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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "Flower of the Peony"

Flower of the Peony

All the peony bed was tossed about like a troubled sea, and the pink and white petals flew like foam. A mist, damp and over-sweet, hung upon the wind, so that all who were there grew faint and clung to one another, trembling.

When they were recovered, they found the night still and the moon undimmed. The soldier of the daimyo’s company stood panting and white as death at the steps of the garden gallery. In his right hand he held his unstained sword, in his left a perfect peony flower.

“I have him,” he shouted; “he could not escape me. I have him fast.”

Aya said, “Give me the flower”; and he gave it her without a word, as one in a dream.

Then Aya went to her bower and slept with the peony upon her breast and was satisfied.

For nine days she kept the flower. The sweet colour came to her face, and the light to her eyes. She was perfectly healed of her sickness.

She set the peony in a bronze vase and it did not droop or fade, but grew larger and more lovely all the nine days.

At the end of this time the young Lord of Ako came riding in great pomp and state to claim his long-promised lady. So he and the Lady Aya were wed in the midst of much feasting and rejoicing. Howbeit, they say she made but a pale bride. And the same day the peony withered and was thrown away.

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