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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "The happy hunter and the skillful fisher"

The happy hunter and the skillful fisher

Send for him at once!"

Without waiting for the King's order the cuttlefish had already started for the TAI'S dwelling, and he now returned, bringing the TAI with him. He led him before the King.

The TAI sat there looking frightened and ill. He certainly was in pain, for his usually red face was pale, and his eyes were nearly closed and looked but half their usual size.

"Answer, O TAI!" cried the Sea King, "why did you not come in answer to my summons today?"

"I have been ill since yesterday," answered the TAI; "that is why I could not come."

"Don't say another word!" cried out Ryn Jin angrily. "Your illness is the punishment of the gods for stealing the Mikoto's hook."

"It is only too true!" said the TAI; "the hook is still in my throat, and all my efforts to get it out have been useless. I can't eat, and I can scarcely breathe, and each moment I feel that it will choke me, and sometimes it gives me great pain. I had no intention of stealing the Mikoto's hook. I heedlessly snapped at the bait which I saw in the water, and the hook came off and stuck in my throat. So I hope you will pardon me."

The cuttlefish now came forward, and said to the King:

"What I said was right. You see the hook still sticks in the TAI'S throat. I hope to be able to pull it out in the presence of the Mikoto, and then we can return it to him safely!"

"O please make haste and pull it out!" cried the TAI, pitifully, for he felt the pains in his throat coming on again; "I do so want to return the hook to the Mikoto."

"All right, TAI SAN," said his friend the cuttlefish, and then opening the TAI'S mouth as wide as he could and putting one of his feelers down the TAI'S throat, he quickly and easily drew the hook out of the sufferer's large mouth. He then washed it and brought it to the King.

Ryn Jin took the hook from his subject, and then respectfully returned it to the Happy Hunter (the Mikoto or Augustness, the fishes called him), who was overjoyed at getting back his hook. He thanked Ryn Jin many times, his face beaming with gratitude, and said that he owed the happy ending of his quest to the Sea King's wise authority and kindness.

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