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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "The Espousal of the Rat's Daughter"

The Espousal of the Rat's Daughter

Her father had often boasted of the journeys that he had taken down to the coast, free of cost, concealed in a truck-load of rice, and she would take no excuses that there was no railway to the point at which they were to await His Highness the Wind, although had there been it would never have done for a party engaged on such an embassy to ride in a railway truck. Nor was her humour improved by the time they had to wait in the very second-rate accommodation afforded by a fishing hamlet, as none of them were accustomed to a fish fare. But after many days there were signs that the great personage was arriving, and they watched with some trepidation his passage over the sea, although when, in due time, he neared the shore they could hardly credit the Cloud’s assurance as to his strength, for he seemed the personification of all that was gentle; and Madame Rat at once interposed the remark that you should never judge a person’s character by what you hear, and that the Cloud evidently owed the Wind a grudge.

So the Rat at once unburdened himself to the Wind as it came over the water towards him, making its face ripple with smiles. And the Wind itself was in the fairest good humour and addressed the Rat as follows: “Mr. Cloud is a flatterer, and knows full well that I have no power against him when he really comes up against me in one of his thunderous moods. To call me the most powerful person in the world is nonsense. Where do you come from? Why, in that very village there is one stronger than me, namely, the high wall that fences in the house of your good neighbour. If your daughter must fain marry the strongest thing in the world, wed her to the wall. You will find him a very stalwart spouse. I wish you good day. I am sorry I cannot offer you a seat in my chariot, but I am not going in the direction of that wall to-day, else I should have had much pleasure in introducing your honourable self to my powerful antagonist.”

By this time the party was getting much disheartened, and the stress of the journey and the chagrin of so many disappointments were beginning to tell on O Yuki San’s beauty.

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