The Ogre of Rashomon - Read free bedtime stories for kids online

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This is a vintage fairy tale, and contains violence. We would encourage parents to read beforehand  if your child is sensitive to such themes.

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Long, long ago in Kyoto, the people of the city were terrified by accounts of a dreadful ogre, who, it was said, haunted the Gate of Rashomon at twilight and seized whoever passed by. The missing victims were never seen again, so it was whispered that the ogre was a horrible cannibal, who not only killed the unhappy victims but ate them also. Now everybody in the town and neighborhood was in great fear, and no one durst venture out after sunset near the Gate of Rashomon.

Now at this time there lived in Kyoto a general named Raiko, who had made himself famous for his brave deeds. Some time before this he made the country ring with his name, for he had attacked Oeyama, where a band of ogres lived with their chief, who instead of wine drank the blood of human beings. He had routed them all and cut off the head of the chief monster.

This brave warrior was always followed by a band of faithful knights. In this band there were five knights of great valor. One evening as the five knights sat at a feast quaffing sake in their rice bowls and eating all kinds of fish, raw, and stewed, and broiled, and toasting each other’s healths and exploits, the first knight, Hojo, said to the others:

“Have you all heard the rumor that every evening after sunset there comes an ogre to the Gate of Rashomon, and that he seizes all who pass by?”

The second knight, Watanabe, answered him, saying:

“Do not talk such nonsense! All the ogres were killed by our chief Raiko at Oeyama! It cannot be true, because even if any ogres did escape from that great killing they would not dare to show themselves in this city, for they know that our brave master would at once attack them if he knew that any of them were still alive!”

“Then do you disbelieve what I say, and think that I am telling you a falsehood?”

“No, I do not think that you are telling a lie,” said Watanabe. “But you have heard some old woman’s story which is not worth believing.”

“Then the best plan is to prove what I say, by going there yourself and finding out yourself whether it is true or not,” said Hojo.

Watanabe, the second knight, could not bear the thought that his companion should believe he was afraid, so he answered quickly:

“Of course, I will go at once and find out for myself!”

So Watanabe at once got ready to go—he buckled on his long sword and put on a coat of armor, and tied on his large helmet. When he was ready to start he said to the others:

“Give me something so that I can prove I have been there!”

Then one of the men got a roll of writing paper and his box of Indian ink and brushes, and the four comrades wrote their names on a piece of paper.

“I will take this,” said Watanabe, “and put it on the Gate of Rashomon, so to-morrow morning will you all go and look at it? I may be able to catch an ogre or two by then!” and he mounted his horse and rode off gallantly.

It was a very dark night, and there was neither moon nor star to light Watanabe on his way. To make the darkness worse a storm came on, the rain fell heavily and the wind howled like wolves in the mountains. Any ordinary man would have trembled at the thought of going out of doors, but Watanabe was a brave warrior and dauntless, and his honor and word were at stake, so he sped on into the night, while his companions listened to the sound of his horse’s hoofs dying away in the distance, then shut the sliding shutters close and gathered round the charcoal fire and wondered what would happen—and whether their comrade would encounter one of those horrible Oni.

but peer as he might through the darkness

an old woman’s story. I will stick this paper on the gate so that the others can see I

by all his four companions, on the

was seized from the back. “Who are you?” said Watanabe fearlessly. He then put out his hand and groped around to find out who or what it was that

the arm of an ogre, so he

of pain, and then the

the great gate, his eyes were flashing like mirrors in the sunlight, and his huge

face to face for a long time. At last the ogre, finding that he could neither frighten nor beat Watanabe and that he

ran faster, and to his disappointment he found himself

taken place, and got down from his horse. As he

off in the fight. His joy was great at having secured such a prize, for this was the best of all

him the hero of their band and gave him a great feast. His wonderful deed was

as soon as the ogre got over his scare, he would come to try to get his arm back again. Watanabe therefore had a box made of the strongest wood and banded with iron. In this he

heard some one knocking

asked who she was and what was her business, the old woman replied with a smile that she had been nurse to the master

strange that she should come at that time of night, but at the thought of his old nurse, who had been like a foster-mother to him and

the room, and after the customary

known that even your poor old nurse has heard of it. Is it really true, what every one

not able take the monster captive, which was what

to dare to cut off an ogre’s arm. There is nothing that can be compared to your

am sorry, but I

asked the

ogre may suddenly appear and carry off his arm. I have had a box made on purpose with a very strong

will not refuse to show ME the arm. I have only just heard of your brave act, and

old woman’s pleading, but he still

of being a spy

you of being the ogre’s spy, for

entreated the old woman. “For it is the great wish of my

in his refusal any longer,

so earnestly wish to see it. Come, follow me!” and

box which stood in a corner of the room, he took off the heavy lid. He then called

have a good look at it,”

right against the box. Suddenly she plunged her hand into the box and

have got my

she was suddenly transformed into

had attacked him at the Gate of Rashomon, he determined with his usual courage to put an end to him this

escape. But the ogre sprang up to the ceiling, and

patience for another opportunity to dispatch the ogre. But the latter was afraid of Watanabe’s great strength and daring, and never troubled Kyoto again. So once



of the city believed that Watanabe was


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