|"Kaguyahime" is a very famous Japanese tale from a long time ago. She was an alien who came to Japan from the moon.|
One day, the old man was taking a stroll through the forest. He wandered deeper and deeper into the forest and then stopped. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see a bright light shining through the trees. The old man said to himself, "What is that beautiful light I see. It feels as if I am being pulled to it."
As the old man drew closer, he spied a bamboo thicket."Why I've never seen such a light. It's so bright and beautiful." He stepped into the thicket to find the source of the light.
And there, right in front of him, was a glowing bamboo tree.
And what the old man saw next filled his heart with joy.
Right in the center of the hollow trunk was a tiny baby less than three inches long.
"why...... it's a baby girl. The Gods have blessed us with a beautiful baby
girl." With tears of joy in his eyes, he carried the little baby home to show his wife.
"Dear, look what I found in the middle of a bamboo thicket..... a little baby girl."
The old woman looked at the baby girl in disbelief. The tiny baby looked into the woman's eyes and smiled.
"Our prayers have been answered. We have been blessed with a daughter. And she is surely a bright and glowing princess. Let us call her Kaguyahime."
The next day, the man went back to work. As he cut a bamboo trunk, something shiny and gold poured out and fell onto the ground.
"What are these things? And here are more. And more."
The old man quickly gathered all the gold coins. Then he hurried back home to his wife and new daughter. "Look at what I have found. They were inside the bamboo trunks I cut in the
forest." "These are made of pure gold. They must be worth a fortune." "A fortune, Do you know what this means? It means we can raise Kaguyahime so that she can become a proper lady." The next day, the old man found more and more gold in more trunks of the bamboo he felled with his axe. I can hardly believe my eyes! First, I find a baby daughter and then I find riches beyond my imagination. We are truly blessed." "We can raise our daughter like a princess. We can buy her fine dresses and gowns. She can live in a manor. She'll get whatever her heart disires." Kaguyahime grew as quickly as a bamboo shoot. Within three month's time, she had grown into a young lady and was known throughout the land for her beauty. And it so turned out that five princes would contend for Kaguyahime's hand in marriage. The five princes made a long and difficult journey to the home of the princess, but the princess would not see them. "Kaguyahime, these poor men are helplessly in love with you. Couldn't you arrange it so that you could at least see them?"
"Well, father, I will heed your wish, but on one condition. Before I meet any one of them, they all have to perform certain feats." "That sounds fair enough. What is it that you want them to do?"
"The first prince should bring a stone bowl that was used by the Buddha. And the second prince must climb to the top of Mt. Horai, find a golden tree and cut off a silver branch bearing fruit of diamonds and rubies."
"But Mt. Horai is way across the Eastern Sea."
"I know, father. The third prince will have to travel to China and find the skin of a fire rat. And the forth prince must bring back a jewel that radiates five dragons."
'Isn't that jewel guarded by a terrible dragon?"
"Yes, it is, father. And the fifth prince needs to find a swallow that has a cowrie shell in its stomach."
The father relayed his daughter's message to the princes and they pledged to please Kaguyahime and each returned to his own kingdom.
The first prince thought about his task carefully and decided to to buy a stone bowl a priest at a temple. But when he brought it to the home of the Kaguyahime, she easily saw through his deception and dropped the bowl, shattering it into tiny pieces.
And the secound prince countracted all the best craftsmen to make a branch like one from the gold tree on Mt. Horai. When the prince brought the silver branch to Kaguyahime's house, a letter arrived for him but was mistakenly given to the old man. The old man opened the letter and realized it was an unpaid bill. The prince hadn't paid the craftsmen for thier work.
The third prince wasn't any more honest than the first two. He paid a sea captain to travel to China and bring back the skin of a fire rat. But when the prince arrived at Kaguyahime's home, the old man took the skin and threw it into the fire.The skin burst into flames.
The fourth prince hired some men to sail to the Isle of the Dragon to collect the wondrous jewel that radiated five colors.
But the men ran off with his money. Then the prince himself set off for the Isle of the Dragon, but was caught in a terrible storm and blown ashore right near where he'd begun his voyage.
The fifth prince spent years in a fruitless attempt to find the swallow with a cowrie shell its stomach.
In the meantime, Kaguyahime and her parents lived a quiet life together in their home in the forest.
Rumors of the legendary beauty of the princess traveled to the Imperial Court. And the Emperor himself was so intrigued with the princess that one day with the help of the bamboo cutter he was able to meet briefly with the stunning beauty. Although they were never to see each other again, Kaguyahime came to stay forever in the Mikado's heart.
Life was good for the bamboo cutter and his wife and their daughter. But as the years went by, the man and his wife noticed that their daughter was not her usual self, for they found Kaguyahime crying in the moonlight almost every everning. The bamboo cutter implored his daughter to tell him what was wrong. "Kaguyahime, you are so sad. Please tell me what is making you cry." "Oh father, you wouldn't understand." "Now, now. I can try to understand. Tell me what mekes you cry so."
"Oh, father. I am not of this world. I'm from the moon. For some mysterious reason, I was brought here to be your daughter. But..... I can't stay here. On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, when the full moon is shining, I shall return to the moon." And Kaguyahime embraced her parents and softly cried in their arms.
Then the full moon rose. It slowly traveled to the top of the sky. Then around midnight, it suddenly became ten times as bright, and there in the distance a cloud appeared with a flying chariot and slowly moved toward the house, its' beauty was beyond description. And as they approached the bamboo cutter's house, a voice was heard.
"Kaguyahime, Kaguyahime. It's time to go home. It's time to leave your
mother and father."
The Emperor's archers aimed their arrows but then felt so numb that they all dropped their weapons. Then, lo and behold, all the doors of the manor that had been locked to keep the princess inside began to open.
With resolution Kaguyahime faced her parents.
"Thank you mother and father. Thank you for all your kindness. I will never forget you."
Her parents cried quietly as they said goodbye to their daughter.
"Don't shed tears for me. When the full moon rises, look at it and remember me. And remember that I love you."
Then Kaguyahime handed her mother and father a box. "Please give this to the Emperor. Tell him that inside is a special elixir.If he drinks it, he will be eternally young."
Then the princess stepped onto the chariot. It lifted her up briskly to the cloud. Then Kaguyahime slowly waved goodbye as the cloud floated away to take her back home.
The Emperor never drank the elixir. Instead, he ordered his retainers to take it to the hightest point in the country..... Mt. Fuji. Once there, it was burned as an offering in memory of Kaguyahime.