Stories from Japan

21 stories

Green Willow

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At this moment the moon shone very brightly forth, and by the sudden light Tomodata saw a little hill on his right hand. Upon the hill was a small thatched cottage, and before the cottage grew three green weeping-willow trees.

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Lazy Taro

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He was not ill; he was merely lazy. No one knew where he came from nor who his parents were, nor did he.

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Little Peachling

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Just as the good old man cut the skin of the peach, it seemed to burst open and there, inside, lay a tiny little baby boy, smiling up at them.

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Lord Bag of Rice

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The soldier drew his great bow and let an arrow fly at the monster’s head. He never missed his aim, and the arrow struck the ugly head of the centipede, but bounced away.

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Momotaro

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Now, while the old woman was washing the clothes, what should she see but a fine ripe peach that came floating down the stream? The peach was big enough, and rosy red on both sides.

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Oshidori

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That night Sonjo dreamed a dreary dream. It seemed to him that a beautiful woman came into his room, and stood by his pillow, and began to weep.

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Peach Darling

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As he was going along a dog came up and sniffed hungrily at the dumplings. Peach Darling thought, ‘This poor dog is hungry, and I can do with one less dumpling.’ So he gave a dumpling to the dog.

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The Black Bowl

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‘Child,’ says the mother, ‘do you know you are as pretty as a princess?’ ‘Am I that?’ says the maid, and goes on with her crying.

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The First Rabbits

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The star children all began to cry again. Just then the fairy mother of the sky came with a torch to light the star lamps. ‘Crying again?’ she said. ‘What’s the matter now?’

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The Flute

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In the morning O'Yoné came to her father with a little flute. ‘I made it myself.’ she said, ‘As you cannot take me with you, take the little flute, honourable father. Play on it sometimes, and think of me.’

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The Good Thunder

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Rai-Taro grew up straight and strong, the tallest, gayest boy of all that country-side. He was the delight of his foster-parents, and all the neighbours loved him.

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The Moon Maiden

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With that Také Tori takes up the fine shining green jewel in his hands, and it bursts in two with a loud noise, and out of it came a young person.

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The Old Man with a Wart

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The old man could not sit still. He sprang into the midst of the group and began to dance. He seemed to be dancing like the trees and flowers. Like a willow by the river he bent and swayed and bowed.

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The Peony Lantern

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Hagiwara faltered not at all. He looked neither to the right nor to the left. Straight forward he went, for he said to himself, ‘All roads lead past my love's house.’

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The Sea King and the Magic Jewels

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Prince Fire Fade spoke to his elder brother, Prince Fire Flash, and said, ‘Brother, I am aweary of the green hills. Therefore let us now exchange our luck.’

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The Star Lovers

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Now the Maiden's father, the Deity of Light, grew angry. He said, ‘Daughter, you weave too much.’ ‘It is my duty,’ she said.

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The Story of Mimi-Nashi-Hoichi

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At last, as they were returning to the temple by way of the shore, the men-servants were startled by the sound of a biwa, furiously played, in the cemetery of the Amidaji.

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The Story of O-Tei

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‘Only the Gods and the Buddhas know how and where we shall meet. But I am sure—very, very sure—that, if you be not unwilling to receive me, I shall be able to come back to you’

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The Sun-Goddess

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Then it was that the gods, fearful for their safety and for the life of every beautiful thing, assembled on the bed of the tranquil River of Heaven whose waters had been dried up.

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The Tea-Kettle

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And then, the wonderful thing happened. A hairy head, with two bright eyes, looked out of the spout. The lid jumped up and down. Four brown and hairy paws appeared, and a fine bushy tail.

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