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made of paper, telling him to sit on its back and it would carry
him there.

Sentaro obeyed wonderingly. The crane grew large
enough for him to ride on it with comfort. It then spread its
wings, rose high in the air, and flew away over the mountains
right out to sea.

The Story of the Man who did not Wish to Die. 91

Sentaro was at first quite frightened ; but by degrees he
grew accustomed to the swift flight through the air. On and

The Crane flew away, right out to Sea.

on they went for thousands of miles. The bird never stopped
for rest or food, but as it was a paper bird it doubtless did not
require any nourishment, and strange to say, neither did Sentaro.

92 Japanese I "airy Book.

Alter several days tlu-y reached an island. The crane flew
some distance inland and then alighted.

As soon as Sentaro got down from the bird's back, the
crane folded up of its own accord and flew into his pocket.

Now Sentaro began to look about him wonderingly, curious
to see what the country of Perpetual Life was like. He walked
first round about the country and then through the town.
Everything was, of course, quite strange, and different from his
own land, But both the land and the people seemed pros-
perous, so he decided that it would be good for him to stay
there and took up lodgings at one of the hotels.

The proprietor was a kind man, and when Sentaro told
him that he was a stranger and had come to live there, he
promised to arrange everything that was necessary with the
governor of the city concerning Sentaro's sojourn there. He
even found a house for his guest, and in this way Sentaro
obtained his great wish and became a resident in the country
of Perpetual Life.

Within the memory of all the islanders no man had ever
died there, and sickness was a thing unknown. Priests had
come over from India and China and told them of a beautiful
country called Paradise, where happiness and bliss and con-
tentment fill all men's hearts, but its gates could only be
reached by dying. This tradition was handed down for ages
from generation to generation but none knew exactly what
death was except that it led to Paradise.

Quite unlike Sentaro and other ordinary people, instead of
having a great dread of death, they all, both rich and poor,
longed for it as something good and desirable. They were

The Story of the Man who did not Wish to Die. 93

all tired of their long, long lives, and longed to go to the
happy land of contentment called Paradise of which the priests
had told them centuries ago.

All this Sentaro soon found out by talking to the islanders.
He found himself, according to his ideas, in the land of
Topsyturvydom. Everything was upside down. He had
wished to escape from dying. He had come to the land of
Perpetual Life with great relief and joy, only to find that the
inhabitants themselves, doomed never to die, would consider it
bliss to find death.

What he had hitherto considered poison these people ate
as good food, and all the things to which he had been accus-
tomed as food they rejected. Whenever any merchants from
other countries arrived, the rich people rushed to them eager
to buy poisons. These they swallowed eagerly hoping for
death to come so that they might go to Paradise.

But what were deadly poisons in other lands were without
effect in this strange place, and people who swallowed them
with the hope of dying, only found that in a short time they
felt better in health instead of worse.

Vainly they tried to imagine what death could be like.
The wealthy would have given all their money and all their
goods if they could but shorten their lives to two or three
hundred years even. Without any change to live on for ever
seemed to this people wearisome and sad.

In the chemist-shops there was a drug which was in con-
stant demand, because after using it for a hundred years, it was
supposed to turn the hair slightly grey and to bring about
disorders of the stomach.

94 Japanese I ; airy Book.

Sentaro was astonished to find that the poisonous globe-fish
was served up in restaurants as a delectable dish, and hawkers
in the streets went about selling sauces made of Spanish flies.
He never saw anyone ill after eating these horrible things, nor
did he ever see anyone with as much as a cold.

Sentaro was delighted. He said to himself that he would
never grow tired of living, and that he considered it profane to
wish for death. He was the only happy man on the island.
For his part he washed to live thousands of years and to enjoy
life. He set himself up in business, and for the present never
even dreamed of going back to his native land.

As years went by, however, things did not go as smoothly as
at first. He had heavy losses in business, and several times
some affairs went wrong with his neighbours. This caused
him great annoyance.

Time passed like the flight of an arrow for him, for he was
busy from morning till night. Three hundred years went by
in this monotonous way, and then at last he began to grow
tired of life in this country, and he longed to see his own land
and his old home. However long he lived here, life would
always be the same, so was it not foolish and wearisome to
stay on here for ever ?

Sentaro, in his wish to escape from the country of Perpetual
Life, recollected Jofuku, who had helped him before when he
was wishing to escape from death and he prayed to the saint
to bring him back to his own land again.

No sooner did he pray than the paper crane popped out of
his pocket. Sentaro was amazed to see that it had remained
undamaged after all these years. Once more the bird grew

The Story of the Man who did not Wish to Die. 95

and grew till it was large enough for him to mount it. As he
did so, the bird spread its wings and flew swiftly out across the
sea in the direction of Japan.

Such was the wilfulness of the man's nature that he
looked back and regretted all he had left behind. He tried to

He Screamed out to Jofuku to come and Rescue him.

stop the bird in vain. The crane held on its way for thousands
of miles across the ocean.

Then a storm came on, and the wonderful paper crane got
damp, crumpled up, and fell into the sea. Sentaro fell with it.
Very much frightened at the thought of being drowned, he
cried out loudly to Jofuku to save him. He looked round, but

96 Japanese Fairy Book.

there was no ship in sight. He swallowed a quantity of sea-
\vater, which only increased his miserable plight. While he
was thus struggling to keep himself afloat, he saw a monstrous
shark swimming towards him. As it came nearer it opened
its huge mouth ready to devour him. Sentaro was all but
paralysed with fear now that he felt his end so near, and
screamed out as loudly as ever he could to Jofuku to come and
rescue him.

Lo, and behold, Sentaro was awakened by his own screams,
to find that during his long prayer he had fallen asleep before
the shrine, and that all his extraordinary and frightful adven-
tures had been only a wild dream. He was in a cold perspiration
with fright, and utterly bewildered.

Suddenly a bright light came towards him, and in the light
stood a messenger. The messenger held a book in his hand,
and spoke to Sentaro :

" I am sent to you by Jofuku, who in answer to your prayer,
has permitted you in a dream to see the land of Perpetual Life.
But you grew weary of living there, and begged to be allowed
to return to your native land so that you might die. Jofuku,
so that he might try you, allowed you to drop into the sea, and
then sent a shark to swallow you up. Your desire for death
was not real, for even at that moment you cried out loudly and
shouted for help.

" It is also vain for you to wish to become a hermit, or to find
the Elixir of Life. These things are not for such as you your
life is not austere enough. It is best for you to go back to your
paternal home, and to live a good and industrious life. Never
neglect to keep the anniversaries of your ancestors, and mak

The Story of the Man who did not Wish to Die. 97

it your duty to provide for your children's future. Thus will
you live to a good old age and be happy, but give up the vain
desire to escape death, for no man can do that, and by this
time you have surely found out that even when selfish desires
are granted they do not bring happiness.

" In this book I give you there are many precepts good for
you to know if you study them, you will be guided in the way
I have pointed out to you."

The angel disappeared as soon as he had finished speaking,
and Sentaro took the lesson to heart. With the book in his
hand he returned to his old home, and giving up all his old
vain wishes, tried to live a good and useful life and to observe
the lessons taught him in the book, and he and his house
prospered henceforth, (^ -j ^



LONG, long ago, there lived an old bamboo woodcutter.
He was very poor and sad also, for no child had Heaven sent
to cheer his old age, and in his heart there was no hope of rest
from work till he died and was laid in the quiet grave. Every
morning he went forth into the woods and hills wherever the
bamboo reared its lithe green plumes against the sky. When
he had made his choice, he would cut down these feathers ot
the forest, and splitting them lengthwise, or cutting them into
joints, would carry the bamboo wood home and make it into
various articles for the household, and he and his old wife
gained a small livelihood by selling them.

One morning as usual he had gone out to his work, and
having found a nice clump of bamboos, had set to work to cut
some of them down. Suddenly the green grove of bamboos
was flooded with a bright soft light, as if the full moon had
risen over the spot. Looking round in astonishment, he saw
that the brilliance was streaming from one bamboo. The old
man, full of wonder, dropped his axe and went towards the
light. On nearer approach he saw that this soft splendour
came from a hollow in the green bamboo stem, and still more
wonderful to behold, in the midst of the brilliance stood a tiny
human being, only three inches in height, and exquisitely
beautiful in appearance*

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 99

He took the little Creature in his Hand.

H 2

ioo Japanese Fairy Book.

i <

You must be sent to be my child, for I find you here
among the bamboos where lies my daily work," said the old
man, and takinir the little creature in his hand he took it home


to his wife to bring up. The tiny girl was so exceedingly
beautiful and so small, that the old woman put her into a
basket to safeguard her from the least possibility of being hurt
in any way.

The old couple were now very happy, for it had been a life-
long regret that they had no children of their own, and with
joy they now expended all the love of their old age on the little
child who had come to them in so marvellous a manner.

From this time on, the old man often found gold in the
notches of the bamboos when he hewed them down and cut them
up ; not only gold, but precious stones also, so that by degrees
he became rich. He built himself a fine house, and was no
longer known as the poor bamboo woodcutter, but as a wealthy

Three months passed quickly away, and in that time the
bamboo child had, wonderful to say, become a full-grown girl,
so her foster-parents did up her hair and dressed her in beautiful
kimonos. She was of such wondrous beauty that they placed
her behind the screens like a princess, and allowed no one to
see her, waiting upon her themselves. It seemed as if she
were made of light, for the house was filled with a soft shining,
so that even in the dark of night it was like daytime. Her
presence seemed to have a benign influence on those there.
Whenever the old man felt sad, he had only to look upon his
foster-daughter and his sorrow vanished, and he became as
happy as when he was a youth.

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 101

At last the day came for the naming of their new-found
child, so the old couple called in a celebrated name-giver, and
he gave her the name of Princess Moonlight, because her body
gave forth so much soft bright light that she might have been
a daughter of the Moon God.

For three days the festival was kept up with song and
dance and music. All the friends and relations of the old
couple were present, and great was their enjoyment of the
festivities held to celebrate the naming of Princess Moonlight.
Everyone who saw her declared that there never had been i
seen anyone so lovely ; all the beauties throughout the length
and breadth of the land would grow pale beside her, so they
said. The fame of the Princess's loveliness spread far and
wide, and many were the suitors who desired to win her hand,
or even so much as to see her.

Suitors from far and near posted themselves outside the
house, and made little holes in the fence, in the hope of catching
a glimpse of the Princess as she went from one room to the
other along the verandah. They stayed there day and night,
sacrificing even their sleep for a chance of seeing her, but all
in vain. Then they approached the house, and tried to speak
to the old man and his wife or some of the servants, but not
even this was granted them.

Still, in spite of all this disappointment they stayed on day
after day, and night after night, and counted it as nothing, so
great was their desire to see the Princess.

At last, however, most of the men, seeing how hopeless their
quest was, lost heart and hope both, and returned to their homes.
All except five Knights, whose ardour and determination,

102 Japanese Fairy Book.

instead of waning, seemed to wax greater with obstacles.
These five men even went without their meals, and took
snatches of whatever they could get brought to them, so that
they might always stand outside the dwelling. They stood
there in all weathers, in sunshine and in rain.

Sometimes they wrote letters to the Princess, but no
answer was vouchsafed to them. Then when letters failed
to draw any reply, they wrote poems to her telling her ot
the hopeless love which kept them from sleep, from food, from
rest, and even from their homes. Still Princess Moonlight
gave no sign of having received their verses.

In this hopeless state the winter passed. The snow and
frost and the cold winds gradually gave place to the gentle
warmth of spring. Then the summer came, and the sun
burned white and scorching in the heavens above and on the
earth beneath, and still these faithful Knights kept watch and
waited. At the end of these long months they called out to the
old bamboo-cutter and entreated him to have some mercy upon
them and to showthem the Princess, but he answered onlythat
as he was not her real father he could not insist on her obeying
him against her wishes.

The five Knights on receiving this stern answer returned
to their several homes, and pondered over the best means of
touching the proud Princess's heart, even so much as to grant
them a hearing. They took their rosaries in hand and knelt
before their household shrines, and burned precious incense,
praying to Buddha to give them their hearts' desire. Thus
several days passed, but even so they could not rest in their

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 103

So again they set out for the bamboo-cutter's house. This
time the old man came out to see them, and they asked him to
let them know if it was the Princess's resolution never to see
any man whatsoever, and they implored him to speak for them
and to tell her the greatness of their love, and how long they
had waited through the cold of winter and the heat of summer,
sleepless and roofless through all weathers, without food and
without rest, in the ardent hope of winning her, and they were
willing to consider this long vigil as pleasure if she would but
give them one chance of pleading their cause with her.

The old man lent a willing ear to their tale of love, for in
his inmost heart he felt sorry for these faithful suitors and
would have liked to see his lovely foster-daughter married to
one of them. So he went in to Princess Moonlight and said
reverently :

" Although you have always seemed to me to be a heavenly
being, yet I have had the trouble of bringing you up as my
own child and you have been glad of the protection of my roof.
Will you refuse to do as I wish ? "

Then Princess Moonlight replied that there was nothing
she would not do for him, that she honoured and loved him as
her own father, and that as for herself she could not remember
the time before she came to earth.

The old man listened with great joy as she spoke these
dutiful words. Then he told her how anxious he was to see
her safely and happily married before he died.

" I am an old man, over seventy years of age, and my
end may come any time now. It is necessary and right
that you should see these five suitors and choose one of them."

IO4 Japanese Fairy Book.

" Oh, why," said the Princess in distress, " must I do
this ? I have no wish to marry now."

" I found you," answered the old man, " many years ago,
when you were a little creature three inches high, in the midst
of a great white light. The light streamed from the bamboo
in which you were hid and led me to you. So I have always
thought that you were more than mortal woman. While I
am alive it is right for you to remain as you are if you wish to
do so, but some day I shall cease to be and who will take care
of you then ? Therefore I pray you to meet these five brave
men one at a time and make up your mind to marry one of
them ! "

Then the Princess answered that she felt sure that she was
not as beautiful as perhaps report made her out to be, and that
even if she consented to marry any one of them, not really
knowing her before, his heart might change afterwards. So
as she did not feel sure of them, even though her father told
her they were worthy Knights, she did not feel it wise to see

" All you say is very reasonable," said the old man, " but
what kind of men will you consent to see ? I do not call these
five men who have waited on you for months, light-hearted.
They have stood outside this house through the winter and the
summer, often denying themselves food and sleep so that they
may win you. What more can you demand ? '

Then Princess Moonlight said she must make further trial
of their love before she would grant their request to interview
her. The five warriors were to prove their love by each bringing
her from distant countries something that she desired to possess.

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 105

That same evening the suitors arrived and began to play
their flutes in turn, and to sing their self-composed songs telling
of their great and tireless love. The bamboo-cutter went out
to them and offered them his sympathy for all they had
endured and all the patience they had shown in their desire to
win his foster-daughter. Then he gave them her message,
that she would consent to marry whosoever was successful in
bringing her what she wanted. This was to test them.

The five all accepted the trial, and thought it an excellent
plan, for it would prevent jealousy between them.

Princess Moonlight then sent word to the First Knight that
she requested him to bring her the stone bowl which had
belonged to Buddha in India.

The Second Knight was asked to go to the Mountain of
Horai, said to be situated in the Eastern Sea, and to bring her
a branch of the wonderful tree that grew on its summit. The
roots of this tree were of silver, the trunk of gold, and the
branches bore as fruit white jewels.

The Third Knight was told to go to China and search for
the fire-rat and to bring her its skin.

The Fourth Knight was told to search for the dragon that
carried on its head the stone radiating five colours and to bring
the stone to her.

The Fifth Knight was to find the swallow which carried a
shell in its stomach and to bring the shell to her.

The old man thought these very hard tasks and hesitated
to carry the messages, but the Princess would make no other
conditions. So her commands were issued word for word to
the five men who, when they heard what was required of them,

io6 Japanese Fairy Book.

were all disheartened and disgusted at what seemed to them
the impossibility of the tasks given them and returned to their
own homes in despair.

But after a time, when they thought of the Princess, the
love in their hearts revived for her, and they resolved to make
an attempt to get what she desired of them.

The First Knight sent word to the Princess that he was
starting out that day on the quest of Buddha's bowl, and he
hoped soon to bring it to her. But he had not the courage to
go all the way to India, for in those days travelling was very
difficult and full of danger, so he went to one of the temples in
Kyoto and took a stone bowl from the altar there, paying the
priest a large sum of money for it. He then wrapped it in a
cloth of gold and, waiting quietly for three years, returned and
carried it to the old man.

Princess Moonlight wondered that the Knight should have
returned so soon. She took the bowl from its gold wrapping,
expecting it to make the room full of light, but it did not shine
at all, so she knew that it was a sham thing and not the true
bowl of Buddha. She returned it at once and refused to see
him. The Knight threw the bowl away and returned to his
home in despair. He gave up now all hopes of ever winning
the Princess.

The Second Knight told his parents that he needed
change of air for his health, for he was ashamed to tell them
that love for the Princess Moonlight was the real cause of his
leaving them. He then left his home, at the same time sending
word to the Princess that he was setting out for Mount Horai
in the hope of getting her a branch of the gold and silver tree

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 107

which she so much wished to have. He only allowed his-
servants to accompany him half-way, and then sent them back.
He reached the seashore and embarked on a small ship, and
after sailing away for three days he landed and employed several'
carpenters to build him a house contrived in such a way that
no one could get access to it. He then shut himself up with
six skilled jewellers, and endeavoured to make such a gold and
silver branch as he thought would satisfy the Princess as
having come from the wonderful tree growing on Mount
Horai. Everyone whom he v had asked declared that Mount
Horai belonged to the land of fable and not to fact.

When the branch was finished, he took his journey home
and tried to make himself look as if he were wearied and worn
out with travel. He put the jewelled branch into a lacquer
box and carried it to the bamboo-cutter, begging him to present
it to the Princess.

The old man was quite deceived by the travel-stained
appearance of the Knight, and thought that he had only just
returned from his long journey with the branch. So he tried
to persuade the Princess to consent to see the man. But she
remained silent and looked very sad. The old man began to
take out the branch and praised it as a wonderful treasure
to be found nowhere in the whole land. Then he spoke of
the Knight, how handsome and how brave he was to have
undertaken a iourney to so remote a place as the Mount
of Horai.

Princess Moonlight took the branch in her hand and looked
at it carefully. She then told her foster-parent that she knew
it was impossible for the man to have obtained a branch from

io8 Japanese Fairy Book.

the gold and silver tree growing on Mount Horai so quickly or
so easily, and she was sorry to say she believed it artificial.

The old man then went out to the expectant Knight, who
had now approached the house, and asked where he had found
the branch. Then the man did not scruple to make up a long

" Two years ago I took a ship and started in search of
Mount Horai. After going before the wind for some time I
reached the far Eastern Sea. Then a great storm arose and I
was tossed about for many days, losing all count of the points
of the compass, and finally we were blown ashore on an
unknown island. Here I found the place inhabited by demons
who at one time threatened to kill and eat me. However, I
managed to make friends with these horrible creatures, and
they helped me and my sailors to repair the boat, and I set
sail again. Our food gave out, and we suffered much from
sickness on board. At last, on the five-hundredth day from
the day of starting, I saw far off on the horizon what looked
like the peak of a mountain. On nearer approach, this proved

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