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

The happy hunter and the skillful fisher

"You are Hohodemi, the Augustness, sometimes called the Happy Hunter, are you not?" asked the old man. "What are you doing alone in such a place?"

"Yes, I am he," answered the unhappy young man. "Unfortunately, while fishing I lost my brother's precious fishing hook. I have hunted this shore all over, but alas! I cannot find it, and I am very troubled, for my brother won't forgive me till I restore it to him. But who are you?"

"My name is Shiwozuchino Okina, and I live near by on this shore. I am sorry to hear what misfortune has befallen you. You must indeed be anxious. But if I tell you what I think, the hook is nowhere here—it is either at the bottom of the sea or in the body of some fish who has swallowed it, and for this reason, though you spend your whole life in looking for it here, you will never find it."

"Then what can I do?" asked the distressed man.

"You had better go down to Ryn Gu and tell Ryn Jin, the Dragon King of the Sea, what your trouble is and ask him to find the hook for you. I think that would be the best way."

"Your idea is a splendid one," said the Happy Hunter, "but I fear I cannot get to the Sea King's realm, for I have always heard that it is situated at the bottom of the sea."

"Oh, there will be no difficulty about your getting there," said the old man; "I can soon make something for you to ride on through the sea."

"Thank you," said the Happy Hunter, "I shall be very grateful to you if you will be so kind."

The old man at once set to work, and soon made a basket and offered it to the Happy Hunter. He received it with joy, and taking it to the water, mounted it, and prepared to start. He bade good by to the kind old man who had helped him so much, and told him that he would certainly reward him as soon as he found his hook and could return to Japan without fear of his brother's anger. The old man pointed out the direction he must take, and told him how to reach the realm of Ryn Gu, and watched him ride out to sea on the basket, which resembled a small boat.

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