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Algernon Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 405 pages of information about Tales of Old Japan.

At last the day broke, and the other officers, when they awoke and opened their eyes, saw that Ito Soda had kept awake by stabbing himself in the thigh; and they were greatly ashamed, and went home crestfallen.

That morning Ito Soda went to the house of Isahaya Buzen, and told him all that had occurred the previous night.  The councillors were all loud in their praises of Ito Soda’s behaviour, and ordered him to keep watch again that night.  At the same hour, the false O Toyo came and looked all round the room, and all the guard were asleep, excepting Ito Soda, who was wide awake; and so, being again frustrated, she returned to her own apartments.

Now as since Soda had been on guard the Prince had passed quiet nights, his sickness began to get better, and there was great joy in the palace, and Soda was promoted and rewarded with an estate.  In the meanwhile O Toyo, seeing that her nightly visits bore no fruits, kept away; and from that time forth the night-guard were no longer subject to fits of drowsiness.  This coincidence struck Soda as very strange, so he went to Isahaya Buzen and told him that of a certainty this O Toyo was no other than a goblin.  Isahaya Buzen reflected for a while, and said—­

“Well, then, how shall we kill the foul thing?”

“I will go to the creature’s room, as if nothing were the matter, and try to kill her; but in case she should try to escape, I will beg you to order eight men to stop outside and lie in wait for her.”

Having agreed upon this plan, Soda went at nightfall to O Toyo’s apartment, pretending to have been sent with a message from the Prince.  When she saw him arrive, she said—­

“What message have you brought me from my lord?”

“Oh! nothing in particular.  Be so look as to look at this letter;” and as he spoke, he drew near to her, and suddenly drawing his dirk cut at her; but the goblin, springing back, seized a halberd, and glaring fiercely at Soda, said—­

“How dare you behave like this to one of your lord’s ladies?  I will have you dismissed;” and she tried to strike Soda with the halberd.  But Soda fought desperately with his dirk; and the goblin, seeing that she was no match for him, threw away the halberd, and from a beautiful woman became suddenly transformed into a cat, which, springing up the sides of the room, jumped on to the roof.  Isahaya Buzen and his eight men who were watching outside shot at the cat, but missed it, and the beast made good its escape.

So the cat fled to the mountains, and did much mischief among the surrounding people, until at last the Prince of Hizen ordered a great hunt, and the beast was killed.

But the Prince recovered from his sickness; and Ito Soda was richly rewarded.

THE STORY OF THE FAITHFUL CAT

About sixty years ago, in the summertime, a man went to pay a visit at a certain house at Osaka, and, in the course of conversation, said—­

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