Now the day of reckoning had come for the jellyfish. He quaked all over as he told his story. How he had brought the monkey half way over the sea, and then had stupidly let out the secret of his commission; how the monkey had deceived him by making him believe that he had left his liver behind him.
The Dragon King’s wrath was great, and he at once gave orders that the jellyfish was to be severely punished. The punishment was a horrible one. All the bones were to be drawn out from his living body, and he was to be beaten with sticks.
The poor jellyfish, humiliated and horrified beyond all words, cried out for pardon. But the Dragon King’s order had to be obeyed. The servants of the palace forthwith each brought out a stick and surrounded the jellyfish, and after pulling out his bones they beat him to a flat pulp, and then took him out beyond the palace gates and threw him into the water. Here he was left to suffer and repent his foolish chattering, and to grow accustomed to his new state of bonelessness.
From this story it is evident that in former times the jellyfish once had a shell and bones something like a tortoise, but, ever since the Dragon King’s sentence was carried out on the ancestor of the jelly fishes, his descendants have all been soft and boneless just as you see them to-day thrown up by the waves high upon the shores of Japan.
THE OLD MAN AND THE DEVILS
A long time ago there was an old man who had a big lump on the right side of his face. One day he went into the mountain to cut wood, when the rain began to pour and the wind to blow so very hard that, finding it impossible to return home, and filled with fear, he took refuge in the hollow of an old tree. While sitting there doubled up and unable to sleep, he heard the confused sound of many voices in the distance gradually approaching to where he was. He said to himself: “How strange! I thought I was all alone in the mountain, but I hear the voices of many people.” So, taking courage, he peeped out, and saw a great crowd of strange-looking beings. Some were red, and dressed in green clothes; others were black, and dressed in red clothes; some had only one eye; others had no mouth; indeed, it is quite impossible to describe their varied and strange looks. They kindled a fire, so that it became as light as day. They sat down in two cross-rows, and began to drink wine and make merry just like human beings. They passed the wine cup around so often that many of them soon drank too much. One of the young devils got up and began to sing a merry song and to dance; so also many others; some danced well, others badly. One said: “We have had uncommon fun to-night, but I would like to see something new.”