Yei Theodora Ozaki.

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to be an island, in the centre of which rose a high mountain. I
landed, and after wandering about for two or three days, I saw
a shining being coming towards me on the beach, holding in
his hands a golden bowl. I went up to him and asked him if
I had, by good chance, found the island of Mount Horai, and
he answered :

" ' Yes, this is Mount Horai ! '

" With much difficulty I climbed to the summit, where stood
the golden tree growing w r ith silver roots in the ground. The
wonders of that strange land are many, and if I began to tell

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 109

you about them I could never stop. In spite of my wish to
stay there long, on breaking off the branch I hurried back.
With utmost speed it has taken me four hundred days to get
back, and, as you see, my clothes are still damp from exposure
on the long sea voyage. I have not even waited to change my
raiment, so anxious was I to bring the branch to the Princess

Just at this moment the six jewellers, who had been
employed on the making of the branch, but not yet paid
by the Knight, arrived at the house and sent in a petition
to the Princess to be paid for their labour. They said that
they had worked for over a thousand days making the branch
of gold, with its silver twigs and its jewelled fruit, that was now
presented to her by the Knight, but as yet they had received
nothing in payment. So this Knight's deception was thus
found out, and the Princess, glad of an escape from one more
importunate suitor, was only too pleased to send back the
branch. She called in the workmen and had them paid
liberally, and they went away happy. But on the way home
they were overtaken by the disappointed man, who beat them
till they were nearly dead, for letting out the secret, and they
barely escaped with their lives. The Knight then returned
home, raging in his heart ; and in despair of ever winning the
Princess gave up society and retired to a solitary life among
the mountains.

Now the Third Knight had a friend in China, so he wrote to
him to get the skin of the fire-rat. The virtue of any part of
this animal was that no fire could harm it. He promised his
friend any amount of money he liked to ask if only he could

i TO Japanese Fairy Book.

<ret him the desired article. As soon as the news came that


the ship on which his friend had sailed home had come into
port, he rode seven days on horseback to meet him. He
handed his friend a large sum of money, and received the
fire-rat's skin. When he reached home he put it carefully
in a box and sent it in to the Princess while he waited outside
for her answer.

The bamboo-cutter took the box from the Knight and, as
usual, carried it in to her and* tried to coax her to see the
Knight at once, but Princess Moonlight refused, saying that
she must first put the skin to test by putting it into the fire. It
it were the real thing it would not burn. So she took off the
crape wrapper and opened the box, and then threw the skin
into the fire. The skin crackled and burnt up at once, and the
Princess knew that this man also had not fulfilled his word.
So the Third Knight failed also.

Now the Fourth Knight was no more enterprising than the
rest. Instead of starting out on the quest of the dragon
bearing on its head the five-colour-radiating jewel, he called
all his servants together and gave them the order to seek for it
far and wide in Japan and in China, and he strictly forbade
any of them to return till they had found it.

His numerous retainers and servants started out in different
directions, with no intention, however, of obeying what they
considered an impossible order. They simply took a holiday,
went to pleasant country places together, and grumbled at
their master's unreasonableness.

The Knight meanwhile, thinking that his retainers could
not fail to find the jewel, repaired to his house, and fitted it up

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 1 1 1

beautifully for the reception of the Princess, he felt so sure of
winning her.

One year passed away in weary waiting, and still his men
did not return with the dragon-jewel. The Knight became
desperate. He could wait no longer, so taking with him only
two men, he hired a ship and commanded the captain to go in
search of the dragon ; the captain and the sailors refused
to undertake what they said was an absurd search, but the
Knight compelled them at last to put out to sea.

When they had been but a few days out they encountered
a great storm which lasted so long that, by the time its fury
abated, the Knight had determined to give up the hunt of the
dragon. They were at last blown on shore, for navigation was
primitive in those days. Worn out with his travels and anxiety,
the fourth suitor gave himself up to rest. He had caught a
very heavy cold, and had to go to bed with a swollen face.

The governor of the place, hearing of his plight, sent
messengers with a letter inviting him to his house. While
he was there thinking over all his troubles, his love for the
Princess turned to anger, and he blamed her for all the hard-
ships he had undergone. He thought that it was quite probable
she had wished to kill him so that she might be rid of him,
and in order to carry out her wish had sent him upon his
impossible quest.

At this point all the servants he had sent out to find the
jewel came to see him, and were surprised to find praise
instead of displeasure awaiting them. Their master told them
that he was heartily sick of adventure, and said that he never
intended to go near the Princess's house again in the future.

112 Japanese Fairy Book.

Like all the rest, the Fifth Knight failed in his quest ne
could not find the swallow's shell.

By this time the fame of Princess Moonlight's beauty had
reached the ears of the Emperor, and he sent one of the Court
ladies to see if she were really as lovely as report said ; if so
he would summon her to the Palace and make her one of the

When the Court lady arrived, in spite of her father's
entreaties, Princess Moonlight refused to see her. The
Imperial messenger insisted, saying it was the Emperor's
order. Then Princess Moonlight told the old man that it
she were forced to go to the Palace in obedience to the
Emperor's order, she would vanish from the earth.

When the Emperor was told of her persistence in refusing
to obey his summons, and that if pressed to obey she would dis-
appear altogether from sight, he determined to go and see her.
So he planned to go on a hunting excursion in the neighbour-
hood of the bamboo-cutter's house, and see the Princess himself.
He sent word to the old man of his intention, and he received
consent to the scheme. The next day the Emperor set out
with his retinue, which he soon managed to outride. He
found the bamboo-cutter's house and dismounted. He then
entered the house and went straight to where the Princess was
sitting with her attendant maidens.

Never had he seen anyone so wonderfully beautiful, and he
could not but look at her, for she was more lovely than any
human being as she shone in her own soft radiance. When
Princess Moonlight became aware that a stranger was looking
at her she tried to escape from the room, but the Emperor

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 113

caught her and begged her to listen to what he had to say.
Her only answer was to hide her face in her sleeves.

The Emperor fell deeply in love with her, and begged her
to come to the Court, where he would give her a position of
honour and everything she could wish for. He was about to
send for one of the Imperial palanquins to take her back with
him at once, saying that her grace and beauty should adorn
a Court and not be hidden in a bamboo-cutter's cottage.

But the Princess stopped him. She said that if she were
forced to go to the Palace she would turn at once into a shadow,
and even as she spoke she began to lose her form. Her figure
faded from his sight while he looked.

The Emperor then promised to leave her free if only she
would resume her former shape, which she did.

It was now time for him to return, for his retinue would be
wondering what had happened to their Royal master when they
missed him for so long. So he bade her good-bye, and left the
house with a sad heart. Princess Moonlight was for him the
most beautiful woman in the world ; all others were dark beside
her, and he thought of her night and day. His Majesty now
spent much of his time in writing poems, telling her of his'love
and devotion, and sent them to her, and though she refused
to see him again she answered with many verses of her own
composing, which told him gently and kindly that she could
never marry anyone on this earth. These little songs always
gave him pleasure.

At this time her foster-parents noticed that night after night
the Princess would sit on her balcony and gaze for hours at the
moon, in a spirit of the deepest dejection, ending always in a

F.B. l

114 Japanese Fairy Book.

burst of tears. One night the old man found her thus weeping
as if her heart were broken, and he besought her to tell him the
reason of her sorrow.

With many tears she told him that he had guessed rightly
when he supposed her not to belong to this world that she had
in truth come from the moon, and that her time on earth would
soon be over. On the fifteenth day of that very month of August
her friends from the moon would come to fetch her, and she
would have to return. Her parents were both there, but having
spent a lifetime on the earth she had forgotten them, and also
the moon-world to which she belonged. It made her weep,
she said, to think of leaving her kind foster-parents, and the
home where she had been happy for so long.

When her attendants heard this they were very sad, and
could not eat or drink for sadness at the thought that the
Princess was so soon to leave them.

The Emperor, as soon as the news was carried to him,
sent messengers to the house to find out if the report were
true or not.

The old bamboo-cutter went out to meet the Imperial
messengers. The last few days of sorrow had told upon the
old man ; he had aged greatly, and looked much more than
his seventy years. Weeping bitterly, he told them that the report
was only too true, but he intended, however, to make prisoners
of the envoys from the moon, and to do all he could to prevent
the Princess from being carried back.

The men returned and told His Majesty all that had passed.
On the fifteenth day of that month the Emperor sent a guard
of two thousand warriors to watch the house. One thousand

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 115

stationed themselves on the roof, another thousand kept watch
round all the entrances of the house. All were well trained
archers, with bows and arrows. The bamboo-cutter and his
wife hid Princess Moonlight in an inner room.

The old man gave orders that no one was to sleep that
night, all in the house were to keep a strict watch, and be ready
to protect the Princess. With these precautions, and the help
of the Emperor's men-at-arms, he hoped to withstand the moon-
messengers, but the Princess told him that all these measures
to keep her would be useless, and that when her people came
for her nothing whatever could prevent them from carrying out
their purpose ; even the Emperor's men would be powerless.
Then she added with tears that she was very, very sorry to
leave him and his wife, whom she had learnt to love as her
parents ; that if she could do as she liked she would stay with
them in their old age, and try to make some return for all
the love and kindness they had showered upon her during
all her earthly life.

The night wore on ! The yellow harvest moon rose high in
the heavens, flooding the world asleep with her golden light.
Silence reigned over the pine and the bamboo forests, and on
the roof where the thousand men-at-arms waited.

Then the night grew grey towards the dawn and all hoped
that the danger was over that Princess Moonlight would not
have to leave them after all. Then suddenly the watchers saw
a cloud form round the moon and while they looked this
cloud began to roll earthwards. Nearer and nearer it came,
and everyone saw with dismay that its course lay towards the

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ii6 Japanese Fairy Book.

In a. short time the sky was entirely obscured, till at last the
cloud lay over the dwelling only ten feet off the ground. In the
midst of the cloud there stood a flying chariot, and in the
chariot a band of luminous beings. One amongst them who
looked like a king and appeared to be the chief stepped
out of the chariot and, poised in air, called to the old man to
come out.

" The time has come," he said, " for Princess Moonlight
to return to the moon from whence she came. She committed
a grave fault, and as a punishment was sent to live down here
for a time. \Ye know what good care you have taken of the
Princess, and we have rewarded you for this and have sent you
wealth and prosperity. We put the gold in the bamboos for
you to find."

11 I have brought up this Princess for twenty years and
never once has she done a wrong thing, therefore the lady you
are seeking cannot be this one," said the old man. " I pray
you to look elsewhere."

Then the messenger called aloud, saying :

" Princess Moonlight, come out from this lowly dwelling.
Rest not here another moment."

At these words the screens of the Princess's room slid
open of their own accord, revealing the Princess shining in her
own radiance, bright and wonderful and full of beauty.

The messenger led her forth and placed her in the chariot.
She looked back, and saw with pity the deep sorrow of the old
man. She spoke to him many comforting words, and told him
that it was not her will to leave him and that he must always
think of her when looking at the moon.

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 117


The Screens slid open, revealing the Princess.

ii8 Japanese Fairy Book.

The bamboo-cutter implored to be allowed to accompany
her, but this was not allowed. The Princess took off her
embroidered outer garment and gave it to him as a keepsake.

One of the moon beings in the chariot held a wonderful
coat of wings, another had a phial full of the Elixir of Life
which was given the Princess to drink. She swallowed a little
and was about to give the rest to the old man, but she was
prevented from doing so.

The robe of wings was about to be put upon her shoulders,
but she said :

" Wait a little. I must not forget my good friend the
Emperor. I must write him once more to say good-bye while
still in this human form."

In spite of the impatience of the messengers and charioteers
she kept them waiting while she wrote. She placed the phial
of the Elixir of Life with the letter, and, giving them to the
old man, she asked him to deliver them to the Emperor.

Then the chariot began to roll heavenwards towards the
moon, and as they all gazed with tearful eyes at the receding
Princess, the dawn broke, and in the rosy light of day the
moon-chariot and all in it were lost amongst the fleecy clouds
that were now wafted across the sky on the wings of the
morning wind.

Princess Moonlight's letter was carried to the Palace. His
Majesty was afraid to touch the Elixir of Life, so he sent it
with the letter to the top of the most sacred mountain in the
land, Mount Fuji, and there the Royal emissaries burnt it on
the summit at sunrise. So to this day people say there is smoke
to be seen rising from the top of Mount Fuji to the clouds.


LONG years ago in old Japan there lived in the Province of
Echigo, a very remote part of Japan even in these days, a man
and his wife. When this story begins they had been married
for some years and were blessed with one little daughter. She
was the joy and pride of both their lives, and in her they
stored an endless source of happiness for their old age.

What golden letter days in their memory were those that had
marked her growing up from babyhood ; the visit to the temple
when she was just thirty days old, her proud mother carrying
her, robed in ceremonial kimono, to be put under the
patronage of the family's household god ; then her first dolls
festival, when her parents gave her a set of dolls and their
miniature belongings, to be added to as year succeeded year ;
and perhaps the most important occasion of all, on her third
birthday, when her first obi (broad brocade sash) of scarlet
and gold was tied round her small waist, a sign that she had
crossed the threshold of girlhood and left infancy behind.
Now that she was seven years of age, and had learned to talk
and to wait upon her parents in those several little ways so
dear to the hearts of fond parents, their cup of happiness
seemed full. There could not be found in the whole of the
Island Empire a happier little family.


Japanese Fairy Book.

'.- ,

The Wife gazed into the Shining Disc,

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 121

One day there was much excitement in the home, for the
father had been suddenly summoned to the capital on business.
In these days of railways and jinrickshas and other rapid
modes of travelling, it is difficult to realise what such a journey
as that from Matsuyama to Kyoto meant. The roads were
rough and bad, and ordinary people had to walk every step of
the way, whether the distance were one hundred or several 1
hundred miles. Indeed, in those days it was as great an
undertaking to go up to the capital as it is for a Japanese to
make a voyage to Europe now.

So the wife was very anxious while she helped her husband
get ready for the long journey, knowing what an arduous task
lay before him. Vainly she wished that she could accompany
him, but the distance was too great for the mother and child
to go, and besides that, it was the wife's duty to take care of
the home.

All was ready at last, and the husband stood in the porch
with his little family round him.

" Do not be anxious, I will come back soon," said the man.
" While I am away take care of everything, and especially of
our little daughter."

" Yes, we shall be all right but you you must take care
of yourself and delay not a day in coming back to us," said the
wife, while the tears fell like rain from her eyes.

The little girl was the only one to smile, for she was
ignorant of the sorrow of parting, and did not know that going
to the capital was at all different from walking to the next
village, which her father did very often. She ran to his side,
and caught hold of his long sleeve to keep him a moment.


Japanese l : airy Book.

" Father, I will be very good while I am waiting for you to
come back, so please bring me a present."

As the father turned to take a last look at his weeping wife
and smiling, eager child, he felt as it someone were pulling
him back by the hair, so hard was it for him to leave them

They watched him as he went down the Road.

behind, for they had never been separated before. But he
knew that he must go, for the call was imperative. With a
great effort he ceased to think, and resolutely turning away he
went quickly down the little garden and out through the gate.
His wife, catching up the child in her arms, ran as far as the
gate, and watched him as he went down the road between the

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 123

pines till he was lost in the haze of the distance and all
she could see was his quaint peaked hat, and at last that
vanished too.

" Now father has gone, you and I must take care of every-
thing till he comes back," said the mother, as she made her
way back to the house.

"Yes, I will be very good," said the child, nodding her
head, " and when father comes home please tell him how good
I have been, and then perhaps he will give me a present."

" Father is sure to bring you something that you want
very much. I know, for I asked him to bring you a doll. You
must think of father every day, and pray for a safe journey till
he comes back."

" O, yes, when he comes home again how happy I shall
be," said the child, clapping her hands, and her face growing
bright with joy at the glad thought. It seemed to the mother
as she looked at the child's face that her love for her grew
deeper and deeper.

Then she set to work to make the winter clothes for the
three of them. She set up her simple wooden spinning-wheel
and spun the thread before she began to weave the stuffs. In
the intervals of her work she directed the little girl's games
and taught her to read the old stories of her country. Thus
did the wife find consolation in work during the lonely days of
her husband's absence. While the time was thus slipping
quickly by in the quiet home, the husband finished his business
and returned.

It would have been difficult for anyone who did not know
the man well to recognise him. He had travelled day after


Japanese Fairy Book.

day, exposed to all weathers, for about a month altogether, and
was sunburnt to bronze, but his fond wife and child knew him
at a glance, and flew to meet him from either side, each
catching hold of one of his sleeves in their eacrer irreetiiv.

"What I have brought you is called a Mirror."

Both the man and his wife rejoiced to find each other well.
It seemed a very long time to all till the mother and child
helping his straw sandals were untied, his large umbrella hat
taken off, and he was again in their midst in the old familiar
sitting-room that had been so empty while he was away.

As soon as they had sat down on the white mats, the father

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 125

opened a bamboo basket that he had brought in with him, and
took out a beautiful doll and a lacquer box full of cakes.

" Here," he said to the little girl, " is a present for you. It
is a prize for taking care of mother and the house so well
while I was away."

" Thank you," said the child, as she bowed her head to the
ground, and then put out her hand just like a little maple leaf
with its eager widespread fingers to take the doll and the box,
both of which, coming from the capital, were prettier than any-
thing she had ever seen. No words can tell how delighted the
little girl was her face seemed as if it would melt with joy,
and she had no eyes and no thought for anything else.

Again the husband dived into the basket, and brought out
this time a square wooden box, carefully tied up with red and
white string, and handing it to his wife, said :

" And this is for you."

The wife took the box, and opening it carefully took out a
metal disc with a handle attached. One side was bright and
shining like a crystal, and the other was covered with raised
figures of pine-trees and storks, which had been carved out of
its smooth surface in lifelike reality. Never had she seen
such a thing in her life, for she had been born and bred in
the rural province of Echigo. She gazed into the shining disc,
and looking up with surprise and wonder pictured on her face,
she said :

" I see somebody looking at me in this round thing ! What
is it that you have given me ? "

The husband laughed and said :

"Why, it is your own face that you see. What I have

126 Japanese Fairy Book.

brought you is called a mirror, and whoever looks into its clear
surface can see their own form reflected there. Although
there are none to be found in this out of the way place, yet
they have been in use in the capital from the most ancient
times. " There the mirror is considered a very necessary
requisite for a woman to possess. There is an old proverb
that ' As the sword is the soul of a samurai, so is the mirror
the soul of a woman,' and according to popular tradition, a
woman's mirror is an index to her own heart if she keeps it
bright and clear, so is her heart pure and good. It is also one
of the treasures that form the insignia of the Emperor. So
you must lay great store by your mirror, and use it carefully."

The wife listened to all her husband told her, and was
pleased at learning so much that was new to her. She was
still more pleased at the precious gift his token of remem-
brance while he had been away.

" If the mirror represents my soul, I shall certainly treasure
it as a valuable possession, and never will I use it carelessly."
Saying so, she lifted it as high as her forehead, in grateful
acknowledgment of the gift, and then shut it up in its box and
put it away.

The wife saw that her husband was very tired, and set
about serving the evening meal and making everything as
comfortable as she could for him. It seemed to the little
family as if they had not known what true happiness was

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