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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "The Sea King and the Magic Jewels"

The Sea King and the Magic Jewels

But Prince Fire Flash answered, “Not so ... not so.”

And again, after not many days were past, Prince Fire Fade came and sighed, “I am aweary of the green hills ... the fair waters call me. Woe to be a younger brother!” And when Prince Fire Flash took no heed of him, but angled with his rod, day and night, and caught things broad of fin and things narrow of fin, Prince Fire Fade drooped with desire, and let his long hair fall untended upon his shoulders. And he murmured, “Oh, to try my luck upon the sea!” till at last Prince Fire Flash, his elder brother, gave him the rod for very weariness, and betook himself to the mountains. And all day he hunted, and let fly the heavenly-feathered arrows; but rough of hair or soft of hair, never a thing did he catch. And he cried, “Fool, fool, to barter the heavenly luck of the gods!” So he returned.

And his Augustness, Prince Fire Fade, took the luck of the sea, and angled in sunshine and in gloom; but broad of fin or narrow of fin, never a fish did he catch. And, moreover, he lost his brother’s fish-hook in the sea. So he hung his head, and returned.

And Prince Fire Flash said, “Each to his own, the hunter to the mountain, and the fisherman to the sea ... for thou and I have brought nothing home, and this night we sleep hungry. We may not barter the luck of the gods. And now, where is my fish-hook?”

So Prince Fire Fade replied, saying softly, “Sweet brother, be not angry ... but, toiling all day with thy fish-hook, broad of fin or narrow of fin, not a fish did I catch; and, at the last, I lost thy fish-hook in the sea.”

At this his Highness, Prince Fire Flash, flew into a great rage, and stamping his feet, required the fish-hook of his brother.

And Prince Fire Fade made answer, “Sweet brother, I have not thy fish-hook, but the deep sea, whose bottom no man may search. Though I should die for thee, yet could I not give thee back thy fish-hook.”

But his elder brother required it of him the more urgently.

Then Prince Fire Fade burst the wild wistaria tendrils which bound his august ten-grasp sword to his side.

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