Yei Theodora Ozaki.

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" You must stay quietly here, for you are my guest." Then
she left him and went out.

In a minute she came back and said :

" You must sit where you are and not move, and whatever
happens don't go near or look into the inner room. Now
mind what I tell you ! "

" If you tell me not to go near the back room, of course I
won't," said the priest, rather bewildered.

The old woman then went out again, and the priest was left



144 Japanese Fairy Book.

alone. The fire had died out, and the only light in the hut
was that of a dim lantern. For the first time that night he
began to feel that he was in a weird place, and the old woman's
words, " Whatever you do don't peep into the back room,"
aroused his curiosity and his fear.

What hidden thing could be in that room that she did not
wish him to see? For some time the remembrance of his
promise to the old woman kept him still, but at last he could
no longer resist his curiosity to peep into the forbidden place.

He got up and began to move slowly towards the back
room. Then the thought that the old woman would be very
angry with him if he disobeyed her made him come back to his
place by the fireside.

As the minutes went slowly by and the old woman did not
return, he began to feel more and more frightened, and to
wonder what dreadful secret was in the room behind him. He
must find out.

" She will not know that I have looked unless I tell her.
I will just have a peep before she comes back," said the man
to himseh.

With these words he got up on his feet (for he had been
sitting all this time in Japanese fashion with his feet under
him) and stealthily crept towards the forbidden spot. With
trembling hands he pushed back the sliding door and looked
in. What he saw froze the blood in his veins. The room was
full of dead men's bones and the walls were splashed and the
floor was covered with human blood. In one corner skull
upon skull rose to the ceilin-g, in another was a heap of arm
bones, in another a heap of leg bones. The sickening smell



The Goblin of Adachigahara.

made him faint. He fell backwards with horror, and for some
time lay in a heap with fright on the floor, a pitiful sight. He
trembled all over and his teeth chattered, and he could hardly
crawl away from the dreadful spot.




What he saw froze the Blood in his Veins.

" How horrible ! " he cried out. " What awful den have I
come to in my travels ? May Buddha help me or I am lost.
Is it possible that that kind old woman is really the cannibal
goblin ? When she comes back she will show herself in her
true character and eat me up at one mouthful ! "

With these words his strength came back to him and,
F.B. L



146



Japanese Fairy Book.



snatching up his hat and staff, he rushed out of the house as
fast as his legs could carry him. Out into the night he ran,
his one thought to get as far as he could from the goblin's









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After him Rushed the Dreadful Old Hag.

haunt. He had not gone far when he heard steps behind him
and a voice crying : " Stop ! stop ! "

He ran on, redoubling his speed, pretending not to hear.
As he ran he heard the steps behind him come nearer and
nearer, and at last he recognised the old woman's voice which
grew louder and louder as she came nearer.



The Goblin of Adachigahara. 147

" Stop! stop, you wicked man, why did you look into the
forbidden room? "

The priest quite forgot how tired he was and his feet flew over
the ground faster than ever. Fear gave him strength, for he
knew that if the goblin caught him he would soon be one oi
her victims. With all his heart he repeated the prayer to
Buddha :

" Namu Amida Butsu, Namu Amida Butsu."

And after him rushed the dreadful old hag, her hair flying in
the wind, and her face changing with rage into the demon that
she was. In her hand she carried a large blood-stained knife,
and she still shrieked after him, " Stop ! stop ! "

At last, when the priest felt he could run no more, the dawn
broke, and with the darkness of night the goblin vanished and
he was safe. The priest now knew that he had met the
Goblin of Adachigahara, the story of whom he had often
heard but never believed to be true. He felt that he owed
his wonderful escape to the protection of Buddha to whom he
had prayed for help, so he took out his rosary and bowing his
head as the sun rose he said his prayers and made his thanks-
giving earnestly. He then set forward for another part of the
country, only too glad to leave the haunted plain behind him.



L 2



THE SAGACIOUS MONKEY AND THE BOAR.

LONG, long ago, there lived in the province of Shinshin in
Japan, a travelling monkey-man, who earned his living by
taking round a monkey and showing off the animal's tricks.

One evening the man came home in a very bad temper and
told his wife to send for the butcher the next morning.

The wife was very bewildered and asked her husband :

" Why do you wish me to send for the butcher ? "

" It's no use taking that monkey round any longer, he's too
old and forgets his tricks. I beat him with my stick all I know
how, but he won't dance properly. I must now sell him to the
butcher and make what money out of him I can. There is
nothing else to be done."

The woman felt very sorry for the poor little animal,
and pleaded for her husband to spare the monkey, but her
pleading was all in vain, the man was determined to sell him
to the butcher.

Now the monkey was in the next room and overheard
every word of the conversation. He soon understood that he
was to be killed, and he said to himself:

" Barbarous, indeed, is my master ! Here I have served
him faithfully for years, and instead of allowing me to end my
days comfortably and in peace, he is going to let me be cut up
by the butcher, and my poor body is to be roasted and stewed



The Sagacious Monkey and the Boar. 149

and eaten ? Woe is me ! What am I to do. Ah ! a bright
thought has struck me ! There is, I know, a wild boar living
in the forest near by. I have often heard tell of his wisdom.
Perhaps if I go to him and tell him the strait I am in he will
give me his counsel. I will go and try."

There was no time to lose. The monkey slipped out of the
house and ran as quickly as he could to the forest to find the




The Monkey began his Tale of Woe.



boar. The boar was at home, and the monkey began his tale
of woe at once.

" Good Mr. Boar, I have heard of your excellent wisdom.
I am in great trouble, you alone can help me. I have grown
old in the service of my master, and because I cannot dance
properly now he intends to sell me to the butcher. What do
you advise me to do ? I know how clever you are ! "



150 Japanese Fairy Book.

The boar was pleased at the flattery and determined to
help the monkey. He thought for a little while and then said :

" Hasn't your master a baby?"

" Oh, yes," said the monkey, "he has one infant son."

" Doesn't it lie by the door in the morning when your
mistress begins the work of the day ? Well, I will come round
early and when I see my opportunity I will seize the child
and rur. off with it."

" What then ?" said the monkey.

" Why the mother will be in a tremendous scare, and before
your master and mistress know what to do, you must run after
me and rescue the child and take it home safely to its parents,
and you will see that when the butcher comes they won't have
the heart to sell you."

The monkey thanked the boar many times and then went
home. He did not sleep much that night, as you may imagine,
for thinking of the morrow. His life depended on whether
the boar's plan succeeded or not. He was the first up, waiting
anxiously for what was to happen. It seemed to him a very
long time before his master's wife began to move about and
open the shutters to let in the light of day. Then all happened
as the boar had planned. The mother placed her child near
the porch as usual while she tidied up the house and got her
breakfast ready.

The child was crooning happily in the morning sunlight,
dabbing on the mats at the play of light and shadow.
Suddenly there was a noise in the porch and a loud cry from
the child. The mother ran out from the kitchen to the spot,
only just in time to see the boar disappearing through the gate



The Sagacious Monkey and the Boar. 151

with her child in its clutch. She flung out her hands with a
loud cry of despair and rushed into the inner room where her
husband was still sleeping soundly.



* x




The Monkey was running after the Thief as fast as his Legs would carry him.

He sat up slowly and rubbed his eyes, and crossly demanded
what his wife was making all that noise about. By the time
that the man was alive to what had happened, and they both



152 Japanese Fairy Book.

got outside the gate, the boar had got well away, but they saw
the monkey running after the thief as hard as his legs would
carry him.

Both the man and wife were moved to admiration at the
plucky conduct of the sagacious monkey, and their gratitude
knew no bounds when the faithful monkey brought the child
safely back to their arms.

" There ! " said the wife. " This is the animal you want to
kill if the monkey hadn't been here we should have lost our
child for ever."

" You are right, wife, for once," said the man as he carried
the child into the house. " You may send the butcher back
when he comes, and now give us all a good breakfast and the
monkey too."

When the butcher arrived he was sent away with an order
for some boar's meat for the evening dinner, and the monkey
was petted and lived the rest of his days in peace, nor did his
master ever strike him again.



( 153 )



THE HAPPY HUNTER AND THE SKILFUL

FISHER.

LONG, long ago Japan was governed by Hohodemi, the
fourth Mikoto (or Augustness) in descent from the illustrious
Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. He was not only as handsome
as his ancestress was beautiful, but he was also very strong and
brave, and was famous for being the greatest hunter in the
land. Because of his matchless skill as a hunter, he was called
"Yama-sachi-hiko" or "The Happy Hunter of the Mountains."

His elder brother was a very skilful fisher, and as he far
surpassed all rivals in fishing, he was named " Umi-sachi-hiko "
or the " Skilful Fisher of the Sea." The brothers thus led
happy lives, thoroughly enjoying their respective occupations,
and the days passed quickly and pleasantly while each pursued
his own way, the one hunting and the other fishing.

One day the Happy Hunter came to his brother, the Skilful
Fisher, and said :

" Well, my brother, I see you go to the sea every day with
your fishing rod in your hand, and when you return you come
laden with fish. And as for me, it is my pleasure to take my
bow and arrow and to hunt the wild animals up the mountains
and down in the valleys. For a long time we have each
followed our favourite occupation, so that now we must both
be tired, you of your fishing and I of my hunting. Would it



154 Japanese Fairy Book.

not be wise for us to make a change ? Will you try hunting

O '/ J O

in the mountains and I will go and fish in the sea?' :

The Skilful Fisher listened in silence to his brother, and
for a moment was thoughtful, but at last he answered :

"0 yes, why not? Your idea is not a bad one at all.
Give me your bow and arrow and I will set out at once for
the mountains and hunt for game."

So the matter was settled by this talk, and the two brothers
each started out to try the other's occupation, little dreaming
of all that would happen. It was very unwise of them, for the
Happy Hunter knew nothing of fishing, and the Skilful Fisher,
who was bad tempered, knew as much about hunting.

The Happy Hunter took his brother's much-prized fishing
hook and rod and went down to the seashore and sat on the
rocks. He baited his hook and then threw it into the sea
clumsily. He sat and gazed at the little float bobbing up and
down in the water, and longed for a good fish to come and be
caught. Every time the buoy moved a little he pulled up his
rod, but there was never a fish at the end of it, only the hook
and the bait. If he had known how to fish properly, he would
have been able to catch plenty of fish, but although he was the
greatest hunter in the land he could not help being the most
bungling fisher.

The whole day passed in this way, while he sat on the
rocks holding the fishing rod and waiting in vain for his luck
to turn. At last the day began to darken, and the evening
came ; still he had caught not a single fish. Drawing up his
line for the last time before going home, he found that he had
lost his hook without even knowing when he had dropped it.



The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 155




The Happy Hunter in vain besought his Brother to Pardon him.



156 Japanese Fairy Book.

He now began to feel extremely anxious, for he knew that
his brother would be angry at his having lost his hook for, it
being his only one, he valued it above all other things. The
Happy Hunter now set to work to look among the rocks and
on the sand for the lost hook, and while he was searching to
and fro, his brother, the Skilful Fisher, arrived on the scene.
He had failed to find any game while hunting that day, and
was not only in a bad temper, but looked fearfully cross. When
he saw the Happy Hunter searching about on the shore he knew
that something must have gone wrong, so he said at once :

" What are you doing, my brother ? '

The Happy Hunter went forward timidly, for he feared his
brother's anger, and said :

" Oh, my brother, I have indeed done badly."

" What is the matter? what have you done ? " asked the
elder brother impatiently.

" I have lost your precious fishing hook ~"

While he was still speaking his brother stopped him, and
cried out fiercely :

"Lost my hook! It is just what I expected. For this
reason, when you first proposed your plan of changing over
our occupations I was really against it, but you seemed to wish
it so much that I gave in and allowed you to do as you wished.
The mistake of our trying unfamiliar tasks is soon seen !
And you have done badly. I will not return you your bow and
arrow till you have found my hook. Look to it that you find
it and return it to me quickly."

The Happy Hunter felt that he was to blame for all that
v had come to pass, and bore his brother's scornful scolding with



The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 157

humility and patience. He hunted everywhere for the hook
most diligently, but it was nowhere to be found. He was at
last obliged to give up all hope of finding it. He then went
home, and in desperation broke his beloved sword into pieces
and made five hundred hooks out of it.

He took these to his angry brother and offered them to
him, asking his forgiveness, and begging him to accept them in
the place of the one he had lost for him. It was useless ; his
brother would not listen to him, much less grant his request.

The Happy Hunter then made another five hundred
hooks, and again took them to his brother, beseeching him
to pardon him.

" Though you make a million hooks," said the Skilful
Fisher, shaking his head, "they are of no use to me. I
cannot forgive you unless you bring me back my own hook."

Nothing would appease the anger of the Skilful Fisher, for
he had a bad disposition, and had always hated his brother
because of his virtues, and now with the excuse of the lost
fishing hook he planned to kill him and to usurp his place
as ruler of Japan. The Happy Hunter knew all this full well,
but he could say nothing, for being the younger he owed his
elder brother obedience ; so he returned to the seashore and
once more began to look for the missing hook. He was much
cast down, for he had lost all hope of ever finding his brother's
hook now. While he stood on the beach, lost in perplexity
and wondering what he had best do next, an old man
suddenly appeared carrying a stick in his hand. The Happy
Hunter afterwards remembered that he did not see from
whence the old man came, neither did he know how he was



158 Japanese Fairy Book.

there he happened to look up and saw the old man coming
towards him.

" You are Hohodemi, the Augustness, sometimes called
the Happy Hunter, are you not ? " asked the old man. " What
are you doing alone in such a place ? '

" Yes, I am he," answered the unhappy young man.
41 Unfortunately, while fishing I lost my brother's precious
fishing hook. f I have hunted this shore all over, but alas !
I cannot find it, and I am very troubled, for my brother won't
forgive me till I restore it to him. But who are you ? "

" My name is Shiwozuchino Okina, and I live near by on
this shore. I am sorry to hear what misfortune has befallen
you. You must indeed be anxious. But if I tell you what I
think, the hook is nowhere here it is either at the bottom of
the sea or in the body of some fish who has swallowed it, and
for this reason, though you spend your whole life in looking for
it here, you will never find it."

" Then what can I do ? " asked the distressed man.

" You had better go down to Ryn Gu and tell Ryn Jin, the
Dragon King of the Sea, what your trouble is and ask him to
find the hook for you. I think that would be the best way."

" Your idea is a splendid one," said the Happy Hunter,
"but I fear I cannot get to the Sea King's realm, for I have
.always heard that it is situated at the bottom of the sea."

" Oh, there will be no difficulty about your getting there,"
said the old man ; " I can soon make something for you to ride
on through the sea."

" Thank you," said the Happy Hunter, " I shall be very
^grateful to you if you will be so kind ! "



The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 159

The old man at once set to work, and soon made a basket
and offered it to the Happy Hunter. He received it with joy,
and taking it to the water, mounted it, and prepared to start.
He bade good-bye to the kind old man who had helped him so
much, and told him that he would certainly reward him as soon
as he found his hook and could return to Japan without fear of
his brother's anger. The old man pointed out the direction he
must take, and told him how to reach the realm of Ryn Gu,
and watched him ride out to sea on the basket, which resembled
a small boat.

The Happy Hunter made all the haste he could, riding on
the basket which had been given him by his friend. His queer
boat seemed to go through the water of its own accord, and the
distance was much shorter than he had expected, for in a few
hours he caught sight of the gate and the roof of the Sea
King's Palace. And what a large place it was, with its
numberless sloping roofs and gables, its huge gateways, and
its grey stone walls ! He soon landed, and leaving his basket
on the beach, he walked up to the large gateway. The pillars
of the gate were made of beautiful red coral, and the gate
itself was adorned with glittering gems of all kinds. Large
katsura trees overshadowed it. Our hero had often heard of
the wonders of the Sea King's Palace beneath the sea, but all
the stones he had ever heard fell short of the reality which he
now saw for the first time.

The Happy Hunter would have liked to enter the gate
there and then, but he saw that it was fast closed, and also
that there was no one about whom he could ask to open it for
him, so he stopped to think what he should do. In the shade of



160 Japanese Fairy Book.

the trees before the gate he noticed a well full of fresh spring
\vater. Surely someone would come out to draw water from
the well some time, he thought. Then he climbed into the
tree overhanging the well, and seated himself to rest on one of
the branches, and waited for what might happen. Ere long he
saw the huge gate swing open, and two beautiful women came
out. Now the Mikoto (Augustness) had always heard that
Ryn Gu was the realm of the Dragon King under the Sea,
and had naturally supposed that the place was inhabited by
dragons and similar terrible creatures, so that when he saw
these two lovely princesses, whose beauty would be rare even
in the world from which he had just come, he was exceedingly
surprised, and wondered what it could mean.

He said not a word, however, but silently gazed at them
through the foliage of the trees, waiting to see what they
would do. He saw that in their hands they carried golden
buckets. Slowly and gracefully in their trailing garments they
approached the well, standing in the shade of the katsura
trees, and were about to draw water, all unknowing of the
stranger who was watching them, for the Happy Hunter was
quite hidden among the branches of the tree where he had
posted himself.

As the two ladies leaned over the side of the well to let
down their golden buckets, which they did every day in the
year, they saw reflected in the deep still water the face of a
handsome youth gazing at them from amidst the branches ot
the tree in whose shade they stood. Never before had they
seen the face of mortal man ; they were frightened, and drew
back quickly with their golden buckets in their hands. Their



The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 161

curiosity, however, soon gave them courage, and they glanced
timidly upwards to see the cause of the unusual reflection, and
then they beheld the Happy Hunter sitting in the tree looking
down at them with surprise and admiration. They gazed at
him face to face, but their tongues were still with wonder and
they could not find a word to say to him.

When the Mikoto saw that he was discovered, he sprang
down lightly from the tree and said :

" I am a traveller, and as I was very thirsty I came to the
well in the hopes of quenching my thirst, but I could find no
bucket with which to draw the water. So I climbed into the
tree, much vexed, and waited for someone to come. Just at that
moment, while I was thirstily and impatiently waiting, you
noble ladies appeared, as if in answer to my great need.
Therefore I pray you of your mercy give me some water to
drink, for I am a thirsty traveller in a strange land."

His dignity and graciousness overruled their timidity, and
bowing in silence they both once more approached the well,
and letting down their golden buckets drew up some water and
poured it into a jewelled cup and offered it to the stranger.

He received it from them with both hands, raising it to the
height of his forehead in token of high respect and pleasure,
and then drank the water quickly, for his thirst was great.
When he had finished his long draught he set the cup down
on the edge of the well, and drawing his short sword he cut oft
one of the strange curved jewels (magatama), a necklace of
which hung round his neck and fell over his breast. He placed
the jewel in the cup and returned it to them, and said, bowing
deeply :

F.B. M



1 62 Japanese Fairy Book.

" This is a token of my thanks ! "

The two ladies took the cup, and looking into it to see
what he had put inside for they did not yet know what it was
they gave a start of surprise, for there lay a beautiful gem at
the bottom of the cup.

"No ordinary mortal would give away a jewel so freely.
Will you not honour us by telling us who you are ? ' said the
elder damsel.

" Certainly," said the Happy Hunter, " I am Hohodemi,
the fourth Mikoto, also called in Japan, the Happy Hunter."

" Are you indeed Hohodemi, the grandson of Amaterasu,
the Sun Goddess ? " asked the damsel who had spoken first.
" I am the eldest daughter of Ryn Jin, the King of the Sea, and
my name is Princess Tayotama."

" And," said the younger maiden, who at last found her
tongue, " I am her sister, the Princess Tamayori."

" Are you indeed the daughters of Ryn Jin, the King of the
Sea ? I cannot tell you how glad I am to meet you," said
the Happy Hunter. And without waiting for them to reply he
went on :

" The other day I went fishing with my brother's hook and
dropped it, how, I am sure I can't tell. As my brother prizes
his fishing hook above all his other possessions, this is the
greatest calamity that could have befallen me. Unless I find
it again I can never hope to win my brother's forgiveness, for
he is very angry at what I have done. I have searched for it
many, many times, but I cannot find it, therefore I am much
troubled. While I was hunting for the hook, in great distress,
I met a wise old man, and he told me that the best thing I



The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 163

could do was to come to Ryn Gu, and to Ryn Jin, the Dragon
King of the Sea, and ask him to help me. This kind old man
also showed me how to come. Now you know how it is I am


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Online LibraryYei Theodora OzakiThe Japanese fairy book → online text (page 9 of 17)