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

The Espousal of the Rat's Daughter

But Mr. Rat said there was nothing for it but to return home; he knew the wall in question very well, but had no idea it stood so high in the world’s estimation—he had always thought of it as somewhat of a dullard.

So they trudged homewards, and it was weary work, for the Cloud had hidden the Sun, and the Wind had fretted the Cloud, who showed his ill-humour by discharging a surplusage of moisture he had in his pocket, and they approached their home wet through, bedraggled and worn out. As luck would have it, just as they gained the wall which the wind had singled out for its power, a heavier downpour than ever came on and they were glad to take shelter under the lee of the wall. Now Mr. Wall had always been known for his inquisitive nature, which, it is said, arose from one side of his face never being able to see what was going on on the other; and so hearing his leeward side addressing Mr. Rat, and ascertaining that he had come from the sea, the windward side at once asked whether he had any tidings of that scoundrel the Wind, who was always coming and chafing his complexion.

“Why,” said Mr. Rat, “we met him but recently, and he desired to be remembered to you, who, he said, was the strongest person in the world.”

“I the strongest! It shows his ignorance. Why, only yesterday your nephew, the big brown rat, because he would not be at the trouble of going round, must needs gnaw a hole through me. The strongest thing in the world! Why, next time the wind comes this way he’ll rush through the hole and be telling your nephew that he’s the strongest person in the world.”

At this moment the rain stopped, the clouds rolled by, and the sun shone out, and Mr. and Mrs. Rat went home congratulating themselves that they had not had to demean themselves by proposing their daughter in marriage to a neighbour with such a false character.

And a month afterwards O Yuki San expressed her determination to marry her cousin, and her parents were fain to give their consent, for had he not proved himself to be the most powerful person in the world?

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