come to the side
of the boat. Urashima saw with surprise that it was the very
tortoise he had rescued the day before.

" Well, Mr. Tortoise," said Urashima, "was it you who
called my name just now ? "

The tortoise nodded its head several times, and said :

" Yes, it was I. Yesterday in your honourable shadow
(o kage sama de) my life was saved, and I have come to offer
you my thanks and to tell you how grateful I am for your
kindness to me."

30 Japanese Fairy Book.

"Indeed," said Urashima, "that is very polite of you.
Come up into the boat. I would offer you a smoke, but as you
are a tortoise doubtless you do not smoke," and the fisherman
laughed at the joke.

" He he he he ! " laughed the tortoise ; "sake (rice wine)
is my favourite refreshment, but I do not care for tobacco."

" Indeed," said Urashima, " I regret very much that I
have no ' sake ' in my boat to offer you, but come up and
dry your back in the sun tortoises always love to do that."

So the tortoise climbed into the boat, the fisherman help-
ing him, and after an exchange of complimentary speeches the
tortoise said :

" Have you ever seen Rin Gin, the Palace of the Dragon
King of the Sea, Urashima ?'

The fisherman shook his head and replied : " No ; year
after year the sea has been my home, but though I have often
heard of the Dragon King's realm under the sea I have never
yet set eyes on that wonderful place. It must be very far away,
if it exists at all ! "

" Is that really so ? You have never seen the Sea King's
Palace ? Then you have missed seeing one of the most
wonderful sights in the whole universe. It is far away at the
bottom of the sea, but if I take you there we shall soon reach
the place. If you would like to see the Sea King's land I will
be your guide."

" I should like to go there, certainly, and you are very kind
to think of taking me, but you must remember that I am only
a poor mortal and have not the power of swimming like a sea
creature such as you are "

The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad. 31

Before the fisherman could say more the tortoise stopped
him, saying :

" What ? You need not swim yourself. If you will ride on
my back I will take you without any trouble on your part."

" But," said Urashima, " how is it possible for me to ride
on your small back ? '

" It may seem absurd to you, but I assure you that you can
do so. Try at once ! Just come and get on my back, and
see if it is as impossible as you think ! '

As the tortoise finished speaking, Urashima looked at its
shell, and strange to say he saw that the creature had suddenly
grown so big that a man could easily sit on its back.

"This is strange indeed!" said Urashima; "then, Mr.
Tortoise, with your kind permission I will get on your back.
Dokoisho / " 1 he exclaimed as he jumped on.

The tortoise, with an unmoved face, as if this strange pro-
ceeding were quite an ordinary event, said :

" Now we will set out at our leisure," and with these words
he leapt into the sea with Urashima on his back. Down
through the water the tortoise dived. For a long time these
two strange companions rode through the sea. Urashima
never grew tired, nor his clothes moist with the water. At last,
far away in the distance a magnificent gate appeared, and behind
the gate, the long, sloping roofs of a palace on the horizon.

" Ya," exclaimed Urashima, "that looks like the gate of
some large palace just appearing ! Mr. Tortoise, can you tell
what that place is we can now see ? "

" That is the great gate of the Rin Gin Palace. The large
1 " All right " (only used by lower classes).

Japanese Fairy Book.

roof that you see behind the gate is the Sea King's Palace

" Then we have at last come to the realm of the Sea King
and to his Palace," said Urashima.

" Yes, indeed," answered the tortoise, " and don't you think

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The Gate of some large Palace.

we have come very quickly ? " And while he was speaking the
tortoise reached the side of the gate. " And here we are, and
you must please walk from here."

The tortoise now went in front, and speaking to the gate-

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