Then the King showed him the trunk of a tree that was lying near his court-house. It was a very, very thick trunk. He gave the Prince a wax hatchet, and said, “To-morrow morning you must cut this trunk in two with this wax hatchet.”
The Rajah’s son went back to the old woman’s house. He was very sad, and thought that now the Rajah would certainly kill him. “I had his oil crushed out by the ants,” he said to himself. “I had his demons killed by the tigers. My bed helped to beat this kettle-drum. But now what can I do? How can I cut that thick tree-trunk in two with a wax hatchet?”
At night he went on his bed to see the Princess. “To-morrow,” he said to her, “your father will kill me.” “Why?” asked the Princess.
“He has told me to cut a thick tree-trunk in two with a wax hatchet. How can I ever do that?” said the Rajah’s son. “Do not be afraid,” said the Princess; “do as I bid you, and you will cut it in two quite easily.”
Then she pulled out a hair from her head and gave it to the Prince. “To-morrow,” she said, “when no one is near you, you must say to the tree-trunk, ’The Princess Labam commands you to let yourself be cut in two by this hair.’ Then stretch the hair down the edge of the wax hatchet’s blade.”
The Prince next day did exactly as the Princess had told him; and the minute the hair that was stretched down the edge of the hatchet blade touched the tree-trunk it split into two pieces.
The King said, “Now you can marry my daughter.” Then the wedding took place. All the Rajahs and Kings of the countries round were asked to come to it, and there were great rejoicings. After a few days the bridegroom said to his bride “Let us go to my father’s country.” The Princess Labam’s father gave them a quantity of camels and horses and rupees and servants; and they traveled in great state to the distant country, where they lived happily.
The prince always kept his bag, bowl, bed, stick and rope; only, as no one ever came to make war on him, he never needed to use the stick or rope.
MYTHS OF JAPAN
THE JELLYFISH AND THE MONKEY
ADAPTED BY YEI THEODORA OZAKI
Long, long ago, in old Japan, the Kingdom of the Sea was governed by a wonderful King. He was called Rin Jin, or the Dragon King of the Sea. His power was immense, for he was the ruler of all sea creatures both great and small, and in his keeping were the Jewels of the Ebb and Flow of the Tide. The Jewel of the Ebbing Tide when thrown into the ocean caused the sea to recede from the land, and the Jewel of the Flowing Tide made the waves to rise mountains high and to flow in upon the shore like a tidal wave.