My Lord Bag of Rice - Read free bedtime stories for kids online
This is a vintage fairy tale, and may contain violence. We would encourage parents to read beforehand if your child is sensitive to such themes.
Long, long ago there lived, in Japan a brave warrior known to all as Tawara Toda, or “My Lord Bag of Rice.” His true name was Fujiwara Hidesato, and there is a very interesting story of how he came to change his name.
One day he sallied forth in search of adventures, for he had the nature of a warrior and could not bear to be idle. So he buckled on his two swords, took his huge bow, much taller than himself, in his hand, and slinging his quiver on his back started out. He had not gone far when he came to the bridge of Seta-no-Karashi spanning one end of the beautiful Lake Biwa.
No sooner had he set foot on the bridge than he saw lying right across his path a huge serpent-dragon. Its body was so big that it looked like the trunk of a large pine tree and it took up the whole width of the bridge. One of its huge claws rested on the parapet of one side of the bridge, while its tail lay right against the other. The monster seemed to be asleep, and as it breathed, fire and smoke came out of its nostrils.
At first Hidesato could not help feeling alarmed at the sight of this horrible reptile lying in his path, for he must either turn back or walk right over its body. He was a brave man, however, and putting aside all fear went forward dauntlessly. Crunch, crunch! he stepped now on the dragon’s body, now between its coils, and without even one glance backward he went on his way.
He had only gone a few steps when he heard some one calling him from behind. On turning back he was much surprised to see that the monster dragon had entirely disappeared and in its place was a strange-looking man, who was bowing most ceremoniously to the ground. His red hair streamed over his shoulders and was surmounted by a crown in the shape of a dragon’s head, and his sea-green dress was patterned with shells.
Hidesato knew at once that this was no ordinary mortal and he wondered much at the strange occurrence. Where had the dragon gone in such a short space of time? Or had it transformed itself into this man, and what did the whole thing mean? While these thoughts passed through his mind he had come up to the man on the bridge and now addressed him:
“Was it you that called me just now?”
“Yes, it was I,” answered the man: “I have an earnest request to make to you. Do you think you can grant it to me?”
“If it is in my power to do so I will,” answered Hidesato, “but first tell me who you are?”
“I am the Dragon King of the Lake, and my home is in these waters just under this bridge.”
“And what is it you have to ask of me?” said Hidesato.
“I want you to kill my mortal enemy the centipede, who lives on the mountain beyond,” and the Dragon King pointed to a high peak on the opposite shore of the lake.
“I have lived now for many years in this lake and I have a large family of children and grand-children. For some time past we have lived in terror, for a monster centipede has discovered our home, and night after night it comes and carries off one of my family. I am powerless to save them. If it goes on much longer like this, not only shall I lose all my children, but I myself must fall a victim to the monster. I am, therefore, very unhappy, and in my extremity I determined to ask the help of a human being.
For many days with this intention I have waited on the bridge in the shape of the horrible serpent-dragon that you saw, in the hope that some strong brave man would come along. But all who came this way, as soon as they saw me were terrified and ran away as fast as they could. You are the first man I have found able to look at me without fear, so I knew at once that you were a man of great courage. I beg you to have pity upon me. Will you not help me and kill my enemy the centipede?”
so that he might attack the creature at once. The Dragon King replied that its home was on the mountain Mikami, but that as it came every night at a
seen anything so beautiful as this palace built of white marble beneath the lake. He had often heard of the Sea King’s palace at the bottom of the sea, where all the servants
ten lovely goldfish dancers came out, and behind them followed ten red-carp musicians with the koto and the samisen. Thus the hours flew by till midnight, and the beautiful music and dancing had banished all thoughts of the
and the warrior saw on the opposite mountain two great balls of glowing fire
fire are its eyes. It is coming for
two balls of fire he saw the long body of an enormous centipede winding round the mountains,
sign of fear. He tried
surely kill the centipede. Just
he had only three arrows left in his quiver. He took the bow,
middle of its head, but instead of penetrating,
the centipede right in the middle of its head, only to glance off and fall to the ground. The centipede was invulnerable to weapons! When
He looked across the waters. The huge reptile had wound its horrid body seven times round the mountain and would soon come down to the
monstrous that even to think of such a creature made one creep with horror. Hidesato determined to try his last chance. So taking his last
it struck home to the creature’s brain. Then with a convulsive shudder the serpentine body stopped moving, and the fiery light of its
world were coming to an end. The Dragon King and his children and retainers all crouched in different parts of the palace, frightened to death, for
out with him on the balcony, for the centipede
Hidesato pointed to the lake. There lay the body of the dead
whole family came and bowed down before the warrior, calling
trays and crystal dishes, were put before him, and the wine was the best that Hidesato had ever tasted in his life. To add to the
come to do, and must return. The Dragon King and his family were all very sorry to have him leave so soon, but since he would go
wearing ceremonial robes and dragon’s crowns on their heads to show that they were servants of the great Dragon King. The presents
all these presents, but as the
and then took leave of him with many bows and good wishes,
been kept by the violent storm and had taken shelter somewhere. When the servants on the watch for his return caught sight of him they called to every
had put down the presents they vanished,
The bell only was ordinary, and as Hidesato had no use for it he presented it to the
day after day for the meals of the knight and his
time long pieces were cut off to make the warrior a
what was put into it, it cooked deliciously
him to spend money on rice or silk or firing, he became very rich and prosperous,
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the Dragon King with magical gifts. Why do
Lord Bag of Rice. Why do
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