Tales of Old Japan eBook

Algernon Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 405 pages of information about Tales of Old Japan.
to play a trick upon the ape; so he called out to him to come down head foremost.  The ape did as he was bid; and as he crawled down, head foremost, the ripe fruit all came tumbling out of his pockets, and the crab, having picked up the persimmons, ran off and hid himself in a hole.  The ape, seeing this, lay in ambush, and as soon as the crab crept out of his hiding-place gave him a sound drubbing, and went home.  Just at this time a friendly egg and a bee, who were the apprentices of a certain rice-mortar, happened to pass that way, and, seeing the crab’s piteous condition, tied up his wounds, and, having escorted him home, began to lay plans to be revenged upon the cruel ape.

[Illustration:  THE APE AND THE CRAB.]

Having agreed upon a scheme, they all went to the ape’s house, in his absence; and each one having undertaken to play a certain part, they waited in secret for their enemy to come home.  The ape, little dreaming of the mischief that was brewing, returned home, and, having a fancy to drink a cup of tea, began lighting the fire in the hearth, when, all of a sudden, the egg, which was hidden in the ashes, burst with. the heat, and bespattered the frightened ape’s face, so that he fled, howling with pain, and crying, “Oh! what an unlucky beast I am!” Maddened with the heat of the burst egg, he tried to go to the back of the house, when the bee darted out of a cupboard, and a piece of seaweed, who had joined the party, coming up at the same time, the ape was surrounded by enemies.  In despair, he seized the clothes-rack, and fought valiantly for awhile; but he was no match for so many, and was obliged to run away, with the others in hot pursuit after him.  Just as he was making his escape by a back door, however, the piece of seaweed tripped him up, and the rice-mortar, closing with him from behind, made an end of him.

[Illustration:  THE APE AND THE CRAB. (2)]

So the crab, having punished his enemy, went home in triumph, and lived ever after on terms of brotherly love with the seaweed and the mortar.  Was there ever such a fine piece of fun!

THE ADVENTURES OF LITTLE PEACHLING

Many hundred years ago there lived an honest old wood-cutter and his wife.  One fine morning the old man went off to the hills with his billhook, to gather a faggot of sticks, while his wife went down to the river to wash the dirty clothes.  When she came to the river, she saw a peach floating down the stream; so she picked it up, and carried it home with her, thinking to give it to her husband to eat when he should come in.  The old man soon came down from the hills, and the good wife set the peach before him, when, just as she was inviting him to eat it, the fruit split in two, and a little puling baby was born into the world.  So the old couple took the babe, and brought it up as their own; and, because it had been born in a peach, they called it Momotaro,[53] or Little Peachling.

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Project Gutenberg
Tales of Old Japan from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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