Son of the Island and the Turtle - Read free bedtime stories for kids online

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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.

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Uraschima Taro, which means in Japanese “Son of the Island,” was the only and dearly beloved son of an old fisherman and his wife:

He was a fine, strong youth, who could manage a boat more cleverly than any one else on the neighboring coast. He often ventured so far out to sea that neighbors warned his parents that he would sometime go too far and never return.

His parents knew, however, that he understood his boat and the sea very well, and they were never much concerned about him. Even when he failed to come back as soon as he was expected, they awaited his return without anxiety. They loved him better than their own lives, and were proud that he was braver and stronger than their neighbors’ sons.

Early one morning, Uraschima Taro went to haul in his nets, which had been set the night before. In one of them, among some fishes, he found a small turtle. This he placed in the boat, by itself, where it would safely keep, until he could take it home. To his amazement, the turtle begged for its life in most pitiful tones.

“Of what use am I to you?” it asked. “I am too small to eat, and so young that it will take me a long time to grow. Have mercy and put me back into the sea, for I do not want to die.”

Uraschima Taro had a very kind heart and could not bear to see anything that was small and helpless suffer; so he did as the turtle asked him.

Several years after this, when Uraschima Taro was one day far out at sea, a terrible whirlwind struck his boat and shattered it. He was a good swimmer, and managed for a long time to make progress toward the land; but as he was so far from shore in the rough sea, his strength at last gave out and he felt himself sinking. Just as he had given up hope, and thought that he would never see his dear parents again, he heard his name called and saw a large turtle swimming toward him.

shouted the turtle, “and

safely sitting on the

found me, little and helpless, in your net, and I

please him. In a moment they were shooting down through the green water. He clung to the turtle’s back, who carried him many, many fathoms below. After three nights they reached the bottom of

palace of the sea-god. I am

Princess, and soon returning, led him to her presence. She was so

be as handsome as you are now, and

long he dwelt there he could not have told. But one day he thought of his parents; then he remembered that they must be troubled by his absence. The thought of them kept coming

I shall never

the palace in the sea, to be with her always. When she found that she could not persuade him

When you are ready, the turtle will be there to bring you; but

her farewell. Mounting the turtle’s back, he soon left the palace far below. For three days and

a window above, and a strange woman opened the door to him. She could tell him nothing of his parents, and had never heard their names. Every one whom he questioned looked at him curiously. At last he wandered from the village and came to the burying ground. Searching about among the graves, he soon found himself beside a stone bearing the

charm to break the spell. He eagerly raised the cover, and a purple vapor escaped and left the box empty. To his alarm, he noticed that the hand that held it

few hours before. Nearly exhausted; he finally reached the shore, where he sat wearily on a rock and cried to the

their children of the young man who, for the love of his parents, left a marvelous palace in the sea, and

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turtle, who is so small and helpless. Why do you

and shows him the beautiful underground city. Can you think of a time when

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